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Family Life, Other Stuff

Locked Inside The Car

October 23, 2015

This is the kind of story you read in the newspaper and think “How stupid, How could that happen?” but this really happened to me this week. My child was locked inside the car with the key and I was on the outside.

There’s nothing you can say that I haven’t already beat myself up about but by telling this story I want to warn parents so they can try to avoid making the same mistake.

I’ll start start from the start;

It was the usual wrestle and bribery with my toddler (almost 2 years old) to force him into his car seat. I sat in the drivers side and remembered that I didn’t pack the wet wipes – you don’t take a little boy anywhere without wet wipes!

I get back out of the car and by reflex closed the door behind me and take a step towards the house – CLICK – what was that? Did the doors just lock?! Yes. Oh f*ck.
Spencer is strapped into his car seat, the key is in the ignition with the engine running, my phone is in my handbag which is also inside the car and my husband is out of the country. This is a BIG problem.

I frantically try every single door handle again and again but the car is definitely locked. Again, Oh f*ck.

We only have one key for this car. I had always planned to order another one but every month it just seemed like there are other things to pay for. Major error!

For the first ten minutes locked inside Spencer is fine, The AC is running and he has water and raisins to keep him busy. But that doesn’t solve the problem – I have no phone to call anyone and no one around me to help. I dash into the house to Google ways to break into my own car but my iPad only works on WIFI inside the house and the signal won’t reach to the car outside. Every time I have to leave the car to go inside Spencer is getting more upset as he wants me to stay with him. There are plenty of videos and forums but I don’t have the time or rational thinking to trawl the internet.

As a mother it’s horribly painful to see your child sobbing and calling for you just centimetres away but there is nothing you can do to reach them. After 35 horrible minutes there was only one thing for it… Mummy Bear mode kicks in. I grab the biggest hammer I could find from the tool box. Believe me, This is not a decision I took lightly.

001 Glass on the ground

I have never deliberately smashed my own car window so I’m not familiar with the best techniques – I’m now told to use a hammer and a nail – His car seat was in the front passenger side so my only logic was to chose the rear opposite window side to where he was sitting, smash it an try not to send glass showering over him. It’s not easy to think clearly when he is sobbing his heart out.

I swung the hammer back and with all my might hit it into the glass, there was a massive THUD but not even a single crack on the window. Dammit. These windows are incredibly hard to break!! I had expected it just to shatter but the window film was holding it all together. 3 more big swings until it even cracked.

Luckily no glass had reached Spencer in his seat but the sharp shards came outwards on to me, I had to run back into the house to get a towel and oven mitt to wrap round my hand and arm to get my arm through the hole in the window and unlock the doors to reach him.

001 Window smash

Thankfully Spencer came out of the car completely unharmed from the experience which was around 45 minutes start to finish. There were plenty of tears and cuddles but not a scratch on him.

My poor car…. It turns out I chose to smash the worst window that no one stocks, typical, so I am waiting on a new pane of glass to be delivered. The car isn’t set to lock itself when the door closes so I did not expect that to happen but for some reason this day it did, later that day it did it again so there is a fault somewhere. Technology can be a blessing and a curse.

So the point of the story, sometimes these things happen that we don’t expect. Take precautions with a spare key and don’t close door with your kids/pets in the car. Try not to make the same error as me – It wasn’t ideal but in some ways I was lucky that we were still at home with the engine running so the AC was cooling the car and I had access to a hammer.

This was a lesson learnt – A spare key for the car is cheaper than a new window. Sigh.

Heather x

Other Stuff

Eat, Sleep, Lift, Repeat – Part Three

September 16, 2015

“I want to lose weight” – The complaint that we all seem to have. But ten weeks into this body transformation I’m wondering why are we so obsessed with weight as a number? Does it even matter?

Before I started this body overhaul I made notes of what I wanted to gain, or lose, from such a serious body commitment. My main one “to lose weight”.
After a couple of weeks of hard training I had lost 2kgs and was feeling excited and encouraged, what I didn’t expect was for the next 5 weeks my weight would then be firmly stuck and not budging a stubborn pound, you could call it “plateau” if you wanted to be fancy about it.

