Craft supplies shopping in London

This post has been overdue for nearly a month, if not longer. I wanted to share with you’ll some of the goodies that I bought while in London for our summer holidays.

One of the biggest confusions, we always have, travelling as a family overseas, is the time for my craft goodies ! Being in a foreign land, we are as it is, torn between filling out days with visiting scores of museums, parks, historical sites etc and to add to the stress, I generally drop a bomb or two, for shopping for my craft goodies 🙂

Generally there is a vote and of course, its not fun when mama is upset so I get away with squeezing atleast a couple of hours for hunting my beloved goods. One thing, I noticed about London is, that being a first world country, people like to shop online and realty is far too expensive hence very few stores have established outlets unless they are eateries or mobile phone stores !!

One of the best stores (or rather ONLY store) that I visited for craft goods was “Hobby Crafts”  A timely tip from a cousin, made it possible for me to search for it on the Sat Nav and ofcourse, then persuade samie  !!

You know that feeling that you had as a kid, when you entered a toy store full of toys that were free for you ??? No ? Well, that’s exactly, how I felt when I entered the store ! It felt like I was in the happiest place in the world for me !! The choices were vast ~ variety was amazing and whats great is that they have two stories full of arts and crafts ! No matter how much I write, nothing can explain, just how much fun that entire experience was. Hence I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

Oh AND BTW, Hobbycraft has not paid me to write about them but I wouldn’t mind, if they did pay me 😉  ♣

DSCF6487

Oh yes ! Doesn’t it look like the place you could easily get lost in ??? I know I did !

DSCF6488

Here are some of my valuable goods from that shopping spree !

And ofcourse I bought a mother load of sharpies too of various nibs !

DSCF6565

Couldn’t have enough of these Spectrum color markers !! These are like copic markers ~ alcohol based markers.

DSCF6569

CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY OF THE ACRYLIC STAMPS !! Love the steam punk one and the keys one too.

DSCF6583

Cant wait to start with these babies !!

DSCF6597

DSCF6603

Its incredibly difficult to choose 10 of the best designs from a good 50+ ! This is a relatively newer brand and much less expensive than spellbinders.

DSCF6604

I just have to admit, that the rectangle die cut on the right has to be my favorite so far ! Oh and another diecut set which was absolutely phenomenal is this one in the center ~ it has a lot to offer for the person good with sewing like scissors, spool, needle, yarn, model ~ and all these are diecuts !!! Endless possibilities !  Its absolutely expensive but so worth it !! 🙂

DSCF6609

Sizzix diecuts, a punch and a border punch. 2 sets of wood mounted alphabet rubberstamps. This orange punch is kinda new coz you can actually use it as a border punch or you can get individual coin punches too. Very innovative.

DSCF6621

DSCF6629

Don’t you just love the fall colors !!

DSCF6637

Cant have enough of these ! This bag was at a discounted price.

DSCF6638

DSCF6643

Unusual bookmarks, clipboard key chain and miniature size safety pins !

DSCF6652

These rubberstamp sets were actually a part of the magazines that I bought. Can you believe it !! I bought so many craft/scrapbooking/hobby magazines and they are all came with these gifts !! Yuppee !!

DSCF6655

I picked this lovely collection of design paper in blue and pink, from Hobby crafts. Its a large pack of 12″ x 12″ with beautiful pastel designs.

DSCF6698

Paints, paints and more paints ~ modge podge, crackle medium and a load of acrylic paints.

DSCF6671

Small size clamps

DSCF6630

I have this huge “thing” for designed wooden pieces ~ be it heart or stars ! One day I hope I am able to make these myself ~ till then, I think, I can indulge in these 😉

DSCF6673

For when I finally start working with carving wood !

DSCF6633

I am a huge sucker for fridge magnets !! Both my fridges are stormed with magnets 😦    I love these magnets. Each with such intricate artwork and lovely quotes. We picked these from Lake district in Windermere.

DSCF6689

This 3 tier cupcake tray was to die for !! I just fell in love with it ~ and fell out of that love, once told how much it cost ! But this was a gift nevertheless from the boys for me 🙂  Aren’t my boys, the “bestest” !! We bought this from a beautiful little store in the lake district.

