Things I love

  • ~Louis
  • ~Family&Friends
  • ~IceCream
  • ~MyKindle
  • ~CoffeeBreaks
  • ~Sparkles
  • ~Knitwear
  • ~Vanilla
  • ~AllThingsLUSH~
  • GossipGirlxoxo~
  • Chips&Ketchup~

30 December 2013

~2013~

Am I the only one or has 2013 whizzed by? I can almost remember sitting down this time last year to write about the things I was thankful for in 2012

There have definitely been some trying times over this past year. Having my career up in the air was one, but I am now in a role that I love for a company that I can see myself staying with for a while. In the last 12 months, I've changed jobs twice and careers once (*ahem* once more since my last change. Ja.). This is going to sound cheesy, but I never thought I could actually enjoy what I do, and now that I do, I'm so thankful (and so scared that I'm going to jinx it!). I'm looking forward to learning a lot more and for once giving myself the chance to exceed at something. Of course this doesn't come without the doubts I instil in my mind, but it's a learning curve to trust that I have the ability to excel rather than inadvertently stand in my own way.

2013 saw an abundance of parties and various road trips, where we met so many interesting people. Living as an expat of course does mean that many of them have moved to other corners of the world, but a lot of memories were made and it's nice to look forward to seeing these friends in new and exciting cities. It's always refreshing to meet people who you know you'll want to keep in touch with long after your travels. 

Travelling was pretty fantastic in 2013. Cape Town in February, Sharm El Sheikh in August, Dubai in October and then Yemen in November! Phew! A couple of those trips were done alone, so hopefully in 2014 all my travels will be with Louis! There are plans for travels to South East Asia and the UK in the next year, but I hope that we'll find the time and money to go on some city breaks in between as well, since I'd love to go to Istanbul and Beirut. 

I am also really happy that this year I managed to get my act together and go home to Yemen for a few days. To say it was an overdue visit would be the understatement of the year. My soul was undernourished in the family department for sure, and though three days was a little bit too short, it's better than nothing. Seeing (and, embarrassingly, meeting for the first time) two of my nephews was beyond exciting. I made friends with  the 3 year old one (the other one is only 5 months!) and I miss them both so much.  
And that pretty much sums up my 2013!

-| In 2014 |-

1. Be more considerate. I have a habit of putting myself before anyone / anything. I think that this has come on as a result of trying to care for myself, but taken too far. I've yet to find a balance between making sure that I don't compromise on my well-being and making sure that I think of how my actions and words affect those around me. So that's something for me to work on in the new year.

2. Save up for a camera and take more photos! 

Good Bye 2013!

Sx 









 

20 December 2013

Seed Mix

I am no domestic goddess. I normally do more eating than cooking. My brothers lovingly commented that I'd probably starve in university due to my inability to cook. It's a miracle I have a husband of 4 years. 

Anyway. I was inadvertently once introduced to a seed mix by The Food Doctor while I was in the UK. I bought it and started sprinkling seeds on my salads and muffins, and anything else really as a nice source of some healthy oils. Then my local Tesco stopped stocking this particular product. So I looked at the ingredients and decided to start making my own mix. I would buy Tesco's 4-seed mix and top it up with some poppy seeds since they have some nice health benefits too.

Since coming to Jordan, I've been too lazy to recreate the mix. Until now! I got my act together, bought some linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and poppy seeds and I thought I'd do a little post and spread the joy of seed mixes :) Now I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure you can use different seeds to the ones I've used here ;)

Sx
The stars of our show.
Brown linseeds & sunflower seeds.

Pumpkin & sesame seeds.

Couldn't find these in a bigger container.

Put in as much / little of each seed kind as you like into a dry container. I tried to keep them equal.

Shake it [like a polaroid picture] and enjoy!


08 December 2013

Christmas Wishlist

I know it's been a long time since I've done one of these posts, but, as Christmas is around the corner, it's a perfect excuse to make a wishlist! I always claim that I'm super duper easy to buy gifts for. A simple gift card from the right shop is enough to raise my spirits. 

So, here's my last (and pretty massive, I know) wishlist of 2013!

