I turned 36! Coulda’ sworn I was turning 37 (I’m bad at math lol) but after a certain point, does it really matter?
Aside from our usual go-to Birthday Cake from Cake’d my favorite cousin also sent over a cute little Cake! May surprised me with a Unicorn Brush Set and some Face Masks with a beautiful Birthday Card using our special language which we created (we had a lot of free time as kids lol). Abrar got me a gorgeous bouquet of Red Roses with a Gift Card for an at-home service (Mani-Pedi). The list goes on and on.
My favorite gift was from my younger brother and his wife though (shown in the photo above) which was a rather large basket filled with Baking Tools (everything from a Rolling Pin to a Brownie Pan and much much more)!
I was quite touched by everyone’s kindness! They didn’t have to get me anything but they did and it was just so thoughtful and sweet! ♥
I’d woken up and showered and curled my hair using my new favorite hair tool (purchased here) and worn my contacts and done my makeup and everything. So when my tummy started acting up, I pushed through it and drove to Al Mubarakiya to meet up with Abby and Bibi because we’d made plans.
I was feeling nauseous and had really bad stomach cramps that came in waves, but I’d put too much effort into dressing up and wasn’t about to stay home just because of some food poisoning lol
Bibi insisted we grab a bite to eat at Bait Ahmed so that’s what we did. Internally, I was in so much pain lol but externally I entertained the girls with a 3 Question Personality Quiz (try it out for yourself, here) that I’d picked up from the Whitney Cummings Podcast called Good For You. Their answers had us dying with laughter!
After we separated, I went home to die in the bathroom and then quickly headed to Shaheed Park to meet up with my Korean bestie. I gave him the gift that I’d picked up for him from Gucci earlier and we had some Hot Cocoa from Starbucks while we walked around and caught each other up with what was going on in our lives.
I would’ve loved to reschedule (because of the food poisoning) but also, I love the guy and what with the pandemic and all, we barely got a chance to hang out.
Once we said our goodbyes, I headed home and attempted to sleep it off, until I finally gave up and just went to Al-Amiri Hospital. An IV drip later and some pills, and I was right as rain.
Since the weather allowed for it, we made S’mores poolside!
The kids got a kick out of roasting their own marshmallows and honestly so did I! My baby niece looked so cute all bundled up in her Winter clothes too!
I finally got my brother to try Beesalt!
We ordered in and watched a movie called The Midnight Sky (starring George Clooney) on Netflix in the Cinema Room.
I’d been craving Chicken Musahab since forever, so I figured I’d just make my own.
Basically, you just shred the cooked chicken, mix in the cheese spread and whatever else you prefer, then slather it on some bread and done! It was my first attempt but everyone enjoyed it, including myself!
I’d also picked up some Chestnuts from taw9eel.com which we roasted in the garden during Fam Night.
I was in the mood to cook so I made Chicken Machboos!
When you are the one doing all the cooking, you can alter the food to taste exactly the way you like it, which makes all the difference!
Not to toot my own horn, but this was the best Chicken Machboos I’ve ever tasted lol
One of the Birthday Gifts I got was a this Room Alone Kit, which was meant to be an at-home Escape Room sorta’ deal.
It came with everything you would need, from a blue pen and little notebook to a whiteboard marker, a ruler, a poster and even the periodic table of elements, among other things.
The kids and my brother and I made a night out of it! It was deceptively hard but we managed to solve it before the timer ran out lol
Once you solve it though, it feels pointless to play again so I think I’m just gonna pass it along to a friend or something.
I hadn’t been to the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway yet and since the kids were on their Winter Break, I figured I’d take them to see it.
I was so lost and kept missing the turn lol The view when we finally got there was worth it! So pretty!
The desert was pretty crowded. There was a surprising amount of Food Trucks!
This dude was renting these by the hour, so I let the kids each pick one to ride. While the girls stayed within earshot, the boy kept disappearing off into the distance.
I hoped it would be a happy memory for them because it was for me!
I was going to be making Chicken Shawarma so I decided to marinade the chicken a day before.
I used a thing of yogurt and some olive oil and of course the usual spices, before adding some chopped capsicum and onions.
Finally I added the Chicken to the mix and popped it in the fridge to marinate overnight.
