Happy first birthday to this blog!

Hi Everyone,

Today marks exactly one year since I started the Little Miss Expat Blog!! And I wanted to take some time to reflect on this year and to say thank you to all of you guys.

It was a dream of mine to start a blog for a really long time, and more than that I just wanted to help other expats who were going through the same thing I had just experienced. But it took a lot of courage to start this blog and share my writing with others because I was scared of what other people would say and of their reactions to my writing. But I am so happy that I decided to share my experiences on this blog, and your positive responses, messages, and comments have really made it all worth it.

Any blogger knows how much time and effort it takes to have your own site. Writing weekly posts, uploading to Instagram every day, replying to comments, taking photos, scheduling collaborations: maybe these don’t sound like hard jobs, but trust me, on top of everyday life, it’s a lot of work. It’s been hard to keep everything up, especially during really stressful weeks, but having an audience as responsive as you guys has made it worthwhile. Knowing that you appreciate my posts and that you like reading what I have to say, as well as inputting your own thoughts, has made me inspired to work even harder on this blog. I know it’s cliché, but we’re kind of like a family. You guys support me in everything I post here, and I do my best to support you guys with my blog posts.

I wanted to say thank you to all of you who follow this blog, my Instagram, or my Facebook page because you have allowed me do this, and experience this. Thank you for letting me know when you like something, telling me your own stories, and showing constant support for what I do. Also thank you to my family who always supports my blog, even if I force them to stop and take photos! And to all the companies and brands who have given me the opportunity to work with them. I can not thank you all enough!

I’ve loved doing this for you. Sitting in my bed in the evenings, pouring my heart into these posts, and reading your comments which just brighten up my day. And I thought that it wouldn’t be a true reflection post without me sharing some of my most favourite blog posts with you guys, so here they are:

Conquering Homesickness

Okay, so I wrote this post for myself, as much as I did for you guys. Because even though I’ve been an expat for four years now, I still feel homesick sometimes. I like this post a lot because this was raw, it was me thinking about ways to work through what I was feeling, and sharing it with you. I think there are some really good pieces of advice in there.

Words From Inspirational Women

I LOVED this post because there are just so many amazing words in here. I loved writing this one because I got to share some of my women inspirations, and some of the quotes that are the most powerful to me. I would really recommend reading some of the words in this post if you haven’t already.

Finding Happiness

So this post links to my expat story a lot because it has taken a while to settle in and become accustomed to my new surroundings. I finally feel at ease and happy with where I am, and I wanted to share that with you guys.

Clean Beauty – the guide to what it is, what to buy, and how it works

I was so excited about this post, and it was one of the most fun posts to write. Because I am so so passionate about using clean beauty products, and they’re something that has really made a huge difference to me, I wanted to share all of my advice on this subject with you guys.

What are we doing to the Earth? – Earth Day 2018

I felt really strongly about this post, as our ongoing environmental issues are something that I do a lot of work to help combat. I’m so happy I could share my message with this audience, as it’s a message that should be heard by everyone.

The Most Important Life Lesson I’ve Learned

This post was my honest advice, things that I’ve learned through tough times. And if someone asked me to give them just one piece of advice, this would be it. Always be yourself. It’s all explained in this post, and this is the post I would recommend the most if you’re new to my blog.

In this one year of blogging, there have also been a lot of times I could celebrate with you guys! From reaching my first 100 followers on Instagram to almost being at 500 now. From going from 5 to 150 followers on the blog. Receiving my Liebster blogging award, working on a collaboration with Little Miss Honey, The Salad Jar, Evolve Beauty, and having my writing published by the Expat Kids Club! (my writing will be live on their site soon) It has been an amazing year for the Little Miss Expat blog, and I owe a lot of it to you guys.

So to all of you that read my blog posts, thank you for supporting this journey. It really does mean the world to me.

Lots of love,

Little Miss Expat

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The Ultimate Bloggers Photography Guide

Hi Everyone!

Today I am so happy to share my most requested blog post with you guys. I’ve had people asking me for this post for a long time, and I finally had time to write a super long and in-depth post that will hopefully be worth the wait! This post is all about my blogging photography, and some of my tips and tricks.

