Week 37 – Wanderlust brunch

One of the newest brunches to hit the scenes in Dubai is Wanderlust at JW Marriott Marquis hotel.

People have been talking about it for a little while now, going on about how amazing it is. I had previously experienced the post-brunch madness, which was not really my ‘cup of tea’, but when I was invited to a birthday brunch I had to give it a proper chance.

And boy am I glad I did!

The brunch is split over 3 restaurants, with the food and drinks stations laid out across all of them… in fact, it’s so huge that they have a map printed for you to try figure your way around!

Map!

We sat in the ‘garden’ area of the brunch which is definitely my favourite of the 3. It’s airy, bright, and seems to be the most popular – it is also in the middle of the food and fun.

The food is fantastic! It’s all help-yourself style (grab a tray, load it with food) which means getting up from your table regularly to grab your food, so sometimes the food areas can be a bit busy and crowded, but you find a rhythm and make it work. The food is all freshly prepared – you even get to walk through the kitchen for some of it! – and there is no shortage of different types of food to enjoy… pulled beef, curries, Italian, sushi, seafood, bread & cheeses, quiches, sandwiches, and of course dessert!

Ellie chose to have a 90’s theme for the brunch which was pretty cool. It’s a fairly easy era to dress up in as so many of the clothes are things that people still wear today… my outfit was thrown together in about 10 minutes on Friday morning, using Gwen Stefani as my inspiration 🙂

This is definitely one of the brunches to check out! Great party atmosphere, great food, and lots of post-brunch dancing if you wish when they close off one of the areas, shut the curtains and pump the DJ’s jams!

Why so serious?

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Week 11 – SURPRISE!

When I received an invite to attend a friend’s wedding in South Africa in Cape Town, I knew that I had to combine it with a trip to Johannesburg to see my family…. and when I looked at the dates and how they all fell, I saw that the weekend immediately before the wedding fell just a few days after my mom’s birthday and I’d be able to tie the 2 in together really easily.

And so I decided to do something that I had not yet done (and will never do again – the stress!)… I decided to surprise my mom for her birthday ❤

Of course I had to get some people involved to ensure that she would be where she needed to on the day that I needed her to be there and so I got my sister and her fiancée involved. That was about 8 months ago, and eventually the day arrived on 16 March where I eventually flew home and surprised my mom on 17 March 🙂

Leading up to all of this was a plan to get my bridesmaid dress to me (for my sister’s wedding). My mom wanted to post it to me but because my sister knew that I was going to be in SA in March, she made up some story about how someone from work was travelling, and we managed to stick to that story right until the very end. And to make it even more believable, the day before I flew home I sent my mom a message telling her that I planned on meeting this lady and picking my dress up the next day 😉

I brought in the help of my best friend to pick me up from the airport and then since I had a few hours to kill in the morning, I managed to sneak in a breakfast with my 2 besties before heading off to Sun City where the plan would all fall into place.

We (sister, fiancée and I) arrived in Sun City on Friday afternoon and unpacked our stuff from the car and then waited for the arrival of the parents. When we knew that they were close, I went into the bedroom and put on my bridesmaid dress and then waited until the family had said their usual hello’s to one another…. and then I opened the door, got the nod from my sister and walked out.

It took my stepfather a couple of seconds to put things in place, and while he was doing so, my mother turned around to face me and managed to stammer out the words “What are you doing here?!”

I held out my helium balloon and little gift and said “Happy birthday, mommy!” which of course led to tears on all sides of the family ❤

That was Friday afternoon. We then spent the whole of Saturday and then Sunday morning together, catching up, drinking beer, playing cards games, lying in the sun and just having a brilliant, quality bit of family time!

Some random photos that I took while on the mini-holiday with the family: