Free dinner?

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It’s no secret that for some Dubai is the land of opportunity, a place to reinvent yourself, if you sell yourself properly you could pretty much get any job you wanted. Flash cars, beautiful, clothes, bags, shoes all at your finger tips. However what people don’t show you in their Facebook timeline is the pound of flesh Dubai takes from you for all this, It’s safe to say you get nothing for free in this town. However I love it anyway and my ermm…flash ford edge, high street clothes and do you know what? I’m happy with that too!

You’ve heard the saying there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Well there isn’t but I did experience a free dinner, for the kids at Bystro, they’ve probably had copious amounts of official reviews but this is mine. I’d discovered the place whilst attended a PND support group coffee morning, noticed the sign “kids eat free between 5-7pm daily”.

Loved the fact they had a kids corner, which could use a few more toys but hey, if there things to keep the kids happy lets not criticise too much.

Excuse the dark photo

Excuse the dark photo

I love the Mediterranean –style tiled floor when you first walk in which reminds me a beautiful greek taverna. And when I ordered a 7up I felt like I could have been on holiday if you ignored the construction and 7 lane highway outside. The back wall is a huge chalk feature offering quirky anecdotes while you wait and a menu description so if you’re like me you change your mind after you’ve ordered. It has changing facilities, complete with spare wipes, nappy sacks for us unorganised mammies. The wifi is free so if the kids corner isn’t enough you can get Peppa pig on your phone without using all your data credit.

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The coffee is good, as is the food offering value for money on delicious simple bistro nosh. Their children’s menu isn’t that long but also not filled with deep fried everything and chips. Offering a fairly good choice of meals, could maybe do with a few more veggies but then if your children are like mine spaghetti or fish and chips is about the limit when we eat out. Pastries and cakes are displayed in a beautiful glass chiller in the middle of the restaurant to tempt you, I get fat just looking at them, Miss C can personally vouch for the deliciousness of their Pain au Chocolat.

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Prices are very reasonable too, we ate out as a family of 4 last night, two main course, two children’s meals a bottle of water and soft drink came to 148dhs which is around £25, it’s probably sad to say that the water cost half of that (water being pretty expensive in this town) but its is what it is and considering the cost of living in Dubai I would consider this a very yummy bargain.

Bystro is situated on the service road between al Manara and al Thanya road, parking isn’t free unfortunately but its ample, they even deliver too ;-)

A public health announcement

Comments 5 Standard

A condition known as Halftermitis has been sweeping Dubai and parts of the UK I can confirm! This condition that only surfaces during the half term holiday’s can effect both parents and school age children and may even effect younger siblings.

Signs & symptoms for children may be

  • Whinging
  • Pouting/sulking face

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  • Feet stamping
  • Excessive use of the words Mammy/mummy, NO and phrases such as “It’s not fair” and “I’m bored”, “Can I have”
  • An inability to stay at an activity that took 30mins to set up for more than 5 mins
  • Sore arse from sitting in time out

In some excessive cases

  • Painting your brother
  • Said brother rubbing paint into couch
  • Visiting friends and stealing food from said friends neighbours
  • Ending up in bed with NO dinner

Signs & symptoms for parents

  • Constant angry face
  • Sarcastic tone
  • Feet stamping
  • Excessive use of the words …………… insert child’s name, NO, STOP and phrases such as “Because I said so”, “I will say it one more time” “Right into time out”
  • Carpal tunnel from pointing to timeout

In some excessive cases

  • Crying
  • Increased wine/gin consumption at 10am

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  • Treat cupboard raiding
  • Rocking in corner
  • Hiding in downstairs toilet

Unfortunately the only known treatment for this condition is to leave the house at 8am returning only at bedtime, packing in a day of activities…………………..and SCHOOL

Frugal is the new fabulous

Comments 6 Standard

Well it is in our house anyway, due to unforeseen circumstances at the beginning of the year I lost my job. To be honest the wages never really made a huge difference in our lifestyle I wasn’t dripping diamonds and driving a porche but they did allow for financial back up, less worry and extra treats, thank god I brought my Micheal Buble tickets first. However, It was more that it was mine, I earned them.

It’s just crap as now I’m having to rely solely on expat daddy to support me again. No biggy, we’re a team we’ve always shared everything we had from the get go but I hate that feeling “oh dear can I have your credit card so I can buy you a birthday present, and you’ll know exactly what it is as you’ll see the bill before your birthday”

Everyone has pre conceived ideas about what my life is like out here, they think I wake up in the morning, the birds and butterflies puts on my slippers for me……………..

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Image taken from google

Caviar for breakfast then I dump miss C head to the gym for hours stopping off to get my nails done before playing the doting mammy role on the school run only to dump my children in a play space or activity. The actually reality is I hit the snooze button too many times, wake up looking like this

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Shout far too much whilst getting ready for the school run, usher the boys out the door, wrestle with the wee girl to stop her going out the door, then I eat and drink my breakfast on the go whilst getting ready. Go about my day just like you, food shopping, errands, doctors appointments etc I look forward to picking up LPV and most of the time we have fun at home or with friends.

My life is the same as yours but just with sunshine, Ok so I don’t work now and luckily we are in a slightly better position out here than we would be if I was a SAHM in the UK or Ireland to deal with this. The fact is I would work full or part-time but the nursery fee’s out here are the equivalent to a private school at home, so when you ask when I’m going back to work the answer is when I can afford too.

Dubai attracted so many expats to come and live the tax-free dream and it still does and if you to get an awesome package then you will live the dream. However for most expats now, gone are the days of saving copious amount of tax-free earnings, the rising in rents, school fees, cost of living are far over taking the amount of money that’s being saved. If you want a decent house not in the middle of nowhere then you have to pay decent house money, if you want some anchor butter on your toast you’re going to have to pay 59dhs (11quid) for it. People stay here, us included for a better quality of life, the sunshine, the beach.

All this is made me think about money a lot, I am very aware that we are very blessed not to be living on or anywhere near the poverty line and NO I am not in any way comparing my life to anyones. However I think its disgusting in this generation there are still so many families struggling to make end meets, in what parallel universe is it ok to pay bonuses to VP’s CEO’s of companies and corporations when its employee’s are being laid off or being paid way below what they are qualified for or deserve?

So with thinking about money a lot I wanted to make some changes in our lives, I am AWESOME at spending money so it’s mainly me that has to change. I have started keeping track of everything I spend during the week, going to the shop for milk and coming out with a 100 pounds worth of other shopping isn’t going to happen anymore. I’m meal planning so each week we will buy only the stuff we need for meals, a major money saver is bringing expat daddy food shopping, he’s a stickler for the list where I like a kid in a sweat shop. This week we managed to cut our groceries from 1550dhs (300quid) to 900dhs (just under 200). We swapped supermarkets to the less high-profile ones and I’ve learnt to say No.

Of course I want to be shopping, getting my nails done, having the fancy car, who doesn’t? And I would love to start my own business and I’m hoping that these small changes will make that happen sooner but right now my children’s further is a lot more important.

Do you have any tips on money-saving? What works for you and your family?