Read: 📚 Book Club or Reading at the Club! 📚

Reading Saadiyat

When I heard that a beach club nearby was opening its doors to the public on weekdays to come, kick-back and read, I jumped at the occasion to enjoy the setting, catch-up on some of my reading list, and mostly to reinforce my kids’ perception of reading as a fun activity.

Many places in the United Arab Emirates are likely to make reading related events this year as 2016 was declared the Year of Reading! As for my London friends, keep an eye out for events around the end of this week, as March 3rd is World Book Day in the UK.

My New Home (by Marta Altes) and Petit Noun (by Géraldine Elschner) were the choices for my 4year old daughter. The first deals with the tribulations and excitements of changing homes and was a great way to get my daughter and I to have a conversation about how she has experienced our various moves in the past few years. I do know (and she reminded me that day again) that she misses her friends back in London a lot but just like in the book (and I reminded her of that AGAIN) she is making new friends and learning how to adapt to novelty and difference. As for Petit Noun, it’s an amazing metaphorical adventure about a blue hippopotamus in ancient Egypt… this book transports both parent and child, at different levels, to a world of reflection, colors, history and mystery.

As for my 18months old tot, I enlisted l’âne Trotro (and his sister ZaZa) to help me introduce her to potty training (wish me luck, that’s gonna take a while…) and then we read about good old Sophie La Giraffe’s busy daily schedule in Sophie’s Busy Day (…and I thought I was busy! 😉)

Saadiyat reading

I find that anticipating a book a long while before it’s released or you get your hands on it makes the eventual read even more enjoyable… I’m therefore disclosing two books I’m eagerly awaiting below (and feel free to add in the comments any recommended upcoming books):

  • The Importance of Being Little – What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups (by Erika Christakis): a reevaluation of traditional teaching and parenting techniques, this book promises to propose an alternative approach which promotes a better learning environment by listening more closely to the needs of children and how they experience their surrounding and the teaching/parenting itself)
  • I Love You Madly – Marie-Antoinette and Count Fersen: The Secret Letters (by Evelyn Farr): it’s about newly discovered letters that promise to shed more light and confirm the much rumored loved-affair the Queen had with Count Fersen

Saadiyat

🌳 Charming 🇬🇧 British 🌳 Spell ✨

My New York loyalty, French education and Mediterranean pride, as well as a very busy summer move-logistics schedule upon my arrival to London almost a year ago, made me quite resistant to an instant British infatuation… Initially, I didn’t find that there was anything particularly unique or novel that I had not enjoyed or experienced in a prior place I lived in or travel to… but what I didn’t realize is that London had a lot of what I actually loved or enjoyed in one place and mixed in a harmonious way that made me feel increasingly at home. I gradually realized that London is brilliant in how it seamlessly mixes between the urban feel of a major city and a quaint calm village-y vibe in certain parts – all within minutes of each other. As the sun made its way back to this island and as I started to increasingly trust my nanny, I had the chance to discover more hidden gems both in my neighborhood / Chelsea (which offers lovely birds singing in the morning, cherry blossom filled streets, Camelias, a crazy squirrel that hangs on the edge of my garden’s tree branches and amazing “bespoke” shopping…) and beyond. This past bank holiday weekend was particularly inspiring, as I had the chance to enjoy a lovely tea time with friends in Mayfair, explored the Wallace Collection and the icing of this culinary and visual treat was spending a day in Cliveden – a gorgeous estate at Taplow, Berkshire set near the River Thames, which includes a mansion that was previously home to an earl, three countesses, two dukes, a Prince of Wales and the Viscounts Astor! Cliveden was described in a journal entry by Queen Victoria with the following spot-on words: “it’s a perfection of a place,…the view is so beautiful”. Thanks to a Relais & Châteaux hotel now operating the mansion and the National Trust’s amazing work maintaining the estate, one can truly relive this estate’s prior glory and create a fairytale getaway just 40 minutes from south west London! My daughter kept on asking me if a princess actually lives in the mansion and at one point an employee of the estate overheard her and came up and told us that the latest Cinderella movie was filmed in part on the estate! However it was only when he pointed to the clock and confirmed that it was the clock used in Cinderella that he truly succeeded in capturing both her (and my!) imagination… each hour the clock bells rang to signal the time, my daughter’s eyes would open widely and a smile would instantly appear on her face as she relished in her British Cinderella moment… a magical moment that caught me off guard every single time and filled me with an instant rush of childhood dreams and motherly joy…

Cliveden

Cliveden

Cliveden House

Cliveden House

Cliveden House

They didn’t go for white walls…

parterre

Parterre

parterre

Parterre

Horloge

The clock featured in Cinderella 2015

Parterre

Parterre

The Long Garden

The Long Garden

street style

Street/Garden Style

bird baby

Baby meets Bird/Tree

The River Thames

The River Thames

boat

The River Thames

woods

In the Colorful Woods

SPF💯

I’m skipping the sun ☀️ tanning 👙today and having fresh carrot juice to boost that beach skin glow ✨ Carrots are rich in beta carotene a yellow/orange pigment that gives warmth to skin color. Think cancer free + healthy and head to the juice bar!

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The Maldives Mosaic

An enchanting collection of islands in the Indian Ocean balancing by virtue of its location and history striking tropical beauty and a devotion to religious spirituality.

Vacationing here is a speedboat trip to the senses: from dipping in the crystal clear turquoise ocean to touching the soft white sandy beaches to savoring the delicious Indian inspired food to relaxing to the healing scent of coconut oil during a traditional Asian massage to hearing the Friday call to prayer in Arabic from a small local island next to the resort… A humble traditional country drizzled by luxury resorts attracting the world to dots barely visible on the world map… The many contrasts invite you to relax, reflect and be inspired…

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