Saturday, 30 June 2018

Cleaning the windows on the world's tallest building - Burj Khalifa - My Sunday Photo Week 183

It takes a team of 36 people, 3 months to clean the windows on the Burj Khalifa, which cover an area of 2,717 foot. They work at heights of 2000ft and cover 40 of the 206 storeys each.

Apart from the safety harness, the sun, dust and high winds, washing the windows on the Burj Khalifa is done no differently that cleaning a window on the ground floor.

Once the windows are clean, they return to the top and start all over again.



Over the past 4 years I've been documenting the ever growing skyline of Dubai. I've also featured construction projects in other parts of the world and buildings that have caught my eye. You can read more about them by clicking on the links below:

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Al Furjan At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
  • Tallest building in the world
  • Tallest free-standing structure in the world
  • Highest number of stories in the world
  • Highest occupied floor in the world
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world 

Tallest of the Supertall

Not only is Burj Khalifa the world’s tallest building, it has also broken two other impressive records: tallest structure, previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, and tallest free-standing structure, previously held by Toronto’s CN Tower. The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has established 3 criteria to determine what makes a tall building tall. Burj Khalifa wins by far in all three categories. 
Height to architectural top
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building. This includes spires, but does not include antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely used and is used to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat rankings of the Tallest Buildings in the World.
Highest occupied floor
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor within the building. Maintenance areas are not included.
Height to tip
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building, irrespective of material or function of the highest element. This includes antennae, flagpoles, signage and other functional-technical equipment. 

Week 26 One Daily Positive

Celebrating my birthday week in Wales, Birmingham and Belfast. Had a great week with family

175 Sunday Started my birthday celebrations today. Mum and I went to Parkend to the boot sale, then onto the Speech House for tea and cake. This was the trip we did with Dad 3 days before he died and with the anniversary of his death coming up there are a few things that we feel the need to just get out the way/out of our system. The photo I took of Dad and I was supposed to have mum in it, but she popped to the toilet and I just took the snap, for what ever reason we didn't take one of the 3 of us on her return, so I took one of me and her today.

176 Monday I opened my presents and cards today, a day early as I'm away for the rest of the week. There was cake.

177 Tuesday I caught the National Express Coach to Birmingham, wandered to the train station and onto the hotel then headed out to the NEC for dinner and wine.

178 Wednesday Early morning flight to Belfast, caught the bus into the City and spent the day exploring before 4a collected me after she finished work. Child 4 arrived home from the mainland where he's been on a training course late in the evening. I've carried these flowers for 3 days, a gift from child 3 &3a in Australia. This box has become my Wilson in Castaway.

179 Thursday Everyone was in work today so I headed out to Lisburn on the bus for a couple of hours. The evening was spent having dinner and drinks with friends. Mum and I were in the Daily Mail today.


180 Friday off with the in law to be, 4a's mum to check out the wedding venue for next year. Family BBQ in the evening.

181 Saturday Cake tasting for 4 and 4a's wedding next september and goodbyes to 4 as he heads off to Germany for 3 weeks. I may or may not see him in August ahead of his 4 month posting to the Falklands, followed by 4 months in Kenya early next year. It could potentially be a year before I see him next, but who knows things happen and change.

Paying a bit more attention to myself. Back to basics and some TLC 

Who are these people judging SAHM's and why do we listen to them?

March to June 2018 The building of the new metro station at Al Furjan. 




Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Getting back to basics and a little TLC

I have a 9am rule. It involves getting my arse into order and making sure the day doesn't pass me by without wasting it. However, this rule only applies to my life when I'm in Dubai. When Peter is in work all day or travelling. Although I have a couple of friends in Dubai, I spend a huge amount of time on my own and I get bored, lonely and depressed.

I arrived in the UK the end of May. Peter came with me for a week. Since he's left, I've hardly stopped. Well that's what social media would lead you to believe. Normally on UK visits I have car hire and I'm out here and there every day, trying to cram in as much as possible into a short space of time, running myself ragged, have flown 3000 miles to then be the person who accommodates everyone else. OK I don't mind when people are working and/or have kids. I can't expect people to put their lives on hold just because I'm back.

