UK – Anchor Bleu’s Fish & Chips

I LOVE UK’s Fish & Chips and particularly Anchor Bleu’s. Thanks to my lovely mother in-law who invited us for Tim’s 28th Birthday. I really enjoyed the vibe, the service and the food.

If ever you stop by that area, please order their Fish and Chips and around the corner, there’s a cute souvenir and art gallery to check out.

The place is really cozy and feels like home.

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UK- The Bellions and the Deadly Hallows

Tim and I took a flying car to Warner Bros Studios and as we got there, we were welcomed by the Half-Blood Prince, who led us to the Chamber of Secrets, we were amazed and mesmerized by the magical world of Harry Potter.

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We both purchased the package tour which included the ticket, souvenir guide and the digital guide that explained the set in detail and included videos. We spent almost 4 hours in the studio and looked at the costumes, behind the scenes, green screens, every single detail from each and every movie. They entertained the Gryffindors (WUHUUU *High 5 if you are one), Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and the Slytherins into wand competition and broom riding lol (I’m not quite sure if that is what it’s called)

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As we got to the platform of nine and three quarters, we ran towards the Hogwarts Express to escape the Dementors. We safely reached our destination, called the FOOD COURT and decided to take a break and have some Butter Beer.

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We continued our mystical journey through the world of the Dark Lord. We truly were shocked by every single detail and work that was put into the movie. Especially the drawings and architectural planning. We ended the tour with our mouths open staring at the 3D Model of Hogwarts.

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Before ending our adventure, we stopped at the Souvenir Store and bought wands. I’ve got Lord Voldemort’s and Tim’s got Dumbledore.

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That’s it for now..Oh well then …

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UK – Yes!!! We went to Top Golf AGAIN

Oh Watford we keep going back to you, well you gotta thank Top Golf for that.

So earlier that day, Tim and his friend Ryan planned to go karting while Gina (Ryan’s fiance) and I wanted to go and get our nails done. Unlike here in Dubai where you can be a walk-in, we were so unlucky, all the nearby spa’s were fully booked and that was on a weekday.

Anyway we stopped at an outdoor coffee shop that overlooks the river and enjoyed some Chinese tea with a slice of carrot cake on the side. Tim and Ryan followed us later and we all decided to play golf. Where? TOP GOLF OF COURSE.

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Ok! So if we actually went there twice that means WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.

After losing 3 times in a row in our last visit. This recent visit I managed to find the right golf putter and grip and won Tim TWICE!!! I never win if I play against Tim. So this is a glorified moment for me. HALLELUJAH

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Top Golf is the perfect place for hang out especially with friends. If you don’t know how to play, don’t worry about, it’s not a professional field anyway. Just have FUN.

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UK – Eat, Shop & Tour in South Sea & Portsmouth

Tim and I visited SouthSea Cafe twice during our second visit to the UK, once with the familia for lunch/ dinner to celebrate Steve’s (our brother in-law’s birthday) and Tim’s 28th. The following day, we had breakfast with my ex-colleague and her husband who settled in South Sea after living in Dubai for some time. The cafe serves delicious seafood and perfectly made Eggs Florentine.

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During our first visit, Tim, his mum ‘Shirley’ (who is reading my blog right now hehe! HELLOOO!!!) and I made a stop at Gunwharf before heading back to Hayling Island. She wanted to go shopping and buy shoes but instead, I ended up shopping because Gunwharf is like an outdoor outlet mall and the prices were so cheap compared to what I’d get in Dubai.

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On our second visit, right after breakfast Tim and I went back to Gunwharf to check out the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Yes! It looks like Burj Al Arab and is bought by Emirates. Although I come from Dubai and the view from the second floor isn’t that impressive, I’d still recommend the place because of the stunning view of the Ports, Hayling Island and Isle of Wight.

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After spending an hour there taking photos and admiring the view. We continued our journey to Chichester to spend the day with Tim’s dad.

LONDON – City of Inspiration and Creativity

Sadly we had 2 days in London which I personally think is not enough to explore the city. I believe if I  ever moved there, I will never get bored of that place. There are so many things to see and restaurants to try. We managed to be proper tourist and visited the main attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds.

During our second day in London, Tim and I visited Borough Market where we had Spanish oysters, Turkish coffee and French cheese. Later that day we met up with my friend Elise for dinner in Carnby. Tim and I also did some shopping at Harrods and Oxford Street. I was amazed by how many GGC nationals were there shopping, it felt I was back in Dubai.

The main thing I love about London is the blend of modern and history, similarly to what I felt about Istanbul. London is a perfect place to be creative; everything is spectacular like the architecture, roads, art, museums… I can go on and on. Speaking of museums, Tim is a physicist and is in love with science however on the other hand, C’EST MOI oh well I’m like Penny from The Big Bang Theory. So while strolling the streets of London, I asked Tim if he can take me to a museum. Tim just smirked and said ‘Oh I know where to take you’ and YES!! We ended up going to a SCIENCE MUSEUM. Ladies and Gentle, that’s my cheeky husband. Anyway I got to learn the history of vehicles and the only thing that amazed me in that museum was the glow in the dark room.