I’ve always loved photography, I find it so interesting how you can snap a moment, and have that photo to look back and remember that exact point in time. For a long time before starting my blog I had been taking photos, but I just didn’t have anywhere to put them. That’s why when I started my blog, one of the things I was the most excited about, was finally being able to take photos and have somewhere to share them.

To be completely honest, I am no expert in photography, I don’t take lessons. But I think my photos speak for themselves. Most of the tips and techniques I use, I have pretty much taught or worked out myself. I would love to learn more about photography in the future, so if you have any good recommendations for photography blogs or online classes be sure to leave them in the comments!

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This photography guide will include all of the tips I’ve been using in my 1 year of blogging, and I will go through each style of photo that I take, and how I take them. However, if there’s something that I don’t cover in this post, feel free to leave it in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

What Equipment Do I Use?

Okay, so first up, the most important thing before I get into all of my tips and tricks. What kind of equipment do I use? Like I said, I’m not a full-time photographer, so I don’t have all the fancy equipment. I think for a blogger it depends on what kind of photos you take, and then you can decide on what equipment you’ll need. Honestly, I think you realise what you need as you go along and see what you’re missing. For me, I started out with a DSLR camera that I had from before I started my blog, the Nikon DX VR. And I assumed that this is what I would use to take my photos. But really as I started getting into blogging I realised that it was much more practical for me to use my phone to take photos if they were on the go, and I only really used my DSLR camera when I scheduled in a ‘photoshoot’ which I’ll talk a bit about later.

When I’m taking photos for a specific blog post, or I have some products I need to get in a shot, for example in a flat lay, then I will use my camera. But, for most of the photos, you see on my Instagram (@Little.Miss.Expat) they are things I see as I’m walking around, or restaurants that I’ve eaten at, and I don’t really take my camera with me when I go out, so they’re taken on my phone. I do have some tips for getting good photos on my phone, which maybe I can write another blog post about if you like this one?

Recently I got a tripod, and that’s something that I’ve found really useful when I’m taking flat lay photos or product shots. My tripod is a Rollei tripod, and it’s super handy because I can pack it up to be really compact so I can take it with me when I’m traveling if I need to. But to be honest, for a beginner photographer, or a blogger who’s still working out their niche, I wouldn’t say that having a tripod is essential. If you find yourself doing a lot more food photography or product photography, then I would invest in one.

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One example of me using my tripod to take photos for my Travel Essentials post.

Planning My Photos

So something that I usually do, if I know that I’ll need a photo for a specific post, or some general ‘blogging b-roll’ (which I’ll explain later) is set up a photoshoot for myself. I’ll usually sketch out what I want the photo to look like in a notebook where I keep all my blog post ideas, and I’ll look on Pinterest for some inspiration. I also keep a folder of photos on my Instagram that I save as I see them, for inspiration later on. If it’s a photo with myself in it, I’ll decide on the ‘vibe’ for the photo, and pick out an outfit that I think will compliment it. I usually get one of my sisters to take the photo if I’m in it, and I either get them to stand in the shot first, so I can show them want it to look like, and after they take a photo we keep looking back and adjusting it to get the photo to look like the one I planned. I also pick out a few props for photoshoots, I don’t have a set collection of props, the things I use in my photos are usually things I have lying around, such as books, plants, flowers, glasses etc… But one thing to remember is that these photos that I get from a scheduled photo shoot, are usually specific to one blog post, and not really the ones you’ll see on my Instagram. Here are some examples of photos I’ve taken from planned photoshoots.

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What’s ‘Blogging B-roll’

Okay so this is actually something I made up myself, I’m not sure if other people call it this. But when you shoot b-roll for a video, it’s the supplementary clips that are extra, that’s why my ‘blogging B-roll’ is extra photos that I have stashed, readily available. I post on my Instagram every day, which, let me tell you, is not easy. And 5 out of 7 days a week I’m at school, so I’m not really going to take photos of my life that day to share on my Instagram. That’s why when I am out, I use the opportunity to take lots of photos of the things that I’m doing, and maybe I won’t necessarily use them that day, but I have them as extra photos if I need to post them one day. Things such as views, outfits, places I visit, and food, are all examples of my blogging b-roll. Here are some examples of photos I use as blogging B-roll.

