Sunday 30 December 2018

One Daily Positive - Project 365 Week 52. Christmas on the QE2 and an iron infusion

You can't just pick Christmas up as it is in the UK and move it to the sun. We live in an Arabic Country and they allow us to have Christmas.

We can't come to Dubai and take over, we have to fit in and adapt. It's great though as here we have people both muslims and non muslims wishing us a Merry Christmas, heck we even have shop displays advertising Christmas it's NOT a festive of happy holiday, it is what it is.n

I've not been well this week, was really tired after an iron infusion and on Tuesday a migraine started to develop, it was on and off controlled with medication till Friday morning. If I took to my bed and popped a handful of pills every time I had a migraine or my chronic pain flared up (I'm in constant pain with my neck 24/7) I'd not get out of bed and would probably have numerous complications from the side effects of the meds and besides, staying in bed doesn't make the pain go away, if only it was that easy.

It's also been super chilly this week with temps dropping to 16c and I've actually been shivering in the shade and after sunset.

357 Sunday Picked Peter up after he dropped his car for a service, had a Dr's visit, then took mum to the Waldorf Hotel to check out their Christmas tree and decorations.

358 Monday Mum and I went to the Mall whilst Bob went to doggy day care for a bath and another trip to see Santa. We had dinner and consumed our body weight in after 8 mints.

359 Tuesday Merry Christmas and off to the QE2 for Christmas dinner, followed by a walk on the beach to see the sunset. Die Hard was on the TV when we got home.

360 Wednesday Just another day in Dubai and I spent the best part of it at the Dr's having an iron infusion. Peter dropped mum at the Souk Madinat, early night for me, Peter stayed up to watch Man Utd win.

361 Thursday Headed off to Ibn Battuta Mall for a couple of hours, washing machine was repaired and bed lined changed, mum ironed and I felt tired so headed off to bed for the afternoon.

362 Friday Took a drive to Al Ain to show mum life outside the city of Dubai, whilst almost 3 million people live in Dubai, it's not representative of the life of how 7 million other people live. We stopped at camel farms, drove up Jebel Hafeet Mountain at 1,249ms for some amazing views over Oman, had lunch and walked round the actual town rather than visiting the malls. The christmas tree and decorations came down in the evening and were put away.

363 Saturday We headed off to the Creek for the morning, Mum finished her souvenir shopping, we had breakfast out and in the afternoon friends came to visit for a few hours.

I'm finishing the year in this post but also including the last 2 days of the year in next weeks post also.

364 Sunday Having a lazy day, dropped mum at the local pool while I blog, wash, clean and generally sort stuff in the house and measure up for new furniture we'll be ordering tomorrow.

365 Monday Off to Dragon Mart in the morning to get my sewing machine and over locker serviced and repaired and ordering new furniture for the mezzanine area. Plans cancelled and day spent in bed with Migraine. Spending the new year at a friends house, to watch the fireworks for New Year from their roof top. They're in the UK for new year.

On the blog this week:

Al Furjan Construction Project

Four years ago this month we moved to Dubai, I noticed very quickly how fast Dubai was growing with the addition of new roads and buildings and started to photograph the changes.

A year ago this month we moved to a new area in Dubai called Al Furjan, the growth here has been astronomical, they've constructed a new line of the metro which is behind me in this photo and over a 4km stretch of road, built 4 new stations.

In the two pictures taken almost 1 year apart, you can see how quickly the area is growing. The buildings are either side of a new road which when finished joins the Al Yalasis Road to the Al Asayel Road saving us 20km and up to 30 mins of driving time inland and to the malls/drs/airport/dog park.

The area you're looking at in the photos is the top of the large oval yellow section in the picture below, the train line runs along the Discovery Gardens Road.

Although the My Sunday Photo linky is coming to an end, I will be continuing with my construction projects in Dubai and updating and adding new posts as I go. My SundayPhoto hashtag will continue over on Instagram and every year I've taken part I've had a theme. This years was construction, I did and A-Z project and the first year I posted my favourite picture each week. For 2019 I've decided to frame Dubai, an idea I've pinched from John Adams who blogs over at DadBlogUK.

