Sunday, June 24, 2018

Spotlight

Personal Recommendations

Team Kodak asked me to take a look at their new Digital Photo Frame, the Kodak Pulse. Being slightly technophobic when it comes to gadgets I was a bit apprehensive. However I had absolutely no need to be, I managed without the assistance from the male of species, who seriously do think they are superior when it come to gadgets to successfully set up, and install a library of pictures on this amazing little device. I say little it is actually a 7 inch touch screen which is ample big enough for my amazing collection of professionally taken photos .....

Enough said on that the better. Getting back to the Pulse, this is a digital photo frame with a difference. Basically you take it out of the box, switch it on,register your personal e mail ID with Kodak, at www.kodakpulse.com, head to your photo albums and load them straight onto the Pulse. You can also uploadalbums your facebook account, kodak gallery and even your smart phone, once you have set up your Kodak Pulse account. The Pulse is easily connected via WiFi, making uploading an absolute doddle.

Once the pictures are uploaded you can actually personalise the screen to display the albums in various different settings. I particularly liked the scrapbook option and the time delay slideshow.

Here is when things get particularly good, as expats we are always relying on the internet to keep in touch with our families. What I plan to do is to buy one as a gift for my Mother in the UK, that way I can send her a weekly photo album of what Mitten has been getting up to during the week, every week, and it will onlytake me about 5 minutes to do.

They say a photosays athousand words, they are so right! Well done to Kodak for coming out with such a user friendly digital frame that can be safely used by even the female of the species! I also hear that it is available with a 10 inch screen, for the men folk ....

Kodak Middle East are on both Twitter and Facebook

It was the end of term and there is no better way to celebrate than to check into my favourite hotel for a weekend of luxury and pampering, which just happens to be adjoined to the best Water Park in the UAE, yes you guessed it Wild Wadi!

Seeing as I was residing I thought there was no better time to invite my two pals along to enjoy a full day off, a luxury the three of us rarely have. So off we went, three Mums and three kids, into Wild Wadi. The extremely lovely manager who we shall call Mr America for the purpose of this article, decided to let us go posh and very kindly gave us one of their Cabana's for the day. What ensued during the day no one was expecting. First of all the lovely Danny the DJ got hold of our Twitter ID's and we started hearing our namesbeing blastedright through the entire park.

Girls being girls we did the girlie sort of things you would expect, for the sake of Mr America I will not recount them in this article. Just think lycra, men, and hysterical women and you will get the idea. The kids were happily racing around like they had recently been injected with a huge dose of sugar, so we lady folk took a quick dip in the lazy river. Following this we decided to try out the new Burj Surj family ride, the kids went ahead of us, their screams echoing down the ride. We three took the next "dinghy" and headed down after them, we screamed louder than they did, trust me!! the one that is famous for the toffee literally shook for the next half an hour and she who sells the silver was nearly stunned to silence!! (note I said nearly). Twenty minutes in the wave pool calmed us all down!!

Another treat was install for us! yes we were going to try out Fisho!! Well some of us were .... you will find the pics of that little escapade here(Catboy andGeordie Bird fan page). The one that sells the Toffee, like me is a complete wimp and couldn't do it, the one who sells the silver was straight in there with Mr America having a whale of a time. There are 5000 garra ruffa fish in the tank who quite happily nibble off all that dead skin!! We must at this point personally thank the Belhabal Group for this amazing attraction at Wild Wadi.

I learnt lots of new things about Wild Wadi yesterday, did you know they were the first waterpark in the world to interconnect all their rides and go totally cashless? well they were. Nine million litres of water a day is pushed around the park!! and yesterday they went through 80 kgs of onions!!

As I have said before of all good establishments it is the staff who make the place what it is, and each and everyone of the 500 colleagues who run the place (from 44 different countries) should be applauded for their dedication to the customers who visit the park each day. One special mention must go to the lovely Archie who looked after us so well all day, Archie you rock!!!

If you fancy a day out with the girls then look no further than Wild Wadi, it's fab and you don't have to do your hair!!! and if you don't want to share your wobbly bits you can do it on ladies night!

