Saturday 28 December 2019

One daily Positive - Week 52 Christmas

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, whatever you chose to do on the day. It's a normal working week here in Dubai, Peter had Christmas day off and took advantage of the rest of the world being off work to catch up with emails and projects.

I seem to have eaten quite a bit of wheat this week as I ended up with a really bad headache, been craving sugar also. I slept for 8 hours on Thursday and Friday night without medication, normally I can manage 4-6 hours with medication. I really need to get this sorted out.

It's been a little chilly this week also and jumpers and socks have been required when walking the dog.

356 Sunday No sleep again, now keeping a sleep diary for the Doctors in March for my next blood test. Had a tidy round as in putting things away and dusted the shelf in the kitchen, the sand just gets everywhere. I caught up with 2 weeks worth of washing. Went to Dubai Mall to collect Peter's new glasses, drank coffee and blogged, got home and was breathless, fatigued and had chest pain so went to bed. It was an anxiety attack.

357 Monday Off to the Souk Madinat for coffee and then to get me nails done for Christmas, home at midday, went to bed, watched Love Actually. Builders came in the afternoon to sort out the crumbling plaster work and dug away most of the concrete also. Peter was late home so we had dinner and I introduced him to Goggle Box.

358 Tuesday Builders came back to fill in the holes, plastering and painting to be completed. They're not the tidiest of people, seem to assume we all have maids to clean up after us. I was awake at 4am as usual so cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor. The ironing got done and after I'd cleaned up after the builders I went down to spend the afternoon at the beach and after work Peter joined me for dinner. We visited Santa Island at Bluewaters. It's a man made Island. Click here for Before and After Photos of the Island being built.

359 Wednesday Opened presents, had a light breakfast, popped out for coffee, sat in the garden and caught up with facebook messages and a phone call from our dear friends in Germany and chilled out before a Christmas brunch with friends. Walked Bob to see the firework display at the Marina, we can view it all within a few hundred meters of our house. Bob hates being inside when fireworks go off, he needs to be outside and he sat nicely with me for the 10 min display 3 miles away.

360 Thursday Off out to Dubai Festival City for breakfast and pick up some food and citronella candles for outside. Afternoon and evening spent watching TV.

361 Friday I had the start of a headache, but we popped out to our local mall. I took myself off to bed for the afternoon and evening, Peter watched the football, cooked dinner and tidied up. The cat has been in a right mood all week.

362 Saturday The day was spent in bed and enjoying a hot bath using my Christmas bubble baths. Headache still present, but I went out with Peter for an hour, then spent the rest of the day in the garden and was dragged out on a walk by Bob. My anxiety levels were high today as I was ill, it manifested itself with breathlessness and confussion.

363 Sunday I woke up feeling a lot better so popped out to the Mall of the Emirates for a coffee. Christmas decorations are all put away now in the malls and the Dubai Shopping Festival is in full swing. I spent the afternoon in the garden and I booked Peter's UK flight for February, car hire for me, another flight for me in March and paid the council tax for the house, claimed back the council tax from the flat, the water bill and property management fees for the flat. The notifications on Peters phone for the credit card have driven him mad in work.

364 Monday Popped out to pay my friends maid on her behalf, started the process of selling my car and collected the dogs vet book. In the evening Peter and I went to the Marina to view some apartments ready for the next stage of our relocation. Migraine now in full swing.

365 Tuesday Hardly slept, Migraine kept me awake most of the night. Phoned Dr's and requested an paracetamol drip and fluids, also received a tramadol injection in my bum. Was home a few hours later, pain free, but very dozy. Managed to give Bob a bath as he stunk, but that was it for the day. went out on the Palm for New Year to a colleagues of Peters to see the fireworks.We were going to the beach but I don't think i'd have managed the night.

On the blog this week:

Our Christmas in the UK, South Africa and Dubai
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Tuesday 24 December 2019

Christmas 2019 from the UK, South Africa and Dubai

The tree went up in November as we were travelling and Christmas didn't really get going until the weekend, with a visit from Carol singers and watching the ultimate Christmas movie Yippe Ki Yay.

I had been hoping my mum was joining us for Christmas again this year and I was planning 3 weeks of shopping, Christmas markets and searching for the ultimate Christmas tree. There's something quite magical about seeing Christmas trees and decorations on the beach in the sun. But she's not coming out now until the New Year.

I spent the first week of December in the UK and went to a panto which at Sarah from mumofthreeworld daughter is in.

The Christmas Tree at our daughters care home.