If you're interested in seeing the other construction projects in 2018, click on the links below. They're mainly based in Dubai, but I've included photo's from Egypt, the UK, South Africa and the US.

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 Our first child got married
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?
Week 191-192 Dubai Before and After. 3 months out of Dubai
Week 193 Dubai Building a boat in the sky
Week 194 South Africa An African Sunset
Week 195 South Africa Building with boxes Charity work in South Africa
Week 196 Another family wedding and a year of travel
Week 197 Dubai What are they building now? World Trade Centre
Week 198 Monmouth Building work in South Wales
Week 198 Dubai The cladding is going on, on the metro station
Week 199 Dubai They're building on the beaches in Dubai
Week 200 Hong Kong Building with Bamboo
Week 201 Dubai My Week as a volunteer on the European Tour
Week 202 Cairo Probably the largest construction project in the world. The Pyramids
Week 203 South Africa Christmas gift giving in a South African township
Week 204 South Africa A sense of community in South African Townships
Week 205 Dubai Christmas in Dubai
Week 206 When Bob met Santa 

Sunday 23 December 2018

Christmas fun with pets. Bob meets santa.

Every year Bob and I visit Santa. 

We chose our outfits.

Made new friends.

Played in the snow

And thoroughly tired ourselves out.

Pushkins has her share of Christmas fun also.

Just because the kids have left home doesn't mean I still can't take part in all the Christmas Activities.

Saturday 22 December 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 51 Happy Christmas from Dubai

It's been a long week. Whilst I'm busy like this most weeks, there's a hell of a difference between filling each 24 hour period on my own. eating, drinking and sleeping when I want to having someone else with me 24/7. As a consequence I'm suffering with headaches something I rarely have, although I'm a migraine sufferer, and chronic hip and thigh bone pain from a bulging disc and trapped nerve, also my ankle is still vulnerable after tearing ligaments about 10 weeks ago.

350 Sunday I had the Doctors for more blood tests and mum went to see the Christmas trees at the Souk Madinat, we then went to Mall of the Emirates, where she finally saw her big tree. Peter arrived home from South Africa at 9pm.

351 Monday A lazy day, did the washing, blogged and popped out for coffee. Watched movies in the afternoon and took Bob on a long walk in the evening when Peter got home from work. Mum and I shifted the upstairs lounge furniture onto the balcony to prepare the space for new furniture in the New Year and for Bob to get used to his new bed.

352 Tuesday Took Bob to the dog park, Mum isn't keen on dogs, but came with us as there are areas where she can sit away from the other dogs if she wanted to. Home, showered and changed and dropped Peter at the train for the Airport to Saudi.

353 Wednesday I cleaned the house, mum spent the day over at the pool. Dinner and Christmas pub quiz in the evening, Peter got home the same time as us.

354 Thursday Went off to Dubai Festival City, still looking for Christmas trees with mother. Checked out Ikea for some new furniture for upstairs, had lunch out and had cake and chocolate for tea.

355 Friday Met friends for breakfast at Dubai Mall, exchanged gifts and walked around the mall looking at the decorations, in the afternoon Peter and mum went for a drive and I did the food shopping. We had a BBQ in the evening.

356 Saturday Off to Dragon Mart and called in at the Flamingo sanctuary on the way home. Bob and I are finishing the week off at a Christmas Party and meeting Santa.

On the blog this week:

Christmas in Dubai

Sunday 16 December 2018

Christmas in Dubai 2018

Yes they do do Christmas in Dubai. They play carols in the malls, they sell decorations in the malls and they erect huge trees in the malls.

You can't escape Christmas in Dubai.

From shopping, through Santa to Christmas Brunch on the QE2, it's Christmas everywhere.

Mum is visiting us for Christmas this year, she came in 2016 and is on the hunt for the biggest Christmas tree she can find, we're going to every Christmas market, eating Christmas cake from M&S, watching movies, shopping and she's getting freaked out by spending days on the beach in December.

