12 Days of Christmas

Christmas is on 14 days away

This year, we’re taking it super easy with Christmas. There won’t be any presents, just a trip for a few days with the loved ones (guess that’s a gift in itself). We won’t have to worry special meals or special entertainment. It will be very relaxed and we’re looking forward to it.

Still, we understand not everyone will have it this relaxed. If you are expecting the in-laws or want to enjoy your beautiful home without the clutter during the holidays, we have the perfect solution for you:

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Do we need Christmas presents for children?

Christmas presents for children

Alternative presents for children

Recently, I followed a lively debate on social media. Should children get Christmas presents or not?

The same question could be asked for anyone. Do we need to give presents on a specific date, just because it’s that day? Like many during that debate, I’d say no. Society almost forces us to give on Christmas Day, birthday days, Diwali, wedding anniversaries, Eid, Valentine’s Day, you name it. Shouldn’t we rather give when we want to?

But let’s stick to the question for children.

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How to plan a surprise party – the easy way

Watch that face at a surprise party

Living in this transient region, it’s just a matter of time until a friend moves away. For us, our beloved friend Miss H is getting ready to leave. Being rather secretive about her departure date, we thought she’d leave without saying the dreaded good-bye. What more of a reason do you need to throw a surprise party? For you to enjoy the priceless expression on your friend’s face, we’ve this checklist to plan a surprise party the easy way.

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August is for celebrations

August is for celebrations

We are ready for some celebrations!

What’s your favourite month? We love August! It’s the month for sunflowers, going on holidays, relaxing days on the beach, school’s still out, good times. And it’s my birthday! For us, that’s a reason to celebrate.

We’re not the only ones celebrating

One of our corporate clients is having a special birthday this month: The big 40! For him, it’s a bit of a bitter sweet birthday, yet, plenty of celebrations! He associates his thirties with fun, adventure and growth. Listening to his fabulous stories over a cup of coffee and it’s like he’s taking you into another world!

This birthday, he’s decided to go all out. He’s invited family and friends to a rented holiday home where he’ll get the caterers to bring out delicious foods. You can probably his excitement about his party. It’s not only a party. It’s spending time with his loved ones and treating them to something special.

Take stock August is for celebrations

Take some time to review the last year

Birthdays, or anniversaries for that matter, are a great time to reflect on the last year. If you are like me, life can be busy and we may not always recognise our progress and achievements. Special dates can give us that time to take stock. We can also give ourselves that pad on the back. Whether we’ve finally completed that qualification by long-distance learning, started working again after taking a longer break or jumped on the treadmill for the first time, acknowledge your progress. Maybe you even want to include it into your celebrations?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  1. What were my proudest moments last year? And how do I define proud?
  2. What were the three biggest challenges I faced? How did I overcome them? What did l learn from them?
  3. For what or whom was I grateful last year?
  4. Who or what has influenced and impact me this last year?
  5. What did I learn about myself (my family, friends, work, hobbies, etc.) that surprised me?
  6. How have I changed as a person over the last year?
  7. Have my actions last year brought me closer to achieving my goals? Have they been in sync with my values?

Make the next year August is for celebrations

Create a year with meaning

Just as you look back, you can set your intentions for the next year. Intentions give you more purpose and are thought to be more effective then just goals alone. By giving your year ahead more aim, you can live a (more) fulfilled life.

Here are some questions that can help you prepare for the next year:

  1. What are my top three goals for the next year?
  2. What do I want to learn this year? How will I learn it (e.g. take a class, attend webinars, get a coach)?
  3. What do I want to give to my family, friends, work, hobbies and community (local and larger)?
  4. How will I look after myself? Physically, mentally?
  5. What pressure do I want to remove?
  6. What a word or phrase will I choose as your motto or mantra for the year ahead?
  7. How will my future year look like? Create a collage if you are a creative person or prefer this over expression yourself with words.

And then there are gifts

As with other celebrations, we seem to get so many presents. A few years ago, we’ve decided in our home to limit the amount spent on Christmas gifts. It’s EUR 30 (USD 35, AED 128). For some, this is a lot while many folks seem to spend more. We choose this to focus more on something meaningful without going into debt.

As for my birthday, there won’t be any gifts. I won’t, however, say no to birthdays. They give you an opportunity to write a personal message and wishes for the birthday kid. When was the last time you actually wrote something with a pen?

Give an experience August is for celebrations

Still going for an experience

Don’t run to the shops and buy a crappy last minute present. You can carefully check with the birthday child if they even want a present. The trend for experiences continues. And if you live in a transient place like we do, you never know when people move. Who wants to relocate all their junk? Nobody we know wants this. Here are some ideas for experiences:

  1. Ziplining session
  2. Cooking class for a cuisine they’ve been wanting to try out
  3. Spa treatment for while you’re watching her kids
  4. Walking photography tour around their city
  5. Support to write and publish their book

Donations are also high up there. For folks like us who have everything we need, let’s give something back. Whether it’s a donation to the Irish Cancer Society, a feline friends chapter or the local library, there are so many worthy causes out there.

We are getting ready for August and all the celebrations. What are you getting ready for?

Until next time,
Agni

Why we could use another week of Ramadan

We could use another week

This is now the 6th Ramadan we’re experiencing in this region. Each Ramadan has taught us something new about a different religion and culture. Still, we hold up our “live and let live” view and we won’t get involved in religion. Where many leave the city during this time, we were here and we’ll miss it. In fact, we could another week. Why?

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What to give as a wedding present

What to give as a wedding present

Great ideas for a wedding present

Hello, wedding season! April is generally the start of the wedding season in the Western world and invitations keep flowing in. In fact, this weekend, one of our friends tied the know and she looked stunning. The couple were so looking forward to spending their special day with friends and family. What a beautiful day it had been!

With every wedding invitation also comes a bunch of other questions. What to wear? Will we stay longer and make it a (mini) break? Or what shall we give as a present?

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Are you ready for graduation?

Are you ready for graduation

What needs to be done for a graduation party

This weekend, my friend and I were talking about graduation. Her son is finishing up the last few days of high school and can’t wait to start his next chapter in life. It was exciting to see him thrilled about his college choice and his mom, my friend from school, prepare for the party. I loved how relaxed both about it, mainly because they are prepared.

To also enjoy a stress-free party, we’re giving you this checklist today:

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Prepare for the wedding season

Prepare for the wedding season

Join your friends for their wedding celebrations

The month of May is also the beginning of the wedding season for so many couples. We’re excited to attend our first wedding of 2018 soon. It will be a joyful event and we can’t wait to see old friends and family members again.

With weddings costing on average GBP 27,161 in the UK or over USD 30,000 in the US, it’s not a cheap day out for anyone. Plan and budget for attending a wedding to enjoy the day with a beautiful couple to the max!

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What happened during the first week of 2018?

What have you done in 2018?

2018 started without a bang. Unlike previous years, there was no party nor any hassle. The couch provided the perfect spot to watch the laser show hosted by Burj Khalifa. For me, it was liberating to only be that evening. No big fuss entertaining, deciding what to wear, when to meet. And the theme of calm continued the next day.

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