14/52

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I haven’t taken any sleeping photos for a while. They’re growing up so fast but when they sleep they still look like babies. Maya’s going through a funny phase at the moment. She doesn’t want to go out, she just wants to stay at home with me, playing by herself. In fact, I get told off  if I try to show any interest: “go away mummy! Maya’s playing on her own!”. Quite a change from my confident outgoing girl who loves people – seems she’s becoming more introverted as she gets older. Our afternoons most days consist of Maya making a nest for herself and watching Charlie & Lola while I have a bath. She doesn’t nap these days but we both need a bit of quiet time (most afternoons Kiran is at his grandparents). I must admit to enjoying this quieter phase quite a bit!

Last month I loved baby flying high, these floating kids, and all of these photos – such amazing shots this week I had a hard time choosing just a few!

Linking up with Jodi

Setting Up a Business Overseas: What You Need to Know

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If you’re planning on moving overseas and setting up your own business, there are a few things that you would need to consider before you make the big move. Here are some actions that were undertaken by those who have successfully opened a business in a foreign country:

Research the Local Business Climate

There are many questions that you would need answered before you would go ahead and move to a foreign country in order to set up a business. The most common ones involve the state of the country’s economy, the ease of setting up and running a business there, the types of businesses that are thriving and currently in high demand, as well as the availability of local labor if you are planning on hiring employees.

By doing a proper amount of research, you should be able to get the required information about doing business in your selected country.

Look Up the Migration and Residency Formalities that Apply to You

Many countries in the world welcome foreign investors and business owners with open arms. However, the specific rules and regulations will vary from one country to the next. In some places, simply having the intention to open up a business would qualify you and your immediate family for a residency permit. In other countries, you would need to invest an amount that is over a specified sum, provide employment for a certain amount of locals, or open a business in a qualifying industry, like the tourism or manufacturing sectors.

Migration agents can help you here by providing reliable and up-to-date information on moving to your desired country as a foreign businessperson.

Find Relevant Success Stories

Unless you have a business plan that is extremely unique, chances are that somebody else has had ideas that were similar to yours. Go online to look up success stories of people who have set up an overseas business in your industry type within the country of your choice.

This would give you some important clues as to what they have done to become a success. Also, you can learn from the mistakes that they’ve made, thus giving you the opportunity to avoid them.

Think About Your Future Moves

Once you have established yourself and your business in a foreign country, you should plan for the road ahead. Be mindful that no matter where you are in the world, economic conditions and the overall business climate in your industry can change over time. But this is not always a negative thing. In fact, new business opportunities could appear which would allow you to either expand your current business, or open up a completely new one in another industry sector. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, you would simply need to be aware of business trends in your new country of residence.

If you don’t have prior overseas business experience, setting up a new business in a foreign country may appear to be a difficult task at first. But if you do your research properly and enlist the help of qualified people such as migration agents, you can make the process much easier for you and also increase your chances of success significantly.

image credit: opensource.com

Sponsored Video: Asus Fonepad with Intel Inside

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Tablets have become pretty ubiquitous these days and pretty much everyone I know has one. I remember when the iPad first came out and everyone was talking about how useless it was – no keyboard? too big to carry around in your pocket? Who’s going to buy that? Hahaha… I totally missed the trend about to explode into our world and got a netbook instead.

Now everyone has some kind of tablet. Even my technology-averse step mother who doesn’t like smart phones because they’re too complicated (hi Sue!). I use mine mostly for watching videos, reading books, checking email, instagram and a bit of web browsing. In fact I’m quite lost without it. When my first tablet got stepped on and broken (never buy a cheap chinese tablet!) I felt quite bereft and couldn’t wait to replace it.

My tablet doesn’t have a camera and microphone on it which I didn’t realise when I bought it and was quite gutted about actually. As my family live on the other side of the world, I’m a frequent user of skype and it would be much more convenient to call them from my tablet than it is on my laptop. So the idea of making calls with a tablet – sure, why not? In fact, why aren’t all tablets phones? Why should we have to carry around multiple devices in this day and age when you can put more processing power in your pocket than was used to send man to the moon?

