26th October 2016

Naming baby Mabel…

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-20-49-14Naming the boys was pretty easy. We decided pretty early in the pregnancies – and that was that. Nothing tempted us away from Stanley or Wilfred, which made the whole naming process pretty easy.

Naming our little girl, however, was harder. So many names had been whizzing around my head for a daughter since I was a little girl – but suddenly I didn’t want any of them. Stanley would’ve been ‘Edie’, but after he went through a (very irritating) stage of watching the UK kids show Balamory when he was a toddler, I couldn’t think about the name without thinking of Edie McCreedy dancing around my TV screen. Wilfred would’ve been ‘Ivy’ – and whilst I still loved it, I didn’t feel like it flowed that well when you said the three names of the children together.

So we were back to the drawing board. I wanted something pretty, but not too flowery. I wanted something that worked equally well if she turned out to be an actress or a prime minister. But most importantly, it had to go with her brother’s names.

Choosing my children’s names has never been about the trend for ‘all things vintage’. I am aware that old-fashioned names like Stanley, Alfie, Archie, Freddie etc are ‘on trend’ at the moment and climbing up the baby name charts, but it’s never been about that for me. It’s been about choosing names that are very British, unique enough to be the only one in the class at school, and easy to spell and pronounce (given that we live in a part of the world that is so culturally diverse). I LOVE the boy’s names and I think we nailed those requirements – I’ve never regretted either of the name choices for a second, so I know we got it right.

And I wanted the same for our daughter.

I had a few more unique names on my list, including Ottilie and Delilah, but my husband wasn’t so keen. I went through a few weeks of really loving ‘Dot’ (Stan, Wilf and Dot are so cute together), but we would’ve wanted her official name to be Dorothy or Dorothea – and neither of us were convinced on those. I loved Ada, Elsie, Thea, Bess, and Florence (Florrie), but we either had close friends who’d used those names for their children or decided they weren’t quite right for a variety of reasons.

So it came down to two names – Mabel and Beatrix. We just needed to work out which way to put them. Would she be Mabel Beatrix – or Beatrix Mabel? I loved both and kept changing my mind. Mabel was my favourite, but I liked the way that Beatrix could be shortened to Bea. I also liked the tie-in with the Beatrix Potter anniversary this year. But still, I kept coming back to Mabel – just so pretty, still fairly unique, but not too flowery either.

It was pretty and sweet for a little girl, but she could be prime minister with that name. We were 99% sure.

Then something sealed it. Our friends back home – some of our very closest – had a little girl and called her Beatrice. So that was that. Our little girl would definitely be Mabel Beatrix – and as fate would have it, we’d still have a little Bea in our life (my husband is now her godfather, as her mother is one of Mabel’s godmothers).

So it was Mabel.

Mabel Beatrix.

I told a few close friends in Dubai to test it out, but otherwise it was a top secret (I love announcing a name and didn’t want to spoil that moment). Those friends that knew told me they loved it. Just before her birth, we told our midwife and she loved it so much she nearly jumped around the room. So we felt even more confident that we’d made the right choice.

Her due date arrived and she was finally born – and as we said her name for the first time earthside, testing out the way it sounded as we gazed into her eyes, it just seemed right.

Since her birth, a few people have asked me if we’ll shorten it. I don’t think we will officially, but part of the reason I love the name is that if combines two of my all-time favourite girl’s names of May and Belle. I’ve already started calling her ‘My Belle’ occasionally, so maybe that will happen. My husband often says Mayby Baby, so maybe she’ll get that moniker too while she’s little. But I think that most the time at least, she’ll just be Mabel – and with just two syllables, I don’t think it’s much of a hassle to say her full name.


Mabel Beatrix

We just love it – and I know we always will.

21st October 2016

Mabel tests: Sleepyhead Deluxe

14813613_10157669099185607_1688948676_nI’ve got a lot of reviews to write for the new baby items we purchased before Mabel arrived (from strollers, to cots, to monitors) – but I want to properly test every single one before I give my verdict, which is why it’s taken me this long to get going.

