Sunday, 21 January 2018

My Sunday Photo Week 160 Dubai Frame

Continuing the theme of buildings for My Sunday Photo this year, here's a new one, opened on January 1st 2018.

The Dubai Frame.

Seen from most locations in Dubai, separating the Old and the New. The frame is lit at night, changing colours through red, green, blue and yellow.

Open Sunday to Saturday 10am till 7pm although there is a ticket allocation for each day, so may close earlier when allocation is used. Entry fee is only 50 AED and they serve coffee at the top.

The frame is 150 meters tall and 93 meters wide offering a 360 degree view with Old Dubai to the north and New Dubai to the South.

On exiting the lift the guide tells you not to run or jump on the glass floor, the child in me wanted to ignore her, especially as it was something I was encouraged to do up the CN Tower in 2015 where I was 342 meters above the ground.

Old Dubai

New Dubai

Saturday, 20 January 2018

One daily Positive Week 3

This is my 4th year with Project 365, last year a lot of you got to know more about my family in the UK after my father died suddenly in July and I ended up spending almost 5 months over there. Quite a few new people I encountered through my blog were surprised to learn that I actually lived in Dubai and have done so for just over 3 years now. Prior to that we lived in South Africa with our two youngest children for 4 years.

I met my husband in 1999, we were married in 2002. We have 5 children between us who I will introduce at a later date and we have our family home in Worcestershire. I'm originally from South Wales, he is from Manchester.

We travelled abroad with my husband's job, leaving our 3 adult children in the UK. Our children are numbered as 1-5 with an 'a' added to indicate a partner. They are now aged 18-30.

I blog about my life as an expat, my travels and my experiences of parenting for the past 25 years and my adventures as a step mum. I'm a qualified teacher and have trained teaching assistants, customer services, retail and sex education in the UK and taught reception and nursery aged children in townships in South Africa to a private school in Dubai. I specialise in Child Protection and Special Needs with a focus on autism, although it's been many years since I've worked specifically in these fields.

Anyway onto week 3:

14 Sunday The first day of the working week here in Dubai, Doctors for me, a trip to the vets to re register the cat and dog with municipality and my car with the RTA, but first a coffee stop while I renewed my car insurance. Once the fence is complete I'll be able to take the cat out into the garden, she wore her new (small dog) harness all day without any hassle.

15 Monday Another airport run as Peter went back to Saudi, just for 1 night this time, the fence is almost complete. I visited Jumeriah Mosque with a friend, the fort in Deira and museum, lunch on the creek and walked on a glass floor 150ms in the air at the newly opened Dubai Frame and went round to see another friend in the evening. Bob spent the day at a spa.

16 Tuesday The RTA delivered my vehicle registration and I went to the Doctors at 10am, followed by a trip to Ibn Batutta Mall to buy a few bits for the garden, fingers crossed the fence will be finished tomorrow. No one came today to do the fence.

17 Wednesday Peter came home at 2am, the dog peed himself with excitement and confusion, then I broke a mug, the cat broke into the food cupboard, I didn't line up the milk with the cup in the coffee machine, I dropped the dirty cat litter tray, kicked the mop bucket over and ran out of printing ink so I went out for coffee, bought cake, made some dog beds for outside, blogged, watched TV, cooked dinner and had an early night.

18 Thursday Spent the day cleaning and did a food shop, coffee and cake was involved and I sneaked in a visit to the nail bar, an early dinner and early night and enjoyed time in the garden, just the plants to put in now and we're done.

19 Friday Peter had a colleague visiting so after dropping them in Dubai Marina I drank coffee while they made their way along the coast on the RTA ferry. Posted a load of letters for family and friends world wide. Came home to finish off the garden, but it was too dark to take photo's. I'd been looking forward to a long hot soak in the bath all day, but rather than a luxurious bubble bath, I just got a little cloud.

20 Saturday Spent the day at the golf in Abu Dhabi. This is something Peter and I like to do together, although when we get there I tend to sit at the 1st tee to watch the golfers tee off, then sit at the 9th green to watch them all putt, while Peter will follow a particular pairing for a while before we meet up at the 18th. Normally my dad follows at home on Sky in the UK when Peter and I attend sporting events, the last time was for the Rugby 7's in Hong Kong last April. I have a few freebies handed to me during the day which I usually saved and gave to my dad, no idea what I'll do with them now.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo Reflections
PoCoLo and Best Boot Forward What I envy in other women and why?
Tweens Teens Beyond and Triumphant Tales Assisting a school leaver into work

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Things I envy about other women and their lives.