001 Week 10 collage

The thing was my whole body was visually changing, my clothes were looser and my muscles were increasing but no matter how hard I worked out or how ‘clean’ my diet the weight remained exactly the friggin same for 5 whole weeks.

Glaring at this same number on the scale was really getting to me, even though I KNEW it was stupid I was still obsessed with this number. Of course I’m decreasing the fat and increasing the muscle so there must be a balance somewhere but to be the exact same number just sent my crazy body conscious self into a tail spin. All sorts of doubts started to creep in, was I doing enough? How could I push myself harder? Should I go and try and pee AGAIN?

After 5 weeks and just to confuse even more my body just dropped a further 2kgs in two days, it appears my “plateau” is over. Of course this made my mind happier to see a lower number but in reality we really shouldn’t care so much for the sake of a couple of kg’s – but we probably always will – As long as we are healthy and doing the best we can it really shouldn’t matter if the scales aren’t showing us exactly what we want to see.

(If you are late to the party and haven’t read my fitness journey so far you can catch up here with part one and part two )

This is how my body has progressed between Week 1, 5 and 10.

001 coll age b   n

001 Weight loss collage

Most noticeably my stomach fat has decreased, my thighs are much stronger and defined and around the face and neck area is significantly slimmer.

This has not been an easy journey to get to this point but I’ve found it more manageable recently to take it day by day, one meal and one workout at a time. It keeps me focused on each day and it’s not too daunting to think of the punishment the next day may hold.

*This part sounds crazy* I never realised how just how crucial the diet plan would be to loosing the fat. My thinking was if I just moved my ass more then eventually I would burn more calories than I had consumed and it’s all happy, skinny days.
True in theory, but then what I always stumbled on was rewarding myself with food. Had a bad Day? Have a treat and cheer up! Good Day? Have a treat and celebrate! Bored? Have a snack or two! – These rewards were the exact reasons why I would never loose the fat. Every day I’m trying to break that mental connection of treating myself with food.

IMG_4614

In my last post I mentioned that we were trying out a Ketogenic diet, soon after the post I stopped this diet. Whilst it can have amazing results for some people it just didn’t respond well to my body and resulted in me losing too much strength for my work outs. It was quickly back on to my ‘clean’ eating plan again and back to full steam ahead.

When it comes to the diet it’s not always easy, especially if you are a food addict like me, Below are a few steps that I try to follow;

– Structure and balance the food that goes into meals – protein, veg, good carbs, fats
– Set your meal times and eat every few hours to keep your energy up
– Plan ahead – If you are busy take your meals with you in tubs or have them waiting in the fridge ready to reheat
– Drink LOTS of water then drink some more

001 Week 9 biceps

Changes to your body don’t have to include expensive gym memberships and personal trainers, you can make changes to your own body every single day by making healthier choices. If you struggle with motivation then try teaming up with a workout buddy or if you struggle with which foods work best for you then the internet is full of amazing suggestions just a few clicks away. Start by dedicating some time and effort to becoming the best version of you.

This weekend I will be taking part in the Horizon Fitness Adventure Challenge here in Muscat. This will hopefully be a great event to take part in and helps to keep me active and away from all my usual weekend vices **Cough cough pizza and cookies**

Every step of my diet and exercise plan is overseen by Coach Yoka at Elite Gym.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates in the coming weeks,

Heather x

Food & Entertainment, Other Stuff

Cocktail Master Class – Left Bank

August 27, 2015

Straight up. On the rocks. With a twist – All terminology relating to drinks but do you know what they actually mean? Ermm… Nope.

I would consider myself to be well practised in the fine art of drinking cocktails but when it comes to actually mixing a good cocktail my skills are somewhat lacking.

With the dream of one day being able to serve guests something a little more swanky than a vodka & coke I enrolled myself on a cocktail making master class.

Of course drinks are always more fun with friends so I rounded up a couple of girlfriends and headed down to Left Bank for an evening of chatting, drinking and chatting whilst we drank.

Espresso Martini. Two words that are music to my ears. When I heard that this little beauty would be on the agenda for the evening I just knew we were on to a winner. Lets get started!