DSCF6667

Isnt this a beauty or what !!! Its a book holder ~ more for recipe books in the kitchen. It weighs enormously ! Its solid wrought iron.

DSCF6704

Nail guns are such a handy tool however, I couldn’t find any in Dubai inspite of  looking high and low for them ! For whatever reason, even Ace hardware did not have them ~ luckily, I found these in London. And bought a bunch of extra pins and nails. They come in batches of thousands.

DSCF6579

So that’s it !

Some women, like to buy sandals, some bags, some diamonds and I love to buy tools that will help me create things ! I cant thank my husband enough for being as patient as he was and my wonderful, boys managed to keep their dad engaged in the store next door ( Sports direct ) while mama could have her fill, peacefully.

Oh, in case, your wondering, the last 7 pictures are not items we bought at Hobby crafts.

So that’s it !! I’m feeling so relieved having shared my priced shopping goods with you’ll.

Oh and BTW, I painstakingly kept all the receipts and the VAT reimbursement form for the VAT claim at the airport  ( ♥ thankfully we don’t have this tax business in Dubai ) ~ and guess what ??? Turns out, the airport VAT counter travelex opens at 7:00 in the morning and closes at 10:00 pm. Our  flight was to depart at 9:15 !!!!  Which meant, that with roughly 50 passengers ahead of us, our chances of making it to the counter were so dim.

What’s more weird (but somewhat sensible) is that you have to keep the said items out for inspection  (which in some cases means an entire suitcase !!) ~ The queue for the counter was ridiculously huge with every passenger unpacking his suitcase just to display his goods  !!  My initial attempt to keep Sawaabi with the small trolley bag full of my items at the counter while I juggled between the check in counter and the travelex counter was turning out into a nightmare !!   In the end, we just let it go !! What a complete wasted effort !  Oh well, we learnt our lesson ! Which is ??????  Not sure what 😉

Anyways ~ What matters is that I may have had to pay a tax, but I am a happier person with so many toys to play with. Its been alittle over a month and I have still not unpacked the markers. The rest I have found some use for.

I trust you found my post informative and perhaps even inspirational 😉  Please share with me your experience of craft stores in London. Would love to know, what I missed 🙂

I’d like to share my shopping spree with the following linking parties.

Simply Creations Link Party at My Simple HomelifeFurniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard SeedInspire Me Please Link Party at
Liz Marie Blog
Frugal Friday at The Shabby NestFeathered Nest Friday at French Country CottageWhat Have You Redone at Redoux InteriorsHome Sweet Home at The Charm of HomeThrifty Things Friday at The Thrifty GrooveSimple and Sweet
Fridays at Rooted inThyme
Be Inspired at Common GroundFaunt It Friday at Chic on a Shoestring DecoratingFrugalicious Friday
at Finding Fabulous
Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer RizzoShow and Tell Friday at Romantic HomeJunkin’ Joe Vintage and Thrifty Finds at The Cottage MarketWeekend Wrap-Up Party at Tatertots and JelloShabbilicious Friday Link Party at Shabby Art BoutiqueTickled Pink at 504 MainAnything Blue Friday at The Dedicated HouseRustic Restorations Weekend Link Party at Homespun Happenings,  Great IdeaThursdays at A Handful of Everything.

I am delighted you’ve visited me today. Please leave a line or two if you have enjoyed your stay here. You can also subscribe to my posts or add me to bloglovin.

Have a beautiful weekend !

329847D06DC776810690945E262E8BDA

Stores and quirky names !!

One of things that really fascinates me whenever I visit any country are the names of their stores, shops or signs. Especially the translations if its in a foreign language. Here are some of the funny/weird/unusual/cute and even inspirational names I came across in various cities of England.

One thing is for sure ~ All these stores were successful with their naming strategy ! It sure caught my attention just like many others must have also noticed these somewhat odd names.
DSCF2940

This plaque was in Central London.

DSCF3418

This is an Ice Cream and fruit drink store so whats with the bubbles ??

