Macro photography with my iphone

Currently enjoying some much awaited family time here in the Philippines. My brothers and I all live in different countries now and it is very rare that we get to be together, but with my dad’s health regressing we all knew we had to spend as much time with him as we could. So here we are with our families minus the chubby hubby who needed to stay behind in Doha because of work, spending time with our dad.

This post really isnt about my family. I just had some photos in my iphone that i wanted to share. The other day we stayed in Sinagtala farm resort in Orani, Bataan. It was a beautiful place overlooking Mt ararat. We rented a villa with four bedrooms. 

I love being surrounded with nature. It is very relaxing and soothing to be around so much greenery. But i am currently suffering from a lot of insect bites.

Decided to use my clip-on lens that i bought more than a year ago that i seldom get to use. Got some nice photos though.


bee in flower
taking this photo scared the bazinga out of me


Mooving!! Mooving!! Mooving!!

I am actually singing a song about moving while typing this post. Yes, we are moving again! The life of an expat in the Middle East is all about moving. Growing up in the UAE for 25 years, we have moved 8 times. Nothing is permanent. You can own property if you have the money, but people who have money here are only a small percentage. Everyone else is a paycheck to paycheck kind of employee.

Anyway, like I said, we are moving again. I didn’t even get a chance to blog about our current apartment and we are moving again. I hate moving. Packing and sorting and figuring out if you should throw away stuff because your next apartment is smaller.

Apartment choices in Doha is very limited for small time expats like us. With a small paycheck, we always opt to renting just a room, or even just a bedspace. We would rather save a chunk of our salary than spend half of it on rent. With the kind of budget that we have, most of the choices we have are old buildings, old villas or really small space- always ending up in cramped living quarters.

Oh well, we are moving again and I have no choice. Although it does present a whole range of new possibilities, packing and getting things ready with two kids under three is another challenge.

Oh well…

Garrets Popcorn: One of the things I miss about Dubai

I have been living in Doha for over a year now and we have pretty much settled in. The kids are regulars at the play area at the McDonalds near our place and also at the Pediatric Emergency Unit of Hamad Hospital which is also near our place. I have to add though that being a regular at McD’s and the emergency unit is no way related. My kids are usually sick because of the bad weather and some virus that’s going around. So don’t troll me Please!

Anyway, as much as I love Doha, there are certain things you can’t find here that are accessible in my previous home which is Dubai. And the number one item on that long list is Garrets popcorn.

Oh how I missed my bag of Garrets! So when Chubb Hubb went to Dubai for the Eid, I made sure he got me a bag. And it was such a pleasant surprise when he came back with TWO BUCKETS!!! My brother sent me one and two of my really good friends sent me one. WOOHOO! This mommy just did imaginary cartwheels.

Pecan Caramel Crisp from Garrets
Pecan Caramel Crisp from Garrets

So the bucket of Chicago mix was the first to go and now the Caramel Crisp is also almost over… I think it’s about time I find out who will be traveling to Dubai so that I can secure some space in their luggage for my bucket of Garrets…

Chicago Mix from Garrets
Garret Mix

No Bake Layered Nutella Cheesecake

Since I have been on a cooking high the past few months, I was also doing a lot of desserts- from perfecting my cheesecake (still a LOOOONG way to go) and making my own ice cream.

This no bake cheesecake with a layer of nutella and oreo crust was a total goner the minute I served it.

My kids are going to be fat.

Happy and fat.

Recipe to be posted once I have perfected it. :)


No Bake Nutella Cheesecake
No Bake Nutella Cheesecake


Bacon stuffed Rosemary Chicken Thighs on a bed of Arugula

Been cooking a lot lately.

I realized that being a mom with a toddler that is always hungry, you have to cook all the time. During my pre-children days, I only cooked when there was nothing to eat. Now, if I don’t cook, my daughter would throw a hissy fit out of hunger. I don’t usually tolerate Aria’s hissy fits, but if I know it is my fault, I can’t blame her. It is my job anyway to provide her meals. oh well… Motherhood 101.