001 Espresso Martini start

Ready to teach us his Jedi ways was Left Bank’s bar manager, Alvin, was prepped and ready to begin.

After a tour of the bar and we understood the set up he then progressed to teach us the essential equipment of a good bar and the skills how to use them. With all that new knowledge under our belts it was time to put it into practice.

The contents were measured, muddled and mixed and when it was time I shook that cocktail shaker with all my might. As liquid spilled out and my fingers felt like they were falling victim to frostbite I wondered how bar staff make it look so easy?

Pour the contents into the desired glass, pop in the straws and decorate with chosen garnish and Voila! You have one slightly impressive looking cocktail.

Of course for the sake of research we must sample our creations…

001 Cocktails at Left Bank

001 LB drinks making collage

The drinks just kept coming with every enthusiastic trainee ready to take their turn and attempt their own creation.

001 Cocktail making 1

My drinks weren’t quite as impressive as the Left Bank staff can whip up with ease so I won’t apply for a job just yet. However, Not disappointed by my own efforts I left feeling merry and confident to then create some of my own concoctions at home. And in my book that is a successful evening!

001 LB cocktails collage

If you fancy trying the cocktail making class at Left Bank you can call at 2469 3699 or find them on Facebook.

And on an ending note – Always drink responsibly and NEVER drink and drive.

Other Stuff

Eat, Sleep, Lift, Repeat – Week 5

August 20, 2015

My muscles ache like they have been hit by a freight train, My body will not allow me to stay awake past 9.30pm and I officially don’t have a social life anymore.

It all sounds pretty lousy, right? Well no, Despite the tough bits from the past few weeks I really feel GREAT! My body feels like it has a purpose, my muscles are doing things I didn’t think I could ever achieve and I love the routine this new lifestyle has given me.

Still I’m a long way from the finishing line and I’m writing this post today as much for me as I am for you, I need this to spur me on to keep me motivated and knowing if it is so public then I can’t let myself fail.
If you haven’t read the first part of my weight lifting and body change journey, click here

The past 5 weeks have really been a real battle. Strangely the training isn’t the hard part… I really enjoy being in the gym, working hard, having a laugh with my Coach – usually he is conjuring up the next plan of how to test my body to it’s limits. For me, the hardest part is sticking to the strict diet.

001 Week 5 delts

I told you that I would be honest in this journey so that includes the negatives, I’ll tell you this first so then we can move on to the positives and be all happy again, yay.

My name is Heather and I am addicted to food.

Gym work is only 20% of how your body will look, the other 80% is your diet. For me this meant a complete diet overhaul. Uhh Ohh.

Whether it is a quick sandwich and crisps on the go, a few chocolate biscuits mid afternoon to dunk in my tea or a pudding in the evenings to unwind – of course there is always a takeaway on the weekends for a ‘treat’ – without even realising it I was on a constant fatty, sugar rollercoaster. It was time to cut the crap.

The first stage was 3 weeks of clean eating to wean my body from its sugar addiction. That was hard enough but now the real negative begins, we were going to try something new – The Ketogenic Diet. Have a look on Google for more info but in a nutshell – see, I’m talking about food again – Your diet is cut to minimum carbs to change the way your body burns fat. Cutting your carbs so low rules out all the fun things in life – No fries, bread, rice, pizza, alcohol, fruit and pretty much no fun at all… **This is not something I would recommend trying without proper diet plan or nutritionist**
Limiting your carbs like this can be a VERY hard adjustment and your body starts to do weird things. Every body is different but in my case the brain fog was the first side effect. Running in a straight line on a treadmill? Not a chance. I simply did not have the coordination to do simple tasks, my speech was jumbled, I was pissed off all the time and I had no patience for people’s sh*t (worse than usual anyway). Thankfully after a week of this torture my body reached ketosis and normal functions returned. The aim was to stay in Ketosis and my body will burn fat stores for fuel instead of carbs.
In the next update I’ll let you know how this diet has worked for me.

