Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I am a professional procrastinator.

When I know I need to do something, I suddenly decide its a good time to do everything else but the thing I need to do.

In this instance, it's pack for a Dubai. It's twenty to ten at night and I have a suitcase that is crying out to be packed. I also have a mountain of laundry to hang in the cupboard, a mountain of laundry still drying on the balcony, nails to paint and hair to wash. I leave at 7:30 tomorrow morning so I have a relatively small window in which to do all of the above if I factor in sleep.

So I do what any girl with a To Do List the length of her arm would do.

I Face Timed the cat.

We had a lovely chat, me and Molly. She was purring away, telling me all about the mouse she brought in as a gift for my parents for looking after her so well. She's so thoughtful and kind.

This break to Dubai has come at the best time. Things have been so atmospheric, stressful and tense these past weeks that a weekend out of the Doha bubble is just the ticket.

I look forward to sharing it with you all next week :)

(I've totally just procrastinated further with a blog post)



Tuesday, 23 September 2014

I'm being a really crap blogger this week.

Thats not to say I'm not normally a crap blogger (!) but this week I am being especially bad. Lots going on at the moment that is stressing me out (my skin is evidence of this. Ergh.) so blogging hasn't been very high on my agenda.

I'm currently trotting round my apartment with my trusty Botanics: Shine Away clay mask on my face, looking like a swamp monster, whilst I put laundry on the go and attempt to pack my suitcase for Dubai.

I thought I'd share some of my go-to products that always end up in the case when I head off on holiday.



I bought this product after reading countless rave reviews online (including a post by Laura from Buy Now, Blog Later. She could, quite frankly, sell a bin bag to me, I trust her judgement that much when it comes to all things beauty). This was a whopping FORTY English pounds which still sickens me a little to this day. If I wasn't on a Middle Eastern wage I don't think I ever would have been able to justify this purchase. In fact, I still can't. What was I thinking? You are probably wondering why I'm packing it in my suitcase if I'm so unsure about it but the truth of the matter is, it does 'something' to my hair. I'm just not sure quite what. It is on the basis that it does 'something' that it always comes with me. My hair is at a length where it certainly needs something to do 'something' to it, and Oribe fills this function. I should probably just overcome my fear of having my hair cut in Doha but an incident with a scissor happy Lebanse man has left me permanently traumatised. Story for another time..


Kind of a staple in any hygeine conscious human beings essentials kit, travelling or not. I'm working my way through the range of Borjois deodorants at the moment, and this lime green offering is my latest purchase. It smells super fresh, and there is absolutely no danger of losing it in my bathroom. Not like my sun cream, which I can't find anywhere.


Good old Johnsons face wipes are one of my most essential travel products. I'd go crazy without face wipes I think. They are just so useful. These are oil control ones which right now my skin desperately needs. What on earth is going on with my face?!!


I love Batiste. I've tried countless other dry shampoo brands, including Oribe, and nothing sorts my hair out quite like a blast of Batiste. I've got them in literally every fragrance going, and the one in the photo is actually a conditioning mist with Argan Oil that I picked up in the UK. You can't get Batiste (or any dry shampoo, to my knowledge) in Doha, so my mum is bringing out an extra suitcase full of the stuff when she comes to visit in 3 weeks. Thanks mummy :)


I love this dry pampering oil by Boots No7. If I'm wearing a skirt or a dress I will not leave the house without oiled legs. It just makes legs look so much better.


Oh look, another body oil. This one is a Shea butter scented offering from Dove and it smells delightful. It contains a subtle shimmer so I like to smother my arms and chest with this for a night out for a bit of a glow.


To be honest I don't use this moisturiser for its moisturising benefits. I use it because it's the best smelling product in the whole entire world. This is Amber Romance by Victoria's Secret, and every time I wear it someone compliments the fragrance. I honestly couldn't describe the scent but it's just...amazing. Mmm. (Yes I'm sniffing the bottle now)


Hugo Boss Orange is my summer scent. I wear it as a daytime and/or evening fragrance depending on my mood as I think it's suitable for both. As Doha is in a permanent state of summer, you can imagine this gets a fair bit of use!


Obviously it would be criminal to go on holiday without makeup, and would give the folk of Dubai a bit of a fright. Without tipping the entire contents of my makeup bag upside down for a photo, I thought I'd photograph my trusty Naked palette to represent makeup as part of my holiday essentials.

The list goes on further of course to include additional toiletries, shampoo, sun cream, etc etc but these are just a few of the products that will be making their way into my case.

If there's any room left after the shoes and clothes go in, that is...

What are your go-to holiday products?



