About us

I am Philippa Brinkmann and I was born and raised in South Africa. I started this little old blog a year ago to keep our friends and family informed about our lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It has since been received and followed by a wider audience, which both excites and terrifies me. 

My husband, Olaf, often tells me that I have the most horrendous short-term memory so I thought that I should document, in writing, what happens in our lives. This way not only do our family and friends know what we get up to… but so do I.

We have a 2 year old son, named Luka, who spends his days both delighting and exhausting me.

We have lived in Saudi Arabia, The Land of Sand, for 3 years. We also spent 2 years in Qatar, our first taste of life in The Gulf. Although the idea of living in either country scared us a little initially, we have resided happily in both and have enjoyed living and working in this part of the world.


12 Responses to “About us”

  1. Bianca May 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Hallo Philippa and family!

    Just come home after having a delicious dinner with Brigitte and Manfred (as always). We celebrated Dean’s birthday. Brigitte showed me your blog site and it’s so interesting and i’ll def be browsing some time. Anyway, just wanted to say hi and hope you are all well.

    Big hug for Luca.

    xx Bianca

  2. dustbusting June 2, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    Hi Bianca

    Thanks for leaving a message for us. We love hearing from friends at home.

    Love to you and Garth


  3. khaledbenz June 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Hello Philippa Brinkmann

    I find your blog very interesting. I love how you called saudi arabia Land of the sand. Sounds like the movie prince of persia hahaha.

    I respect what you write about my culture and religion. And just saying the truth and how it is.

    BTW I’m Iraqi live in australia for over 10 years now. Never been to middle east for over 14 yrs and im 21 now so i cant remember much from my home land. but lucky you experiencing it all.

    Hope the best for you and ur family. and you have a beautiful family specially the baby:p


  4. M. M. June 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Pretty interesting 🙂
    Cute baby.

  5. SHARON BADENHOEST July 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Hello Pips / Olaf / Luka

    Interesting stuff! Don’t feel alone in cutting your own hair. I have no toddler in tow, a hairdresser 1km away and a car and I still cut my own hair. Jody was aghast when I told her. I made 2 ponytails and CUT! Voila! Looks fine too and I don’t have Gayle’s hairdressing genes.

    World Cup has been stunning. We went to the Spain v Chile match and I watched Bafana beating France at a Fan Park. I’ve never seen such unity and excitement in SA before. Sport is most definitely the way to unite people.

    Love to all

  6. ReadersHeaven September 21, 2010 at 5:39 am #

    Hi, nice to meet you !

  7. Bianca November 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Hi Philipa

    Dareen was raving about your beautiful little movie you made celebrating Luka’s 2 years. I downloaded it and Garth and i watched it together. It’s absolutely gorgeous and must be such a delight to see how he has grown into such a big boy!

    Congratulations on his 2nd birthday – we can’t wait for ours to arrive.

    Love to you all.

    • dustbusting November 8, 2010 at 6:19 am #

      Hi Bianca

      Thank you for stopping by and enjoying the little video. We, like all parents, feel immensely blessed to have our little Luka around despite him gifting us with moments like last night’s when he was ill and hurled ALL over his cot. Oh the joys!

      You have so much to look forward when your little person arrives. But I must also say, enjoy your peaceful, sleep-filled home over these last few months. It will NEVER be the same again.

      Lots of love

  8. Barbara January 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    hello Phillipa,
    my name is Barbara and I am Brazilian. I found your blog by chance, because I am researching a place for my mother and her husband to live for a few months learning English. They are 56 years old and, now that their children are grown-ups, decided to see a bit of the world. I was googling “spent months in cape town” and you came up! was wondering whether you could give me any advice as in: what are the best neighborhoods for them to stay (something close to the city and yet safe) or also if there is other places in south africa you would recommend.
    thanks in advance!

  9. Ulrike February 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Dear Philippa,
    I am writing you from Germany where we had snow again last night and during the morning… I found your blog just recently, when I googled for the compound you live at. At that time we had just heard from the employer of my husband that we would live there as well, if he will accept the offer to work in KSA for approximately 2 years (he would be employed by the KSA branch of his current German employer). The subject to eventually work there with me accompanying him did not arise until last January, so we were in a hurry finding as much information as we could about the country and what to expect. Well, current information is not so easily available, at least this is what we experienced. Your blog contains lots of useful bits and pieces, thanks for sharing all this information.
    Now I have a big request. Would you be willing to answer a few questions to me about every day life, about Barada Village etc? No worries, it would not be a 1000 questions ;-), but there are a few facts that we just cannot find out about even with hours of google research and reading books. I would appreciate so much to be able to ask someone who is there, not just in the country, but right in the city and compound we would be at as well.
    You have my email in the registration, I trust you can look at it? So if you are in the mood, I would be extremely happy to hear from you.

    Kind regards,

  10. Mohamed May 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    hey there!!
    i ve been fortunate to come across this blog witch really makes the person live the life as in Riyadh (again) , here u r not also sharing ur experiences but also helping other Expats (especcially western expats i think) know their way around for life in this part of the world
    now Riyadh is boring & has nothing more than resturants, shopping malls & there is no place to go (im not helping 😀 ) but its a great place to live for:
    -the not so adventrous people who really like to live in peace with themselves
    – couch potatoes (including me) who’s work & entertainment are a Laptop thing
    – money savers (no taxes + there is no place to spend that money)

    now let me share with u my top 10 places @ Riyadh (not in order)
    1- Althumamah desert: great for camping, sand boarding, 4 wheelers & star watching
    2- bait al shawerma: in sulaimania 30 district near olaya st. this has the best arabic shawerma in KSA
    3- al tahlia st. : nice cafes for hanging out with family & friends
    4- diplomatic quarter: has some great hangouts & gardens
    5- gareer book stores: (ok sorry i love reading)
    6- sahari mall
    7- the 1KM walk in king abdullah road next to the university
    8- Fudruckers in sahari mall food court (the best burgers in Riyadh)
    9- Fitness hour gym
    10- there is no place like home

    U Guys enojoy ur time there & send a big hug to little Luka 🙂

  11. dustbusting May 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi Mohamed

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog.
    I suppose that many people would call KSA boring but we seem to find new adventures in the most unlikely of places. The daily routine of life can become tedious from time to time but we have been really fortunate to have found some fabulous freinds here. Our friends, new and old, have made our time here loads of fun and very busy. Our weekends are never quiet or boring, we have managed to keep ourselves thourally entertained.

    Thanks for your top 10 list. We will be sure to try out your shawarma suggestion, we always get shawarmas from the Turkish restuarant around the corner from our compound. They are great…and very close by! but we are always ready to try new ones.

    I would LOVE to go for a run around the university BUT it wouldn’t be any fun in an abaya. I shall have to stick to walking.

    Thanks for your contribution to my blog.

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