Dedicated to the Toffee One, and the Silver One

GA

Whilst Britain basked to the top tune of 1974, "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks, the wonderful people at Volkswagen were busy launching the Mk1 Scirocco into the market. The Scirocco was to replace the legendary Karmann Ghia from the VW lineup and people were tense with anticipation about the launch of the much anticipated Scirocco, and boy they were not to be disappointed. The Scirocco was launched into the market 6 months prior to the Golf and its dynamic bodyshape was the mastermind of Giorgetto Giugiaro, a man who already had a synonymous name for placing aesthetically pleasing cars into the market.

I don't remember the 1974 arrival of the Scirocco but do remember the MK2 model which quite aptly was launched in 1982 the year I turned 17, and had inherited my first car from my parents, a VW Passat, a very old VW Passat!! but one that got me from A - B and started my love affair of all things Volkswagen. The Passat was followed by a Jetta, and my parents had a trio of VW Polo's over the subsequent years. So the Human League had hit the charts with their now legendary "Don't you want me Baby", I had turned 17, new romantics were ruling the world and I had one mission in life, and that was to one day own the ultimate VW, yes you guessed the Scirocco.

The VW Golf has turned out to be VW's best selling car, no surprise really, it is also the third best selling car ever produced. No mean feat by any means, my favourite was the GTI Convertible which I had during the mid 90's. I still always wanted the Scirocco though, it just always seemed outside of my grasp, due to finances and most likely exorbitant Insurance in the UK.

The first car I owned here in the UAE was not surprisingly a fabulous Silver VW Golf 2.0 L (MK4). Life changed with the arrival of Mitten and we entered Mitsubishi world and the land of the Pajero, as you all know I adore my Pajero but she is a lifestyle necessity.

I was delighted when VW Middle East said they would make my dream come true and let me take one of their brand new Scirocco's for the weekend! All I needed now was my Out Now 80's DVD and I was set! With great anticipation I headed over to DAFZA to collect the *baby*. Those of you who know me will now how relieved I was to find said vehicle was silver and not lime green!

For the first time in probably 7 years I drove a car, a very small and beautiful car. From the minute I saw this car she reminded me of a cat, a feline with attitude, one with style, class and intelligence, I christened her The Meezer, which is a colloquial name used when discussing Siamese Felines. The Meezer was officially my toy for the weekend and I was not prepared to share her with anyone!!

They say the best things come in little packages, they are right, it's not only Tiffany who have something special in their little blue boxes, VW have a belter of a diamond quite secretely hidden up their sleeve. The Meezer oozed sex appeal, and it made me laugh when I researched top selling tunes for the year the Scirocco MK3 was launched, yes that lovable and well remembered "I'm too sexy for my shirt" was the current chart topper!

The Meezer is quite simply a very easy car to adapt to, from the keyless entry and ignition to the high resolution touch screen function pad, the automatic reclining seats, everything was easy to master. The GPS didn't even phase me and it was the first time I had used one, the media section was superb all the local stations listed clearly. The rear Park Pilot was a luxury I had never experienced before, visiblity via the rear window for parking is not fantastic I have to say, not that it was an issue to me.

One of the main things we are all aware of living here in the UAE is road safety. There is a comprehensive airbag system in place for both front and rear passengers which are triggered by crash sensors which in the event of a collision are activated within 30 - 40 milliseconds. Thankfully I didn't find out how fast these worked but I have no doubt in my mind about their effectiveness.

My Meezer was the 2.0 TSI and it arrived with a full tank of petrol thanks to VW Middle East, I used the car for three days and was very pleased to say that the petrol gauge didn't even drop below the half tank level, statistics that I have been provided with state fuel consumption at 10.1 litres/per 100 km. Whilst petrol prices here aren't that big an issue they may well be for our European readers.

I loved every minute of my Scirocco experience, even when The Meezer was parked outside, she looked like she was purring quietly, just waiting to be stroked into action, and trust me when I say there is one big cat under that bonnet, she roared into action with just a tap of the accelerator!!