I am such a noob.

This isn’t really a recipe post. Just wanted to post something… But this meal was gooooooood.

Bacon stuffed Rosemary Chicken Thighs on a bed of Arugula leaves
Bacon stuffed Rosemary Chicken Thighs on a bed of Arugula leaves


Dear Dad, it’s becoming clear to me now…

Been going through a lot in the personal issues department lately so I decided to put off writing about happy stuff for a while, til I found my momentum and until i established what I really want to be writing about.

A few years ago, my dad retired prematurely by his own choice and left Dubai (his home for more than two decades) to live in the Philippines. I was a bit resentful about the move because I was hoping my kids would  grow to an age where they would have memories of their grandparents. I knew though that the distance was not going to make that possible and since we were expats, and expats were (most of the time) paid according to the color of their skin, I was very, very resigned to starting a life away from my parents. We couldn’t afford to be too extravagant with traveling to the Philippines during all the breaks that we have. It would be more practical to send the money that spend it there.

My dad has been diabetic since he turned 40. His health has always been on a very gradual decline because of work related stress, family related stress (induced by 3 stubborn and hard headed kids), and poor eating habits. There are so many unhealthy food within reach in the UAE that it is no wonder that most of the population are overweight and diabetic (including me?!).

Lately, his memory has not been at its peak. He has started forgetting names, and even events in his life. For someone who hasn’t even reached 60, my dad has started being too forgetful.

A few months ago, after his trip to visit us here in Qatar and my older brother’s family in the UAE, his health was in such a state that we couldn’t ignore it anymore. Even he knew he had to get himself checked… When he did, after numerous procedures and tests, they found a completely blocked vein and two partially blocked ones. He was a timebomb waiting to explode.

My dad is still young. I still want him around.

Now I understand why he retired early.

He knew he wasn’t in the best of shape. His memory was failing him constantly. He couldn’t work properly because his mind was always blank or he couldnt remember things he needed to do. He wanted to save face.

I understand now Dad, you went because you had to go.

I hope you take care of yourself Dad. I still want you around. Even if there is the big distance between us, we can still be constantly connected by technology. I still want my kids to have memories with you Dad. The ones where they realize they love you and want you in their life… the way I feel about you.

QIFF 2015, a world of endless opportunities for your mouth

There are so many opportunities for trying out so many different things at the recently concluded Qatar International Food Festival at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, that going there for just half a day is not enough.

If life were under different circumstances, I would have gone all the days. Maybe next year.

But for now, I will just share some of the things I tried and experienced at this year’s event.

The first class dining in the sky by Qatar Airways at the QIFF 2015
The first class dining in the sky by Qatar Airways
Yalla Natural's stall encouraging everyone to grow their own vegetables at the QIFF 2015
Yalla Natural’s stall encouraging everyone to grow their own vegetables. Whih is one of my fave since I am a very frustrated gardener #blackthumb
Mr Taco Mexican Food stall at the QIFF 2015
Mr Taco Mexican Food stall at the QIFF 2015. I was in the mood for churros. I found theirs a bit dry but it was ok. Loved their tamarindo juice though.
an Indian guy making bangles at the Royal Tandoor stall at the QIFF 2015
While waiting for our butter chicken we watched the Indian guy making bangles at the Royal Tandoor stall at the QIFF 2015
live cooking demo at the QIFF 2015
ofcourse, we didnt miss the opportunity to watch a live demo. Chef was from Sheraton in Turkey. The beef dish reminded us of the pinoy dish “kalderetang baka”. i wanted to try the aubergines in bechamel sauce though but we didn’t get the chance. it got devoured the second it was offered to the public… boofreakinghoo!

Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha Qatar Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha Qatar

Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha QatarHopefully next year my kids would be bigger and they won’t be sick. and we’ll have a grand time at the QIFF 2016… And we’ll be more prepared for parking. :)

Surviving motherhood in Doha Qatar through STUFF


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