Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to apply for UK visa from Dubai

I am trying to collect my thoughts right now about this blog post. I am anxiously waiting for our passport to arrive from Aramex. We receive an SMS last Thursday, saying "dispatched to Aramex on 1/12/2017 (mm/dd/yy) for 4 times with different GWF no. (whatever that is).

I really have no idea if our applications were approved. But I don't want to spill the beans until I know the result. It was actually quite fast, we were advised by VSF that it would take about 15 days, we went to submit our requirements and had our biometrics only last 08 January, so it only took about 5 days?

This would be the first we would be travelling to a country that would require us a visa (do I need to mention about Kish Island?) We have applied for 4 travelers, me, my husband and 2 kids, our 7 year old daughter and 1 year old son

I had a hard time filling in the details on the application form especially on the part where they need to provide the breakdown of our expenses. I have no idea how to go about all these. But I want to Do-It-Yourself our vacation so might as well take the risk than paying a travel agency, who I believe will just guide you on what to do but you will still be the one doing it all anyway. I'd rather use the fee for pocket money instead. And so, I have filled as much details as possible on the UK visa application form. I have contacted few friends for comments and suggestions. I would like to provide in my entry in depth information on the application form as this took me few weeks to finally settle with the information I provided. I searched on the internet but was not able to find helpful tips. I know its self explanatory but a guide would have been helpful.

First of, I went to VFS Global website – Dubai Processing Centre to check on how to go about visa application. When you scroll down on the Home page, you will see from your left side, language selection, visiting country and applying from. Visiting country will be the place that you want to visit and applying from is the country where you are applying your visa. I know its quite self-explanatory but that too, made me a little confused. Visiting country may imply your nationality? But Anyway, I decided to settle with the place that I want to visit and make it simpler for me. The website will then direct you to the difference maps and flags and will request you to click the region and country you wish to apply from.


Step 1: Know your visa type.

Step 2: How to apply and apply your visa here - AccessUK

You may apply for a tourist or short stay visa using the Access UK Service. But I opt to apply for all other visas and use create an account to apply for the first time. You can then come back to it when you sign in if you already have an account

Step 3: After submission

-under construction-



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bella Swan Party Caterer: Passion Cooks

I only have 2 criteria for caterer, one of course is Food. This, to me, during an event is the most important. In every occasion, food will make or break your party. And two, is the table set-up that almost touches the event styling. Its like hitting 2 birds with one stone. I believe most of the caterers in the market are now offering this part of a service.

I am not very much in to getting the cheapest option. I would rather spend a little more than to end up frustrated and disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I also haggle a little, as long as it will not  compromise the service, because as you know, you get what you paid for. 

While we were venue hunting, I was already dealing with 2 caterers that I was considering for my mini-MEs 7th birthday party. I was dead set on getting either K by Cunanan or Passion Cooks. The former was the one we had on our wedding and Far-out wants them again and so was I.  We were both satisfied clients of K. But it was different back in 2008, when K was still hands-on with her weddings. I was referred to an AE this time, who just couldn't get anything right on her proposal. I was the one who pointed out the corrections to her several times. I was rolling my eyes already in exasperation while communicating with her on emails. I told Far-out that I was already getting frustrated with the one handling my account so my love for K by Cunanan just died (I'm sorry to say it, but really). Apart from it, I wasn't very impressed with the quote. They weren't flexible with the children's party package. While the latter, on the other hand, won my heart by a landslide, my AE was so accommodating on my every request. I was very specific with the details and she made sure to take note of it. I had some request that cannot be accommodated, nevertheless, she'll make sure to give other option and so, below are my feedback for their kiddie party package.

Caterer: Passion Cooks
Peso power:
Adult Buffet Menu: Php 600/pax (minimum of 70 Adults )
Kids Customized Sit-Down Menu: Php 270/pax (minimum of 30 Kids)
Plated Crew Meals: Php 270/pax
Adult White Tiffany Chairs Php 80 per piece
Discounted Delivery Fee for Tiffany Chairs: Php 3000

Adult Menu

Salad: Oriental Salad with Mango and Tomato salsa

Pasta: Mushrooms Pasta

Main course:
Chicken and Ham Crepe
Grilled Pork with Herbed Cream Cheese
Grilled Peppered Fish Fillet with Buttered Vegetables

Rice: Pandan Rice

Beverages:
Tropical Fruit Juice
Ices water
Coffee and Tea

Kids menu:

Kiddie Spaghetti

Grilled Hotdogs and mallows

Chicken Lollies

Grilled S'mores

I always tried to search for photos on the internet on how food looks like but it seem so limited so I wanted to be more specific and make sure to provide a detailed information that I hope would help those seeking further details.

Salad: Oriental Salad with Mango and Tomato salsa - Assorted fresh greens topped with crispy catfish and Mango-Tomato salsa. 

Somehow our photographer missed to take photos of the salad but the rest are below:


Three Mushrooms Pasta. A combination of shiitake and button mushrooms with black fungus, in crealy B├ęchamel sauce





Chicken and Ham Crepe. Chicken, ham, and cheddar cheese, rolled up in a sweet crepe, topped with gravy sauce





Grilled Pork with Herbed Cream Cheese. Served with Muscovado Apples





Grilled Peppered Fish Fillet with Buttered Vegetables. Peppered dory coated with wince, pan-grilled with olive oil. Served with Mango-mint and Terilyaki-Sesame Sauce




Grilled Hotdogs and mallows. Juicy hotdogs and soft colorful mallows on a stick.



Kiddie spaghetti. Meat sauce and hotdog served on a bed of spaghetti with a good sprinkling of cheddar cheese

(photo to follow)


Chicken Lollies. Served with Mayo-Ketchup



I was disappointed not to see photos of the Grilled S'mores. These are mallows encased in graham crackers.

All our guests were raving about the food and they all keep coming back for more. It was all a hit. Do I need to say more? Passion Cooks not only exceeded my expectation but they are one of best caterers, if not the best in the market. 

In terms of service, our servers were very attentive and friendly. 

Styling upgrade though was very expensive and I had to pay extra on tiffany chairs, which is a "must" for me. Nevertheless, their basic styling will not to fall short on its standard when it comes to elegant styling and I was satisfied with the table set-up.










Please note that stage set-up and ceiling decors are provided by another supplier, up next.

To wrap it up, I believe I am someone who appreciates finer tastes in life. I am a food lover. Even when I travel, I would always prefer the airline with good food. Passion cook not only exceeded my expectation, it is only but fair to say that they are one of the best caterers, if not yet the best in the market. I would definitely recommend them. 

There you go. I hope this helps.

All the best