13th June 2017

On the subject of sharing photos of my children online…

19190877_10158867362955607_782359639_nIt happened this morning. I had five minutes to sit down on the sofa with a mug of coffee before the school drop – and I clicked onto Instagram to have a scroll. The fact that I was browsing social media while my kids watched a cartoon before school will have the judgy mums spluttering into their homemade oatmeal – but bear with me, because I’m only just getting started.

Because then I noticed something that stopped me in my tracks. A post from a fellow writer  here in the UAE telling other mothers why she never shows photos of her children on social media. I won’t be sharing the name of the writer, nor the website as this isn’t supposed to be a ‘name and shame’ – but I will say that the piece was titled “I know where your children are and what they are up to.” Woah. But it certainly made me click, which I guess was the intention.

So I did click – and I started reading. Apparently by sharing photos of my children online, I preventing them from living ‘virtually freely’. I won’t go into the rest of the article, but it follows a very similar tone. And the line that really threw me was: “You may choose otherwise and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are fully aware of the consequences.”

And that’s the bit that made me stop in my tracks.

Because we are the very first generation of mothers that has raised children in the world of social media. It didn’t happen when I was a child in the 80’s, nor when my parents were growing up in the 60’s. It wasn’t something that my grandparents or my parents had to worry about.

A little like deciding how your baby will be fed, whether you use a dummy or not, how you will discipline, whether you will allow screen time, where your kids will go to nursery or go to school (and the list goes on), choosing whether we share the faces of our children online is now a decision that every parent has to make for themselves.

And the truth is that nobody knows the consequences of choosing to share our children online. Nobody has ever stepped down these virtual cobblestones before.

We are all feeling our way in parenting as best we can – I’m a true believer that there are very few ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers – and criticising or scaring those that choose a different path is only going to make other mothers feel incredibly judged and filled with self-doubt. And I don’t think this is remotely helpful

But I digress.

So why do I share photos of my children online? For me it isn’t a blogging thing, as I only started this blog when my second child came into the world – and his brother had already been starring on my social media accounts for two years. For me, social media is a way of sharing my life with the world. And if my children didn’t feature, it honestly wouldn’t be my world. It would be an edited version.

And I’m not the only person that chooses to share their children online. Millions of other parents choose to do it too – mothers and fathers around the world, bloggers, photographers, celebrities, politicians, even royalty. I personally take steps to protect my children, such as never revealing their schools, nurseries, where we live, or the location of our regular activities. That makes me feel more comfortable with my decision – but I wouldn’t dream of judging anyone who didn’t follow the same steps.

Of course I have had moments when I’ve wondered ‘is this the right thing to do?” –  but for me, that moment of doubt is what makes me a mother. I had the same thoughts about breastfeeding, the same thoughts about giving my child a dummy, when choosing a car seat or a stroller, when wondering whether it was too early for my child to start school. We are natural born worriers – and I think that’s pretty much the definition of motherhood.

I am pretty sure that when my children are older and they look back at their life through the pictures and videos I have shared online, they are going to realise I made the decision purely through my love for them. I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to judge me for not being able to live ‘virtually freely’ (whatever that means).

And if you choose not to share your children online? I absolutely, wholeheartedly, enthusiastically respect you for that decision. Your life, your children, your decision.

There is no manual for motherhood, after all.

12th June 2017

A day in the life of Mum of Boys & Mabel…


5.30am – Stanley comes rushing into our bedroom and plonks himself on the end of our bed, saying ‘is it time to go downstairs?’ That’s enough to wake up Mabel, who sleeps in a cot alongside our bed. She starts moaning, because she’s still tired, but eventually rolls over, claps eyes on her big brother, and lets out a shriek of happiness. The day has begun.

6am – Wilfred joins his brother and sister on the bed and we manage to keep them there with the help of books, toys and cartoons on the TV. By 6.30am, we’ve all had enough and my husband heads downstairs with the kids.

6.30am – I shower, while my husband and our nanny start doing breakfast, packed lunches, and getting the boys ready for school. He makes coffee and brings it up to me. At 7.15am, we swap and he goes upstairs for a shower, while I take over downstairs.

7.45am – It’s time to head to school – 30 minutes later than usual, because it’s Ramadan and that means later school hours. We wave goodbye to Mabel, who is staying at home with her nanny for the morning – I usually work from home so I am at least around her as I work, but I have a meeting at Stanley’s school this morning, which means there isn’t time to head home if I want to get any work done. Luckily, the traffic isn’t too bad today. We drop Wilfred at nursery first, then I drop my husband at the metro, and head onto school to drop Stanley. The temperature is already 36’C at 8.30am.

