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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hamilton

What feels like the beginning of the end….

So here we are, another two months have been and gone since my last post and I am so completely and utterly thankful that there is a glimmer of light at the end of this very long tunnel of Covid that we have been stuck inside of.

At the start of July, it was Danny’s birthday. We had high hopes that restrictions would have eased by then, but they were actually getting worse (more on that below). So, how did we celebrate then, well Emma and I made a lemon cheesecake (Danny is not a fan of the traditional birthday cake), we got dressed up as though we were going out, stuck Fat Tony on YouTube, made some cocktails, ordered pizza and had our own mini party.

And although I can’t speak for Danny, it was one of the best afternoons in lockdown (and probably the year so far)!

July as a month was pretty challenging as the Covid numbers just seemed to get worse and worse, so much so that we were in the top five countries in the world for most number of Covid cases per million. It came as a relief when the ministry announced that Oman would be going back into lockdown on the 25 July for two weeks.

It wasn’t a hard lockdown, but they stipulated there would be no movement between governates (which are a bit like counties back in the UK) and between the hours of 7pm – 6am you were not allowed outside.

The night ban didn’t faze us as we hadn’t been going out anywhere anyway. By the end of the first week in lockdown the case numbers had seemed to drop significantly which seemed really positive and then by the end of the second week it was announced that the lockdown had worked. Case numbers had dropped (although government hospitals had stopped testing people with mild symptoms at this point so this likely had something to do with it) and as of today the recoveries are up to 93.5%.

On 17 August it was announced that the fifth package of commercial activities could open. This included International restaurants and hotel restaurants could open as long as specific guidelines were followed and also hotel pools could open and be used by in-hotel guests only i.e. you could only use if you were paying for a room. However it was stipulated that alcohol could not be served in restaurants (😒).

Emma’s love for cooking has blossomed. I now can’t prep dinner without Emma wanting to join in as well, which also means it takes twice as long to do anything and I have to have eyes in the side and back of my head, but I do love watching her experience new things and trying new foods.

If you read my last post you will remember that I have been doing the Body Coach 90 day plan which I am so ecstatic to say that I graduated from on the 11 August.

In total I lost 5kg and 21 inches and it was hands down the best thing I did for myself during lockdown, mainly for my mental health more than anything else.

If you want to have a look at my results, I set up a separate accountability IG account called @flabulous_to_fitish. I have now signed up to do the 90-day graduate plan, which is challenging me mentally and physically as the exercises are much more intensive, but I am determined.

So being that we don’t get out often, one of the most exciting trips out at the start of August was going to the booze shop! Danny usually goes without me, so when I had the opportunity to go with him I jumped (as I said I haven’t got out much recently)! I was really intrigued to see what these places looked like too. When you park up, you wouldn’t really know the shop was there (see below image on the left), but inside it is like a posh off-license.

It is mainly American brands and from the start of July the alcohol tax went up to 100% so it is now insanely expensive for certain brands i.e. a case of Asahi is now roughly 39 OMR, which is about £80!

The average cost for a decent bottle of wine is 6.5/7 OMR, so £14 and the highlight for me was a bottle of pink prosecco for 8 OMR, so £16…bargain 😜.

Last Thursday it will have been 21 weeks that Emma has been stuck inside for, so as restrictions have started to lift a little more, we made the decision to go to the beach first thing. Thursday, 20 August 2020 will stick in my mind for a very long time as it was amazing to be outside the perimeters of our home with Emma and it felt like a huge weight had lifted. Danny and I wore masks but Emma wouldn’t keep one on for longer than five seconds, so we left it off.

There were very few people about and those who were maintained social distancing so we felt perfectly safe and I actually felt safer on the beach than I would any day in the fruit and veg section of the supermarkets over here where the word ‘social distancing’ is non-existent.

Last Sunday afternoon we went for an early dinner at Tomato which is one of the restaurants inside the Intercontinental and also one of the few restaurants in Muscat which serves Pork products. We had reserved a table, but the restaurant was pretty much empty, bar one other table. The restaurant felt exceptionally clean (as usual) and the tables were spaced out by roughly two metres (not that I went around measuring but as a guestimate). We were brought over barcodes to scan with our phones which then brought up the menu for you to view (although they did have wipe down menus available for you to view if you didn’t have the phone option). Once our drinks came we removed our masks and felt comfortable to do so seeing as the restaurant was very quiet. The staff were incredibly efficient, and the chef even came out to check on how everything was which we thought was a really nice touch.

Next week we have booked to go to the Shangri-La for two nights as a mini staycation and it will be amazing to have a change of scenery and also to be able to go swimming with Emma, which is something I will never take for granted ever again.

I recently read a piece of content about luxury and how most of us regard the word luxury as being something rare, the expensive, the exclusive and something which is unattainable however right now I regard luxury as going for a walk along the beach with my daughter, going to sit in a coffee shop with a good book, giving my mum a massive hug, having a glass of wine with my best friends, going out for dinner with my husband, having some family time with my in-laws, going for a manicure, shopping with my daughter (even food shopping would be good), having lunch with my sister or even leaving my front door without a mask on.

Now some of things I will hopefully be able to do in the next couple of weeks/months however some won’t be till next year now and when they do happen I will hold onto those moments a little more tightly than I would have previously.

In the last hour it has just been announced that the sixth commercial package will open from tomorrow which means beauty salons, barbers, Arabic camel racing (been really waiting for that one 😂), Fitness halls, public restaurants and cafes can now open! I don’t think I can contain my excitement, but I have a feeling September is going to be a great month!!

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