DSCF3906

I wonder how lazy could Daisy be, if she actually opened her own store ??

DSCF3929

DSCF4285

Oh my !!! what a lovely stone sign with an image of a cobweb but why would ANYONE keep a name after Cobwebs ???

DSCF4286

I love the name ~ I love the font used ~ I love the beautiful and colorful display and whats most important is that its a charity store !

DSCF4287

love the name “singing kettle” ~ sounds like the kettle from Beauty and the beast !

DSCF4294

This, I have no idea of ! whats the connection between car and kitchen ?? But I think, its a charity store.

DSCF4491

Ooops ~ army lost its Rrrrrrr !

DSCF4608

A REAL MAD HATTERS PARTY !!!! Can you believe that ? And just see how beautifully and creatively the notice board and the chair are decorated !

DSCF4847

Oh yeah, my husband and my dad, would agree to that ! Old Guys do rule !

DSCF4899

Isn’t that just so cute !! Melting Pot ! A little something of everything !

DSCF4945

Cottle’s cards !

DSCF5010

Too bad, the store was closed, or I would have loved to explore, Grandma’s attic !

DSCF5016

I mean, who in their rightful mind gets donkeys and pigs to compete ???? I guess they do  !

DSCF5020

This store had such a creative display of beautiful items ~ and the name suited it perfectly ~ seabreeze.

DSCF5021

DSCF5022

DSCF5024

That’s my son infront of Saxons which is a real estate company in Burnham on sea.

DSCF5065

I’m just over the moon, watching all these gorgeous plaques !

DSCF5068

And now, what drives a person to keep a hundred monkeys ?? or is that what becomes of them after they leave the bar ??

DSCF5074

Lovely earthlings ~ isn’t it /..

DSCF5075

Enlightened and PINK !!

DSCF6094

” Why LOOSE ??? ” is the question

DSCF6096

lovely display !

DSCF6099

and these two chefs are actually putting back the soul in the bread !

DSCF6115

what a cute name for a store that packs luncheons ! Lunch Box ! Simple and straightforward.

DSCF6129

No, they don’t wash tigers here ~ but they do give them a tiger bath or should I say, lick !!

DSCF6130

There is an over-use of that word for cats ~ PAM pURRED !

DSCF6429

This was the ultimately funny sign. We visited this tiny fishermens’ village on one of the main sea coast areas of Hastings and found a large sign saying “We don’t sell drugs ” !! Perhaps the residents were highly fed up of people harassing them for drugs.

London ~ street performers.

Hello friends ~ Like I promised in my previous post, I am continuing my “pictorial story” about our English holidays this past August.

We visited Central London only a couple of times, which still did not seem enough time to admire the amazing museums, parks, changing of guards etc. One thing that made the entire package even more enjoying was the amazing street performers which were present from Trafalgar square right upto the park adjacent the London Eye.

Each one of them were dressed in cartoonish or period costumes with face makeup et all, had some form talent (except the Halloween mask guy ) and would enact the role to the T.  They did not ask for money and were very civilized. I just kept admiring the bloke who  was sitting and looked like he just came out of coal mine. What brilliant make up !! Also the  guy in the silver costume ! And the other silver military guy would perform a slow-motion break dance !

Naturally this is all to unusual for us here in the Middle-East or in other parts of Asia  as well.  The only armies of performers one witnesses in the Asian countries, sadly are the, beggars, who line up in masses right from the airport terminal to the traffic lights to any of the tourist spots. That does leave a sour taste in the mouths of the average traveler what like having to constantly hush them away and if you pay one then a dozen of them reach for your purse.  But its all a part of the Asian itenary !

I am sharing a few of the images with you ~ I am certain you will find them fascinating.

 

Fotor091122140 Fotor091121615 Fotor091120536 Fotor09112108 Fotor091123948 Fotor091122457

Sharing these pictures for some Halloween inspirations with the following blogs :-
Simply Creations Link Party at My Simple Homelife, Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed, Inspire Me Please Link Party at Liz Marie Blog, Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest, Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage, What Have You Redone at Redoux Interiors.