8.45am – After dropping Stanley into his classroom, I head for a meeting in the school hall for parents of children moving up to Year 1 in September. We have the chance to wander around the classrooms, see current Year 1’s taking part in activities, and then listen to a chat about the transition in the school hall. The children look so much older and taller than Stanley and I ponder that for a while, imagining him amongst them in a year’s time. It definitely all goes too quickly, this parenting malarkey.

9.45am – I head back to the car and wince as I climb in, with 40’C hitting me in the face. I crank the AC up to high and head onto Sheikh Zayed Road.


10.15am – I’d usually work in a café near to school if I was working out for the morning, but it’s Ramadan so most cafes are closed. Instead, I drive a bit further to the Lakes to work in a restaurant called Reform (who are serving food behind frosted windows). I order poached eggs on toast, a cappuccino and an apple juice. I check my emails, respond to a few messages from companies here in Dubai, and start preparing a Facebook and Instagram post for Small & Mighty Babies. This support group are putting together memory boxes for parents going through neonatal death, stillbirth, or miscarriage – and need people to crochet hoods to go inside the boxes. After saving and editing the image to size, I write the text and press enter to upload. An email pings into my inbox within minutes from the founder of the organisation thanking me and saying that she’s already had two messages from families in need, which is great to hear.

10.45am – It’s now time to turn my attention to my freelance writing (‘The Day Job’ as I like to call it). Today I’m working on a beauty feature for an online magazine here in Dubai – and I need a botanical expert to provide a quote. I fire off a few emails in the hope of someone coming back to me – and within a few minutes, one has responded. We discuss over email what I need and the deadline for her quotes. I get started on the copy, between sips of cappuccino. I get up to 800 words (of a 1,500 feature) before it’s time to head back to the car (yuck – it’s hot again) and drive to school for pick-up.


12.45pm – Back to Stanley’s classroom in 39’C to collect him. I wait outside, urging him to be quick collecting his bags before I melt into a puddle on the floor. We head back to the car, then drive around the corner to nursery – and then we do it all over again. This time I have to get two boys in the car, both who have demands and requests that ensure their mother is a big hot mess by the time I manage to climb inside. Five minutes into the journey home, they both fall asleep.

1.30pm – We arrive home, with both boys still asleep in the back of the car. I pause for a few minutes in the drive to let them sleep for a little bit longer, enjoying a moment of peace. I check my email inbox, see that I have some important blog emails to respond to, and check all my social media account to see whether I need to respond to any comments or messages. After 10 minutes, I shut off the engine, wake up the boys, and head inside.

1.45pm – I make the boys a snack each and sit at my desk to reply to the emails. I manage to get 15 minutes of work done while the boys munch, before I hear Mabel waking up from her nap on the monitor.

2pm – I head upstairs to get Mabel – and as soon as she sees me at the door, she breaks into a ginormous grin. As we walk down the stairs, she shrieks – she always does this and I think it’s her way of saying ‘BROTHERS! I’M COMING! I’M ON MY WAY!” We spend the next few hours together in the lounge. Mabel crawls around investigating everything, the boys play with playdough, colour in their colouring books, and have scraps with pillows (of course). This is my time with the kids and I spend time on the floor playing with Mabel or helping the boys get toys. My nanny is done with childcare for the day, so she moves onto tidying, sorting laundry, or cleaning – this is something I will never take for granted, as it means I can dedicate my time entirely to the kids.


4.30pm – The boys are full of energy and getting on my nerves, so I throw them outside to play as the sun starts to cool. We don’t spend every afternoon at home – we often head for play dates or go to soft play in the summer, but on a Sunday it tends to be a little more relaxed as they’re all tired from the weekend. As I’m putting their dinner on the table, my husband walks through the door. He’s arriving home earlier than usual as it’s Ramadan – he’d usually make it home just before the boys get to bed at 7pm.

5pm – It’s dinner time and the kids sit up at the table to eat sausages, mashed potato and peas. Mabel is having toast fingers, cheese slices, and strawberries, along with a shop-bought apple puree. They all sit together eating (interrupted by both boys needing the toilet, both boys saying they don’t want their dinner, and Mabel throwing most of her dinner on the floor).

5.30pm – I run a bath for the all the kids. My husband sits by the bath and washes all their hair, while I gather together all the pyjamas on our bed next door. I realise we have no nappies left – so jump in the car and pull up at our community supermarket to buy them. But when I get to the checkout, I realise my purse is still sat at home on the side. As I climb back into my boiling hot car, I want to cry – but I hold it together. 5 minutes later, I get home – and my husband offers to head back to the supermarket to pay for the shopping.