Sx

****************************************************

Speaking of gift cards, you can't go wrong with an Amazon gift card. I would personally use it for Kindle books, stationary and some other pretty random things for the house.

I've had my Kindle for 2 years now and I can't go anywhere without it. My model is the one with the keyboard, so finding decent yet fun covers is a real struggle. I'm loving the idea of putting your Kindle in a chic envelope, or using this colourful birds cover to help spot it among the mess in my purse!

Envelope//Birds
I'm still vying for one of these CSC babies. Gorgeous colour.
From here.
Travelling in style is, unfortunately, not my style but I'm hoping to change that in 2014. Can't go wrong with a bright, leather travel wallet, to store all your essentials. I always carry my passport, itinerary, travel insurance details, important numbers and a few passport photos when I travel. They'd look a lot nicer in a wallet like this! 

Asos Premium.
It's winter again and Amman is getting cold. I've managed with staying warm by throwing on a coat until now but I'll soon need some heavy duties earmuffs and mittens to brave the weather. And who said earmuffs are only cool until the age of 4?!

Earmuffs//Mittens
Though it's the beginning of winter, I am a believer in looking ahead. Looking ahead in these oh so fetch Ray-Bans [I just watched Mean Girls, can't help it].

Fetch, non?
Last, but by no means least, a girl can dream in a little Tiffany bling :D

In case you're wondering, here & here.
 

04 December 2013

Where's the imposter?


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jtCCc7xbXjU/UD1lu7oYb-I/AAAAAAAAExA/TA8Fs_0gdp8/s1600/deciding-wear-congratulations-ecard-someecards.jpg

I was at my work desk. Typing away. "Planning" an event. 

When the paranoia hit. 

I was freaking out (inside of course, outside I was eating chocolate cake, obvi). You see, I'd never planned an event before. Wedding? Puh-lease. I just had to show up and not fall over. And even then it's pretty difficult to ruin a wedding. And this? A 4 hour seminar with 30 guests that compelled me to believe I'd get found out.

So, there I was, creating tables on Excel, Skyping with a colleague on how to work our CRM system, frantically looking through my notes to make sure I haven't missed anything. And I thought to myself, what if my colleagues suddenly realise that I am incompetent and that they've somehow hired this fraud?! 

I get this feeling a lot. Like, not for a prolonged period, really, but just filling emails and BOOM - I look around and think...."they know".

This, apparently, is a common phenomenon that many suffer, especially women. We feel that we don't deserve to be in the position we are in. That somehow, a mistake was made and we've ended up where we are by some mistake. A lot of articles have been written about this (like this one), and Sheryl Sandberg wrote and spoke at length on the topic. 

Eventually the feeling passed and I told myself that I'd be fine, amazing even, arranging this event. The problem with having these feelings hit you is, for me anyway, it's a vicious cycle. When I think these thoughts, I'm more likely to make silly mistakes, which then make me panic even more, leading to slightly more noticeable mistakes, and telling myself that I'm just not cut out for whatever it is that I was doing, that other people do it better, and I just wind myself up in this manner.

Didn't I tell you before I was crazy?

Anyway, just to let you know, the even went fabulously and here's a photo of me manning the registration desk.


Sx

16 November 2013

Training in Dubai

When my company told me that I needed to be sent to Dubai for training, I pretty much booked my flight immediately. Since I had a full week of training scheduled, I decided to spend more time in Dubai to see my brother by staying there the weekend before and after my training. 

I had a really fun time out there but it's kind of funny because I still can't quite make a decision on how I feel about Dubai. I liked it, a lot, yes. It was more expensive than Jordan in rent, eating out and taxis. But I really liked that there were so many activities that you could do. In Amman, for entertainment, L and usually eat out, see friends, go to parties, go to the cinema or go for a coffee. But we only like a few coffee shops. And we are pretty limited in our choice of cuisine when we eat out. In Dubai, you can go spend time at the beach or enjoy the musical and visual spectacle that is the Dubai Fountain (my favourite place in Dubai) or walk along The Walk (although I didn't get a chance to do that) and all for free. Then you have literally hundreds of restaurants and cafes to choose from to eat and drink at at any price range. And you can easily find a nice cafe where you can sit with your book and enjoy a coffee without being bothered. And most of all, there is practically none of the harassment you get here in Jordan when you step out of your door. So in that sense, I prefer it over Amman.