Well thats it for now friends ! Thank you for visiting me today and I hope to see you again. Kindly use the “Follow” icon on the top left side of the page to subsrcibe to my latest posts or you could also join me on bloglovin.

Best regards

Holiday in England.

Hi friends !   I’m back from an absolutely refreshing and strangely enough, exhausting trip to England.  Not only was the month long holiday full of adventure but it was the first time I visited London along with the boys.

We stayed in London for a week or so, to attend my nieces’ wedding followed by a couple of days at Windermere at Lake district in the North of England and later hired a car and drove all over the south !! LITERALLY ALL OVER !!!  My intimate friend Judy had arranged one of her homes for us to stay in Midsomer Norton in Somerset. So we’d pop over at Bristol and Bath for a day trip and pop back to our temporary home. Again a day at Longleat safari park which houses the absolutely amazing Longleat palace. Wookey holes, wells and Cheddar Gorge (home of cheddar cheese !) was a full day tour. Ofcourse one of the best trips was to the Haynes International Motor museum followed by the Fleet Air Arm Museum.   Another day, we visited the home of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. And how beautiful the beaches are in Portsmouth, Wayworth, and Western supermare !!  A lot of interesting and unusual caves were on the itinery in Hastings as well as Ingelstone.  Naturally how do you visit the south-east of England and not pop on over StoneHedge !!!

I cannot describe in as many adjectives just how fantastic the country side and the sea-side in the south of England is.  It is virtually one large water-color canvas with colors and hues of grey one morning to bright shining tones in the afternoon. We basked in the sun, the rains thrilled us and the chill  in the north was something that was what every family from the middle-east loves and misses the most about UK.

It was such a perfect trip. I really have a gazillion photos of our trip, which I am hoping to share in the coming posts ! We saw it all,  waterfalls from mist soaked mountains, cows, goats, sheep, lush green meadows, cows, goats, sheep, deep serene lakes of the north, cows, goats, sheep, the “real” villages of England with tiny bylanes and narrow streets, awesome beaches,  cows, goats, sheep and unusual caves with mysterious stories around them, historical churches, museums and lavish castles.

We travelled by almost all means of transport including  bus, metro, train, and finally by car too !!   Infact, we wished to take a balloon ride but the day, we wished to book the ride, we were recommended not to, since the wind conditions were expected to turn bad.  Yes, I could easily fill a couple of books with this trip.

A few mishaps are a part and parcel of every trip. Thank fully, nothing major except my phone fell to the ground and got a large crack which rendered it non-functional, disabling all my phone numbers since they were fed into the phone memory and not the chip 😦

We missed Keiki and Pepper dearly. The gardener was given the responsibility of feeding them in the kitchen but somehow they both played on mind virtually everyday 😦 Only after we returned, did I realize, why I had felt so bothered about them both. Yes, it a ESP thing !!

One of the conveniences we take for granted in Dubai are the Halal food in supermarkets  and Halal meals in every restaurant.. Hand showers with water in every toilet. Dubai spoils us for choices and we tend to not realize how precious it is to find a masjid in every second street. Alhamduallah.

Tom Tom, the GPS devise emerged as a new huge hero for us, during our long hours of driving. We completely fell in love with it. The comfort of knowing where a speed radar, a fuel station or even the nearest Tesco is, was such immense relief.

I have returned with heaps of beautiful memories and the best being that of spending all this time exploring with my family, friends and relatives. It was such amazing joy, meeting cousins and relatives whom we had only seen photos of, especially thru facebook !!

I am briefly sharing just a very few pictures of some of the beautiful sites I found especially beautiful in UK.

These pictures are of one of our trips to Central London at Picadilly Circus and the adjoining tourist areas. I was blown away by the architecture of the buildings ! Absolutely breath-taking !!

