Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"To the Moon, Alice!"

With now just a few months away, the clocks are ticking and the nail biting has turned to gnawing for poor little Soos. Wedding planning is never fun, so let's skip that part and talk about what really matters, the honeymoon.

It's not as easy as you think. If you've always known where you've wanted to go on your honeymoon, then bravo - that's half the problem sorted. If you're a bit like me and you want to go everywhere, then you may face some little difficulties in your planning. I know you may be thinking "What do you mean? You've got three months left and you haven't booked your honeymoon?!" Like I said, it's not as easy as you think. A lot of thought has to go into a honeymoon, you've literally got the whole world to pick so its easy to lose sight of what it is you need. Honeymoons are very personal, it has to be carefully planned to suit the needs of the couple, be it relaxation, adventure, romance or even just plain old fun. (Also, never criticize a bride to be, it can only go two ways: the bride breathing in a paper bag or yourself on the receiving end of ABH)

First of all to consider is timing: The bride and groom are in much need of a holiday after the crazies of the wedding and they really just want to go anywhere so long as it's far, far away from family, florists and tear jerking speeches. So do you leave on the night, waving like Dermot Mulroney (I had to google his name) and Cameron Diaz the second you've tied the knot? Or do you wait it out and travel when you're well rested? We've chosen to wait until after the last night of festivities have ended, sleep comfortably, have a big brunch and then head out.

For how long: Length of honeymoon usually varies from two weeks to a month, with the questionably lucky few going for longer. A week is too short, unless you go to one destination and plan to spend that week recovering from the wedding however you choose (the bride at the spa, the groom at the bar). Personally, a month would be too long... but maybe that's just antsy little me. A month with just one person, even if it is your spouse, can be a bit daunting. Then again, honeymoons are personal, and if your personal choice is to spend weeks on end with just one person without driving each other nuts, then so be it.

Sea or Skyscrapers: Destination is important and is very, very difficult to pick unless you know exactly what you want. If you're a "beach person" and would be happy to spend countless days lying covered in sand on a beach with nothing but your banal thoughts, then you won't have this problem picking a destination. Otherwise, I would try to plan a combination of things, including post-wedding recovery time and time to explore new things. Many newly weds seem to boast about shopping trips during their honeymoon, something the groom should be aware of.

And as a follow up from that, you don't have to pick just one place: Multiple destinations are very popular to get a real varied holiday. Honeymoon trips such as Thailand (for the resorts) and Malaysia (for the KL shopping), or Spain and Italy (going to Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Venice) are popular and fun ways to see different cities. Remember, don't over stretch yourself because you won't want a holiday from your honeymoon, make sure you put in enough time to relax so you don't over exhaust yourself.

Find out what kind of activities there are for you to do: Don't write out a detailed itinerary for your honeymoon, remember, you're supposed to relax. Just make sure you have some things to look forward to seeing or doing - perhaps a certain heritage sight or water sports, whatever it is, so long as you know what kind of things you can do if you wanted to venture out of your honeymoon suite.

Not to forget, check the weather while planning your trip: The last thing you need is to book a vacation during transitional seasons or monsoon time, once you have an idea of what kind of holiday you'd like go on all the websites, call your meteorologist, whatever - just make sure no natural disasters are going to ruin your honeymoon.

Now, for some photos to make you think:

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Book about Me?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen 2008

I am happy to bid 2008 adieu and say bring on 2009. I'm ready for a new everything.

Here's what I think, in incomplete and non-exhaustive lists:

Fashion Fun from 2008
(1) Minis
(2) Leggings
(3) Shoe boots
(4) Zac Posen
(5) Cupcakes

Fashion faux pas of 2008

Sporting Moments of 2008
(1) 2008 Beijing Olympics, Gold Medal for Bahrain won by Rashid Ramzi (1500 m race)
(2) Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal (8 November 2008)
(3) Chelsea 1 - 2 Arsenal (30 November 2008)
(4) Brazil Formula1, Timo Glock leading Lewis Hamilton to become F1 World Champion

RIP in 2008
(1) Yves Saint Laurent
(2) Bernie Mac
(3) Woolworths
(4) Heath Ledger (**edit: merci June)

