A Movie Suggestion for Moms. Watch Mum's List (and have your tissues ready.)

The real Kate Greene of Mum's List

The real Kate Greene of Mum's List

When traveling on a plane, what is the first thing you look for when boarding? For myself, and my three children, the first thing we do, before even finding our seats, is to check the seat backs to see if there is an entertainment system. If there is, we all breath a giant sigh of relief. Then, immediately after finding our seats, we frantically scroll through the movie/tv list to see what is being offered, mentally preparing our movie viewing list for the flight.  Life is good, or at least as good as being cramped on a plane can be (especially on an Emirates plane because their entertainment system usually feels like an onboard, mini-iTunes.) 

This past week while flying, I went through the same scenario as above. I scrolled through the movie list and found one I had not heard of - Mum's List.  The description explained it as a true story of a mom who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. At this point, some of you might be saying "no, don't do it. Don't hit that play button." But I am usually a tiny bit steel-hearted when it comes to watching tear-jerker movies so I thought "sure, no big deal, I'll give this a try." I don't know if it was the fact that it was the end of the school year and I was exhausted or the fact that I was feeling extremely grateful to be with my three children and my fabulous (most of the time) husband heading out on a family trip of a lifetime, but.. wow.  The mantra, we hear over and over again, but never really seem to pay attention to, about being grateful for every moment, will hit you like a ton of bricks. I had tears rolling down my cheeks from the opening scene. Did I mention it was a True Story! Mum's List is my summer movie suggestion for moms (or anyone for that matter.) It will make you think about family, women fighting the battle with cancer, young love, old love, family love, tenderness, kindness, friendship, and grief that comes with all of this. Check out Mum's List. Just make sure to have the tissues handy.


Something to do on a Hot Summer Dubai Day. Etihad Museum is Worth a Visit

Are you looking for something to do to during these scorching summer Dubai days? Instead of wilting in the heat or being lazy at home, we decided to give Etihad Museum a visit. When I say "we," I really mean "me." My children would have been happy staying perched on the couch texting and watching YouTube clips but a parent can only stand to watch that happening for so long. So after a few eye rolls, we were in the car and headed to Jumeirah for some cultural enrichment.

The museum is set up to give the public a better understanding of the history of the formation of the UAE, particularly between the years of 1968 and 1974. Its location in Jumeirah is noteworthy as it is the same site as the original Union House, the place where the first constitution was signed in 1971, establishing the UAE's independence. At that moment, the UAE became the first federation of the Arab world.

The sleek modern design of the building, with its symbolic curved white roof, was intended to represent the folded constitution. It is held up by seven columns which represent the seven pens used by the founding rulers to sign the original agreement. I have only seen the exterior by day, which was very pretty, but, like most buildings in Dubai, it comes to life at night. (Another mission during these hot summer days is to go back at night and take a sparkly photo.)

For me, the interior of the museum was more impressive than the exterior. Big open spaces, sweeping staircases, soft lines, and beautiful lighting make the museum stand up to the standard we have come to expect with most buildings in the city. It really was impressive walking in, and we hadn't even gotten to a single exhibit yet.

The museum's main focus is honouring the country's founding rulers and the formation of the UAE as we know it today. There are also exhibits explaining the beginning of the postal service in the UAE, a photography exhibit, a passport exhibit, etc.... What really interested my kids was the short movie on the founding rulers (shown in a beautiful small theatre) and the modern interactive displays. If there is a screen, swiping, dragging, or pointing involved, then you will have their attention. Etihad museum checked those boxes for them.

Don't expect this to be a full day outing. You can easily get through it in less than two hours (which was perfect for us.) The price is quite low at 25AED per adult and 10AED for each child (tip- you need to pay in cash.) If you happen to get hungry, there is a very nice restaurant on the top floor surrounded by natural light. Of course, underground parking is free and plentiful from what I saw. The surrounding grounds seem like they will be a place to relax in the cooler months but with the current weather situation, enjoying the outside is not what we were interested in. All in all, Etihad museum is worth a visit, especially on a hot summer Dubai day!


Summer TV binge List

Summer tv binge suggestions

As everyone gets their summer book list together, I fine tune a different, slightly less cerebral list. It's my summer tv binge list. I am not a traditional, loyal, week to week watcher. I'm more of a modern day binger when it comes to entertainment. SO summer is my time to plough through my backlog of shows begging to be watched. As I get ready to spend countless hours waiting in airports, long plane rides, and sleepless nights due to jet lag, one song keeps playing through my head, "Hello Netflix my old friend, I've come to watch with you again." It's time to get my pop culture entertainment vibe on. Here are the shows I am counting on to satisfy my TV appetite. Honestly, I know I won't get through even half, but one can dream :-) And please, if you have any "must watch" suggestions let me know. This in no way is a finite list ;-)

*all series images taken from IMDb website*.