But now I feel vaguely human again and we have the very early stages of what feels like a (*whispers*) routine, I have decided to get started – and I have to begin by telling you about the Sleepyhead Deluxe BECAUSE IT’S AMAZING!

Let me start by saying that it’s very hard to review baby items with confidence – as you simply don’t know what life would be like if you didn’t use it. Would they sleep better / worse? Would they be calmer / easier? You just don’t know. But this is my third baby and so I do have some idea about how the average newborn behaves and sleeps, so I feel qualified to talk about how the things we have purchased have transformed life for the better (or worse, in some cases).

And Sleepyhead has definitely transformed life for the better.

But let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is it? Sleepyhead Deluxe is the first size of Sleepyhead – and it is essentially a safe, cosy dock for babies aged 0-8 months. Or put simply by the brand; “the Sleepyhead offers a safe and comfy spot that lets baby sleep, rest, lounge, play, cuddle, do tummy time and get nappy changes.”

Mabel sleeps in her Sleepyhead every night (which we place inside her Snuzpod, which attaches to our bed – review on that coming soon!) I feed her, pass her to Daddy to be burped and have cuddles, and then we place her inside. And since she was one week old, it’s been as simple as that. She never grumbles or cries – she just goes to sleep.


I vividly remember both Stanley and Wilfred waking up as soon as we placed them in their Moses Baskets at night. I’d try and rock it with one hand, as I dozed in bed – but it rarely worked and we’d have to start the whole cuddle to sleep / transport to basket process again. I remember feeling so exhausted and exasperated.

But there’s something about the Sleepyhead that Mabel just loves. She feels so snug and secure that I think it’s a bit like being cuddled by her bed. Probably a bit like being in the womb. She’s warm, she’s cosy, and she’s happy.

She sleeps like a dream and has done since the beginning. In fact, most nights (and I’m scared to type this in case I jinx it), she sleeps from midnight to 5.30am straight at just 4 weeks old. She is a very chilled and good little baby – so I am not promising that your baby will suddenly start sleeping through the night if you buy this, but I honestly think it helps in Mabel’s case.


We use it during the day too. I often dress her while she lies in it – and when she falls asleep on me during the day after a feed, I pop her down in her Sleepyhead in the lounge.

I love the fact it’s so light and easy to transport. In fact, when I fly back to the UK in 10 days with Mabel for a wedding (the boys are staying in Dubai with their Dad), I’m packing it in my suitcase and she will sleep alongside me in the Sleepyhead in my bed.

The safety aspect is one of the most important things for me – and it’s good to know that the Sleepyhead has been rigorously tested and complies with safety standards in the US, Canada and EU. In fact, the Swedish entrepreneur that developed Sleepyhead (one clever, clever lady that I would like to hug) designed Sleepyhead when she wanted to find a safe co-sleeping solution after her first baby was born in 2006. The materials are breathable, the mattress is firm, and the design supports safe sleeping. It’s really very clever.

When she gets bigger, she can graduate to the Sleepyhead Grand (for tots between 8 and 36 months) – and both designs have a range of washable covers to keep the Sleepyhead clean, but also look pretty cool too. Mabel’s grey design is called Silver Lining.

So what do I really think of the Sleepyhead? I LOVE IT – and I just wish I’d had it when my boys were little too.

Buy in the Middle East at Sleepyhead GCCclick here >> http://sleepyheadgcc.com/buy.php

(Sleepyhead Deluxe, from 749 AED. Sleepyhead Grand, from 1099 AED).

Buy in the UK at John Lewisclick here >> http://bit.ly/2eqsuzk

(Sleepyhead Deluxe, from £110. Sleepyhead Grand, from £165).





13th October 2016

I feel most homesick in autumn…

14699984_10157625707015607_1633109787_nIt’s not summer when I miss home. After all, we are blessed with sunshine nearly every day of the year.