So far Mum is disappointed with the Christmas trees she's seen, there's no point taking her to the biggest ones in her first few days. She has no concept however of the size of the malls she is in and says this tree is too small.

Another disappointment, but this tree is inside a shop in the mall.

Here we go, she was happy with this tree, but wants more.

The Souk Madinat

Mall of the Emirates I'm stood on the 3rd floor to get the tree in one shot.

I'll be adding more photo's leading up to the big day, so don't forget to check back as the trees are going to get bigger and better.

I'm wondering if Costa Coffee are using the same throughout their stores like they are in Dubai.

It's too hot in Dubai, despite it being winter, so I have a selection of Christmas t-shirts from Primark bought over the years. It's the Christmas pub quiz on Wednesday, help me choose one to wear.

Saturday 15 December 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 50 Leaving South Africa and mum comes to Dubai

With me flying home on the 10th and arriving on the 11th and mum flying over on the 11th and arriving on the 12th, I've got a little confused with what is actually going on.

An emotional week, I really didn't want to leave South Africa, it was the first time Peter and I had been back there together since we left 4 years ago next week. It is also my first Christmas with my mum for 9 years. She came to Dubai in December 2016 for 2 weeks but couldn't leave my dad for Christmas itself.

343 Sunday We went on a safari drive after breakfast. Didn't see any of the Big 5 (Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Cape Buffalo and Leopard) but we did see plenty of Giraffe, Zebras, Impala and a Jackal, only the 2nd time I've seen one of those. We lazed around in the afternoon, there was an amazing thunder storm and in the evening we went out to another lodge to eat as the restaurant where we were staying closed at 5pm and they didn't think to tell us until 3pm.

344 Monday Left before breakfast, called in at my friend to collect my police clearance certificate I'd being trying to get processed for 4 years. We spent the day at the Mall of Africa, had lunch and called in at Peter's old office on the way to the airport. A night flight, didn't get much sleep. Peter is staying on for a week, delivering a training course and seeing friends on the weekend.

345 Tuesday I got home at 7am, I had a bath and went to bed for an hour and slept, unpacked, washed, did a food shop, had coffee out and cleaned the house through for Mum's visit. Caught up with TV recordings, lazed around and left for the airport at midnight to collect my mum. Was pleased to see how well the new grass is growing.

346 Wednesday Mum was up early and we collected the cat and dog from boarding and dropped off a couple of gifts, grabbing a coffee on our way. A lazy afternoon and pub quiz in the evening.
Mum arrived at 1.30am, looking fresh and relaxed.

347 Thursday Took mum to the Marina Mall, she has lost her bearings, on her last visit we were the other side of the city. We ran out of gas so had beans on toast for dinner and walked Bob round the estate. I was in bed and asleep by 8pm (4pm UK time)

348 Friday Up early to walk Bob as he's had a dodgy tummy after having a bone 2 days ago and has had a few accidents in the house. We then went to Oasis Mall for some shopping, coffee and to look at the Christmas decorations. Home late afternoon, watched TV, had dinner and walked Bob again. Mum has no concept of the size of the mall she is in and is insisting the Christmas tree is small.

349 Saturday Went to the beach in the morning and Ibn Battuta Mall in the afternoon, had a lazy evening watching Christmas movies.

On the blog this week:

Christmas Jumper Day
Preparing the Garden for Winter
Colourful shacks in South Africa
You don't need to survive Christmas

Friday 14 December 2018

Christmas Jumper Day or T shirts in Dubai

I didn't realise Christmas Jumper Day was a thing for Save the Children in the UK and around the world. I've seen a few FB posts from friends in Dubai of their kids wearing festive clothing, but I've mainly seen negativity around retailers cashing in more than the charity itself over on the BBC and Mumsnet.

I almost bought a new one when I was in the UK end of October but decided this collection is enough, I'm not growing anymore and I can only wear one at a time anyway.