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How To Up Your Instagram Photography Game

First off, having ‘insta-worthy’ photos should not be a thing you worry about. Post what you want to, and photos you love. But if you’re looking to up your Instagram game, there are some things that I would recommend you do. Firstly, take good quality photos (which I’ll give my tips on later) but no amount of editing can make up for a bad quality photo. Secondly, editing is key, but don’t overdo it (I’ll let you in on some of my editing tricks later), and if you’re trying to build a feed for your photos, I would recommend using an app like UNUM. I’ve tried lots of Instagramming apps, and in my opinion, UNUM is the best, I can plan out my Instagram feed to see how it looks, and the app also collects data from my account to see when the best times for me to post are. As a blogger who’s always looking to increase my following, knowing when to post, and when my audience will be the most engaged, is vital. I use the predicted times from UNUM, and I compare them against times from ‘WhenToPost’ and ‘Prime’, and then decide on the best time for the day.

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Onto The Tips…

Lighting is key. I can not stress this enough! In my opinion, lighting is the most important part of taking a good photo. I have no idea how to use professional studio lights or anything like that, but natural light does the trick. I’ll never take an Instagram photo at night, or in a room without any windows, because the photo just comes out grainy, or with shadows all over it. If you’re scheduling a photo shoot, or you know you need to take a photo, be sure to do it during a time where the sun is still out.

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In these photos, the lighting was just not right, and I could not get them to look better when I edited them, so I never ended up using them.

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DO NOT overdo the editing! The number of times I’ve been scrolling through my Instagram feed and seen perfectly good photos, over-edited and completely ruined is countless. With editing, less is more. I usually put my photos onto VSCO, and add a subtle filter to them, then I up the exposure and contrast a bit, and sometimes put in a colored tone. If the photo doesn’t look to promising when it’s raw, I won’t push the editing, because no amount of editing will make up for a bad photo. Editing is not a changer, it’s an enhancer, and it should be used like that.

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Learn how your camera works. When I went into starting this blog, I basically just knew how to take a photo on my camera, I had no idea how to do any kind of cool effects. Only recently did I read up on my camera, and learn how to change the aperture to blur out the background, and use the macro setting to take close-ups of wildlife.

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I used the macro setting to get this really detailed shot of a bee. 

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I changed the aperture to blur the background in this photo.

Follow the lines of the photo. So this may sound a bit weird, but one thing to consider when taking photos that you want to look visually appealing is to make the photo look simple in the eye of the beholder. So if things are lopsided and skewed, the photo just isn’t going to look appealing to the audience because, at least for me, it doesn’t look organized in my brain. If you’re taking a photo of a building, make sure your photo lines up with the straight edges, instead of looking messy and unclean.

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There’s so much going on in this photo, that if all the lines were lopsided it just wouldn’t look clean.

X-Skew and Y-Skew are your new best friends. Some of my most useful editing tools are the X-Skew, and Y-Skew buttons on VSCO. Let me explain to you the magic of these two buttons. If I’m taking a flay lay, and my phone wasn’t exactly right over the table, or my angle of a building is taken from lower down and the proportions look a bit off, I can just whip out these tools and fix it up. The X-Skew and Y-Skew buttons tilt the photos up, down, and side to side, basically it’s an instant proportion fixer. I’ll put some before and after photos below to show you exactly what I mean by this.

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Before

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After

If all fails, just try again. Your photos are not going to turn out perfect every time you take them, that’s just a fact. Sometimes I put a lot of effort into a photo, but I just can’t get it right, maybe my pose is weird, or the background is off, but there’s just something that’s not right with the photo. Don’t be discouraged, pick out specifically what you don’t like about the photo, and next time you can make sure you change that. Some of the first photos I took for my blog, I can not believe that I uploaded. If I look at the progression of my photos on this blog, I can see how much they’ve changed by picking out the small details I wanted to change as I went along.

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I wanted to take a photo for my New Years blog post, but these just didn’t turn out how I wanted them. So….

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I went home and tried again, and got these great photos.

Capture the moment. As I said, photos are something special, you’re capturing a moment in a shot. And these moments don’t come around all the time. If you see something interesting, or a shot that looks really cool, don’t count on it being there tomorrow. Just take the opportunity today, go out and take the photo, because you never know if it will turn out the same tomorrow.

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Tomorrow this may not be there. It’s better that I captured that shot when I saw it, rather than waiting. 

