Having lived as an expat in Qatar for a year, there are certain items from home that I’ve started to appreciate more and more. Some of them have a lot of sentimental value and meaning behind them; others are important simply because they represent all things British.
1. Homeware items in our kitchen
Clockwise from top left: Emma Bridgewater ‘Truly Great’ Tea Caddy – currently on sale, here; Chatsworth House mug which you can buy from the house itself; McVitie’s London Bus mug (limited edition with packs of Digestives I’m afraid, and the offer is now over); Emma Brigewater Union Jack mug, which you can purchase here; Percy Pigs, available at all branches of Marks & Spencer Simply Food; I Love London tea bag dish, available on Amazon; personalised coaster (stolen from Lisa and Chris’ wedding); Tower Bridge Street sign from Portobello Road Market.
When your home life is generally focussed on preparing food and drinking tea, kitchen items hold particularly high sentimental value. All of the items above either remind us of a particular place or time that means a lot to both of us. And as you can see, they have all been well used and well loved!
2. Photos of family
From top: with my youngest siblings in Sydney; view of Tower Bridge at sunset; Rich and Nanny; the Byles family at Lisa’s wedding; my older siblings, nephew and Mummy Bags.
Three monkeys on a table.
As we don’t have the privilege of seeing these happy faces every day, photos have become even more meaningful to us out here. There are some great memories captured in these stills, and even though my nephew Ollie has changed beyond all recognition from the photo of him with his little monkey above, it still makes me smile every time I look at it.
3. Picture of Tower Bridge
Rich’s twin, Jim bought this beautiful print for him when he left for Qatar. It is by the artist, Colin Ruffell whom we have all loved for a while now. Rich had a flat in St Katharine Docks when he lived back in London, and this view is very similar to the one you saw as you exited his house – a part of London that is both iconic and meaningful to us. I thoroughly recommend that you check out Ruffell’s website if you love London, travel or a beautiful sunset.
4. Our engagement cards
We received most of these cards when we were back in London in September, and even though we’re now two months on, I just can’t bring myself to take them down. I sometimes find myself re-reading the lovely messages from family and friends as I pass and it reminds me of the good things we have to come when we head home for our wedding next summer.
5. Lottie’s engagement present
My brilliant friend and bridesmaid-to-be, Lottie made us this stunning picture as an engagement present. Each heart contains an old fashioned map of a place that means something to us and our story – with Nottingham University Campus top left, Doha bottom right and of course, London in the middle. A little reminder that wherever we go in the world, our lives brought us there for a reason!
6. Cringe Monkey
OK, this last one is a bit, well, cringe, but this little guy means a hell of a lot to me. Rich bought him for me on our first Christmas together, and he’s come everywhere with me ever since. A teddy is a key component to any strong relationship, right?! (I’m now thinking back to the comments I made on my post about relationships and regretting a few things…!)
Cringe or no cringe, I know that without any one of these items our apartment would feel less like home.
Expats, what do you have in your flat that reminds you of home?