Sharjah Aquarium

I’ll be honest with you. I love animals with all the fascination and wonder of a 5 year old- just as long as they stay well below the four leg limit that is. That’s as far as my fascination is willing to go. Any further than that and I’ll be moving from child-like awe to panic stricken scanning for viable escape routes. I do love going to aquariums, though, despite the possibility of encountering certain animals that are way out of my comfort zone. The odd octopi and jellyfish I can handle as, I’m happy to say, they are all arms rather than legs… in my mind at least. The stray giant crab, however, poses a bigger threat so I’ll normally try to plan ahead and actively avoid being caught near one.

I found myself at Sharjah Aquarium this weekend at the start of the ten day long Sharjah Aquarium Carnival. It’s been quite a long time since I last visited but it looked just the same.


Hello shark!

From fierce sharks, to serene stingrays the large two storey aquarium is filled with silver and gray gliding around gracefully through the clear chlorine filled waters stopping by for a closer look at the visitors.

One of the nicest things about visiting an aquarium is getting to see an endless rainbow of colours and patterns streaking past you- from electric blues and vibrant reds to simple stripes and eye-like spots in an underwater museum of living art.


Looking closely, it looks like a honeycomb on its back

The other amazing thing is being able to get a first hand view of various underwater communities, salt water, fresh water, mangroves and the like, and the complex relationships that exist, from the symbiosis that binds clownfish and anemones together, to the stingray with their cleaner fish and the moray eels with their cooperative hunting partnerships with coralgroupers in a picture of balance and harmony.




Flotsam and Jetsam

It would seem that the most important lessons in life are learnt, not in the classroom, but from firsthand interaction with the world around us and from open-minded introspection.

If you haven’t been to the aquarium before, it’s a good time to head out, since the Sharjah Aquarium Carnival is on till the 10th of March, 2018. There are lots of outdoor activities for kids and of course, we can’t forget the food trucks. ^^ Tickets are AED25 for adults, AED15 for children while kids under two have free entry (as of Mar 3, 2018). The museum is closed on Sundays, and timings are 8am to 8pm on all other days except Fridays when the museum is open from 4pm to 10pm.

Sharjah Light Festival 2018

It’s that time of year again – to escape from the confines of a mall and to immerse yourself in art that everyone can truly appreciate for the few fleeting days of February when Sharjah organizes the Sharjah Light Festival which is free and open to all the public.

Our first stop this year was the 1000 Palm Oasis where they had set up multiple infinity light tunnels in bright electric blue and soft golden yellow fairy lights. I have to say, I was completely blown away by the blue. It’s the kind of blue that makes you want to lie down and look up and pretend that every glowing fairy flower and butterfly is a star so close the universe is within your grasp.



It was a really good idea to set up multiple versions of the same installation in order to manage the crowd. The last time it had been rather difficult to get pictures in what with all the people, but this time, the crowd was nicely distributed so everyone got a chance at that perfectly instagrammable shot.


To infinity and beyond

Right next to the Palm Oasis is one of the most beautiful mosques in Sharjah – Al Noor Mosque. This year I can’t decide if I was more attracted to the mosque due to the beautiful symmetric patterns that lit it up like a jewel in the night sky, or the qirat of the imam at Maghrib prayers. The former was a delight for the eyes- a sort of surface and fleeting pleasure, but the latter stirred something deep and personal in one’s soul. The combination of the two was art in itself.


Al Noor Mosque

It’s interesting that this year’s light festival seems a lot more toned down than previous years in that the colour projections are a lot less vibrant than before which probably has something to do with both the light intensity and the choice of artwork on display. But that didn’t stop us from finding our way to our next destination after an amazing dinner at Saffron of course. Our next and final stop was the Heart of Sharjah.

I’ve never been there at night before, and parking was quite tricky because it seemed as though all parking near the installations and shows was closed off, possibly for VIPs, and regular public parking was all full. After going round and round in circles we finally just stopped and asked the security guard how we could get in. It turned out the parking that had been closed off was actually reserved for non-VIP visitors like us (yayyy!), except there was no sign there that said so. I’m guessing a lot of people ended up walking a long way to get there because the number of cars there was in no way indicative of the number of people actually there.


Peonies Alumines

There were a number of installations set up along with light shows on the fortress around which people were seated on the ground, their cameras all set up and ready to capture the riot of colour on the sombre beige fortress walls. While my mum loved the trio of paper peonies flapping in the suddenly cold wind on an unusually warm day, my personal favourite of the year was the “Abstract” set up in which light disks hovered and pulsated in sync with the music in a mesmerizing affair.


If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend making a weekend of it and visiting before it ends on the 17th of February.

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.


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.


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 . ^^


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.



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 or contact them via Twitter


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.


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.



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

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.


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!



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.


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.


Literature Pavilion – I could have stayed here all night


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.


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.