Normally I visit twice a year for 2-3 weeks at a time. On occasions, I've had extended stays such as when we needed to evict our tenants from hell through the courts and then sadly last year when my father died. Fed up of sleeping in spare rooms, not being able to unpack and quite often spending the night on a sofa, we made the decision just under 2 years ago to purchase a one bed flat in South Wales, near where my mum lives, so I can have a base, Peter can relax when he's here for a one week holiday twice a year and to save lugging heavy suitcases back and forth. However until last month, it was occupied by the teen while he was job hunting and waiting for security clearance to go through.

So for the first time, I have a base, just for me and as I'll be in the UK till the end of October (with a couple of short trips planned) I've realised I need to establish some kind of a routine or I'm going to burn out quickly.

I'm not waking up most mornings till 8am, that's fine and I tend to get dressed and head straight out for coffee. The cost of that is mounting up. Then I potter, go for a walk, visit mum or Thing 1, 2 & 3 (my great nephews) Anything to put off cleaning the dishes from the night before. I might pop to a near by town to meet a friend (usually random strangers from social media) I've several projects on the go, selling my dad's stamp collection and other bits and pieces. I shop daily, cook dinner, usually invite mum down, visit friends who have been at work, go to the pub or just veg infant of the TV, getting into bed around 9-10pm and falling asleep quickly.

Sounds good, but without any structure to my day, the flat is inevitably a mess, it took me 4 days to hoover. It's a one bed flat, I spent 4 days tripping over the cable. I had no motivation, structure.

As is usual in my life, I start something, then it's all change. I'm on my way to Belfast for a few days, then I've a busy diary with friends the following week, Peter arrives mid July for a week and then I'm off to Germany.

But there are things I can put in place and starting small they are:
  • Clean bathroom after shower, don't leave it till the next use.
  • Learn to use the coffee machine in the flat.
  • Meal plan rather than buying daily.
  • Wash up and clear away after dinner.
  • Put things away and get clothes ready for the morning.
  • Only take £3.40 out when going to the pub for 1 G&T.
  • Establish a proper night time routine, make up off, shower or bath, pjs on, clear clutter off bed.
I can follow this routine wherever I am over the next few months, I started this evening in my hotel room in Birmingham. I had an early dinner, I ate out but stuck to a budget and only one glass of wine. I took my make up off, had a shower, got my clothes ready for the morning and packed everything else away so when I get up, I can dress and take the short walk to the departure lounge for my flight first thing.




Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Who are these people judging SAHM's?

Depending on what you google, you either find the number of stay at home mums has increased by a million or decreased for the first time in 20 years. However the actual figures don't really matter, this isn't the purpose of the post. All that matters is that each mother, does what is best for their family, their relationship and their child/ren.

While some parents relish being a SAHM, some resent it, some can afford it, some are ill, some are caring for sick children, some have a dream of what being a SAHM is, some change their minds, some find themselves in the situation with no firm plans, others choose this path.

My mother was a SAHM, however 47 years ago she didn't have a label. My Gran was also a SAHM to my father and his 2 brothers, but she looking in washing and ironing to help with the family budget. I was a SAHM sometimes and in full time work also, but I too never had a label.

The phrase SAHM came into use in the mid 80's and was more widely used in the 90's but I'm guessing until the invention of Social Media hitting the masses, it wasn't really that popular. We were house wives, or home makers. When I lived in South Africa, my visa read 'Home Executive' in Dubai it reads 'House Wife'

I hate labels, I've written about 'why I don't like labels' many times. Labels are used to judge individuals, often before you first meet them, however I've never seen 'SAHM' as a drop down box on a form.

Each week I link up with #pocolo where one of the hosts Morgan discussed 'Why we shouldn't be ashamed to be a SAHM'

Morgan writes:

'I have been a stay-at-home mum for 14 years and in that time I've spent a lot of days feeling inadequate and unworthy 😩. Society has led me to believe I don't do anything that's worthy of praise and that I should go out and get a job as soon as possible. A job in which I can demand equal pay and show that I am a strong woman who is capable of anything a man is.'

Morgan goes on to discuss the issues that SAHM's face from various areas of society, where and what they are judged on and how she deals with this, not justifying her situation, not defending her choice to be a SAHM, just explaining why it is the right choice for her and her family and she certainly doesn't judge others for their choices on not being a SAHM.