Street lights in Monmouth

I didn't fancy spending the run up to Christmas on my own, there's no magic to be had in that and as Peter was going to South Africa for 2 weeks I decided to join him and visit my friends there instead of being here on my own.

Christmas in South Africa is very different from here in Dubai, it's more about family and the actual occasion. The malls and shops are decorated and there are lots of Christmas items advertised. I went with a group of friends to the Jacaranda Kinderhuis light festival, who raise funds with their light display, closing off streets for people to walk around in safely and enjoy the lights, crafts, foods and fun fair.

Irene Mall

Brooklyn Mall

 Lynnwood Bridge

 Brooklyn Mall

Jacaranda Kinderhuis

And of course no trip to South Africa is complete without sorting through donations for Christmas boxes for vulnerable children

The weekend before Christmas we visited mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall to check out the decorations.

I've booked a Christmas Brunch at the JW Marquis Marriott, we have friends joining us. We will open presents in the morning from friends, mum and child 2, 2a and 2b who made the effort to ensure they were given to me to bring home on my visit in October and December. Cards were posted to us early for the same reason. I left and posted all our gifts and cards to family and friends in the UK in October.

Of course chocolate has been bought and we had a braai.

I've never really got used to Christmas in the sun for the past 9 years

After brunch and we will make phone calls to family in the UK in the evening. I've also downloaded Love Actually and Die Hard 2 to watch on Christmas Eve and am planning a visit to the beach today to see what decorations they have on display there.

Saturday 21 December 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 51 South Africa and Dubai

A week in South Africa is not long enough, the first few days were really relaxing, it has been great catching up with friends, I've been occupied and had full days and been sleeping really well, then my mind started to whir with 'it's nearly time to go home, its not been long enough.' Back home and not sleeping again, plus getting breathless doing normal tasks. I think when I'm in Dubai I have nothing to occupy my mind and I focus on the things I have to do and am not as relaxed.

My Transfer of Residency arrived, so we're all good to go for the move, just need to add an inventory of what furniture I'll be taking back with me, but that gives us time to sort out what Peter needs in Dubai.

The tenants have rejected the claims for damage and it is going through arbitration. The rental agents do that with proof from the independent check in/check out photos. In the meantime the work still needs doing so is going ahead and it'll be interesting to see just how much money we get back to cover the costs.

349 Sunday I woke up feeling sad. I don't want to leave. I'm happy here in South Africa. After breakfast we said goodbye to our friends. Peter is back in the New Year, then headed off to Brooklyn Mall then onto another set of friends for a braai, heading back to our host family for the night.

This is the first house we lived in for 18 months in South Africa on the golf course.

350 Monday Peter and I went out for breakfast, headed out to the storage unit to fill my car with donations for Kungwini Home for disabled adults. Peter left for Cape Town, I went off to Kungwini, back for a lie down, then out in the evening to Jacaranda Children's home for their Christmas light display and market, a group of us met up.

L-R Cheryl, Dorette, Me, Lee-Ann

351 Tuesday Woke early, showered and finished packing. Flew home to Dubai. An uneventful trip. Airport was stressful with waiting 45 mins to get bags wrapped to prevent theft by airport employees, which I have to pay around £5 for. Then silver check in, security and passport queues were short.

352 Wednesday Had a lie in, met a friend for coffee, collected cat and dog and did a food shop. Peter started his journey home. Pub quiz and bed.

353 Thursday Peter got home around 2am, he then went to work at am and I went to The Mall of the Emirates to look at the Christmas decorations. Early dinner, sat in the garden and early night.

354 Friday Off to Dubai Mall to look at more decorations, breakfast out, a few last minute bit and pieces bought for each other and finally booked Christmas Brunch. My Christmas spirit hit when the carol singers came round and friends asked to join us for brunch. Evening spent watching Netflix and eating junk food.

355 Saturday After the heavy rains a few weeks ago there is some serious damage to internal walls in our villa, the landlord was supposed to send people round today to fix it, so we only popped out locally, cleaned the garden and set it up for the next few days. It's a bit chilly at the moment.

Nothing on the blog this week.

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Saturday 14 December 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 50 A visit to South Africa.

It rained Saturday night and Sunday morning and it was lovely to pull the curtains in the morning and actually see weather here in Dubai. It's also been raining in Centurion where I'm visiting this week, but their rain has washed away 500 homes in a township, claimed lives and became international news when people were air lifted from a hotel.

I haven't taken many pictures this week, despite being on holiday as I've been spending time with friends and their families, just chilling out, drinking wine and eating great food.