It’s not winter when I miss home. By that point, we are swept up in the excitement of Christmas shopping, throwing mince pies in supermarket trollies, lighting the wicks of cinnamon candles, and starting the countdown to festive trips home to celebrate with friends and family.

It’s not springtime when I miss home.  I don’t feel excitement when I feel warmth on my skin anymore, like those first precious days of spring back home, nor when I see a blue sky or a flower uncurling.

No, I don’t feel homesick when I think about any of those things.

I feel homesick now.

I feel homesick in autumn.

When I lived in the uk, I never fully appreciated those early autumnal days when the nights started to draw in. The change of light intensity during the days. The dark walks home from the station every evening, when I couldn’t see the crimson leaves below my feet – but I could definitely hear them. Pulling scarves and gloves from drawers and thinking ‘is it too early?’ but then giving in the next day when my hands were numb. The walks through Greenwich Park with the dog, pulling my coat tightly around me as a cold wind flapped it open. The adverts in every cafe for Pumpkin Spice Lattes (the promise always better than the taste). The festive build-up – planning visits to grottos, bruising our bottoms on ice rinks, getting dates in the diary for festive dinners and drinks parties. The smell of bonfires in the air, the sound of fireworks fizzing and popping above our heads, the fire cracking and roaring when I stepped through the doors of the local pub.

These are the things that I miss.

But this year, for the first time in four years, I get to experience autumn – as I am flying back for bridesmaid duties at my friend’s wedding in early November.

I’m travelling with Mabel and leaving the boys in Dubai – so of course I’ve had my eyes on padded winter pram suits, woollen tights, and adorable knitted cardigans in newborn sizes. She may only wear them for a matter of days (and probably again at Christmas), but dressing a baby in warm clothes is still such a novelty for me.

But the trip will pass in a whirlwind of wedding fun, trips to the supermarket to restock, and introducing our little girl to family and friends. I won’t have time to walk slowly around our favourite park to take in the burnt orange hues, to kick leaves below my feet, or to ‘ooh’ and ‘ash’ at the local fireworks display, with a toffee apple or stick of candy floss in my hands.

And most importantly, the boys will not get the chance to experience it. They’ll be in Dubai with their Dad, building sandcastles on the beach, being thrown in the air in the swimming pool, and being spoilt with far too many sweet treats. It will be the longest I’ve ever been away from them, but their Dad is more than capable (in fact, far more capable than I would be on my own with the two of them) and they will be fine. After all, they have no idea what they are missing.

But that makes me sad too, as I’d love them to experience autumn. To help them pull on their wellies and zip up their coats. To listen to them shriek as they run through a mountain of leaves. To see the excitement on their faces as they stand under a display of glittering rockets and whistling Catherine wheels. To watch the magic in their eyes as festive lights are switched on.

These are the things that I miss.

I love Dubai and everything it offers my family – but this is the time of year when I feel most homesick.

Because the truth is that you don’t realise how much you miss something until it is gone.

9th October 2016

Dear postpartum tummy; how do I feel about you?

14657754_10157606786700607_571122943_nDear postpartum tummy,

How do I feel about you?

The truth is, it’s complicated.

In pregnancy, I love you. I’m proud of everything you achieve. I love those early days, when I start to notice a bump, standing in front of a mirror and taking those first photos as you start to swell. I love pulling my maternity clothes out of the wardrobe, dusting them off, and feeling the instant relief of an elasticated waistband. I love watching you dance in the bath as you grow bigger – and even when you pop to dramatic proportions and people turn in shock when I pass them in the mall, I am amazed by your ability to stretch (even if it feels like you are going to pop at any moment).

After all, I do believe – I do really, really believe – that the pregnant silhouette is the most beautiful silhouette in the world. And for that reason, I am never more confident of my own body than when I have a child curled up inside of me.

And then that child comes out – and how wonderful that is – and the attention shifts instantly to the baby that now kicks, cries, and hiccups in our arms.

The show isn’t about you anymore. And what a fall from grace!

