Waves of fun on our anniversary!

Atlantis Hotel – One night stay 7th September 2012 – Wedding Anniversary.

We booked into the infamous Atlantic Hotel at the weekend just to so we could celebrate our wedding anniversary with some light fun and relaxation.



It’s my birthday

It was my birthday this week, and it fell on a work day. Kirsten surprised me in the morning with some really nice gifts (fancy socks, a lovely CH bag for work – yes, I’m the proud owner of a ‘clutch’ man-bag – and an Acqua Di Parma cologne), and there was also a cooking voucher for Jones the Grocer from Stuart and Jacqui, which we’ll be utilising in September.  Kara also dropped off a Japanese, hand-made tea pot and bag of Lapsang Souchong tea.

The big surprise of the day, however, was that Kirsten had arranged a surprise dinner at Ristorante which is in the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa overlooking the fountains. It was a terrific evening, and Chef Alessandro’s food was amazing. Kirsten had a shrimp ravioli with black squid ink for mains. I went with the degustation menu and it was a splendid choice that featured scallop tartar, langoustine risotto, sea bass, and rabbit, topped off with the chef’s exquisite La Sfera dessert.

A really good birthday!


Tapi & Chloe in pictures

Chloe and Tapi in the past year – Chloe with the mite medication, her first grooming session and Tapi, well, just being Tapi.

Tapi & Chloe

Chloé meets Tapi

With baited breath we let Chloé meet Tapi this weekend. Now, bearing in mind that Tapi takes great exception to strays and many cats in our community, we were somewhat anxious introducing a new cat to our family.

We always knew that Tapi had a good temperament and he’s shown that if you introduce a new kitten slowly and cleverly to a cat that’s established in a household, it can work with minimal fuss and drama. Since Chloé has no sense of fear, she ran straight up to Tapi at first sight and went nose-to-nose with him – Tapi’s reaction was remarkable: after five seconds of sniffing, he let out an unthreatening hiss, and walked away. As the dominant cat (who’s clearly very comfortable with his strength and stability in the household) he’s not shown any sign of being threatened. For the past three days, he’s not been bothered by Chloé’s presence at all, provided that she doesn’t try to nip his tail or get within 30cm of his personal space.

In truth, we expected the integration to be trickier, but this goes to show that if the integration of the cats is done slowly and with care (with a lot of vigilance), and that the established cat is made to feel secure, loved and not threatened by the new addition, then there’s no reason why you can’t integrate established cats with new kittens – I just think you need to know the respective cats’ personalities and make sound judgements to match these up.

The video below is taken on the third day of them formally meeting each other. Tapi had been watching Chloé play for 20-odd minutes before this – and even after crashing into him, he really wasn’t that fussed.


Welcome home Chloé

So it’s official – we now have a new addition to the family, Chloé, who we adopted today. As you can see, Chloé’s a beautiful Persian mix where she has all the fluffiness of a Persian and without the squashed face.

Tapi has been able to sense that something is different, but Chloé is being kept in her own room, and we’re going to give them a few days to get used to each other’s smells before we formally introduce them. To be honest, Chloé would be well up for the introduction; Tapi, however, might consider her a light starter. So far, so good.

Chloé’s a real bundle of energy – she did not stop playing the whole day yesterday… very cute.

Mr. Tapi

If everything aligns properly, we’ll be adding a new member to our family today: a soft, cuddly Persian kitten. But, so as not make the incumbent feel insecure, here’s a video clip of Mr. Tapi (aka Monster and Choppy).

Tapi’s been with is for about seven years now, and today we’ll hopefully be giving him a new sister to play with. We had another cat a few years ago, Tino, who we had to put down because of chronic renal failure; Tapi and Tino had an “interesting” relationship where neither really enjoyed the other’s personality (or company). Tapi’s very easy going where Tino was a bit moody, so we’re hoping that the new Persian’s chilled out character will mesh nicely with Tapi’s personality.

On that note, Tapi really doesn’t like stray cats and he can be a bit of a fighter, so this is something that we’re taking into account very seriously… we’ve done our homework on integrating cats, so this series of posts could quite easily develop into the definitive guide of integrating an establish male “fighter” with a new female kitten. We’re sensible pet owners though, and we’ll ensure that we take all the necessary steps and show all the patience required for seamless integration.

Kirsten’s Laparoscopic Appendectomy

So here’s the time line. Saturday morning at 5:30 Kirsten was having bad stomach aches, which stayed with her all day. On Sunday, she went to see a gastroenterologist. Half a dozen tests later, followed by an ultrasound and CT scan, by Monday evening, Kirsten was diagnosed with Acute Appendicitis. By Tuesday afternoon, the appendix was gone.

The medical team that dealt with Kirsten were all great and extremely efficient and professional, and deserve a shout out: Dr. Klein from Health Bay Clinic who identified the appendicitis and Dr. Salti, the surgeon, from American Hospital Dubai.

