Turning 35: A Birthday Iftar Celebration and Some Reflections

My 35th Birthday Iftar at Tesoro Dubai
My 35th Birthday Iftar at Tesoro Dubai

 

This year, my friends and I chose a Peruvian restaurant for our Birthday Iftar celebration. My friend’s husband’s birthday is on the 16th of July. My birthday falls on the 15th of the same month. So we’ve been doing a one day celebration with our groups of friends for the past two years.

Tesoro is a fine dining Peruvian concept located at the new Taj Hotel Dubai. The place has a very eclectic and modern feel to it. It’s also very spacious with a huge terrace overlooking the Burj Khalifah.

Thankfully, everyone had a great time and loved the tasty creations by the Chefs at Tesoro.

So, another year has passed. I’m 35, single and still looking for a suitable job or paid internship in Dubai.

I’m grateful for the good friends that I have in this magical city, and those who shared my special day with me.

I’m also blessed for being able to constantly learn new things and new ways to develop and grow – both professionally and personally.

I’m thankful for the experiences that I had and that I continue to have. Like doing random activities, meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures, and discovering something new along the way.

What’s my plan for future days?

Honestly, I think it’s time for me to be more self-involved and self-centered. Nothing can be more disappointing to a diva than investing time and energy into projects or people and not getting similar vibes in return.

Some people like to put their self-interests first, set their own rules, and then expect others to entertain them. Well, I can publicly declare that I’m not Mother Teresa and that I never will be!

When I give someone my time, it’s because I genuinely want to. But I also have realistic expectations to be treated in the same way!

Basically, it’s now time for me to focus more on my career and personal life. I need to eventually land a full-time role that I enjoy doing. I also need to find a loving and supportive partner.

As for this blog – a project that has been so exciting to work on, and very close to my heart. It was an honest representation of my life, my struggles, my dreams and aspirations.

The time for this website to end is getting near. But I have plans to start another blog with a different niche. You can stay updated with my news and new blog news by following me on social media:

Facebook Page

Twitter

 

Instagram: nadaalghowainim

 

Update: New Blog is now Live!

Here’s the link for my new blog:

Saudi Diva Blog

 

I’m very active on Twitter and Instagram these days. So make sure to follow me to stay in touch with my news.

Being 35 and single means that I have the strength and independence to make significant life decisions.

It also makes for a good time to reflect on those life decisions and possibly rethink my priorities.

Love,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva XXX

 

Lovely Birthday Iftar at Tesoro Dubai
Lovely Birthday Iftar at Tesoro Dubai

 

A dual Birthday Celebration with genuine Dubai people
A dual Birthday Celebration with genuine Dubai people

 

Bonus Track to listen to while working or reading this post!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6B8btpBWNo

UD Review: Pizza Di Rocco Abu Dhabi

DSC_0951edited

 

On a recent trip to Abu Dhabi, I got to check out what is known as the best pizzeria in town: Pizza Di Rocco.

As most of you know, the UAE has a plethora of pizza joints in almost every corner. Well, this is certainly the case in Dubai. But finding a place that makes a perfect pizza is no easy task.

Luckily, Pizza Di Rocco is one of those places that knows how to make a good pizza. They managed to get the crust, toppings and taste to the right levels. You can also choose to have your pizza made with whole wheat dough for a healthier option.

Being a somewhat health-conscious diva, I went for a half-vegetarian and half-siciliana whole-wheat pizza. Siciliana comes with anchovies and capers.

Some crispy bread with dipping sauces
Some crispy bread with dipping sauces

 

A healthy and colorful Rocco salad
A healthy and colorful Rocco salad

 

Pizza Di Rocco's special oven
Pizza Di Rocco’s special oven

 

My special pizza is ready!
My special pizza is ready!

 

My half-veggie and half-siciliana pizza
My half-veggie and half-siciliana pizza

 

What I truly liked about Pizza Di Rocco’s pizza is the fact that it was so light, crispy and tasty at the same time. It made for the perfect Italian style dinner.

Since I was dining there alone, I couldn’t help but take the rest of my pizza back to my hotel room.

I can’t wait for my next visit to this cozy and homely pizza concept. The ambiance was so relaxed, the music was lovely and the service friendly and polite.

 

Dining at Pizza Di Rocco in the capital.
Dining at Pizza Di Rocco in the capital.

 

Abu Dhabi's best pizzeria; Pizza Di Rocco
Abu Dhabi’s best pizzeria; Pizza Di Rocco

 

Give them a call for delivery, or plan an evening out for dinner with friends at their homely space in downtown AD.