In the instant that the baby appears, you go from a beautiful, swollen bump that turns every eye in the room, to a jelly-like, empty sack that makes me recoil in horror when I reach down to touch you.

And that’s when our relationship gets complicated.

Every day, I stare in the mirror.

One day postpartum, I still look 30 weeks pregnant. My eldest child says to me: “If baby sister is out now, what is in your tummy, Mummy?” I struggle to explain that one, but I know you are doing your job. Every time I feed the baby, you contract so painfully. “Can I get another epidural?” I laugh to the husband. And I’m only half joking.

Two days postpartum and I look like I’m in the second trimester. I stroke my bump in the mirror, amazed at the body’s ability to do its thing after birth. But as I pull on maternity clothes and discover they now look ‘empty’ (whilst those from pre-pregnancy pinch my waistline and cling to all the wrong bumps), I am struggling to love you anymore.

By a week, you are shrinking still. Just a little bump now, like the first swollen days of pregnancy. If I wasn’t pushing my newborn in a stroller, people might even assume I had just eaten a big meal. Still, I don’t like looking in the mirror anymore and I position the baby carefully to hide you in photographs.

But I am starting to regain some serious respect too.

You see postpartum tummy; our relationship really is complicated.

Because whilst I miss that taut, swollen, gigantic bump from just a few weeks ago, staring at pictures of those last days of pregnancy with a mixture of disbelief and sadness (it’s amazing how quickly you forget what it felt like to have a 9Ib8oz baby stretching your skin), I feel more respect with every baby that joins us.

You might wobble. You might have an angry stretch mark where I pierced my belly button as a teenager. You might be far removed from the washboard abs of my gymnast days.

T-shirts might cling, belts might not fasten, and underwear might pinch.

unspecifiedBut look at what you did, tummy!

Just look at what you did!

And for that reason, I love you postpartum tummy.

I really, really do.

30th September 2016

Baby Mabel is nearly two weeks old – and time is passing so quickly…

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-14-48-38I’ve had a huge bruise on my hand for the last two weeks. Two failed cannula attempts in the hospital (when mine and Mabel’s heartbeats were racing too fast and I needed a glucose drip) and then a successful one by the resident anesthetist meant that my entire left hand, wrist and lower arm turned an angry purple, then impressive shade of bright blue, then a tender, throbbing brown.

It was a horrible bruise – but it became a reminder of what had happened so recently. If I felt wobbly or overwhelmed when we left the house, I’d glance down and be reminded that I had been in a hospital bed just a few days before.

‘Be kind to yourself’ whispered the bruise. ‘Take it easy. She’s still so very little.’

Nobody could see that it hurt whenever I sat down, nor that my legs shook with weakness when I walked with the buggy. Nobody knew that I had to brace myself for pain in the shower that morning as the water hit my sore nipples. Nor that going for a wee made me wince in pain.

But everyone commented on that angry bruise. It was like I was wearing a badge that read: ‘BIRTH CAN BE BRUTAL.’

But funnily enough, I haven’t minded having that bruise on my hand for the last two weeks. It has reminded me that we are still so early in that precious newborn bubble – and how we must enjoy every second, as it will pass all too soon. After all, it is sometimes hard to remember Mabel is only a few days old. Hard to believe that we were holed up in that hospital room just a week ago. Hard to believe now that we are out and about again, slotting back into our old routine. That bruise reminded me that she was still so little, still so recent. A reminder to slow down and enjoy it.

The bruise is now fading, with just a few faded patches lingering on my wrist. And soon, it will be gone.

The disappearing bruise isn’t the only thing reminding me that time is passing by so quickly. The sugar pink “IT’S A GIRL!” helium balloons that were bought to our apartment by my friend when Mabel was just a few days old are starting to crumple and drop one-by-one. The flowers my husband’s parents bought us when we returned from the hospital have been replaced by a new bunch as the petals started to fall. And at breakfast this morning, when the waitress asked how old Mabel was and we replied proudly ‘two weeks tomorrow!’ she didn’t give the familiar shocked face followed by doting smile – but instead replied “there’s a 10-day old baby on a table outside!”’ And just like that, she was no longer the new girl.