I'm not jealous of other women, what I envy about other women is not a threat to me, therefore I am only envious of what they have not jealous that what they have means that they can take things from me.

I'm sure there are many women out there who are envious of me.

I am confident, I am friendly, I am 46 with no children living at home. I have a glamorous lifestyle, I live in Dubai, I don't have to work. I have a husband who provides me with a lifestyle where I am comfortable, can travel and don't have to watch the pennies. So how can I possibly be envious of other women?

It's not about insecurities or wanting things that I can't have, such as smaller breasts, or a bigger bum (or just a bum will do) having better teeth or being a size (or 2 smaller). Technically I could have that if I paid for it and made it a priority and joined a gym and changed my diet.

It's not even about wanting material things. For me, it's about friendships, families, a career.

I've had all that and now I have a chance at new adventures, but even that is wearing thin.

You see living abroad isn't one big holiday, I may leave in a dream holiday destination, but trust me the grass isn't any greener. the grass is artificial, and the landscape is bleak. No hills, just buildings, occasionally there may be a cloud in the sky and for one or two weeks a years we get weather, fog and rain. For 4 months of the year (apart from the 2 weeks of weather) I actually enjoy living in Dubai as I can go outdoors, it's chilly in the mornings and hot during the day. This means I get to vary my wardrobe, my routines, explore new places (Dubai isn't actually that big)

Why do I envy other women?  They seem to have their lives mapped out, it's not about material items, designer handbags or shoes, although I do wish I had a bit more style and grace about me, but to be honest I don't feel that comfortable when I'm in a dress and heels.

I envy those women who enjoy living abroad.
I envy those women with large friendship groups.
I envy those women who have their parents visiting them.
I envy those women who look fantastic with hair and make up all in place and looking good in whatever they've thrown on.
I envy those women who can eat what they want and not put on weight.
I envy those women with all the above and a career.
I envy those women who know how to valet park.
I envy those women who know how to use the spa/gym.

But behind everything I envy, I also see the bigger picture, the facebook pictures v's the reality of living abroad when you meet these women and get to know them.

The women who don't feel like they actually belong in the big friendship groups, who feel lucky to be part of it, then who bitch about others behind their backs.

The women who complain that their family members are a drain on them emotionally and financially but can't put that on facebook as they'll see it.

The women who spend a small fortune and get up an hour earlier than the rest of the house and spend all day reapplying make up and doing their hair to maintain that natural look.

The women who are controlling their diet, exercising, have an illness etc and or under immense pressure to maintain that shape and photoshop the arse off every image, quite literally. 

The women who are paddling like mad below the surface to try and have it all. Been there, done that. Raising kids, having a career and managing a home are not easy.

The women who can valet park and know how to use the spa/gym will always remain a mystery to me. I actually don't envy them, I am in awe if the truth be known.

So what can I do to tackle my envy? Well the one thing I do know is that I'm honest and realistic, which means I'm half way there. I really can't have it all. If I want my career back, a job, income, some independence, a sense of belonging, an identity, then something has to give. What would that be? My ability to travel back to the UK with such frequency. I'm back in March for child 4s medal parade, June for child 2s wedding. I'm spending the summer in the UK to escape the endless heat of Dubai. I'd have the finances to send for the kids and my mother, I'd be able to have more shorter flights to the UK, but then there would be a price to pay in terms of fatigue from travel, timezones and straight back to work.

I was in full time work in 2016, teaching. I had the summer holidays off, the shorter ones I decided weren't long enough to get to the UK for a proper visit. I had friends and family visit, I was working in the day, I was shattered in the evenings. I had to apply for emergency leave when family members died. It didn't work for me.

So what do I do instead? I've joined the expat groups, where I've felt nothing but envy for most of the above reasons, these women seem happy without a career, but are they really like me and it's all a front, they're just too embarrassed to say so? 

Am I too honest? Is this why I don't fit in? Are these women that I envy happy? Am I happy? Is it because I'm wanting more? Wanting to be different? Not accepting myself and the situation for what it is?