The next day, I defrosted the Fries.
Then I made Sauce, while our housekeeper ever so kindly chopped up some lettuce and tomatoes for me.
The main ingredient in the Sauce was Labna (love the stuff), with a dash of oregano and sprinkle of paprika and garlic powder and so on.
Then, I covered that up and popped it in the fridge (so all the flavors could mix together).
Next, I took the marinated chicken up to my sister-in-law’s kitchen and grilled them over there (she has a nicer oven), while our housekeeper fried the French Fries downstairs and sent them up in the dumbwaiter.
Once the chicken was ready, I cut slices of round bread in half, stuffed them with the Chopped Veggies and French Fries and Grilled Chicken and drizzled the Sauce over everything.
I served them during Family Night (which takes place every Tuesday) and my family said they tasted just like authentic Cypriot Chicken Shawarma!
I was starting to enjoy making Chicken Machboos or Kabsa (as the Saudis call it) on a weekly basis.
I liked frying the cashews and then the raisins in butter (to add to the rice afterwards).
I liked adding my own personal favorite spices to the rice.
I didn’t like the Chicken Breasts though and Drumsticks although yummy, weren’t filling.
Eventually, I’d learn to pick up a bag or two of Frozen Chicken Thighs (which tasted sooo much better) whenever I went grocery shopping.
Wanting to include some veggies in the children’s diet, I decided to make Spinach Strawberry Salad!
Honestly, I’d picked up the Spinach for the kids, but the Strawberry was just so I could do the TikTok hack to see if the bugs came out lol (thankfully, I didn’t see any).
Aside from looking pretty, it also tasted surprisingly yummy! That said, the secret was deffo’ in the impossibly delicious dressing!
Also, I made Tacos again. They kept toppling over in the kitchen lol which was annoying.
I’d made plans with my bestie and her sister to tag along with them to Al Mubarakia.
The place was insanely crowded!
We walked around for a bit before having hot drinks and little cakes at some cafe or other.
It belonged to my bestie’s in-laws or something so she had to make an appearance (to support them).
Afterwards, I got my very first Abaya!
Prior to this, I’d just “borrow” one from my mom.
My older sister is barely 4 foot something, so hers are pretty short on me. My mom isn’t much taller but hers are reasonably longer lol
I’m 5 foot 1 and I’m considered part of the taller group in the family (because Arabs lol) It was about time I got one of my own.
The place was very lively and I’d really enjoyed my time, but my feet were about to fall off from all the walking. I realized how unfit I was lol
We had dinner outdoors, which really hit the spot after all that walking!
Once again, I’d had a very pleasant evening with very enjoyable company and good food and even better conversation!
So, I’d been wanting to go to Liv Up for a minute now, but when I brought it up, the pandemic hit and we went under lockdown.
Now that we could go out again and the weather was gorgeous, Abrar made reservations for us to have dinner at Liv Up!
But fiiirst, Abby insisted that Bibi and I check out this rooftop lounge at a certain hotel (which also needed reservations).
It was pretty tiny and quite crowded and they played mostly Arabic Music (very loudly), but the view was stun-ning!
The girls had coffee while I had hot cocoa (like the overgrown toddler that I was lol)
We got hit on by all the dudes and unlike she-who-shall-not-be-named, the girls barely even glanced at the guys. My heart burst with pride (because my girls had ignored the dudes) up until one of my girls mentioned something about wanting to land a C.E.O. and those dudes weren’t up to par (well, ok then).
After our coffee, we bounced.
We were seated at a table and I could not believe how beautiful everything looked!
There was something about being on a rooftop nestled amongst giant skyscrapers (well, giant for Kuwait), that just made me feel elated!
Abby and Bibi ordered everything (they’ve both been, before) and sorry to say, the food did not Liv Up to the hype (see what I did there?) but the view was worth it and I’d had a blast hanging out with Abby and Bibi!
I invited some friends over for another get-together in our Garden.
This time, the Burgers were from Mr Cleavers (my new favorite)!
I borrowed those same LED Tree Lights from my sister-in-law again.
I also placed my pool floats strategically around the Garden (just like last time).
However, this time, I moved the fire (for the Tea) out into the open area, closer to the fountain (so the girls wouldn’t huddle together in the dark.