It’s all a reminder of how fast time passes when you have a newborn in the house. Time set to fast forward. Time that whizzes at such an alarming rate that you wish you could dig your heels in and enjoy it all for just a little longer.

Because when it isn’t your first baby, you know you will blink and suddenly she will be rolling, crawling, walking and talking. Moving onto weaning; no longer totally reliant on me. No longer jumping in shock when she hears a noise, no longer smelling like a newborn. No longer fitting her newborn clothes, as they are stashed away in a box.

It will be over in a flash.

But this time, I’m not letting myself feel sad about any of this. I can’t wait for Mabel to be running alongside her brothers. I can’t wait for her to follow them on her own scooter on a Friday morning alongside the beach. I can’t wait to see the person she will become, the way she will look, the things she will love and hate. I can’t wait to see her grow up and become a little person in her own right. I can’t wait to get to know her. I can’t wait to experience all of it.

And until then, I will enjoy every second of this precious time. I will drink in her newness. I will capture every second on camera. I will write blog posts to look back on in years to come. I will study her tiny hands and feet, still wrinkled and curled. I will commit it all to memory.

All of it.

Until time catches up.

18th September 2016

Dear Mabel, yesterday was your birthday.


Dear Mabel,

Yesterday was your birthday.

We waited and waited for you to arrive, but you were so comfortable tucked up in the warm peace of my bump. But whilst you kicked and jabbed and hiccuped to your happy heart’s content, I was struggling. I didn’t know it at the time, but your sizeable weight was the reason I was in pain walking, lying or sitting. Turning over in bed made me yelp. Every step felt like my waters would break from the pressure. Contractions started and faltered. Every night I timed them with a mixture of nerves and excitement, only for them to stop as soon as I climbed into bed for the night.

But still, we waited.

Your cot sat in our room, ready for us to swaddle you inside. The hospital bag lay ready on the floor,  ready to pick up in a hurry. Your clothes washed and folded in your new chest of drawers.

We were ready. So ready. And so excited.

At my last obstetrician’s appointment, we made a decision. If you hadn’t arrived by Friday, we would check into the hospital at midnight to be induced. I wanted you to come naturally, but you were big. My body was getting to the end of what it could do. I needed to sleep again, to walk without pain, and to deliver you naturally without complications. You would be born on Saturday 17th September. We had a date.

And as the day drew closer, our excitement grew.

The 3rd January seemed such a long time ago; the day we found out you were growing inside me. We’d had so long to get ready, yet it still seemed surreal that we would be meeting you within days. A girl baby. Our last baby. The last pregnancy. And the beginning of our future as a family of five.

Friday arrived and I knew it was the last time I’d kiss your brothers goodnight as a mother of two. As a mother of just boys. As I kissed them, I inhaled their sleepy scent and was taken straight back to the day each of them was born. Both induced births, we had waited for them too – and it had been so worth it. So very worth it.

As I kissed them, I was reminded about the fluidity of time. About how i would soon be kissing you goodnight as a two year old, as a four year old, as a little person excited about their next day at school – a person that seemed so far removed from the jabbing, kicking, hiccuper in my womb.

We sat down to dinner and I could barely eat from excitement. Fireworks started up on the beach for Eid – the last session of five nights. And for the first time, your brothers heard and came running out their room. We watched the night sky light up, sparkle, boom and crackle together – together, as a family of four, but so nearly five. A celebration of you nearly being here.

And then it was time to throw those last things into the suitcase, climb into a bath to watch my bump dance for the last time, and then make our way to hospital. Joining the traffic as just another car – but wanting to shout in excitement ‘we’re off to have a baby!’ as we pulled away from our car park. Not just another car – but in our eyes, the very most important car on the road.

And so, it began.

I will save your birth story for another time – but you are here now.

Yesterday was your birthday.