DSCF2766

DSCF3032

DSCF3055

DSCF3059

DSCF3079

DSCF3081

DSCF2797

DSCF2813

DSCF2835

DSCF2836

DSCF2838

DSCF2839

DSCF2845

DSCF2853

DSCF2860

 

DSCF2874


I mean, can you just imagine the pain-staking intricate stone carving ! Absolutely brilliant !!  I have only just shared a tiny portion of one afternoon spend in the city ~ so u can imagine just how much is in store for you 🙂

Thank you visiting me today ~ Kindly follow my posts by subscribing to my blog on the top left side or add me on bloglovin.

Regards

Next stop on Oman tour : Greenback Turtles in Sur.

The circle of life begins !

Hello friends,

I am continuing my travel-log about our recent visit to Oman. Please see here and here for our previous two day posts.

Having spent a beautiful day at the refreshing pools of Wadi Bani Khalid, we decided to move on by 6pm. We intended to stop over at Sur.  

Sur is the capital city of Ash Sharqiyah Region ie NorthEastern Oman, on the coast of Gulf of Oman. Its nearly 400kms from Muscat. However from Wadi Bani Khalid, it took us nearly 150 kms to Sur.

This city is historically known for being an important destination point for sailors. Today the city has retained its reputation as a major dhow-building town, the very same vessels that were used for trade two centuries previously. Naturally the sea plays an important part in every aspect of the peoples lives in this region.

However the city is a tourist magnet for its Greenback turtles as well  !  Sur has a nice long beach and its beaches are egg laying beds for the Greenback turtles. Ras Al Jinz is a small sandy bay where greenback turtles come ashore to nest all year round.

The turtles come from the ocean in the mid-night, dig the trench, lay their eggs, cover them with sand and go back to the ocean. Although it is a very slow process, it is rather fascinating how tirelessly (  for nearly 2-3 hours) the turtles, practice and carry forward this tradition instinctively.  These turtles are rather large and hence to see them in their holes, tossing out sand with their flippers and lay their eggs is truly an amazing process !  It is an experience in itself  !

Apparently, over 20,000 female turtles return yearly to this beach where they were hatched in order to lay their eggs.

Omani government plays an important role in protecting these turtles and has harsh penalties for disturbing the females or their eggs.  The only way to visit the beach is through the Ras al-Jinz Scientific and Visitor’s Centre, where you must make a reservation to visit the site with a tour guide after 9 p.m. 

Although previously when we had visited Sur, there was no formal system in place, however we were pleasantly surprised that this time around, the beach, which is around 50 kms from Sur, is monitored by the police. One has to enter before 8:30 pm and they are very strict about entrance time. There is a quota system for the  number of vehicles each night.  Ofcourse  honking is forbidden and one has to follow lines and park only in designated areas. Children have to be controlled too and mobiles on silent mode.  Naturally since Turtles are sensitive to noise and light, silence is a must and flash lights/torches should only be used to find missing children !!!  I was pleased to see that the government was making improvements to conserve this beach and the turtle egg-laying process.

Man is at a loss ~ unless he respects NATURE. Every so often, you come across a selfish moron, who does not show any consideration for nature and all that comprises nature. Introducing the moron, who happily, takes pictures of our mother turtle, shooting flashes of light here way, so as to capture her agonizing, egg “dropping” process ~ oblivious of how his sheer presence must be so annoying to her.

The pictures, here, of the young hatchlings dont belong to me, since I did not want to disturb the little babies with my camera.  

I would always recommend that anyone interested in this spending overnight in this absolutely amazing beach , carry some carpets/rugs, some snacks, a torch (not to point at the turtle, but just incase you lost something) some water and just relax on the beach under the moon light. It is truly divine.   However, please remember to leave the beach as clean as you found it, when you arrived !! Carry your plastic bags to throw your litter in.

Oh yeah, and for people like myself, worry not, there are toilet facilities available !!

Ras Al Hadd is also an ideal option if one wishes to stay close to the beach in a reasonably good chalet-like set up. Only a short distance from Ras Al Jinz Visitor Center.

You can find more information about the Greenback Turtles in sur :- here

Since we reached Sur, rather late and did not have a reservation booked in any hotel, we were turned down by several hotels due to the Eid Holidays.   Finally we got two rooms in  Sur Plaza hotel. The hotel was comfortable, the rooms spacious and clean and the staff, professional and helpful. After such a hectic day and a sumptuous dinner, we all just crashed out in our rooms !!

