Thursday, 29 April 2010

It's beautiful

What is? England of course. I've been away for a month, and in that period of time, everything has changed. Spring has arrived, trees are in bloom, flowers have sprung up pretty much everywhere. And you know what? It's absolutely amazing. Coming from a place which is basically a desert with too much money, so irrigation isn't an obstacle, but is obviously an environmental absurdity, it came as quite a shock to see the country so beautiful. Just so green. Green. What a stunning colour, don't you agree? So there you go, a few photos taken in a London park this morning for you...

Hope you're having a lovely day x

ps Heather, I'm loving the dandelions too!! :-)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Blog love

I'm not being very organised. The flat is a right mess. It was beautiful when I got back, but I've since spread my stuff around. The suitcase is still on the floor, dirty clothes everywhere, nothing's really moved since I got back. But fear not, since I missed the Easter bank holiday, I have a couple of days to take off and one of them will be this coming Friday. It will be spent relaxing, tidying up, sipping tea and maybe a little bit of crafting too. One has to get back in their old habits!

Anyway, this isn't what I wanted to write about this morning (eek, nearly lunchtime actually!). I wanted to say a massive, enormous thank you to all of you who left such lovely comments recently. I couldn't reply to any while I was away, but I'm determined to do so this week. It meant so much, and really did put a smile on my face when I was feeling a little down. So thank you for being so supportive while I was out there, and thank for being so happy to have me back amongst you!!! I'm super happy too!!! Although it will be another photo-less post I'm afraid, I just haven't got round to that bit yet!

But I wanted to say thank you for more than just your comments. Three of you actually gave me awards while I was away, and that was simply fantastic!!!!!!  I couldn't quite believe it to be honest! Me? But I was away, taking a super long blogging break! But that didn't stop you and I'm ever so grateful. So thank you thank you thank you!!!

Both the amazing Heather at Little Tin Bird and Janet at Knit Sew and Grow have given me the Beautiful Blogger award. I feel so happy that you ladies thought of me!!!! Heather, I love your blog too and I'm kind of pleased you've missed me hihi ;-) Janet, well what can I say. This lady is super talented so go and check out her blog if you don't know her already! In order to accept this, I have to tell you seven things about myself... now you know I struggle a little bit with this! But I'll give it a go anyway...

  1. I'm an only child - I never minded when I was young , but now I miss not having extra people around - so I'm determined to have more than just one child myself!
  2. I played the piano for 10 years - still love it and when I have enough money around, I'll ship my piano over (it's still at my mum's back in France). Stopped when I started at university basically but I'm determined not to ever give it up completely, it's just so amazing being able to play music
  3. I used to love calligraphy when I was a teenager - not exactly a "cool" hobby I guess, but I loved it nonetheless!
  4. I was bullied between the ages of 11 and 14 for being chubby - looking back at the photos, I really wasn't fat at all, I just grew up faster than everyone else and so stood out a little - I don't think I will ever be able to forgive the bullies, because they led me down a route of comfort eating that I've had to battle with ever since
  5. I don't eat pork. My dad is Jewish and my mum's a Catholic, but we didn't eat pork. I'm an atheist, but just can't break the habit. I can't help it, even though it's totally irrational. Occasionally drives Boyfriend a little mental when he really fancies a bacon joint and I just won't cook it - sorry!
  6. I've lived in the US, France and England - do you think I can add the UAE to my list after having spent a month there?!
  7. I feel quite strongly about not eating any processed food, but somehow, crisps have managed to be the exception to the rule. I visited a crisp factory in Spain a few years back during a school trip, but even that didn't put me off. I wish I didn't like crisps. I love crisps. Crisps are my life - ok maybe that's an exaggeration but honestly, a life without crisps would just not be worth living!!
Laura at Fennel Design - a lovely designer who makes super cute cards! - has given me the I ♥Your Blog award. This award involves nominating 15 blogs to pass on the love to ;-) Now I'm not too sure about this, that is a lot of people!! So what I'm going to do is pass on the two awards to two people each! I think that sounds pretty reasonable don't you? So here we go!

The Beautiful Blogger award goes to:

And the I ♥Your Blog goes to:

  • the Goddess's Kitchen - because every time I look at her blog I want to give up my job and spend every waking hour making delicious food 
  • I Should Have Listened to my Mother - because the title makes me laugh every time I see it, and even though this lady is a new comer on the blog scene, I love her blog already!

Thanks for reading my blog everyone!!! Makes me very happy indeed!!! xx

Sunday, 25 April 2010

And hello again!!

Hello everyone, I'm back!!!! Well what a trip! What an amazing first three weeks and what a stressful final week!!! Now if you haven't heard about this ash cloud malarky, you've either been in a coma for the last week or so, or you live in some weird sort of bubble. It has been totally mental, and I know there's been tremendous coverage of this on the news in the UK, but you can't quite understand how crazy it really was unless you've been through it yourself. Flights cancelled, endless phone calls to the airline, rebookings, more flights cancelled, work people in the UK who couldn't really help, travel agency who knew even less than I did (oh yes madam you have a flight tomorrow morning, no you moron, it's been cancelled haven't you heard?!!), negotiating with the hotel to carry on putting me up until goodness knows when... you get the drift. But the stress? Honestly, my stress levels went through the roof. Would I end up having to find my way home by boat??! For a short period of time, I did picture myself on a cruise ship from Dubai to Southampton...! In the end, I got on a flight yesterday morning, so just one week later than originally planned.

