An affair to remember

Dear Dubai, I’ve cheated on you, I’m not sorry, I didn’t think about you the entire time, in fact you didn’t cross my mind once and I will do again…………You want to know who with, you say? Ok…..It was with Australia.

Yes it happened as I knew it  would, I fell in love with Australia, now I have been known to fall for other places like Hong Kong but this time it was different. Australia is a place you would never tire off. a great outdoor lifestyle, beautiful greenery and fresh air, laid back and friendly people. Expensive? Yes but so worth it. From the minute we arrived we were greeted by a really friendly taxi driver, who gave us tips on where to go, to buy an Opal card (which was a godsend). Rather than selling us 4 adult ones the newsagent sent us somewhere else  to buy children’s ones. You can use these on all forms of public transport and it makes life so much easier and top up when they needed it. Our Uber drivers were so fanatstic and full of local knowledge too and as an added bonus knew where they were going. Our first airbnb was in Birchgrove, Balmain. A 10 minute walk to the ferry crossing and park just down the road which the kids loved. On our doorstep a newsagents, corner shop, launderette and cafe. With a high street about 10 minutes away too. I swear now with children Airbnb is the only way to go. The house we rented was spacious enough, had a big enough kitchen I cook a basis meal for 4, we ate lunch out most days but eating out in Sydney isn’t cheap and we would have gone through our budget like no ones business. Birchgrove had no wifi or TV so we downloaded a few Netflix programs for the kids but they basically made their own fun playing with some toys we brought with us. In the evenings EPD and I sat outside on the terrace with a beer or wine and read our books, he read 5 and I’m still working through mine, god damn you Outlander series for being so thick!!!! and talked. I feel like as a family we re connected without the distraction of electronics. I know not being able to go on FB every 5 minutes did my head the world of good. It was us in our little world and we didn’t need anyone else. The house was nothing fancy at all, in fact it did lack a bit of character but it was clean and comfortable and did its job of being a base for us. Our 2nd Airbnb in the Blue Mountains was spectacular and will  into more details when I get to that point of our trip.

Our first day In Sydney is when I fell in love, we caught the ferry to Circular Quay, had lunch along the harborside and took a walk up around the opera house, all through the botanical garden and then to Sydney Tower.

 

 

It was hot but hot lovely not sticky or humid. The Gardens were beautiful and the children loved running and exploring. The Opera House was everything I expected it to be, feeling so surreal that we were actually stood in front of it. We took some token photos but didn’t go inside.

 

We then moved on to  Sydney tower which was fabulous though and actually great value for money as when we brought our entry ticket we got an offer that covered two other attractions in Sydney. We watched a 3D short film about Australia and then headed up in the lift! By the time we got to Sydney tower we had pretty much reached our limit and being jet lagged we had a look from the 360’C viewing area and then headed home to sleep off the jet lag and start afresh the next day! It was a great day and everyone was pooped I went to bed with a big smile on my face knowing I was going to enjoy EVERY minute of this trip of a lifetime.

Airbnb is the only way to go

After completely falling in love with Hong Kong last year, we decided to continue conquering East Asia and we planned a trip to Tokyo Japan. We definitely were not as organised in the planning of the trip and left it dangerously last-minute to book accommodation. After  looking at hotels in Tokyo it became real that we could not find anything within our budget. So we turned to Airbnb, I had massive reservations the thought of sleeping in someone’s house made my skin crawl. We’re they clean people? Do they have bed bugs? Was it in a safe neighbourhood? I do have a tendency to over think things a wee bit.

My back is to the wall here!!

I have friends that have used it and they were all happy, so we bit the bullet and went for it. We found a lovely little place owned by the nicest of ladies. It was close to the metro, it was quiet and had a supermarket, restaurants and a McDonald’s if we needed it  all a stones throw away. Now space in Tokyo comes at a premium, however nothing could prepare me for what awaited us. We lugged our cases and children up the 3 flights of stairs to the top floor, Daddy opened the door. You have to worry when the door opens outward to save on space, we both looked at each other and laughed. The whole place was the size of our kitchen trying not to sound like a complete asshole there. However it had a bathroom with hot running water AND a heated toilet seat, which would prove invaluable in 7’C temperatures, Nothing like a warm tooshy!! It had a fridge , kettle, washing machine. Which was also very handy considering we don’t have many warm clothes at all. The bed was comfy, it was clean, it was warm and really it was only a base to store our things while we were out exploring.I stocked up on the children’s favourite mini cereals, we brought teabags and a few essentials at the supermarket. To be honest having breakfast there was one less meal out we had to pay for as Tokyo wasn’t cheap and at least we could get up, eat and get dressed at our own pace, rather than running down for an over priced buffet where you pay over 20quid for the children to eat one bowl of cereal. We also had a pocket wi-fi included in the price, this was extremely handy when you’re trying to navigate your way around the unknown, you can call on google maps to help you.

The best thing about using Airbnb is that you can tailor it to your budget, the further out you stay the cheaper they are, they can vary from 37 to over 200 pounds per night. Ours cost us around 500 for 5 nights, which I think for a huge city was very reasonable.

I would definitely use them again considering my mind is doing overtime planning next years holiday!!!

They were very comfy

You know its summer when

With temperature hitting 50.5’C in the UAE last week, I thinks it’s safe to say the summer is well and truly here. However if that wasn’t enough his a wee list to convince you…..

Photo source Google

Photo source Google

The conversation when you meet someone has gone from…..Are you staying for Christmas? to When do you leave for summer?

People are frantically trying to figure out where they will be able to get there morning cup of coffee during Ramadan

The amount of pop up windscreen shade injuries have probably quadrupled, or is it just me it hits in the face?

Your DEWA bill has doubled as you take on average 3-4 showers a day, you look forward to taking a shower outside 

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You spend more time in malls and soft plays than you do in your own home

The thought of being able to wear your long sleeves and possibly socks is too much to comprehend

Even with socks one has to maintain one's Dubai standards

Even with socks one has to maintain one’s Dubai standards

You secretly started packing at the beginning of May

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

The concept of traveling light no longer exists

Are you checking any bags today madam?

Are you checking any bags today madam?