What I don't get is why Morgan needs to explain herself, why I've needed to explain myself. Why anyone has to defend themselves from others who don't think being a SAHM is a worthy role in life? Morgan's post has been refreshing, it is one of the few posts I've read that hasn't attacked others for their choice of life.

I have no idea why people feel the need to judge SAHM's. I'm sure there are plenty of SAHM's though that judge those who go out to work also, but it would seem since the intervention of the internet and having a screen to sit behind, that for some reason people feel the need to share their thoughts on subjects more freely and with a wider audience than previously. 

I steer clear of the media, ironic you think as you read this post I've written online. I take everything I read with a pinch of salt and before I pass comment I do further research which does not include wikipedia. 

We can't help form an image of what certain people are like, photos and blog posts are often highly edited, they provide a snap shot of a moment in time and often don't reflect the bigger picture.

I'm a twice married Mother of 3, mum to 5. My husband is 14 years older than me. I'm a SAH, I'm an expat, my kids went to boarding school. If you haven't met me, you'll be forming an opinion making a judgment on my lifestyle. If you have meet me, apart from being a mum to 5 adult kids, you would never know what else I did unless I told you.

Give people a chance, get to know them and as with all forms of social media, if you don't like what you're reading, don't judge, just scroll on past.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

My Sunday Photo - Dubai Metro Station Al Furjan. Week 182

This is one of the two new Metro stations being built in Al Furjan where we live in Dubai. It's the new line for the 2020 expo and will be opened in January 2019.

I started photographing the progress of the metro line in November 2018 when we moved to the area. It's unbelievable the speed at which they build over there. The construction of the station started in March 2018.


 March 2018

 April 2018

 May 2018

 June 2018

Peter took the last photo for me yesterday, while I'm in the UK, I suspect by the time I return it will be complete.

I've been documenting various construction projects in Dubai since we moved there in 2014 and have included unusual building designs and other places of interest we've visited around the world.

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Week 25 One Daily Positive

It was a year ago on Monday last year I arrived back in the UK for the summer. Little did I know, I only had just over 3 weeks left with my father before his sudden death on July 11th. I can't believe we're almost at the anniversary, time doesn't heal, it just changes things. This week we had father's day and my mum's birthday and then next week it's my birthday, then all the firsts other than his death will have been covered. For me, I'm on countdown, back in the UK, starting to recall the final weeks. I had so many other things to do in my time. Child 5 was leaving school and needed support with finding employment and somewhere to live. That finally happened in May. I was going to Belfast to visit child 4 to say goodbye before his posting to the Middle East. I'm going back to Belfast next week to say goodbye before he is posted to The Falklands this time and child 3 was going to Australia. he is still there.

I've been keeping myself busy since Peter left last week, booking flights, car hire, hotels etc and uploading almost 2000 children's names onto a data base for a charity in South Africa who will receive Christmas gifts this year.

168 Sunday Spent the morning cataloguing my father's stamp collection and doing some cleaning and washing. Set off to Chepstow early afternoon for a wonder, pub lunch, some blogging and called in to see my niece and child 2 and 2a after their honeymoon.

169 Monday After a morning with mum, I met a friend for lunch by the river in Chepstow after a visit to Tintern Abbey and a quick look at Chepstow Castle. This is the same friend who features heavily in my weekly posts, she lives in Dubai. Our next meet up will be in Germany in July. Mum cooked dinner and after watching the football I called in at the pub.

170 Tuesday I have a mental block at what happened today other than a food shop and having to lug my trolley up the stairs as I didn't pack in individual bags. Mum coming down for her tea and defrosting the freezer. A visit to the coffee shop was probably involved and I think I may have gone to the pub in the evening.

171 Wednesday Called in at Mum's with her birthday cake, then went to Ross-on-Wye to meet up with Instagrammer RubbishWife for a 3 hour marathon natter and coffee. Did some shopping, organised photo's on my laptop and typed up name lists for the Santa Shoebox data base. Called in to see my friend and her twins and then popped in at another friends to say hi.

172 Thursday I met the lovely Chloe and baby daughter from #bestbootforward in Monmouth this morning, we met online about 8 years ago and meet up as often as possible when I'm in the UK. I then went to the pub, but forgot I was going to a keep fit class with the twins mum in the evening. Popped in to see the Things.

