Warning: Make sure you're sitting down for this one as it might be the most random/surreal/mad/unexpected/[insert preferred expletive here] kind of post I have written on this blog.
Stella + the Stars is turning one next week. If you knew me before Le Blog, you might remember how my journey started last year, and how it went from this epiphany I had while off work on maternity leave with my daughter Stella to... well, this blog and all the paying interior styling gigs that have come along with it. Not to make an actual living, mind, but in mama terms, well, enough to pay for childcare (most months!) and sometimes even a little bit on top. I felt emotional just reading my first ever post... Click here to reminisce with me.
So, I am about to drop the biggest bombshell since I started this little adventure almost a year ago. Typical isn't it? You come up with an idea, it takes you months to gather the courage and the brain cells to actually make it happen; after a few months of craziness it actually gets you somewhere and you slowly start moving on from the unavoidable 'what the f*ck am I doing?!' mindset to, 'right, I kind of got this!' territory... And then, just like that, something totes bonkers happens that can be incredibly exciting, but also the shittiest timing in history. And that's exactly what is happening .
Stella + the Stars is moving to the desert... No, it's not a joke, I swear. Surreal, yes, but also actually happening. Bear with me. A few months ago, hubby got offered an incredible opportunity to work from the Dubai office of his company. Yes, Dubai, as in the Middle East, six hours away from London, where it's very, VERY hot in the summer, and you can ski on an artificial slope, in the middle of the desert, after a shopping spree in the world's biggest mall. That Dubai.
So, what did we do? We went there at the end of last year, on a massive recce, with a bunch of checklists, full of stupid columns (pros, cons, 'can be handled', 'definite deal breaker', and so on...), without a clue what to expect (we were all Dubai virgins back then). We just wanted to see it for ourselves. Make our own bloody decision not based on someone else’s opinion on what they’d heard, rather than actual knowledge of having been there.
So, we went, we saw and we made the decision to conquer. Leaving everything we know in London to settle in a crazy new place with a bunch of people we've never met. For a year or two. Maybe more. New beginnings, I warned you, didn't I? What we had on the 'pros' column: adventure, all-year-round sun, daily access to the beach, kid-friendly heaven for Stella (it's beyond friendly, it's kids-snogging at this rate), actually affordable childcare, expat comfort, tax-free, crime-free, and finally, a once in a lifetime opportunity. I won't bore you with the list of endless 'cons', as I can imagine we all know what they are (including clichés and stereotypes).
Compared to Mr Stella + the Stars - who, although he travels more than a jet setter, has never actually lived outside the UK - it was a little easier for me to compute, as this will be the 4th time I pack my shit and move across countries. But the first time uprooting a family. Since we got back from our trip, Stella has just been screaming at random moments: 'When are we going to Dooooooobai?! Where is the SANDPIT?! Where is the FIIIIIISH?!' so, oddly, she's been the least of our worries in terms of upheaval. She's two, hopefully she won't remember and we'll come back enough for her to get her fix of her favourite London people..
No, my main anxiety, came from Stella + the Stars, my 'second' baby, and what the hell I was going to do with the blog, my styling job, after months of slaving away to get it to a place where success seems so much more accessible. It just felt so heartbreaking to have to leave it all here to start from scratch... But luckily, on our trip I made some really brilliant connections with fellow bloggers and interiors brands, coming back with some potential opportunities I never thought existed.
So, to quote the motto of the lovely Jenny for Mothers Meeting, where I happened to get my shit together a couple of years ago and got the inspiration to make Stella + the Stars a reality: IT'S NOT THE END, IT'S JUST THE BEGINNING... I bloody hope it's true.
And so the adventure starts for us, next week. I hope you can stay with me on this journey, even if it's just by watching from afar. I promise I'll keep the true spirit of what Stella + the Stars is all about: making you feel happy by giving you inspiration to make your home unique - no matter how deep your pockets are. Maybe with just a more global angle! This blog has always been about being a source of inspiration on all things interiors, home décor and design, while keeping that 'affordable' box well and truly ticked. And that, my friends, Middle East, or not, will never change.
As-salamu alaykum, peeps...
PS: Fancy staying at Stella + the Stars HQ while we are away? Well, click here and our house is yours...
[I'll be taking a little break for the next few weeks from the blog, while we travel and settle on the other side of the world, and hope to resume normal service at the end of June. You can still find my daily crazy updates on Instagram of course!]