Monday, January 12, 2015

The 'What Have We Done ?' Moment

It is happening every day, every hour of every day, that dreadful sinking feeling that you have made a horrible mistake. We should never have left Oman, we were happy there, weren't we ? Truth be told, we weren't, not for a long time. I have to force myself to not panic about the huge cut in salary we have just taken, the fact that we are going to have to pay tax for the first time in 9 years, that the boys are going to go to state school and remember why we have done what we have done. 

We hope for a more normal life, but does that include worrying about money all the time ? People assume that because we have been living in the Middle East for 9 years, we are rolling in the cash, we aren't, we never have been, James has never had the kind of job that pays huge salaries and with the downturn of the world economy the better paid positions in the construction industry became fewer and fewer and so, we have gone back to basics, gone back to where we were 10 years ago in order to allow ourselves to start a new life and it is terrifying. I am always one to stress about money, it worries me sick, all the time and I hate the fact that it will limit what we will able to do, but I am hoping that the benefits will outweigh the challenges and we will be able to enjoy a more free and easy life, let's just hope I don't have a nervous breakdown first !!! 

I remember a friend of mine who returned to the UK after a 4 year stint in Oman saying to me, 'don't ever come back to the UK, there is loads to do and loads to buy, but you can't afford any of it' well, we aren't in the UK but are we going to be in the same position ? I am sure this is just the fear of the unknown, worrying about what it is going to be like, is far worse than just getting with it and living life, that is the bit I am looking forward to. Change, that is the fear, knowing that all your friends are still on those lovely expat salaries and you aren't anymore. Our lives are going to be different and that is for sure, I just hope that they are better different rather than worse different !! 

Still, worst come to worst we can always go back to the heat, stress and lack of freedom that we experienced in the Middle East, nah, let's give this a go and make it work. Maybe it's as much a mental decision to accept a different life and enjoy living it instead of worrying about what other people have and you haven't - who knows, but we will definitely find out !

Friday, January 09, 2015

New Life, New Zealand

So it's been quite a while since I last posted, understatement of the last two years ! However at the insistence of a good friend of mine I have made the momentous decision to give it another go. Oman became a bit samey and so blogging became, well boring to be honest. I wasn't really crafting all that much, no need really, I wasn't really doing much of anything really. A great number of our friends had left Oman and we were ready to move on ourselves and so life really was not worth blogging about. Now however it's all change. We are starting our new life in New Zealand and I am hoping we aren't as mad as a box of frogs for giving it a go. 

New Zealand is gorgeous, it is beautiful, the people are lovely, the food and wool are fabulous, the people are outstandingly friendly and the weather is seasonal, which is a massive bonus, however, it is real life, we have left behind the excess of expat life and are now going to have to manage on a real salary, pay real tax and shop in very expensive shops. Can we do it ? I don't know, stay tuned to find out, worst case scenario, we are back in the Middle East next year having been unable to adjust to the real world ! Let's hope it doesn't happen !! 

I recently saw a post on Facebook from someone I vaguely know living in the Middle East, showing off purchase of hugely expensive and frankly massively excessive items and I thought, that is one huge reason to get out of the Middle East, the shows of wealth by many are disgusting, the holidays, the cars, the shopping, it all looks wonderful if you aren't living it, it isn't real and i honestly can't stand it. Anyway I won't go on suffice it to say, we decided that we wanted something else for our family, a more down to earth life experience where it is more about supporting your rugby team than buying a 60 inch TV. We want to give real life a go and let the children have a crack at it, maybe we'll hate it, or maybe we won't, but we will never know either way if we don't try. So we are trying and hopefully I will be able to keep you updated here about how it is going and what we are up to as well as touching of course, on crafting, cooking, cleaning and by necessity loosing weight - yes this dreadful year has taken it's toll and having lost lots of weight before Christmas 2013, I now am back to square one, well minus one really and have to loose three stone. I don't ever weigh myself but I had to go for a medical for my NZ visa and let us just say that the numbers on the scale shocked me - not enough to stop me eating my way through our fabulous three week holiday in the UK, but enough to make me realise that it really is time to do something about it - so do something about it I must. 

So NZ wise, so far so good, the boys have declared Auckland awesome and I am keen to get a house, get school sorted and start living our life - it should be fun, hopefully. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

To Gym or not to Gym ? That is the question.