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Take the photo as your eyes see it. Okay so this one seems pretty obvious, but this has to be the most useful tip I’ve worked out. How many times have you seen something, and thought, wow that would be a great photo, only to take it and realise it doesn’t really look that good? One of the things I do to remedy this is put my camera where eyes are, because if I’m looking at something and it looks great in my eyes, surely if I place the camera where I was looking from, I’ll be able to get that shot. And it really works! Sometimes all you have to do is step back and reassess your perspective to get a nice photo.

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I wanted to get a photo of this really cute restaurant, but it just wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to. So I went back and reassessed my perspective and got this!

Know where to place your subject. So this question was asked on my Instagram, and I think it’s actually a very interesting one. Most of us tend to put the subject of our photo in the center, but there are other ways to do it. I would say if you’re standing in an alleyway where your eye is naturally being drawn to the center because of the lines, place your subject there. But for other photos, if you’ve ever heard of the rule of thirds, that could be something cool to try. It basically means that if you placed a 3×3  grid over your photo, the subject would be in either the left or the right third, not the center one. This can be good to use if there’s a view behind you that you want to show in the picture, or if you want to mix things up a bit.

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In this photo, the archway draws the eye to the center of the photo, so that’s where I placed the subject here. 

Go out and search for the magic. In the end, if you use all these tips and you just take the same photos over and over again, there’s no point. Chanel your creativity into your photos, and open your eyes. I think one of the reasons I’ve been so successful with my photos, is because I can see the potential things.  I’ll see something when I’m out, and it may look like the most insignificant object, but I think, wow that would look great in a photo, and those end up being some of the best photos I’ve taken.

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Okay, so this has probably been the longest post I’ve ever written! But I had so many tips I wanted to share with you guys, as you’ve been asking how I take my photos for a really long time. If you want to see more of my photos you can take a look at my Instagram account (@Little.Miss.Expat). I will for sure do more posts like this, as I still want to share tips on how to take flat lay photos, and photos of yourself. But please let me know if you found this useful! And how about we all leave our best photography tip in the comments section so this can be a collaborative guide for anyone to use?

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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Where is home?

Hi Everyone!

I have finally finished school for the summer, and I am so so happy! Every summer I travel back to London, to spend the summer holidays here, and this year was no different. I’ve been in London for around 3 days now, and it has been amazing. Usually, I don’t hold high hopes for the summer weather in London, but it has been sunny and warm the whole time I’ve been here so far (but I don’t want to jinx it).

I came back to London in Spring Break as well, and that’s when this blog post idea popped into my head. It’s kind of weird coming back to this place where I spent 12 years of my life; seeing how much everything has changed, and how much I’ve changed since I lived here. It’s funny that when I’m in Dubai I call London home, and when I’m in London I call Dubai home because I don’t really know which one it is.

London still holds all these memories for me, but I can not imagine myself living here anymore, and I love the life I have in Dubai. So which one is my home? When I’m feeling lonely or I’m having a bad day in Dubai I wish I could be back home in London. But when I’m in London and it’s cold and rainy I wish I could be back home in Dubai. Sometimes I feel like my definition of home just changes depending on my mood.

Perhaps a better way to answer this question is to unpack the word home. I’m sure we’ve all heard that cliché saying ‘the home is where the heart is’ but when you think about it, it’s true. The reason why sometimes I feel like I want to go back home to London is because, that’s my safe place and I have fond memories of it, my heart wants to be there when I’m feeling certain emotions such as sadness and loneliness. But, on the other hand, sometimes my heart wants to be in Dubai when I’m ready for an adventure and some sun.

This is totally okay, it’s kind of like the concept of Horcruxes in Harry Potter, how you can split your soul into pieces and leave them in different places, but it’s less gruesome. As an expat, or a third culture kid, my heart is all over the place, different places in the world mean different things to me. And that is okay. You don’t have to fit into one specific box, you don’t need to have just one home. I’ll be the first to admit, the place I call home changes all the time, but it’s never just one place. My home will always be made up from different places.

What are your home’s, and where do you feel like you’re from? I hope this post was interesting for you, and that some of you can relate. Let me know in the comments!

Little Miss Expat

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Travel Essentials

Hey Everyone!