Next morning, after a refreshing swim in the pool and a pleasant breakfast, we packed and left for the our next destination.

 

I do hope, I have inspired you to pop over at Google Map or such, and atleast check out, where Oman is located and what it has to offer. Truly, its a phenomenal destination with sleepy villages, enchanting coastlines, refreshing wadis enveloped in the Hajar mountains, miles of everchanging landscapes and a few modern cities in between. Oman provides a very complete ARAB experince.

BTW, Just FYI Oman Government or Oman Tourism has not paid me to write this blog. I have been visiting Oman since 1998 and 14 years later,  this magnificient country still does not seize to amaze me with its natural beauty and hidden treasures of Wadi’s and caves.

Thank you for visiting me today.

Sharing my experince with the following parites :-

MONDAY
Making the World Cuter
Craft-O-Maniac
Making Monday Marvelous
Tuesday

Today’s Creative Blog
Hope Studio
Tutorials and Tips Tuesday

Eid Trip to Muscat ~ Day 2. Wadi Bani Khalid.

WBK 5

Oman may be thought-of as Dubai’s Sleepy neighbor, but as you discover Oman you’ll find a world of dramatic mountain scenery, pure white sand beaches, the warmth of traditional eastern hospitality, ancient ruins and bustling markets where life has remained unchanged for centuries.  

It is not completely defaced by shopping malls or high-rise buildings so is  low-key, modest and sleekly traditional.  

It was another early start  and after enjoying the delicious buffet breakfast, we headed off to Wadi Bani Khalid. It took about 4 hours to reach the Wadi itself.   Located approximately 270km from Muscat and famous for its natural beauty.

 The road networks are very elaborate and well maintained but I feel, the sign boards are not very tourist-friendly. It can get quite confusing. But then again, it is a large country and they are still, in the process of developing their tourism.

From Muscat we head southward on Route 23, from Rusayl Industrial area to Nizwa/Sur.   Some of the major cities that follow on this route are :-  Fanjah, Bidbid, Al Ahmadi, Ibra Airport, Ibra city, Mudhaireb. There are three fuel stations in Oman, namely, Oman Oil, Al Maha and shell, which line this route at convenient spots.

 There is a large area after Ibra, where they have Tourist Desert Camps, I believe, they are similar to Wahiba Sands (which is also on the same route) Since we wanted to make it before Asr Salaat to Wadi Bani Khalid, we could not stop over for a tour at these Camps.

 

 On our way, we saw great crags and slate-colored mountains across a landscape as barren and haunting.  Then travelled through rugged landscape before arriving at the palm-filled Wadi Bani Khaled, which is justly famed for its natural beauty. We follow a well-worn path into the heart of this rocky oasis and discover a large  pool fed by a natural mountain spring.

 ( For the aspiring geology bugs out there ~ this is great trip to discover all main elements of the geology of Oman. We saw layered Gabbros and pillow lava form !!  )

Wadi Bani Khaled is one of the most popular and most easily accessible wadi(s) in Oman. There is a large designated parking area  at the entrance to the wadi and walking paths  lead to a large area with pools and spots where it is possible to swim.

The pedicure fishes which nibble at your feet. Apart from the lush palm trees, there are these very thorny plants, relentlessly growing from between the boulder cracks !!

 

 In the middle of miles of pristine landscapes, locals and tourists were swimming in clear emerald waters. The Eid holidays had attracted more than a fair share of visitors to the wadi. Many people had been here since morning while some were making their way out but many like us, were still pouring in, probably for an overnight camp since we could see all the overnight camping gear and large cooking utensils/mats  being carried.

 

The tourist services at the wadi are fairly developed, especially when compared to the others we saw. We made our way through the parking lot, along the path to the “developed” area and then clambered over rocks to get to the swimming area.

We spent about an hour there, and it was just divine. The water was totally clear and throwing up dancing reflections on the surrounding rocks, and the little pedicure fish were busy gnawing at our toes..  