001 Week 4 squat picture

This lifestyle is a choice that not everyone understands but that’s cool, I don’t really expect them to. The past few weeks I have cancelled so many social plans due to tiredness, hunger, being grumpy or just because there is too much temptation of food. It’s no fun to meet for dinner and drinks when all I can have is plain chicken and water. Sorry to all my friends, let me know if you want to catch up over a protein shake some time ūüėõ

Looking back on my previous fitness and diet it’s no wonder I was never achieving the results that I dreamed of. Sure I did plenty of cardio with walking, treadmill, hiking and I was physically fit but nothing on my body ever looked sculpted, it always had a softness that never seemed to budge.

This is where the POSITIVE part comes in, that softness is starting to melt. From lifting weights, honing in on specific areas instead of an all over cardio session and really pushing myself past where I thought my limit was now my body is making big changes! Muscles are starting to appear that I didn’t even know I had and choosing an outfit is getting a little less depressing if there are less lumps and bumps to conceal. I’m starting to feel more confident in my own body and proud of what it can do.

001 Week 4 biceps

This is what a typical Keto meal looks like for me; generally foods like fish, chicken, salmon with broccoli and carrots.

001 Keto diet pics

Sticking to the diet requires me to be strict and organised. All my food is weighed in portions, meals have to be eaten on time every 3 hours to keep my energy up – Often I’ll have my plastic tubs of food in my bag with me when I’m out and about. If I let myself get hungry that’s when the unhealthy snacks creep in. I’ve never been so disciplined with food but it’s great having a routine knowing when to eat and what to eat.

Still, I have a long way to go but seeing the progress finally happening and feeling my body getting stronger makes it all worthwhile. Keep your eyes peeled for the next update.

Full fitness and diet overseen by professional coach and nutritionist at Elite Gym Oman.

Other Stuff

Kaya Skin – Aqua Radiance Review

August 9, 2015

There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t apply some kind of make up to my face, over time it really starts to take it’s toll. When Kaya Skin Clinic invited me to come for some TLC and a facial I jumped at the chance.

Living in this hot and dusty climate our pores get clogged easily leading to breakouts and oily T-zones. Recently my face has looked dull and tired after a long, sweaty summer in desperate need of rejuvenation.

Usually I am dubious about facials, it always felt like an unnecessary indulgence of fancy smelling creams and not much else but in the name of research I was prepared to give it a shot. I am happy to tell you that Kaya have totally changed my opinion of facials.

I opted for the Kaya Aqua Radiance facial as it claims to “keep your skin looking youthful and beautiful”, find me a woman who doesn’t want that?!

Aqua Radiance; “draws on the healing properties of oxygen and water to replenish skin cells and repair the damage caused by UV rays and daily life in a stressful or polluted environment, while cleansing down to the deepest layer of your skin” – Sounds perfect doesn’t it?

Lying back and closing my eyes my face was cleansed and massaged to take off the surface impurties. Then a special Lymphatic massage helps to push all nasty toxins away.

Now for the main attraction – Cold saline water and oxygen is pressure blasted through a small nozzle taking away top layers of dead skin leaving the under layers free to breathe. The process doesn’t hurt at all but the cold can take your breath away when applied to the thin skin around the eyes.

Remember as a teenager standing onfront of the mirror squeezing those pesky black heads? Well this lady does all that ugly bit for you. It’s a little painful but you know it’s worth the pain for that clear, spot free skin.

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To finish up the session a luxourius and rehydrating face mask was applied and left for 20 minutes to work it’s magic.

All in all, the facial was a blast – literally. Removing all that grime from my face feels so refreshing and now my skin feels so much cleaner, brighter and dare I say it…. at least 5 years younger!

The staff were pleasant and helpful explaining the procedure at step and were able to answer all my questions. Leaving Kaya I felt relaxed and very happy with my fresh, rejuvenated skin.

To find our more about Kaya Skin Clinic visit their website, click here.

Blogosphere, Expat Life, Other Stuff

What do you want to see?

March 30, 2015

The summer heat is creeping in and the humidity levels are rising to gross, sweaty levels. This sadly means that I can’t blog much about outdoor activities or fun places to go because, like the rest of you, I will be spending the majority of my summer indoors. Booooo!