I've really had a good rest this week and it's been great to spend time with old friends with no agenda. I've been packing Christmas boxes and sorting through donations matching them up with the right facilities.

342 Sunday Spent the day cleaning the house, popped out for coffee and finished packing. Peter cooked tea and we had an early night. Finished approving quotes and booking the work needed on our UK house. Apart from carpets, it'll all be clean and freshly decorated throughout by my next visit. As the furniture isn't arriving until May, I have plenty of time to decide.

Time spent trying to capture this stray so I could get him to the vets but he won't let me near him.

343 Monday Super busy day, took Peter to the airport, cat and dog to boarding, Dr's, nail bar, dropped gifts with friend, car cleaned and took it to the garage to see about selling it. Home, ironing, dinner, bath and evening spent finishing off the online paperwork.

I visited a psychiatrist today as I've been having problems sleeping max 4 hours a night, since discovering I'm intolerant to wheat my health has improved, the migraines have stopped and my chronic pain has improved. But we still haven't reached the bottom of the high white blood cell count or discovered if my iron levels are rising and if the small bleed in the small intestine has stopped. The past two years have seen me discover a lesion on the brain, tested for Leukaemia, my father then died, bone marrow biopsy under the care of an oncologist for 18 months, dental implant surgery and now the decision to return to the UK next month. I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Had pretty much reached that conclusion prior to making the appointment but couldn't get short term help with the sleeping problems unless I saw him first.

Ladies waiting area at the Dr's

344 Tuesday Off to the airport at 7am for day flight to Johannesburg, Peter collected me on arrival and took me to my friends house in Pretoria where I'm staying till the weekend.

345 Wednesday Spent the day pottering around friends house and just relaxing. Peter collected me after work and we went to another friends house for a Christmas dinner. I stayed over night and he returned to Joburg.

346 Thursday I took myself off early for a mini self drive safari, where I used to spend a lot of time as it was near child 4 &5's old school. I finished reading my book by a lake, drinking tea and watching the birds. Early evening I met a friend with her 2 children at the local dairy farm.

347 Friday Out in the morning for a coffee then the afternoon was spent with the friend I'm staying with drinking cocktails while her son was at the cinema with Friends. Peter collected me after work and we drove 'home' to the Golf Estate where we used to live to stay with another set of friends for the weekend.

348 Saturday Had a good sleep and off to a local market this morning, then dinner out tonight.

On the blog this week:

Why it's important to have routine

Letting the side down with plastic use and recycling with Going Green.

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Friday 13 December 2019

Post Comment Love 13th - 15th December 2019

Hello this week from South Africa. Wasn't planning a trip here, but my husband is here for 2 weeks with work and it seemed silly me sitting at home alone when I could come and visit my friends in our former home.

Stephanie and I are taking a few weeks off now over the Christmas holidays and we'll be back in January on the 10th. I'll be co-hosting back in Dubai for a few weeks until I relocate to the UK in February.

We're having a quiet Christmas, just the two of us. I've yet to book Christmas Brunch, but as you may have gathered I'm pretty much 'last minute . com' The tree went up in November and we started our Christmas Movie watching (yippe ki yay) and shopped for one another on the weekend.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As we celebrate Christmas in style in Dubai, I don't feel the need to call it 'Winter Holidays' I've bought Christmas gifts for my Muslim friends and sent them cards also.

What are your plans for Christmas and the New Year? Looking forward to reading about what you got up to?

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

Why it's important to have routine

If you're a regular reader of my blog or you follow me on Social Media you'll know I'm a married mum of 5, now with 1 grandchild. I live in Dubai with my husband and our cat and dog. We've lived abroad for almost 9 years. Apart from 1 year teaching, I've pretty much retired and spend my time travelling between the UK and Dubai to visit our families. We have 1 son living in Australia and another in Northern Ireland. My husband travels with his work regularly and as a consequence I spend a lot of the time I'm in Dubai, completely on my own.

It's hard enough filling a 10 hour day when my husband is just local, but at least he is home every evening so we can do things together. There's only so many coffees I can drink, only so much food shopping that needs doing and the same goes with cleaning, washing and ironing for just the 2 of us.

With the 4 hour time difference and all voice over internet such as skype etc banned, I can't even communicate with my family and friends other than the typed word and by the time I go to bed around 9pm, it's only 5pm in the UK and everyone is just getting home from work, having their tea etc.

Back in 2018 I implemented a 9am rule which motivates me to get out of bed each morning and is effective in breaking the boredom. It doesn't combat the loneliness when my husband is away but that's for another post.