The summer holidays are so so close, and I am super excited to be heading out on all my summer adventures. I’m traveling a lot this summer, and I’m going to be taking a lot of plane rides. So I thought it might be useful to share what I usually take on the plane with me, and a few of my travel hacks for anyone else who is also traveling this summer.

When I was younger, I used to hate plane rides. I would get terrible plane sickness, and I would just find the plane journeys so boring. Luckily, since then I’ve grown out of my plane sickness, but there are still things I ensure to do on the plane to keep myself entertained.

To be completely honest I kind of enjoy the calmness of a flight, because it’s a block of time where you’re not connected to the internet (unless you use OnAir) and you can take some time to disconnect. I never used to fall asleep on flights, but now I’m so tired all the time (life of a high school student) that I usually just sleep for a lot of the flight. However, there are other things I like to get done on a flight, which I’ll share in this post.

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So, onto my travel essentials; I like to be prepared for any occasion, but from all my experience with flights I kind of know what I am going to need. Number one is a sturdy bag that closes properly, I don’t like traveling with a tote bag or something similar because you can’t zip them shut. And I prefer a backpack to a carry on case,  because you can just keep a backpack under the seat in front of you and it’s easier to get things out. The backpack I usually travel with is from Herschel, and it’s sturdy and easy to carry around.

In terms of essentials for the plane, the two things that I always make sure I have are a spare pair of socks and another huge sweater. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I always get really cold on plane rides, so I like to be prepared. I usually travel in a hoodie or a sweater in the first place, but I bring a second one for when I get really cold. Also, while you’re not wearing the second sweater you can ball it up and use it as a pillow. My feet also get really cold, so I am sure to have a spare pair of socks packed in my bag.

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For entertainment, I pretty much know what I enjoy doing on flights, but it may be different for you. If I’m on a plane where they have some movies or TV shows I’m interested in, I’ll just watch them for a bit, and if they don’t I’ll probably just download something on my phone, and use my headphones. But I don’t really watch TV for the whole plane ride, in fact, if it’s a short ride I actually just read a book, and for longer flights, I’ll watch some TV, but I like to also read, sleep, and get some homework done. I know it doesn’t sound very appealing, but if you’re on a long flight, you have a whole chunk of time where you can be productive, and I like it because it cuts down the amount of work I have to do when I get to my destination. I usually save the homework such as reading and taking notes for flights, things that don’t require too much energy. (also be sure to pack chargers for your laptop and phone + an adapter)

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Now for food and snacks, my favourite part! If you have read my blog at all, you will know that I am ALWAYS hungry. So on a flight, where I’m just sitting there for hours, I tend to get especially hungry. I’ll usually eat some of the meal they give you on the plane, but I also like to bring my own snacks. Things like popcorn are good to have, and protein balls fill me up for a really long time so they’re great to have with me. (the protein balls I have are the Sarahs_Day x The Health Lab ones) I’m also the kind of person that usually drinks A LOT of water throughout the day, and normally I stay really hydrated. So on a plane where you naturally get dehydrated, and I don’t have constant access to a water tap, I struggle a bit. It’s a good idea to bring a reusable water bottle that you can just ask the flight attendant to refill it. Also before I get on the plane I also like to get 2 huge bottles of water that will keep me going for the flight. One more thing that I keep in my plane bag is mint flavoured chewing gum. If you’re just feeling a bit groggy after a flight, or your ears are blocked from the altitude mint chewing gum will really help you.

Also if you get airsick, mint chewing gum will help take away that nauseous feeling. Another thing that will really help is finding a scent that will relax your body. What I mean by that is, using a roll on perfume or oil that will calm your body down and make you feel less nauseous. When I was younger and I felt really sick on flights, my dad used to cover a small towel with perfume and give it to me, and that would distract my body from feeling nauseous and sick.

I’ve created a downloadable list that has all of the items that I’ve been talking about so that you can easily tick off what you have for your flight. Little Miss Expat In Flight Packing List. I hope reading what I take on flights has been useful, and please be sure to let me know in the comments anything else that you take on flights, I would love to know! I hope everyone has an amazing summer and enjoys their travels!