173 Friday I've been reorganising the flat, looking through dad's stamps and lining up buyers, it's involved a lot of rearranging furniture and cleaning and I managed to fix the dishwasher. popped out for coffee, cleaned windows and sat in the park to do some blogging.

174 Saturday Usual visit to the coffee shop where I can blog and plan my day without getting distracted by stamps or the world cup.


On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo I compared the oldest building in the two countries I live between. In Dubai, Al Fahidi Fort, built the same time that Chepstow Castle fell into Decay.

Had enough of the World Cup? I haven't, I love it. I first wrote this post in 2010 for the World Cup in South Africa and have republished my survival guide for each football event as they've occured.



Tuesday, 19 June 2018

How to survive the World Cup 2018

It's the World Cup 2018. Four weeks of football, success and failures, who's to blame and did The England Manager make the right choices.

So here is what is going to happen over the upcoming weeks and a survival guide.

1. No amount of moaning about it will make it stop. You'll only stress yourself out.

2. Your normal television viewing will be interuppted, it will annoy you, but you can't do
anything about it.

3. Everyone will be talking about the it. The TV, papers, family, friends, colleagues, social
network sites, apart from not going out and staying off line, there is nothing you can do
about it.

How to get through the month of June and beyond.

1. Try and show some interest after all there won't be an awful lot else going on.

2. Don't even try and reach for the remote and don't expect that you get it back once the ref
blows his whistle, the match analysis is just as important and yes watching the replay of all
the goals is equally as important.

3. Keep the fridge full of drink and the cupboards stocked with snacks. It'll save you getting
disturbed and being sent out for supplies.

4. Do not mock your Other Half when watching and don't pull faces at their
mates when they come over to watch the games.

5. DO NOT, EVER say 'it's only a game' this is grounds for a divorce.

6. Your Other Half would rather be left in peace to watch the matches. They will only talk to
you during the adverts so don't view it as spending time together.

7. Don't expect the rules to be explained to you more than once and if your Other Half tries to
tell you them, look interested and ask no more than 2 questions.
(see previous post 'off side' rule)

8. Football is a game of opinion and if you don't know what you're talking about keep your
opinion to yourself.

9. Keep positive, use this time to spoil yourself, catch up with family and friends, read those
books and tweet without being nagged.

10. During matches remember this is probably the best time to go shopping, as hardly anyone
will be out.

Oh and finally, don't expect any sympathy and understanding to your needs as I will be avidly watching World Cup 2018 and will be tweeting in earnest. This is my pay back for all the reality show updates the rest of you post on social media the rest of the year.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Al Fahidi Fort - The Oldest building in Dubai built 1787 and Chepstow Castle built in 1067 - Week 181 My Sunday Photo

I'm in the UK for the foreseeable future and enjoying the outdoors, the greenery and more importantly the old buildings and being able to walk around villages, towns and cities, exploring back alleys, individual shops and admiring the views, as opposed to being stuck inside an air conditioned mall. I'm also enjoying the light rain, cool breeze and being out in the sun, something I can't do in Dubai when temps are in the mid 40's.
One of the most noticeable things between the two countries is the oldness of the UK and the newness of Dubai, yet in the UK there are new and modern buildings such as the Shard, that wouldn't go unnoticed in the Dubai skyline and in Dubai there is the historic area, Old Dubai, The Creek. 
Construction on Chepstow Castle begun in 1067 and it is the oldest surviving post Roman stone fortification in Britain.

By the time Al Fahidi Fort was built in 1787 which is the oldest building in Dubai, Chepstow Castle had fallen into Decay.


To see more of the construction projects and fascinating buildings I've visited around the world, feel free to click on any of the links below.


Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower

Week 24 One daily Positive

Peter returned to Dubai on Monday and I set about sorting out all the stuff we've been storing in the flat for various family members and going through some of my father's things we've yet to decide if we want to sell or not.

It's been a lovely week weather wise and I've enjoyed being outdoors as much as possible. As much as I've loved catching up with everyone, I'm actually rather tired at the end of the week, my body feels broken. I guess I'm probably more ill than I realise. I just don't actually know why I'm ill and what I'm ill with yet. It's difficult adjusting from nothing to full on and unless you've lived abroad you just won't get it, it's not the same as living in another town from your family. I've done that also, so I can make the comparison.