Help me choose which one I should wear for Pub Quiz night on Wednesday

1 Christmas Jumper from Tesco and 3 Christmas T Shirts from Primark.

Me Becoming Mum

Thursday 13 December 2018

Surviving Christmas. it doesn't need to be stressful

My childhood memories of Christmas were of family, staying at home and my mothers cooking.

My First Christmas 1971

Christmas from the point of view as a child had few expectations on it, stockings on the bed, Dumbo on the TV, lunch and the Queen's speech, followed by my father trying to get us to play board games that always ended in a row and the contents of the game being lobbed across the room.

The decorations would go up on December the 1st and lights featured heavily. My mother's cooking also featured heavily, from the panic defrosting of the turkey in the bath full of warm water, to the cat taking chunks out of the turkey and my mother's attitude of 'fuck it' and just cutting the chewed bits off and still serving it. To the forgotten stuffing found in the oven 2 days later or the pan of brussel sprouts still on the stove after we'd finished dessert and the infamous year she tried to serve custard with the Christmas pudding she'd made from the cabbage water, my gran stopped her in time. My mother just added 'and that was just one year'

Christmas as an adult was spent working in exchange for the New Year off.

Christmas for me as a parent over the past 20 years has been different each year. We've always celebrated the day, bought chocolate advent calendars the kids have eaten on day 1 or pinched their brothers causing fights. There's been a stocking on the bed in the morning they can open the moment they wake, filled with cheap novelty gifts and even as adults if they've stayed with us over the holidays they still get one.

Main presents are still put under the tree as they are wrapped in the week leading up to Christmas, clearly labelled as Santa has always provided the stocking and the bank of mum and dad provide the rest.

Christmas's 1992-1999 were spent as above, but as a parent with my own children, after I remarried Christmas's 2000 till 2010 were mainly spent child free, we visited my gran, our parents, stayed with friends or just stayed at home on our own.

As a blended family with 5 kids, 3 mine and 2 Peter's we've lived together as one unit and if the kids wanted to spend Christmas with their other parent we were happy for this to happen and we'd celebrate Christmas when they got back a day or a week later, but always with all the kids together, plans would change with an extra night added so it would just be delayed.

2006. Our last Christmas together before they started leaving home

Our Christmas meal would be a normal Sunday roast but with extras, the table laid up. We'd put their stockings on their bed before they got home so they could see Santa had been and they'd open them before bed, in the morning, it would be breakfast, get dressed and we'd all sit round the tree opening equal numbers of gifts for each child, but not always of equal amounts, although we did set a budget.

The night before Christmas. Trying to stop the older siblings spoil the magic for the younger ones.

From their other parents side with aunts and uncles they'd have
£5 each or everyone clubbed together to pay for a family present for them all. Without Social media there was little pressure on gift giving, as by the time they went back to school 2 weeks later, they'd forgotten what gifts they'd had to recite.

2011-2013 were strange Christmas's, spent just with 2 of our children living in South Africa, we had salad or normal meals on the day after opening the gifts, spent the day in the pool, visited friends or had friends round.

2014 we spent in Dubai with the 2 children, Peter and I had lunch in a cafe and the boys went to subway for their Christmas lunch. We'd spent the morning on the beach and we were living in a hotel at the time.

2015 was spent with child 5 we ate at a hotel and cooked a Christmas dinner at home on boxing day.

2016 was spent with child 4 in a hotel.

2017 on our own in a hotel.

2018 my mum is coming to visit. We're having lunch aboard the QE2.

On reflection Christmas with the kids wasn't stressful, the was no need to survive it, it just happened.

Presents these days are a bank transfer. I always give a few little gifts to the children and their partners and leave presents behind for my niece, 3 great nephews and a few friends. I leave these in the UK in October time and get my mum to post my cards the beginning of December.

The most stressful thing I will have to do this year, is decide what to wear to brunch on Christmas morning, something smart with plenty of room for all the yummy food.

Last year there was a wall of donuts on offer.

I'd love to have a traditional Christmas with all my family round the table, but the logistics/cost of doing that are unthinkable, who knows? maybe one year.