6.30pm – Mabel is asleep in her cot – and the boys are in their pyjamas. I throw down a bowl of pasta waiting in the fridge and kiss the boys goodnight. I am so busy with work at the moment that I am heading out to work for the evening. My husband will put the boys to bed – and I’ll sit in a coffee shop and write a blog post and make some serious headway on my freelance beauty feature. Despite being freelance, I definitely work full-time hours – but I choose to be with the kids in the afternoon, which means I have to sacrifice my evenings. I work at least 6 evenings a week, usually on the sofa – but when work is really intensive, heading out to work means I am less distracted. Tonight is one of those nights where I have to focus. So I climb back in the car.

7pm – I make it to Costa, order a coffee, and open my laptop. I start typing and the hours run away. Occasionally I check my emails or reply to a message on WhatsApp. I also regularly check my social media accounts for comments or messages to reply to.

9.45pm – I get a message from my husband to say Mabel is unsettled and he is heading upstairs with a bottle. It’s not like her to be so unsettled this early in the evening (she usually saves that for 3am) so I decide work is done for the night and head back to the car.


9.53pm – I get home, check the calendar for tomorrow on the fridge, and realise Wilfred isn’t going to nursery tomorrow so I only need to get one packed lunch ready. Just as I’m about to start getting everything ready for his lunch, Mabel starts crying again. My husband takes over, as I run upstairs.

11pm – Mabel is still awake – and I’ve given up trying to get her back to sleep. We’re on the bed together, with the light on, playing with books and toys. It’s really unlike her so I think it must be teething. My eyes are bleary with tiredness – so when my husband comes to bed, he agrees to swap sides and try and settle her back in her cot as I get some sleep. I think she drops off around midnight – but I’m not entirely sure, because I’m asleep by that point, dreaming of packed lunch boxes, Year 1 classrooms, ethical beauty features, and future blog posts. And by 5.30am, the day will start all over again…

8th June 2017

Why we’ve finally taken out a RSA Home Insurance Policy…

10392193_304633675606_5994875_nIt was 2008 and I was living in Blackheath, London with my then-boyfriend and our dog, when he suddenly dropped the bombshell that he had been offered a position in Dubai. He told me that he was only going to stay 6 months, so I decided to move back into my parent’s house with the dog – and fly out to Dubai regularly for holidays. But 6 months turned into 18 months – and after getting married on a snowy day in Greenwich in December 2010, I thought I better commit to the Dubai thing (given we were married now and all).

So I flew out with a couple of suitcases in January 2011 – and our life as a married couple began in the desert. We rented a flat, bought the bare necessities in furniture from IKEA, and set up utility accounts and phone numbers. But the one thing we never did back then – nor for the 6 years afterwards – is think about taking out home insurance.

And we aren’t alone. Apparently only 6% of UAE residents are estimated to have home contents insurance (source here) – and whilst it’s shocking that the other 94% would have zero to fall back on if disaster struck at home, I am really not surprised.

Because just like us, they probably see Dubai as transient. Arriving with a suitcase, buying second-hand or very cheap furniture, renting places to live rather than buying, and never knowing when expat life will be over and it’ll be time to head back home.

So why did we take out a policy?

After I heard that statistic, it got me thinking. And I looked around our villa at the things we had accrued over the years. The pictures on the walls, the TV, the computers, the cameras, the iPads, the children’s toys, the stacks of books in the bookcase, the growing collection of furniture, rugs, and kitchen equipment. And then upstairs, the clothes in our wardrobes, the shoes, the jewellery, the accessories, the bed linen, the towels… The list went on in my mind – and if, god forbid, we had a theft, a flood or a fire, a lot of it may be gone.


But RSA Home Insurance is about more than that too – it’s about being covered for emergency accommodation while you get things sorted, if belongings are damaged in transit when moving house, if your door keys are stolen and you need the locks changed, if your deep freezer breaks and you lose everything inside, and much more.

 The extras

You can also add things onto the policy – I added the replacement of lost documents, as I know how expensive it is to replace them (my husband accidently throwing away Mabel’s birth certificate is testament to that).


And that’s not all, as you can also choose to add the belongings of your domestic staff or additional tenants to the policy too.

And it’s not just at home that your belongings are protected, but those you choose to take out of the house too. So if I took my laptop out with me one day and managed to lose it (even the thought gives me the chills), I would now be covered on our home insurance policy.