 

Website:

Pizza Di Rocco

 

Authentic Pizzeria in downtown Abu Dhabi
Authentic Pizzeria in downtown Abu Dhabi

 

 

Majestic Muscat: Beach Life at Crowne Plaza Muscat

Rebellious Diva at Crowne Plaza Muscat
Rebellious Diva at Crowne Plaza Muscat

If you’ve been following the blog, you might have read some of my Muscat trip posts. If not, here’s an introduction in the first post. As I mentioned in that post, the trip wasn’t sponsored by any third party. I wasn’t paid to write the review on the hotel or anything else from that trip. I didn’t stay at the hotel for free in return for these posts. I paid the regular full rates as any regular tourist would. That’s why, the posts are truly genuine and honest. I reviewed the hotel from with all fairness, impartiality and accuracy.

Oman is a country worth a visit if you live in the Middle East. Mainly, because it’s different than the rest of the GCC countries. I’m originally from Saudi Arabia, but I have lived in Bahrain while doing my first degree there. I’ve also visited Kuwait once, and I now live in Dubai, in the UAE. I must admit that Oman’s landscape of beach, green spaces and mountains is truly unique for this region. It has a certain magical spell about it. Being surrounded by true nature feels so blissful and relaxing. When I first arrived to the hotel, all I wanted to do was sit and take in the view from outside the hotel room window. If you missed that view, you can check it here.

I spent most of my time lounging by the beach, as I desperately needed a break from Dubai’s fast-paced and busy lifestyle. Here are some shots from the beach at Crowne Plaza Muscat.

 

Beach at Crowne Plaza Muscat
Beach at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

Beach bag is from Top Shop Middle East
Beach bag is from Top Shop Middle East

 

Beach at Crowne Plaza Muscat
Beach at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

The Fishing Harbour in the background - at Crowne Plaza Muscat
The Fishing Harbour in the background – at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

That’s it for my Muscat trip posts. For the rest of the posts, just do a simple search on the blog’s homepage for the word “Muscat” and you should get all the posts in the search results.

Another thing that I would like to add is that all the clothes that I wear in all my posts are from my own wardrobe. They are from my personal collection and were not given to me by any third party.

I hope that you enjoyed my recent travel posts, and that they inspired you in some way to visit that lovely city, or to simply travel somewhere. I am personally looking forward to my next trip – once I’m done with my University course.

That’s another thing that I look forward to! getting my journalism degree!

Here’s a photo of my suitcase at the end of the trip – as I was getting ready to leave majestic Muscat…

 

A suitcase full of my own outfits.
A suitcase full of my own outfits.

UD Review: Java Jolt Dubai

Quiche and iced tea at Java Jolt Dubai
Quiche and iced tea at Java Jolt Dubai

 

If you’re looking for a new option for a healthy and fresh lunch in Dubai Silicon Oasis, then I have found just the right spot for you. Java Jolt is a newly opened cafe at Le Solarium building in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Their concept is to create simple, tasty food with a refined edge. At the same time, they try to source organic ingredients as much as possible.

When I asked co-founder and co-owner Lora about the origin of the concept, she explains: “Since everything in Dubai Silicon Oasis was take-away and fast food joints, we wanted to bring fresh, healthy food to the area.”

Lora describes the home-grown concept by saying: “We serve food that resembles something that you would make yourself at home. We use as much organic ingredients as we can. Basically, all the elements that go into the food we make are home-grown, local produce from the region.”

Executive Chef Khomotso from South Africa prepares all the sauces and salad dressings from scratch. He also makes the bread himself in the cafe’s open kitchen with the help of a kitchen aid. Java Jolt uses organic flour to make fully organic bread, muffins and wholesome bagels.

“I actually like to make my own things – completely.” Said Chef Khomotso.

Velvety pumpkin soup at Java Jolt Dubai
Velvety pumpkin soup at Java Jolt Dubai

 

The pumpkin soup at Java Jolt Dubai tasted like home-made soup!
The pumpkin soup at Java Jolt Dubai tasted like home-made soup!

 

Best pumpkin soup in Dubai - hands down
Best pumpkin soup in Dubai – hands down

 

When asked about his favorite dish to make, the Chef immediately tells me: “My favorite thing to make must be quiche.”

 

Specials change depending on the Chef's choices at Java Jolt
Specials change depending on the Chef’s choices at Java Jolt

 

Quiche, a side salad and a home-made iced tea are key ingredients to the perfect lunch!
Quiche, a side salad and a home-made iced tea are key ingredients to the perfect lunch!