Please let me know what kind of blog posts you would like to see over the summer months. Below are some examples;

– Expat Life
– Baby/Toddler things
– What Spencer is up to
– Life in the Duncan House
– Outfit styling
– What I am cooking
– Fitness
– Summer Hibernation

Let me know what floats your boat. You can send me an email by using the ‘contact’ tab, or head to my Facebook by clicking here.

Thanks

Heather x

Blogosphere, Expat Life, Other Stuff

Oman’s Blogging Scene

March 5, 2015

The blogging scene in Oman is alive and kicking.

There are plenty of us doing our thaaaang and thankfully there is more than enough room for all of us. We are a diverse group of keyboard addicts, gossipers and photographers who all like to tell a different story and find our niche. That is what makes it so interesting.

Many of the previously well known (and also controversial) bloggers have faded away and as we now hear so often “the blogging scene just isn’t what it used to be”, yeah that is because we are trying to stay out of jail, thanks! We keep it clean. Mostly.

So here we are, the best/most interesting/popular/diverse/fun blogs that Oman has to offer at the moment.

(These are in no particular order)

The Duncan Adventures

Muscat Mutterings

How to live like an Omani Princess

Badermania

Oman Collective Intelligence

Fat Su

Aish elaqtta

Life outside the M25

Jo in Oman

Sew Chic and Unique

Salim Al-Harthy photography

Scottie Hack

Oman Coast

Rummy’s Scriblings

Omani Cusine

Foodishly In Love

Dhofari Gucci

Terence Pereira

Najia Expat Wife

My passion for cooking

Adopt a pet in Oman

Shots and Socks

Thank you to everyone who takes the time and effort to write these blogs to keep us updated and in the loop with what is happening in Oman.

If you spot that I have missed anyone then please drop me a line and I’ll add them in!

Family Life, Other Stuff, Pregnancy & Baby

Monster Mash Bash

February 1, 2015

Your babies first birthday is a big deal and what better way to mark the event than with a huge party surrounded by family and friends?!

This weekend we celebrated with a fun filled, colourful monster themed bash. Why a monster theme? Well, because he really is a little monster! (You could also use the words terror, hooligan or rascal)

The party planning started weeks in advance with HOURS of crafting and creating homemade monsters.

The invites were sent out calling all fellow monsters to join us.
(Invites designed by the very talented Terence Pereira)

Party Invite

As the birthday boy awoke a whole year older he opened his sleepy eyes quite confused, I had filled his bed full of coloured balloons. When the initial confusion was passed he wriggled out of his sleep sack and loved jumping on the balloons and throwing them.

01 Birthday baloon boy

As the main party event drew closer the whole house was transformed into a monster theme with decorations filling every nook and cranny.

01 Welcome monster

01 Hanging Monsters

Colin couldn’t help but be a kill joy for the event….

01 Colin killjoy

As the guests arrived lots of homemade tasty party food was served, including some party favourites – marshmallow top hats!

01 Party top hats

What party is complete without a fruit vomiting monster?!

01 Birthday fruit monster

Sadly I do not have a single photo from the actual party as we were too busy having a great time but the event was a great success and everyone themselves.

Birthday family photo

Our little monster was totally spoilt with love and generous gifts from all the partygoers. Thank you to everyone who could make it and for the wonderful gifts!

Once the kidlets were exhausted and headed to their beds it was then time for the adults party…. There were a few sore heads the next day.

Lets hope Spencer doesn’t want another party until his 21st!!

Family Life, Other Stuff

2015 Coming Soon

December 31, 2014

Well 2014 has been one hell of a ride! I don’t even know how to summerise it to you.

Through the year there were extreme highs, some pretty horrible lows and a lot of random stuff in between. Even with the lows this has still been my best year yet.

I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to throw at us.

Thank you for staying with me through 2014 and I hope you will still be with me in the New Year.

Now go get your glad rags on, it’s time to party!!

Heather x

Blogosphere, Other Stuff

Featured in Y Magazine

December 30, 2014

This morning I am having a quick cuppa and catching up on this weeks Y Magazine.

To be included in their feature of “notable” people in Oman is very flattering. Little old me is in there next to some very impressive people. Thank you for all your support!

If you can’t get your hands on a hard copy then you can read it online here.

Now I’m going to try and write some New Years resolutions.. Lets see how long these last hee hee.