Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Visiting Santa without the kids. Christmas with Pets in Dubai.

When in Dubai.........

And why not I say.

Since leaving school I've made friends via the work place and through having kids. But when you relocate from one country to another and your kids are all grown up and you don't work, then how do you make friends?

Well you join clubs/groups/attend coffee mornings. But that's not my style. In South Africa I did volunteer work and met the most amazing people and made life long friends. In Dubai, I took my dog out and about and met people. I even spent a year teaching in FS1 in an Arabic school after meeting a woman out walking her dog in the desert.

As my husband works away a lot and spends the days in the office talking to people he likes to come home in the evenings and switch off, me? I like to quite literally chew his ear off out of boredom, so Bob and I go out and join Dog groups, meet people, explore new places and generally have fun.

This is our 4th Christmas in Dubai and they do Christmas here big in all the malls and shops and as well as catering for all nationalities they also cater for our 4 legged friends. Bob and I attend Valentines lunches and Halloween parties and we love nothing better than a visit to Father Christmas.

We have 2 events this year. A secret Santa and swimming session at Dog Walk this coming weekend and last weekend we visited Santa at Paw Parking.

Oh and on Thursday Bob and I are going for a spa day. I'm off to have a manicure and pedicure ready to see John Bishop in the evening and brunch on Friday, while Bob is off for a grooming session at Paw Parking for the day.

And don't forget the cat. Pushkins joins in with Christmas also.
I'm pleased to say she doesn't mess around with the tree or the presents, but she did attack and eat half the contents of her advent calendar when left unsupervised.

Boho Chic in Dubai with Top Tier Style

For the purpose of this post I was given the following items for review. I like to be honest with my readers and make the disclaimer at the beginning.

I don't do many review posts and it's not something I search for, so I was very surprised to be contacted directly to ask if I'd review a pair of sunglasses, an item from the Boho fashion range and a cat t-shirt.

I have quite a few cat t-shirts that often feature in my blog, usually worn when I attend events with my dog Bob and I'm always happy to add another to my collection.

I've also been meaning to get a spare pair of sunglasses for a while as the ones I wear on a daily basis are by Tiffany and rather expensive to spend so much time falling off my head on the floor as Bob pulls me in all directions when I take him out for a walk. When the weather isn't so hot I like to cycle, even more so since we've relocated to the other side of Dubai and the roads are less busy. As you can imagine, there's a lot of choice for sunglasses in Dubai and the sales staff are quite pushy over here. I'm fortunate that most shapes and styles suit my face so it was nice and easy to choose a pair from the comfort of my own home. I now have a spare pair for when I walk Bob or go for a ride. They are polarised and I could choose the colour of the lens to suit the frame.

I wear a lot of dresses in Dubai all year round, regardless of where I'm going and what I'm doing, other than cycling. I prefer the longer style, but find most maxi dresses have spaghetti style straps, whilst I'm not breaking any cultural rules in Dubai by wearing these dresses out, I find in the summer my shoulders burn quite badly and in the winter it gets chilly in the day and wearing a pashmina to keep my shoulders warm and protect them from the sun is a flaff and I spend most of the day picking it up off the floor along with my sunglasses.

Delivery time was fast for all the items and they were packaged well. The t-shirt and dress came in a really small bag and I was concerned the items would be badly creased, but they weren't which would make them excellent items for packing into hand luggage and be able to wear without ironing at your holiday destination. The quality of the materials and the manufacture is excellent.

The dress was slightly see through, which could be a problem in Dubai, but I wore it with a slip underneath. Ordering was easy but I did find the size chart difficult to find on the website, however it was very accurate, the t-shirt fitted perfectly and I opted to get the dress in a larger size as it had adjustable ties round the waist.

The vintage steampunk sunglasses, boho fashion and cat t-shirt in this review were provided by Top Tier Style. If you would like to purchase your own use the coupon code BLOG15 for 15% OFF everything on their store!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Moving Home in Dubai Part 4 - Snag List and Repairs

Giving notice, finding a new house, choosing a removal firm and moving in has gone smoothly.
There were a few minor hiccups that caused major, short term panic.

Notice to old landlord should've been given in writing, but they accepted the WhatsApp message.
We were unable to secure a new property to move into until 2-3 weeks prior before we actually wanted to move in and as I had to return from the UK, we only had 2 and a half weeks in which to find somewhere and sign, before I returned. The contract for the new place stated we had to sign the contract and pay the rent 7 days before we moved in to allow the company to prepare the house, but that we also had to provide proof of DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) deposit 3 days prior to collecting the keys. As I'd flown back to the UK after finding a property and with Peter having to work abroad the week prior to moving, we weren't sure until the day before we actually moved if we'd be able to get in the following day or not.

Thankfully our date didn't change, but with a public 4 day public holiday weekend the week we were moving and needing to hand the keys back to the old place the day after, we would've been cutting it fine.

On the day of the actual move, I was greeted on the drive by a gardener, asking for a job, this continued throughout the day, with maids turning up also. My patience wore thin. 'We're moving in' I'm was tempted to yell 'Go away' to each and every caller.

Then the gas man turned up, the water cooler bottle delivery guy, then the building firm to fix the electrics for the gas cooker.

Whilst English is widely spoken here, it is often quite difficult to understand what people are saying, which company they are from and what they want from you, usually money. I let all sorts of people in and out the house. Tradesmen often ring the bell, stand there and you have to guess which company they are from and what job they have come to do. My phone rang from TV and internet providers where the rental agent had passed our details on. It all got a bit much to be honest.

I did also meet a few of the neighbours who came round to introduce themselves, I was a bit frazzled, I fear I may have scared them off. Seriously, when you're moving into a new house you really don't have time on Day 1 to stop and sort out all this nonsense and socialise.

