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family

Expat Life, Family Life

Three Years

September 3, 2015

Three years ago to this date I landed in a foreign land to begin a new life.

It was sink or swim.

I’m not sure if I am celebrating three years in Oman itself or three years of surviving away from the home nest. Either way, today feels like a reason to celebrate. I didn’t sink, I swam and I’m still swimming.

For those who have never made the daunting leap from “home” and everything you have ever known then it probably doesn’t sound that exciting to you, in the grand scheme of life what is three years anyway?
But for those who have made such a drastic life change they may be able to relate, every month and year that goes by is a success – You haven’t failed and you haven’t run home crying. You’ve got this.

01 Sur heart hands

The past three years have been so crazy, weird, wonderful and given us so many oppertunites we would never have had otherwise.

I would love to know what the next step is for us but only time will tell. All I can hope is that for every year that passes we can embrace it and make the most of these crazy adventures in life.

Heather x

Pregnancy & Baby

16 Weeks Pregnant – The Pregnant Lady Upgrade

September 1, 2013
 
The start of week 16 was still spent in the UK visiting people, by this point I had well and truly ran out of steam travelling backwards and forwards and just had to accept that I just couldn’t fit it all in. Sorry to the people I didn’t catch before I left.
 
Even Colin was starting to feel a bit worn out with all the socializing
                                        
 
Towards the end of week 16 Colin & Myself were on a flight back to Muscat. It was bittersweet as I couldn’t wait to get back to see my beloved Penny but at the same time I don’t know the next time I will be seeing my loved ones again and by that time there will be the arrival of an actual human being! That was weird for me, kind of the realisation that my loved ones won’t be around for the pregnancy and birth of Baby D.
Being an Expat is really tough sometimes but luckily I have an amazing husband to lean on. Probably quite literally ‘cos I’m gonna balloon like a puffer fish!
 
We flew back with British Airways who were amazing and even gave me an upgrade to World Traveler Plus so I could get a proper sleep when I wasn’t feeling well. Being pregnant and flying maybe does have its benefits?? While sitting on the plane I felt the baby move for the first time (16 weeks and 4 days) at first I thought it was a muscle twitch but then I felt it move position, was I imagining it? I’ve felt it for the past 3 days now so I’m pretty sure that it is the real deal which is quite amazing!

How far along: 16 weeks

How are you measuring: Baby is growing well and my stomach has a definite podge look now

Size of baby: An avacado

Sleep: Generally sleeping pretty well just now but I think I will have to invest in a maternity body pillow soon for comfort

Total weight gain: Probably quite a few pounds by now after all those cakes at home. I will be weighed next week.

Symptoms: Still being sick in the mornings and arriving back to the heat hasn’t helped the sickness any. Lets hope this stage is almost over.

Movement: Tiny, tiny movements in tummy. I don’t know where this “flutter” thing comes from but mine felt more like a muscle twitch or a scratch, not sore but enough that I notice it.

Maternity Clothes: First time wearing maternity leggings today, not because I need them just because I didn’t have anything else clean but they were nice and comfy.

Must eat: Nothing really, not much of an appetite this week. Colin made me eat a KFC last night so he could make sure I ate something, thats a new one for me normally he is concerned that I eat too much haha.

Must not eat: Still really not keen on fish or the smell or garlic this week

Best Moment of the week: Feeling those first crazy little movements for sure!

Gender predictions: Everyone seems to think it will be a girl, especially my brother who keeps calling the baby “her”.

What I wish people knew: What it feels like to have your baby kick for the first time it was amazing!

What I’m looking forward to: Having a proper little bump so I look pregnant. 

What I miss: Wearing nice little dresses to dinner like my friends, I opted for a safe black maxi dress to hide the bloat.

What baby is upto this week: Baby is gearing up for a growth spurt, in the next few weeks it will double its weight and add inches to the length of its body.

I’ll get back to my chalk board progress for next week now that i am back home and settled in again. Sadly no bump photos from this week.