I know that there is an underground world of exploitation in Dubai, which is saddening and frustrating. This is one of the things that makes me hesitate when I consider whether I'll ever want to live there. 

I've been back to Dubai for a short stop-over since then and found that I felt quite relaxed in Dubai. Although that may just be because I was in holiday mode! L and I are planning to stop-over early next year and I'm intrigued to find out what he thinks of it.

Sx
The Aquarium in Dubai Mall.

Dessert after one of the best salads ever at Jones the Grocer.

Found Magnolia Cupcakes. They.Are.Divine.

The "Waterfall" in Dubai Mall. Even more gorgeous in real life.

05 November 2013

Not my normal blogging spot


Thursday, September 26: Go to a coffee shop. Order a favorite drink. Write about what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Or write about anything you'd like! Bonus points for including a photo from the coffee shop. *if you can't make it to a coffee shop, at least leave your usual space and write someplace new.

Coffee, pastries, 30Rock.


Ok, yes, perhaps I' m a tad late in writing this post. And perhaps I am not in a coffee shop. But I wanted to wait until the perfect location. I think I have. I am currently sitting in Dubai airport, waiting for my flight back to Yemen. And, that ties in nicely with things that make me happy: travelling and family. Louis isn't travelling back with me though because we were just that little bit unsure about the current situation in Yemen :( Although there are many foreigners living in Yemen and some of my foreign friends visited Sana'a recently, I just really don't like taking risks. So anyway, that is something that makes me sad - not being with Louis. But it's been over 3 and a half years since I was last in Yemen, and the trip is grossly overdue. The tickets were booked, the bags were packed and my credit card prepared for further damage!

I must admit, I am quite overwhelmed about going back "home". For the past two days, I've had to focus on "I'm just going to Dubai, la la la la" rather than really think about getting back to where I grew up. I'm not sure why. Definitely because I am incredibly excited. But I think it's also because, not only does my heart beat for the love of the city, it also beats because of the crazy jets that I know will continue to freak me out. For most people who live in Yemen, they have become used to the sounds of fighter jets coming and going as they please. But I break into cold sweats when a plane flies low over the city, reminding me of the Civil War in the mid-90s. So I'm sure that anxiety is hiding somewhere in the back of my mind. 

Let's dig deeper still. I think I'm scared of how the people I love have changed in the past 4ish years. I find dealing with age and losing people very distressing. Several family members have sadly passed away since I was last in Yemen. Seeing my family aging is not easy. And I know that change is most apparent when it is sudden, so I'm bracing myself for that. I know that I am to blame for part of it - shouldn't have stayed away so long! Regardless, I literally can't describe how excited I am at seeing everyone! 

I have another 4 hours to kill before my flight...30Rock it is! 

Sx

17 October 2013

Just ooooone more...

http://www.theredheadriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ecards-funny-having-an-addictive-personality.png
From here.
I have a *REALLY* addictive personality. For example, a few Christmases ago, a friend and I (this is our little secret) became obsessed with white chocolate Cadbury fingers. When I say obsessed, as in, we hunted them down in every super market we visited and I must've eaten about a trillion of those little pieces of white chocolatey yummies. Now, just the thought makes me feel a bit queasy. I ate so many, that I think I reached the set lifetime quota for an adult female.

This is true for many things. Nutella for example. I don't really like Nutella *collective gasp from the European continent, je sais*. I don't have crepes with Nutella, I don't eat toast with Nutella. I pretty much dislike the majority of hazelnut flavoured food stuff. However, about a year ago, for some unknown reason, I bought a jar of Nutella, unscrewed the lid and picked up a spoon. Approximately 7 jars later, I'd had enough. Again, can barely think of Nutella at the moment without feeling a teeny weeny bit of nausea.*

However, one of my few habits obsessions passions, that is here to stay is: SHOPPING. I love it. I can't help it. I could shop shop shop till I drop and still find new and more exciting things to "aim" for. I'd say I mastered shopping sometime between 2007 and 2010 - when I was living in Central London and Oxford Street was my best friend. I surprised myself once (ok I was actually proud) by noticing a woman's shoes on the Tube, guessing they were from Office and then confirming that my guess was indeed correct (and, of course I got them in my size, what do you take me for, an amateur?). 

