Things I love

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

25 January 2013

Cycling Jordan

Amman has been pretty boring what with all the snow, rain and cold weather. So, last Friday, Louis and I decided to go on a cycling trip to the Dead Sea with Cycling Jordan. All we had to do was show up at their shop, bring 25JD each and...that was all! They would provide the transport, the bikes, helmets and yummy BBQ food. Oh and a pretty fab view of the Dead Sea.

The plan was to drive down to their farm house near the Dead Sea, get on the bikes and then cycle for 25km on the road along the Dead Sea. Hussein from Cycling Jordan had told me that it's an easy ride and everyone who had done it before always completed the distance. 

When we got to their farm house, I was very impressed. It consisted of two bedrooms, an open plan living area and a bathroom. It was kept tidy and clean, especially the bathroom, which I was more than happy to use (I'm very picky about bathrooms!). There was a swimming pool outside which they told me they fill during the summer. We dropped off our bags at the house and were given our bikes and helmets. 

After a quick debrief to explain the gears, who our guides are and instructions to stay on the right side of the road, we were off. We probably started cycling around 3:30pm, which was perfect because it meant that the sun wasn't too hot. Since it was a Friday, many families were having picnics along the straight that we were cycling on. Lots of kids ran up to the edge of the sidewalks to point, giggle or shout hello to us. 

We had several stops along the ride to catch our breaths and get water from the pick-up truck following us (provided by Cycle Jordan). There were about 14 of us and the age ranged from 11 to mid-30s. Everyone cycled the whole way. There were a couple of uphills but they weren't steep. And the view of the Dead Sea was fantastic. The Dead Sea has mountains on the opposite bank which makes it look like a giant glimmering crater. It's absolutely beautiful.  

The Cycle Jordan team were extremely professional. They were cycle enthusiasts who prioritised safety while still being helpful and encouraging. They had organised the day well and didn't seem bored or uninterested at any point. The pride they take in themselves and their work shone through in two instances for me:

* Our hosts used latex gloves when handling any food. They deftly prepared a salad and a wonderful selection of barbecued meats for us.

* After dinner the team had made a huge pot of tea. Instead of just opening a bag of sugar and obligating the guests to manoeuvre their spoons in and out of the bag, Hussein got out a sugar bowl and filled it with sugar. He then placed the bag in a plastic bag and put it away. 

We had a great experience on the cycle trip. We met many new people and had lots of exercise too. I would recommend Cycling Jordan to anyone who wants to do a cycling trip in Jordan, whether you are an experienced cyclist or a beginner. 


Here are some photos that I took on my phone. More photos can be found here

You can sort of see the Dead Sea behind me!

Sunset view from the farm

25km later

Yummy BBQ chicken!


Was gone in a flash!

17 January 2013

Weekly Wish List

So the past two weeks I've been drooling over gorgeous dresses, but this week, separates have really caught my eye.

First, a simple but classic ensemble from Miss Selfridge. The dark shorts add sophistication while the top keeps it playful. I especially love the delicate squiggles and bows :) 

Super cute top & shorts

Next, current favourite Warehouse. The skirt is a bit harsh so a floaty top should balance it nicely. This top is just adorable with its lace back. Tweed skirts are warm and so very useful during these months. Also a good idea to match them with bright tops to avoid looking too drab. 

Tweed & lace

I find that buying new clothes for the gym motivates me to go. The usual sports wear providers can be a bit pricey, but H&M do a fantastic and reasonable range. I have a top and some running leggings from there - they are comfy and dry quickly (a plus in this weather!). 

Bright top & fitted running leggings

Horrible, long nights require fun night wear. Enter Sausage Dog pjs from Topshop!

Sitting all day wrapped up warmly really irritates my skin. I've found that the best remedy is a weekly or bi-weekly scrub. I really rate the Body Shop's scrubs because they last a long time and really get the job done. One of my favourites is their Olive scrub.

Until next week! 


13 January 2013

Middle Eastern Snow Days

When we were researching Amman to assess its suitability as our new base, we read tens and tens of blogs and websites and asked lots of friends for their opinions. We came across reports of snow days, water shortages, taxi fares and "portable" gas heating (ie the canister on wheels). We were aware that we would face a cold winter, but I felt that a few layers and an open mind would see us through the couple months of alleged freezing temperatures.

However, nothing prepared us for the amount of rain that Amman can experience! Last week, on Sunday night, it started pouring. And after 12 hours, it hadn't stopped. When I woke up in the morning and walked to the kitchen, I landed in a puddle (that'll wake you up faster than any espresso!). Our windows were letting in water. And so began what was to be approximately 36 hours of wringing towels and mopping up the floor. My hands were raw, my fingers had blisters. And the rain was relentless during this time. Had I moved back to Sunny England unknowingly?!

