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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shopping sites of note

I can't find anything decent in Doha when I shop, and often resort to looking online. My recent purchases on Swimspot were delivered and fitted me perfectly. I am really pleased and relieved since getting sizes right can be tricky.

Some other websites however is purely evil. I can smell plastic burning even before the pages load. 

JossandMain had these gorgeous bags from Halsea.

I adore the last one, the envelope clutch. The sales on JossandMain are usually only for a few days and their blog is full of pretty images.

If you haven't seen Fab, don't say I didn't warn you. The site is very addictive. I find myself going to it fairly often to see their deals. Sometimes they have designer collections at really low prices but the stuff gets snapped up pretty fast.

Cobone is a travel related site that feature deals from the Middle East. It works like Groupon. They are running some really attractive deals for travelling in the ME or from it. The hotel Jumeirah Zabeel is offering a night stay at 50% off their rack rates.

Pretty swanky eh? I am waiting for them to offer something similar in the Sharq Hotel in Doha which boasts the Six Senses Spa. I am keen to do a chilled out weekend away without baby Z.

Which sites do you recommend for some quality retail therapy?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cafe with a wow factor

I am sick. Runny nose, itchy throat, overall yuckiness. T is also sick and we are both slouching around like a bunch of sorry asses. It's not nice. So we went out. Unplugged ourselves from the couch where we have been wilting for hours, and went out for some fresh air. Doha, at this time, is lovely. Cool breezes with sunny skies, just like being back home. So we headed to the Murakami exhibition at MIA ( Museum of Islamic Art)

The exhibition was interesting, quite spectacular though not exactly my kind of thing. The artist is um, how should we say it.... on an acid trip when he created these characters? Anyway, still worth it. Added some colour to the desertscape we are surrounded by. 

Afterwards, we tried to take a sneak peek in the Alain Ducasse's new restaurant within the top floor of MIA, but it was not opened yet. 

The walk to the other cafe - The Garden Cafe took us by this playground. Bouncing trapeze for kids how cool!

Here we are approaching the cafe, it is right next to the water and you can see the city skyline beyond.

I always coveted these chairs by Patricia Urquiola when I see them in online mags. To see them up close and sit in them made me very happy. The colours are so cheerful don't you think?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chilled out Thurs

I am having a wonderful Thursday. Took my son to his gym play class, made spinach ricotta cannelloni and now am enjoying a cuppa java with T on the couch while Z is taking his nap. It has been one of those days that everything seem perfect and it's just half done! Oh and it rained in Doha. Just a short drizzle but what a blessing!

Came across a couple of images online that made me smile and here you go.

How cute and genius!

This house design by A21 via Archdaily, featured this amazing bathroom with a collage of gorgeous tiles.

The rest of the house photos were amazing too.

On the same note, these concrete tiles by Ivanka is in a different league altogether. I likey.

Hope you guys have a fab day ahead. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Summer Loving

We are not quite into summer yet in Doha but spring doesn't last long here. It is already about 33-35 C during the day and people are still firing up barbies in the evening but it will hit 40 pretty soon.

I say the window for lying by the beach will be small but I am going to try and get as much beach action as I can before it starts to scorch. The last time I bought a swimsuit was in Sri lanka, a one-piece halter from Arugambay .

It was cheapish, USD 32 but the stitching was terrible and it started to fray at the most inconvenient spot just after one wear. The material was also very thin spandex and I don't think it will last more than a few more wears. The other swimsuit I own was purchased in Bangkok and that was more than 5 years ago. Time to start shopping !

None of the stores here have anything worth looking at. Most beaches here don't allow two piece suits anyway so I had to go online. After having a baby, instead of gaining weight, I lost and now weigh just over 46 kg. I am skinny and have a muffin top , the worst of all body shapes. Finding a suit is going to be tricky.

These days, swimwear is becoming complex. Do you know a maillot is??? It's swimwear designer jargon for a one piece suit! Anyway, what I want was a tankini, a tank top thing with bottoms, preferably boy short ones.

After days of searching, I came across some new swimsuits that look nothing like swimmers. Add some pants or a flirty skirt and you got the perfect party/loungewear.

See what I mean? I love the coral one in the middle of the bottom row. That top has a white bandeau under and I don't have to worry about showing the muffin and it looks really comfy too.

These designs are being sold here and the one that I liked is a brand called Luxe by Lisa Vogel.

Looking elsewhere, I found, the australian brand, Seafolly tempting as well.