Sunday, 21 September 2014

This week has been one of my less enjoyable weeks in Doha.

Due to some very unfortunate, highly annoying, and hugely stressful circumstances, iv found myself having to look for a new place to live. This saddens me greatly, as I love my apartment in Doha. I love the location, the facilities, my room, the decor of the lounge, the pool area, the staff. Matt lives over the road so it's so easy to see him. I really, really resent having to move and don't want to but if I'm to stay out here and complete the time frame I have in my head, I have to put my happiness first. Unfortunately, in order to do that I have to find a new home.

I'm also not quite ready to say goodbye to my friendly neighbour!

So iv been apartment hunting this week. A real tedious job as everything out here is so expensive if you're going at it alone.

I've literally got no news to report so this is going to be the blandest blog post. Iv not really been anywhere, or done anything. I finally attempted some exercise this week however, and walking at the Pearl with Mohammed. He picked me up in his snazzy Porsche and we whizzed over to the Pearl to begin an hour of brisk walking in 40 degree heat. Little bit warm!! Mohammed sent me a screen shot of his workout app so I could see our progress.

Iv been spending a lot of evenings with Matt which has been lovely. He flies home this week for his 30th birthday which is the day after my 27th, so I'll only have a day or two of missing him as I fly to Dubai with Jemma this week for our girls mini break! So excited. Excited to blog about the trip :)





Wednesday, 17 September 2014

"There are big ships and little ships but the best ship is friendship"

I have no idea who that quote belongs to, but I remember the day I left primary school my best friend wrote it in my leaving book, and it's always stayed with me.

Moving abroad makes you view your friendships in a totally different way - it can make or break you, but luckily for me my friendships with my best friends back home have remained perfectly intact.

I don't speak to my best girlfriends (and my best guy friend, hellooo Sean) all that often, in fact not nearly as much as I wish I did. The thing with us is that I know that no matter how long it is between our last to our next conversation, we always pick up where we left off, as if we haven't ever been apart. I have a small handful of friends back home with whom I have this relationship and I'm so lucky to have them in my life. I know that they are always there for me, and I am always there for them too, no matter if we haven't talked in a while.

Tonight I was flicking through my old photos on my iPad and came across some snaps with my friends from home, so I thought I'd write this post and dedicate it to the besties! Miss you guys x




Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Sometimes a girl just needs a good old pampering day.

Today I was off work, so after a very lazy start (I set my alarm for 8:30 for Pilates and promptly went straight back to sleep), Matt and I wandered down to the pool for a couple of hours of sun.

My lovely friend Vicky had bought me a voucher for the St Regis Remede Spa when she was over here last NYE, so I rang up the Regis and asked if they had any availability. They did, so I booked myself in for my 30 minute customised massage at 4pm.

I'm very lucky in that the St Regis is literally right on my doorstep.

I wandered over 30 minutes early, and made the most of their spa facilities (a jacuzzi and a steam room, it's a real shame there isn't a bit more too it. A sauna would have been lovely. Not that I'm fussy or anything.)

It's really one giant wet room, decked out with blue and white pearl tiles.

After a long soak in the jacuzzi, I dried off and changed into my St Regis robe, and slipped my feet into soft slippers, before padding to the treatment room with my therapist.

My message was amazing! 30 minutes of pure bliss. Afterwards, my therapist led me to the relaxation room, tucked me up under a fluffy blanket, told me to help myself to fresh fruit and brought me a steaming mug of Moroccan mint tea.

Feeling utterly relaxed, I headed home before I dozed off to continue my pampering day with painting my nails and a face mask.

Being a girl is just so much more fun!



Monday, 15 September 2014

Last night turned into an impromptu date night.

Matt fancied a drink after work, and I felt like I needed one after an attack of social anxiety at my first beginners salsa class (I bolted out of the class after 20 mortifying minutes of making a massive cock up of the steps whilst dancing with a bloke I've never met, all in front of a class of people who seemed to 'get' the simple beginner steps when my uncoordinated feet couldn't - I knew I couldn't do this for a minute more let alone for the rest of the hour so I legged it. Shameful.)

He met me from work and we headed over to the Intercon. Neither of us had eaten so I suggested Mykonos. Iv been to Mykonos twice before, and on the last visit my flatmate Sara had had the most amazing beef dish, so I was keen to try it.

In case you hadn't guessed, Mykonos is a Greek restaurant, tucked away in the grounds of the Intercon, overlooking the beautiful pool.

The inside of the restaurant was empty, but the little white walled terrace outside had a real holiday buzz about it. Big parties of people eating and drinking, sat at white tables with blue accents, underneath a canopy hung with lanterns. It certainly felt like being on holiday.

