I’ve always quite enjoyed cooking. My mum, who is a fabulous cook, ran a restaurant in our home when I was younger. As head chef, she was always racing around trying new recipes, sourcing fresh produce and whipping up delicious things. Fast forward and I’d love to say I follow in her footsteps, but truthfully I usually resort to the same old tried and tested repetoire, which loops around from week to week.
We’ve never quite been the best of friends, have we? Always at war over this and that. A bulge here, too many lumps there. Not enough lumps in the right places. Too soft. Too big. Thighs too large. Boobs too small. A wrinkle here, a crow’s foot there. Another line that shows the years we’ve spent together and all that we’ve been through.
I have opened my computer so many times over the past few weeks to write to you, but the words somehow wouldn’t flow. I even googled ‘writer’s block’ to see if that could provide me with any kind of inspiration. Instead it threw up the definition for my ‘creative slowdown’ – a condition that ranges from not being able to come up with new ideas for a few weeks, to not being able to produce anything for years. (Bear with me here, the moral of the tale is coming!)
From spag bol to meat and two veg, if you are anything like me, then you probably stick to the same old tried and tested recipes and dutifully rotate them on a weekly basis. Despite having a cupboard stuffed with cookery books from James Martin to Jamie Oliver, I’ll confess that having to think about what to cook every night of the week can feel like a real chore. Creativity in the kitchen isn’t always my strongest point, and when I do try something new, I usually find I’ve forgotten to purchase a key ingredient.
My mum and dad arrive next week. I can’t wait! Mum’s trips to Dubai usually include a whirlwind of organisation – projects that I’ve wanted to do get finished, things that I’ve craved to get in order suddenly get the Beryl treatment. (Beryl and Cheryl – “the rhyming names reflect the closeness of our relationship,” my mum used to tell me.) When the folks are around, stuff just gets done – and, above all, I’m looking forward to someone else making a few darn decisions for a change.
“Inhale the good sh*t, exhale the bullsh&t.” Who doesn’t need to do that from time to time? So, when I see this written on a bottle of aromatherapy spray at Dubai’s ARTE market one day, I’m drawn in. On closer examination, I see they are created by ‘Mr. Fox’ (also quite a selling point.) There’s a potion for everything from tackling PMT (‘Lady Fox’ – I needed this one) to boosting energy (‘Kickstarter’), the natural aphrodisiac, ‘Fox Me’ and much more. The creations are natural, quirky and above all, smell really, really good. (And while I’m not getting paid for writing this, Mr. Fox is just one of those lovely little yogic finds that caught my eye and I wanted to share!) I’m curious to find out the story behind them…
“F*k sake Mummy. Why do we say f&*k’s sake?” Molly asks innocently as we are driving home one day. The husband and I look at each other, slightly horrified, trying to stifle our laughter.
“We don’t say that Molly, it’s not very nice,” I try to explain. “Who says that? Where did you hear that?”
“But Mummy, you do. You say it. All the time, in the morning.”
One of the gems about having kids is that sometimes you get to go to things that you would secretly like to check out, but might look strange attending without a child in tow. So when an invite to take the little ones to see Robin Hood at Dubai’s Courtyard Playhouse theatre in Al Quoz popped into my inbox, I thought, yes, this is one of those times. Billed as ‘a magical experience for children, that parents will love too’ – it tells the traditional story of Robin Hood and his merry men – but with a fun, interactive twist. And if this little review could be written by Molly, age 3.5 years, it would be given a big thumbs up!