You are here, with your beautiful chubby cheeks, scarlet bow lips, and warm, milky newborn smell that we are drinking in like a drug. Your brothers have already come to meet you twice and stroked you in awe, in amazement that the giant bump strapped to their Mummy’s front really did turn into a baby sister. Just like we always promised.


They blinked in amazement, they smiled with twinkling eyes, they stroked you affectionately, and then they pressed buttons on my hospital bed and wailed with hilarity when I was nearly thrown off it with force.

Chaotic, but wonderful – as we were together, for the very first time, as a family of five.

My beautiful Mabel; yesterday was your birthday.

And how special and truly precious that seems right now.

Now we are beginning our life together, as a family of five.

Mummy xx

Photos by Natalie Robinson Photographer

6th September 2016

These last few days of pregnancy…

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 13.27.59As I sit here with a giant bump, switching between bouncing on a birthing ball, trying to do some last minute work, and day-dreaming into thin air, it has occurred to me that I am approaching the very last few days of pregnancy.

The very last days that I will feel a baby beneath my ribs.

The very last days that I will heave myself out of bed and waddle to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The very last days that I will have to say ‘decaffeinated, please’ or cover my glass with my hand when a waiter approaches the table with a bottle of wine.

The very last days that I will have to pull a maternity dress out of a wardrobe, while wishing I could just climb back into my pyjamas.

An era of my life, which I have enjoyed so very much, is coming to an end.

I will probably never carry another baby (I say probably, because the husband occasionally mutters something about a fourth and I am not entirely convinced he’s joking) – and the truth is that it feels a bit strange.

I will no longer need a drawer where I stash my pregnancy things ‘for the next time’ like a doppler, a support belt, and a TENS machine that has never even been taken out the box. I can pass it onto another lady who is about to start her journey or add them to the ever-growing pile of baby things that I intend to sell.

I can delete the files on my laptop instructing me what to pack in a hospital bag, along with the documents I saved from my antenatal class five years ago about delightful things like perineal massage. I won’t need those things anymore. Better to save space on my laptop for school reports, photos of children splashing in the sea, and packing check-lists for our next long-haul adventure.

It is nearly over now.

And when the time comes, I will waddle into that hospital ward a pregnant mother, feeling youthful and fertile and full of excitement – and if all goes to plan (god willing), I will waddle out again a few days later with a newborn baby and the chapter of my life that was all about growing babies finally shut for business.


For good.

I don’t know how I’ll feel on that day – but at the moment, I don’t think I’ll feel any sorrow. How could I? Not when I have the fruits of nine months of pregnancy sleeping in a car seat next to me, as we make our way back home to plant big kisses on our waiting boys.

I know how lucky I am to have my two – and nearly three – little people in my life and I don’t take it for granted for a second. But pregnancy is hard and my body is finished – and despite feeling kind of sad that I will never again feel a baby prod and kick and squirm inside me, I feel it is time to say goodbye to that.

I am ready for it to be over.

And the future fills me with excitement. Two boys and their little sister, growing up before my eyes. Time to focus on them, without having to say: “Mummy is tired today, can we just watch another episode of Max and Ruby?” The ability to jump out of bed during the night at a moment’s notice if they need me – and not have to kick the husband awake to run to their aid. The energy to take them outside and let them play, knowing I can chase my spirited middle child if he decided to do a runner.

I am ready to be myself again.

And enjoy them.

The three of them.

So pregnancy; you have been so very good to me. You have given me things I always dreamt about – and so much more. I have loved growing, feeling, and waiting.

But I am ready for it to be over.

I am ready to meet her.

I think, at least.

1st September 2016

Questions to ask yourself before you plan a third baby….

14159943_10157427272385607_1192498732_n1. Where will the child sleep?