161 Sunday Took mum with us to collect child 1 and visit child 5 in his new home in the Cotswolds.

162 Monday Popped out for coffee at some point during the day, but spent most of it tidying and cleaning the flat after saying goodbye to Peter.

163 Tuesday Coffee, a walk, more tidying. Mum came down for dinner.

164 Wednesday Met old friends for lunch in town, pub in the evening after Mum joined me for dinner again.

165 Thursday Drove to Warwick to collect my father's stamp collection I'd taken for valuation, the price offered didn't even cover the face value of the unfranked stamps, so time for me to become a stamp expert while I work out out how to catalogue and sell this lot. Mum came down to help me unpack the car and carry the boxes up a flight of stairs.

166 Friday Spot of Thing 3 baby cuddles, then sports day, coffee with daughter in laws mother in town and pub in the evening.

167 Saturday Took mum to the 3 Counties Show in Malvern, it's something we used to do with family when we lived in the UK and the event usually covered fathers day and mums birthday, so it became the thing we did. Spent the evening sorting through my father's stamps. there's a lot of information out there on Penny Red's and most of it is quite fascinating.

On the blog this week:

Parenting Expat Kids - It's one thing to hire a nanny, but handing over all parenting responsibility is a different matter. You'd be surprised at just who is raising the next generation abroad.

Where is Ramadan in the UK? - You'd never know Ramadan had just come to an end in the UK, outside the major cities.

Building the World's Tallest Tower - Dubai Creek - Dubai's next construction project is anything between 928 and 1300ms high, find out why the true height is being kept a secret.



Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Parenting Expat Children

Not all expat parents, parent this way, but in Dubai, some do manage to absolve themselves completely of the role and hand over full responsibility to others. Despite having lived abroad for 4 years in South Africa and 3 1/2 years in Dubai, we've never employed a maid or a nanny.

I'm not comfortable having someone living in my home full time and it's a huge responsibility in regards to their visa and has financial implications. For the first 3 years of life abroad we had 2 of the children living with us. Occasionally I would pay someone to do the ironing and we paid a gardener, but little ironing or gardening ever really got done.

In South Africa we didn't live in an expat community, we just rented a house on an estate, there were very few British people around, in Dubai that community is made up of expats. Only 21% of the population are Emirati's.

90% of those expats who have their spouse and children living here, have at least a part time maid, but most people who can afford it have a full time maid and/or nanny.

There is no police check required to live or work in Dubai, yes seriously, I wasn't even asked for one when I was teaching. But unlike Teachers, maids and nannies do not have to be qualified in child care to take on almost 24/7 responsibility for the families children. A monthly salary for a nanny is between £400 & £600 a month, it will often include 1 trip home a year, accommodation which is a small room and shower and medical aid.

While some parents are both working, many mothers aren't and yet the nanny does 99% of the parenting, or rather supervision of the children. I'm not singling out any nationalities and I am generalising (from personal experience) I'm also British and I will say what I'm about to say does not exclude them either.

Parenting is to be or act as a mother or father to someone. To me this includes the basics below:
  • raise/bring up
  • look after/nature
  • take care of
  • educate/lead by example
  • discipline
As well as supporting the child's physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.


It DOES NOT mean leaving your child to be supervised by someone else 24/7.

Take a typical walk around the mall, nannies pushing the prams, chasing after toddlers, carrying the bags.

Visit a restaurant and nannies sit on the children's table, running back and forth to the toilet and spoon feeding the children even at school ages.

Go to a park, parents often not present, nannies running after the children, picking them up when they fall.

Visit the pool again parents often not present. Maid/nanny on their phone, taking a break from picking up after the kids all the day and cleaning the house, children in the pool unsupervised.

When you trust your children to the care of another, that does not resolve you from any responsibility, nor does it give you the right to scream abuse at the person you've handed this responsibility over to. As the child's parent you have a duty of care to ensure that your child is in a safe environment, that they are guided and supported and heaven bid that they may be disciplined from time to time, to teach them values.

