Flag Island

November 2 marks Flag Day in the UAE so what better way to celebrate the occasion than heading down to Sharjah’s very own Flag Island, home of the 7th tallest flag pole in the world. I left work early so I could catch up with my family there for a late lunch and some gorgeous views of the flag in what is finally great weather.

The weather was pretty fantastic for Flag Day too, with a beautiful breeze wafting the flag up in the beautiful blue sky, and gently rippling the waters of the Khalid Lagoon. One of my favourite things about going to the island is the view of Souq Al Jubail which, for the uninitiated, is actually a fruit, vegetable, meat and fish market all in one. If you think it looks pretty fancy during the day, you haven’t seen it at night, when it’s lit up in all its splendour. It’s on my must visit list for next year’s Sharjah Light Festival.

After a yummy late lunch at Jones the Grocer, we headed to the open air amphitheater where the Emirati-Japanese band Kharsha were performing.  We’d gone to see Kharsha perform in Al Ain a few months ago and it was nice to see how fast their team of drummers is growing.

I can’t say exactly why one of the team is wearing a teddy bear mask, but I do love their Flag Day themed outfits. Very chic! Unfortunately we were rather late, and it was time for prayers after just one performance, so we decided to head home…not before stopping at KSHTA, the food truck area.

20171102_174738

Time for karak!

Unfortunately for us, we’d already had our late lunch and it was too early for dinner so we didn’t get a chance to sample much, except for a nice hot cup of karak, but we did have enough time to narrow down where we wanted to eat the next time we stopped by.

20171102_175039

The fanciest place for a burger – Graffiti Burger

From burgers to shawarma, from greasy fries to zafrani karak, dynamite shrimp to the classical falafel, they have it all. Looks like I’m going to have to go back on an empty stomach . ^^

20171102_175059

Fancy a place to sit?

If I’m not wrong KSHTA is here till the 5th of January, so that gives us plenty of time to sample a little bit of everything and of course, with the running track at Flag Island, there’s also enough time to run it all off.

 

Giving Back – Ramadan 2016

This Ramadan, I have decided to compile a list of initiatives and causes to which you can contribute. Whether it’s volunteering your time, or donating your money, there’s always something you can do to put a smile on someone’s face. 🙂

If you know of any other great initiatives let me know so we can spread the goodness!

Iftar Meals for Distribution

This Ramadan, Najmat Lahore has specially prepared Iftar packs  for distribution to those in need.

Iftar Charity Box Donation

Mezbaan Hyderabad Restaurant is delivering iftar boxes straight to labour camps and construction sites. Meals can be bought on Cobone at the click of a button!

13312898_1076594709081720_6422681328444524872_n

A Kilo of Kindness

Movenpick hotels have launched the Kilo of Kindness campaign which is looking to collect donations of tinned and dry foods. Drop off locations are in the lobbies of the participating hotels, as listed on their website.

kilo-of-kindness-484x235

Pay It Forward with Virgin Megastore

Virgin Megastore has teamed up with Fetchr to help people give back to Dubai Foundation for Women and Children. It’s as simple as buying an item, having it delivered through Fetchr and then filling up your box with goodies like women and children’s clothes and toys as well as electronics and then contacting Fetchr for a free pick up!

eCom_A5-2-960x1358.jpg

Ramadan Donation Box

Nakheel and Dar Al Ber have teamed up with Ibn Battuta Mall to set up donation boxes across the mall, accepting donations of clothes, shoes, books and money.

IBM-Donation-Box-website

Volunteers in Deen Iftar Distribution

Volunteers in Deen is looking for help distributing iftar among labour camps in Sajaa Industrial Area, Sharjah. If you’re interested, check out their page and get in touch!

Sunglasses for Labourers

Emirates NBD has set up collecting booths across the UAE where you can donate your old sunglasses which will be repaired, sanitised and distributed to labour this Ramadan.

Ramadan Fridges

Join the group and set up a fridge outside your home or help to stock fridges around the UAE with your yummy goodies to help out people in need.

Reading Nation

Launched this Ramadan, the initiative aims to distribute 5 million books to refugees and schools and libraries around the world.Donations can be made via bank transfer, online via the Dubai Cares website, in person at leading malls or via SMS through du and Etisalat.

13407162_1402055416486921_3332126773435485027_n

UNRWA

UNRWA is looking for support to help feed around a million refugees in Gaza and a further 430000 refugees in Syria this Ramadan. For less than USD 200 you can feed a family for an entire month.

Futoor Alatool with Sheraa

Help in distributing iftar to a thousand people this Ramadan. To volunteer, get in touch with them at info@sheraa.ae or contact them via Twitter

13407099_1303930829631907_175323993482020704_n

Pending Meal

Lahori Gate Restaurant and Kilby Cafe in Dubai are giving away meals to the less fortunate. Get in touch with them to pay for someone’s meal this Ramadan.

 

Share a Part of You

Like every year, City Centres all over the UAE are ready to take your donations of books, toys, clothes and electronic items.

j01595-cc-ramadan-websiteevent-h480xw640px-eng

Dubai Blood Donation Centre

You can always take time out to donate blood at the Dubai Blood Donation Centre this Ramadan. The centre is open after iftar but make sure you check the procedures and requirements before you go.