There is a new Gym in town and it is called Balance Health and Fitness. It's nice. It's like a Gym would be in the real world. It's got qualified instructors, top of the range equipment and beautiful showers. Let's be honest, it's the showers that sell it. Most houses here in Muscat are old. Our house is old, it's a lovely house, probably about 25/30 years old and neither the bathrooms or kitchen have been updated since it was built in all likelihood. We have many, many bathrooms in our house - like 6 and they are all seriously outdated. The ensuite in our bedroom is pink - the suite is pink and the tiles are pink and it's all just one big pinkfest - disgusting. This is the downside to living in rented accommodation. So, going somewhere that has tasteful Italian marble, lovely rain showers and Molton Brown products everywhere is a real treat.

The Gym is something that I have always hated. I'd rather play a sport, like tennis or take the dog for a walk than go to the Gym, but I have found that as I get older and older and older, it gets harder and harder and harder to shift the unwanted pounds that are still hanging around 5 years after having Oscar. I want those pounds shifted, they have outstayed their welcome and it's time to get them gone. So we joined the Gym. It's a pricey business this Gym thing, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end. I am hoping that I get taken over by some kind of mad desire to exercise morning, noon and night and that you just won't be able to get me out of the Gym. Yeah - not likely to happen, but at least if I can go two to three times a week and sneak a swim in there as well (well at least sitting by the swimming pool reading a book with the odd dip) that should help - shouldn't it ? I mean seriously - what does it take to loose weight when you are over 40 ? I just can't fathom it - I feel like whatever I do this blasted excesses poundage does not want to leave. I know I've got a magnetic personality but this is ridiculous !

I don't do new year resolutions, ever. However this year I have decided to try a different mind set and try to spend more of my time doing things that I want to do instead of doing things that other people want me to do. I am learning to say NO just a little more - it's not easy, it doesn't come naturally but I'm hoping that in time it will become a habit and I'll be able to decline people's lovely offers to help out by cooking a three course meal for a school inspectors, or making 50m of bunting to decorate the staff room for teacher appreciation day - I love to help I really do, but enough is enough. This is the year of me and I intend to spend as much time as possible with my children, exercise, eat well and knit and sew as much is humanly possible. These are the things I should be doing with my time not all that other rubbish that sucks you in.

I took the decision when Jacob was born not to work. I took that decision in order that I could be there with my children as they grew helping in whatever way I could, over the last year, the time I have spent with them has become less and less and I hate it. This year I am claiming back my family life and enjoying my children instead of seeing them as an annoyance that has to be dealt with before I can make 5 cakes for the school coffee morning - that's just wrong. Time to slow down, appreciate the little things that make our family unique and do things that suit us.

So I shall be Gyming it as much as I can, but when it doesn't suit me I won't be doing it, I shall let go of the guilt and be me - well I'll try anyway !!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

An Unusually Fabulous Day

Yesterday started out like any other - well almost - James and I went to the gym, which is quite an unusual way to start the weekend for us, we usually go to breakfast and have a cake - so not so usual after all. We went for a nice cup of tea afterwards, so that was more normal I guess !

Then the day got really odd. I went to the Opera House to see the Deborah Colker Dance Company, the weird bit was, I went on my own. Now this is very unusual indeed, a show, on my own, in the day time. Unheard of.

It was most fabulous to go to the Opera House and be alone, I love being with other people, most of the time, but sometimes, it's just lovely to be on my own, doing something I enjoy. Even odder, when it was over a friend who had also been at the show, asked me if I'd like to join her for afternoon tea, which I did and was most enjoyable indeed. After that I had to pop to the rugby pitch to see the boys in my high heel shoes, so it was back to earth with a bump !

So the dance company. I am not what you might call a fan of Modern Dance and this was most certainly Modern Dance. I really enjoy watching ballet and there was lots of ballet in there for sure, the rest was, well, unusual, much like the day really. Lots of sharp, short aggressive moves, sticking out of tongues and pulling of funny faces, along with jumping about and rolling around. It was interesting and great to watch, I did enjoy it, but I have to say I prefer the classical stuff.

Having said that, the final section of the performance was fabulous. The back of the stage was converted into basically a massive climbing wall and the company of dancers performed on the wall. It was totally amazing what they could do with their bodies, the strength of them was unbelievable. I loved it so much. The shapes, the rhythm, just fabulous. I'd love to see the last section again - the rest, I could give it a miss to be honest.

I've been knitting too. I'm ploughing my way through Dominka.

I am really enjoying knitting it to be honest. It's not too difficult and it's growing really quickly. As I knit I dream about knitting a fairisle circular yoke sweater or cardigan. I'm really keen to give one a try. I've never attempted anything like it before but I'm really keen to try something like this beauty.

