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The 22 degrees of Christmas - By Rebecca Wicks

Someone in my office just said it was 22 degrees outside, which is quite exciting. That’s positively freezing to someone who spends her life in strappy tops and sandals. I’m embracing it and seizing the opportunity to wear polo neck dresses and knee high boots, tights, hats and scarves. I forgot how fun ‘layering’ can be. It’s really quite fabulous when it doesn’t cause giant sweat patches under each arm and the entire office to look at you like you’re crazy. Come to think of it, a few very exciting things are going on this week actually � all of which are dragging me well out of my British winter hibernation tendencies.

Two words. Sugar Daddy’s. Everybody’s talking about it. They’re comparing it to that cute little shop in Greenwich Village, New York, ‘Magnolias’, which happens to serve the best cupcakes in the world � all frothy topped and melt-in-the-mouth-delicious. The man who’s brought his gourmet cupcakes to the UAE is Fadi Jaber, who started out cooking from a Magnolia’s recipe book and� well� pretty much stole the idea. But hey, you can’t really claim cupcakes, can you? It’s just that Fadi’s the only one who saw an opening for a shop full of them at the Village Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road.

They do all sorts of desserts, too. People are already whispering about the carrot cake being better than that previously unbeatable Lime Tree offering. So close to Christmas too � ouch. My flat mate ‘P’ said they had a whole batch of cupcakes from Sugar Daddy’s at a photo shoot the other day and he ate four. I only told you that because I said I wouldn’t, but they must be good. I’m planning to check them out tomorrow and I’m sure a box will sit proudly for all of five minutes in the fridge, next to my cheese platter (I love Christmas).

Something else exciting is the prospect of two ice-rinks in Dubai! The giant one in the new mall of course (if you’re into Olympic style skating), and also a more amateur-friendly affair down at Festival City Centre. This one floats my boat, personally, especially with the prospect of a few hunky “Ice Marshals” to pick us up should we fall. They’ve constructed a 300 square metre rink on the Marina Promenade, so we can all graze our butt-cheeks in the glory of the great outdoors. FYI “Ice Under the Stars” will be open from 4-10pm every night until January 28th, for just 25 dhs an hour. On Saturday I’m planning to glide hand in hand with a boy,Torville and Dean style, laughing gaily as my hair blows beautifully like an auburn flag in the wind. Of course, that’s what will happen in my head, before I fall over and cause a heap of angry chaos, like I normally do when my fictional abilities clash with reality. Hmmm, maybe I’ll stick to the edge.

It’s definitely feeling festive in these parts, what with the weather and ice-rinks and the Madinat’s awesome little Christmas market in the amphitheatre. Even if Santa looks a bit disgruntled in his itchy beard, listening to kids ask: “Please get mummy and daddy a loan so we don’t lose our house and car.” Still, the magic of Christmas can’t be completely crushed by a global economic crisis, can it? There’s still the “shopping without your parents to say no” thing, that we so embrace, years after leaving home. We might not have anyone to buy us a PlayStation 3 but last night, ‘P’ and I took great delight in treating ourselves to a giant supermarket sweep � a delightfully superfluous calorific affair so riddled with e-numbers that would have had our mothers slapping our snatching fingers in disapproval and disgust, had they been there.

We bought a selection pack of chocolate (each,) a tub of Roses, some Ferraro Rochers, Toblerones, chocolate santas, cheese platters, pate, smoked salmon (we debated over the caviar but decided it might be going too far) bread sticks, biscuits, mince pies, a Christmas tree with lights, all manner of decorations, mixers for our pre-bought drinks selection, wrapping paper, bows and a few oranges (for vitamin C). It felt good, carrying it home and then constructing our cheap little tree in the living room, listening to ‘Christmas Rock ‘n’ Roll’. It’s the season to be jolly after all. And with no family around, we’ve no choice to create these comforts ourselves, really. It’s important. Otherwise we’d be sad and lonely and even more single than we both are already� (insert violins here). I haven’t felt this excited about the holidays for a long time! I can’t believe that this time next week, it’ll be Christmas Day.

Still, since starting this column, at around 10am this morning, and pottering about in between I seem to have developed a cold � or rather caught a strain of someone’s nasty flu bug. I’ve already used half a loo roll on my nose and I think I probably sound like a fog horn from across the office. Skates, cakes and chocolates aside, I guess you can’t have everything for Christmas, but a cold is a helluva lot easier to deal with than a “spinach flashback”; you can take that for a fact.

Merry Christmas!!!

Posted: 18 December 2008

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