A massive thank you to Volkswagen Middle East for entrusting me with one of their *babies* for the weekend, what more can I say than to end this with two very special words .... DAS AUTO

@VWMiddleEastand Facebook

(written by an Idiot)

Earlier I wrote an Idiot's Guide to Twitter and promised I would do a follow-up about my experiences with, and how I use Tweetdeck to maximise your Twitter experience.

Tweetdeck is an application that you can download once you have an account with Twitter that makes life a whole lot easier. Twitter.com will always be your *holding* page so say and I advise that you run Twitter.com in the background as I can only describe it as "Head Office". I still use Twitter.com to check who is following me and to return the compliment should I so wish, however all other twitter related work is done via my tweetdeck.

So first of all download the tweetdeck to your PC via www.tweetdeck.com, it's pretty straight forward, enter your user ID and password. What you should see now on your screen is a series of columns, don't panic! these can be personalised to suit how you wish to use your tweetdeck.

The first column is ALL FRIENDS this is a list of tweets that are being tweeted by people who you follow.
The second column is MENTIONS this is a list of tweets where you are mentioned via the @ sign.
The third column is DIRECT MESSAGES this a list of tweets that have been sent to you via the Direct Message facility.

Other columns can be removed by clicking on the T at the top right hand corner of said column, if you hold your mouse over the letter T it will turn into a cross and you can remove the column. For now stick with the three columns, I will tell you later how to add columns.

Above the All Friends column you will see a small yellow box, click on this to write your tweet, press enter to send your tweet, which will now appear in the first column. The next sign is a + sign in a circle, click on this and you will you see that you can add new columns to your deck, it is pretty straight forward, play with it and add columns as suggested to you by them. You can always easily delete them if they don't interest you. This area is the area where you can add other Social Media platforms to your tweetdeck. I personally run Tweetdeck seperately to my FB account as they are two very different mediums used for two very different purposes, but the choice is yours. If you have multiple Twitter accounts you can add them here as well. To add columns pertaining to other accounts you need to change the account name then click core.

Basically you can have as many columns, relating to as many accounts as you wish up on your tweetdeck screen. I run the @juansalonjlt account so I have my own columns, and the columns where he is mentioned and his Direct Messages.

You should by now be aware that if the # sign is used next to a word/phrase, it means that we are discussing that particular subject. If you click that word, via your tweetdeck a column will appear that is showing ALL the tweets that have been tweeted pertaining that subject/discussion, common ones used in the UAE are #geekfest #litfest etc. If for example you wish to follow people who have a common interest, add a column using the # of the subject you are interested in for example #grandprix. If there is a topic you want to follow then you use this function to do it. Again the column can be removed at any time.

The third and last icon above the All Friends colum is a flash of lightening, this is purely a search function to use to search other users and their recent tweets, you can also do this by clicking on their user ID in the main timeline. If you click on a Tiwtter user ID, it will bring up their profile and give you the option to follow them, if they are already following you there will be a small green tick beneath their avatar. You can both follow and unfollow people via your tweetdeck, however you can't track new followers, so I still do that via twitter.com.

Now to look at the settings on your Tweetdeck, to the top right hand side of your screen you will see 5 small icons, click on the spanner. This is the settings key, you will now see a list of options that you can use to customise your tweetdeck. Tick - use autcomplete for user names (this means when you type for example the word @Ge, tweetdeck will automatically bring up a list of people you follow who's name starts with @Ge). Tick press enter to send updates, this speeds things up when you are sending tweets. It is up to you to customise your tweetdeck to what suits you so have a play around in this section until you are happy with it. You will see that there is a colours/font section for further customising your tweedeck to colours you prefer.

Now I will explain how to send a photo or video via Tweetdeck; above the All Friends column, click on the yellow square, you will now see a window where you can send a tweet. To add a photo you will see there is an icon of a camera at the far right hand side of the screen, click on the camera, upload the image and tweet it to your main time line. You can do the same via the video button for videos.

There is only one way to learn how to use a new toy, and that is playing with it, it will all click into place a few hours and you will enjoy your twitter experience so much more! any problems, just tweet me @geordiearmani

Enjoy!