 

Healthy, fresh and tasty food at Java Jolt Dubai
Healthy, fresh and tasty food at Java Jolt Dubai

 

If you visit Java Jolt, you must try their home-made iced teas. The chef constantly makes new variations of freshly made iced tea. The first time I was there, I tried a pomegranate iced tea. This time though, I got to sample the Rooibos iced tea – made with a hint of lemon and orange. Known for its great health benefits, Rooibos tea originates from South Africa and makes for a wonderful refreshing drink when infused with orange and lemon!
“I was looking for something from home that I like to drink.” Explains Chef Khomotso. He calls his creation; Rooibos Citrus.

Freshly made Rooibos iced tea with a hint of orange and lemon, at Java Jolt Dubai - simply divine and refreshing
Freshly made Rooibos iced tea with a hint of orange and lemon, at Java Jolt Dubai – simply divine and refreshing

 

Greek salad at Java Jolt Dubai
Greek salad at Java Jolt Dubai

Co-founder and co-owner Jenny describes the new cafe concept: “We are trying to go as clean as possible in the UAE.”

Jenny explains: “In Dubai, most cafes are part of big chains or big companies. We wanted to start a more family-oriented style cafe with a homely feel.”

Being residents of the Dubai Silicon Oasis area, the sisters who founded and manage the cafe together with their mother felt the need to fill a gap in the market. With the majority of the available options being chain and processed food cafes and restaurants, they wanted to introduce a home-grown, wholesome concept with a friendly, welcoming and family-oriented atmosphere.

Another element that was lacking in the Dubai Silicon Oasis community was the option of an outdoor area, where friends and families could meet and catch up over coffee and fresh fare.

The New Zealand style cafe with a South African twist offers guests the option to sit outside – at the spacious and inviting terrace. “There’s no where to hang out in the area and sit outside. We created a space where parents could meet and bring their kids to play” – explains Lora, co-founder and co-owner of the fresh, wholesome and healthy concept.

 

Java Jolt Dubai has a spacious terrace for relaxing in the cool weather
Java Jolt Dubai has a spacious terrace for relaxing in the cool weather

 

A homely, friendly and family-oriented style cafe
A homely, friendly and family-oriented style cafe

 

Java Jolt will be open on Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm starting next week. They also have plans to open on Friday mornings for breakfast, and on Saturday evenings for an evening roast dinner.

To find out more about the cafe and their opening times, check out their Facebook Page.

 

Coffee Barista Koli preparing a latte using RAW coffee beans
Coffee Barista Koli preparing a latte using RAW coffee beans

 

UD Review: Urban Bistro Dubai

Urban Bistro's spacious terrace
Urban Bistro’s spacious terrace

 

It’s winter in Dubai, and no one wants to spend all their time indoors. The weather is at its best and we are all want to make the most of it while it lasts. That’s why, I’ve been trying out different outlets for a weekend breakfast. But they must have one thing in common: a terrace or outdoors seating area.

Luckily, Urban Bistro has recently expanded their terrace to accommodate more people. I’ve visited this cool Media City cafe a few months ago and tried their Friday brunch – which I think you should too. The brunch had a great selection of fresh salads, healthy and tasty juice blends, and a good variety of main courses.

Today, I opted for the breakfast meal. My friend and I both went for the vegetarian breakfast. You can choose how you want your eggs to be cooked – we had ours poached. This healthy breakfast option comes with sauteed spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, Portobello mushrooms, and roasted new potatoes.

I teamed up my veggie breakfast with a green juice for a super nutritious meal 🙂

 

Urban Bistro's vegetarian breakfast.
Urban Bistro’s vegetarian breakfast.

 

Poached eggs for breakfast at Urban Bistro Dubai
Poached eggs for breakfast at Urban Bistro Dubai

 

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to have any meat (chicken, beef or salmon) with their breakfast, then you should give Urban Bistro’s vegetarian breakfast a try. And if you’re tired of the conventional glass of orange juice with your breakfast, then you’ll love the different blends that they serve at this chilled Media City cafe.

I personally prefer to go somewhere quiet and peaceful on the weekend – away from the busy cafes and malls. Somewhere where I can have a nice conversation with a friend, work peacefully on my laptop, or just take in the beautiful view as I sip on my cup of latte.

 

Relaxation mode at Urban Bistro's terrace
Relaxation mode at Urban Bistro’s terrace

 

Urban Bistro Dubai's interior is spacious and airy
Urban Bistro Dubai’s interior is spacious and airy

 

Urban Bistro is a hidden gem that I’m glad I discovered. It’s located in a lovely area of Dubai Media City – surrounded by a tranquil and peaceful green space. There’s even a lake with turtles and sea birds in front of the cafe – perfect for a day of relaxation.

