Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

Everyday experiences with twins. The ups, downs and downright unexpected.

Normal Service Has Been Resumed August 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 4:57 pm
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So we’re back in the sandpit and just about coming up for air. The journey back was bearable. Obviously none of the children felt the urge to sleep during the first six and a half hours of the flight, but twin 1 and big brother nodded off as we came in to land. Power napping I think it’s called, though the ‘power’ was somewhat lacking when we woke them both up ten minutes later. Both lacked a degree of oomph and were less than impressed at swapping a plane for a bus as we’d landed so far out of Terminal 3, we may as well have flown to Abu Dhabi.

The ‘courtesy’ bus did about 56 laps of the airport before dropping us in Arrivals by which point we’d forgotten we’d been on a plane at all and had no idea where we were. Fortunately, someone at the front of the queue still had their marbles, so we shuffled sheep-like in convoy, hoping that our purpose would become clear shortly. There was the usual ‘grunt, shrug, grunt’ greeting waiting for us at passport control and a complete lack of loan buggies in any of the racks. So far, so predictable.

And then things looked up. As we approached the carousel, our suitcases were already circling for us and when we stepped outside the terminal, our car was ready with air con blasting. When you’ve left Birmingham at midday in torrential rain and 14 degrees, it’s something of a shock to the system to be greeted by 39 degrees at 2am. You’d think we’d be used to it by now, but we still look like virginal tourists, dripping in sweat and diving into the nearest possible air conditioning at every opportunity.

I think the twins have actually completely wiped Dubai from their memories as they’ve spent the last 24 hours looking utterly dazed and confused. They’re happy to see all the toys they’ve forgotten about, and wreak havoc in a whole new home but there is no sign of any familiarity.

Twin 2 has finally decided that walking is in fact a good thing and is confidently tottering from room to room. The open plan spaces help hugely, as do the application of numerous stair gates by Daddy whilst we were gone, which prevent unauthorised adventures into the utility room and up and down the many stairs.

Other than that the only noticeable change is that I have developed the early onset of expat senility. Having spent the best part of two months away from my home, I seem to have completely forgotten where anything lives and how anything works. It took me at least ten minutes last night to locate mugs and teabags and then I had a serious dilemma as I couldn’t remember which water we used for drinks – tap or bottle? It’s at times like these that I seriously wonder if I’m safe to be left in charge of three small children.

I think the same thought may cross their minds from time to time too…


Flexible with the truth anyone? May 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 8:10 pm
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Back on the subject of moving house tonight I’m afraid.

As we’re currently ‘on the market’, I’m keeping a close eye on what is coming up for sale in our area, what’s under offer and generally trying to get a feel for the state of the property market in deepest, darkest Cheshire.

Having rejected the first offer we received, we’re now in that dark place wondering.. did we do the right thing?

And can we rely on our agent to present our home in it’s best light?

Whilst browsing Rightmove, it has become clear to me that estate agents really aren’t to be trusted. There is enough ambiguity, mystery and avoidance of the truth printed on most sales particulars to keep the Serious Fraud Office busy for months.

Some of the observations made by agents about properties are just ridiculous. I realise that the aim is to generate interest in a house, but honestly… do they have no shame?

Here are some of my favourite findings for you.

“New Price” – Bold type and splashed across the main photograph of a property. This begs the question, how can it have a ‘new price’? Surely it just has a price? And if the price has been changed, does that not suggest that the agent priced it incorrectly in the first place?

“Under New Instruction” – Now this must surely mean that the last agent couldn’t shift it, so the owners are chancing their luck with a new one? So, either the price is wrong, or the property’s a hovel!

“Viewing Advised” – Ok, sorry but does this mean that any properties that don’t carry this recommendation aren’t worth looking at?

“Only 3 remaining” – now this I could understand if it were in reference to a development of say, 50+ houses. But the developer in question has built 4 houses. Yes, 4 houses with ‘only’ 3 remaining. So he’s sold, um, 1? Not exactly a panic then is it?

“We are pleased to offer this unique property” – this was written about a 3 bed detached Bovis/Barratt/Bland box of which there are another 27, exactly the same, all within spitting distance. Unique, how?

