Sunday, June 24, 2018

Spotlight

Personal Recommendations

On Tuesday the 4th of May 2004 my life changed forever. My daughter *Mitten* was born in the Maternity Unit at the Al Wasl Hospital. I was 38 years old and embarking on Motherhood. Today we will be celebrating Mitten's 7th Birthday. Seven whole years since she entered our lives. Seven years of learning, loving, smiling and crying too! There are few things I want to tell you Mitten, so I have written them here for posterity ...

Mitten you have been a challenge in every sense of the word, you never slept, you didn't eat at one point, you tried to run over the cats in your babywalker! when you walked you thought you could run and never stopped to look back. You changed my life for the better. You are my reason for being most days, even when you have had me awake half the night!! You won't remember this as you were only a year old when I celebrated my 40th Birthday, with you my knee! Aunty Lynne and Aunty Amanda came all the way from England to celebrate with us. Guess what? tomorrow night Aunty Lynne is back again to celebrate your 7th Birthday with you at Wild Wadi on Friday. It's going to be a day fit for a Princess, with your very own Prince Trent coming along to keep you company.

I just wanted to tell you that you are a very very special little girl and that we love you so so much, I hope you love all your presents and have a fabulous Birthday today.

Love you always
Mummy and Daddy
xxx

About two years ago I attended the Twitter Book Club launch and met a charming gentleman by the name of Hisham Wyne. A true eccentric, and man who I was immediately attracted to because of his simple charm and wit. Dressed head to toe in black with a crevat and a garish yellow shirt, we clicked instantly. I of course informed him that yellow was not his colour which later turned out to be very true.

If you have the pleasure of spending an hour with Hisham I am sure you will feel the same way. His personality is addictive, intense, yet warm and caring. Hisham is known locally for his writings and ramblings and general opinion on anything and everything. Often seen fronting up drama events, writing columns for local newspapers and sitting around at the Dubai Eye radio studios, chatting to everyone in sundry.

Hisham's opinion may not always be your opinion but he always justifies his thoughts with good argument. I think if you want a good argument with no prejudice then Hisham is just your man.

Put simply, I adore him, they broke the mould when they the martian's made Hisham.

www.hishamwyne.com or find him on Twitter @hishamwyne

No one knows who she is, she is a bit like The Stig from Top Gear. Her anonymity only makes her more intriguing, as does her fabulous website based on differentpersonas that we find living here in Dubai. There are some fabulous characters on her site, such as the The Financial Controller, The Visiting Parents, The Arabian Ranches Family and more. She describes her site as an "Unapologetic blog about Dubai types". She isn't wrong there that's for sure!!!

You can follow Mrs Madison on Twitter @mrsmadisondubai, and catch up with her fabulous Dubai characters here:

http://www.mrsmadisondubai.com/

I wonder if she will do the Expat Geordie in Dubai? now that would good bereading!!

This time last week I was at a very interesting press conference that was being hosted by McCollins Media, at The Montgomerie Address Hotel. It has been a good few years since I had been invited to anything like this and was honoured to attend. In my old life I went to press conferences on a regular basis and writing articles afterwards came like second nature.

Anyway back to the event. Imation, those people we all know so well for their range of storage options have launched a few new products to tempt us with. Brian Plummer, The Vice President of Imation Corp gave a fantastic presentation about their new products, and one caught my eye!! yes the Grand Entertainer HDD Multimedia Player. Not being a real Geek (I left that to the other menfolk that were there) I didn't ask too many questions but I knew I had to have one!!

Prince Imation was shining down that day and I did get my Grand Entertainer HDD Multimedia Player, and it is fantastic. I download all my television, and watch it now via the Grand Entertainer, which has a massive hard disk drive for extra storage. I can also download and transfer directly onto the disk drive, though I have to be honest I haven't figured out how to do that!!

The Grand Entertainer is easy to navigate and comes with a simple to use remote control,even this old blonde had it mastered in less than ten minutes! You can store music, video, films, photos, anything you want.

I had a great morning out and met some wonderful people, so I would like to thank everyone at Imation who took the time out of their busy schedules to explain their new products to everyonewho attended.

If you want one, I am pretty sure they said you can get them in Carrefour.

Happy viewing!

www.imation.com

There were two memorable occasions that happened on 1.1.11, my website was launched and the two new rides at Wild Wadi eventually came to fruition.

This weekend we headed down to Wild Wadi, we had been waiting for the weather to get better before having a day out at the UAE's Best Water Park (as voted by me). I am a total wimp and hate being cold so April dawned and the GA family packed up their bags, with goggles, sun tan lotion and a one piece swim suit to spend the day at Wild Wadi.

We are not strangers to Wild Wadi by any means and have been regular visitors over the years, mainly when we have been resident at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, (which incase you don't know involves free access to Wild Wadi during your stay). Yesterday we were lucky enough to have won some free tickets via www.expatechodubai.com in one of their weekly competitions.

Arrival was very straight forward, we got there early to avoid the stress of too many queues, paid our dues, got our credit and headed over the to the wave pool and grabbed three perfectly placed sunbeds on the shoreline of the man made beach. Mitten was on her feet and off to check out the various rides returning half an hour later with a smile as big as the moon. After few hours of trying out the various slides and the wave pool we decided to head to the new rides ....

Tantrum Alley and Burj Surj are new additions to the Park. I have to be honest we didn't try out Tantrum Alley as it appeared that there were no small children in the queue, Mitten is only 6 and whilst she has no fear whatsoever I was a bit concerned it was going to be too much for her. We did try out Burj Surj though, not once or twice but about six times!! Absolutely fantastically scarey but exciting and addictive.