Whether you work in Dubai Media City or just live nearby, then I would definitely recommend that you check out Urban Bistro.

On weekdays, the place is buzzing with media professional and other working people on their lunch break. And in the weekends, it is the epitome of tranquility and peacefulness in a busy, modern city life.

 

Web site: Urban Bistro Dubai.

 

Urban Bistro Dubai - a hidden gem
Urban Bistro Dubai – a hidden gem

UD Review: Sri Sri Harmony with Yoga Ashram

Great views at Yoga Ashram Dubai studios
Great views at Yoga Ashram Dubai studios

 

I have a confession to make: I had leftover bean nachos and some guacamole dip for dinner (recipe will be shared soon on the blog). I feel bloated, extremely guilty and very uncomfortable. As if eating a 2-days old leftover mash of beans, corn chips and tomato sauce – that now looks like play-doh – isn’t enough to make anyone feel an ultimate surge of guilt and self-loath…I also just saw a recent photo taken of me at the Zeta restaurant and lounge opening at The Address Downtown Dubai, where I have an obvious bulging belly!

And to top all of this unhealthy diet phase and low workout lifestyle, I am now overwhelmed with University projects and assignments that I need to spend a lot of time working on. This means that I won’t be able to do any proper physical exercise until the term ends sometime in mid-December!

But, at least I have Yoga Ashram just across from my building. If you still haven’t read my previous posts about this lovely yoga studio, then you are missing out big time. I’ve been trying out a couple of their classes, and I must say that each class they offer is distinct and different.

My latest review was of their Hatha Yoga class. This time, I tried a class called Sri Sri Harmony. Which is also very different in essence from the Sri Sri Fit class – which I reviewed earlier.

What is Sri Sri Harmony?

The session is comprised of a combination of breathing exercises and basic yoga postures. Sri Sri Harmony is more of a therapeutic type of yoga, as opposed to a fitness one.

Why Sri Sri Harmony?

The main aim of this type of yoga is to bring back the awareness and balance to the body. This is done by performing a sequence of postures that are done with gentle and repetitive yogic breathing.

How difficult are the postures?

I must admit that the postures and breathing techniques for this class are fairly simple and easy to follow for all levels. This is a great class for beginners to yoga, as the postures are very basic and don’t require much effort.

Who should attend this class?

Anyone who is looking to meditate, release tension and destress should give this class a try. It’s a great way to let go of all the stress and negative emotions, and to bring more awareness and presence to the body in a very relaxed and casual environment.

What are the benefits of this type of yoga?

At the end of the class, you will notice that your breathing is more deep. You can take longer inhales and exhales, and you start to breathe correctly. You will feel as if the lungs are more open and that you are more relaxed and less stressed.

I personally felt that the blood circulation in my body has improved greatly – as I always have cold hands and feet. I also could feel that my abs have toned and that feeling continued for two days after the class!

Of course, with all the stress from my University school work, meditating with Sri Sri Harmony surely helped reduce my stress and anxiety levels.

Whenever you visit Yoga Ashram, you will feel as if you have entered a new space – full of positive and peaceful vibes. That is also made more powerful with the help of the extremely friendly and genuinely kind staff.

In a nutshell:

If you’re looking for a way to find peace and presence in the midst of a busy, fast-paced and hectic lifestyle, then you won’t regret trying Sri Sri Harmony. The session offers a simple and effective way to re-energize the body and soul with basic breathing and yoga postures.

 

Yoga Ashram Dubai
Yoga Ashram Dubai

 

Note: When we breathe, we only use up to 30% of our lungs. Sri Sri Harmony helps us make use of 90% of our lungs’ capacity.

 

Sri Sri Harmony at Yoga Ashram Dubai
Sri Sri Harmony at Yoga Ashram Dubai

 

Honestly, I can’t wait till I’m done with my University course so that I can become a regular at this authentic and blissful yoga studio.

The next time you are in JLT, give Yoga Ashram a visit and you won’t be disappointed.

Yoga Ashram is located in Cluster X – X3 tower (1504).

Tel: +9714 – 3609028
Email: [email protected]

Web Site: http://yogaashram.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yogashramJLT

 

I can’t wait for my next Yoga Ashram class, not only to shed off some of the weight that I’m accumulating and tone up, but also to see the lovely and warm team at that studio – who make it a truly one of a kind fitness and well-being center.