So the Asus Fonepad makes total sense to me. This is a tablet with the functionality of a phone, otherwise known as a phablet – riduculous name, fonepad is much better!

There are already large smart phones available, which are often ridiculed for being too big to use as a phone. But what if you don’t use the phone much anyway like me? I’m much more likely to be doing other stuff on my tablet and making the odd phonecall, rather than the other way around. I carry my tablet everywhere with me anyway and rarely do other stuff on my android phone because the screen is too small.

Watch the video – what do you think?

This post is sponsored by Asus and Intel but all opinions are my own.

A day in the life

Ubud Bali sunriseI’m completely obsessed with day in the life type posts from other bloggers and I’ve been meaning to do one of my own in forever. However I never quite manage to get organised to do the beautiful photo a day type posts that I’ve seen (I would still like to do one of these in the future and already talked about doing a post swap with another blogger so maybe you’ll get one yet).

Anyway as I work from home on random different things and Made sometimes works too, every day is different so there’s no real typical day. Some days I’ll have the kids all day and get no work done. Some days Made takes them both over to his parents and i get loads done (or lately mope around the house missing my children). Some days I have Maya and Made takes Kiran out for a bit, or vice versa. Some days I meet a friend for coffee or we all go out to the beach.

So this is just a random day – nothing special. This was back when my internet was down for most of the day and Made was taking the kids out most afternoons. Times are estimated up until late afternoon when i got the idea of this post and basically got carried away with cataloguing my every waking minute. Sunrise photo is by my dad because I’m never up that early :p

7am – I wake up thanks to my nature sounds alarm clock app. The only reason i’m able to get up at this time is that I forced myself to go to bed at 11pm last night. Anything less than 8 hours sleep and i find it incredibly difficult to crawl out of bed. I would go to bed earlier but as the kids go to bed so late, that would mean zero grown up time in the evening (update: I’ve been enforcing a fairly strict bedtime routine and this is actually improving with them both being asleep by 8.30-9pm now. hurray! I’m going to try and move this back a little every night until I get to a 7.30 bedtime. Fingers crossed!)

Made is out. he can’t sleep past 6am no matter what time he goes to bed. I wish I had his early riser genes.

7.15 -  I’m attempting to shower when Maya starts howling at the door. This is why I can never get up early and get anything done – the kids sense when i’m awake and wake up too.

7.15 -  I put charlie and lola dvd on, close the door to avoid waking sleeping Kiran  and go back in the shower. 2 minutes later I hear kiran wake up too. Doh.

7.30 -  Kids are already in charlie and lola stupor. i normally avoid tv this early but i need to get showered and dressed somehow. I bribe them outside by bribing them with stickers and glue and glitter. Maya wants me to help so i stay and make silver glitter glue hair on an angel and try to stop Kiran from eating pompoms

8 - I pack the craft stuff away, exchanged for paper and pens. Kiran is busy riding his bike. I down a large glass of water and start cooking breakfast. Up until fairly recently i always started my day with coffee and cake but i’m trying to be healthier. I cook eggs and spinach. Kiran screams at me the entire time i try and cook so i eventually bribe him with a game on the kindle fire.

8.30 -  I eat breakfast with Kiran. Maya already ate a jam sandwich (her favourite food) and is going through a picky phase so refuses anything else.  i make hobby horses for the kids out of broomsticks and hand puppets.

9 - I sneak onto my computer but the internet is still down (has been since 2pm yesterday). still i’m knackered already so ask the kids to make me ‘coffee and fruit salad’ with their play food while i grab a real coffee. it keeps them busy for about 5 minutes. i feel particularly in need of sugar so end up having coffee and cake anyway.

10 - The internet is back up (hurray!) Made appears over the garden wall and hands me some bags of shopping. he’s taken to going to the market every morning which he says makes him feel like a housewife, but did i ask to be a breadwinner? no.

Kids are now fighting over the kindle so i bribe them outside again with crisps. house now looks like a bomb has hit it (see photo). I need another coffee. i don’t even attempt to start work as i know i’ll be interrupted every 5 mintues but as i have internet again, i read a few blog posts while i’m consuming more caffeine

messy-house

11 – Made arrives home with a rooster and asks me for a needle and thread so he can sew up a large gash in its leg. I wish I was joking about this. The kids get an impromptu lesson in vetinary skills.