The house we've moved into is a new build, it is immaculate and is owned by the construction company with a dedicated 24 hour maintenance line to report faults and people qualified to do each job turn up with the equipment they need, on time and do the job. This is not something we're used to.

In the past we had 5 guys turn up to sort out a leak in the swimming pool in South Africa, they dug a trench with whatever they found in the garden, including an old spoon to get to the pipes.
In the last house in Dubai, the odd job man who resealed the toilet needed a cloth, before we'd moved in and actually helped himself to a spare t shirt out of my beach bag to wipe his hands and round the toilet bowl with.

Sadly though cleaning up after themselves isn't a given, there's an assumption we have a maid, so after a flood when the bath the first morning and they removed all the rubble from the drain they just left it on the floor.

We were still waiting for a drain to be emptied of rubble from the laundry room (we mopped up the flood) and in the the main bathroom, the cooker hood isn't working, the outside tap has no water and there's some sealant that needs replacing in the bathroom and we need some instructions to operate the aircon.

Our wheelie bin hasn't been delivered yet. At the moment all the rubbish we're putting outside is in cardboard boxes, I'm trying to separate the actual waste from stuff that can be recycled as the maids and gardeners will rifle through and help themselves to anything that can be re used.

As we're in a new build it's our responsibility to sort the garden out, at the moment the dog is bringing sand into the house, I have a stack of business cards from landscape companies that have been left on the door step, but I'll be talking to the neighbours to see who they recommend. We'll block path and grass half and half with a flower bed, there are shrubs planted outside the boundary that will grow in time and we'll erect a fence for a bit more privacy like the neighbours have.

Two weeks later we ran out of water, can you believe it? The tank under the drive didn't refill and the ball cock was broken, this in turn broke the pump. But in fairness it was fixed the same day that I reported the matter, even if it did mean isolating the cat and dog for several hours while men traipsed in and out the house to turn taps on and off to check the pressure was working.

During all of this, the neighbours managed to lock themselves out. If you go out the front door without a key and it closes behind you, you're locked out. There's no catch to put in place, so we've swopped spare keys for future use. Thankfully as we're on a building site, there were plenty of men around with ladders to help her onto the roof and in through the balcony doors.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

My Sunday Photo Week 154 Q is for Pub Quiz and Beer

This is our 4th Christmas in Dubai and every year I get asked about whether or not we can celebrate Christmas here or not along with a 100 other things such as statements like this.

'You can't drink alcohol in Dubai'

So here's me, on Wednesday in our local pub, at our weekly quiz night, where we we usually come in the top 3 but this week we were placed 4th. I suspect it had something to do with the fact we all had too much to drink.

As to whether or not we can celebrate Christmas, what do you think? I'm wearing my Xmas jumper.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

One daily Positive - Week 49

At some point this week the Christmas tree went up and the rest of the boxes were unpacked and everything was put away. The cupboard under the stairs which is now our attic, needs tidying and there's a fair bit of stuff to be thrown away which i'll be doing next week. The laundry room also needs sorting as I have a single bed, double oven, washing machine and American style fridge freezer  stored in there, to sell, along with the cat litter tray in the shower room, not leaving much space to dry washing and for the cat to live.

The weather has cooled to 'fantastic' around 26c in the day with a breeze which means with the doors and windows open the house is constantly filling with sand, but it's a small price to pay after the relentless heat of summer and we've even had the odd smattering of rain. It's actually chilly in the mornings and a jumper is required.

We have a busy few weeks coming up now. John Bishop on Thursday at the World Trade Centre, brunch on Friday, followed by visitors the following week, then brunch is booked for Christmas Day and in-between Peter has a couple of trips lined up to Saudi with work.

337 Sunday Architecture
Bob and I took a walk to explore our new neighbourhood, this is the new Metro line and station being built just a few hundred yards from our new home, far enough and out of sight, but close enough to walk to even in the heat of summer.

338 Monday Music
A visit to sort out the utilities for our previous house and hand the keys back. I collected the cat from the vets where she'd been all week, it was a long journey with her shouting at me all the way home. My key broke off in the ignition, but came out easily and I have a spare.

339 Tuesday Low Angle.
Spent the day trying to stop the cat getting outdoors, which proved to be a bit of a challenge with Bob wanting to be outside, then inside all day long.

340 Wednesday Depth

341 Thursday Still.
I had a manicure in the morning and then spent the rest of the day rearranging the house and enlisting the maid over the road to come and help me move all the stuff we wanted to get rid of from our house over to hers where she'll sort, hand out and send back to the Philippines. I then met Peter and a colleague of his from South Africa for a coffee before we went for dinner.

342 Friday Lights
We visited Dubai Garden Centre and a DIY store to buy a few bits and pieces for the house and garden, we almost got home before I realised I'd left my purse on the counter. Security had called my bank, who then called me just as we arrived back at the store to collect it. We had some surprise rain in the evening which was welcomed. This is what I love about Dubai, I had every confidence my purse would be exactly where I left it and intact.
343 Saturday I'm wearing
We went to The Beach for breakfast and a walk. It's really nice to be outdoors and enjoy the cooler weather. Peter spent the afternoon restoring the outdoor umbrella and wooden stand and Bob and I went to a Christmas party. I've had a couple of approaches recently to write some sponsored posts relating to clothing and accessories, I've no idea where these come from as it's not something I blog about, but I'm not one to turn down a 'freebie' if it suits my blog. I've got some sunglasses and a t shirt also to add to a blog post later on today. I did have a request from a company who said 'we think our products would fit your blog nicely' I clicked on their webpage.......they sell sex toys....what posts were they reading to reach that conclusion? needless to say I didn't even bother replying.
In the afternoon Bob and I went to see Santa.

On the blog this week:

TriumphantTales - Managing Life as an expat