 

Rebellious Diva Signing off X

 

 

Majestic Muscat: The Exclusive Qurum Club Lounge at Crowne Plaza Muscat

UD at Qurum Club Lounge at Crowne Plaza Muscat
UD at Qurum Club Lounge at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

After my traditional market escapade at Muttrah Souq, I head to the Crowne Plaza Muscat‘s Club Lounge for some canapes and refreshing drinks.

The exclusive Qurum Club Lounge is located on the 6th floor of the hotel, overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Oman.

What’s great about this club lounge – apart from the amazing views – is that it’s open all around the clock. A wide range of snacks and drinks are served throughout the day, to match every mood and palate.

You can choose to sit inside and work on your laptop, read a book, or watch the news on TV. In the evenings, I would suggest sitting out in the terrace and cherishing the tranquil and peaceful beach setting.

Of course with me being the Saudi Diva, I chose to do it all! At one point, I was reading my book inside while having some tasty canapes. And on anther occasion, I was outside on the terrace taking a break from my sacred tanning sessions. I even spent some time networking with some business guests 🙂

I must warn you though; the canapes served at the Qurum Club Lounge are pretty addictive! Honestly, I couldn’t stop myself from making numerous trips to the buffet to refill my plate. I even felt a combination of guilt (for overeating) and embarrassment (from the repetitive trips to the buffet). But what can I say, the food at Crowne Plaza Muscat is of great quality and the Club Lounge snacks were no exception.

If you’re a foodie like me, then I can’t recommend any other hotel in Muscat other than the Crowne Plaza. The standard of the F&B in that hotel is truly exceptional.

In the following photo, I’m wearing a short floral print summer dress from cool 90’s urban style label: Pull&Bear.

Being a 90’s girl, I can’t think of a high street brand that matches my personal style like Pull and Bear. A mix of feminine, tom-boyish, and street style outfits. Love that label…

Sunset at Qurum Club Lounge at Crowne Plaza Muscat
Sunset at Qurum Club Lounge at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

Canapes at Qurum Club Lounge
Canapes at Qurum Club Lounge

 

A great spot for contemplation
A great spot for contemplation

 

Gulf of Oman view from Qurum Club Lounge Terrace
Gulf of Oman view from Qurum Club Lounge Terrace

 

Fishing Harbor view from Qurum Club Lounge
Fishing Harbor view from Qurum Club Lounge

 

Qurum neighborhood view at Qurum Club Lounge
Qurum neighborhood view at Qurum Club Lounge

 

Doing business with stunning views
Doing business with stunning views

 

See you at the next post!
See you at the next post!

 

The Qurum Club Lounge is not only a place to do business or network with other hotel guests, it’s also a place for celebration! While I was there, the staff brought a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday for one of the business guests at the lounge. Now if that’s not outstanding and personalized service, I don’t know what is…

Stay tuned for more posts from my Muscat trip!

Love,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva X

UD Review: Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi Waterpark

UD visits Yas Waterworld waterpark in Abu Dhabi!
UD visits Yas Waterworld waterpark in Abu Dhabi!

 

I can’t believe it took me this long to visit Yas Waterworld waterpark in Abu Dhabi! I think the main reason was the fact that I don’t drive, and so the idea of venturing out of the city requires some sort of planning and transportation arrangement.

The best part was that I got to spend my Friday doing something completely new, fun and exciting! Plus, being an outdoorsy person and a cancerian, means that walking around barefoot on grounds made cool with water sprays and splashing in water for a full day is my ideal definition of the word leisure!

If you need an instant boost to your mood, an intense dose of adrenaline rush, or simply a unique and fun way to spend a weekend, then Yas Waterworld should be on the top of your list 🙂

The park is open from 10 am to 7 pm daily. And there are clear directions for how to get there on the waterpark’s web site.

UD is excited about visiting Yas Waterworld!
UD is excited about visiting Yas Waterworld!

 

What’s unique about this waterpark?

  • Yas Waterworld is not your ordinary waterpark. It’s a waterpark with an Arabian theme and concept.
  • There are water sprinklers on most of the spaces in the park. So you don’t have to worry about walking barefoot in the UAE summer heat.
  • There are even members of staff spraying water on you at different locations – just to cool you off while you walk to your next ride.
  • The whole atmosphere in this waterpark is so lively, upbeat and full of a strong zest for life and happy times 🙂
  • There are professional photographers scattered around the park to take your picture in the water, in front of the slides, or even at the roller-coaster ride.
  • There is underground irrigation, which helps keep the ground cool at all times. This makes it easy to walk without flip flops throughout the park.
  • There are dance competitions for kids with passes as giveaways.
  • There was a pearl diving show for both adults and kids. Which is great for expats to learn about the pearl diving culture and heritage in the region.
  • There were performers all across the park on the day I visited. As it was the first day of the start of the 100 family days – an event which will go on until the end of the year.
  • The park has a wide range of food and drink options. The ice-cream is not to be missed! super delicious!
  • There are different levels of the rides. So whether you just want to slide down a river in a floater or go down a vertical drop slide, there’s definitely something for everyone.
  • There’s a good number of rides and activities for kids too.
  • There was music all over the waterpark. And my favorite radio station – Channel 4 FM – were at the park on that day 😀