How much?

It’s really easy and quick to get a quote. Just head to www.rsadirect.ae/home-insurance and click on ‘Start your home insurance quote’. It took me a few minutes to get my quote, agree to the terms, and click through to pay for it. An email then quickly pinged into my inbox with our policy documents, where they can be filed away safely for if we ever need them.


Our policy cost 1,035 AED for an annual policy, which I think is fantastic value for the level of cover we have – and really not much when you consider what a godsend it could be, if we had a disaster. Policies start at just a few hundred dirhams, making it really very affordable.

The funny thing is that after 6 years of not thinking we need home insurance, I feel really relieved that we have it sorted!

Head over to www.rsadirect.ae/home-insurance now to get your quote.

In collaboration with RSA Insurance


6th June 2017


graphic with text inside-finalThere aren’t many areas of parenting where I’d claim to be an expert – but travelling with kids is probably one I’d put my hand up to… After all, since becoming a Mum just five years ago, I have travelled back and forth from the UK to Dubai (and the odd far-flung trip in between) with a frequency that would probably bring most non-expat mums out in a cold sweat. In fact, when we fly back to the UK for our summer holiday in July, it will be Stanley’s 31st long-haul flight, Wilfred’s 16th, and Mabel’s 5th.

I’m quite relaxed about flying in general – but over the years, I have done one thing to prepare – and that is put together activity packs to keep the children entertained when we buckle up in our airplane seats. I’ve spent hours trawling the malls for the perfect additions for these kits in the past – and it’s not only been expensive, but hugely time consuming too.

So when the brilliant online kid’s store Kidore.com asked if I’d like to help collate a selection of Flight Packs for different ages – all at the amazing price of 100 AED all in – I jumped at the chance.

After all, they’d save me time and money as Mum – and they’d save all of you time and money too. So that’s a parenting win in my book…

Each item has been picked for being small and lightweight, meaning the packs are easy to transport in hand luggage – and they are also individually packaged, so Mummy can pull them out one-by-one throughout the journey.

So without further ado, here are the 7 different Fun Flight Packs you can buy for your kids at Kidore.com from today – at just 100 AED. There is a link below each set to click through and order.

Happy flying!

The Baby (0-15 months) – Travel Pack


Contains: Hard Back “Who Am I?” Book, Pixie Rattle, Mini Wire Beads, Wooden ‘My First Book’, and Small Wooden Car.

100 AED

Click here to order

The Active Baby (15 months – 2 years) – Travel Pack


Contains: Hard Back “Who Am I?” Book, Mini Wire Beads, Wooden ‘My First Book’, and Small Wooden Car, Handy Block Puzzle.

100 AED

Click here to order

The Toddler – Travel Pack

 The Toddler

Contains: Hard Board Book about a Pilot, Small Magnetic Bead Trace, Crayola Jumbo Crayons, Wooden Maze, Eye Spy, and Small Wooden Car.

100 AED

Click here to order

The Kid – Travel Pack

The Kid

Contains: Crayola Colour by Numbers Book, “The Elves And The Shoemaker” Story Book, Eye Spy, Minions Pairs & Donkey Game, Bendy Pencil and Mega Activities Assorted Puzzles & Colouring Book.

100 AED

Click here to order

The Arty Princess – Travel Pack

The Arty Princess

Contains: How’s it different ‘Spot the difference’ game, Disney Happy Families Card Game, Princess Craft Egg (contains 4 markers, 4 crayons, 2 ink pads, 2 finger pots and 10 colouring sheets), Bendy Pencil, and Magnetic Scribbler.

100 AED

Click here to order

The Arty Superhero – Travel Pack

 Arty Superhero

Contains: How’s it different ‘Spot the difference’ game, Minions Happy Families Card Game, Finding Dory Craft Egg (contains 4 markers, 4 crayons, 2 ink pads, 2 finger pots and 10 colouring sheets), Bendy Pencil, and Magnetic Scribbler.

100 AED

Click here to order

The Tween Swag

Tween Swag

Contains: ‘Wonders of the World’ Book, Origami Paper Folding Book, Hugga A6 Notebook, Bendy Pencil, and Shuffle Pictureka.

100 AED

Click here to order


To view the full range, click here



1st June 2017

When two become three…

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 21.17.04Mabel was sat on the living room rug today, surrounded by her toys.

She can crawl now.

Slowly, unsteadily.

But she can crawl.

And her brothers are suddenly fascinated by it. They laugh hysterically from the sofa, jumping down to copy her, hand her toys, or (in Stanley’s case) cuddle her until she flops down on her tummy.

