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Signs

So happy to find this post, a year after the fact, but still so lovely. L really wants to write to Megan, just need to find a way…

Chasing rainbows

I’m not sure that I strictly believe in ‘signs’. But something is definitely at play. Whenever I’ve been having a wobble something happens that shows us we are on the right path…

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As we left London on the underground, I felt sick and shaky. It was time to make the jump. Was it right for us? Was this going to be ok? Then by chance of fate, a family sat down opposite us on the train. The mum was wearing a two year old little girl in an ergo and a four year old boy was sat next to her. Naturally, we got chatting. It turns out they were an Australian family on their way to Heathrow returning to Canberra after having been travelling around Spain, France and the UK. They were us, but at the end of their journey, all in one piece and at peace. I…

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Our walk back from the bubbly birthday brunch

Quickly, while the wifi works and S naps!

Yes, I know, the gaps between post are getting longer and longer. Would you believe I actually have bigger and better plans for this blog? Just got to figure out some techy stuff… so it will be a while I guess.

This will be a domestic babble. The temperature is rising, it got to 45deg C in Muscat yesterday apparently. From my pervious experience in Riyadh I’m thinking it will not feel too much worse than this from now on as ‘hot is hot’. Water has started dribbling down the outside of our windows at times. OK, so it will get worse, thanks to the humidity rising.

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Pretty tiles and fretwork catch my eye quite often. I have been meaning to take a walk with my camera (aka phone) but it’s too hot to take the girls out walking in the afternoon now, and mornings are full of other stuff. Nearby villas have some really detailed fretwork. We have recently had visitors, our first! Mum celebrated a ummm, ‘important’ birthday here with us, my step-dad, and my brother and SIL. While I drove about my brother commented on the lack of colour in Muscat, but I found myself quick to disagree as the pops of bright aqua, green, blue and gold on top of mosques, and the tile work scattered everywhere colour the place beautifully.

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We celebrated Mum’s birthday with a ‘bubbly brunch’ at The Grand Hyatt, our old home. The girls got to decorate eggs on the garden while we took it in turns watching them and drinking and eating. We walked home along the beachfront as the sun started to set and watched hundreds of families and friends enjoying the cooler hours with BBQs, games of football, walks, and chats while smoking sheesha pipes. No joke, I think the sight would have been called a ‘festival’ in the UK, but it was simply what happens here.

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The actual birthday was spent on a massive trip up into the mountains, which will be included in a blog post very soon. It was my biggest drive yet by HOURS!

The ship / cargo finally arrived, and brought both tears and joy.

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Boxes had got very wet somehow, and the contents grew gardens of stinky stuff in the heat of the trip over and wait at the docks. Not everything had to be chucked, but a lot.

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However, our cherished cloth nappies, which I had bagged up in one of those big laundry / storage bags prior to the packers coming, were all fine and were freshened up and back in use just in time for Real Nappy Week 2014.

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I will be taking some pics of them in use so I can post online to ‘flash the fluff’ and join in the RNW party🙂

The girls are thriving. Both of them are becoming little dolphins in the pool, and we are getting pretty good at getting messy when inside escaping the heat. This week alone we have knocked up 2 batches of play dough, 1 batch of cloud dough, a victoria sponge and later today we will use up the remaining Easter chocolates in a batch of chocolate chip cookies… Must remember to make another batch ready for Sunday morning when I will host a weekly breastfeeding support group here at home for the first time.

The cloud dough had them busy for hours! When I learn how to tag / link other blogs I will share the creatively inspiring blogs here!

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No, I’ve not quit blogging already!

Yes, it has been far too long since my last post. I left you just before moving out of the hotel. Well, we have been in our new house for a few weeks now and although I have been busy assembling furniture, shopping for bed linens, towels, rugs and stair gates, this is not the reason behind me not blogging. Frustratingly our gorgeous house and new lifestyle does have a blip and that is that the internet provision is shocking, Without fail it goes from rubbish to nothing every evening and I am sure you can all understand that blogging in the day is a tad tricky. However, S is napping in the pushchair right by me,  our ‘house maid’ is sorting the washing (I saw that face!!) and If I am quick I could possibly publish a post.