Here are some of the photos from the rides that I went on (mind you, my friends and I went on all of the rides twice and three times on one of them!):

The Bandit Bomber is a super cool roller coaster ride – only more fun since you’re in your swim wear! This ride gives you a full tour of the waterpark with crazy detours and turns that will blow you out of your mind 😀  in a good way though….it’s also very breezy up that ride!

 

Bandit Bomber ride at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
Bandit Bomber ride at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi

 

This ride had different speeds and you can choose the one that matches your fitness level 🙂

 

Slither's Slides at Yas Waterworld waterpark
Slither’s Slides at Yas Waterworld waterpark

 

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waterpark fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
waterpark fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi

 

The “beach” or “waves” pool is great for chilling out in between rides. This is me doing poses in the “beach” pool 🙂

 

UD at Yas Waterworld "beach" pool
UD at Yas Waterworld “beach” pool

 

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Great fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
Great fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi

 

Being the coffee addict that I am, of course I had to look for a place that serves iced-coffee. And I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed because Yas Berry Cafe serves up a variety of drinks from smoothies to coffees to all things refreshing and delightful…

Yas Berry Cafe at Yas Waterworld
Yas Berry Cafe at Yas Waterworld

 

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iced coffee at Yas Waterworld
iced coffee at Yas Waterworld

 

The surf pool seemed cool, maybe I’ll try it next time 🙂

The surfing pool at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi
The surfing pool at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

 

Dancers at Yas Waterworld stage
Dancers at Yas Waterworld stage

 

Chilling at Yas Waterworld
Chilling at Yas Waterworld

 

They even have body drying machines at the park! which come in handy when you forget to bring your swim suit wet bag like I did…

Body Dryer at Yas Waterworld
Body Dryer at Yas Waterworld

 

There’s no end to the leisure activities, top quality service and upscale facilities that Yas Waterworld has to offer! Read on to find out more:

  • Private cabanas.
  • Sun loungers scattered all around the park and at the area by the “beach” pool.
  • DJ playing cool tracks near the “beach” pool.
  • River with floaters that takes you from one side of the park to the other. We used the river to get to the next ride location 🙂
  • Waterfalls, water splashing at you from random places, and all sorts of water park fun.
  • Friendly and helpful staff. The general atmosphere at this waterpark is highly positive and refreshing. Everyone is happy to be there and to do their job at their best level.
  • Professional picture taking – you can choose to buy your photos at the end of the day. I had mine saved on a USB stick.
  • Good way to stay fit in a fun and cool environment.
  • Great options for food and drinks. I must try the coconut drink at my next visit. The quality of the food was excellent too.
  • A range of activities and things to do for kids. As well as exciting competitions.
  • Events for families. The “100 family days” event will go on till the end of the year. But there will also be other events throughout the coming months.
  • Upcoming events include: festival of lights, music events, and winter activities.

 

Result?

I honestly woke up with an unusual high the next morning after my Yas Waterworld adventure! I guess it was the adrenaline rush from going on all those fun and exciting rides. I think everyone should head out to this original and vibrant waterpark every once in a while. It’s a truly refreshing and invigorating way to spend a Friday. One that’s suitable for the whole family too. Everyone from the babies to the elderly and all ages in between were having a blast at this cool waterpark.

Here are the prices that I took a picture of at the ticket booth on my way out…

Yas Waterworld ticket prices
Yas Waterworld ticket prices

 

Note: If you’re visiting the park on a weekend, you might want to go for the premium admission passes. The premium admission tickets allow you to access the rides through the fast lane/track. This means that you will avoid waiting in the long queues for some of the popular rides on a Friday.

 

For more information, check out Yas Waterworld’s web site or Facebook Page.