I watch them – and I am suddenly struck by the fact that I have three proper children.

Not two brothers and a baby.

Three actual children.

But it’s more than that. Because as I stand back and watch them, ready to pounce if she’s in danger of getting squashed or she approaches a toy that definitely isn’t baby friendly, I am suddenly struck by the fact that the boys have a sibling.

Not a little baby, to tickle or coo at in her cot.

But a sister.

To play with, to laugh with, to argue with over toys, and to bond with.  And as I watch them together, playing on that rug with sunlight dappled in their hair, my mind skips forward.

And I think about the future.

I think about three children together on the beach, playing together in the sand, fighting over who gets the orange spade. I think about three teenagers in the house – two older brothers, keeping an eye on a younger sister, no doubt arguing over who gets to go in the bathroom first. I think about weddings, I think about big family gatherings, I think about a troup of cousins, I think about family holidays on mass, I think about Christmases years in the future. I think about the fact there are five of us now – and these flashes forward all seem very real.

And I know it won’t always be harmonious as they grow up together – but they will have one another.

When I was heavily pregnant last year, I worried a lot about how a new baby was going to change the dynamic of our family. I couldn’t wait to meet our baby – but I didn’t want her to change the relationship between the boys. I was pleased when I found out she was a girl, as the boys could still be brothers and nothing would touch their bond.

But watching them play together today, with the sunlight dancing in their hair, it suddenly became very clear.

I didn’t need to worry

Because they are working it all out for themselves.

And how beautiful – totally, gobsmackingly, tear-inducing, wonderfully beautiful – it is to watch it all happen.

Right there on the living room rug.

31st May 2017

10 things to expect when your baby learns to crawl…

18902645_10158801528805607_1012090826_n1. Coffee shops will not be your friend for a while. Coffee is still wonderful – but learning to enjoy it at home / at other people’s houses is recommended. Remember; practice makes perfect – and if your now-moving baby still isn’t a fan of sleeping (yawn), you will have plenty of opportunity to nail the perfect cup at home.

2. Baby toys will no longer be interesting. The best things ever will now be the remote control, your mobile phone, the cat, the dog, anything that belongs to an older sibling, glasses of water, glasses for your face, and old raisins / biscuits that fell down the back of the sofa a few months ago. Hide everything. Or consider investing in a baby cage.

3. Any feelings of broodiness for another baby will now disappear for a while. Consider a crawling / walking baby as Mother Nature’s natural contraceptive. If you are already pregnant, it is very normal to have nightmarish visions about being stuck on the sofa feeding a newborn, while an older sibling wreaks havoc on the house. And nine months later, that is exactly what will happen.

4. The toilet will no longer be your ‘safe place’. They will follow you.

5. If you ever make the mistake of handing your crawling baby a snack, be prepared to still be finding crumbs weeks later. Alternatively, trail behind with a dustpan and brush / mini hoover. Or just trap them in the high chair – every. single. time.

6. Consider filling a kitchen cupboard with unbreakable objects for your baby to quietly empty on the kitchen floor. And then watch as they ignore it completely and make a start on unpacking your fine china instead.

7. You will seriously consider designing a baby outfit made from bubble wrap. Or covering the floor of your entire home in soft padding. And maybe the walls too. But just as you sit down to start designing a prototype, your baby will take their first big tumble and you’ll realise you missed the boat.

8. You will find yourself shouting ‘Noooo!’, ‘Come back!’, “Stay there!”, and ‘‘Wait!’ more than you’d like to. And if you’ve ever owned a dog, the similarities won’t be lost on you.

9. Kiss goodbye to long baby cuddles in bed in the morning. Finding their way to the end of the bed, in order to ‘base jump’ to the floor will be the single most important mission of the day.

10. If a friend suggests a play date in a park, you will laugh hysterically, ask her if she’s mad, and then promptly suggest an alternative venue with four walls, super safe baby gates, and strong coffee on tap instead. And that is the very point when a wild love affair / absolute hatred with soft play areas begins. And you will stay there for the next 10 years.

28th May 2017

6 to try this Ramadan…

Ramadan Kareem everyone!

I’ve been invited to try a few different Iftars and Ramadan offerings over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d round them up in a blog post – with a couple more I plan to try over the coming weeks. They are all quite different, so there should be something for everyone – and whether you are Muslim and fasting or a non-Muslim here in Dubai during the Holy Month, I hope you have a great few weeks ahead!