Isn’t it funny how animals know that you are pregnant? Look at this wee handsome chap Basil snuggling up and one paw on the bump 🙂

 

Pregnancy & Baby

14 & 15 Weeks Pregnant – Change of Scenery

September 1, 2013

Weeks 14 & 15 were spent back ‘home’ in Scotland and passed in a very fast blur of visiting family, travelling around everyone and eating lots of cakes. The night flight from Muscat to the UK was a tough one as I’m generally more sick at night and in the mornings so I spent the time with my face close to a puke bag and watching to see when the toilet was vacant, luckily I wasn’t sick on the plane thanks to lots of anti nausea tablets and an amazing air hostess who kept bringing me water.

The cool Scottish air was such a wonderful thing, getting rid of the majority of my queasiness through the day. When you feel sick it is lovely to go outside and get some fresh air instead of 46 degree heat and 80% humidity. Saying that one day I did find myself being sick in my mother in laws garden at 6.30am so i didn’t wake everyone in the house… Sorry Karen!

On week 14 I took my 7 year old twin nephews swimming on my own to a great pool where there are flumes and wave machines – every little rascals dream swimming pool. I underestimated how much 7 year old boys like to jump and climb on their aunties! My stomach muscles had other plans and after a few too many times on the flumes I had to call it a day. Thankfully they didn’t notice the pain in my face and had a great time. These growing pains are weird things!

I managed to fit in a few shopping trips also to baby shops to look for things that we just can’t buy here in Muscat. I managed to find a couple of maternity items also that I will need, it’s shocking that the only place in Muscat for maternity wear is a tiny section of H&M!

One of the gifts we received was from our dear friends Samantha and Max who bought us “Ewan the dream sheep”. It is meant be a miracle worker in getting a baby to sleep and comfort them. He glows pink and makes womb like noises that you can play to the bump so when the baby is born it recognises the sounds and is comforted by them. You can read the amazing reviews on the John Lewis website here.


This was my last trip home to the UK before Baba is due in February and who knows when we will be able to travel after that. I don’t even know how long it takes to get a passport for a newborn over here?! There were alot of people to visit which was tiring to say the least but thankfully these people all wanted to meet up over lunch or a cup of tea & a cake which made it a bit easier.



No where does good tea and a cake (‘funcy piece’ in Scotland) like us Brits!






How far along: 14 -15 weeks

How are you measuring: Baby D is perfectly on schedule this week and growing well

Size of baby: A navel orange

Sleep: Much better quality of sleep these days, only waking up maybe once on a good night

Total weight gain: Only around 2 pounds since the 8 week mark, that will probably be more now due to all these cakes!

Symptoms: Sad to say that I am still being sick in the mornings. I can handle once a day but I did really think it would stop by now. I guess thats better than some of the symptoms others are having at this stage.

Movement: Nothing I can feel yet, hopefully in a couple more weeks

Maternity Clothes: None yet but I’m not far away from it

Must eat: I made the most of being in the UK with cakes, fish & chips, chicken mayo sandwiches and haggis!

Must not eat: Fish is still a big no-no this week

Best Moment of the week: Baby shopping with my life long best friend, Samantha, who had her own little bundle of joy just 4 months ago so was able to show me what I would need. I’m glad she was there, I was useless on my own!

Gender predictions: Everyone seems to think it will be a girl but I’m starting to feel like its maybe a boy?

What I wish people knew: That it is tiring to go round visiting everyone and spending equal amounts of time, it would be nice if someone came to me for a change. I won’t be doing this anymore once Baby D arrives.

What I’m looking forward to: Our next scan in 3 weeks time, private medical care is amazing!

What I miss: Not much, I’m quite liking being pregnant just now and watching for my bump growing its an amazing feeling.

What baby is upto this week: Facial movements are now more pronounced and the baby can frown and squint its face. Although the eyelids are still fused shut the baby can react to light.