 

I can’t wait to visit this lovely and magical waterpark again. Have you visited Yas Waterworld? If so, what did you think? 🙂

Love,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva

Majestic Muscat: Breathtaking Barr Al Jissah

Exploring Barr Al Jissah
Exploring Barr Al Jissah

 

You might have read my introductory post about my recent trip to Muscat, and how I got most of my friends and family worried about me. How come? well, I decided to disappear from Dubai for a short break without informing many people that I was leaving 🙂  My dad knew that I was going to Muscat, but since he’s always been a forgetful person, he completely forgot about it. And I ended up being the center of attention – even to my building’s security guards! If you missed that post, you can still find it here.

Because I like to have  music as a background to my life – be it radio, music TV channels, or Youtube music videos, I decided to share with you this uber cool playlist that I discovered recently. The best part? it’s mainly old-school R&B – my favorite music genre! You can keep this playlist playing in the background as you go through my second Muscat trip post – if you wish of course:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOmTIiyQRjI

 

Now, if you are visiting Muscat for the first time, you must understand one thing: Most tourist areas, green mountains, wadis, hot water spots, nature, whatever it is – is located at least two hours or an hour and a half away from Muscat downtown.  You could take a tour day trip, hire a taxi driver, or rent a car and drive there yourself. However, for a Diva like me, I decided to just lounge by the beach all day and leave all the sightseeing for another trip! Yes, I was really exhausted from the super fast-paced Dubai life and I wanted to take a break to just breathe…

On the bright side, I did meet some nice people during my trip who offered to take me sightseeing on my next visit to Oman.

So my suggestion for you would be to make friends as soon as you land in Muscat (provided that you don’t have ones already) and ask them to take you around the city and the beautiful green landscapes (which I didn’t get a chance to see really!).

However, I did manage to check out the Barr Al Jissah area. Which is basically a mountainous landscaped area – beautiful at sunset time. I even stopped at the highway to take some pictures for you guys to see! How brave is that? 🙂

 

Barr Al Jissah in Muscat
Barr Al Jissah in Muscat

 

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Both my top and skirt are from the very feminine Miss Selfridge

 

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The road through Barr Al Jissah can only take you to the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. And that’s where I went to check out Long Bar, after seeing it listed in the first edition of Conde Nast Traveller Middle East. I had always dreamed of visiting Oman, so I kept that copy of the magazine’s first edition…and it sure came in handy! It does take time to realize your dreams, but it’s never impossible. So whatever those dreams are – whether you dream of visiting an exotic beach destination or becoming a well-known artist – you will get there if you have a strong will and a bit of patience 🙂

 

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa

 

The beach width at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is quite big. But I must admit, I had higher expectations for this resort. Coming from glamorous and shiny Dubai, I honestly wasn’t impressed with this hotel to say the least. This property didn’t match the standard of this renowned five-star hotel group, nor did the ambiance or food at Long Bar. I felt that the hotel was kind of shabby – I know it’s Oman and not Dubai. So it’s meant to be kind of old and rich in heritage. But I still didn’t feel like I was at the Shangri-La! I had heard a lot about this specific resort prior to visiting. But sadly, I was disappointed with my experience there.

As for Long Bar, it did have an outdoor seating overlooking the bay. However, there were no coolers in the outdoor area (unlike outdoor spaces in Dubai). Plus, there was no music playing in the outside area – apart from the Oud player serenading us with “Om Kulthoum” classics in the next door venue. Now if I wanted to listen to Oud and some classical Arabic tunes, would I be heading to the Shangri-La Resort & Spa for my night out? Hmm…maybe not. It’s true that it was a quiet and serene spot for a chilled night out. But I would say it was too quiet for my liking. Quiet at Long Bar translated into “haunted”. And that’s not what you expect at a five-star beach resort bar.

I only had breakfast that day, so when I saw that they had Spanish tapas on their menu at Long Bar, I got excited! I ordered the classic Spanish omelet starter – only to be even more disappointed with this sports bar. The omelet tasted like something that you would get at a breakfast place that doesn’t serve decent breakfast. In Dubai, ordering International dishes means that the restaurant will try to make them in a way that is highly similar to the original recipe. It will taste very close to the real thing too! Not at Long Bar unfortunately. They might as well remove the Spanish tapas from the menu if they can’t make them properly. This is what I had at Long Bar:

Spanish Tapas at Long Bar - Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Spanish Tapas at Long Bar – Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa

 

"Resort Fling" nail polish by Essie
“Resort Fling” nail polish by Essie

 

In the above photo, I’m wearing “Resort Fling” nail polish shade by the famous Essie brand.