1. Al Hadeerah Iftar Tent at Bab Al Shams


I’m a big fan of this hotel, which is located in the desert close to Al Qudra – and the Iftar was very special. Imagine walking along a path lit by lanterns through desert dunes at sunset, to discover a big desert camp, complete with a varied, bustling Iftar buffet – and a giant air conditioned tent to dine in. Not forgetting the entertainment, which is just brilliant (expect dancing, music, camels and horses). We tried it out last week and I was reminded how magical this hotel and restaurant are – you must try it.

From sunset until 10.30pm, throughout Ramadan

250 AED per person  (Sunday to Wednesday)

270 AED per person (Thursday to Saturday)

Visit website here

2. Iftar Menu at Burger & Lobster, DIFC


At the polar opposite, is the Iftar menu at Burger & Lobster – which offers a very non-traditional (but delicious) Iftar set menu for small groups or larger families. While you enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of this popular restaurant after dark, you can tuck into cheese burgers, mini lobster rolls, soup of the day, grilled lobster and chips, and your choice of milkshakes (and much more). I am booked in to try this Iftar later this week, so keep an eye on my Instagram page for more details!

Until midnight (Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Sat) and until 2am (Thurs and Fri), throughout Ramadan

From 119 AED per person

Visit website here

3. Suq Restaurant and Tent at Four Seasons Resort Dubai


If you haven’t yet visited Four Seasons on Jumeirah Beach Road, this Ramadan gives you the perfect opportunity. The hotel itself is grand and luxurious, with Suq being the perfect restaurant to book for Iftar. Imagine a big buffet of mezze, Arabic fare, Italian dishes, a live barbecue, fresh sushi and Indian dishes. We tried it last month were suitably impressed. Just wait until you try the Kanafeh for desert – I’ve never tasted anything like it and have been thinking about it ever since!

From 7pm to 9pm, throughout Ramadan

245 AED per person

Visit website here

4. Arboretum Iftar at Jumeirah Al Qasr


This Iftar has a bit of everything – a stunning setting overlooking the waterways and sea, a large and varied Iftar buffet of traditional and international cuisine, and lots of extra touches (make sure you catch the henna lady, who draws the most beautiful, intricate designs in what seems like seconds). It’s a grand setting and feels very special – but works equally well for couples and big groups. My sister and I tried it out together a few weeks ago and we spent hours at the table chatting, heading to and from the buffet bar. Recommended!

From sunset, throughout Ramadan

195 AED per person

Visit website here

5. Arrows & Sparrows


This Iftar sounds amazing – and I will be trying it out very soon (keep an eye on my Insta-Stories). Located in The Greens, this popular bright and airy café has transformed into a traditional and intimate Sicilian restaurant for the whole of Ramadan, complete with a typical Sicilian menu. Mozzarella and Courgette Salad with Brioche, a Sicilian Charcuterie Board, Black Squid Ink Seafood Pasta, Raspberry Cheesecake, Traditional Caprese Salad, plus many other dishes, including a signature creation from the Executive Chef; Crispy Kunafa Burrata with Pistachio Crumbs (it sounds insane – in a very good way!) As a BIG fan of Italian food, I can not wait to try it!

From sunset, throughout Ramadan

Al la Carte prices

Visit website here

And now for something completely different….

6. Ramadan Treats at Softouch Spa, Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates


I haven’t been to a spa since Mabel was born and I was very much craving some ‘me time’ and pampering – so when I heard that the 24-hour Softouch Spa at Kempinski Hotel was offering some amazing rates throughout Ramadan, I knew I had to try it. I had an Aromatherapy Massage, which lasts for 60 minutes and costs just 250 AED throughout Ramadan – and believe me, it was wonderful (both the luxurious setting, the brilliant therapist, and the fact I could go any time of the day or night). I’ve listed the deals below, which all come highly recommended by me.

60-minute Aromatherapy Massage – only 250 AED

Book any 90-minute treatment – and get a free mini facial

Spend 650 AED in the spa and enjoy treatments worth up to 1,000 AED (including a full body massage, full body scrub, and either an express manicure or an express pedicure).

(all offers must be booked separately, you can’t tag one onto the other).

Throughout Ramadan, 24 hours a day

Visit website here

19th May 2017

Our family photo shoot with Lidiya Kalichuk Photography…

I have been meaning to share this blog post for a few weeks now, but I wanted time to look through every single photo and choose my very favourite to share with you. Tonight, I finally had that time – and it has been such a joy looking through these photos of my family again.

