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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Party Favours

The Write Stuff designs are being used in some of the children's parties Doha. I did a simple dots and stripes theme for a birthday party recently and here are some photos.

Here are more photos from the party.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Old New Look

Saw this photo on Apartment Therapy today and it grabbed me.

A persian rug in the kitchen? Yet it is really a rug, only that it is synthetic. Liore Manne's LAMONTAGE rug is woven with polyester fibers and so is water resistant. Perfect for a kitchen or outdoors and even the bathroom.

I prefer the rug in the top photo because it looks like the persian rug in our living room but I would never waste a good rug in a place like the kitchen but a beautiful lookalike that is durable would be perfect for an outdoor dining room for example.

On a different but similar note, I found these Arabesque-inspired tablewares at a mall in Dubai recently. Made with PVC, they marry practicality with style. The designer Peggy Raphael Dabar puts a contemporary spin on the traditional.

Images D'Orient

I was tempted by the whole range and there were so many but bought just the one bottle coaster for now.


The soap dishes are stunning.

And even these tea boxes.

How does one decide?!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The hunt for bread

The hunt for good bread is officially over. A few months ago after we moved to Doha, I complained that there was no place to get a decent loaf and so made some home loaves from watching videos online.

Results were good but I soon got lazy. Then just one day, while having brunch in La Cigale Hotel, we chanced upon giant loaves of bread that were baked fresh that day. Since then, we always went back there whenever we ran out.

Two days ago, I found yet another bread heaven and this time, it was in a Belgium cafe Le Pain Quotidien. A chain with numerous outlets scattered across the globe unfortunately nowhere in Southeast Asia.

Rows of crusty brown goodness stacked high behind the counters. Yeast free, explained the manager. Arrives in Doha frozen and baked on site.

We ordered some open sandwiches to try and they brought us a platter of some warm breads to try.
I had the cold tartine of egg and T had the hot steak sandwich with melted cheese.

My humble egg sarnie had a sprinkle of capers and a hint of sweet cucumber relish with hardly any mayo, it was a perfect lunch. Will try to make it at home, I brought a boule of brown bread home too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Snake oil salesman or just old school?

Now that the bikes are in Doha, we now face a new challenge of getting a bike license and registration plates. Getting the bike license was simple enough but it involved paying a small fee of QR 200. The registration of the bikes was a lot more comical.

All the forms were in arabic so in the past, we got someone from T's office to fill them in for us as a favour. Only recently, we found out that there was a simpler way of getting things done. Whenever we went to the traffic police, we were always swamped by men offering "help" with our forms. These guys operate out of a small building outside the traffic police. With a couple of old typewriters and a photocopier machine, you could get them to fill out the forms for a small fee about QR50 negotiable of course.

 This kind looking old man started working on our forms. Who knows what he actually filled in the forms but that's the risk one takes I guess.

Then came the question of getting insurance as the police said we needed to buy some before we could get the bikes registered. This old man finished typing, looked up and offered us some insurance! How handy!

He was serious apparently.

His mate had a stash of insurance policies in his rickety drawer and would sell us some for QR 400.

This is his mate with the insurance. During the conversation with T, he was rocking back and forth on his plastic chair, with his bare feet tapping on the floor. When we commented that 400 sounds awfully expensive for insurance from who again? He slammed shut his drawer, sneered and said that it was the same everywhere.

T shrugged his shoulders and dutifully paid the 400. Insurance from the back streets of Doha.

Life cannot get funnier.

Dream Ride

I blinked and a whole month passed without a single blog posting. My life hasn't been too interesting and I just returned from 2 weeks of visiting family and friends in S. It was so nice being back after a year and little Z loved everyone. In spite of being introduced to new faces on an almost daily basis, carted around to strange places and sleeping in different locations every few days, he took it very well and I am a proud parent.

Back in Doha and temperatures have climbed to over 40 degrees now. Summer is upon us and I promise to blog more now that I am spending more time indoors.

During April, we did do something quite magical.  It was more T's triumph but I am staking my claim too. When we first met in 2003, T used to cruise around on a bike. I always enjoyed being on the back of one. It beats being in a topless car.

After we moved to KL, I bought him a 1967 vespa and that was fun. The little bike remains in a carpark in KL when we moved and is in the care of a loyal friend.

Now that we are here in the desert, we often talked about buying a second car because cabs are so expensive and one needs to drive everywhere. Either by luck or cunning planning, T found the perfect solution here.

A classic that made its debut in the last century, the Royal Enfield is lustworthy. Made by the English, then bought over by India and now re-released with updated Euro specifications. A quick check revealed a distributor in Dubai and they were willing to ship them to us at minimal cost.

Question is, like the many I have asked myself during retail therapy.... which colour ?

Classic 350 in claret?

Classic 500 in teal?

Or the Bullet in black?

Or the bullet in military?

They could not decide and so, we had to go and look at them. So a day trip to Dubai was hatched and before long, we were picked up at the airport by the dealer Nelson who took us to the garage.

The showroom wall had a incredible photo collage and the historical graph from the 1900s.

I was particularly intrigued by the side car.

Big scarf and sunglasses with hair blowing in the wind, I can already see myself in one of those. The miltary classic 500 was stunning but the teal just looked like a mistake.

T hopped on for a test drive and disappeared for a good 10 minutes. When he returned, he could not stop smiling.

Sold, sold and sold. Both the boys got one each, T the black and A the military. The bikes arrived a few days ago and I have never seen such glee in a bunch of middle aged men.

Nelson not only sells the bikes but runs bike tours in India, Middle East and the Himalayas. The registration for the Himalayan Odyssey 2011 just closed and the photos from last year's trip are breathtaking.

The 2 week journey may be heaven for riders, but I rather sit by a pool thank you very much.