Firstly I have to thank Jumeirah for their fabulous invitation to the World Sea Turtle Day event today which was held on the beach today in front of Al Qasr. It was absolutely fabulous and one of those thingswe will remember for the rest ofour lives.

The Jumeirah Turtle Rehabilitation Unit Project was started by the Jumeirah Group in 2004 and is based at Mina A'Salam, where there is a large enclosure of turtles who are being looked after and nutured back to good health by Dr Mirjam Hampel and the team at the Al Wasl Vetinary Clinic.

Today is World Sea Turtle Day and to celebrate the Unit released 101 turtles back into their natural environment, and myself and Mitten were very lucky to be there to witness it. The children were all lined up in row right on the edge of the shore, at exactly 10 am each child placed a turtle onto the sand in front of them and watched it head straight into the sea. It was amazing! 101 tiny sea turtles heading home, fit and well and back into their natural environment.

So this evening if you are dining at Pier Chic you may well see one of the 101 sea turtles swimming below you!

Amazing work by an amazing team, you can read their updates on facebook.

Congratulations Jumeirah, another outstanding initiative by one of the world's leaders in hospitality.

Stay different ...

Over recent months there has been an influx in companies who are "Home Bakers" who are offering a wonderful service to those of us who are busy working or just fancy a home baked treat! I thought I would get a list of them here so that you can give them all a try, I am pretty sure they are all fantastic so they all deserve a bit of collective praise. All of them do home deliveries, another plus for those of us with little spare time.

The Secret Chef

http://www.facebook.com/SecretChef and her website http://thesecretchef.me/
The Secret Chef is making quite a name for herself, apparently her Shepherd's pies are amazing!

Casserole

http://www.facebook.com/casseroleonline and their website http://www.casseroleonline.com/
@casseroleonline

Heavily endorsed by Catboy and the rest of the crew at Dubai 92. Apparently the Lasagne is out of this world.


Yummy Sups

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yummy-Sups/209945032377174
@yummysups

Now according to their facebook page Yummy Sups do a fabulous Steak n Ale Pie! and I have heard via the grapevine that the meatballs are well worth trying!!

So there you have them, it's up to you to taste test themnow!

Ponds was launched in 1840 and rapidly became one of the world leaders in skin care and beauty, Ponds Cold Cream was the preferred skind care for many a lady in previous generations and to this day is a firm favourite in the market.

I was recently fortunate enough to be asked to participate in a two week trial of the Age Miracle Overnight Repair Cream and the Dual Eye-Therapie Cream. The Age Miracle range from Ponds is a comprehensive range of anti-ageing products that contains breakthrough CAL Complex, which claims to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots in just 7 days.

Having used Ponds in the past I am no stranger to this range, I have used the Daily Resurfacing Cream, the main reason being that it is one of the few products of it's kind in this price range that has an SPF 15 incorporated into the cream, we all need to use SPF at all times in this harsh climate. However onto the night cream, alovely lovely product, rich and creamy, smells divine, isn't sticky and sinks into the skin really quickly. I really enjoyed using this product and did see a change in the appearance of my skin.

The eye cream is split into two sections with a compartment for each cream, the Upper Eye Collagen Cream helps reduce the appearance of lines whilst the Under Eye Brightening Cream helps reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles. Whilst I didn't see much difference to my eye area I have to say that I don't have dark under eye circling and surprisingly for my age have few wrinkles in the eye area. I think that whilst Ponds claim to see a difference in 7 days I strongly feel that prolonged use will bring better results.

There are so many anti-ageing products on the market now it really is a minefield trying to figure out which one is the right one for you. I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart that over the years I have spent some serious money on anti-ageing products from the alleged market leaders in this field, and have been disappointed on every occasion. I think the key to keeping skin looking fresh, bright and young is down to diet as well as the prolonged use of anti-ageing products.

I would like to thank Ponds Arabia for valuing my opinion in their trials and look forward to trying out more of their Age Miracle range, I love face washes so the next time I am out and about I am going to pick up the Daily Regeneration Facial Foam.

Stay moisturised!!

@pondsarabia

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