Anyway, luckily I'm married to a genius who manged to come up with a water trapping arrangement using towels, buckets and gravity. Worked like a charm! When the buckets were full, I'd empty them - no more wringing!

Here's a photo of the contraption:

And here we have our modified towel drying service (that shining light is our dodgy electric heater):

By Wednesday, the rain had subsided and we got our first Jordanian snow! This is what the view looked like: 

Schools were cancelled for two days :) I did go out to the shops for some milk and the cold fresh air was so wonderful. I love the snow. 

By Friday most of the snow had melted (don't you love Arabland winters?). 

Since things were looking clearer and cabin fever was getting too much, we went to watch "Life of Pi" in 3D. I read the book many years ago and loved it, so I was looking forward to the movie. I expected stunning visual effects and I was not disappointed. I am not Yann Martel but I imagine that the movie had translated the scenes in his head onto the big screen. It was beautiful. There are only two movies that I have watched in 3D and enjoyed - "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Life of Pi". If you haven't watched it, then opt for the 3D option and let the depth of the imagery blow you away. 

So we have officially survived the snow in Amman! It's still very cold over here and there are rumours of more rain to come. Not sure if we'll get more snow, but if we do, maybe I'll find a way to make a snowman :)


11 January 2013

Weekly Wish List

I am *obsessed* with Warehouse's dress collection this season. So I here I have not 1, not 2, but FOUR gorgeous dresses guaranteed to become wardrobe staples. They have many, many more beautiful dresses and the sales just make it that much more appealing!
Fab, fab, fab LBD

Jacquard, Lace
Find this one at ASOS

Add some colourful accessories like these bird earrings from ASOS and this leather skinny belt from Topshop and voila!

Birdies, Funky belt

And, if somehow the satchel craze bypassed you last year, then fear not, it's still here to stay! Loving the fun colours from Cambridge Satchel Company and especially this sumptuous berry one exclusive for Asos.


Until next week!


09 January 2013

Either I'm Right or You're Wrong

Almost a week ago, an old family friend passed away. I am not at liberty to feel what the family do, or even pretend that I know what they are going through. Nevertheless, I feel that every time someone I know passes away, my soul takes a hit and cannot fully recover.

The scariest thing about death is its finality. In this era, this is magnified. The most simple example? Your Facebook account. There's your photo, and you're not there anymore. Your email accounts, your clothes, your papers, your life, left behind, for your loved ones to make sense of it while grieving. Maybe it's a silver lining, to be able to obsess over their matters while you grieve, complimenting the process until you find closure of some form.

Like most people, death makes me think about my own mortality. More so, it makes me think of the choices I have made and the decisions that are still pending. Particularly, battles I am fighting with myself and/or with others.

I think, as we grow older, we become more picky in what we chose. And I think there are two reasons for this: 

1 - we think we have experienced enough to know what we want in certain situations, and 
2 - we realise that life is too short to settle for anything less than what we want. 

I'm just not sure where the balance lies. I'd like to think I'm fairly chilled and go with the flow (a work in process admittedly). Then again, there are some situations where I will just not back down.

Someone recently requested that I remove something from cyberspace on account that it was "unacceptable". Um, no, I thought, your request is unacceptable - why should I bend because our opinions are not "aligned"? And their response was that it was such a silly thing that I shouldn't make a big deal out of it. Hang on, I wasn't the one bringing it up..!

But then this person reminded me of how quickly a life can be taken from us. And it just made my brain hurt. I wanted to stand my ground. For the sake of standing my ground and in the hope that standing my ground would yield better results in the long run. If I backed down, then they "win" and a precedent would be set. Should I win, the precedent would benefit me!

We're always told to be the bigger man. But I really wonder how much impact the bigger man really made in his life. Furthermore, surely the bigger man is only the bigger man if the majority agree with his viewpoint and realise he is keeping peace. Otherwise he is just seen as the one who was wrong who is finally getting in line with what's right. 

How do we decide what is important enough to stand for if the importance is subjective in the first place? Perhaps for 10 years we don't think something is worth fighting for and then suddenly decide otherwise. What then? Are we hypocrites? Do we waive the right to stand by our new opinions? Is it just human nature?

I'm not sure. I guess it's part of growing up knowing which battles to fight. I think it's important to allow yourself to be won over by other opinions so that you can enjoy life. And I think it's important to spend more energy on spending time with loved ones than trying to figure out who should back down. Especially since we don't know what is waiting for us around the corner. 


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