It was photographer Lidiya’s idea that there should be two halves to this photo shoot. The first at home, late afternoon, with documentary style photographs. And the second in the desert, as the boys ran up and down the sand dunes, just as the sun started to set.

This is the second time Lidiya has photographed our family (for the first shoot, click here). I was so happy with the photos she took in December 2015 that I have them framed all over my house. I really feel like Lidiya can capture the personality of children in photographs – and I was keen to have some updated shots of the boys, but with little sister involved too.

So without further ado, here are my favourite photographs that Lidiya took that day – and to say I love them is an understatement. Now I just have the difficult task of choosing which to frame… Scroll to the bottom for a link to her website.

Louise_resized_01 Louise_resized_18 Louise_resized_10 Louise_resized_11 Louise_resized_09 Louise_resized_12 Louise_resized_22 Louise_resized_30 Louise_resized_33 Louise_resized_35 Louise_resized_36 Louise_resized_37 Louise_resized_38 Louise_resized_40 Louise_resized_51 Louise_resized_54 Louise_resized_44 Louise_resized_61 Louise_resized_59 Louise_resized_47 Louise_resized_65 Louise_resized_68 Louise_resized_80 18341778_1299635546739537_4111549117514961565_n Louise_resized_81

Visit www.lidiyakalichuk.com

17th May 2017

Currently Loving – May 2017

So here we are in May. The weather is getting pretty steamy here in Dubai – and we are getting closer to Ramadan, Eid, and the school holidays. I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by. Mabel is 8 months old today, which means she’s a lot closer to her first birthday than she is to that moment she was handed to me on a hospital bed (sob). I’d like time to slow down now please – but in the meantime, here is what we’ve been buying, trying, and visiting this month…

Currently Loving

1. ’13 Reasons Why’ on Netflix. If you haven’t yet got stuck into this 13-part series, drop everything (except the baby) and park yourself on the sofa. Actually, wait until the kids are in bed, as it’s adults only viewing. And get ready to be sucked into a story that has you gripped from the very beginning. Available now at Netflix here.

2. THE FMLY STORE – Super Kid T-Shirt. There are lots of new designs over at THE FMLY STORE (where I got my Mother T-Shirt, which I wear constantly). My favourite is this SUPER KID T-Shirt, which would appeal to my superhero loving boys. Shop here.

3. Mr Tumee. I’m keen for the boys to get a daily dose of DHA Omega 3, as I have always taken it as a supplement myself. Studies show that it can increase cognitive development and boost overall health – but the supplements that I take are big, hard to swallow and bitter tasting. That’s why I was happy when the boys happily gobbled down Mr Tumees DHA Omega 3 (‘as delicious as gummy bears’ as Stanley reports). Dubai mummies can buy them online here – or on the shelves at most pharmacies and supermarkets.

4. Burger & Lobster. This fab restaurant in DIFC has just launched a kids menu, with burgers and sandwiches, milkshakes, and puddings. We went there as a family a few weeks ago and had a really lovely time (expect colouring pencils and sheets on arrival too, which keeps them happy while waiting for food). The vibe during the day is extremely family-friendly and the staff were brilliant. There’s free valet parking too). For more information, visit the website here.

5. Giggles and Dimples. I’ve fallen in love with the gorgeous kiddie clothes, shoes, and interiors bits from this Dubai-based online store. Think along the lines of leather moccasins, denim play suits, cloud lights, message boards, bunting, and fun cushions. I could shop for hours… And I have been (oops). Visit the website here.

6. Bianca. I had an amazing meal with my husband and sister at Italian eatery Bianca a few weeks ago, which has locations in Box Park and The Beach. Honestly, I haven’t tasted food this good out of Italy. I can personally recommend the Burrata Jars (incredible!) and the Spaghetti Vongole. And I may have had a Nutella Pizza for dessert to check out the quality of the pizza ovens – and I can definitely vouch for the authentic Italian bases too (a hard job, but someone has to do it…) Visit their website here.

7. Clas Ohlson. I stumbled on this store in Mercato Mall a few weeks ago and was blown away by the affordable prices. Especially when it came to lighting, with these gorgeous rose gold table lamps and light fittings costing around 60 AED. I got a rose gold pendant light for our lounge, plus some solar powered fairy lights for our garden. I also raided the kitchen section and got a set of 6 jam jar glasses with straws for only 15 AED each. Visit the website to browse the range and see prices here.

8. Kippins UAE. Mabel and I have fallen head over heels for the sleep comforters and teething rings / rattles by Kippins! They are made from organic cotton and raw beach wood, making sure they are natural and safe for your little ones – and you can choose from lots of different designs. We couldn’t resist the cat – and Mabel literally won’t put that teething ring and rattle down! Shop online here.