As a teacher, I discovered many parents thought their 4/5 year old was toilet trained. As the nanny was around 24/7 changing wet clothes, taking the child to the toilet and on some occasions still having the child in nappies, the parent was none the wiser because a) the nanny didn't tell them and b) they never did anything with their child without the nanny around.

When asking the nanny why she didn't tell the parent, she would reply 'I will lose my job'

Sadly the nanny is often stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they discipline the child and the child complains to a parent, they are also disciplined. Nannies are also maids responsible for cleaning the house, clearing up after meals, the families laundry and almost everything else.
They work long hours and it has only been in 2018 that a law was implemented to ensure nannies and other employees, work no more than 12 hours a day and must have a period of 8 hours in a row as a break, to ensure they get enough sleep.

The other week a child was having a melt down in the street, the other children had been withdrawn by their nannies and this child was lying on the floor, screaming and actually kicking the nanny. I asked him to calm down and what the matter was, he lashed out and ran off, the nanny just smiled and followed him, he hit her again, she backed off. I stuck my head through the open door of the villa and yelled 'please come and parent your own child' 10 minutes later I can hear the mother screaming at the nanny not to embarrass her again in front of the neighbours, a few minutes later the child was back outside with the nanny following at a distance.

As a member at the local swimming pool, I see children as young as 18 months, left totally unsupervised in the pool, with floats and toys. The nanny will often be on their phone or talking to another nanny. The children run around, the life guard will ask them not to run, but they ignore him. No one speaks to the nanny or heaven forbid even tell the child NOT to run if the parent is actually present.

It's not just the nannies though who are frightened they will lose their job if a complaint is made. Security and restaurant staff turn a blind eye to a lot of things also. Their response when I ask them why they don't say anything is 'I will lose my job if the parent complains about me'

I've been run into by a child riding a bike in a sports shop. I asked 'whose child is this? Please parent them' the parent just walked over to the child and told them to ride elsewhere. Security gave me a half smile.

In restaurants parents will sit and enjoy their meal, while kids run feral with the nanny chasing them around to make sure she knows where they are.

The nannies and the parents in these situations provide no guidance or discipline. They don't tell the children that their behaviour is unacceptable, they don't ask the child to turn the volume down or ask them not to disturb other people. They let them do what they want, when and how they want and if challenged, they will often ignore you and you'll not get any back up or support from the staff as they're frightened they're lose their jobs.

The parents don't give the nanny authority to parent the child or discipline them. The child often has little or no respect for the nanny. The nanny in effect just follows the child around, wipes their mouth and their backside and lets them do what they want, making sure they get returned at the end of the evening.

This is a huge problem for society in the future. Children without boundaries, awareness of other people, entitlement (you see this in a lot of the adults here) few manners, the problems children will face when they return to their home countries, attending new schools, not having maids and nannies, having to tidy their own bedrooms, have restricted pocket money and still expecting the best of everything,

I challenge this and any other unsafe practice I witness. My husband tells me to keep out of it, but as a former Child Welfare Officer and a teacher, I'm unable to ignore unsafe practice.

I don't know when life became so hectic that people had to employ full time nannies to look after their children, especially when not working. I have been informed for a lot of expats, it's security. They're thousand of miles from home with no family support either.







Where is Ramadan in the UK?

I'm over from Dubai for the summer. I leave around this time every year because it just gets too hot and besides I get to spend time with my family and friends.

We've been living in Dubai for 3 and a half years and have been experiencing our 4th Ramadan. We're not muslims and we don't fast, but we do observe Ramadan and alter our behaviour to accommodate those fasting which is more than 60% of the population.

I arrived in the UK at the end of the 2nd full week of Ramadan this year and to be honest I forgot it was Ramadan, we had our sons wedding on Saturday and a funeral on Monday. Today is the first day I've had some time to switch off. I went out for a coffee and it struck me that the windows weren't covered or that I was only able to purchase a take away.

Ramadan ends on Thursday this week and I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people in the UK who have no idea that Ramadan is actually taking place and exactly what it involves. I did hear a comment from a school volunteer who said they had wondered why year 6 has been making lanterns and why there were Arabic words on the classroom wall.

I've written about what Ramadan is like living in Dubai many times, which you can read more about here.