Remember when you spent hours planning and decorating that nursery for your first child? Oh the pastel colours, the wall décor, the personalised prints, and the pretty bedding! Lucky first born. And then you did the same for your second, albeit on a smaller scale (or at least planned to re-arrange the furniture so they could share a room). But get that positive pregnancy test with your third – and one of the first thoughts to flash through your mind is ‘do you think the baby would mind sleeping in the airing cupboard?” And 9 months on, you’re still wondering…

2. Do you want to drive a bus?

It is feasible to fit three car / booster seats across the back seat of some cars, of course – but if you don’t want to play referee to fist fights as you drive in the fast lane of the motorway, it makes sense to buy a bus. Well, I say a bus, but that’s mainly because I’m still convincing my eldest child that it’s all fun and games in the back row and is exactly like a bus journey. And thank goodness for parking sensors now I am a bus driver. Thank goodness for that.

3. Do you want to be outnumbered?

Two adults. Three kids. I can’t get my head around how that will work. Not yet. I need more time.

4. Are you prepared to be heavily pregnant with two crazy humans running around?

You’ve done it before with a toddler / small child and remember it being brutal towards the end – but you managed, right? What you didn’t consider is that with double the fun at home, the exhaustion is also doubled. Especially when the oldest one no longer naps and thinks it’s funny to poke you in the eyes when you nod off on the sofa at lunchtime.

5. Have you checked the hand-me-downs?

Having a third baby seems like it won’t be an expensive thing, as you have hand-me-downs, right? Until that is, you check through the boxes in late pregnancy and realise the vests are now yellow, the trousers have holes in the knees, and the moses basket has been squashed under a box for the last 3 years and is now flat as a pancake. Oh and so many lovely new things have gone on sale since you last shopped for a baby – so an entire new wardrobe, stroller, cot, and bouncer won’t harm anyone, will it? (ker-ching).

6. Do you like holidays?

It’s a while until we attempt to travel as a five-some – but I recently did some investigations into the additional costs of another bum on an airline seat (not that she’ll put her bum on a seat for a while, but you get my gist). Let’s just say that after snorting my cup of coffee in shock, I have decided we will probably won’t be travelling again until at least a couple of the children have left home (and that’s not even taking into consideration the extra luggage…)

31st August 2016

Stanley tries: Kidzania, The Dubai Mall

14193733_10157421133515607_1642525071_nI’ve been trying to spend one-on-one time with the boys as much as possible over the last few weeks – and one of mine and Stanley’s trips out last week was to Kidzania in The Dubai Mall.

This is a place we’ve been meaning to try for a long time. He’s an imaginative child and I knew he’d love the chance to wander a child-sized village and get the chance to role play in adult jobs – and this is exactly what Kidzania is all about.

Put simply, you pay for entry, wander around the village, and stop when you see an activity your child wants to try. It could be fire fighting (where they head off in a fire engine to fight a fire), piloting a Fly Dubai flight (with flight simulators to make them feel like they are actually taking off), working as a doctor  (and yes, it includes the dash in an ambulance), or learning how to be a pizza chef (in the village’s very own branch of Pizza Express). To be honest, it feels kind of surreal and kind of magical, all at the same time.




14159962_10157421139810607_1658629846_nSuitable for kids aged 4+, you drop them at each attraction where they are supervised – and you can either hang around to watch and take pictures – or you can retreat to a parent’s lounge and let them enjoy the experience alone.

Once the kids have completed a job, they get paid in Kidzania Currency (nothing like teaching them the value of money at a young age, right?!) and can spend it either in the shops or on trying activities. Stanley loves art – so he decided to spend his hard-earned cash on an art session, carefully painting away for half an hour! Very cute.


We both really recommend heading over to The Dubai Mall for a visit. Kidzania is located close to Reel Cinema on Level 2 (follow the signs for cinema parking). Head over any time, but be aware that there’s a shift change between 4 and 5pm and Kidzania is closed (my tip is to head over first thing at the weekend when it’s very quiet!)