9. Privilee. We are big fans of this membership club, which allows us access to beach clubs around the city (and a few in Abu Dhabi too). We were members last summer too and we used it lots – the pools are all chilled, there’s lots of shade, and generally valet parking (so the car stays nice and cool while we are enjoying the facilities). You also get a discount in most of the food and drinks outlets in the hotels (usually around 20%) making it an ideal club to see you through the summer. For details of the membership packages, visit the website here.

10. The Meydan Hotel. It seems like a while ago now, but we went to brunch at The Meydan Hotel when my inlaws were here last month – and oh my goodness, it was the perfect Friday brunch. The kids area was amazing (bouncy castle, craft tables, balloon benders, a full kid’s brunch table, beautifully decorated cookies). And for us? A seriously impressive brunch selection (everything from sushi, to full roast dinners, and everything in between), live music, and a gorgeous view across the race course. Highly recommended. Visit the website here.

11. Tub of Butter. If you haven’t tried this new Sheikh Zayed Road cafe and eatery (just off Al Thanya Street), you must add it to your morning coffee wish list. The breakfast is fantastic, the surroundings light, bright and seriously stylish, and the coffee superb. In fact, as the icing on the cake, you’ll even get your cappuccino with a celebrity face on it. Visit the website here.

12. 800 Flower. There’s something amazing about having fresh flowers in the house – and my latest company of choice is 800 Flower. Every bouquet I’ve had is so beautifully arranged – and they last well too, giving a least a week of enjoyment in the centre of my dining table. The new Signature Collection is gorgeous – and so well priced too, with bouquets starting at 325 AED (and delivery throughout Dubai). Visit the website here

In collaboration with Mr Tumee

14th May 2017

A love letter to my second baby…

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 21.49.51Dear second baby,

You arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

A whirlwind scented like newborn baby, sweet baby shampoo, and whiffs of strong coffee turned cold in my mug.

I thought I knew what to expect. After all, I’d done it all before. But right from the beginning, you taught me that it would be different.

I studied your face, as I cradled you there on my hospital bed. Your face rounder, eyes wider, and lips plumper than I had imagined, along with a shock of dark, black hair. So unlike your brother. So unlike the clone I had imagined growing in my tummy. Everything seemed different – and when you started sleeping long stretches through the night at just a few days old, I knew for certain that you had your own agenda.

It was your brother that made me a Mummy – but it was you that taught me to slow down and try to enjoy it. After all, I couldn’t possibly keep juggling at the pace I had been before. I tried for a while, of course, but I kept dropping balls. That night I plopped the baby monitor in a glass of water in a half-asleep state wasn’t my finest hour. Neither was the time I was running the bath and watching a toddler, when you suddenly learnt to roll – and practiced it expertly, over the side of the bed.

I couldn’t run around any more. Literally. That double buggy took brute force to move from one place to another. But more than that – I couldn’t give you the same things I’d given your brother. Music sessions, swimming lessons, baby massage, sensory classes… All off the agenda, choosing instead to stay at home or join your brother on play dates. His friends became your friends (you barely had any of your own). I felt guilty occasionally – no, I felt guilty most of the time – and I craved some time for just the two of us. I craved the time to cuddle and bond.

But I didn’t need to feel guilty, as I had forgotten you had something your brother never had. You had each other. And when I saw your relationship bloom – like a couple of wild flowers, petals and thorns intertwined – it made my heart jump and sing. Right from that first afternoon, where I watched you crawl after him, howling with laughter as he chased you on his hands and knees – to the little chats you had together as you learnt to babble and talk – to the long conversations you went on to have in your bedroom together as you fell asleep, like two little old men putting the world to rights.

When I was pregnant with you, I worried about my heart being split in two. It didn’t seem fair on either of you to have to share my love. But what I didn’t realise is that the very second you were placed in my arms, my heart would grow again. The same crazy, powerful, unconditional love – all over again, for you.

I don’t know what I expected from being your Mummy – but it probably wasn’t this. I expected your brother all over again. I never expected this little boy, with eyes the colour of a deep ocean, cuddles that wrap right around your heart, a fiery temper, and a sense of humour that has the whole family rolling around the floor. There have been hard times, wonderful times, heart-warming times, and times when I wondered how I was going to make it through until bedtime.

Yes, you arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

And how thankful I am to have been in your path

Mummy xx

Photo by Lidiya Kalichuk – www.lidiyakalichuk.com