Even if I get what I want in life, living back in the UK, with my family near by and a carer, then want? Will I be wanting more anyway? Is that what life is about? Will I ever be happy or will I look back on the years we lived abroad wishing I'd made more of my time and just enjoyed it for what it was, an adventure?

Who knows?

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Assisting a School leaver into work

Our teenage son, child 5, is privileged and entitled. He has benefited from a private education in a UK boarding school and on leaving school in July has moved into a one bed flat with all his bills being paid for by the bank of mum and dad, his current situation is unemployed. He is lucky, has no understanding of the real world and doesn't have anything to worry about, unlike other people's children who left school this year.

Sounds cushy, doesn't it? And those very words have been said to me on numerous occasions.

The reality is somewhat altogether different.

We live in Dubai, our son was educated in the UK, because at the time we were living in South Africa and there was no support for his dyslexia. There was no British Curriculum available to him until he was 16. Our older son, child 4, found out the hard way that whilst he finished Matric with qualifications to go to University in South Africa, that when his qualifications were converted back in the UK, at the age of 19, he had the equivalent of 5 GCSE's but does not hold English or Maths.

Sending our son back to the UK was not an easy decision. Both emotionally and financially. His teenage years have been spent in a bubble, no parent support, no freedom to get a part time job and no socialising in the evening in town with others, learning valuable lifeskill that his 3 older siblings had.

On leaving school in July 2017 having had applied for apprenticeships, we quickly discovered that the qualification he did at school enabled him to get straight into the world of work, however he had no work experience. All the apprenticeships in his area of interest and knowledge would just be teaching him the same course we'd paid for him to do during his last 2 years in school.

We didn't know this, we were led by the school, the promises they made for his future, but we weren't there to attend the parents evenings, ask the questions, meet the other parents and find out what the reality of all this was going to be.

I spent the summer in the UK, my job as a mum this year was to help him apply for jobs, take him to interviews, help him get a part time job to gain some experience and then get him settled into a place of his own. I was open an open ticket from Dubai and he was my only priority.

Then a week after I collected him from school, my father died and everything stopped.

The teen carried on applying for jobs, I ran him for a few interviews, but I didn't focus on him as I'd promised.

Now I'm back in Dubai, he has a few things lined up, a bit of part time work over the holidays. The only thing we're now paying for are the utility bills, water and electric. We have to pay the council tax, property management fees and insurances regardless of whether he's living there or not. We own the flat, no mortgage, it's our bolt hole when we visit the UK.

But it's in a small town in South Wales, with a population of 10,000 people, there is limited public transport, no train line and it is difficult for him to get anywhere for a 9am interview. He's applied online for all the local jobs, over 150 people applied for one at a coffee shop, he has no retail or work experience.

I'll be back in the UK in February, we'll do another online push together in Mid January to apply for jobs further afield so hopefully any interviews can take place while I'm over so he can attend them easily.

It's not just simply a case of finish school and walk into a job. An 18 year old still needs guidance and support to make the transition into the real world. Normally they get to do this from the safety net of home over a period of time. His brothers left home aged 18 and went into an apprenticeship and 2 joined the army, they do so from the family home, with guidance and support, with someone there to encourage them, help them fill forms and attend interviews. For us, it's very different this time round and will take a bit longer.

So I'd thank you to keep your comments in the opening paragraph to yourself, they're not helpful or even kind. We're doing what we're doing because he's our son and we have the ability to support him in this way. As a parent I'd rather have had him attend school locally, I'd rather be in the UK with him. But I'm not.

*update. Since I wrote this post over Christmas the teen has landed himself a job in the area of work he's interested in, it's a firm offer but he's waiting for security checks to come through before he gets a start date then we'll have to help him find somewhere to live.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Looking after myself

I implemented the 9am rule, it's working well. It means I have to be ready to face the day by 9am, regardless of whether I'm actually going out or not, it also doesn't matter whether I have a full face of make up on and my hair done or even if I go and have a lie down. I'm not timetabling and scheduling my life I'm just motivating myself to make sure I don't get stuck in rut, which leads to boredom, which in turn, from experience, leads to depression. 

My 9am is now in it's 3rd week, it goes out the window on weekends when my husband is home, he is my motivation then, and it is going well. I've almost completed the whole 'to do' list for January and been getting to bed early.