Besides the swimsuits, I was hunting for coverups and think a pair of lightweight pants or even a skirt/dress would be great. I picked these out on Swimspot.

Although the military ones look great, think the grey ones are more versatile.

What are you doing this summer?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Walatta House

For 14 blissful days, we moved into our very own - The Walatta House, in Tangalle, Sri Lanka. Weeks before the trip, I was close to melt down mode. Trying to get things done like power and curtains is not easy while one's thousands of miles away. Still, we knew that we had a roof, floors, doors and working toilets and the Amanwella next door so if things did fall apart, it would not be a complete disaster.

We have been here before, just two months ago. When we invited friends from the UK including their 3 kids, to stay with us at the house. The contractors had promised us a finished product on 20th December, but it never happened. S, an UK based interior designer, who is T's old flatmate in HK back in the 90s, was braving the trip again. This time sans kids and husband. She has seen the house in December and was coming back this time to help us with decorating the house. She lugged 15 metres of upholstery fabric for us and some lights, bless her.

I had bought these for some of the bathrooms. Kartell's E Wall Sconce.

We looked on Designers Guild website and swooned over the infinite gorgeous fabrics but finally decided on  Glenville's distressed velvet in Sea mist and Zinc.

We had brought along 140kg of luggage. From Doha, we bought outdoor lights, feather pillows, audio equipment and even a coffee machine. Luckily customs didn't blink.

After being in the air for 5 hours, we got to Colombo at 3.30am and by the time we got out of the airport it was 5am. Baby Z was too excited to sleep on the plane so I had a sleepless night. I hoped that the long car trip ahead would lull him to sleep. The van came to pick us up with a baby seat for Z thankfully, and we were on the road! J, the architect who had been there for 2 days was just waking up and plans were made to meet for breakfast at Moonstone Villas.

R who runs Moonstone Villas, was a lovely Canadian who moved to SL about 4 years ago. She was working for a non profit group in the early days, and now runs her own B&B with a few locals as well.

After scoffing down some Srilankan omelettes and fresh coffee, we jumped back into the van to see our house. R came along too as she had heard so much from J that she wanted a peek.

The first approach didn't reveal much difference from what I saw a few months back but on closer inspection, we saw that the garden has been tended to. The indoor garden spaces now have some plants, not many but some.

 The doors had been installed and were rather impressive. The doors in the master bedroom were 3.5 metres tall and opened up to the ocean view. The pool was empty but being filled so that the pool guy could come and chlorinate it end of the week.

Once after we sniffed around the rooms, we had to get cracking. We still have no furniture, no beds only mattresses, no mirrors in bathrooms, no lights except bulbs hanging from exposed wires. No kitchen, no utensils, no refridgeration. Z was starting to yawn, the cot was nowhere in sight. Panic was starting to set in.

Everything was in boxes, stuffed in the worker's quarters. Some of these boxes came from KL where I got V to pack on my behalf and rest were things we have been bringing over ourselves in past trips. None of these boxes were labelled so all had to be opened. This room is dark, dank and I could see cobwebs and holes where rats had burrowed. Yikes! I did however managed to find some bedsheets yay.

T hunted the fridge down to a warehouse off site. It was to be delivered in few hours. Meanwhile T found the gas stove and gas cylinder that they had used to cook last month. He also showed me where he kept a cheap pan and some plastic cups and plates. I brought along some pre-packed Gerber toddler meals with me and heated those up for baby Z.

The cot was still nowhere in sight and after some frantic calls, found out that it was in the contractor's house! Someone promised to send that to us by the evening.

Z was hot and full and luckily was happy to fall asleep on N's lap. S, our tuk tuk driver came over and we hopped into to get into town for supplies. Town was 6 km away and there we would find a wet market, a single supermarket, several hardware shops and few more essential shops. The fridge had arrived by this time and I had to think about cooking for the next few days.I got some meat from the supermarket and bought the fresh produce from the local market. Local curd were sold in clay pots and I knew Z love them so bought one for breakfast the next day.

While I shopped, T went to the electricity board. We didn't have our own supply and were siphoning power from our neighbours because our guys were unable to get the power into the land.. I don't know how he did it but he got them to promise to come onto the land the next day to install electricity. With the little power, we could only run the fans and not the aircon which normally didn't matter but the hot Indian summer had set in and it was 90% humidity.

At the end of Day One, we managed to scrap together enough to make meals, sleep and shower.

It was a good day.