12 - Kids are busy outside with Made which is my cue to sneak upstairs when they’re not looking. at this time he usually takes them over to the inlaws house for the afternoon and it’s my chance to actually get some work done in peace. they haven’t figured out yet that i’m going upstairs instead of out of the house but as soon as they do, i’m going to have to come up with another plan. they won’t leave if they know i’m still at home.

2pm - been 2 hours and the only ‘work’ i’ve got done is replying to emails and coming up with article ideas. rubbishy stuff that needs to be done but i don’t get paid for it. need to get stuck into writing but i’m starving so will have to break for lunch first. I cook vegetables and tofu (this is making it sound like I eat really healthily but i don’t – I basically eat half vegetables and fruit and half cake and biscuits).

I eat my lunch while replying to messages on airbnb. eat 3 mangosteens for desert.

2.50pm -  I grab a glass of water and head back upstairs to get some work done. I like to move around while i work instead of staying in the same place. plus the chair upstairs is really uncomfortable. but i’m less distracted up there and i can stare out of the window at the rice fields. It’s nearly 3pm and I haven’t written anything yet. Argh. Plus my internet seems to be down again. Probably because it’s raining. Now i can’t decide what to work on first. Desperately resisting the urge to make more coffee

3.12 -  I’ve only been writing 15 minutes and i’m already fed up. 500 words down. I have about a million tabs open on my browser for research and the internet has gone down again. Is it coffee time yet? I get up and stare out of the window a bit while i wait for the internet to work again. It’s stopped raining.

3.18 -  I stop staring out of the window because there’s a guy peeing in the rice field and I don’t want to watch him. i also realised that I left the kids craft projects from this morning drying on the wall and they’re now soaked from the rain. Internet still down. at this point i would normally go do some reading on my kindle so i can still be vaguely productive without internet but i realise the kids have stolen it.

3.21 -  Internet back up – hurray!

3.34 -  It’s blowing a gale out there and i’m freezing – just like being back in the uk!

3.37 Internet down again. Sigh. Too windy? Time for a break I think. Back downstairs.I play some music (I miss music as I can’t concentrate while it’s on when i’m writing) while i tidy up the kids toys. There’s a huge thunderstorm going on outside and it’s so dark i have to put all the lights on.

4pm - I make coffee number 4 (obviously trying to drink less coffee isn’t going quite to plan today) and cross my fingers that internet is up again – it is! Back to work…

4.40 - First draft of article pretty much done (but will need another hour or so of editing before it’s ready to submit). a good thing too as the internet has gone down again :( Read a couple of blog posts I already had open in the browser.

5pm – I need a proper computer break and some fresh air so I walk over to our other house to have a shower (it has hot water!!)

5.50 I’m back, done the dishes from earlier, grabbed an apple and it’s editing time. Internet is still broken but i don’t need it for editing (luckily). all the same i call made to ask him to complain to our internet provider (again)

6.50 - Kids back, work is over!

I didn’t keep track after this but it’s basically kids playing/watching TV/reading to them until they pass out. Then I pass out. I guess I eat dinner at some point. Then wake up and do it all again tomorrow!

Travelling with kids – the world through a child’s eyes

Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I’m really into travel. In fact it’s quite uncharacteristic of me to stay in one place for so long (even if it is true what my husband says that living in Bali is like being on holiday every day). Of course I’ve had the whole being pregnant and having kids excuse for a while but now they’re getting bigger, I’m starting to daydream about another travelling life – this time with kids in tow.

I’m pretty sure these dreams will stay dreams for the next few years at least (the Balinese frown on travelling far from home, especially not young children) but I’m hoping I might be able to twist Made’s arm into agreeing to a little family holiday in the next couple of years. My brother and I travelled a lot as kids – mostly camping holidays in France, road tripping around Europe and Thomas Cook holidays to somewhere random and sunny – my mother would have the bags packed for weeks not knowing where we were going, just waiting for the right deal to come along. I want the same for my kids.