Sindbad's Gallery served us a super lunch, nothing too flash, just hotdogs and chicken tenders, tasty and enjoyable. The food was fresh and well presented though the service could have been a bit faster. Six year olds are very impatient in water parks.

All in all we had a super day. There is only one thing that I wasn't happy about and I will be sending a copy of this to the Management of Wild Wadi. I know that the Jumeirah Group in general takes criticism as well as they take praise. When we arrived at the park we were disappointed to find that Mitten, aged six, was now classed as an "adult" and was able to take part in all the rides and hence would be charged the full adult price. Since when has a child who is 1.1 metres tall been classed as an adult? as a Mother I can safely say there are very few of us who would be putting our 6 year olds on the Jumeirah Sceirah or any of the flowrider rides. They are just too small for these rides and in my opinion it could be dangerous for them. Think about your policies Wild Wadi and don't fall prey to the greed that is becoming so common in Dubai. Everyone is watching their cash and looking for good value for money days out, without having to buy the Entertainer voucher book.

Anyway regardless of that little gripe, we will be back, more than likely in early May to celebrate Mitten's Birthday.

Thank you for a super day out, Wild Wadi truly is a fabulous day out.

www.wildwadi.com @wildwadidubai

I recently had a mad craving to have wallpaper and carpets!! we don't own our own home here so it isn't an option, I was so impressed when I visited a friend recently and she had wallpaper on her walls, it is like a rare treat in the UAE.

Imagine my delight when I came across a fantastic company based here in the UAE who make fabulous wall decals to personalise our homes. One of the best things about them is that they can be removed easily and don't damage the walls in anyway which means we can guarantee getting our security deposits back when we move on. They are made of vinyl so are easy to keep clean, a swift wipe with a damp cloth is all you need.

We are moving at the end of May so I have had a super time going through the site and have ordered some wonderful purple fairies for Mitten's bedroom. There is a fantastic range of designs, I particularly like the Drama Queen one as well!

Delivery is free, and you can pay cash on delivery which means not messing around paying via the internet.

Check out http://www.ewalls-s.com and follow them on twitter @ewalls_s

(written by an idiot)

I am on Twitter but I don't know how it works ... how many times have I heard that comment. I thought I would take some time out and write down how I interpret how Twitter works and how I got into using Twitter as much as I do. I am not an expert but I am an active user, I hope this information will help get you ahead on Twitter.

First of all you need to go to www.twitter.com and register yourself. Take time to think of an appopriate user ID, you can use your name if it is available, plenty do, but I feel more people tend to choose an alias like I did. Make it fun and memorable. I find it easier to communicate with people who have names that you can remember. For example, @toffeeprincess, @fluttabyz, @alexandermcnabb, easy and not taking up too many characters. Spend five minutes filling out the profile information. I personally very rarely follow someone who has no biography, why would I? I don't know anything about them. Don't forget to add your business ID or blogsites too.

Sending a tweet is very easy, you will see a box saying What's happening? you can type anything you wish into that box as long as it is no longer than 140 characters, press the tweet button. You have sent your first tweet! It is a bit daunting at first as is everything new but it won't take long to adapt to Twitter.

Now you need to find some people to follow. You do this by clicking on Who to Follow, and searching for people who you know are already on twitter, for example @stephenfry, @wossy (Mr Ross), @schofe (Mr Schofield), @georgemichael @boygeorge as examples. Find the person you want to follow and click follow. Alternatively you can follow me, find who I am following and follow some of the people I find interesting. You can do that with any account, go to George Michael, see who he is following and if you like the sound of them follow them. There is no guarantee that anyone you follow will follow you back, you just have to wait and see.

Setting up a Twitter Account doesn't happen overnight and you have to spend a bit of time initially building up who you follow and getting people to follow you. If you put the energy in you will get the rewards back. Don't stop tweeting, keep your updates coming, build up your tweets and don't be scared to "talk" to people. Twitter is very open and promotes talk.

Timeline: you will see this below the tweet box, these are all the tweets of the people you are following. Next to Timeline you will see @mentions, click on this and you will see the tweets directed to you only. When you hover over those tweets you will see there is a Retweet button and a reply button. Click on the reply button and send a tweet to the person who has tweeted you. The retweet button is there for if you see a tweet that you like and you want your followers to see, then you hit that one. Handy for promoting charity events for example.

To send a tweet to someone you are following you need to preface their ID with the @ symbol. You will see that as soon as you enter the @ and the first letter of who you want to send the tweet too, a list will appear of people that you are following alphabetically. This makes it easier to tweet people and stops you having to memorise every single person's ID.

You can send private messages to the people who you are following, as long as they are following you back. You will see the messages icon at the top of the page.

Every couple of days I go and see who is following me and then decide whether I want to follow them back or not. As I said previously if there is no biography then I don't tend to bother to follow them back. You will get spam followers on Twitter and they are easy to spot as they are often not in the UAE and have only followed you as you have possibly mentioned something they are trying to sell (iPhone for example).

You will start to notice that the # tag is often used in Twitter Talk, that purely means discussion. If you see a # you can click on it, it will take you to a timeline where everyone who is talking about that subject can be found. For example when the Metro launched there was a #dubaimetro hashtag (I think) set up and everyone who mentioned the Metro added it to their tweet, this then began to trend around the UAE, which basically means it is the hot topic of the day. You can check which topics are trending daily on your home page.

As I said before it takes time so don't give up, persevere and you shall succeed, I promise you it will open a whole new world of opportunity for you.

I will give you a few weeks to master twitter.com and then we can talk about applications that you can use to make life easier, such as Tweetdeck which is my personal favourite. But in the early days twitter.com is the way to go. If you have an iPhone and want to tweet when mobile, then I suggest you get the free app called Echofon. I tend to use it alot on WIFI at home, very easy to use.

Right then, happy tweeting!

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