Wadi(s) are ancient rocky (sometimes dry) river beds that roll down from the mountains with flaring deltas where their rivers spill into the Arabian sea.  But many wadi(s) have steep walled canyons high up their mountain flanks which can flash flood with overwhelming  force just minutes after a heavy rainfall sweeping away anything that moves.  While the remaining stream of water flows constantly, the Wadi is also blessed with boulders that help gather large pools of water along its course.

In the last pic on the right, do you see a tiny chap in red shorts ~ thats my son sawaab ~ and imagine thats me, standing on the opposite side of the cliff watching him and taking a few pics, with my heart in my throat at that moment !!!

There also interesting cave formations on this Wadi, the famous of which is Kahf Magal.  This place is serious rock climbing and hiking !  ofcourse there were many young local lads who were relentlessly cliff jumping (much to my horror !! )

The boys and DH made their way to the Mukul Caves (Kahr Magal) while I stayed back at the pool and made good use of my camera.  The boys were thrilled and exhausted after all the hiking and swimming.  

It was nearly dark and we had a long distance of nearly 100km to cover to Sur/Raas Al Hadd and so we started the onward journey bidding farewell to the very pristine landscape of Wadi Bani Khalid.

Hope you had fun going thru this photographic journey.

Linking this beautiful Wadi trip to the following parties :-

MONDAY
The DIY Home Sweet Home
It’s so Very Cheri 
Making the World Cuter
Craft-O-Maniac
Making Monday Marvelous
Tuesday

Sundays Best
Today’s Creative Blog
Hope Studio
Tutorials and Tips Tuesday

Eid trip to Muscat in Oman ~ day 1

This peculiar hill stands alone at low tide and in high tide, one cannot even see the base !

For those who are first time visitors to my blog home, We live in Arabian Ranches in Dubai. However, being a travel bug all these years,  its strange that I have not logged anything about the many travels that we have made in the past.

Well, let me start with the most recent one. 

We celebrated Eid Ul Adha or the Celebration of Sacrifise this Friday. More than 3 million muslims gathered in Mecca to commemorate the journey and sacrifise that Prophet Abraham PBUH was ready to make, when tested by Allah swt.  Strangly enough, almost all the rituals in Hajj are in rememberance of Prophet Abraham PBUH (peace and blessings be upon him) and not Prophet Mohammed. Needless to say, Prophet Mohammed PBUH himself comes from the same genetic tree as that of Prophet Abraham PBUH. 

That is when we muslims, around the globe, celebrate Eid. Muslims have only two occasions of celebration ~ one being Eid ul Fitr and the other being Eid ul Adha.

Eid ul Fitr is celebrated after the holy month of Ramadhan. After we have completed the 3o fasts of the month of Ramadhan. And Eid Ul Adha is celebrated in the Islamic month of ZilHaj, when muslims perform Hajj. 

This year, we decided to make the animal sacrifise in Aligarh instead of here in Dubai, as we would have, otherwise. So after the second day of Eid, Sam decided to take us to Muscat. Although nothing was planned ~ we have done plenty of road trips to Oman in the past, however, ever since Sam’s surgery, this was our first trip. My Yukon truck was in good condition and the boys were super excieted coz they had not been out since our trip to Turkey. 

Oman has three borders with U.A.E. We have the Hatta border, the Buraimi border in Al Ain and the border which is further ahead of Ras Al Khaimah, on the way to Khasab. We used the Hatta border to enter Oman and surprisingly there was’nt a huge traffic. The Muscat Expressway Route 1 takes you all the way to Muscat. Nearly 400 kms of travelling absolutely straight.  Some of the major cities enroute are Sohar, Saham, Barka, and Seeb. It took us nearly 4 hours to reach Muscat. 

Sadly Dubai is not blessed with many mountains but is layered with sandy dunes while Oman has fewer dunes but for the most of it, they are almost completly sourrounded by the Hajjar mountain range, gorgeous blue beaches and numerous Wadi’s.  These dark roughed mountains against the beautiful blue oceans are ~ absolutely breathtaking.

blue blue and some more blue !