Anyway, let's try and forget about this horrendous episode. I'm back, maybe not for good (may have to go back in a month or so), but I'm home right now, and it's never felt better. Wish I could have brought some heat back with me though!

So, to tell you a little bit about these last few weeks. Well I'm not too sure where to start actually. I feel like I have to be honest though. As I mentionned in my previous post I did have access to Blogger. Which means that I was able to occasionally keep up with your blogs, but I just didn't feel like writing here. To be fair, I spent most of my time out of the office, and when I was in the office, well I had work to do! I guess I could have made time, but I just didn't fancy it. Everyone goes through phases don't they, but this is the longest I've stopped since I started this little blog last year. I found that the things I usually talk about, what matters to me in my normal day to day life, just seemed so removed from the world I found myself living in temporarily, it just didn't seem right to write. So basically I had no time and no desire to come online really.

Things were so different out there, I'm not exagerating when I say you can't quite understand what it's like until you've been there yourself. So these were four very interesting and at the same time very weird weeks. In the UK, we're all so concerned about where our food comes from, food miles, carbon footprint etc. Out there, well it's the desert really, so most things that you consume are shipped from abroad. Fruits and vegetables mostly come from Syria, Lebanon etc. I went to an American supermarket and they were selling produce from the US and Australia.... But talking about food, you might assume I did a bit of cooking? I was staying in one of those 'hotel appartments' after all, which had a little fully equiped kitchen. Well nothing. Rien. Nada. Me, the self confessed food addict, who loves to cook and bake and eat, I did nothing. Absolutely nothing for four whole weeks. And knitting? Another one of my major hobbies I usually can't live without in the UK? Well I came prepared, had a bag full of yarn and needles. The problem started when I realised I wasn't allowed to bring my massive size 15 plastic needles and sewing needles on the plane with me. I had plans you see. It's a 7 hour flight after all. So off they went in the suitcase, and basically never came out. Oh I looked at that bag. Felt a little guilty at times, not really understandnig why I wasn't getting the Urge. But that was it. No cooking and no knitting for a whole month. And did I mention the eating? I mean you know me by now, I looooove my food. Nothing can usually stop me. I'm a food machine. A food monster. But then I'd never been to a desert before. And this is big news. The desert stopped me alright. I usually snigger at people who go on about how the heat cuts their appetite. I guess the type of heat we get in Europe doesn't cut my appetite. But one clear thing out there was this. The desert conquered me. Oh yes. Totally. Absolutely. My eating became erratic to say the least. My favourite meal of the day, breakfast, soon became occasionally non existent or consisted of a single banana. Honestly, this is not me. One main meal a day, literally? I'm a three meal type of girl, and I always have to have stuff to snack on in the office because I get peckish. Well there, it just didn't happen. It was just so hot. So so so hot. I had to spend some time on site, outside. The temperature was typically in the 30s, one day it reached 38C. That's how hot it was. And it's only April!!! It does actually get worse in the summer, mostly because the humidity goes right up. This last week though, I've been moslty in the office, and with this flight crazyness, I might have had crisps for dinner. Crisps and more crisps for dinner. Yeah, I feel a little ashamed now! But that's me, comfort eating all round!

So there, you'll have to bear with me while I sort out my millions of photos. I'll be back to show you where I went and all the amazing things I saw. It was never a part of the world that attracted me, but there are so many stunning things out there. You might even be tempted to come visit. And if the sights don't do it for you, I'm sure the weight loss inducing heat might convince a few!! ;-)

So voila. Lovely to be back my lovelies, I'll make sure I have a look at all your blogs very soon I promise and leave my little words of wisdom some comments - because I care!! And because even though I may  have kept up with some of you, I definitely didn't have the time to leave some comments - I'm so sorry! xxx

Sunday, 18 April 2010

And then there was ash....

I had it all planned out. I'd be sat in my living room, enjoying the oh-so-missed company and familiar surroundings. Cup of tea in hand (because let's face it, I'd have a right difficult time readjusting to the UK temperature), laptop on my lap, merrily typing away. Explaining to you why it is I haven't blogged for so long even though I have had access to Blogger whilst on my little trip abroad. Telling you about how simply and utterly amazing and different this place is.

But that's all gone out the window.

Because I'm still here.

Here in the Middle East.

Not in my little homely comfy Hertfordshire flat. Oh no.

I'm a geologist right, so volcanoes usually get me pretty excited. This particular one is making me terribly sad indeed. I find myself tearing up fairly regularly now. I'm not impressed. Not impressed by how our supposedly sophisticated and technologically advanced societies simply come to a standstill when the atmosphere becomes a little too heavy with dust.

Honestly? I just want to come home now :-(