Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Creating our first child free home

Well this is it, our new home in Dubai.
Chosen because it's near the beach, there are shops near by and a good transport link. Hubby has a study and music room, I have my own sewing and craft room.

While he sits in the lounge in the evenings, I'm often found in the conservatory as the air con is the quieter in that room.

Not once did we think about local schools, play grounds, parks, football clubs or after school and holiday clubs, we didn't have to as the children had already left home.

We've dragged boxes of lego, teddy bears, keepsakes from the UK to South Africa and now to Dubai, the 3 oldest children didn't come on our expat journey and the youngest 2 haven't come with us to Dubai, but all their stuff has.

We have a spare room, set up for visitors, we'll always have visitors, whether it's family or friends or work colleagues, I don't think we could ever rent/buy somewhere that couldn't accommodate extra people.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Dog walking in Dubai

Dog walking in Dubai

So far Bob and I can walk where we like, when we like as long as we don’t go on the beach or in shops. Bob must stay on the lead at all times.

Bob is from South Africa, he is a veld dog, he lived with us on a golf estate where there was little traffic and what there was, was very slow. We also took him to nature reserves, where again there was no traffic and we could let him off the lead.

Bob is very unsettled, not just with the traffic but the sights, scents and sounds. He’s off like a blood hound everytime we leave the front gate, we cross the main roads and he’s jumping out of his skin at the engine noises of V8’s and supercars, mind you it unsettles me a bit when one revs up alongside.

As long as I take a few treats with me, reassure him, order him to sit and keep him on a very short leash, we’re managing things, however we’re not as successful with air brakes on the bin lorries and are avoiding going out at certain times as I’m fed up of being dragged into hedgerows as Bob runs for his life.

It’s winter time here and I’m waking Bob early in the morning and early in the evening as even now it’s far to hot to walk out in the day time. I can imagine in the height of summer Bob and I will only be outside when it is dark.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Week 13 My Sunday Photo

For Earth Hour yesterday, hubby and I visited nearby Safa Park in the evening to take a photo of the city at night. Then took the same photo when all the lights were switched off.

It was quite foggy and cloudy and many buildings had turned their lights off early so the contrast between my two photos isn't that good.

Some lights had to stay on as the buildings are so tall, there's a risk for aeroplanes and lots of buildings had these weird blue lights traveling up and down the side of them, which we worked out were the lifts.

Before and After

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Week 13 Project 365

I've had a very busy and a very long week. The week started with rain, but I'm afraid the temperature didn't drop much. Hubby has been in Turkey this week and apart from a coffee with friends on Thursday I've been on my own.

Even when hubby isn't away, he's out all day at work so I plan my weeks in advance with the help from Time Out Dubai and look for the free things the city has to offer. This week I've been to a Street Festival, to see a film in the park, a wedding fayre and to the souks to buy material to make scarves for charity and bunting and table clothes for my nieces wedding in the UK next week. I even snuck in some gardening, bathed the dog as well as his daily walks and cleaned the house of sand (again).

The house is already now, projects out the way and waiting for the teenager to fly over on Tuesday for the school holidays.

Day 81 #onedailypositive #leaves #fmsphotoaday #inthedistance #snaphappybritmums #project365

One of the many views of The #BurjKhalifa taken from our local #beach in #MyDubai I love how the palm trees flank the Burj. My one daily positive is I have the freedom to go and explore with my camera and capture some amazing sights. I apologise for the bin but I took the photo with my iPhone yesterday with every intention of returning today with my Nikon but there's been a sandstorm and I can't see the Burj at the moment.

Day 82 #onedailypositive #toomuch #fmsphotoaday #sparkle #snaphappybritmums #project365

My wardrobe is BORING, as try as I might I can't get away from jeans and T-shirts. I own a few smart blouses and trousers and quite a few dresses but every day I go out in my trusty jeans and t shirt and a pair of Birkenstocks. I've a wedding coming up soon and although I've chosen my outfit, dress, jacket and heels, I can't help but look at some of the more exciting clothes in the stores. I loved this top in Monsoon, I've had tops like this before, I end up wearing them once and decide there is too much sparkle for me and actually I'm happy in jeans and T-shirts, I just seem to like window shopping.