Bedtime bump at 14 weeks. Funny how its more swollen at nights and in the morning than through the day.




Morning bump at 15 weeks, definitely getting thicker around the middle now eek!
Expat Life, Family Life

The wanderer returns to Muscat

May 19, 2013
Well Bloglets, I’ve had a busy couple of weeks galavanting and now thankfully I am back in Muscat and trying to get back into my usual routine. Don’t ask me what my usual routine is, it mostly consists of being lazy but maybe I’ll blog about the day in the life of a house wife another day.

My latest adventure took me back home to the shores of “home” in Bonnie Scotland. It was a somewhat spontaneous journey as I didn’t even have any flights booked until a couple of days before I left, this is not in my nature at all – I just love to plan things! My reason for a trip home was to sort some things out with our house back in the UK which kept me busy for most of my trip there.



The weather treated me well and most days were dry with some sunshine. It was nice to get away from the intense heat of the Middle East for a couple of weeks.


Things in the house took up almost every day of my trip home but I managed to fit in some visiting where possible, sacrificing sleeping and resting but at least I managed to get some fun in along the way. I’m lucky to have helpful inlaws who had already completed some chores for me which made life that bit easier.



A visit to see my family ended in me and Graham taking his mini motorbike out for a spin. He has had this thing since he was about 14 and we were surprised that it even still worked!



The view of Bennachie from my parents home was a welcome sight for sore, traveled eyes. It was so nice to see green grass & fields again instead of sand and rock!


I got to see my Dad again as the last time we saw each other was August before I left as he was travelling out to Houston for work. He was one of many people I didn’t manage to catch a picture which I regret, Linda your another one I forgot. We were too busy gossiping as usual I totally forgot!



My second other main reason for making the trip home was to see my beautiful new nephew, Max. On my last trip home in February I was lucky enough to attend Samantha’s baby shower, she is my oldest friend so I couldn’t miss it. I hadn’t planned to be home again until August meaning that he would be 4 months old before I met him so I was over the moon to get to see him at 4 weeks old. Being so far away from your friend when she has her first baby is a tough thing and I wished I could have been with her.

Beautiful baby Max <3


Me and Kay managed to find a dinosaur in Aberdeen! And even have a fish & chip supper mmmmm, thanks Kay! 🙂

Abby and I managed to find the bottom of a bottle of Grey Goose! It was so nice to see her as I hadn’t seen her since the week before I left home in August. It was just like old times and hopefully I will see her here in the not too distant future.



It was lovely to see my sister and her two twin boys, Ben and Adam. I took the boys for ice cream and some fun at the play park where me & Graham ended up hogging the slide.. Big kids!






Towards the end of the trip the weather changed with rain clouds and dark skies, this is the Scotland I remember! 





All in all it was a reasonably successful trip, I managed to get most of the things done that I set out to do and managed to fit in some visiting along the way.

Sadly time ran out too fast and I didn’t manage to see everyone or spend enough quality time with the people that I wanted to due to conflicting schedules and people having to work when I was free.  Hopefully they will understand that it’s not personal and I was sent home with a purpose, any free time I had was just a bonus. 


Now time to catch up on some sleep and acclimatize to the heat again..

Adventure Time, Expat Life, Family Life

Jet Ski rental in Muscat

April 13, 2013


When my brother claimed that he had never been on a jet skii we were surprised, what 21 year old lad who holidays in Ibiza and Magaluf hasn’t been on a jet ski?

So being the good eggs that we are, Colin & Myself took him for his first try on a jet skii. Cue the good sibling points for us 🙂



Graham and Colin ready to get their jet skiis going.
 
 
 
You can see the Crowne Plaza hotel in the background.
 
 
Gram delighted with his day out 🙂
 
 
Where? – On the beach of the Corniche (Lovers Road) outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Across the road from Japengo restaurant there is a large sail on the beach for shade, look for that and you should hopefully see the place you need to be.
 