I slapped those suckas on there and grilled them for about 5 minutes or so on each side.
Then one of my friends popped some gloves on and plopped the cheese on the Burgers.
The girls each customized their own Burgers, over at the table with all the fixin’s.
Stealing the idea from Abby, I gifted a friend of mine with a gift card for an at-home mani-pedi service for her birthday.
I tried surprising her with a Birthday Cake as well, but the stupid candle wouldn’t light up from the wind and she noticed me coming from the corner of her eye lol
I just improvised and started singing (read: yelling) Happy Birthday from all the way in the back, as I carefully waddled over to the girls, while trying not to trip or drop the cake.
One by one, the girls all left, up until it was just me and my bestie.
She stayed for an extra hour and we just hung out and talked (which drove my dad nuts, because he couldn’t understand what more we could possibly talk about, especially after spending the entire evening together).
My bestie left at around 1am, but only because her husband was nagging her to come home lol
I was exhausted, but it was the good kind of exhausted, the kind where you feel satisfied and happy!
So, I enjoy having my heart in my throat. However, only certain movies scare me to the core like that… the really, really twisted ones.
I’d seen the trailer for Apostle. It seemed pretty twisted to me.
Since it was my time to choose the movie, I chose Apostle to watch in the Cinema Room with my brother.
We ordered in from Roto and made a night out of it!
After the movie, I told him that if he got kidnapped (just like the siblings in the movie), I’d save him.
To which he promptly replied “No, you wouldn’t. You’d get stuck trying to figure out which plane ticket to buy to get to the island and you’d call me for advice, except I’d already be kidnapped”.
LOL Sadly, he was not wrong.
Also, that wasn’t a spoiler because the synopsis on Netflix mentions that the sister gets kidnapped.
Like I said, I wasn’t happy with how my nieces and nephew were always having Chicken Nuggets for dinner (and sometimes lunch). I wanted to introduce something a little healthier to their diet hence the Spinach Casserole.
There was some mashed potatoes mixed in with the pureed spinach and a whole bunch of spices and completely defeating the purpose, several kinds of cheese over top.
This was no longer a healthy option lol
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I made boxed Brownies (for Fam Night), mostly because I wanted to use the Bronwnie Pan that I’d gotten as part of my B-day Gift from my brother and his wife.
I wore my H&M White Hi-Top Trainers (hauled here) (from the Men’s Section in a Size 40, which was the smallest size they had) to go walking with May around the neighborhood.
My feet were burning but I pushed through (trying to channel Goggins), but two blocks later, I realized it was a bit more serious than me just not being used to walking lol
May and I headed back to my house, where I took off my new shoes and saw that I had bled through lol
I wore a new pair of much higher socks and we went back out to finish our walk.
Lesson learned. No more no-show socks paired with Hi-Tops lol
This has nothing to do with anything, but the photo kinda’ reminded me of the cover art of Steven King’s The Long Walk (reviewed here), no?
Since the theaters still weren’t open yet (due to the pandemic), I invited Abby and Bibi to come over on Valentine’s Day to watch a movie together in the Cinema Room.
As you can see, I wore my H&M Burgundy Fine-Knit Collared Jumper (hauled here) because… V-day lol
Abby insisted we watch Anna Karenina (blech) on Netflix.
To set the vibe, Abby even brought over Nachos and Popcorn for each of us from Cinescape!
I got them Corn in a Cup from House of Corn and ordered in Pizza from Solo Pizza Napulitana.
While Bibi got us a huge thing of Chocolate Pudding (the kind you light a tealight candle thingy underneath) for dessert from her own Bakery!
Barely 5 minutes in, we switched Anna Karenina (too boring) to Adrift (also chosen by Abby). She really had her heart set on watching a “romantic” movie on V-day.
The movie was not that great but Bibi’s ongoing commentary was hilarious!
I was just glad I was finally stuffing my face with Nachos ♥
After the movie, we dug into the Dessert that Bibi brought over. It was so good!
Before the night ended, I surprised each girl with a rose (because I’m thoughtful like that lol) wrapped in plastic with a bow and everything, which they got a kick out of and started taking pics of for their Snapchat right away lol
This will be the final installment of my Chef LuLu Posts. Hope you enjoyed them!