Tag Archives: Beach

The one where spring arrived in Perth

Last week it didn’t really seem like spring here in Perth. Lame. But what a difference a week makes!

Perth CBD from King's Park

Perth CBD from King’s Park

Cottesloe Beach

Cottesloe Beach

Temperatures have upped all the way to 25/26C (that’s ~78F), with the forecast for this weekend slated to be 32C (91F)! While I don’t miss the oppressive Houston or Dubai summers (or late springs/early falls for that matter), I did miss warm weather and continual sun – what can I say? I must suffer from seasonal depression disorder 😉

I am so thrilled with this sudden shift in temps and sunshine that I took advantage of it this week and spent lots of time outside in two of my favorite Perth outdoor spots: King’s Park (larger than NYC’s Central Park!) and Cottesloe Beach.

King’s Park

King's Park, Perth

King’s Park, Perth

Police on horseback

Police on horseback

Spectacular spring day

Spectacular spring day

One of the floral displays

One of the floral displays

ANZAC Memorial

ANZAC Memorial

A portion of downtown Perth from the park

A portion of downtown Perth from the park

Cottesloe Beach: I love this beach! Clearly it has the turquoise waters and fine white sand 🙂 but I think the forestry (Norfolk Island pines, primarily) and pathways that line the beach on the back make this a special spot.

Cottesloe

Cottesloe

The Cottesloe Pylon

The Cottesloe Pylon

The Indiana Teahouse is a building you’ll see featured prominently in photos of “Cott” (I put this in quotation marks because although a lot of people call Cottesloe “Cott”, I don’t think I’m cool enough to do that yet); the Indiana Teahouse was built in 1910 as an ice cream parlor. Now it’s a little restaurant spot right on the beach.

"Cott" and the Indiana Teahouse

“Cott” and the Indiana Tea House – you can really see those pines that line the beach

Indiana Teahouse building

Indiana Tea House building (and a few sunbathers – they were brave because even though it was sunny, it wasn’t exactly bikini weather!)

Thank you for indulging me with [landscape] photo overload…the scenery was just too good to pass up!

Have great weekends, y’all – and until next time….

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The one with the Lancelin roadtrip

One of the weirdest things about living in Australia is wrapping my head around June, July, and August being winter months. Now while winter in Perth is hardly a sacrifice (no snow, temperatures do not dip below 10C/50F…knock on wood, no need for a big heavy coat), it’s still odd to have the heater on in July. Or an ice skating rink set up in Perth CBD, serving hot chocolate and mulled wine (hello?!?! I associate these things with Christmas!) But no matter. If this is winter in Australia, I’ll take it! 🙂

Winter in Perth does not suck

Winter in Perth does not suck

So even though this past weekend it was a bit chilly and overcast in Perth, Barr and I decided to “brave” the elements and go on a mini road trip. I read about the Lancelin sand dunes and adjacent beaches, about an hour and a half drive north of Perth. The drive was beautiful; we kept commenting that we couldnt believe that just twenty minutes from our house was so much tranquility and…well, just nothing (with the exception of sheep!)

You can read more about my thoughts on Lancelin on my WeekendNotes article here.

Easy trip from Perth CBD to Lancelin

When we rolled up to Lancelin, we were blown away (and not just because it was a windy day) 😉

Lancelin, Western Australia

Lancelin, Western Australia

The colors of the water were some of the brightest turquoise I’ve ever seen – seriously it rivaled the Maldives and Caribbean!

And then there were the dunes:

Lancelin Sand Dunes

Lancelin Sand Dunes

We dont have the proper car to do the dune bashing and didnt call ahead to book sand-boarding, but there were plenty of folks extreme sport-ing around the dunes…even in the “dead” of winter!

Taking it all (and hopefully relaxing!) in Lancelin - please note the fleece :)

Taking it all (and hopefully relaxing!) in Lancelin – please note the fleece 🙂 We may be at the beach, but it was pretty chilly!

Lancelin beaches

Lancelin beaches

It was a great little day trip for us on a chilly winter day – I would love to go back in the summer to check out the beaches then! Until next time…

The one where we went to Bali

Back from a whirlwind trip to Bali! In typical Blanton fashion, Barr and I scheduled a last minute trip to Bali last [long] weekend. While I with absolute certainty can say that I didn’t “need” a vacation so soon on the heels of the South Australia adventures, my beleaguered husband sure did. Of course I was more than happy to accompany him 😉

Not 100% sure why I decided to not look at the camera...but Barr looks great!

Not 100% sure why I decided to not look at the camera…but Barr looks great!

Legian, Bali - paradise!

Legian, Bali – paradise!