 
When? – It seems in the cooler winter months that you can rent jet skiis on both weekend days but now that we are heading into the hot summer months I’m told that they will only be available for rent on the second day of the weekend (it will be Saturdays from 1st May 2013). I have seen them open from business from 10am right through until dark but this can be variable.
 
 
How much? – The cost on this day was 15 rials per jet skii for half an hour. That is long enough!
 
 
 
 
I get many emails from people arriving in Muscat asking what activities there are to do in Muscat and do I ever get bored. There are so many indoor and outdoor activities here, just get out and have a look and you will soon find them. And no, I don’t get bored here. How on earth could I?!
Expat Life, Family Life

Hello there little turtle

March 9, 2013

Colin sent me out to the shop to get Diet Coke, yogurt and milk and I got a little distracted along the way and brought him home a turtle. That’s a pretty sweet wife thing to do right? The bad point is that I got so excited that I forgot the groceries, darn. Deduct 10 wife points 

Meet Rafael the baby turtle 🙂




Incase you are wondering, we believe that he is a ‘Red Eared Slider’ and I am just assuming that he is male. At one week old I don’t want to scare him too much by checking out his junk.


I did however buy him a pretty cute mini turtle land with plastic palm tree but I didn’t really think it through where baby Rafa would live once he got a bit bigger, he is currently about 2 inches long. So now Colin has created his new friend an aquatic wonderland complete with filters, heaters, lamps and an area to bask in so he will be a happy turtle. You never know, he might out live both of us!

Next week I will teach him to sit, he has already mastered swimming and ‘stay’.

Happy families 🙂

Family Life

The family come to visit

March 2, 2013
Recently my inlaws made the long trip to Muscat for a vacation so I took on the Tour Guide job by driving them around, showing them the sights and taking their photo everywhere they went whether they liked it or not. 
These are my inlaws. Left to Right- Uncle Bob, Hubby, Father in Law George and Colin’s sister, Stacie.
You can see the family resemblance between them all.
On the Friday we took a road trip to Nizwa market and in search of a camel. The guys even got their first Dish Dasha (traditional dress for the Omani men), made to measure and stitched right there on the spot, hows that for good service? They look so happy with their new tailor friends.
I did a blog post back in October about a girls trip to the Grand Mosque (you can read it here). The Mosque is a must see if travelling to Muscat and I knew my in-laws would appreciate it. The beauty of the place is outstanding and the atmosphere is surprisingly welcome to non-Muslim’s, it is not intimidating or scary at all.
George and Bob donned their new traditional robes for the occasion in an effort to look more authentic, there were a few nerves that the locals might think that they were mocking or impersonating them but that was soon forgotten as several Omani men came up to thank them for making such an effort. The Omani’s are very proud people and rightfully so, the Mosque is something very spectacular and show indeed be shown off to the world.
Here are some photos from our trip at the Grand Mosque:

We met some great people at the Mosque, friends old and new and it astounds me every time at how welcoming people in Oman can be to tourists and Expats. 
We did a few more tourist kind of things like Muttrah Sook and seeing the Sultans yacht but mostly we just chilled out at the beach and ate lots of food together, that’s what holidays are all about.

Sadly the holiday is now over and the family had to return home but we have lots of great pictures and memories and hopefully they will return next year for another vacation.

Adventure Time, Family Life

A trip “home” to the UK

February 16, 2013
Hello Blog Readers, I’m back and trying to get these creative blog juices running – it’s been a while.

That is me back in lovely Muscat after a trip home to the UK to visit friends and family. It was nice to see everyone and visit where we are from but for both Colin and Myself it just cemented even more how much we love living in Oman and were happy to get back to our own lives again.

Here are some of the things that we got upto while in the UK and I will apologize now for the recurring theme of the same jacket and white hat, It was so bitterly cold and I didn’t have many winter clothes left.