I'm actually missing Ramadan, even though I don't fast, it reminds me think about other people's needs and to have some discipline in my own life.

Are you observing Ramadan in the UK? How is the experience for you? Either as a Muslim or an observor?

Eid Mubarak 

May you have a blessed Eid Al-Fitr. 


Sunday, 10 June 2018

Building the World's Tallest Tower - Dubai Creek Tower. My Sunday Photo - Week 180

Dubai Creek Towers height is being kept a closely guarded secret, estimated to be between 928m tall, 100ms taller than the Burj Khalifa built 8kms away. The reason for keeping the height secret is to prevent other countries building anything higher and it could be anything up to 1300m.

There are different categories for height when it comes to the tallest buildings in the world. As well as occupied buildings and towers there are structures, but it is hoped as this new project contains 20 floors and habitable space that it will be acknowledged as a building and not a structure.

Construction on Dubai Creek Tower began In October 2016 and by May 2017 the foundations were complete. Around 170,000 cubic meters of sand was excavated and 145 piles laid and inserted into the 75m deep foundations with 210 thousand tonnes of concrete poured.

This photo is of the construction site, views from Las Al Khor Nature Reserve and taken in March 2018 showing the location of where the Tower will start springing into life.

This is a model at Dubai Mall of the proposed tower. It's expected completion date is 2020 and is due to open in 2021, at a cost of US$1 billion.


I won't be back in Dubai now until the end of August and I'm looking forward to seeing how high the tower will be on my return.

I've been photographing and documenting the construction of numerous projects in Dubai since we moved there in 2014. For My Sunday Photo this year I've been featuring these projects as well as other unusual and tall buildings I've visited around the world.

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 Our first sons wedding and a break from construction








Saturday, 9 June 2018

Week 23 One Daily Positive

We had a wonderful weekend at our son's wedding, the wedding was perfect and the day ran so smoothly, it's lovely to welcome 2a into our family officially, however she's been a big part of it for 5 years already, so no change really. It was really strange to see her name change on facebook and to refer to her as my Daughter in law. It was great to see so many of the family, sadly 3 and 3a weren't able to make it from Australia. The wedding photographer was my old school friend Caz, who I've known and kept in touch with for 36 years.

154 Sunday After a wonderful weekend with family and witnessing our eldest son getting married, I woke with a bit of a hangover, had coffee and after dropping the suit hire back with the Brides family and taking child 5 back to Cirencester, we headed off to Stockport to meet up with Peter's Mother, Sister and BIL and cousins ahead of his Uncle's funeral tomorrow.

155 Monday after breakfast we had a walk around Stockport and a coffee before heading off to the funeral, the service went well, but they played Rod Stewart 'I am sailing' at the end of the service, a song my father used to sing to me at bedtime. Andrew and Gemma 2 & 2a joined us at the wake before they fly out on their Honeymoon on Tuesday. We arrived back in South Wales early evening.

156 Tuesday Peter took me to Barry Island for my birthday, we walked along the beach, played in the slot machines and had a breakfast. We didn't paddle in the sea it was just too cold and we stopped off at the Outlet centre on the way home. I was in bed and asleep by 9pm, I was just so tired, we hadn't stopped since we got here.

157 Wednesday Popped into mums then off to Gloucester to take child 1 out for a few hours, before meeting friends, for dinner ahead of their wedding next month. There may have been a fair bit of Gin involved as we went to our local pub in the evening as well.

158 Thursday We visited Hereford for the day and collected my niece from school to take her out for an ice cream.

159 Friday Off to Bath to visit Peter's mother, called in at ours friend's mother's house in Newport to collect some post to take back for them in Dubai.

160 Saturday Mum and I went to Cwmbran and Peter met up with his friend to discuss his best man role in July. I spent the afternoon with my niece, her husband and Thing 1, 2 & 3 having a picnic in the park.

On the blog this week:
My Sunday Photo - Our first son's wedding
Tweens Teens Beyond, Triumphant Tales, Keeping it real - A Social Media free wedding 



Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A Social Media free Wedding. Our first son got married.

Our first child got married on Saturday. Child 2 & 2a, Andrew and Gemma tied the knot at Bream Church on June 2nd, with the reception afterwards at the Inn on the Wye.