I wish I had some fun insights into our four day trip to Bali, but unfortunately for any folks looking to travel to Bali, we didnt do anything too over the top exciting – sleep, rest, and relaxation was on the top of the priority list this time around – so no tours or big plans (blasphemy, I know!) We stayed in a quiet little hotel in Legian, Bali – in between party-haven Kuta and shopping-haven Seminyak.

Legian is on the southwest coast, just south of Denpensar (imagine via Bayu Bali Tours)

The most bad ass/random bike we ever did see!

The most bad ass/random bike we ever did see!

Some highlights:

  • Dinner at Sardine – WOW! This place was magnificent – the combination of the delicious seafood and fresh, organic produce (not to mention TDF cocktails) with the exquisite views of a quiet rice paddy made Sardine a special place for us.
Sardine in Seminyak, Bali

Sardine in Seminyak, Bali

Sardine in Seminyak, Bali

Sardine in Seminyak, Bali

Sardine in Seminyak, Bali

Sardine in Seminyak, Bali

Panang Panang Beach

Barr silhouetted Panang Panang Beach

Panang Panang Beach

Panang Panang Beach

Uluwatu, Bali

Uluwatu, Bali

Uluwatu, Bali

Uluwatu, Bali

Jumping for joy in Uluwatu, Bali

Jumping for joy in Uluwatu, Bali

Uluwatu, Bali

Uluwatu, Bali

Though we returned on the red eye (which always seems like a great idea when you’re purchasing a plane ticket, but the worst idea when you’re preparing to board/actually on/disembarking), we returned refreshed, well rested, and hopefully, a bit tanner – we’ve missed the Dubai heat and sun (though maybe not the 136F temps they’re currently feeling!)

Farewell Bali!

Farewell Bali!

For now, back to the grind and reality! Until next time…

One of the cheeky little monkeys in Uluwatu

Two of the cheeky little monkeys in Uluwatu – scared the bejeezus out of me!

Hoo Married a Deac

As many of you may know, one of the big trends in weddings now is having the perfect hashtag – it’s a fun way to have your guests post pictures to social media and then by clicking on the aforementioned hashtag, all of your guest’s pictures/tweets/posts will be in one place – little album before your official pictures come in!

So now that we’re all on the same page in hashtag land, my radio silence has been due to that fact that I was in one of my very best friends (actually more like another sister to me – hi Anna!) wedding – and no, it was nothing like the movie!

The week before the wedding, I lurked around my old hometown, Charlotte, NC, running errands and seeing old friends (I wish I had a picture of my book club dinner!!). From Charlotte, Sarah Craig (the bride to be) and I drove down to Hilton Head, South Carolina for the big weekend. There were some intense storms and rain that blew through on Thursday, but Friday dawned clear, sunny, and the perfect temperature – dont you love it when the wedding gods smile down??

So, back to the hashtag: since the bride went to Wake Forest (home of the Demon Deacons – Deacs for short – yeah it’s a weird one, dont ask…) and the groom went to the University of Virginia (home of Wahoos – Hoos for short – again, weird, dont ask), the most clever (cleverist?) hashtag was developed: #HooMarriedaDeac (!)

UVA ‘Hoos

Wake Forest Deacs! (Clearly I’m a bit biased)

Sarah Craig and Bill’s wedding was such a great time – I was so blessed to stand next to them as they said their vows in front of so many family and friends. Enjoy this photo heavy post – and cheers to Sas and Bill 🙂

Bridesmaid's luncheon - wasnt the weather picture perfect???

Bridesmaid’s luncheon – wasnt the weather picture perfect???

Rehearsal dinner-ing with the Wake Forest crew - I miss these college friends SO much!!

Rehearsal dinner-ing with the Wake Forest crew – I miss these college friends SO much!!

A brief wedding pic interlude to showcase Lisa's adorable puppy, Darcy (if only all my posts included puppy pics!)

A brief wedding pic interlude to showcase Lisa’s adorable puppy, Darcy (if only all my posts included puppy pics!)

They're married! (And a cat - amazing)

They’re married! (And a cat – amazing)

The Haverlands :)

The Haverlands 🙂

Two of our friends from Wake made the absolute best shirts just for Sarah Craig

Two of our friends from Wake made the absolute best shirts just for Sarah Craig

Bossy Chi Omegas

Bossy Chi Omegas

Beautiful cake and flowers

Beautiful cake and flowers

The Wake Forest crew (except where's Papa Simpson!??!)

The Wake Forest crew (except where’s my dad?!)

Dubai Neighborhoods: “The Beach”

Dubai has such a simple (but large) way to hide their ever prevalent construction projects. Just take the drive between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and you’ll find the hugely tall walls going up to disguise Expo2020 building – they go on for miles. You can imagine my surprise and delight when some of those walls came down in JBR, just across the marina from our apartment, only to reveal the infamous, impressive The Beach. The walls had be assembled since we moved in (and well before that, I’m sure), with the only clues to what they beyond being the mock up paintings of the development around JBR and the clatter of construction tools. All was revealed a few weeks ago – voila!

