Friday, 13 April 2012

Our breakfast at the dead sea

This morning my hubby and I got together with my brother in laws family and decided to do something different for a change and eat our breakfast in what is globally known as the lowest point on the map. It is around 417m (1,368ft) bellow sea level which is pretty low so it was also a lot warmer than the rest of Jordan at this time of year. The ocean which meets Jordan here is the dead sea, a body of water which has no animal or plant life due to the high content of salt in the water. Though it is also fort his very reason people come here to use the age old spar treatments which utilise the mineral rich mud and waters.
We got all our things in the car summer clothes, towels sun hats etc and set off. At Madaba, a small spa town down the road from our home we bought our breakfast feast of sandwiches, pop, crunchy veggies and bananas and continued on our way. Spirits were high as we travelled with the radio on and I kept my camera out the whole time so that I could get some snaps of any nice views we came by.

We had a short water and photo break at Mount Nebo - Which is where Musa (Moses) is meant to have lived the final years of his life. Here is a christian pilgrimage site as there is a monastery on the mount said to contain the tomb of Musa. It is a tourist spot but its not difficult to see why people come if not for the historical or religious sights the views are breathtaking. Especially at his time of year when the ground is fertile and green and the heat hasn't gotten too much.

Snaking down towards the dead sea we passed Bedouin homes and small farms which reminded me of how you can see so many different ways of life here in one country. From the Arab tribes men who still to this day live in tents out in all weathers with their livestock secured by the doorstep to the opulent stylish homes of the business connected with their flawless white stone villas and lush gardens. From the small above-shop familys who hang their long lines of washing across their streets sky lines to the wealthy Saudis with their taste for everything expensive. My clever other half bought some chewing gum for us before we started the decent towards the dead sea. This is something I recommend for anyone who visits as the change in air pressure can cause a little discomfort and so chewing gum helps to make the transition to  a higher pressure environment easier. At this point it seemed to be way too much excitement for my poor son Zaki boo and he fell asleep in the careful arms of his cousin.

The charge for fort he beach was relatively low and although we quickly realised it would have been better to come earlier (this trip was a kind of spur oft he moment thing lol!) we did manage to get a reasonably good sun shade  with table and chairs provided and ate a really quite hearty breakfast watching the other families arriving in droves. Some coming with drums  so they could have a sing along chorusing and beating their instruments as the went past us down the beach. There were small kiosks on the beach selling everything from hats and souvenirs to BBQ meats, cans of drink and hubbly bubblys ( fruit flavoured tobacco smoked in a bong-nothing illegal lol). At the public beach there was soo much to see. all the youngsters put their bathing suits on,I got my camera ready and we all went down to the waters edge to paddle. Iyad (my husband) took bb Zak into the water and let him stand up to his chest in the sea which he seemed to like a lot. The salt was very good for his skin so I was glad he took to it well. After about 10-15 minutes when the charm was starting to wear off a little we turned back to the sun shade, washed  some of the salt from our infants legs and packed our things to go home. We got a call from my parents in law who had been out and bought a take away BBQ dinner from one of the restaurants in Madabar (local spa town) so what a lovely continuation to the day. My sister in law had also made one of her creations which this time was a layered cake with cream and fruit running through the middle and raspberry jelly (jello) on top. Sounds strange but I assure you it was delicious!!!!!. After dinner bb Zak zonked out, clearly the sea air was like a sleeping pill for him and he slept the majority of the afternoon. awwww!!!!!!! What a lovely day!!!!!!

A day in the life!!! - My Jordan home

8:30ish breakfast

I have taken to getting my son ready for the day and heading over to our tiny sun room to eat breakfast. That way I can spot my sister in law leaving home to go and see my parents in law and say good morning to her. During the warmer months this room is going to be a haven of relaxation for me.I can already see myself with a cuppa, milling over some new posts on my favourite blogs or reading a book. I usually get my son's car seat out and use it as a feeding chair for him. I 'bib him' and present him with some culinary delight I have made that morning. Sometimes bread and jam, sometimes halalwi, sometimes the same as my own breakfast usually washed down with some warm milk in his baby bottle.