Andrew and Gemma hired a photographer and the official wedding photos can be found over on Facebook at Caz Holbrook Photography The Vicar requested we focus on the ceremony and not take photographs during the service, but we had plenty of opportunities to grab a few snaps, before and after as well as throughout the Reception.

The Inn on the Wye is located in the Wye Valley and when it comes to 3G in and around that area it is  'dead spot' and guests had to use the landline to call for taxi's at the end of the evening.

Every one was focusing on the moment, phones came out for photo's and I videoed their first dance, but no one was then editing and posting online. In fact no one posted anything until Caz posted the wedding preview, that she'd arranged to do with the Bride and Groom on facebook on Sunday which we've all been sharing.

Here are a few pictures we took during the day, can't wait to see the final professional ones.

Wedding rehearsal


Just before the Bride arrived

Husband and Wife

The Bride arrives at the reception

Reception before the speeches

Enjoying the sunshine

Bride and Grooms first dance

Cutting the cake for the Groom to discover the top tier is his favourite flapjack

Caz is my old school friend from the age of 11, so I might sound a little biased, but she did an amazing job on Saturday, most of the time I was completely unaware of her presence during the service and reception, but we did manage a sneaky catch up during the day.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Week 179 My Sunday Photo. Our first child got married.

Yesterday we celebrated the wedding of our eldest son, Andrew (Child 2) to Gemma (2a)


L-R Barbara (Peter's Mum) Dan (Child 4) Alanna (4a) Peter, Gemma, Andrew, Me, Stephanie (Child 1) Alex (Child 5) and June (My Mum)

Missing from the picture is Child 3 & 3a who were unable to travel over from Australia. My father who died last year and Peter's father who died in 1992.

We had the most amazing day and I loved my role as Mother of the Groom. I always have a little smile when Andrew introduces me as his 'Mum' You don't have to give birth to a child to love them like you do.

Super proud of my lot.


Saturday, 2 June 2018

Week 22 2018 One Daily Positive

I'm back in the UK now sat in the hairdressers getting my hair done for our son's wedding later today.

Peter decided to extend his stay in the UK which meant I had to change his flight, rebook the cat and dogs stay in boarding and amend the car hire.

I hadn't started my packing and it was stressing me out, usually I'm sorted a week or two before hand and I travel on my own. This time Peter is flying with me and it puts my routine out, I'm stressing out over it all.

147 Sunday Dog park early for an hour with Bob, did the ironing, went for a swim, sorted photo's, finished packing suitcase and found the Ramadan fridge to add some food to.

148 Monday Popped to Dr's to get prescription, apparently I'm to continue with iron supplements as my body isn't absorbing it properly, but no one actually told me to. Collected a suit cover from a friend for my wedding outfit for the flight on Thursday and had a coffee at the Souk Madinat.

149 Tuesday Last visit of the summer to the dog park, it's getting very hot now and I'm really looking forward to my trip to the UK. Dusted the house, relocated the push bikes to the back garden and we all had McDonalds for tea.

150 Wednesday Took the cat and dog to boarding, stopped at the beach for a quick swim and collected the rest of my prescription and had a coffee while I was there. Got home and washed all the pets bedding and bowls, changed our beds, swept and mopped through house. Had a manicure and pedicure and gel polish. Pub quiz in the evening. Tomorrow I'm leaving this for the UK.

151 Thursday last minute tidying and washing on, switch everything off, flight at 2.20pm arrive in UK around 8pm. Collect car hire and called in at mums to collect the keys. Not the best of flights in regards to physical comfort with my neck, but no migraine this trip.

152 Friday Lie in, tidy flat, last minute hat purchase and sort things out after the teen left. Called in to see Things 1,2 & 3 and later Mini Me. Wedding rehearsal was at 6pm, Peter collected Child 4 and 4a from the airport at 9.30pm. Quick visit to my friend and stopped at the pub on my walk home.

153 Saturday Hair appointment at 9am, wedding at 12pm. Watch out for my timeline getting flooded with photos over the coming days. Not the most glamorous of photos, but this was a 'moment in time'

On the blog this week:

#MySundayPhoto - Ibn Battuta Gate, Mall and Brunch
#TriumphantTales #PoCoLo - Lost in Google Translation





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