We had a table for two by the fountain.

We both ordered main courses - sea bass and mash potato for Matt, and beef souvlaki for me. Both were delicious, but my beef souvlaki was something else! So so good. We sat and chatted and relaxed to the sound of the running water beside us.
After dinner, we moved from Greece back to Arabia to 'our place' for shisha and a cocktail to really unwind.

Even though I know how bad it is for you, I really enjoying smoking shisha once in a while and quite literally get a buzz from it! Feeling a bit heady from a combination of our hits of shisha and mojitos, we decided to head home for an episode of 24.

Matt disappeared in a cloud of double apple shisha smoke, and I was left to pay the bill ;)





Saturday, 13 September 2014

Normally I'd round up the week with a 'Doha Diaries' picture post, but apart from my day in the desert, I haven't really been too snap happy with my iPhone.

I almost said I've had a really quiet week, but thinking about it, it hasn't been quiet at all! - dune bashing, dinner with Matt at the Anvil Rooms (amazing...I over ordered, as usual... and now I'm craving the bread basket, damnit), dinner with the girls at Paul, all on top of a very busy week at work.

So instead, I thought I'd throw in a post about the things I'm currently...


24 - Matt bought the entire box set (about a million episodes) when he was last back in the UK, so we've been working our way through this a few nights a week. It's flawed in so many ways but I'm absolutely hooked!


I won't say anything on this just yet as I plan to write a post on this book once I finish it - but the above comments from the critics sum it up perfectly!


Over the summer I decided that I would love to learn French. Our colleagues from BeIN Paris spent the World Cup with us here in Doha and their English was fantastic - it made me feel so inadequate that I couldn't speak their language at all. I downloaded an audio book by Paul Noble to my iPad which has been brilliant so far. I just need to keep at it so I can learn more than how to say 'I have prepared the coffee for you'!

Are you watching any good series? Reading anything you'd recommend?



Friday, 12 September 2014

It's official. I've got the travel bug.

Living in Doha, I have easy access to parts of the world that were never previously on my radar as holiday destinations.

I'd always heard stories about Dubai but never contemplated going myself. Not because it was somewhere I didn't want to visit, but because it just seemed so far away, and the lure of the year round sunshine of the Canary Islands (and the four hour flight!) has always won when I've come to thinking about where to go on holiday.

Now, Dubai is a mere hour away (it used to take me that long to commute from my house into London for work!) by plane. It would be rude not to visit, wouldn't it?!

So, in a few weeks time, Jemma and I will be jetting off to Dubai to celebrate my 27th birthday, and have a much needed break from the Doha bubble. I'm so excited to see what it's like - I hear it's a world away from Qatar - and of course il report back with a blog post! Literally can't wait.

Matt and I are also planning a trip to Sri Lanka. The flight is about 6 hours from Doha, and it's another flight that from London would have just seemed too long, so again it would never have crossed my mind to consider Sri Lanka as a possible holiday destination when I was living back in the UK.

We've been studying a guide book and consulting maps, planning our tour of the south west coast and the things we'd like to see and do. It's exciting!

It's lovely because the next few months are peppered with lots of things to look forward to. Between my trips to Dubai and Sri Lanka, my wonderful mum is coming out to Doha to visit :) The last time she was here I was in a wheelchair and had just come out of intensive care so we were so limited with the things we could see and do, so this time I'm going to make sure she sees all that there is to see!

The Maldives is also on my hit list (I can't stop googling water villas!) but that's an adventure hopefully for another time :)

Where would you love to go on holiday, if money and distance were no object?



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

I've pinched this tag from Rosalyn ( - i've never met her but she's a fellow Doha dweller and I love reading her blog. This is my first blog tag and I guess it answers some of the questions my friends and family ask me so it's useful for me to answer them all in one hit!


1. What’s your name? (None of my friends and family ask me this question, FYI!)


2. Which country do you live in?
Doha, Qatar. Aka the 'sandpit'!

3. Do you live alone or with your family?
I live with two girls that I work with and who I worked with in London, Sara and Jemma

4. How long have you lived there?
It's been a year and a month now - where has the time gone?!

5. Have you ever lived in another country? Which one?
Before moving to the desert, I've lived in England since I was born.

6. How old are you?
Three weeks away from turning 27

7. Why did you decide to move abroad?
I worked for Al Jazeera Sport for three years in London, and they decided to close down the London office and move the entire operation to Doha, Qatar (where our channel has now been re branded as BeIn Sports). I was given the opportunity to move out here and join the Doha team, which I obviously took! I didn't have too much time to make my decision but it's a leap I'm very glad I took.