Establishing some kind of routine in the morning has stopped me spending endless days in bed, just watching youtube and drifting off to sleep, then rushing around like mad, unwashed towards the end of the day when my husband is due home from work.

I recently had 2 weeks on my own in Dubai, as Peter was away. During that time apart from asking for a latte or paying a cashier, my interaction with other adults has been this:

2 visits to the dog park
Pub quiz
2 visits from relocation companies quoting for a move
Met a friend from the UK for 2 hours who was here on business
Arranged a surprise birthday for a friend, with her maid and was at her house for 2 hours one morning after she returned home from a fortnight away.
A long chat on the phone with a woman organising the pet relocation.

I did other things during that time like swimming, shopping, dog walking, ice skating, photography and lots of coffees out and have very much had a good 2 weeks, but I struggled to fill the time in between other than gardening, house work, letter writing, reading, blogging and of course youtube.

So apart from my 9am rule I've implemented a few other ideas that have been helping me fill the day.

After getting dressed I open all the curtains and windows (when the weather permits) I make sure I have a proper breakfast that I sit and eat at the table and clean up afterwards. I've decided to try new things such as going ice skating once a week and make sure I go over to the pool every day even if I don't swim, just a change of scenery to read my book.

With a relocation ahead of us, I'm picking one room, or store cupboard a week to start sorting through things, such as bedding, toiletries, cleaning materials, clothes and ornaments etc.

Now it's winter and I can get outdoors I can give the dog an extra walk during the day. I also set up the garden each day with chair cushions so I can sit outside to blog or write letters or just enjoy a cup of tea.

I cook myself a proper meal from scratch each evening and clean the kitchen up afterwards. I then walk the dog, bring in the garden furnishings, draw the curtains and run myself a bath, then in my pjs watch TV or you tube or read a book and go to bed around 9pm.

Of course my routine gets interrupted with emergency trips to the UK and spur of the moment plans to travel with Peter rather than be on my own. As I'm doing today by joining him for a week in South Africa. I also fail to keep to a routine when Peter isn't travelling and as a consequence my sleep suffers, which make the day time drag when he is in work.

I'm relocating to the UK in January with the cat and dog to our former home for two reasons. One being I'm bored and lonely in Dubai and the second being we decided to evict our tenants due to concerns from our rental agents so the timing has been perfect. Peter and I will travel between the two countries until he retires in the next 2-3 years and I'll then be looking for work. But until then, my adjustments once I've relocated won't be so huge on a daily basis as I'll have family and friends around me.

Monday 9 December 2019

Letting the side slip with reducing plastic and food airmiles

I've been in the UK for a week, repossessing our family home. Tenants have just left everything they didn't want and it's now my responsibility to remove everything, sadly it will all go to landfill. I wasn't in the mood, nor did I have time to sort through the full bins they left outside and all the waste from the house was swiftly removed by the removal firm who have piled it up by the side of the house until I rent a skip.

Back in Dubai, extremely tired after a night flight and the stress of the week and having to take the cat for her travel injections, I did a quick shop.

Whilst I had my reusable bags in my car, I didn't have my food nets or an old plastic bag to pack my meat in separately from the rest of the chilled foods.

No apologies for buying a plastic container with pre sliced carrots in at double the price. I suffer with chronic pain and having spent the week removing 101+ screws and nails from the walls of the house, I am suffering and can't hold a pen at the moment, let alone peel and chop carrots.

Having brought back with me in my case some Gluten Free cakes (I'm wheat free) that I can't buy over here, it made me look at the air miles my food has travelled.

I don't normally shop in Waitrose in the UK or Dubai as I find it too expensive, but we have little choice here other than Carrefour and I couldn't take the cat with me to a mall, so Waitrose it was while she was at the vets nearby.

Some foods have travelled quite some distance, others were at least packaged in the UAE, but I have no idea where they are from originally and some foods are actually grown and made locally. I should really make more of an effort to purchase locally grown/made foods and with my husband working in the food industry over here, he should be able to tell me more.

Risotto rice from???? Packaged in the UK

New Zealand

Produced in the UK for the UAE market

Pate from the Czech republic

Beetroot from ???? Packaged in the UK


Smoked salmon from ???? Packaged in the UAE

Yogurt made in the UAE

Vine tomatoes grown in the UAE, sadly in plastic packaging

Do you know where your food comes from and how many air miles it takes to reach your plate?

Unfortunately living in a desert not much is grown here and whilst products can be made and packaged here, produce still has to be flown in.

Did you know Marks and Spencer actually import British milk to the UAE?