But there are another few things I need to work on, but this needs co-operationkio from my husband. He works, he is the one with routine, the length of time and order in which he does things in the morning, when he comes home from work, the time in between entering the front door and when he's ready to eat and what time he is ready to go to bed. I don't have a problem with this, however this doesn't suit me. I need to eat earlier, I need to eat less carbs. Peter doesn't always start/end his routine at the same time every day and I find it difficult to get up and start mine or eat earlier knowing I'll have to cook twice or he'll have to eat his warmed up or cook his own, or go to bed earlier without him, as he will travel away often during the week and with me spending so much time in the UK without him, our time together is precious.

I feel selfish if I do my own thing, but it's self imposed and I need to just get over it. Not feel guilty if I go to bed early, eat my main meal at 4pm before he comes home, go to bed early, spend the evening in a another room as due to a bad neck I can't spend hours sitting on the sofa watching TV, as much as I'd like to.

I've always batch cooked, we have 5 kids, I always made enough for 7/8 meals and froze the rest, now I cook for 4 every meal time and freeze 2/3 meals in individual pots. Peter will cook several meals over the weekend and freeze them also. Every morning I'll take a pot out the freezer for him and I'll make myself something fresh each day. This means I can cut down on the amount of carbs I eat, have increased my intake of fruit and veg and dairy products and actually eat less and have stopped snacking as much during the day. 

The mornings are sorted I get up and get on with things downstairs, dishwasher, walk Bob, etc after Peter brings me up a cup of tea to bed every morning. It's just the evenings. Peter showers, cleans his teeth and goes to bed. I can't help doing a million and one taks on the way to bed, followed by bathing, removing make up, moisturising etc which takes far longer than his shower and teeth cleaning.

Thankfully it's winter here in Dubai and both Peter and I love being outdoors. We have bikes, but rarely go for a bike ride at the same time, but we do like to walk the dog together  We like to get outdoors as much as possible. We've recently moved to a new house, 15 minute drive from the beach and we visit it at least once on a weekend, whether it's for a paddle, walk, coffee or all three. We used to live 1km from the beach, but hardly went there, why? because it was at the end of the road, so we could go there when ever we wanted, so we just kept putting it off. We also have a lovely garden, it's small, but more manageable, we've had it landscaped and in the process of having it fenced off, for privacy and so we can leave the dog outside without fear of him jumping the wall. We've also got two balconies, but we only use the one off the bedroom, it means I can sit out there with my tea in the mornings if I choose without having to get out of my pjs first and on a saturday, you'll find us out there, sitting in silence for most of the morning. 

It'll be too hot soon for the outdoor life and we'll have to look at other ways to get out of the house. I'll be spending the bulk of summer in the UK, it's just too hot for me here with nothing to do all day when temps are in the high 40's. Peter will carry on working and have a couple of trips over to visit me. It's fairly typical of what most expats do out here.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

One Daily Positive Week 2

I'm fighting boredom and if I'm honest loneliness also. If I don't acknowledge it, I get depressed. Dubai isn't like the UK, regardless of nationality, people just don't strike up conversations and friendships here, they don't just pop round with an invite and meeting up for coffee is like pulling teeth. do I keep sending whatsapp's, rearranging when they cancel last minute, it gets embarrassing.

Anyway I've spent most of this week on my own, with Peter working in Saudi. I've got an awful lot of stuff done and believe it or not I've actually been out the house house everyday, with the dog or on my own. Had lunch with a friend, visited the dog park, pub quiz with different friends,and several coffees (on my own).

7 Sunday The start of the working week in Dubai, did the washing and some cleaning and tidying up. Cycled to the local shops for a coffee, have fixed my panniers on my bike which means I don't have to take the car out as much.

8 Monday I got so much done today I almost completed my 'to do' list for the whole of the month, dropped Peter at the airport at 5am and worked non stop all day till 5pm when I had a bath and was in bed by 7pm. It rained during the night.

9 Tuesday Bad news day. But first I'd had a lovely morning, visited the dog park with Bob, lunch with a friend and a visit to the garden centre and I bought stamps.

10 Wednesday Spent the morning in the garden blogging, having breakfast and drinking tea. I ordered a cat gym for Pushkins last night from Souq Amazon and it arrived by 10am. Went out for coffee and wrote some letters, did some sewing in the afternoon and out to the pub quiz in the evening.