Revivals of 2008
(1) Britney Spears
(2) Lesbianism
(3) Take That
(4) Size 0

Notable Song Quotes from 2008
(1) "What do we do? Usually drink, usually dance, usually babble" Wiley, Wearing my Rolex
(2) "Half of the ring lies here with me, but the other half's in the bottom of the sea" Vampire Weekend, A-Punk (oh oh oh!)
(3) "We can go to the tropics, sip pina coladas, shorty I can take you there" Sean Kingston, We Can Go to the Tropics
(4) "My heart's crippled by the vein that they keep on closing, you cut me open and I..." Leona Lewis, Bleeding Love
(5) "Your sex is on fire" Kings of Leon, Sex is on Fire

Monday, December 22, 2008

Coffee Craving

I never liked coffee growing up. My family are big tea drinkers and even now, I'd still have a mug of special mum made chai in the morning over a cup of coffee, easy. I only started drinking coffee right before I turned 18 when the first Starbucks opened up and I was still young enough to drink Mochachinos - I was all about being hip and that's what branded cups of coffee were to me at the time. Back then, I didn't know things would change; it was a much simpler time.

I started drinking coffee more regularly when I went to university. We had an artsy café on campus where I would sip on lattes in between lectures and meet with my cool art history friends. We would talk about Titian and Klimt and Proust and Nitin Sawhney and Hideous Kinky while cute bearded barristas would bring us our coffees in chipped mugs - oh the character, oh the charm! We would meet after long lectures on cold days and watched the film students float in and out, carrying cameras and tripods. We would get our coffees and crowd over books with nothing in them but different coloured blocks and gasp over the pages. I felt cooler than your regular law student, I was in with the art crowd, I drank their brew and I loved their beautiful, quirky nonsense.

After discovering that our beloved artsy café had jacked up their prices (£1.80 for a coffee? Well I might as well go have a paper cup of crappy capitalist crap! they spat), the art kids disappeared for stranger places to drink their coffee and talk randoms and I went back to my law graduate friends where I discovered The Wonderful Nescafe Machine. This machine was a godsend during my post graduate days and we all loved the Wonderful Nascafe Machine with it's tacky picture of a chocolate dusted heart on a cappacino (cute and fitting at the time). It would be late at night and writers block would leave me wandering down to the basement of my college, drawn to the glow of the Wonderful Nescafe Machine. With my hands running against the grainy walls, I'd make my way in a trance to this beautiful piece of metal that would bless me with a cup of coffee for a mere 60 pence. At 60p a café au lait I could have three little plastic cups for the price of one dirty cup of artsy café sludge served by pimply faced history majors (charm my ass!), and at any time of day - it just made so much sense. All those late nights with that machine, I have so many fond memories… For 6 months, that Wonderful Nescafe Machine helped me through my thesis and afterwards I acknowledged that cheap coffee, even if not good coffee, can be good for you at certain stages of your life.

It started getting really bad when I landed my first real job at an American law firm: here, everyone drank coffee all the time and I did too. I wrote about it and I cringe looking back at it - how did I let myself get so bad? I was drinking 6 or 7 cups a day, mastering how to sweet talk the receptionist who would buy my favourite coffee blend and then how to sweet talk the temperamental coffee machine that broke down less as our relationship grew stronger (as did my coffees). That year, I would always wake up far too early on Saturday mornings with piercing headaches and would only start feeling better when I would smell the aroma from the coffee machine in the flat - advantages of having a flatmate who always woke up earlier than you. I had to have it every morning, every afternoon and every late night I was working. It was a bitter sweet addiction that I don't think I ever broke.

There are so many places that stay close to my heart that I associate with coffee and friends and good times. There was the Café Nero on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Tottenham Street, next to the little square with the giant mural (our Café Nero) where we spent most afternoons during law school in its smokey basement (pre-smoking ban days) moaning over our assignments and how we were never going to get jobs. There was the sweet Fitzrovia Café where a cup of coffee and a croissant was one quid in the mornings before 9 a.m.: the beauty of it was that it wasn't just a cheap coffee, the beauty of it was that I was lucky enough to catch the early morning brew before it turned into its usual Charlotte Street £3 a cup, which made it taste so much better (and the croissants weren't so bad either).

When I started my current job, I remember walking through the large glass building and trying not to squeal at the coffee shop in the entrance - subsidized corporate coffee, that's when you know you've made it. I would walk through the security gates and get my usual morning latte (extra shot, skinny, extra hot, wet - I'd sprinkle the vanilla powder on top myself), getting my little courtesy card stamped (your 10th coffee was free) and nodding to the regulars at the counter. Getting into the lift you'd see at least three other people holding the same coffee cups and you would feel like a part of a team - a tough corporate busting team. I would curse when the shutters of the little caffeine cubicle would come down at 6 p.m. because I know I would then have to resort to the vending machines in the kitchenettes, making sure not to confuse the caffeinated with the decaffeinated machines at 2 a.m. and other such possible disasters. When times were tough coffee was my friend, it kept me warm on those long, cold, lonely nights.