“Architect designed modern home” – I’m hoping that at some point, an architect may have been involved with the planning and/or design of most homes? Because if he’s only been involved with the houses that mention him, there’s an awful lot out there that have just been thrown up by amateurs.

And my personal favourite this evening…

“Reduced by £60,000 for quick sale. Sensible offers considered” – loosely translated, “We’re bloody desperate to offload this shed and we’ll let it go for peanuts”.


A class act April 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 9:33 am
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I am convinced my twin daughters are destined for the stage. Over the past couple of days they have perfected the art of ‘the grand entrance’ and in doing so, have provided hours of amusement for the rest of us.

We live in an old villa in Dubai. Old in Dubai means anything that was built more than 5 years ago. We’re not talking a Georgian townhouse or 18th Century farmhouse. It has no architectural merit that I can find. In fact, armed with his Lego collection, my son could have designed something far more attractive that would have impressed Kevin McCloud and generated a spread in Homes and Gardens.

Anyway, the point is, the girls room in our ‘old’ house has a slightly strange layout as the curtains are not at the windows, but instead, hung above an opening that would have originally been the doorway to a balcony. At some point in its lengthy (!) history, the owners have obviously decided that the balcony was unnecessary and instead, incorporated it into the room by filling in the space with floor to ceiling windows.

So, what we’ve ended up with is a room with curtains, behind which is a much smaller room that has floor-to-ceiling glass and is therefore about as cool as a sauna. Given that this is the girls room, we try to leave the curtains shut as much as possible in an attempt to keep the temperature down.

The girls have now cottoned on to the fact that they can crawl through the curtains to the other side. They have also realised that by then crawling back through one of the other openings at either end, they can ‘surprise’ the waiting audience on the other side. Cue much hilarity.

By leaving a moment for dramatic effort, they can then burst through the curtains to applause and laughter. And if they do it simultaneously, with one twin at each end of the curtains, they generally get a cuddle for being so clever.

I’m just wondering at what age will RADA take them?


To sell or not to sell? April 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 9:29 am
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Given the number of times we’ve moved house, you’d think we’d be pros at the whole buying and selling lark. Yet every time we’re in the position to either buy or sell a property, we become indecisive wrecks.

I put this down to the fact that I find the experience very emotive. When viewing houses, I have an instinct that generally cuts in within seconds of stepping across the threshold. If I don’t get that feeling, then the house is off the list, out of the question, not worth looking around a second longer. It drives my husband insane.

Likewise I am very protective of the home that we currently own. I can accept that it is not perfect, that it would not suit everybody, but to me, it’s a fabulous house which I love and more importantly, holds lots of great memories. And anyone looking round it had better agree with me!

We’ve just put said house on the market. It went ‘live’ on all the key websites on Friday morning. By close of play Friday we had 5 viewings scheduled for the weekend. I knew we’d priced it too low!

Anyway, our agents are actually pretty good (though I’d never tell them this) and by Monday lunchtime, we had an email detailing the prospects who’d viewed together with their feedback.

This is the bit I hate. How dare anyone say that they’ve found a fault with my house. They should be extremely grateful to be given the chance of viewing it at all! Again, my husband despairs.

And then comes the interesting bit, of the 5 that viewed, 2 parties are ‘very interested’.  Hmmm. This gets us both thinking. Could we actually be in for an easy ride this time? Are we about to sell our house?

An hour later, an offer comes in. It is below the asking price though not embarrassingly so. And so the games begin.

My husband and I spend the best part of an hour second guessing exactly what the prospective buyers are thinking. Bearing in mind we know nothing about them other than their surname and that they are in ‘a position to proceed’; all we’re actually doing is speculating on the financial position and emotional attachment to our house of two complete strangers. We’d do just as well to go out onto the streets of Dubai and ask the first person we see how much they’d offer for our house.

So do we accept and then spend the next few weeks grumbling about how we wish we’d held out for more? Or do we thank them politely for their kind offer but explain very gently, that we just feel that it’s not high enough?

There are 2 further viewings already in the pipeline. Could they be the ones.

I just don’t know. It’s like playing poker without knowing what your own cards are, let alone anyone elses.

I say this every time, but this time I really mean it. Never again!