I think it’s so important to show kids the world outside their front doorstep, no matter where they live. Everyone says how lucky my two are to grow up here and I agree but I’d still like them to see more of the world.

So here is my little wishlist of kid-friendly travel ideas. Maybe we’ll get to some of them one day

Tokyo, Japan

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I’ve visited Tokyo several times and I love it so much. I think it would be a million times better with kids – there’s so much for them to do here and I could blame my excessive shopping on buying stuff for the kids when actually it’s for me.

Kerala, India

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I never wanted to go to India before I went there. In fact I was kind of dreading it and wondering why on earth I’d put it on my itinerary. I guess it was fate or kismet or the universe telling me I needed to go there because of course I loved it. I only visited the north of India but I’ve heard such amazing things about the south – Kerala in particular. I want my kids to see it too.

Lapland

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Santa lives there. Need I say more?

New Zealand

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I had a ticket and a work visa all ready for NZ but I never quite made it there. I still want to go and my dad returned from a month stay there a couple of weeks ago and raved about it. I’d love to hire a camper van and travel along the length of the country with the kids.

Sweden

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Despite my love of  Nordic countries, I somehow never quite made it out to Sweden (and had a disproportionate number of visits to Norway) so maybe I can make it up by going back with my kids. It’s always struck me as a particularly child-friendly country and I love Scandinavian design – the kids clothes in particular are amazing. Yes ok I want to go there to shop.

I don’t know when (if ever) I’ll get on the road with my kids as the idea of travelling with 2 little people sounds kind of daunting. But I’m inspired by my friend Erica’s travels across Indonesia with her daughter (and now son too!). She’s so intrepid – like she just went to Bandung with a newborn and a pre-schooler. Insane! and inspiring. The furthest I’ve ever been with both kids is Candidasa, which is like 40km away….

If you have any location ideas for travelling with kids, please send them my way so I can add to my wishlist :)

Oh also I had photocredits for all of these but then my browser crashed and I lost all my open tabs (with the credit links) so sorry if I’ve stolen your photo – please let me know so I can give you credit!

12/52

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Maya’s art class has been postponed for a month so we had another fun afternoon at the beach – the last before grandad leaves tomorrow, sob sob! While i had a million of photos to choose from of Kiran, i couldn’t resist this one – he’s so cute!

Last week I loved this touching moment, this grass skirt and this imaginative player.

Linking up with Jodi

How to eat with locals in Bali

2014-03-14 15.23.01Some of the best and most memorable experiences I had when I was travelling were from getting off the tourist trail and meeting locals. I had a fabulous dinner with a Cambodian family (complete with deep fried tarantulas!!) who were getting ready for a ceremony. Of course let’s not forget the handsome local I met in Bali who changed my life forever :P (that would be my husband!)

Locals cook the best food, know the best places to go (that aren’t in the guidebook) and it’s just generally fascinating and heartwarming to have a proper conversation with someone who lives in the country you’re visiting. I made sure to do this in every country I visited from Nepal to Thailand to Vietnam.

The only problem is that it can be quite hard to meet locals unless you have an existing contact. Safety is also an issue – it’s not always advisable to go off with someone you’ve just met in the street and you really have to use your street smarts to weigh up if it’s a genuine offer of friendship (and turning it down would make you miss out on an amazing experience) or if you’re putting yourself in danger.

So when I heard about Withlocals, I just thought it was a wonderful idea and why had nobody come up with it before? The website connects you, the traveller, with locals in countries all over Asia for experiences including meals, tours and other activities. It’s a much more personal experience than booking a tour with a company and you get the opportunity to forge real connections and friendships with people who can explain more about their culture and lifestyle in the country you’re visiting.

After browsing the available options in Bali, we decided to book a homestyle Javanese meal with Dotty. We chose this experience because we thought she sounded interesting to talk to (we were right!) and Javanese food would make a nice change from Balinese food for me.