Our summer ritual with the boys usually consists of being outside all day and then, after dinner, curling up on the couch for some screen time together. The chosen show has to meet the needs of a 10, 12, and 14 year old and not be too painful for the parents to sit through. This is a tough criterion to fill. We rarely find one that works for everyone so usually my youngest is watching something I never, in a million years, would have allowed my oldest to watch at the same age. What can I say, consistency is not my thing when it comes to entertainment upbringing. Here you have it, my tiny list of preteen/teen series we will pick from to watch.

I am also an avid podcast listener. Between the multiple daily school runs and my twice daily walks with Enzo, I probably average about two podcasts per day. With some long car rides ahead of me this summer I'm going to need my podcast list to be fully downloaded and ready to play. Here's what will be taking up room on my iphone.

Summer is almost here to induldge in some of the things we don't get time to do all year. Enjoy!


Jigsaw

So this weekend everyone was speaking about Justin Bieber who returned to Dubai on Saturday night at Dubai’s Autism Rocks Arena four years after his last performance in the Middle East. Just behind the Arena you will find Dubai’s latest large-format artwork - a massive jigsaw puzzle mural made up of 63 custom-painted shipping containers! Dubai is renowned for giant structures : Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world and the city boasting the four tallest hotels. 

Australian artist Guido van Helten, who decided to challenge himself with this unusual project said “ shipping containers are very interesting objects now. They’re all around the world, they are transient and they move. They have a life of their own. Who knows where they’ve been before and how they’ve ended up here?” He unveiled his masterwork, a 135m long and 12 m high reconfigurable mural, which took 18 days to create and 500 liters of paint! 

Watch the mural come together in the video below: 

 

When the colossal pieces are put together, the disposition forms a monochrome pair of solemn-looking eyes; quite an interesting canvas and yet another record-breaking image for Dubai!

Jigsaw

A Taste of DIFF all Year Round in Dubai

Vox cinema, Mall of the Emirates

Vox cinema, Mall of the Emirates

Dubai International film lovers are in luck. A small theatre in the Vox cinema chain, Mall of Emirates, is dedicated to showing DIFF (Dubai International Film Festival) films all year round. The show times are often, starting as early as 10am and running throughout the day. As a huge film lover, this was very exciting to learn about! The early morning showtime was the perfect opportunity for some girlfriends and I to meet to watch a film we probably wouldn't go out with our families to see. The film I had chosen for us was a British film, I, Daniel Blake. I had read rave reviews about the film and the icing on the cake was that it was the winner of the Palme D'Or award at the Cannes Film festival.

I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake

Daniel Blake is British construction worker who has suffered a serious illness and is trying to receive state aid/welfare. In the process he befriends a single mother who is also struggling to make the social system work for her. Lets just say the movie successfully tugs hard at the heart strings. It is beautifully written and acted and will have you reflecting on what is "fair and unfair" in many social systems around the globe. Don't leave home without your Kleenex, you will need it! I, Daniel Blake is definitely worth two hours of your time.


Miniatures Come to Dubai

What is your vision of Dubai? Expensive flashy cars? Shopping mall after shopping mall of extravagant items? Vast deserts speckled with camels? Architecture that keeps challenging itself to be the next latest and greatest? Tourists, tourists, and more tourists? Kandoras and abayas? While Dubai can be all of that, there is something the city  also has. A smart sense of humour about itself. While walking around City Walk early one morning, I was so happy to see Dubai’s sense of humour showing for all to see. There, near the Roxy theatre, on an outside wall was a series of “miniatures” based on the stereotypical culture and lifestyle of our city. UK artist Slinkachu has installed a series of large scale, clever photographs, that depict different Dubai settings. He combines life size elements with miniature elements to poke  whimsical fun at some common Dubai situations. . I challenge anyone passing by the exhibition  to leave without a smile on your face. Well done again Dubai for being able to see the humour in things. I loved it.


Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

HBO's Big Little Lies is a perfect guilty pleasure binge watch. A cast chalk full of hollywood faces brings to life Liane Moriarty's novel almost word for word. Unlike the book, which I found to be average, the mini series is fast paced and full of tv eye candy. The cast is beautiful, the homes are stunning, the location is dreamy, the wardrobes (right down to the bare essentials) are all things one would covet- total hollywood BS. But I loved sitting through every minute. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley tell the story of women fighting to live up to the standard of their self created perfect lives, while each desperately hiding their own secrets of abuse, insecurity, adultery and shame. Things quickly start to unravel in the small town with the final main event going down at the children's primary school fundraiser. Far Fetched? Maybe, maybe not. Big Little Lies is definitely worth a binge.