Little Miss Expat

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It’s that time of the year again… ‘Moving Season’

Hi guys,

As the school year draws to a close, and the summer holidays are getting nearer, I for one am super excited! But for any expatriates, it ushers in this dreaded time of year, the moving season. For anyone who lives abroad, or goes to an international school, the end of the school year means saying goodbye to some people but also meeting a lot of new people in September.

I for one really dislike this ‘season’, it will always be really hard to see friends leave, and any expatriate will know the struggle. Especially in a place like Dubai where a lot of people only stay for around 2 years before they move onto their next home. And for someone who’s used to being the one leaving, it’s hard to be the one staying behind and saying goodbye.

Last year one of my really good friends moved to Paris, I still miss seeing her every day, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit her. I thought it might be interesting to get her input on this topic and ask her a few questions about what it felt like when she moved. Here they are!

What did you find the hardest thing about moving?

Honestly, the hardest thing about moving was adapting to a new city. Since I moved to Paris, at first, it was really difficult for me to speak French when ordering coffee, or shopping around. My mom or friends would have to order food for me! Eventually, I had to start speaking French and doing things myself. I just needed the confidence! Another thing was socializing with new people. I found it really awkward to start conversations with new people (despite being very talkative) because I was scared that they would judge me. But don’t hesitate to start a conversation with someone! They might end up being one of your really close friends.

How did you feel in your first few days in your new home?

I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed actually! When our boxes arrived, we had 168 of them! Everything was all over the place! I felt the most stressed with my own stuff because I had to find my school supplies, arrange my room (which was a complete disaster), and figure out where to place everything. A few days later, all the boxes were gone and we could finally enjoy our new home! I really love our apartment now and feel completely relaxed when I come into my room.

Looking back now, are you happy where you are now and that you moved?

I am really happy that I moved. However, it did take me a few months to actually realize that I wasn’t going to move back to Dubai. I was really sad and down at the beginning of our move (despite being in Paris!), but I knew that I was going to visit Dubai and keep in touch with my friends 24/7. I’ve learned so many things about this city, and have had so many new and fun experiences! Paris is a really amazing place to live in, and I am beyond lucky to call it my home.

What’s one thing you will always miss about Dubai?

This sounds super cheesy but my friends! I’ve known some of my friends there since I was in 4th grade, so it was really hard to leave them. I had the best memories ever there and I am so so lucky and grateful that I get to keep all of those souvenirs with them.

Is there one piece of advice you would give to someone moving?

Get out and about! When I first moved, everyone kept inviting me to go places with them, but I was so nervous because I didn’t know the city. Looking back, now I regret not going out with those friends because I’m sure we would have been much closer now. Some tips: download some apps for your city! Apps such as CityMapper: tells you when the next train, bus, or metro arrives. Dojo: a great app to show you all the new restaurants, and activities to go to in multiple cities! Bandsintown: tells you all the artists playing in your choice of city! These apps are essential especially when you don’t know what to do or where to go!

A huge thank you to my friend for answering all of these questions! And I hope her advice is useful to anyone moving abroad this summer! As the friend who was not the one moving, I also wanted to give you guys a bit of advice, as I know it can be really hard.

One thing that’s really important to remember is that you’re not just going to completely fall out of touch with your friend. Sure, you won’t see them in person as much as you used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them any less. You can still call, facetime, message, snapchat each other weird photos, or send each other funny memes on Instagram. Just because a friend is moving away it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. It just means the friendship will take a new form. I still talk to my friend all the time, and we were even lucky enough to visit each other. (some of you might remember my Paris blog post, that’s when I visited her)

Overall, I think it’s just super important to remember that life is what you make of it, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control the way that you deal with it and what you make of the situation. People moving away is one of those situations which is sad, but also exciting as it’s the start of a new adventure for the person moving. And as the friend staying behind, you also have to support your friend with this new chapter in their life. Don’t view moving as something bad, shift your focus, and see it as the start of something exciting and different.

I hope this advice helped some of you! And let me know if you liked this format of this post with the interview. Another massive thank you to my friend and all her advice in this post, I really hope you guys enjoyed it!

Little Miss Expat

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The Most Important Life Lesson I’ve Learned

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to sit down and write a really important post for you guys this week. I feel like I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to really share my thoughts with you in a while, but I finally have a little bit of time to talk about this. Today I want to share a lesson I’ve learned through experience and a lesson that I think everyone needs to know. And that is the lesson of staying true to yourself and your values.

