FIFA World Cup 2022

What a bucket list experience!

In the summer, we were lucky enough to get hold of tickets to the England v USA world cup game in Qatar! I was in England at the time and managed to persuade my Dad to come along with us as well!

Roll on November and England beat Iran in their first game 6:2 and we were absolutely buzzing for our game the following week!

The Journey

We were traveling over to Qatar with friends so we went over to their hotel to meet for lunch and then took a minibus down to Dubai World Central Airport. The main airport in Dubai is DXB, but as Dubai were running several “shuttle flights” daily over to Doha, they made use of DWC airport for this purpose. We flew with Qatar Airways for the 40 minute flight over to Doha.

Our flight left Dubai at 5pm and arrived in Doha at 5pm local time (factoring in the one hour time difference). Doha Airport had such a buzz about it. People from all over the world were there, playing music, wearing flags, dancing. It was an incredible thing to experience. We saw a couple of Mexican fans with their flags and sombreros and I went over to say hi and have a photo with them.

900 Park Fan Zone

We took a local taxi to the 900 Park Fan Zone which was attached to the Intercontinental Hotel. The fan zone atmosphere was incredible, people were dancing on the tables, offering face paint – and you could buy as much alcohol as you wanted (unlike how the Daily Mail had been reporting!)

We stayed in the fan zone for a few hours and watched the Denmark game on the big screen before getting an Uber over to the Al Bayt stadium.

Al Bayt Stadium

The drive to the stadium was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Our taxi driver was amazing and connected our phones up so we could play all of the England songs. We were all singing along getting so excited for the game. The taxi driver then drove down a side street to a small café and brought us all a cup of tea. It was so kind of him.

The traffic to enter the stadium had really built up so our taxi driver pulled over on the side of the road and we ran across the motorway to cut the queue! As we entered the grounds of the stadium, people were chanting and there were bands playing music with dancers.

Entering the stadium itself was a feeling I think I will remember forever. By the time we had arrived, the majority of fans were already there so there was a great atmosphere. We headed down to our seats – Row B – and as we sat down the camera panned to us and we could see ourselves up on the big screen!

My Dad had a flag made with our home town, Lowestoft, and a Leeds United badge (his team) and he was so excited that it made it up onto the big screen as well!

England v USA

The game itself was probably the most disappointing part of the trip! The score was 0.0 and honestly, not a lot happened during the match. We were surprised that the fans were mixed so we were sat amongst both England and USA fans for the game.

The Journey Home

I have to admit, leaving the stadium was a bit of a nightmare. We followed the queues to the taxi, which took about 45 minutes to walk, and once we arrived, there wasn’t a single taxi, Uber or Careem in sight. Everyone was piled in this car park, confused and not sure what to do. We ended up knocking on car windows asking for a lift to the airport and paid a local guy QAR400 to drive us there. It should have only been a 45 minute journey but took almost 2 hours in traffic. We arrived at the airport as our gate opened – luckily we had been provided with our return boarding passes on the outward journey and had no luggage so were straight through and boarded within no time. By this point it was 4am and we were all exhausted. I slept the entire flight back to Dubai.

Although we didn’t get the score we had hoped for, and didn’t see any goals, being able to watch England play in a World Cup game with my Dad is a memory I will treasure forever.

Just as Heavenly as we Remembered

Ah, the Maldives. Was it actually a dream? I swear we waited almost two years for this holiday and it went by in a flash! 

Ryan and I visited Ozen Life Maadhoo in December 2020 and it was our first time visiting the Maldives. That Christmas, my lovely Mum got drunk and said she would take us all there on holiday to celebrate my dads 60th birthday in 2022. Full of regret the next day, she told us it wasn’t happening. But once Dad spent a bit of time thinking it over, they decided that we should all go. So I reached out to Ozen and we booked three of their Wind, overwater, villas. 

Roll on March 2022 and our little Arlo was born. We decided it would be best to change our room to an Earth Villa with a pool, which was located on the beach front, as this would be a better option with Arlo.

Mum, Dad, Katie and her fiancé Tom flew over to Dubai and spent the night at ours, this allowed them to break the journey up from the UK. We then all flew over to the Maldives together from Dubai.

The flight is only 3.5 hours and we booked the 2.30am flight which got us to the Maldives at 7am. It was the first night flight we’ve done with Arlo but he was such a trooper and slept for the majority of the flight – which meant Ryan and I were able to get a few hours in as well. When landing in the Maldives you’re required to fill out an entry form, which we had completed in advance and were provided with QR codes. Unfortunately, not everybody had completed this so the queues at immigration were quite lengthy. It also took a bit of time to collect our cases but once we were through to the other side and greeted by the Ozen staff, that’s when we knew our holiday could really start. 

We were taken to the Ozen private lounge in the airport and provided with water, tea and coffee before we were escorted to the Ozen speedboat to take us to the island. The trip is 45minutes from Male. One huge benefit about the Indulgence Package with Ozen is that it also includes transfers to and from the hotel. If you opt for a hotel that requires you to take the seaplane, this can incur charges of up to $500 per person, each way.

Blowing of the Conch

Of all the things my sister was excited for when arriving at Ozen, it was the greeting of the staff as we disembarked from the speedboat. Just as described on their website, the staff were ready and waiting to blow the conch and play the drums whilst greeting us onto the island. 

We were taken to the lobby for a glass of champagne and were introduced to our butler, Blue. Blue provided us with our itinerary which covered everything from our restaurant bookings, excursions and spa treatments. Blue then take us each to our rooms so we can unpack and get settled in before meeting up at the pool bar.


Ozen has a great selection of restaurants and bar options on the island. From authentic Chinese cuisine at Peking; traditional Maldivian dining at their beachfront restaurant, Lonu; to the incredible underwater dining experience at M6M, it really caters to everyone.

Each morning we would meet up at The Palms, the buffet-style restaurant where breakfast was served and would enjoy our breakfast with a Mimosa, or two. The pool bar, Joie de Vivre also has a daily snack menu whereby you can order pizzas, sandwiches, spring rolls etc. (all of which is also included in the all inclusive package).


When Blue provided us with our itinerary this included a selection of excursions which are complimentary as part of your stay. This included a snorkel trip (which I opted out of so I could stay with Arlo), but the rest of the family enjoyed this and even saw sharks on their trip!

One evening we had the sunset fishing trip. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I caught two fish! One was a grouper fish and the other was a red snapper. The Captain arranged for the snapper to be taken back to the hotel and we had this grilled for lunch the next day. It may be because I caught it myself, but I think it might have been the best fish I have ever eaten!

One of the other evening excursions available is the sunset cruise and we were lucky enough to see dolphins! It was so magical.

Ryan and I also decided to opt for one of the paid excursions and go swimming with sharks! The boat trip was approximately thirty minutes from Ozen to an area where nurse sharks gather. The experience was incredible, although I was quite nervous once I was actually in the water and they were nudging and bumping around us! It was definitely a bucket list moment.

We had the most incredible family holiday and created memories that will last a lifetime.