For more details and entry prices, visit www.kidzania.ae

26th August 2016

Currently Loving in Dubai – August

We have been back in Dubai for nearly 4 weeks now (wow, that’s gone quickly!) and there are certain places that have been keeping me sane in 45+’C, with two active little boys and a rapidly growing tummy. There are also things I have been buying for the boys and new baby and the odd moment I have been enjoying myself (not that I am ever really on my own any more, with these kicks to the ribs!) So here goes – the things and places I have been loving in August…

Currently Loving Aug

1. Magnolia Bakery

You may have seen my posts recently about Magnolia Bakery – and if your kids have a sweet tooth, it’s a really lovely way to treat them over the summer holidays (I think you might enjoy it too!) We spent a lovely morning at one of the branches a few weekends ago and there’s just something I really like about the atmosphere in there – it’s like a chilled coffee shop (and the coffee is really good if you haven’t tried it) but with the addition of the most beautiful cakes, desserts, and cookies. So the husband and I get our caffeine fix – and the boys are kept happy with their pastel pretty cupcake. Winner!

Details - www.magnoliabakery.com/locations/

2. Pastels, Al Wasl Road

I had a lovely afternoon at Pastels Al Wasl Road this week, getting ready for new baby, with a cut, colour, manicure and pedicure. I always like a bit of pre-baby pampering, mainly because I have no idea when I will be able to visit the hairdresser again (especially as I plan to breastfeed so will have a baby attached to me for a while at least), but also because (quite vain to admit), I know I will treasure those newborn photos and I don’t want my dodgy roots spoiling them. For my nails, I chose Essie Baby’s Breath; here’s hoping, hey? 
I really recommend this salon on Al Wasl Road – it’s such a peaceful spot to spend an afternoon, with lots of light streaming through the windows, fish swimming around a tank, and the comfiest chairs. Let’s hope it’s not tooooo long before I can make a return visit!

Details: www.pastels-salon.com

3. The Bedouin Penguins by Asma Al Ketbi

I love discovering books written about Dubai – after all, this is where my boys live and I want them to read about it. So I recently treated the boys to The Bedouin Penguins by Emirati author Asma Al Ketbi, which tells the tale of a family of penguins from Ski Dubai heading into the desert to meet a Bedouins and see their way of life. The illustrations by Maitha Al Khayat are beautiful and the story is gorgeous. I recommend buying a copy for your kids – and think it’d make a wonderful gift for handing out at all those upcoming birthday parties too.

Details: 20 AED at Jashanmal Book Shops – www.jashanmalgroup.com

4. Bright Eyez

In the midst of buying a new girly wardrobe for baby number three, I barely noticed that my eldest had shot up and his T-Shirts now looked like crop tops! When we got back to Dubai after 5 weeks in the UK, I knew I needed to get him some new clothes and I stumbled on BrightEyez.ae, where some of the coolest T-Shirts (which I’d previously coveted from the UK and USA) were available with some amazing discounts. I treated both the boys to a few and wish I’d done it sooner. Now just trying to resist buying more!

Shop: www.brighteyez.ae

5. Mamas & Papas

Dubai Mummies, we are in luck – as the online world is finally starting to make life easier for us! And the latest brand to start delivering to our door is Mamas & Papas, who launched their online boutique this week. I made an order on Thursday evening as there were still a few things on my ‘to buy’ list for baby girl (including her record book, which I’m sure I’ll ignore for a few months – but at least I’ll know it’s there haha) – and the next morning I got a phone call and then my order was delivered before lunch. Impressive service!

Shop: www.mamasandpapas.ae

6. Kaiser Furniture

We’re in the market for a new bed for Stanley at the moment – mainly because his younger brother keeps climbing out of his cot, so he needs to move into the toddler bed Stanley is currently sleeping in (not ideal timing with a baby on the way, but it seems kids don’t work to a timetable). Whilst browsing places in Dubai to buy it, I’ve fallen in love with a German furniture company Kaiser, which is based in Umm Suqeim. Fun designs and seriously good craftsmanship. The pieces are investments, so don’t expect budget prices – but you definitely get what you pay for. How much fun is this monster design bed?

Details: www.kaiserme.com