I got that good.

I spent *a lot* of money on shopping during my time in the UK. Of course, it doesn't help when you work in the City and everyone around you looks like as if they're auditioning for "Suits". My wardrobe grew, and I am not ashamed to say that I loved and still love all of my clothes. Every piece, I bought after falling in love with it. Boy do I have a lot of capacity for love!

Anyhoo, when we moved to Jordan, I had to be very choosey about the clothes that I brought with me. Louis and I limited our luggage to 3 suitcases...between us! The rest of my clothes are neatly packed away in leafy Hertfordshire. Every once in a while, I wish I had a virtual wardrobe, you know, like the one that Cher had in "Clueless"? Well, I would love if someone would invent a virtual closet like that. Better yet, a wardrobe where I can look into my closet back in Sunny England and get my clothes delivered to me here...I guess kind of like a Narnia-wardrobe situation (and they used it to live as royalty - silly people!). I know it sounds crazy. 

The truth is, I miss my clothes. As in, every once in a while, I get the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that you get for home sickness, but for my clothes, shoes and bags. 

Living in Jordan has made it easy for me not to go all cray-cray on buying clothes. First of all, the clothes here are like 1.5 - 2 times the price they are back in the UK. Sure, I can go find outlet shops, but that will just mean I re-start my addiction ahem, talent. Secondly, and this may be a controversial point, I feel that living in Amman kind of suffocates any expression through fashion that I may have. While back in England my go to daily work outfit was a dress, tights and waist belt, I haven't worn tights in God knows how long. And I don't intend to. I get enough hassle when I wear jeans, let alone "show" some leg. (feel free to read more here)

Going back to my original point, of having an addictive personality, I recently spent a week in Dubai (read: credit card havoc) where I allowed myself to go and buy a few essentials. I went to the mall on my second day there and, after buying a couple of tops and a pair of shoes, I calmly informed my brother that I was satisfied with my purchases and that I wouldn't be returning to the shops for the rest of my trip. 

He had to drive me to the mall 3 more times after that :D 

Love,
Sx

*current obsession is Butterscotch pudding (American definition). I give it 3 weeks.
**I'll post a separate entry with some of the things I bought from Dubai.

14 October 2013

Happy Belated Birthday Blog!

While every year feels like it comes and goes quicker than the last, I've obviously lost track of time because I missed my very own blog's first birthday! (3 October)

So, happy birthday blog :) When I started writing I really didn't know how much I'd love keeping and writing a blog so here's to many, many more years!

And here's a photo of me using wrapping tape as a head band. I felt it was appropriate (plus the "random" Starbucks mug hehe). 

Love,
Sx

25 September 2013

Strada - Amman

Tuesday, September 24: Review a book, place, or product.



It feels like it's been a while since I've written about places in Amman. Over the summer, and especially when I was working on my dissertation, Louis and I tried out several coffee shops in an attempt to find some decent "western" coffee (we were struggling to find cappuccinos that didn't taste like weak lattes).

One of the cafes I really liked was Strada cafe, just off Rainbow Street. It's not a very big cafe, but it is smoke free so that's a great plus in Amman. The coffee was nicely made, although they didn't have flavoured coffees. We also tried their Oreo cheesecake, which was moist and rich. I've been back a couple of times since, and each time I've not been disappointed. If you're in Amman and not sure where to enjoy a coffee, then try out Strada!

Sx


24 September 2013

My Life in a Letter


Monday, September 23: A "life lately" post. What you're up to, how you're feeling, how you're doing on your goals, etc. Bonus points for great photos!