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As you can see, its looking lovely and homely in the living room. The playroom has come on nicely too and even the guest room now has a bed and a lovely Indian handmade quilt over it.

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We have been eating outside in the back garden a lot, and have been enjoying tomatoes fresh from the same back garden. We have invested in a water table for the girls to play with out there and I have bought a baby bath for some more creative water play outside too. We have bought several stair gates and one is now at the door of the girls room leading onto balcony so they can sleep with that door open now with the breeze cooling them, and listen to the waves on the beach as they fall asleep. Only in my dreams did I ever think we would live so close to the sea. It’s wonderful.

A few weeks ago my new spangly UK driving licence arrived and although pretty terrifying at first, I am now thoroughly enjoying the freedom it provides me. The girls are enjoying it too as it means I have been able to take them to playdates and classes. Both now enjoy yoga classes once a week and S will start a music class tomorrow morning. Swimming lessons are in our pool behind our garden. I love my massive beast of a car- it was especially appreciated the other day when another storm came, the rain closed the school, roads started to flood and I had to drive in it to collect L. I was VERY brave.

We have been back to Dubai for a third and final time so the girls and I are no longer ‘tourists’. We all have the residency stamps in our passports… now just need to get my Omani driving licence.

The compound has a lovely little playground which we have been making use of while it’s not ridiculously hot and humid. It has several frangipani trees in it which I love. I can’t wait for them all to be in flower again. Just a couple of flowers are left…

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Well, S awakes so thats the end for now. Looking forward to our first visitors in 3 weeks… who else wants to come?

The Tallest Tower in the Whole Wide World, and an apology

I am so sorry. A lesson has truly be learnt; if I have just a shortie to write then so be it, because if I leave it ’til I have more to say there soon becomes so much that it’s a ‘put off’ to sit and type when I am pooped at the end of the day. Take this pic for example, I took it to show what the last bit of my walk back from L’s nursery (aka THE MONTESSORI) looked like on a cloudy day, though most of it was along the beach to be honest…Image

I thought walking back would take me a good 2hrs which would equal a reasonable workout, so I was happy and also frustrated when it took just an hour.  That was the week before last (we are at the end of the week today, Saturday, the start on another is tomorrow, Sunday). I didn’t write about my lovely walks, and then we had a storm. The wind blew, there was a crack of  thunder and a good amount of rain, and M got called to collect L from nursery as it was closing down due to the weather. Roads flooded, airport closed, we cancelled our plans for a non hotel dinner for M’s birthday thinking it would not be sensible to drive. Thankfully the hotel knocked him up a yummy chocolate cake…Image

On Valentines day we flew to Dubai, hoping that on our return at least M would have the necessary stamp in his passport to start the next stage of LIVING here. It was a relief not to drive with the risk of puke hanging over us. We stayed at a hotel right next to Dubai Festival City Mall so we could get to Ikea easily for another attempt at buying guest beds. From the 19th floor we had a stunning view over the creek and out to the city skyline with the Burj Khalifa rising oh so high. L had us grinning from ear to ear every time she referred to it as ‘The Tallest Tower in the Whole Wide World’. I really wanted a proper camera rather than just the one on my phone…

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S had us up far to early for Dubai opening times, so we took ourselves of the ‘TTTITWWW’, though couldn’t get up to the top as several thousand people seemed to have booked beforehand.

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We explored probably only about a third of the massive Dubai Mall. It’s HUGE! The girls loved the fish, sharks, rays and penguins in the aquarium and ‘Underwater Zoo’  in the middle, it was impressive, though I did feel there were too many fish, sharks, rays and penguins to be honest.

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We hit Ikea the next day, and now have guest beds and some furniture for the roof terrace on their way to Muscat. Dubai Festival City Mall is much more modest in size😉

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We have also been busy making some new friends, and having fun on the beach. This brilliant pic was taken by 7yr old D, the elder sister of K, and I love it..

