One more sleep...

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

So I'm about to have my final sleep at home before getting up in about 5 hours to head to Heathrow and fly out to Doha...can't believe it's finally here!!!

Had an amazing last few days in the UK with my best friends and my wonderful family, literally been absolutely spoilt rotten with cards, gifts and meals out. Anyone would think it was my birthday!! Going to miss everyone so much. Got so tearful earlier saying goodbye to my brother and my sis in law, and I just know il be an absolute mess when I say goodbye to my parents tomorrow morning. I know il definitely cry saying goodbye to my cat and dogs too!!

Had the 'last supper' with my family tonight - my mum outdid herself with possibly the biggest roast dinner I have ever seen and a gorgeous home made vanilla, white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. She's a master chef for sure!


So when I land I'm booked in to a lovely hotel in Doha's West Bay area which will be my home for the next month. It's funny because iv always said I'd love to live in a hotel so now I can finally experience what that's like!

Luckily I am flying with one of my friends from my previous job and we've managed to get seats next to each other on the flight - poor Matt will have to put up with me clinging on to him for dear life when we take off and land!

Il leave you with an oh so exciting picture of my currency (Qatari Riyals) that I picked up earlier...haven't ever seen currency other than dollars and euros (except for GBP) so I got a bit excited by how exotic these look!


Next blog post will be from Doha!!



Tuesday, 23 July 2013

As part of my job offer acceptance, I was asked by HR to provide a copy of my most recent University qualification, notarised by a solicitor and legalised by the Qatari embassy in London.
While this may not be applicable to other employees in the process of moving out to the Middle East, I thought it might still be useful to share my experience of the notarisation process anyway.
Firstly I looked online for my nearest notary solicitor (or Notary Public). As luck would have it, one of the only local notaries is located just down the road from me, so I emailed him with the specifics of what my company required and arranged a meeting for Friday 12th July. At the meeting I produced the original of my Masters degree certificate which he made an official, notarised copy of (he attached a certificate stating that my copy is a true and exact copy of the original certificate) The next step is for this copy to be sent to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) who will attach an Apostille and send this back to the solicitor. You can send the notarised copy to the FCO yourself, but as this process is entirely alien to me, I paid for my solicitor to do this for me. To give an indication of cost, I paid £85 for my solicitor to notarise a copy of the document and send it to the FCO. In addition, I paid £36 which is the fee for obtaining the Apostille from the FCO, so a total of £121.
The next step is to have the notarised document with the Apostille legalised at the Qatari embassy - my solicitor advised me that you can pay for someone to do this on your behalf (he offered this service for an additional fee) but due to the deadline I was up against to get these documents ready to send back to HR, I chose to take these to the embassy myself.
I got my notarised certificate and Apostille back from the FCO in the post the following Thursday, and took them to the embassy in Park Lane the very next day. The process from here is very quick - you hand over your documents and ask for them to be legalised, pick up a number (much like a raffle ticket or cloakroom ticket!) and are told the collection date to pick up your documents (two working days - so I was asked to return the following Tuesday) The charge for this is £4.
So today I picked up my documents and scanned them over to HR in Doha - the wheels are now fully in motion and hopefully the next step is for me to be told my official start date and flight/VISA details!

Making Memories

Monday, 22 July 2013

My last day at my old job was on Friday 12th July. I had a week of leave to use up after this, and then a week and a half of unemployment to enjoy before my desired departure date for Doha on 1st August.

I've been trying to fill this time off with as much family & friends time as possible - going to miss everyone so much but hopefully I'll have a lot of visitors out in the sands!

Top L-R: Amazing day at Hyde Park with two of my very best friends Sean & Crissy / Electric Daisy Carnival at Olympic Park, Stratford, with my cousin Steph

Bottom L-R: Brilliant night at our favourite Mexican with my sister in law to be Holly, and the other two bridesmaids Vicky & Ashley for the pre-hen (I'll be in Doha for the main event) - great food and cocktail making behind the bar with the owner Simon / Drinks on the Southbank next door to my old work with Team Blonde, Sara & Vicky

The Next Chapter

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Most of my family & friends who will be reading this blog (hello!) will already know what it's all about, but for anyone who might have stumbled across my little space on the blogosphere by accident, here's a little bit of backstory about what The Blonde blog is all about:

I've been working in TV in London for the past three years on a contract producing content for the Middle Eastern television network Al Jazeera. This year, AJ decided to close down their London operation and produce all of their own content from their headquarters in Doha, Qatar, and as a result of this relocation, I was offered an incredible opportunity to go to Doha and work for them out there.

I made this blog with the intention of having a place where my family & friends can keep up to date with my Arabian adventures and see what I'm getting up to, but also to document my journey for anyone who might in the future be looking to relocate out to the Middle East themselves. I've been researching Qatar through so many useful ex-pat blogs (I love and thought I could share my experience too as its such a huge learning curve!

Happy reading :)