IMG_2339 2014-03-14 15.22.24 2014-03-14 15.30.12 IMG_2356 IMG_2350 IMG_2349 2014-03-14 15.34.51 IMG_2361We’d arrived pretty late due to a mixup with directions but were still welcomed graciously into Dotty’s home. Her house was beautiful (the photos really don’t do it justice!) and was located on top of a hill with sweeping rice field views. She also runs a B&B from her home, which you can book through airbnb. We ate upstairs for the fantastic view and then had tea downstairs.

As we were so late, we were starving when we got there, which was a good thing as there was so much to eat! We had a real feast of sweet soy chicken, tempe, sweetcorn fritters, curried eggs and this vegetable which is my favourite – they call it jepang here in Bali. We ate until we were stuffed and there was still loads leftover.

After lunch we had papaya and the most amazing lemongrass tea made with cinnamon, ginger and palm sugar.

While the food was amazing, what really made the experience was Dotty herself. She was incredibly welcoming and friendly and fascinating to talk to. After living in Jakarta, Australia, and now Bali (and having grownup children living in the UK among other places) she’s got a really metropolitan view on the world and it was fascinating discussing her life and the differences between Bali and Jakarta.

We had a lovely afternoon and i could have really stayed chatting well into the evening but our poor taxi driver had been waiting for us for over 2 hours :p

Anyway, definitely a great experience and excellent value for money and if you’re travelling anywhere in Asia I’d strongly recommend seeing what experiences you can do from the Withlocals website (I’m going to be listing Made on there soon if you need a Bali tour guide!)

In which I break my little girl’s heart and other tales of bad parenting

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Today is Monday. Monday is my Day to Get Stuff Done as it’s my mother in law’s day off when she usually takes the kids all day and I have an entire day to get as much work and other stuff as I can done without distractions.

This morning i got up just after 5am (super early for me) but didn’t get straight to work as I knew i had the whole day. Instead a had a long shower and just browsed around online until Kiran woke up at 6 (also super early for me but he always wakes up early when I do). Made is out doing a tour today and was leaving at 7 so he took Kiran straight over to the inlaws. Maya was still asleep so the plan was for my father in law to pick her up later.

Now Maya is going through a phase where she only wants to be with me and never wants to go to her grandparents house. We usually get around this by me hiding upstairs and working, Made tells her I’ve gone into ubud, she has a tiny winge and then goes off without complaint. This is much easier than the torment of trying to make her leave when she can still hear me… usually…

So after waking Maya up, getting her breakfast and bathed and playing for a bit it was 10am, i still hadn’t got any work done and no sign of father in law.  I decide as i’m not going to get anything done anyway, I’ll put maya in the sling (yes, 3.5 year-olds still fit in sakura bloom slings!), we can walk into ubud, she can play with the toys at Bali Buddha while i have a coffee and she might even eat something (she’s also going through a no eating phase). Maya brightened up at the idea of going out and got herself dressed (she’d been refusing to put any clothes on up until this point) and brushed her hair and teeth.

Just before we’re about to head out of the door, father in law turns up to take her over to their house. Of course she doesn’t want to go and even goes inside the house and shuts the door. I take this opportunity to hide around the corner, at which point Father in law tells her i’ve gone out and scoops her up. I can hear her wailing all the way down the road. Guilt guilt guilt.

Of course she doesn’t want to go when she wanted to go out with me and now she thinks I’ve gone without her. Sigh. I can’t even concentrate on work now, I feel so terrible, hence blogging instead. I want to go bring her back.

During this last month or 2 when the internet has been down so much and I haven’t been able to work, i’ve been spending a lot more time with the kids. Maya is at such a fun age now and i really like spending time with her. I can take her out in public without worrying about her trashing the place and she’s also happy to sit and play on her own for ages. I’ve really enjoyed this time of doing very little work, even though it means we’re kind of broke now. Ideally our plan would be for made to work more so I can do less but that’s easier said than done (i have a whole other post on this still in draft).

So for the last few weeks i’ve been prioritizing sleep and children instead of work and it does make a very nice change, even if it’s not terribly practical as a long-term solution. I read this post from jodi this morning and it makes perfect sense to me. We’re still working on it.

But for now, i’d better go and actually do some work so breaking my daughter’s heart wasn’t a total waste. sigh.

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