The picture underneath is in stark contrast ~ An deserted fisherman’s home on the right and one of the more contemporary villas on the left. Also underneath are pictures of a well, that we came across on our way to Yiti beach.

In this trip we stayed for 3 nights at the Muscat Dunes Hotel.  A new hotel with studios,  one and two bedroom suites. Although it is always adviceable to book in advance, having been to Muscat umpteen number of times, we decided to take a risk and luckily, we got the rooms totally by fluke since they had a couple of no shows ~ The hotel itself was excellent. Very efficient service, very large rooms with kitchen, kettle, iron stand AND WASHING MACHINE !!!! Yes, you read right, Washing machine !!! I was totally blown away by the comfort in the room. The pool was simple but good sized ~ We had to virtually drag the boys out of the pool every morning. Our room rate included breakfast which was a sumptous continental buffet.

Our studio and One bedroom suite in Muscat Dunes Hotel.
My boys !

Ofcourse on the first day we visited Yitti/Yiti beach and so enjoyed the landscape, swimming in the beach, collecting sea shells, playing in the sand etc.

The little hill popping out of the sea was a real treat. During low tide, you can actually picnic there. However come hightide and we have a totally different story to tell.  Our little beach was happily sourrounded with crabs and slugs ! None of whom seemed to bother us. Its a totally family beach and less popular than the city beaches.

Yitti beach bought back many memories of a time 7-8 years back, when we had visited this same beach and our four wheel got stuck just when it was about to turn dark and the tide started to rise !!! Those days, this was an isolated place with only a tiny fishermen village at a far distance. Sam was getting so frustrated with the truck just digging deeper in the sand and perhaps what irritated him more, was that I was video shooting the whole episode !!   Out of the blue, a land cruiser spotted us and two local boys in their kandooras (white long dress) popped out and most graciously toed the car out.  We had the Suburban those days, and although it was a HUGE truck, the boys took total control of the cars and manoevered the sticky situation. All my tiny boys were strapped up in their car seats, oblivious of what was going on. These boys even asked us to follow them out till city limits since there were no street lights and the road just kept on twirling for miles. Such is the hospitality and generousity of true muslims !!  I know in my heart, that day Allah swt sent these angels to get us out of the mess. My boys were just around 2,3 and 5 then !!!

This peculiar hill stands alone at low tide and in high tide, one cannot even see the base !
Some finds on the beach ! Crabs, cranes, and slugs.

And today we were there again ! But things have changed. More people visit these beaches and it didnt seem so secluded anymore and yes there are lights on the road !

Oman is alot like Dubai. However the pace of life in Oman is still relaxed and not exhaustive unlike Dubai. Oman has been blessed with super amazing topography ! Its a tourist paradise in terms of landscape. This year, we were so pleased to see the brilliant network of road system the Government has established. Its made travelling so much more easier, convienient and less time-consuming. However, I just wished they had a more efficient road mapping system. The road signs are not exactly tourist-friendly.

Roads in Oman

 What really made the stay further enjoyable were :-

  • Good network of roads
  • 24 hours convieniently placed fuel stations with food marts (and yes, fuel is cheaper than Dubai )
  • All the regular fast food joints like Hardees, Mcdonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Pizza Inn.
  • In addition to these food outlets, they also had Al Safadi and Automatic restaurant also !
  • Ofcourse, the presence of Lu Lu Hypermarket and Carrefour make life so much easier ! 
  • Although Arabic and swahili is spoken commonly, most locals speak English.

So that was our first day in Muscat ~ well spent on two different beaches and long drives ! We had shawarma ~ which is probably the most consumed “meal” in the Gulf.  We seemed to have some dark clouds which bought so many hopes of some showers !

We turned in early since we had to leave early the next day for Wadi Bani Khalid.

I’ll continue about Day 2 in my next post.

I’d like to join the following parties to share this trip with them :-

Thursday
Friday
New Friend Friday

I hope you found this post informative and interesting. Where ever you may be living, Oman is surely a place worth a visit. You’ll be surprised how much it has to offer !

Have a beautiful day !

Naush