It’s been a while, and I must admit I’ve had second thoughts about what to do about my blog. I started it in NZ, and the whole theme behind the blog was all about returning to simplicity, and creating a space where I could build memories for my girls.
The blog evolved from baking bread, to trying my hand at different things like making soaps, taking my photography to the next step, and just living life in general.
Moving to Dubai has put me in a different kind of headspace. The simplicity and peace of NZ has been replaced with the bustle and hustle of Dubai. It’s not a good or a bad thing….it just is what it is.
And so in that space, I have found myself trying to settle back into a familiar, yet ever changing place. While appearances remain pretty much the same, the dynamics and energies that surround me are different. What felt acceptable to me before, I now question, and what I once craved is now replaced with something new that doesn’t quite fit with how my life “used to be” when I was here.
I am so happy to be back in my “soul home”, every sense is heightened, and I am ever grateful for each day and experience that comes my way. As long as I am able to appreciate everything in that moment I am fine, but it’s when my mind wanders to the past, and the image of who I was when I last lived here, I get mixed feelings.
If I have changed, then how does that affect my relationships and how I cope with daily life? I guess it’s something that we all need to think about from time to time, but it just becomes magnified with an intensity hotter than the desert sun when you are faced with a “karmic” return where you find yourself placed back exactly where you started and wonder what lesson it is you are meant to learn.
It’s like I’ve been recycled…..or more like “up cycled”, and by that I mean I’ve come back with a totally different perspective, yet my “makeup” is still the same. It’s like I’ve been kicked back through the system, had a few things removed that didn’t suit my “truth” (like getting rid of nearly everything we had before we came here, shedding old energy in order to make way for the new!), and come up with a clean slate, ready to start the next phase of life.
And this is where I have found myself in that rut……trying to create a new home for our family, while trying to get my business up and running, and still maintaining a sense of who I am in the middle of it all.
Sometimes our creativity needs to be fed through other channels, and the fact that I just couldn’t seem to sit down and write only helped to make me realize that I needed some other avenues to release this creative block I was experiencing.
Before I left New Zealand, I was working on a concept that I am developing called Soulmap which basically helps people to reconnect back to their creative essence, and to help visually identify what it is that they want out of life. I “mapped’ out how I wanted our place to look here in Dubai and this was a great starting point with helping me get creative with putting the house together.
The girls have been on school holidays and there is a never-ending sense of busyness about the place! There have been lucky days of boat trips and fun in the sea…..
Just hanging out at home and chillaxin’ with the iPad…..(I never quite know what Ruby is going to come up with on the iPad……one minute she’s pretending to look at educational apps, and then I turn around and she’s rocking it out to Christmas carols!! lol).
chasing and cuddling,
a bit of singing thrown in for good measure….
which inevitably ends up in tears or someone not being too happy at some point after someone has fallen or decided they don’t want to play anymore (gotta love little people!!)…
and then there’s the “doe-eyed” look that they give you when it’s all over and I decide that it’s exactly the reason that I became the parent….love a little “doe-eyed” pop of innocence!
If there’s one thing that I have truly embraced returning to the Middle East it is the fact that we are so blessed to be able to have a full time carer living with us to help with the kids, clean, and keep our house running like a well oiled machine. I used to feel guilty about having help but after 3 years of slogging it out in New Zealand (like the rest of the real world outside of the Dubai bubble!), I am more than grateful to take any help I can get!
Shalika comes from Sri Lanka and the girls have taken to her like one of the family. She has a particular soft spot for Ruby (as Ruby does for her). I have been able to get so much more accomplished and I definitely do not take it for granted that she makes my life a heck of a lot easier!! I am able to carry on with setting up my business without worrying about dragging kids around in 50 degree heat, and to set up our home so we can settle in at long last.
And so back to those creative avenues that I have been following during my “blog block” or whatever you like to call it…..
When we left NZ, we sold off nearly everything we owned in order to start fresh. Of course I wasn’t thinking that we would end up with an even bigger place to live and was feeling a slight pang of “wish I hadn’t sold……” when we first moved into our empty shell.