However, it involves steeking - something that frightens the life out of me - I'm thinking though, it's the year of me and time for a challenge, so I just might give it a go - I'm sure I can do it and honestly, it's beautiful. We are planning a summer holiday in Scotland this year. Mull to be precise and I'd love to take this with me - do you think I can do it ? It might seem odd to be going on holiday to Scotland from Oman, but we long for seasons and I'm hoping it's going to be a bit rainy and damp - what do you think ? is it likely to rain in Scotland in July and August ?

Monday, January 07, 2013


Well, it's been ages since I posted anything on my blog and there is a good reason for that - computer trouble - well more accurately user error. I forgot my log in for blogger and I forgot my password, so there was no chance of me being able to post - now though techno husband has come to the rescue and I can post again !

Christmas is over, visitors have nearly all gone now and the new year beckons. I am looking forward to year of me. I plan to do lots of stuff this year that makes me happy and yes that involves healthy eating and exercise as well as lots of crafting. So I am hoping that I will actually have something to say here in the near future rather than the nothing that has been my life recently.

See you again soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A New Project

So, it's been a while since I've started an exciting new knitting project, but today is the day - I've ordered the yarn and paid for it - gulp (yarn is rather expensive these days) and today it has arrived and I can't wait to get started. I'm going to turn this

Into this

and I literally cannot wait - I have been desperate to knit something meaty for ages but hadn't found anything that tickled my fancy - then I came across this pattern and it was love at first sight. Now I know, you may say, what use will I have for an aran patterned cardigan here in Oman where, even in the winter it hardly ever gets below 20 degrees C - and I know, you are right - but hey - what the heck - I haven't knitted myself a cosy cardy in coming on for 7 years and it just has to be done - so to heck with it - I'm doing it and if I can only wear it in the house with the air con on full - so be it !!!!

Can't wait x

Friday, January 21, 2011

A couple of outfits

We've had rain - it's exciting - it never rains here - but today it has been cloudy and overcast all day - the mountains are covered in thick dark cloud - it won't last - it never does, but whilst it's here it's so lovely to sit inside and knit and watch Murder She Said with Margaret Rutherford - don't you just love Margaret Rutherford - she is so English and so adventurous at her age - she is the perfect Miss Marple for me - feisty and cheeky, and just a bit of a busy body ! I never really liked the Agatha Cristie books - not sure why - maybe I should give them another go, but the TV adaptations of anything Cristie have always been firm favourites with me - I wasn't too sure about Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple but I thought Julia McKenzie in the recent ones was fabulous. I can't wait to see more. Perfect knitting viewing I think you'll agree

I have a couple of outfits to share with you - I wish I had more to share but I didn't get around to taking photos of a couple of them - the one I wish I had taken a photo of was on Wednesday evening - I went round to a friend's house with a group of ladies that I don't know that well, for a Mojito night - I've never had a Mojito before and wow they were gorgeous and I had a lovely evening as well - bonus - anyway I wore a blue jersey dress that I bought for a wedding last year with a brown belt, grey short sleeved cardigan, red tights and my brown boots - it was a pretty cool outfit I think and I'll definitely try to wear it again before the weather warms us again - I'll make sure I get a photo this time.

Anyway here are the photos I have for you

This was a "I've woken up really late and just need to chuck some clothes on" outfit. The vest top is from New Look, the long sleeve top is from a shop in Bali called Mist, the jeans are from Anthro and the pumps are Sanuk - these pumps are developing a hole in them - I don't know what I am going to do when these shoes are gone - I love them so much - problem is they are fabric and my toes turn up in a funny way and make their way through most materials at some point or another - oh well - I've got a new pair of shoes that I ordered after Christmas coming tomorrow, so I will just have to wear those instead - not if it's raining though, they are sandals !

This was a going to the beach after school outfit - well I wore it all day but I chose it because we were going to the beach. The t-shirt is from Gap and to be honest I usually wear it in bed ! The trousers are from Fat Face and this is the first time that I have worn them and felt comfortable in them. The shoes are Crocs and the cardigan is an old one from Gap - it's a bit faded in places but I was kind of going for a hobo chic look, so I thought it didn't matter !!! I actually got told I looked very preppy, so it was obviously a good outfit !!!

I'm linking up with Lyndsey at the Pleated Poppy for her What I Wore Wednesday feature - really good fun - give it a go if you can.