Kirsten is now feeling better and recovering in her private hotel hospital room at American Hospital Dubai, and she should be back home today.

(updated – 9 June 2011 – afternoon) Great to have you back home babe!


Enjoying the view..

Mars and I popped down to Al Qasr hotel at the weekend. The weather was so gorgeous that we just had to get down to Jumeriah and see the sea. We found the perfect spot on the balcony over looking the bustling gardens, the towering Burj Al Arab and the glistening Gulf. It was all happening down at the beach, there were yachts gliding past and jet skiers zooming around. Everyone was loving the weather and out enjoying the sun. We lazed around and ordered wonderful cool sorbets and lime and mint cooler cocktails. As we people watched and indulge ourselves, we talked through Christmas and got some ideas agreed upon. Then it was off to the framers to get some art framed, and then down to the show jumping at the Polo Club. A lovely weekend with fantastic blue skies. Poor England, -2 there, bbrrrrr, get those mittens out!

PS – Fabulous haird day Mars!

Hold on, where am I getting married?

Showered and changed into jeans and jumpers, the girls (Jacqui, Kara and I) grabbed the bulging bags by the door, overflowing with ribbons, lace, fabric, candles, and marched over to the main hotel area to assess the soggy situation at hand. On route the groom and co. called and said that whilst they hadn’t located the wellies yet, they had seen blue skies headed our way and sunshine to follow. Standing on squidgy grass, all three of us threw our heads back and searched the grey sky. “Can you see blue sky?” “Oh I can see a cloud breaking up.” “Oooh a ray of sunshine.”
We found the hotel team in the dining room, dashing around taking out all the tables and chairs from the mornings breakfast, clearing the space so we could start to set it up for the reception dinner and jazz band.
The other pressing question was where exactly the ceremony was going to take place. We had decided earlier on in the week that we would have it under an oak tree, which had a wooden deck under the branches, and faced out towards the mountains and horses. Stunning location. However given the ominous clouds, an outside wedding wasn’t exactly a 100% on the cards, and what happened if it rained half way through the ceremony? We stood on the main veranda area and looked down the garden to the oak tree, wishing full sunshine would break through, and pondered on what do to. We had two hours to decide and to fully decorate the chosen area. Time was of the essence. After much deliberation and everyone trying to be a weather forecaster, I decided we would decorate under the oak tree and this would be plan A for the ceremony, and set up a small area on the main veranda which was covered, as plan B. Plus we still had to decorate and set up the dining room for dinner. So there were only a mere three areas to arrange and decorate in record breaking speed. Pippa, our florist, cum witness, and a new official friend of the family, took the lead in getting everything ready and was efficiently running around helping get various things arranged and laid out as per my vision. Jacqui and Kara ran between areas with ribbon and fabrics and we all called out to each other for quick opinions and fast decisions. Scissors were flying, ribbons were being tied on everything, and lanterns and hearts were being hung in the trees and bushes. As a completely un-coordinated, un-rehearsed and unplanned mad dash to make the hotel ready for a wedding in less than 90 minutes, I have to say we all worked around each other with exceptional skill and unexplainable female intuition. The hotel staff moved furniture at lightning speed, and all hands were officially on deck. A special thanks to Grant, who was my hero of the moment and practically climbed trees to get ribbons, tied everywhere. Alison (the general manager) was forever nipping between areas asking what she could do to help and offering everyone teas and coffees, her kindness was appreciated by everyone (and the waiters managed after much tricky sticking to get my handmade “Just Married” sign up above the fire place).
By the time I had to leave and go back to the room, I had run between so many places and worked at such a frantic pase that I was completely confused as to where exactly the ceremony was going to be.

Put the boot in

We all left the deck to the sound of the piper, and walked up the little stone path to where our rooms where. there behind the rooms on a large garden opening, was a little oak tree, all new and wobbily, sparkling frailly in the sun. It was sitting there in the ground, with bags of soil around it, waiting for Mr and Mrs Mlodzinski to finish planting it and get it’s roots nice and warm for the cold evening which would creep in. A lovely plaque stood on the ground next to our little oak tree and this would be our oak tree which we planted in celebration of our new life together. We all tipped some soil in, and I got down and emptied a bag and flattened it all nicely with the shovel. We stood back and admired our little Pin Oak tree. As it sets its roots down I can’t help but think how Kurland has now become a small strand on our family roots and will forever be a place close to our hearts.

The plaque read;
This Pin Oak tree was lovingly planted by
Kirsten Morris & Mars Mlodzinski
On their Wedding Day, 9th September 2009

“The fairy poet takes a sheet
Of moonbeam, silver white;
His ink is dew from daisies sweet,
His pen a point of light.”
by Joyce Kilmer