Day 83 #onedailypositive #Atreasure #fmsphotoaday #flowers #snaphappybritmums #project365

Probably my earliest memory after a long drive was seeing this vase on the window sill at my Gran's house. When she died, I was asked if there was anything that I wanted, despite my gran having given me many things prior to her death and I requested this vase. I'm too frightened to put it on my window ledge for fear of breaking it, so it sits in my glass cabinet, A treasure that holds flowers.

Day 84 #onedailypositive #half #fmsphotoaday #whereI'mStanding #snaphappybritmums #project365

Wherever I am in Dubai I can see the Burj Khalifa, including from my front door step, there are few places where I can actually view the whole of the Burj so most of my views are just half of it.  Not exactly on my route and a 1km walk from the train to the mall, down 3 floors and a walk to the other side of the mall for this shot but on a positive note after 3 months, I'm not tiring of seeing it.

Day 85 #onedailypositive #ILove #fmsphotoaday #OhYes! #snaphappybritmums #project365

There's nothing I love more than a coffee with friends. Especially when I only moved to Dubai 3 months ago and after the difficulties I had making friends in South Africa, mainly due to the safety aspect of getting out and about. The group of women I meet up with have a deal with the coffee shop and Oh Yes! I take advantage of the blue berry muffin.

Day 86 #onedailypositive #somethingwhite #fmsphotoaday #vintage #snaphappybritmums #project365

Another delve into my memories of my gran with a whale bone petty coat. I have no idea if it is actual whale bone and is very dirty and falling apart in places. I believe it would have been made in the 1850's if it is whale bone, if not, it could be anything from the mid 1920's. I have outfits from 1850 up to the 70's that belonged to my gran, including my favourite, a genuine flapper dress that I last wore to a Night on the Orient Express fund raising ball in 2006.

Day 87 #onedailypositive #give #fmsphotoaday #stationary #snaphappybritmums #project365

This is where I've sat stationary for 2 days making scarves to sell for charity in South Africa for education. I make, I sell, I give.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Landlord/ladies, rental agents and tenants

I'm not generalising, I'm speaking from experience and I'm fed up of being led a merry dance by all three.

We are landlords, we are tenants and our middle child is now embarking on the world of work as a rental agent.

Our previous agents in the UK were on the side of the tenants, as in they was frightened of them and blatantly lied to us. Our current UK agent is fantastic.

Our previous tenants in the UK were 'tenants fro hell' our current UK tenants are fantastic.

Our rental agent in South Africa was fantastic for the first property, but on leaving the 2nd property she sided with the landlord.

Our first landlord in South Africa was also fantastic, our second landlord just didn't care about the property but cared enough to deduct cleaning charges for a room that according to the rental agent 'stank of dog' although the rental agent didn't mention that or even wrinkle her nose up during the exit inspection or even challenge the team of cleaners she had recommend to clean the house for the exit inspection who were still on site. The landlord also charged us for garden maintenance and we see he's had the front re landscaped which would explain the high costs. When we complained he also added that he carried out unnecessary repairs to the pool after we moved in and that we owed him R2,800, he failed to acknowledge the amount of money we spent topping up his leaking pool, which never leaked after he paid to have it repaired.

The current house we are in needs a lot of work doing to it, but we knew that when we rented it, we wanted a property near the beach and with character and room for the dog, plus visitors. The agent has disappeared, in fact he disappeared as soon as he got his money and once the relocation firm disappeared we were able to deal directly with the landlady and the house is being sorted slowly.

But I really resent the amount of time I have to spend supervising workmen, we don't speak each others languages, these men turn up unannounced, I'm a women on my own, it's not fair. I have to keep the dog locked away from them, I have to tidy and clean up after them and it costs us money in the form of electricity (currently fixing the air con) water (to fill the pool) my time (someone has to be at home to let them in)

Every time we've rented out our property and every time we've rented a property, I've taken detailed photos of before and after, sent the landlord a list of snags for fixing, or been sent one and in our case as landlords rectified each and every matter asap. As tenants though it appears we always get the rough end of the stick. Although after a long battle we did finally get some money back from our 'tenants from hell'

The house we have rented should've been ready when we moved in, cleaned and the air con working, not 6 weeks down the line.

Now excuse me while I remove a layer of clothing as I need to cover up while the men were in the house and clean up after them.