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My main reason for returning home when I did was the visit my oldest and dearest friend, Samantha, at her baby shower. She is pregnant with her first child and I can’t wait to be Auntie Heather! Since I won’t be around for the birth of her Bambino I wanted to be there for some part of her pregnancy. Luckily we  got to spend alot of time together due to the fact she was on maternity leave so we made the most of it with lots of cups of tea and yapping.


Me and Samantha and we even got a rare 5 mins with her/our brother, Simon to reunite “The Wolfpack”.



Colin got to spend lots of time with his son, Nathan, which was his main reason for making the long trip home. This photo made me laugh, it’s like he has a “mini me”.




I got to spend some precious time with my twin nephews, Ben and Adam, when I picked them up from school and surprised them, the look on their little faces to surprise them was worth the journey home. Please ignore the bags under my eyes travelling combined with flu is tiring!!




I got to catch up with my other best friend, Kay, also and we went for a lovely brunch at the Malmaison hotel. Perfect for a cold snowy Sunday then snuggled at her house with a blanket and a cup of tea 🙂

Here I am with my friend Cheryl in her shop, Vanity. I popped in for a visit and jumped behind the counter for a picture where she pointed out that I am wearing the same jacket and hat again lol.



Samantha and Myself managed a stop for a Crepe and a cup of coffee at the Kilted Frog, yummy!



As nice as it was to see all the special people in my life, I am left a little confused as to where “home” is now. I didn’t feel settled nor enjoy myself the way I expected to. Am I home here in Oman? Or am I at home wherever me and Colin are together? 
A peaceful moment on the plane happy knowing i’m going back to Oman, only a year ago I would never have believed that I would feel this way.
Expat Life, Family Life, Other Stuff

Importing your dog into Oman from the UK

January 25, 2013

I was recently asked by the Expat Arrivals website to write a piece about importing dogs to Oman from the UK as I have recent first hand knowledge of this. The article is now online and you can read it by clicking here.

The lack of information online can be quite frustrating when you are trying to make the difficult & expensive decision whether to ship your pet here or not, what information there is online is generally vague and years out of date. Hopefully this article can help people to make the right decision.

Penny with her pet passport all ready to travel.



My dog, Penny, loves it here and she has a great life but that doesn’t mean to say that every dog is going to have the same. When making the decision you need to separate the emotional and practical side of it, don’t be selfish and really think about whether your dog can actually handle the change of temperature and lifestyle. Sometimes I think the fact that she is a German Shepherd is a blessing for her, although people are terrified of her size they know the breed as the Royal Omani Police use this breed also. If she was some kind of other dog such as a Pitbull or Doberman they may be alot more frightened due to the stigma attached to these breeds.


This was the crate specially made for Penny, due to her size, for the long trip from Scotland to Oman. This is not a nice experience packing them into here and leaving them in a cargo building not knowing how they are until a full 24 hours later when they arrive.




If your dog (or cat for that matter but I don’t have much experience with them) would not handle the temperature or a complete change in routine and lifestyle then you need to leave them behind, just remember that Oman is a Muslim country and dogs are not widely accepted here. Do your research!

Some people feel that they cannot live without the company of a dog which is completely understandable but there are other options than stressing out your dog transporting them here. There are hundreds of animals here waiting for a loving home, try contacting Qurum Vets or the Oman Animal Adoption Agency to see the animals they have available for fostering and Adoption.

Hopefully this article can help you to make up your mind what will work best for you and your pet.

Expat Life

There’s snow snow here

January 25, 2013

While the UK is literally freezing cold and a huge blanket of deep snow falling across the country I am secretly wishing for some of the winter white stuff myself. Of course, that is never going to happen here in Oman where the winter temperature is still mid 20’s.

As much as I love the sunshine here in Oman, there is something so beautiful about the fresh snow falling. Here are some pictures of my beautiful “home” courtesy of my brother, Graham.

I will be home in the UK in a few weeks time, If I am lucky there will be enough snow for a snowman but not that much that my plane gets diverted.. fingers crossed!