I don’t want to go rushing around buying new things that I really don’t LOVE, but reality was that we needed to get a few basics to at least have somewhere to sit in the beginning! I bought the basics we needed, and mostly from IKEA (a sofa for upstairs, a few chairs, and a few rugs) and then decided to set a challenge for myself to see if I could furnish the place with mostly second hand things that were different and had a bit of character.
I needed to find some GOOD “trash” and turn it into treasure!!
After copious hours of browsing one of my addictions Pinterest, I became obsessed with all of the pallet furniture and art that people were making. I have a mate who was kind enough to donate a bunch of pallets in beautiful condition so that I could have a go at making a few things. I am thinking of trying to make a coffee table, not quite there yet as I’ve had a few other projects on the go, but managed to put together this VERY simple (ok, Rubes could have painted this, I know, but I reckon it’s better than staring at a bare wall…and I’ve got a LOT of wall space to fill so it works for now!) piece of “pallet art” in my dining room.
Started with this little plain number against the wall…
and ended up with this…
Very basic and was inspired by this post that I found on pinterest. I changed the color of the heart, distressed it, and added my own little painted “love” in the corner to complete the look. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it. I have this hanging on our dining room wall, and as simple as it may be, it makes me smile and is something a bit different (oh, and did I mention that it was um….FREE!! Well, cost me a little bit of paint but that’s the beauty…when I get tired of it I won’t be crying that I spent a fortune on it!).
Moving right along……
I have been inspired by some things I’ve seen online, and then had a few ideas of my own that I’ve been brewing for some time. I have a select collection of baby clothes I’ve kept from all 3 girls and have been waiting for the right thing to inspire me to up cycle them into something fabulous that I’ll be able to cherish forever. The first of these projects is another very simple idea I had.
Take 3 little pairs of the girls “bloomers” and put them in a frame. I have learned that if I try to do something and “get it right”, then I might just never get it done so I went very basic. First I thought I would get some beautiful material for the background, and after opening my IKEA frame up from the back, I realized that the basic brown board that it came with would work perfectly to create a bit of nostalgia and would get it done right there an then! So…I popped the bloomers in, wrote a little saying and the girls date of birth, and boom!!! Another ready made piece of art with meaning.
Last year I put together a little joke gift for James where I took the girls passport pics and had somebody photoshop their birthplace and dates like mugshots which made me giggle. In fact, it still makes me giggle every time I look at it. I like to call it “The Usual Suspects” lineup, and thought it would look perfect together with this piece of wall art.
And then coming to the piece de resistance…..my idea to upholster something with coffee sacks. I had bought a few at the Hobsonville Market in Auckland and had various ideas, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon a link in Pinterest (yet again!) that I found my inspiration! I had bought a beautiful second hand solid wood dining table, but wasn’t keen on having a “dining set”, and thought it would be cool to mix and match my chairs.
After searching on Dubizzle (a local site kind of like Trade Me back in New Zealand, Craig’s List in the USA, or ebay if you like), I found these old antique chairs a lady wanted to sell for $8 each and thankfully could see past the worn look!
I had only brought back 2 coffee sacks with me and realized I would need more and remembered a fabulous place run by a Kiwi lady named Kim Thompson here in Dubai called the RAW coffee company. I contacted Kim to see if I could buy some old sacks from her and was thrilled with the response I got. Kim is the most gorgeous, and generous lady with a true passion for good coffee (if you are in Dubai, definitely click on the link and go and check out their warehouse, it’s awesome!!). She gave me a whole heap of sacks to play with, I bought some paint, and voila…..behold the before and after results!!
I am really happy with the end result and the chairs look great with my dining table, along with a few other mismatched metal chairs I found in a shop on sale!!
So, that’s me upcycled, and happy that my little diversions delving into something I wouldn’t normally do have helped clear my writer’s block and got me back online!!
I feel happy, and grateful to live in the age we live in where by the click of a button, we can get inspiration to make almost anything we put our minds to! Here’s to the inner child in all of us that wants to play!!