DSC_0697 DSC_0694 DSC_0702

JBR is already a bustling area of Dubai, and The Beach only enhances this vibe – just now with a bit of a facelift. Developed by Meraas Holding, The Beach is comprised of a series of plazas, housing shops, restaurants, family-fun areas, a running/walking track, and what many believe will be the big draw: an open-air movie theater.

Where: The Beach can be located here, right on the water, just to the left of the Palm – approximately at letters N, O, and F. Just adjacent to the Dubai Marina and on JBR.

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

What: A number of retail and eatery options (only a handful of which are open as of yet – the rest are slated to open later this summer) right on the beach. And the beach itself is a great public beach option. The aforementioned open-air theater has seating right on the beach, as well as an indoor cinema (fabulous for movie buffs like we Blantons). Plenty of hotels, too! Be warned, however: the road to The Beach is a busy, one way street, but there is a 1,200 car parking lot as well as valet parking available – further, they are constructing a public transportation tram that should (?) be completed soon.

Gorgeous beach

Gorgeous beach

Menchie's...a favorite from Charlotte, NC!

Menchie’s…a favorite from Charlotte, NC!

Highlights:

  • The open-air movie theater by Reel Cinemas – check it out before it gets too warm here in Dubai!
  • The amazing sand sculptures (see below)
  • If you have children, I would think this would be an ideal place to bring them! The area absolutely caters to little ones with spots to ride bikes, a mini water park, as well as playgrounds (and of course the sea)
The sand Dubai skyline

The sand Dubai skyline

A tranquil little spot within one of the plazas

A tranquil little spot within one of the plazas

A ton (for Dubai) of green space

A ton (for Dubai) of green space

Check out The Beach in JBR to mix up your week – I’m looking forward to more shops opening and checking out a movie there one of these days. Until next time…

 

 

Road Trippin’ to Fujairah

After the guests had departed, driver’s licenses secured, and Blanca leased, Barr and I headed out on a little road trip! Sweet Barr had been looking into getaway locations within driving distance since he came home from Riyadh, and one of the perks of his continual travels is no shortage of hotel points! We settled on neighboring emirate, Furjairah at the Le Meridien Al Aqah beach resort given its tropical vibe, two hour driving distance and Starwood-ness 🙂

We hit the road early to get the hotel and enjoy as much of our time there as possible – I took the leg out there (I love driving!) As we started our little journey, we couldnt help but be reminded of a portion of our honeymoon trip to Zighy Bay in Musandam, Oman – the terrain was very similar!

Six Senses at Zighy Bay in Oman

Some camel hieroglyphics from a hike we did in Musandam, Oman

Fujairah and Musandam (pictured here) are quite similar in terms of terrain – rocky mountain one way…gorgeous ocean the other!

But I digress. Back to THIS trip!

Aside from one portion of the drive where there are really no distinguishable lanes and plenty of trucks and local drivers, the Dubai to Fujairah is quite easy! We made it in about two hours. Our room wasnt quite ready, but the staff couldnt have been more accommodating (that’s one thing I really have to stress about the Le Meridien Al Aqah: the staff was top notch!) We decided to hit the beach and enjoy some lunch and festive drinks!

Amazing scenery and great company

Amazing scenery and great company

We checked into the lovely hotel room and showered up for dinner and drinks at the top floor of the hotel. Then in typical Blanton fashion, we hit the hay early 🙂

Lovely sunset

Lovely sunset

We enjoyed some more reading and pool time the next day before hitting the road again (Barr at the wheel this time around – he stayed much calmer in the unmarked lanes than I did). This trip to Fujairah was so special, and a lovely way to cap off an awesome holiday season. I’m always happy when my workaholic husband can shut down on vacation (or at least 75% shut off) and relax – he even read a book! (This is an accomplishment, not because he can’t read, but because he rarely has time to just read for pleasure!) 😉

Is this real life?

Is this real life?

I feel so blessed to have been able to have Christmas surrounded by so many loved ones (and then FaceTime for those that werent here in person), to have friends here in Dubai that opened their home to us for a fab NYE celebration, and to have my husband by my side for two whole weeks! Now I’m gearing up for my mom’s visit next week (!!!!!!!!!!), volunteering beginning again, and a grueling Paleo Challenge that I doing with my gym (wish me luck – I suffer nightly from sugar withdrawal headaches). Stay warm to all my friends that are stateside – baby its cold outside (or so I hear!) Until next time….

Le Meridien Al Aqah pool and beach from our hotel balcony

Le Meridien Al Aqah pool and beach from our hotel balcony