11 Thursday My 9am rule went out the window as I didn't wake up till 8.45am. I started cleaning the house, but it took most of the day as I hadn't got myself dressed, ready for the day. Not a good day all round for me. I took myself out for a coffee and wrote some more letters, but my heart just isn't in doing anything right now, did a food shop, had a bath and watched TV in bed. The fence panels were delivered to be erected over the weekend.

12 Friday Peter arrived home in the early hours. We went to Dubai Marina for breakfast and a walk. and just chilled out at home in the afternoon.

13 Saturday We watched with interest as the fence started to go up, it'll be finished by tomorrow, popped out for a coffee and stocked up the booze cupboard in Abu Dhabi. Beef in the slow cooker all day and looking forward to a full roast later on this evening.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo and this year I'm focusing on buildings. The building of the Dubai Eye.
Animal Tales and PoCoLo Moving home in Dubai with Pets
Tweens, Teens, Beyond. Triumphant Tales and new linky Best boot Forward My 9am rule to beat the boredom

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Moving Home in Dubai Part 5 - Pets

When we moved from the UK to South Africa, we had to re home our Chicken called Ruby and just incase you wondered where my blog title came from, now you know.

Our move within South Africa involved a cat, who had adopted us 6 weeks prior to the move, as we were staying within the estate and had advertised the cat far and wide for it's owners we took the cat with us and she stayed.

When we left South Africa 3 years ago we had a dog also and we moved out of our house 2 weeks before we left the country as our furniture was shipped. We kept the cat and dog in the property and returned during the day to the estate to be with them. The night before our departure we caged the cat just in case she decided that would be the day to disappear.

On arrival in Dubai, we were unable due to problems with our visas to move into our new home for around 10 weeks as we couldn't get our furniture released from the port, so for the first month, one of the kids camped out with the cat and dog in the new villa over night and I spent the day time there. After 6 weeks, the kids returned to the UK. By this time the cat had been let out and was coming and going through the kitchen window and I came to the house every day.

For this move across Dubai, we decided to put the cat at the vets for a week while we moved and we booked the dog into day care while the doors were left open as we were moving out and into the new property to stop him escaping and in general whilst the removal guys were comfortable around the dog, many nationalities and individuals are frightened and often won't enter a property until you've reassured them that the dog is not only locked in a room but does not have access to a key or can use a handle to get out a room.

Poor Bob didn't know if he was coming or going the first few nights, we located a space for his bed and food and water and that will not be moved, his routine of walks, feeding and bedtime stayed the same, but obviously he was unsettled and kept getting under our feet as we moved boxes.
We had to keep a close eye on his toilet habits as when he's new a new environment, such as on holiday or when he goes into boarding while we travel, he often won't poo for 2-3 days.

The plan was to keep the cat inside for the first few weeks, which is a shame as the weather is perfect to let her wander freely outside now. Once she got used to the house and we'd fenced the garden in we had planned to let her out. For now she just sits at the windows staring longingly at the outdoors.

Sadly the road we've chosen to live on is not as quiet as we'd hoped for and as they'll still building houses here, it's being used, often at speed at night, as a short cut across to access a dessert patch of land to the highway, while the new roads are being built.

There are already quite a few stray cats in this area and I've seen a couple of people walking their dogs. Sadly the local mall isn't pet friendly so there will be no taking Bob with me for coffees, but there are plenty of places and routes to walk him and I've enrolled him in a local 'stay and play' facility where I can get a coffee and meet other dog owners.

The cat has been displaying some strange behaviour, randomly attacking the dog, me and furniture, as well as hiding. She is obviously stressed.

So I've been giving her a lot more time and attention and playing with her more and she has settled quickly into her normal routine.

Monday, 8 January 2018

My 9am rule. Beating boredom.

Life can be boring.

Life is what you make it, or of it.

How can my life possibly be boring? I live in Dubai.

It's not about where I live, most of the time, although there are some restrictions to what I can do.

These restrictions are however self imposed because with all my family living in the UK, it's difficult to have a full time job and meet the commitments of family. Last year my father died. I spent 4 months in the UK supporting my mum. This year child 2 and 2a are getting married, child 4 has his medal parade, friends are getting married and Peter's niece is also getting married in October. I did teach for a year here, but add to all the events in the UK, plus unexpected events such as deaths, I just don't have the time to manage both a career and a family. Plus we have lots of visitors, mainly family, who I want to spend time with when they come here.

