Thursday, 17 April 2014

expat life: moving a dog

Moving the dog was probably one of the most stressful parts of the whole international moving process. She is a nervous dog to begin with and I wasn't sure how she would take getting into a travel crate, let alone the separation and the plane journey to a new country. But she seemed to take it all in her stride. But as an owner, making the transition process for the dog as smooth as possible, was high up on the priority list. 

Research the regulations
No matter what country your leaving or which country to going to, it is vital to check the regulations concerning dogs or any live animals for that matter. Many countries have certain rules and regulations concerning the export and import of live animals and it may not be as simple as you think, especially if non EU countries are involved. Although it can be a little confusing, do you research on government websites, consult airlines and speak with as many pet travel companies as you can. There are lots of things to think about including, vaccinations, quarantine, microchips, pet passports, export and import permits/documentation and airline travel regulations to name a few. 

Choose a reputable relocation company
This I guess also falls under the research category. If you choose to handle all the travel arrangements for your dog yourself, you're braver than me. We opted to pay a little extra for one relocation company to handle all arrangements including documentation, pick up and travel arrangements. We had to get all vaccinations, microchip and passport things done by our local vet, but aside from that the relocation company we used, Move One Inc offered a door-to-door service which meant nothing was left to chance. They arranged with the agent in Cyprus to handle all paperwork from the government and this took a huge weight off our minds. Knowing every document was in place really eases your nerves. Anyone moving animals in or out of Cyprus should contact the guys at Paphiakos Pets. They were incredibly helpful, super organised and cared for my dog as if she was her own. They kept in constant communication throughout the whole process right up until my dogs flight departed. 

Pay to keep your nerves in check
I am not going to lie, moving a dog from country to country is expensive but as a dog owner you have two choices, re-home the dog or take the dog and for us, taking the dog was the only choice. It wasn't even a choice actually, more like a requirement in the international moving imaginary checklist. She is 100% part of our family and there was no way I would re-home her. Where we go, she will go. As such we have made the commitment to spend whatever is necessary for her to travel safely. The costs will vary from country to country and will depend on the size of the dog, the country of arrival and in some cases the breed. But paying to keep your sanity is worth it. 

Prepare your dog for travelling
Preparation is key when it comes to relocating your dog. You shouldn't was the dogs bedding for a few weeks before the travel date since this will hold all their smells and will mean they have familiar smells in the travel crate with them. The morning of departure I was advised not to feed my dog as travel sickness can be common. Aside from that, it is obviously really important to ensure the required vaccinations have been given and the dog has a microchip and valid pet passport. 

Ensure normality at the other end
Getting arrangements in place at the other end means the dog will enter into a safe and calm environment. Ideally, having somewhere to live, dog food, leads and harness and a toy to start play time as soon as possible and take their mind of the journey they have just finished. Obviously, having one or all of the family at the other end will help the dog ease into the new country too. 

After going through the dog relocation process once, from start to finish, I feel a bit like an expert, so any worried expats out there, about to send their dog on a journey of a lifetime, feel free to contact me. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Coccinelle Mustard Satchel

My totally unexpected and much loved leaving present, was this gorgeous mustard yellow, Coccinelle satchel. And it was love at first sight. I honestly didn't expect a gift, but I was very excited unwrapping this beauty from my lovely work colleagues. 

I had been on the hunt for a while, for the perfect bag to transition between Cyprus, London and future destinations, which would be big enough to hold all the essentials, small enough to not annoy me, functional and fashionable. I had looked at loads of satchel bags but one never really spoke to me. They were nice sure, but not wow and picking a colour was a whole other issue. 

So the lovely girls that picked on eliminated all my stress about satchels in go. This is never a colour I would have picked and not because I don't love it. On the contrary, I love it! But I would never have been brave enough to purchase such a bold bag. Funnily enough, it adds the much needed pop of colour to my usual black outfits. And it is incredibly functional, holding my diary, ipad, purse, phone, oyster card, lip balm, gum, tissues and other random bits of make up I may have thrown in on any given day. 

Plus I love the simple and classy gold details in the buckles and poppers. The perfect understated bag to see you through summer and winter. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

I'm a boomerang kid

I am a boomerang kid. The generation of young adults, especially those in London who leave home and return just when our parents thought we were gone forever and the plans to change our bedroom into a gym could be implemented. 

In the past few months my father has had my brother back home for a short stint over christmas and just as soon as he got rid of him, I returned! Obviously my move back home was due to the limitations of international moving. But there are many theories behind the increase of young adults, especially in London wanting or needing to return to their parents home. 

The economic crisis which resulted in a lack of jobs, low incomes and particularly in London, super high housing costs and travel expenses is one. But living alone, making your own rules and carving out your own routine as an adult, not to mention the responsibilities of having your own apartment, all take a while to shrug off. As someone who has lived alone for the last three years, it is a little strange to move back to your parents and give up certain things including the dog and after a week, I think I have adjusted to my new surroundings. Because at the end of the day needs must. 

You have to be grateful for having parents who let you come and go no questions asked. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

sunday sound #16

Food: homemade falafel

It is fair to say that I have a little bit of time on my hands at the moment and as such thought I would do some experimentation in the kitchen. Cue, homemade falafel. 

Falafel are one of my favourite meat free items mainly because I love chickpeas and garlic and they have this incredible comfort food feeling without being unhealthy. And making them yourself is easier than you might think. Especially with this super simple recipe!

I roughly followed the recipe in my usual style, not really following the measurements, using two cans of pre-cooked chickpeas, adding some extra cumin and a little more garlic and made up 12 generous sized falafel, although I could have made them smaller and had about 16 of them. 

I shallow fried them for a few minutes on each side before popping them in the oven for about 15 minutes. And the result was better than I had expected; yummy falafel which held together well and had a nice soft texture. My main problem was that the blender broke down on me and I had to use a potato masher to soften the mixture so my falafel were a little more lumpy than they should of been. 

But with a huge plate of salad, some bulgar wheat and a generous dollop of humous, who cares. 


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