Monday, November 17, 2014

Sri Lanka.... again

Last month during mid-term break we headed to Sri Lanka for a third time, but the first time with Frankie.
We rented an amazing villa in the south, just outside of Galle with two other families, all up 6 adults and 7 children under 6.

It was a fabulous holiday with lots of laughs, champagne, fresh seafood, swimming and relaxation.

If anyone is considering travelling to Sri Lanka, do it, I could not recommend it enough. Of all the travelling we have done it ranks in my top 2 favourite countries.

The villa we rented was called Auraylia, right on the beach with about 2 acres of gardens, swimming pool and several pavilions for relaxing and dining in the evenings. It also came with lots of house staff, a chef and security guard, very luxe but worth every bit of it.

After a lot of beautiful weather and far too much food we left the south and headed to the capital Colombo. We have never stayed in Colombo in the past other than airport hotels while travelling so this was a first for us.
I am so mad we have not discovered just how awesome Colombo is underneath its grimy, confronting exterior before now. Homewares shopping heaven, friendly people and unique places, the Cricketers Club was a fabulous hidden gem for a cold beer and lunch after a morning of shopping.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Frankie Lulu!

Wow, I can't believe the last time I posted was for Piper's 5th birthday, and now here we are with our baby girl turning 1 last week.

It has been a long time between posts, I am hopeless at lying and there has been a lot going on in our little world. While we have known for a couple of months some big changes were ahead we weren't ready to make any public announcements until details were finalised. You will notice I also stopped blogging during the first half of my pregnancy for the same reasons, I can't blog when I am only telling half the story.

All is in motion and there is no turning back - we are coming home.  Our house in Dubai has been packed into a shipping container and we have moved in with friends for the next month. We are coming home to Australia just in time for Christmas and the fun of an Australian summer.
We are returning to somewhat of a sea change rather than Melbourne and a change in roles of sorts. Naz is returning to work with Fire Brigade and I will be continuing my project role here in Dubai but working from home for a little while.

I am going to work backwards and get some post and photos up of the last few missing months. In amongst the craziness there have been some fun times, trips to Paris, and Sri Lanka, an amazing effort by Naz in the Dubai Half Ironman and other triathlons, and lots of fun sister moments.
I have decided to get these up and more of our final weeks in Dubai to close out our blog of our Middle East adventures, a nice little memory the girls can read and see one day.

Below are some pics of our Frankie Lulu on her 1st birthday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We have a five year old!

We celebrated Piper's birthday last weekend. Baby Piper has left the house.
Boy Five years old feels like a giant leap from a four year old.

We had a fab day together as a family and in the afternoon shared some simple party food and cake with a couple of close friends. A perfect day.

Thank you to our family and close friends who called or sent a message, you all made our day. The happiest times are also the hardest when you are living far from home.

Cake batter for breakfast. Why not.

Photographing these two together is impossible at the best of times - this time Piper decided to watch tv and Frankie wanted to practice her downward facing dog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Love Affair

These two. Together always.
If Frankie is awake, then Lily is right behind her, all day.
Of course Frankie drives her mad, pulls her ears, her tail, bashes her with the odd toy. But most of the time, the two live harmoniously side by side.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ramadan Mubarak or Happy Ramadan

Ramadan is here again, and although it is our third one, it doesn't get any easier.
I won't go into the details of Ramadan and how the rules work as an expat, I wrote about this here a few years ago.

I am not sure if it is because we are here for the long haul and not escaping to Europe this Ramadan, or if it is simply that Dubai is very much home now and we are so comfortable here, but this Ramadan seems to be more annoying and frustrating than the previous. Although we have moved house since last Ramadan so we are not being woken at 4:30am by canon fire this year which is nice.

I find Ramadan an inoffensive celebration, in fact I like the festive atmosphere, the sense of generosity and community that you don't normal relate to life in Dubai - but I am still selfishly, ridiculously frustrated by small things daily.

Here are my top 5 annoyances this week:

1.   The simple fact that I keep forgetting it is Ramadan at all.... I can't even count the amount of 'oops' moments or near misses I have had. My lack of being able to remember is the most frustrating thing this week by far.

2.   Not being able to drink my morning coffee in the car on the way to work

3.   Hypoglycemic, hungry drivers on the roads in the late afternoons. Apparently hungry = angry and unable to drive like a decent human being

4.   Remembering to dress conservatively. Contrary to what you read in the media and see on the news, Dubai is quite a non conservative city. Over time you learn where to dress conservatively and where to dress for comfort. On a typical weekend you will find me in shorts and a singlet or a dress. But during Ramadan it is considered disrespectful to show your knees or shoulders more so than any other time of year, even in malls and locations not usually considered conservative.

5.   The changing hours of EVERYTHING. A lot of shops don't open until late afternoon, my gym changed its timetable and the classes now start late at night and run til midnight, kids indoor play centre opens late and until midnight. It is a nightmare for an anal, structure loving person.

This does seem like a rather whiny post, but this is our reality. There are also a lot of really cool, fun and positive things about Ramadan and I will write about these next week. For instance one of our favourite daytime restaurants is closed for Ramadan but has a pop-up Iftar restaurant open in the evenings that we are excited to check-out tonight!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Look at me!

Uh huh! That is Frankie preparing to launch into crawling.... at 71/2 months. Given Piper didn't crawl until 11 months I was not prepared for the sight of Frankie up off her belly on all fours rocking this soon.
We never had to overly baby proof with Piper, by the time she could crawl and walk she understood no and boundaries. I think Frankie is going to challenge us a little more on that approach.

She also confirmed what I have watched grow ever so intensely over the past month - she is another Daddy's girl. Her first word last week was Daddy, not even Dad or Dadda like a baby sound, it is an absolute crystal clear, syrupy, sucky 'Daddy'.
This week she followed up with 'bub bub'. It didn't take Piper long to realise she could probably quickly coax Frankie into saying 'bum bum' much to her amusement... until I cottoned on and stopped the fun. No way is 'bum bum' coming before Mum Mum!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Blue Poo, Trampolines and Fun

The mass exodus out of Dubai for summer begins this week. A huge amount of the population departs until September to avoid the worst of the heat and Ramadan. This is the first year we have not escaped to Europe, we have some exciting holidays planned for later in the year instead.

Piper's birthday unfortunately falls smack in the middle of Ramadan and the school holidays once again. So this year we took some initiative and celebrated her birthday a month early.
She had a small party for 10 friends at Bounce, which has only just opened in Dubai. For those that have not been to Bounce in Australia or elsewhere, it is an indoor trampoline centre, look it up, it will blow your mind.
Piper had simple requests - a 'Frozen' theme and a blue cake! Whilst the blue cake did tie in with the theme of the party, this is not why she chose blue cake. Over the Christmas holidays in Australia, thanks to her cousins - Piper discovered the delights of blue bubble gum ice-cream and the resulting blue poo. Yes, Piper wanted blue cake so she could have blue poo!
She had an awesome time and the genius was booking the party in the morning time slot. The kids were all happy and active and probably the best behaved at that time and it was all over and finished by 11am!

For the record - my cake wasn't nearly blue enough to have the desired effect!

Monday, June 9, 2014


Yesterday we celebrated Piper's graduation from pre-school with a small performance at her school. We follow the American/British school system here and school is currently wrapping up for the year, and summer holidays are about to begin.
The new school year starts in September when Piper will begin FS2 (equivalent of Australian prep grade) at her big school, exciting times ahead.

Piper and her best friend (above) will go to different schools next year, which is a bit sad but I am sure these two crazy kids will still see more than enough of each other.