For most of the time, life in Dubai is uneventful, other than dealing with moving house, setting up utilities and dealing with issues in the UK such as tax returns, tenants and supporting the teen into work, which takes up chunks of time but it's all short term. In-between life is boring and I'm not good at entertaining myself and doing nothing.

For the past 3 years I've been doing a #OneDailyPositive making sure I get out the house every day and look for a positive in each day, regardless of the events. Some days this has been almost impossible to achieve, but I'm in my 4th year now and I link up each week with a weekly blog post with #Project365.

For 2018 I've decided to implement myself a 9am rule.

This means everyday by 9am I must have finished my daily chores and be showered and dressed and ready to go out. This doesn't have to involve hair and make up. I'm quite comfortable leaving the house without a full face on and my hair in a pony tail. In fact I don't even have to go out. I've discovered that unless I'm dressed by 9am, I find it's all of a sudden midday and I get down thinking I've wasted yet another day, with nothing achieved and I eat junk food, feel bad about myself, sleep the afternoon away and generally I'm not the best of company when my husband comes home at the end of the day.

My daily chores involve making the bed, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the litter tray, watering the garden, put the bins out, walking the dog and cleaning any dog mess up.

I have weekly jobs to do, that are completed on random days throughout the week which are washing, ironing, food shopping, clean the car, dusting, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the balcony. Sometimes I'm on a roll and do it all on one day, other times I do things as and when they need doing throughout the week.

Each week I also take the dog to doggy day care for a swim and run around and a chance to socialise for both me and him. I go to a mall for a coffee when I do the food shop and I'll pick one place further a field to visit each week.

I've also got a list of things I want to do or need doing around the house. Somethings have a deadline such as renewing the car insurance and registration and chasing up a refund, others can roll on:

New bedding to be bought.
Curtains to be washed and taken up.
Train set to be dismantled.
Clothes to charity bin.
Dog beds to be made.
Fencing for garden.
Plants to be bought and planted in the new garden.
Fix panniers to bike.

When I'm in the UK life is very different, I still have a 'home' to manage and daily and weekly chores to complete, but I don't feel so isolated and alone. In Dubai I spend so much of my time on my home with Peter at work for 10 hours a day and often away in the week. In weekends we go further a field and visit places, but I find life is mostly indoors much of the year. We've just completed the garden so we can spend our evenings sitting outside and we like to visit The Beach on weekends, but there's not hills to walk, we can't take Bob into the desert anymore and the parks and gardens charge entry fees and dogs are banned anyway.

In the UK I can go for a walk, I can pop in and visit my friends, I can sit in the park and drink coffee or have a picnic, I can explore local shops and towns, visits old buildings, drive to a variety of places of interest. Although we can go to the pub in Dubai in the evenings we have to drive there, in the UK I can walk and meet up with friends, talk to random strangers, something that people don't really do here, regardless of their nationality.

A lot of the time, with all the traveling I do, I find it hard to get into a routine. Already I'm thinking 'I'm in the UK next month till the end of March, then child 4 and 4a are visiting then the following month, May, I'll be back in the UK till the end of August, then the next month, October, I'll be back in the UK and then the next month, December, hopefully my Mum will be visiting. But there are huge chunks of time I'd just be hanging around in Dubai doing nothing. The reality is that out of 52 weeks, I will be spending only 19 of them in the UK. That's 33 weeks in Dubai of doing nothing if I'm not careful and that's a long time in which to be bored.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

My Sunday Photo Week 158 Bluewaters Island and the Dubai Eye

Dubai will never be finished, there are so many building projects going on here, it is difficult to keep track of what is going where and when. However there are several projects and areas that I've been keeping an eye on and taking photographs of since we moved here. The Dubai Mall, The Dubai Water Canal and the Dubai Eye, seen below. 

The Dubai Eye is a 210 meter tall Ferris Well and the tallest in the World, scheduled to open in April 2018. It will carry 1,400 passengers in 48 capsules will views of the Marina, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeriah and the Burj Khalifa. It will also have a view of our villa which is 4 miles away and seen here from our garden.

Taken in January 2014 from the Sheraton Hotel, on a visit to Dubai prior to us moving here at the end of the year. New land created in the sea.

The frame for Dubai Eye in place in August 2015, but another 20 months before the wheel was started to be assembled.