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And I have also been busy with snot. S got poorly with high temps the day after the beach and although now the fevers have gone, her poor nose has bled it’s so raw from the gallons of snot coming from it. However, they have been loving hanging at the new house both today and yesterday, where it is now part painted (I’m going back tomorrow after the nursery drop off to ‘encourage’ some swifter work) and there is an assembled bunk bed and double bed and a partly assembled sofa. Well done M (minimal help from me due to needing to keep girls out of the way). We HOPE to move in on Tuesday and finish assembling furniture once in as, as lovely as this hotel is, we would really like to get stuck in to normality and home cooking now. So, unless something really juicy happens between now and us getting a couple of rooms fully ready, you will not get another post until then, when I have some ‘look at our new home’ pics to show off😉

A Crown Prince, Camels, Puke and Shoptastic Dubai

Last week there was an impressive security effort at our hotel-home as the Crown Prince of Brunei was staying here with his family and quite a few others. The girls and I stepped out of our rooms to head to breakfast one day to find 3 purple-camo clad soldiers in our corridor (special police apparently!) Quite a jump from Reigate’s celeb-about-town Shane Ritchie.

HRH left on Thursday, and so did we. M got hotel-home early and we drove north along the coast for 3 hours, passing lots of banana plantations and just 2 camels, then turned left and over the border into the UAE. As we approached the border we watched the flat terrain change into rocky hills which I took photos of on the way back. Interestingly, there’s a section of road after you cross into UAE from Oman that runs back through Oman again, with a fence surrounding it. The trip went well until we got to Dubai, then we found ourselves in thick heavy traffic on an 8 lane road. It took us an hour to get through Dubai to the hotel, and 20 mins before we got to the hotel, thegirlwhocriedsick was sick… all over herself. For some odd reason the guy checking us in thought that what a tired looking family, with a 3yr old girl covered in sick really needed was a sales pitch to upgrade to a suite (something we are kindly getting for free here in Muscat). I felt myself getting quite cross.. Said guy was lucky it was M who went back down to ask where the extra bed was and not me.

Friday was a shopping mania. IKEA staff helped manage the logistics of 8 flatbed trolleys very well (this was after already loading the car with 2 IKEA regular trolleys, plus an M&S load) We should see the furniture again later this week. I should add here that The Company is paying for all this new house gear, thankfully, and I have also been looking for second hand gear which is what I like doing in the UK. Perhaps I should introduce Oman to freecycle.org? Still got 2 guest beds to sort and a few others bits, but great gains were made. We may have to leave Oman again this coming weekend but that will be by air (phew) and we hope to have the time to catch up with some friends then, plus celebrate M’s birthday and a ‘with-the-kids-nod’ to Valentines day.

Headed off in good time on Saturday morning and were out of Dubai in a sniff of the time it took us to drive through on Thursday. L was given an empty bag and strict interactions to only say she was sick if she really was. Camel spotting went much better on our return trip as can be seen by my  photos. I’m pleased I got one of the nursing camel, but sadly missed the token camel-on-a-truck. To give you all a good taste of Arabian roads I also took a pic of the Toyota trucks, and sand dunes and sand, and desert. We drove through Sharjah and we think Ajmaan too, so with Dubai that makes 3 of the 7 Emirates that make up UAE. Saudi Arabia is a country totally separate, as is Oman. I say this as a disturbing number of people think both are in Dubai.

Thankfully both girls slept for a couple of hours on our return drive, and there was no vomit. We arrived back just in time for the buffet lunch but that was interrupted many times by L and S wanting to run off and charge around the gardens and pools. We took them for a scoot which ended up on the beach in the afternoon. Loads of local families were out having BBQ’s and sharing bubbly pipes, all wrapped up warm against the 22 deg C weather. The girls enjoyed a very wet paddle, with S shouting ‘seaside’ repeatedly. If we can figure out how to, there may be an additional mini post with photos of them from M’s phone.

Finally, after that busy weekend, L started at the amazeballs nursery today. It was just a 2.5hrs session to settle her and S and I waited there, but she loved it. I am hoping tomorrow she will ask what the rabbits and chickens names are. I took them back to the beach after lunch and with luck, will be able to upload a video….

Anyone got any motion sickness prevention suggestions for 3 yr olds?

hmmmm… sorry but photos will have to come along later. The internet is painfully slow tonight (probably something to do with the RAIN we had earlier this eve) and I am pooped and ready for bed. Will try to load them up again tomorrow.