Peeling, cutting and freezing carrots for Mahlubah

9:30ish Daily visit to in laws

I usually go and say good morning to my parents in law and take their grandson to see them. This is a good time to help out a bit with the jobs there as they have a large house. Its also a fantastic opportunity to see what my mum in laws plans for the day are as well as what she wants to cook for the main meal. At this point I usually decide if I would like to cook with her or not as well. I really love making dinner at my mum in laws home as it serves as a lesson in Arabic cuisine as well as a good excuse for a chat over the kitchen table. As our family here is Rather large the fruit, veg and meat are all bought in bulk. This means that in order to reduce the amount of wastage we all congregate together and share it all out evenly and then freeze everything in pre-portioned batches. I find this extremely useful as when I want to cook a quick dinner and am not in the mood for peeling carrots its all ready prepared in the freezer.

Lunch time

Bb Zak and me usually have a small lunch which comprises of something light like a sandwich or some salad. I try to make sure my little man gets some fruit for pudding and plenty of liquids (water, juice). Then depending on how sleepy he is after his mornings exertions he has a nap or has some play time in his bedroom.

Afternoon Jobs

The afternoon is reserved for tidying up and getting as many jobs done as I can (washing, hoovering, cleaning etc) I usually put the daytime MBC sitcoms on in the background as a bit f comedy. The American sitcoms vary from The Vampire diaries and The ringer to the totally cringe worthy acting of Days of our lives (And although I am quite horrified by the fact the last shows plot line however unrealistic has kinda got me at the moment - I know). Sometimes I put on an Arabic and western music channel called FM- First Music and bb Zak and I dance around the living room. I am starting to give my son more space to move about in our home to encourage him to walk more. This new stage of his development has its rewards in the million which thankfully overshadow the fact that I have had to re-arrange most of the breakables on display so his tiny hand don't get into contact with them (safety first!) 

Early evening workout

As most of my day is filled I find this time period between housework and my husband coming home is a great time to get my fitness sorted for the day. Its a special time for me as I find it de-stresses me and gives me an energy boost fort he end of the day as usually I still have a few more things to do before I can finally don my pjs and snuggle up on the sofa with a hot drink and my family before bed.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Wristlet bag

This project is extremely easy and fast to make and you can make it your own with buttons and ribbons, different yarns and different lining materials. In fact you could make this into a recycled materials project if you use re-purposed clothes from a charity shop.


Appropriate knitting needles for the wool
Press studs
Lining material
Thread and needle
Tape measure

How to-

  1. Knit a rectangle approx 22 inches long and 9 inches wide. This rectangle can be straight forwards garter stitch for beginners, stocking stitch, rib or even cabled. Once you know the stitches you can let your imagination run free a bit. Cast off at the end and weave in the ends.
  2. Knit an i-cord for the handle. This part again is up to you as to how long you would like it to be.
  3. Lay your lining fabric on a flat surface and place the knitted piece on top. Cut around the fabric leaving a seam allowance.
  4. Fold the lining material over, pin to the knitted piece and sew with complementary thread.
  5. Have a quick practise run folding the lined knitting as you will eventually sew it so you can decide where the wrist band will go. Again this is all down to preference as you could have a deep purse and a small closing flap or visa- versa.
  6. Sew i-cord into the appropriate place and then the sides of the bag.
  7. Add a couple of press studs and decorate the closing flap as desired with buttons/ribbons etc.
  8. Wallah!!!! a cute wristlet bag which is totally unique to you !!!!!

Feeling positive about my fitness future

At the mid point of my first week of work outs I feel a lot better. Although having 48 hours off is making me a little impatient to exercise again (well its fun !!!). My new eating is doing well as well. I have committed to smaller portions, more raw veg and fruit and drinking more water. This feel a to be an extremely do-able target as well as working out 4-5 days a week and having one treat day. One of my biggest vices is sugar in tea- especially large mugs of milky tea with sugar is heaven but I had to cut down the amount I drank a day as they were a bit addictive.
I think the most important thing in maintaining a good weight for myself is balance. A little bit of the fun foods which aren't so healthy and a whole lot of the super fun healthy ones. I have only just started trying to finally get myself to a place where I am consistently a weight I am happy with that is healthy. All my life I have had problems at one extreme or the other. Eating nothing and becoming very thin or eating more than I need to and getting a little over weight. And both polarities caused just as much anguish for me till I decided I had to love myself enough to give my body just enough of what it needed.
So here I am feeling as though I will get stronger and fitter with my plan and looking forwards to the journey just as much as the result. I will hopefully be going to see my parents in the UK in August so that's a good first target date to get really fit for. Especially as I will have to be really strong- my mum's cooking is seriously to die for so will have to be strict or else I may put on a stone during my visit loll.