 Although I visited The Beach in 2016, there was no work on the Dubai Eye so I didn't take any photographs, by March 2017 the first piece was in place, resembling a Pirate Ship.

By  December 2017 the wheel was almost complete. I missed the rest of the sections going in during the year as I was out of the country.

In January 2018 the final piece was in place. Just the capsules to add now.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

One Daily Positive Week 1 2018

Happy New Year and hoping 2018 brings happiness and good health to everyone.

It was hard work keeping up with family and friends around the world waiting to wish them all a Happy New Year, with child 3 and 3a in Australia celebrating 5pm UK time, the Middle East where we celebrated at 8pm and child 4 at 9pm and of course the rest of the family in the UK where it was 11am in Australia, then by the time I woke up on New Years Day, family and friends in America and Canada were still in 2017. Told you it was complicated.

I'm hopefully not going to dwell on 2017 to much. It seems strange to say 'my father now died last year' time really does march on and I don't want to end up sounding like one of these people who can't let go of the past (don't tell that to Peter though, it'll spoil a good row) Life's events shape and change us, some good, some not so.

I've started 2018 with a garden project, we designed and paid a team of people to do all the hard work. I'm also waiting for the results from various scans and tests to find out why I've been so ill in 2017, my health wasn't good before my father died and I put off sorting it all out until a) I was ready b) I was back in Dubai for a period of time to be able to sort it all out and c) I had to wait for medical aid approval.

We've got 3 weddings and a medal parade to look forward to in 2018 all in the UK, hopefully we'll fit in some time for some travel further afield also.

So onwards and upwards and here's my week in photos, without photo prompts for the first time in 3 years. Let's see how it goes and hopefully I'll remember to take the pictures.

Day 1 Monday 1st January
Happy New Year from Dubai. Popped out for breakfast and got distracted by the sales and of course bought stuff we don't need. I cooked a roast dinner for New Year's Day, becoming a bit of a tradition now for us now. Of course #BobTheDog and #Pushkins had their share. The rest of the day was spent watching TV and chilling out with a few drinks.

Day 2 Tuesday 2nd
Spent a couple of hours rearranging the lounge, we moved in just before Christmas and now the decorations have been put away and Peter has returned to work, I took the opportunity to make the most of the space without the tree in place. The workmen returned to landscape the garden and I took Bob to an indoor play centre for a run around. I spent the afternoon writing letters and drinking rose tea.

Day 3 Wednesday 3rd
A morning of hospital appointments, blood tests and chest X-rays. Lung function tests came back ok, but my bone density tests showed low levels and my blood tests returned high White Blood Cell counts again. This has been going on since June and the Doctor has no idea what type of infection I have and where it is. The pneumonia has cleared up, but there's obviously something else going on, so more antibiotics and back in 10 days for further bloods. I'm in a bad mood. I still have resolved the issues with the electricity and water board in regards to a refund. Bob spent the day in day care and had a bath. I metaphorically wanted to jump off the roof of the Mall of Emirates today, after, the icing on the cake, I forgot where I parked my car.

Day 4 Thursday 4th
I'm so tired, spent the morning sorting out computer problems with the hard drive, then took myself off for a coffee and to the nail bar. I felt much better when I got home and cleaned the house and prepped dinner, then treated myself to a blend of rose tea in the garden.

Day 5 Friday 5th
A visit to Jumeriah Beach for a coffee in the morning. Not a good day for me, spent most of it sleeping in the afternoon and generally being miserable.

Day 6 Saturday 6th
Out for coffee and a walk round the mall, followed by an afternoon sorting the garden, including assembling the umbrella. Just a fence to erect and some planting to do.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo N is for New Year. A look back over 2017 in photos and my favourite picture of the year.
My favourite blog posts of 2017

Thursday, 4 January 2018

My Blog Posts of 2017 by Chickenruby.

Most traffic comes to my blog via the linkys I join in with each week and through google searches. I've met a few people who have relocated to Dubai this way when they searched for 'moving your dog to Dubai' who came across my blog posts and we've made real life friendships from it.

My favourite google search is 'men in speedo's' it's a rather disappointing post if you're looking for images, but a popular post and regulary shared. Thankfully my referral sites no longer contain dodgy URL's which means my hits are more organic than previously and Chickenruby on facebook is my biggest referral site. I have no idea what RSS feeds are, PA and DA scores are and how they are obtained, but as I write the blog for me, I really don't care too much about that sort of stuff.