Filling the Blues

Moti Roti is partnering with other local restaurants to provide food at construction sites every day, except Fridays.Whether you’re a restaurant or just someone who’d like to volunteer, make sure to fill out the form on their site.

13342993_1322933324387915_1937091074545684898_n

 

Shoebox Love 2016

It’s time to fill out those shoeboxes with all the little essentials to help out all the labour who help us out everyday. Baembu is looking for male volunteers for distribution at the labour camps but everyone else is welcome to pick up a box for donation.download

Ramadan Aman with Takatof

Lots of volunteers are required for lots of events being held across the emirates, from iftar distribution to heping out in the Quran recitation awards. To volunteer, register with Takatof and go through their available opportunities.

CkXc875WUAAgcVI

Donate and Change Lives

Thumbay hospitals in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah have launched a campaign to collect books and toys o don’t forget to take along your goodies to your next doctor’s appointment!

13312756_1061127180619671_7969803926525423_n

 

A Touch of Love

Omo has launched their campaign to collect clothes for donation around the UAE. Check out their twitter page for more information about bin locations and how to arrange pickups via Careem.

Share-a-Touch-of-Love-UAE-English.jpg

Al Noor Island – At Night

Having been to Al Noor Island during the day, we were determined to come back at night for a chance to catch my breath after a hectic week and for a chance to have my breath taken away by all the beauty on the island.

From the Literature Pavilion with its inviting cushions and rugs and its soothing water fountain, just asking to stay a little longer, we walked through the cactus garden and made our way towards a beautiful barren tree that kept changing colour.

IMG_1465

Literature Pavilion – I could have stayed here all night

20160212_201819_1

Colour Changing Tree

We then made our way past the soothing sound of lapping waves to the Ovo which is as much my favourite place on the island at night as it is during the day. It’s a strange feeling, looking up standing in the middle of the Ovo, on that narrow walkway, surrounded by water and darkness…

From the Ovo we moved across the bridge and into the Gleaming Meadows where you’re surrounded by lights like flowers changing colours.

20160212_203744_1

Gleaming Meadows and  the Ovo sitting pretty like a lotus ready to blossom

As we headed to the exit, we came across what I can only describe as a scene straight out of Avatar. Fine lights shimmering on the barren spindly branches of the trees above made it look like you were walking under the Milky Way. It was hypnotizing, and I should have liked nothing better than to be able to string up a hammock and go to sleep under that sparkling sky.

20160212_204821_1Milky Way ❤

If you need a getaway after work, I can’t think of a better place to go and clear your mind.

Sharjah Light Festival 2016

Every February, for a fleeting few days, Sharjah organizes their annual Light Festival. This year, there were 18 places all around the vast emirate where you could go to catch a glimpse of the spectacular light show… for free!

Last year we stopped by Al Qasba, so this year we decided to head to Al Noor Island and catch the view of Al Noor Mosque (which on a side note, is open to non-Muslims for visits on Mondays (as of 2016) ) before heading to the Infinity Light Tunnel. It turned out to be a great idea, because not only is Al Noor Island a gem in itself at night, but the silence on the island and the clear view of the mosque afforded by the bridge make it an ideal place to sit down, relax and take everything in without all the crowds – oh and you also get a great view of the Majaz Waterfront fountain show from the island.

The mosque was stunning, and made even more so at Isha with the call to prayer.

IMG_1458_1

Al Noor Mosque at Isha

The light tunnel was a new addition to this year’s sites and proved to be one of the most popular attractions. This one’s definitely a keeper! 🙂

20160212_194901

Infinity Light Tunnel

On the way back home, we passed Masjid Al Maghfira, another must-visit site as well as Al Jubail Market (the newly opened fish, fruit and vegetable market) and the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. While we didn’t stop at these places, we were for once happy for the traffic so we could admire the view for a little longer ^^

IMG_1485_1

Masjid Al Maghfira

Maybe next year I should go to University City Hall where once upon a time long long ago I had my graduation ceremony 🙂

Sharjah Classic Cars Museum

After years of passing it on the way to and from university, we finally managed to visit Sharjah’s very own Classic Cars Museum.

20151203_093029

Sharjah Classic Cars Museum celebrating UAE’s 44th National Day 🙂

With over a hundred cars starting from the 1915 Dodge Model 30, the museum is a great place to walk through the evolution of automobiles.

20151203_085109

1915 Dodge Model 30

Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Fiat, Studebaker, Cadillac, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Plymouth, MG, Mercedes… you name… they have it…

20151203_091518

Nothing says style quite like a Rolls

20151203_085503

1938 Chevrolet Master Sedan

20151203_090703

Right hand drives 🙂

Walking through the museum I realized that they just don’t make them so pretty any more. They also don’t make them as long anymore, which is a relief! How on earth did anyone ever park an Eldorado?

20151203_092434

What an engine… like staring down the barrel of a gun!

20151203_092540

And of course.. how can I leave without a picture of the Stingray ❤

What’s really interesting is that a lot of these cars have been donated for display by car owners, so they still have their actual number plates, not classic car plates, and since there are lots of classic car events and festivals, most cars even have Salik (toll gate stickers). How very modern ^^

The museum only charges AED5 per head for adults and is open from 8am to 8pm, except Fridays when it’s open from 4-8pm (as of Dec 2015).