Dear Baba,

Life has been pretty interesting lately. Let me start with what's going on around the world. Firstly, and although it's five years later, America has an African American president. You remember how you told me that you watched Martin Luther King Jr deliver his infamous speech in DC? Well, I think you would have loved seeing Obama inaugurated. I guess it's a milestone many of your time thought may never happen. So, that's the first piece of news! And, around the same time as his election, the world experienced a financial crises with effects that still reverberate with us today. But, I guess if the world survived the Great Depression, we can survive this!

A bit closer to home, the Arab nations decided that enough was enough and, about 2 years ago, started revolting against the various oppressive regimes in the region. I don't follow the events as closely as I should. Politics has never been of major interest to me unfortunately. It's been fairly unstable, what with the financial crises, wars, revolutions, threats and all that. I try to remain positive through it though. I mean, other than the fact that every nation and civilisation has gone through turmoil, unrest and revolution before settling down, we are literally witnessing history. And it's not always easy and it's definitely scary at times. 

My friend described the state of the world in a really beautiful way to me once. She said, the birth of a baby is messy, and ugly and painful, but then something really beautiful comes out of the whole ordeal. And she said that the world was kind of going through a similar phase, a messy, ugly period, but a more beautiful world will be born at the end. And that put things into perspective for me. I stopped fearing all of this uncertainty and tried to embrace it. Her positivity really inspired me, and I've not been as afraid since.

I think you would have loved keeping up with all the news - especially with the amount of social media that has developed over the past few years. I remember how you used to read newspapers online. Well, you would get the news straight to your phone now. Never miss a news story ever!

In personal news! Well, I've been married for almost four years! Can you believe that? Time does fly. He's really wonderful, and I'm not just saying that haha! Of course, I get sad sometimes that the two of you didn't get much time together. I'm sure you would have loved him. I think you would've enjoyed talking to him about economics and government and Yemen. He is really smart and asks a lot of questions - something I should've done more when you were around. I imagine that the two of you would have analysed all the action happening around us! He reminds me of you at time, his kindness and reasoning. I know that you can see that I'm happy.

Also, I decided to quit law. Pretty much altogether. I know, it's not what you wanted for me. After working in the field for a few years, I knew that I was never meant to be a lawyer. It took a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but I am now a Personal Assistant. To some it doesn't sound as glamourous as being a lawyer, but for me, it's the most content I have been in any job. I do work in a law firm, so all of my legal knowledge comes in handy and gives me an edge! But, ultimately I enjoy supporting people around me in a more personal capacity than being a lawyer. It's only been 6 months in my new career, so I do get worried I'm jinxing my luck! But I finally feel like I "fit" somewhere. And man, isn't it a great feeling! Having said that, I did complete my masters in law, which I'm sure you're proud of. I have to show off - I was awarded a distinction! I'm so pleased to have accomplished that. Some of my colleagues joked that I should re-think being a lawyer...but they know my reply to that!

Wow, I guess there is a lot of news once you sit down and write about it. The last "vital" piece of my life as it is currently, is that L and I moved to Amman last year. I just got tired of all the rain in the UK! Also, I wanted to be closer to Mama and my brothers. It's been a good year. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about moving countries again, but now that we've done it, I feel more confident in the even tthat we want to move again. And we've done so much travelling over the past 3 years. You'd be impressed by the number of countries that we've visited and places we've seen! I'm pretty sure I got the travel bug from you :)

So, that's life as it is. I think of you often. I know you're present in my life, but it doesn't make writing this letter any easier. When I was in high school I decided one day to write down a "plan". It did not look anything like how my life has really panned out!! But that's the exquisiteness in life. It throws what it knows you can handle. All it asks of us is to open up and trust that we will absorb the blows that come with the beauty. 

With all my love,

Sx

22 September 2013

~Comfort~

 Friday, September 20: React to this term: comfort.


 ~Being surrounded by friends and family~Snuggling up on the couch with Louis~Eating cake~Drinking lovely coffee~Watching movies~Wearing cozy knitwear~Being engrossed in an all consuming book~Hugs~Living in and enjoying the moment.

Sx

 

18 September 2013

Worth 1000 Words

Wednesday, September 18: Only photos




















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