I write on a variety of subjects, life as an expat, pets, gardening, parenting, empty nest syndrome, travel and disability. I don't have a niche, I really don't care for one. I occasionally have the opportunity to write a sponsored post or review products, but I don't go looking for it, too much hard work in my opinion.

So here are my favourite blog posts for 2017:

2017 was a significant year for me, it was the year my father died, I'm still Managing grief after losing a parent as things were over complicated by me being so far away from my home in Dubai, supporting my mother. It was a difficult time for us all and need not have been so emotionally draining had my father got his affair in order before he died, Getting your affairs in order was something Peter and I needed to update and address, especially as we live abroad. That's why sorting out Things to do before you die is such an important post for me to have written.

Travel used to be a luxury for most or involved work, as a child a holiday was a luxury item, as an expat in my 8th year away from the UK, travel has become a necessity, a way of life. I blogged about how my Travel experiences then and now have changed with time and lifestyle.

Quite a few of my blog post cover several headings and parenting often falls into life as an expat also. So you'll quite often find these posts in a couple of tabs on my blog, especially when it comes to writing about our experiences of parenting an adult child with a disability who lives in a care home in the UK.  Coping with a disabled adult child and Managing emotions when your child is in care is not an easy task and our move abroad was not an easy decision to make especially when unlike the other children she is unable to come out and visit us. Quality time is spent with her when we visit the UK and Planning a trip with a disabled young adult around their toilet needs gets quite complicated. Also Parenting from abroad is made harder by lack of communication from those looking after our children, of which we've had a different type of experience with our youngest spending the last 4 years of his education in a UK boarding school and we've not been around to support him as much as we could've done.

I've also shared my Parenting highlights of the past 25 years, which are all funny now and involve losing children on a regular basis and how The next generation have taken over now they think that they need to look after me and they now sit me in the back of the car with a supply of sweets and remind me when to use the toilets, this is what happens When your kids spread their wings and gain independence. Some of the things I've come to realise after parenting for quarter of a century are that You don't need to entertain kids 24/7 especially with electronics, so many parents are blogging about how to 'reduce their child's screen time' It makes me sound old, but we managed and Parenting without social media is how I raised my kids, relying on only local support and help with my kids as did generations before us. All these parenting blog posts on helping your kids with various stages in their life in a modern society can cause a 'keeping up with the Jones's' scenario and actually cause parents to think they are failing and why I wrote about How practical is practical parenting advice. Of course it could be said that I'm doing the same thing now, relying on Social Media and writing about my experiences as a parent, but I try to write about what I would've done differently or just the adventures of being a mum to 5 kids was like and of course there are many Things I wish I'd never done as a parent such as baking cakes and making costumes for school as well as joining the dreaded PTA and I do offer one piece of Advice for a new mum and that's to just enjoy your children and not compare them to others as before you know it, they'll have left the nest and you'll be writing reflective pieces on your time as a parent and wondering Are you a good social media role model for your children? as they grow up.

Expat Life
With living abroad and having your children living in different countries, comes a lot of other difficulties as well as those mentioned above. What happens to your Marriage after the kids leave home when it's just you and your spouse living 1000's of miles away from all your family. It may all seem like Fun in the sun, but not if you live in Dubai I can assure you the grass isn't any greener and you'll know that if you've read any of the posts above. Quite often I get bored but I'm learning It's ok to be bored I've had quite a few experiences where I've felt like I'm back in the school playground since we left the UK. I'm a social person and I love spending time with my friends, but it's not always easy as an expat as so many people seem to have an agenda for what makes a good friendship and I can't help but ask Why are women so mean sometimes? In the 4 months I was back in the UK over the summer, I got to know all my mums and my neighbours, I found myself a local pub and coffee shop, something I've not been able to do in Dubai and it's something I can't see to fathom out, why it's so hard making friends abroad?

So that was 2017, not necessarily the posts with the most hits, but the ones that define the year.

Here's hoping 2018 is more positive and less stressful, but I've no doubt it will be just as eventful with child 4's medal parade, child 2 and 2a's wedding, Peter is best man at another wedding and his niece gets married also this year. So a lot more travel to the UK and more memories to be made.