This week I’ve experienced the power of this lesson once again, and I feel like it’s something that affects your life no matter how old you are.

In this world which is constantly changing, where your popularity seems to be based on your follower count, where people no longer have the connection to talk to each other anymore, and where everyone seems to be ‘following the crowd’, and doing what’s ‘trendy’ instead of what they believe in. It’s hard to stay true to yourself. It’s hard to say ‘no’. It’s hard to catch hold of what you really believe in without being influenced in a negative way. But I’m here today to tell you, you aren’t alone, I for one will always do my best to stay true to myself and my values.

It’s a daily struggle of mine, and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one doing it. But as I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, the best decision I’ve ever made was to stay true to myself and let my own values guide me. What do I mean by this? I’m a High School student, and every day I see people being influenced and changing what they believe in to fit in with others or to fit in with the ‘right’ crowd. And it sucks. Because that is not what I believe in. And it’s hard, don’t get me wrong. It is hard to stand up for what you believe in, and sometimes it means saying goodbye to people, but being true to yourself is honouring yourself and your thoughts. In 20 years time, we will regret changing ourselves just to fit in with the popular crowd in High School, your own values will be so trampled upon that they will no longer be able to guide you.

Your values, your beliefs, and who you are, are the most important gifts you have, and you should treasure them. They are what makes us unique, allow us to move forward, and enjoy what we do. And that’s why it makes me sad when I see people tossing away their values every day. Because I believe in all of us. Every single one of you that reads my blog. I believe that you are all special in your own unique way, and I think that you should just keep being you, no matter what everyone else is doing. I believe that every single one of you should do what makes you happy, not what ‘looks’ best to the crowd. Let your own values guide you, and don’t do something you wouldn’t do if others weren’t there watching you. Because in the end, that’s the true way to finding happiness.

For me, over the years I’ve had the opportunity to change myself so many times, to do things I don’t believe in. And looking back I am so happy I never did them. Instead, I did what really makes me happy: I watched more sunsets, I ate good food, I went for long runs, I helped others, I spent time with my family, I made great friends, and I couldn’t be a happier person now. Sure I have those days as well where I feel left out or like I don’t fit in, but don’t we all get them? I’m just content with being who I really am, and it’s refreshing not to have to pretend to be someone I’m not.

So to all you High School students out there, this is my message to you. Do not change yourself for anyone. Do what makes you happy. And let your values guide you down the path you were meant to take. I believe in all of you, your own unique personalities, you’re all special.

What are your thoughts on this?

Lots of Love

Little Miss Expat

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5 Of My Favourite Places To Eat In Dubai

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a pretty busy week, with my finals coming up and finishing some exams, but summer is so close!!! It’s also the start of Ramadan, for those of you who don’t know, Ramadan is the month where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day, which means I am fasting, and I’m currently really hungry & dreaming of food, so I thought I would share some of my favourite eating spots in Dubai with you.

As most of you know breakfast is my favourite meal of the day because I am a total morning person, so most of these restaurants and cafes are great for breakfast, but I’ll also share some lunch and dinner spots with you as well!

Tashas Cafe – I love going here for breakfast, but their lunch and dinner is still amazing. Everything at Tasha’s is so well done, the food is always fresh and delicious, and their cakes and muffins taste so good!

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3 Fils – A really cute restaurant in the Fishing Harbour, perfect for lunch or dinner. I love their sushi and sliders, and they also have a ‘mystery dish’ on the menu, which is really great!

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Freinds Avenue Cafe – I literally spend all my weekends here, their matcha lattes are soooo good, and the cafe is such a cute place to hang out with friends. Everything on their menu is so unique and bursting with flavour, I love it.

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Black Tap – Their shakes are AMAZING, my favourite is the oreo one!!! They also serve really great burgers, you can find them in Jumeirah or JBR.

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Salt – This food truck set up on Kite Beach serves (in my opinion) the best burgers in Dubai. They also have a lotus biscuit milkshake, which I absolutely love. The atmosphere of Salt is so chilled, as the ocean is right in front of you, and they have plenty of cozy seating.

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These are some of my favourite eating spots in Dubai, let me know if you’ve tried any of them! What are your favourite restaurants in Dubai or where you live? I would love to know!

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat 

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