London is in my top 5 favourite cities in the world, I can’t wait for my next visit and explore more.

I LOVE LONDON

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Palestinian Refugee in the UK

Before travelling to the UK, I had extremely low expectation of the country and especially London. Many factors led me to think like that, starting with the way I’m treated in Dubai, everyone I know complains about the British weather, also the stereotype that British people are as cold as their weather and finally the visa centre for giving me a hard time and rejecting my first application for minor reasons.

Anyhow, Tim and I landed in Heathrow airport and it was my first visit to the UK and amusingly the lady at the passport control counter cracked a joke about my travel document saying “it’s been ages I haven’t seen one of those”. FYI, I have a ‘travel document’ which is issued by the Lebanese Government for Palestinian Refugees and is still HANDWRITTEN. She also advised us that in our next trip, I get to stand in the EU/UK passport line. My reaction was ‘OMG! This is the first time anyone at passport control treated me in a  nice and respectful manner’. 

Besides the fact that my travel document is handwritten, it is only written in French and Arabic (يا الله / Oh Mon Dieu). The amount of crap I receive at airports and of course being interrogated and waiting for translators to translate my enormous booklet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud to be PALESTINIAN but passport control are just pain in the @$$.

After landing in London and passing immigration feeling like the queen of the world, everyone I interacted with was nice. It felt weird at first but later made me feel very welcomed. Before heading to Hayling, we stopped at a rent a ca in London and everyone who worked there were a racial mix of Asians and Africans with a strong British accent.

After spending days in the country side, Tim and I decided to stay in London for 2 days before flying back to Dubai. Honestly, I was impressed by the lovely city, country and the British people. Everyone was friendly and helpful and my viewpoint changed 180 degrees and I fell in love with the people, British culture and the UK weather LOL.

UK – A Day in Reading & Watford

We planned a fun outing with Tim’s college friends Ryan and Gina who are extremely down to earth and are very friendly. We’ve organised an outing to hit some golf balls up at Watford, Hertz.

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Before heading there, Tim and I made a stop at Reading early in the morning for coffee and muffins and went for a walk around his area. He used to live there before moving to Dubai.
After having our breakfast we headed to Watford to play golf at a place called ‘Top Golf’. Yeah! I looked like a complete loser but I enjoyed it.
After playing for hours, we decided to drive to Oxford for lunch and explore the area.

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UK – Oxford

Oxford is a stunning historic city, although it’s gloomy there’s something about it. I view people from Oxford as highly educated and awfully posh.

We manage to visit parts of the Oxford University and checked out a museum and library. While exploring the area, we stopped and bought burritos to eat while walking.

Oxford made me feel like I was in Hogwarts and in Oxford is where I had my first Portuguese Custard Tarts. Thank you Gina!

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UK – Inn on the Beach

After months of trying to select an inexpensive place to celebrate our nuptial, we then decided on a restaurant by the beach called ‘Inn on the Beach’. I never thought a set menu in the UK would cost more than a buffet in Dubai. It was very difficult to select a place but overall Tim and I were very pleased with our selection. The food was delicious and service was decent.

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We celebrated with our family and had a wonderful time. It was fun to bond with the in-laws. It felt like I know them before and they didn’t make me feel like an outsider. Later that day, we continued the gathering at my father in-laws place on Hayling. He cooked beef curry and we had chutney on the side for dinner and Tim’s cousin ‘Mike’ and his partner ‘Lynn’ baked us a wedding cake. We all had a pleasant evening.

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UK – Hayling Island

Tim was raised on a small island all the way down south called ‘Hayling Island’. It is a very chillaxed place and perfect for retirement.

First day we landed in UK, we rented a car and drove straight to Hayling and met my beautiful sister in-law ‘Lucy’ and her husband ‘Steve’. We later drove around the Island and stopped at local stores to buy some items we needed and I purchased a cough syrup and cold & flu pills as I wasn’t cooping well with the weather. C’MON I’m a Dubai girl, I was born and raised in the desert; of course I can’t handle the cold.

The Island is famous for surfing and water sports but I was unlucky due to visiting in winter so we didn’t manage to do much of outdoor activities BUT we did go to a restaurant really close to the beach, which is recommended on TripAdvisor, it’s called ‘Coast Guard Fish & Chips’. Not kidding you, till date, it’s the most delicious Fish & Chips I’ve ever had.

On a Sunday, Tim wanted me to have a full British experience of enjoying a £2 Sunday Roast and to appreciate and embrace the British culture (I think I already did, our apartment is filled with the Union Jack). My mother in-law was with me while I was selecting my roast, the guy cutting the meat said something to me but I couldn’t hear him properly so my mother in-law repeated whatever he said and told him that it was my first visit to the UK. He actually thought I couldn’t speak English and said in an extremely slow pace ‘WELCOMEEE TOOO ENGGGLAAANDDD’. So I just smiled and pretended that I couldn’t speak English.

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My overall experience on Hayling was relaxing like I said its very much a chillaxing place. Would I live there? Absolutely Yes, when I turn 60 and want to retire. I hope some day I get to visit the Island during summer time and enjoy the outdoor activities.

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