8. Was it hard do get a residence permit/visas?
My company took care of organising both of the above (although some of the processes involved in obtaining the RP such as the medical and finger printing were a bit tedious). Before moving out to Doha we had to send the company our education certificates and have these notarised by a solicitor, and stamped by the Qatar Embassy in London
, which was time consuming and expensive. I did a blog post on that way back before I moved out here if you want to find out more about my experience with that!

9. What was the worst experience you’ve had there?
Being a 7 hour flight away when I got the call to say that my dad had lung cancer. Being that same 7 hour flight away when he went in for his surgery, and having to wait a day and a half before I could get an exit permit to leave the country to see him because it happened to fall on a weekend when nobody is at work to help to organise these things. That, and ending up in intensive care for 5 nights myself after developing septisemia and pneumonia. It hasn't been the best start to 2014 for me and my family! But we've come through it all x

10. Tells us about a tourist attraction/sightseeing place you like and talk a little bit about it.
I suppose if anyone was coming to visit me, like my mum is in October (hellooo mum) there are a few things I would take her to see and do: Desert safari (dune bashing in a 4x4.. See previous post!), Katara (Doha's cultural village, a lovely sea front walk with some lovely restaurants), the Souq (traditional market with cute restaurants, and a maze of shops selling all sorts of odds and ends), the Villagio mall (the most impressive interior of any mall in Doha - and any mall I have ever seen for that matter! Indoor gondola river, need I say more?) other than these sights, probably all of the 5* hotels because they are just so opulent.

11. Do you speak the local language? Do you think it’s important to learn it?
No, and my Qatari colleague Hani is forever telling me off for being here for a year and only knowing 'hello', 'thank you' and 'finished' (my personal favourite... Khalas!) It is important because it shows you are making an effort in the country you now live in, not because you need to speak it to get by. Everybody speaks English which is a completely ignorant view to have - I would love to be able to speak another language.

12. What do you think about the country you live in? How well do they receive foreigners?
I'm still very undecided, after being here for a year, what I really think about my adopted country. A lot of the time I find it hugely frustrating, but there are elements that I love, and elements I would certainly miss when I leave. I wouldn't say Doha is (and potentially might never be) a tourist destination but foreigners are very accepted here, but possibly because they are so needed. The entire labour work force is made up of foreign workers, there are a huge number of expat teachers and a multitude of other industries operating in Qatar have a vast number of foreign employees, my own industry included.

13. Do you miss your family?
Every single day. I try to phone home on FaceTime every day or text at least. I think this whole experience has made our already close family even closer as we've been through a lot together over the past year despite not being in the same country.

14. What products from your home country do you miss the most?
Cadburys chocolate that tastes like Cadburys chocolate! It's got this peculiar taste to it that just isn't right. Oh and Batiste dry shampoo!!To be honest we can get most things here that you can get in the UK. The thing for me is the consistency of being able to find things in the supermarket - one day they are there, and the next week they aren't, and then it's weeks and weeks before they reappeare, if at all. Mostly I just miss Tesco. You can get whatever you want in Tesco!

15. What are your plans for the future? Do you want to live there forever?
Absolutely not! Doha for me is not a forever place, which is why I want to make the most of being here, as right now I don't know how long my desert adventure will continue for. I have to factor in my job, my relationship, and my own personal life goals, as well as my family, before I can even begin to say what my future plans will be. I certainly wouldn't ever rule out living abroad again after living here though, it's opened up a whole new world for me.

16. What’s something you use everyday where you live that you think your home country should also have?
I would have to agree with Rosalyn and say air con! When I went home for the summer it was a rare week of British summer time and it was unbearable trying to sleep at night without air con. A fan just didn't cut it! One thing I think Doha has that Britain could certainly do with is an ID card system. And banks sending SMS messages to your phone after every transaction - so useful!

17. What suggestions or tips would you give to someone who wants to live in this country?
Be prepared for all of the trials and frustrations that come with working and living out here. Be respectful of the culture - cover up where you need to. Learn a bit more of the language than I have managed to do! Be prepared to make friends outside of your work, it will benefit your life here enormously. Don't mix up your 1 Riyal notes with your 100 Riyal notes... Riyals are not Monopoly money and there is a vast difference between those two blue notes!

18. If you could describe in one word your experience in this country, what would it be?
Bonkers (and hot)

Hope you've enjoyed this post - I quite enjoyed thinking about my experience here from different angles.

If my answers haven't put you off, come for a visit :)