 

Long Bar at Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Long Bar at Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa

 

I think that’s about all I had to say about this part of my Muscat trip. But stay tuned to hear about more places to see in Muscat…

Love,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva XXX

 

UD explores Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah
UD explores Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah

Majestic Muscat: Al Qurum Elite Neighborhood

View from Crowne Plaza Muscat Club Lounge
View from Crowne Plaza Muscat Club Lounge Terrace

 

I chose Muscat as my summer holiday destination because I wanted to get away to a nearby peaceful and quiet place. And I’m glad to say that I couldn’t have made a better decision. Luckily, as a GCC national, I don’t require a visit visa for Oman. This fact is considered a great privilege, since an advance application for a visit visa is required for most countries with my Saudi passport.

Browsing through the mainly positive reviews of the Crowne Plaza Muscat on Trip Advisor will make anyone looking for a mid-range hotel choose to stay there. And as a note to all my readers and followers, I assure you that I paid the regular room charges for my stay at the Crowne Plaza Muscat. So this is by no means a sponsored post. It is a genuine review of my experience at the hotel and in Muscat in general.

The unique element about this hotel is its location. It’s situated on top of a hill in the “Al Qurum” area. The area is around 25 minutes away by car from Muscat International airport. It’s a well-reputed residential upscale area, that is home to many of the country’s ministers, PDO (Oman’s leading oil and gas company), and the residential compounds of PDO’s employees and other company facilities.

Crowne Plaza Muscat is a four-star property:

Crowne Plaza Muscat is a four star property
Crowne Plaza Muscat is a four star property

 

After my Hong Kong hotel room view, I decided to choose a sea-view room this time around 🙂  Here’s my breathtaking view from my room at Crowne Plaza Muscat:

sea-view room at Crowne Plaza Muscat
sea-view room at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

Another view from my room window:

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A view of the swimming pool from the same window 🙂

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While at my peaceful sea-view room, I could hear the sound of the waves and the birds chirping throughout the day. Just being in the room felt so relaxing and serene. It resembled living in the outdoors or in a forest for my whole stay there. I even decided to keep my mobile phone switched off throughout my vacation – which caused a lot of family and friends to get worried about me. This meant that I came back to my apartment building’s reception in Dubai to a security guard requesting me to call my worried father, and looking at me as if I’m a crazy woman! not to mention a sweet note slipped under my door from my besties in Dubai, wondering where I have disappeared! Of course all of that commotion can only prove one thing: that none of my close friends in Dubai take the time to read my blog posts! Sigh…oh well, I hope that I will gain loyal readers from across the world who are genuinely interested in reading my blog posts! I will post a picture of that note later on my Facebook Page. So stay tuned for that 🙂

 

Here’s a look at my home for a total of 8 days….

Sea-view Room at Crowne Plaza Muscat
Sea-view Room at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

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On my first day, I needed to get a few things from a grocery store, so I headed to Al Qurum City Center. It’s basically a local mall for the lovely Qurum area. It’s part of the popular City Center shopping mall chain that has a number of malls around the GCC. The taxis is Oman do not have meters like the ones in Dubai. So you can find the fixed rates on a sign board at the hotel, airport and at malls. The taxi fare from Crowne Plaza Muscat to Qurum City Center is 4 OMR.  There’s a Carrefour hypermarket in the shopping mall. But it’s not nearly as busy as the one in Dubai! I was there on a Thursday afternoon (around 3:30 pm) and the halls of the supermarket were haunted! It was a shocking scene for someone who frequents Dubai’s MOE Carrefour to say the least! Apparently, the residents have other more popular options for their grocery shopping aside from the UAE-renowned Carrefour.

I was glad to see a Borders bookstore at Qurum City Center! I managed to get a copy of a travel magazine and two notebooks for my University September semester (which started yesterday b.t.w.). Here’s a photo of Borders at Qurum City Center.

Borders bookstore at Qurum City Center
Borders bookstore at Qurum City Center

 

It takes around 5 minutes to get to the mall from Crowne Plaza Muscat. It’s a small-sized mall with only one floor including a number of high-street retail shops, a Starbucks, a food court, a Chili’s restaurant, a cinema and the Carrefour. I would say it’s a nice quiet place to go to when you need to kill some time, want to get some groceries, or do some people watching at the Starbucks 🙂

I’ll be posting the remaining photos on my Facebook Page at the end of these series of travel posts. So stay tuned to find out more about the beautiful and captivating city of Muscat…

 

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Note: Airport taxis are located outside the arrival hall in Muscat airport. The cost from the airport to Crowne Plaza Muscat is 10 OMR per way. It’s a fixed rate that you must pay at the airport taxi station, which is located outside the arrival hall at Muscat airport. Muscat airport can be quite busy and overwhelming, so don’t let that put you off a highly peaceful and beautiful city 🙂