Last week Celestine and I went to Dubai. I don't know if I have ever mentioned it on my blog before, but Dubai is where my parents have been living for the last five years. That's the reason why I seem to be popping off there every now and then- not becasue I just love Dubai!
Though I do in fact love Dubai anyway. So I am lucky that I have been able to go there whenever I want for the last five years. I love the smell of the place. The air smells of incense. Everything's so big and clean and opulant (though it does come at a price unfortunately- cheap labour). The weather is balmy (right now anyway) the streets round where my parents live are pink, the kerbs are black and white stripy (Victoria Stitch would like that!) and all the buildings are pastel coloured. Ice cream coloured villas I call them.
I decided to go out there last week becasue my parents are now looking to move back to England at some point (maybe soon) and I wanted to go there one last time before that happened. I'm quite sad really that this was probably my last time in Dubai. I sometimes wish I actually lived there myself! Sort of.
So the whole time I was there this time, I was kind of seeing things for the last time. I wanted to make sure I took advantage of the things Dubai has to offer before I wouldn't have the chance to anymore. Like for example the gold souk, the amazing fabric and gem shops and the beach.
I love the beach. I think beaches are my favourite places of natural beauty to be. Cornish beaches are my favourite but the Dubai ones aren't half bad either! We went to the beach three times this last week. I love the colour of the sea. All turquoise and nice. One day it was quite windy and there were lots of waves and people flying kites. The sand had a crackly top layer when you walked on it.
Celestine adores the beach also. She is a beach baby! She had a nice time reading her book and building sandcastles and sunbathing. She loves to walk barefoot and feel the warm sand between her toes.
She was able to use her new red bucket and yellow spade which she has not used before. She also took her duck to the beach with the intention of putting it to float in the sea. But Celestine is so small that she got a bit intimidated by the waves so duck ended up staying on dry land.
Celestine just loves being able to wear her summer clothes. Yellow is her second favourite colour after gold.
Celestine was also able to take her boat out. She loves rowing in her little boat. She didn't take it in the sea but she did take it in the baby pool outside the villa. She finds it very relaxing to float around in her boat while the sun shines on her hat and the birds chirp in the palm trees.
She did in fact capsize once! But it was alright becasue the water wasn't cold. She actually really enjoyed her little swim.
She had the whole baby pool to herself! For her it was still pretty big and deep but so sunny and pale blue and warm. She went swimming underwater like a little fish.
Celestine was also very interested in going to the gold souk as she is in fact a jeweller/jewellery designer herself! She was fascinated by all the jewels and gems and gold twinkling away in the shops. I was too! I love love going to the gold souk in Dubai. It's an amazing place. Unless you've been you just can't imagine the amount of jewellery there is there. I am also very interested in jewellery and can't walk past a jewellery shop without peering into the window so the gold souk is a very interesting place for me!
One of my goals for the week was actually to get my wedding ring made out in Dubai (because it's so much cheaper there) so we spent quite a while at the gold souk and at the gold and diamond park. I did in fact get it made and I am very pleased with it! I might do a post about it at some point as I designed it myself. Haven't photographed it yet though.
A couple of years ago while I was at the gold souk in Dubai (with Henry) I spotted the most beautiful amazing (in my opinion) necklace I had ever seen. I have in fact mentioned it on my blog before as I loved it so much! It was crazily expensive though- like in the thousands. And there's no way I'll ever be able to buy it. But I love it all the same. I thought I would never see it again and it would forever exist just in my memory. But we were walking round the gold souk last week and I spotted it again! (and there were a few variations of it too!) This time I asked to take a photo so I could remember it and the man said yes. (The shop is called Barakat in case you're interested)
A star diamond necklace!!! The stars are all diamonds (each one made up of five kite shaped diamonds but unless you look closely it looks like they are pure diamond stars) set in white gold. I love stars, I have a thing about stars so to me this is just the most beautiful necklace ever. It's a Victoria Stitch necklace! I'm sure Victoria Stitch owns it. It's exactly the sort of thing she would have in her jewellery collection.
If I ever get really rich and famous that's the first thing I'll buy.
Whenever Henry enters the lottery I always say 'will you buy me that star necklace if you win?'
But I think I would have to be quite rich and famous in order to actually wear it. It's so expensive (the price started at 12000 I think- before bargaining) You'd have to have some very posh events to wear it to!
I just love it though. And I've never seen anything else like it before, ever. Not even on the internet.
So yes, the gold souk. Best place to go for jewellery!
To get to the gold souk we always take an abra boat across the creek. It's usually dark at that point because we go with my dad after he's finished work. Everything's open really late in Dubai. That's when the malls come alive.
Dubai really is a bit of a crazy place. In fact the word I would use to describe it really is ridiculous. Ridiculous in an affectionate sort of way. And hyperreal. Everything there is so over the top. Who knows, maybe I will go back there at some point- or at least somewhere in Arabia.
Those were my highlights of the week- the beach and the gold souk. And we spent a lot of time at both. We did do other things too such as lots of walking round shops for various wedding things, a trip to Naif road where all the fabric and craft and wholesale shops are. Actually that is an amazing place too. Full to bursting with all kinds of fabrics- a lot of them sparkly! There was this one shop we went in which was just like an Aladdins cave. All they sold was sequinned fabric. It reached the ceiling, was draped everywhere. And there were four men sitting inside it, just sitting in this glittery grotto of sparkling sequinned fabric. I wanted to take a photo but didn't. Yes , Naif road is also an incredible place. There are shops just selling gems and rhinestones and swarovskis. I discovered it's actually possible to buy star swarovski flatback crystals! I didn't know it was possible to get them. I would have got some for the wedding if the weren't so expensive. At least I know they exist though.
We went to an art exhibition where I have never seen so many groomed people all together in once place before. There was lots of canapes at the exhibition like little pots of chocolate mousse and funny things on spoons and prawns and quails eggs on lettuce leaves. I was more interested in watching all the people there than looking at the art to be honest. It was definitely a social hobnobbing event for most of the people there I think. An interesting experience.
We also went sailing one day and also I had the best Lebanese food I've ever had one day for lunch. Lebanese food in my favourite. It was apparantly the best Lebanese retsaurant in Dubai. And I think it dinfitely was! The hallumi was the squeakiest I've ever eaten.
Dubai has been an inspiration to me. It's such a contrast from here and i' m so glad I've been able to experience it. It was in Dubai that I discovered the flamingo fountain that I incorporated into my Victoria Stitch book. It was the place where I discovered the most delicious smoothie combination- avocado, mango and strawberry. It's probably the first place I ever took a plane to or from on my own. It's where my sister became an air hostess for Emirates for a year. It's where I discovered Lebanese food. It's where we have spent Christmas and Easter once or twice. It's the place where I created my whole macmillan prize project which I then got highly commended for. It is a place full of sparkle- even the pillars in the Dubai airport are sparkly. It has fairylights everywhere. it's where I discovered my beloved star necklace, where Henry bought my engagement ring and where I got my wedding ring. I'll be sad when I don't have a second home in Dubai anymore but I will more happy that my parents are back here in England!