My friends laugh when we meet up for a coffee and I start reciting my anal orders - hey, I'm paying for all these choices they're offering, just let me be. I am marrying a man who is the exact opposite, who doesn't drink any hot drinks (unless you count soup as a drink - or do you slurp soup?) but tries to understand my need for caffeine speed. He humours me when I start flagging in the afternoon and start whimpering "I just need it..." I like my coffee extra hot, if it gets warm then I have to stop drinking it, which means that long meetings at work would leave me with a corner of my desk taken over by half filled cold coffee mugs. I like milky coffee but I hate foam, I like flavoured coffees but only if it's a hint and not too sweet. I only put sugar if I need it but I prefer without. I fold in my cappuccinos and don't touch my Turkish. I have a certain way of having coffee and I love the way I have it.

A very special mention goes to New York Coffee on Government Avenue, not only brews the nicest coffee around, but will also deliver all the way to your desk if you work nearby. They also put a piece of sticky tape on the mouth hole of the plastic cover, so no germs contaminate your coffee and no heat escapes while they walk over to bring it to you… Good fellas, you guys are good fellas…

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Living the life that I can't leave behind

New Order and Frente aside (the latter being my personal favourite), it is safe to say that I am back in Bahrain, whoop whoop.

I will probably be here for the next few years. I am temporarily ending my love affair with London.

I do miss my friends over there, more so then I imagined I would. You never realise how much fun it is to spend a lot of your working day with your friends, they made my days that much more bearable. Our daily Cake Break (which will not be known as CB) was very important for my overall sanity, especially when there is lemon loaf cake in the tuck shop - yum yum. Some of the best things about working with your friends is being able to go to someone when you're feeling down or share your feelings about certain skanks around the office (who wears multi coloured lace patterned tights to the office? Seriously, just take your job seriously). Plus coming back to a small office is difficult when you're used to being amongst hundreds of people every day, the element of anonymity is nonexistent here - but it's all about my favourite word, adjusting.

Living at home again is manageable, the promise of moving out in a few months is what is really keeping me going. Now all the grown up stuff comes along - planning a big do, furnishing a flat, sorting out little things that I never had to think of before like matching pyjamas and organising sock drawers. Can't put it off much longer, I'll be getting married in a few months to Mr. Seroo so we need to get cracking. I know that once we've synchronised our lives then things will fall into place and I can wait until then I think. I just have to keep focused at the task at hand and not get too emotional about it. One step at a time and it will all fall into place, insha'Allah (fingers crossed, knock on wood, kiss a shrunken rabbit's head and the whole lot).

I'm bored with blogging - is it now so 2004? I think so. I'm also sick of talking about the world financial crises but it seems that that is all there is to talk about so I think I can stick it out and make conversation about it for a little bit longer (remember, this is a recession and not a depression). The morale in Bahrain is no better and it feels as if people are finally realising that we are indeed destructible if the forces above chose to push us over. Depressing, but not the end of the world just yet.

Otherwise, I'm still skipping along. A few projects are in the pipeline and as always, I am doing too many things at the same time. What did you expect? I haven't changed at all.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Off again

Back to London on Saturday for two months. Anyone who's in the Big Smoke between October and November let me know and I'll be happy to share a brolly with you.

  1. (Ramadhan was nice, but I'm glad it's over)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Layaly Ramadhan

When: 6 September 2008, 8:30 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Where: Fatima Kanoo Hall, Tubli (near McDonalds)
Who: Young Bahraini Female Entrepreneurs displaying a variety of goods such as women's clothes, baby clothes, jalabiyat, handbags, handmade jewellery, photograph prints, crochet house goods, home accessories, photo albums, Quran covers, cupcakes, cakes, cookies, brownies, toffee, fudge, and so much more.
Why: To raise awareness as to young talented local girls and raise money for charity. Proceeds from the event will go to food and clothes donations for Ramadhan and Eid to less fortunate families in Bahrain. Ramadhan is a time of year where we can benefit from social gatherings to make a difference for our community, let that be your reason to come by and participate in the fun.
Spread the Word, Come to the Event, Donate Money to Charity, Buy Unique Pieces and Enjoy Yourself.
Entrance Fee BD 1, Women Only.

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