18th September 2016

Dear Mabel, yesterday was your birthday.

unspecified

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.

unspecified-1

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.

Shut.

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.

14193631_10157421133530607_1428738955_n

14159077_10157421916270607_1575706405_n

14182099_10157421133495607_1343242927_n

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.

 14171805_10157421133420607_1513120010_n

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



24th August 2016

Stanley tries: SEGA Republic, The Dubai Mall

14088617_1062040270499067_2780938814931987927_nI’m going to start posting reviews more regularly on this blog for parents in Dubai, to give us all inspiration for days out, places to eat, shops to head to, products to try, and staycations to book.

I’ll sort the reviews  into the appropriate ages by labelling them for each of the children – Stanley for the younger kids (he’s aged 4), Wilfred for the toddlers (he’s aged 2), and Baby Girl (name to be announced very soon, eeeek) for the baby buys.

So let’s start with SEGA Republic in The Dubai Mall, which Stanley and I went to last Thursday afternoon for a bit of a Mummy and son date before his baby sister arrives.

To be honest, I’ve walked past SEGA Republic hundreds times, but I always thought it was aimed at older kids and adults (for those that fit into those age groups, the place contains the biggest indoor slide in the world, which looks seriously good fun if you fancy an adrenaline rush!)

But I wish I’d taken Stanley inside sooner – as there was so much for him to do and he enjoyed every second. Not only do you have flashing, singing, dancing games at every turn (just like Fun City, if you have ever been there), but there is also a really big and brilliant soft play / jungle gym, separated into areas for older children like him and smaller toddlers and babies (always good if you have a smaller one, as getting knocked over by a queue of overexcited 5-year olds isn’t fun…)

14022361_1062040287165732_4037121023538658382_n

Stanley spent quite a long time playing on the machines with our pre-loaded card, before heading inside the soft play and disappearing off. Every now and again, he’d come rushing down the slide with a gigantic smile on his face. As this point in pregnancy, it was nice to know that it was totally secure (no escaping as there are staff on the gate to leave at all times) and totally age appropriate (I’m not worried about him being knocked over as he’s a big boy now, but I’d hate him to knock a smaller child in his excitement).

14053952_1062040317165729_3904068811076094150_n

13932895_1062040340499060_8573216784776243898_n

In total, we spent a very happy hour inside, before heading off to enjoy dinner together in the mall. It would be a great pit-stop if you are planning on spending any length of time in the mall (or send the husband in with them while you continue shopping – what a plan!) – and as you load as much as you like onto the cards, it’s really up to you how much you spend.

Find further details at www.segarepublic.com  - or head straight there on Level 2 of The Dubai Mall (near to Reel Cinemas)



19th August 2016

Satisfying our sweet teeth at Magnolia Bakery (and they do Baby Shower Cakes now too!)

14054875_10157356461760607_780999287_nLast weekend, we went down to Abu Dhabi to celebrate my husband’s birthday – and when it came to a morning treat for the boys (and caffeine fix for my husband), heading to Magnolia Bakery was an obvious choice.

I fell in love with Magnolia Bakery when I visited (and then worked) in New York back in my early twenties – so to be honest, we’ve always loved popping into the branches in Dubai as a family. In fact, we used to live right by a branch, which was more than a little convenient when we wanted to pop in for cupcakes!

Why? Beautifully decorated cakes, really good coffee (seriously, you have to try it!) and an ambience that I just really like. Kind of like a good coffee shop, but with a more chilled vibe (and a dose of happiness with all those cakes and sweet treats to take our pick from).

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.27.09

14081490_10157356461715607_1576807244_n

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.27.20

And if you have a birthday coming up, did you know you can also order cakes from Magnolia Bakery, with delivery to your door? I ordered the husband a cake at the weekend and it came straight to our hotel room. I knew I wanted something simple, so I whizzed over an image I’d found online and the cake was perfect when it arrived (we’ve only just finished it, which means we’ve eaten a lot of cake over the last few days and now I’m craving more!)

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.31.48

But it isn’t just birthday cakes they can make – check out the images below of all the amazing personalised Baby Shower Cakes that the company now make, perfect for an intimate family celebration, bigger shower with your friends, or a gender reveal party.

collage collage 2

It’s in the UK culture to only have a baby shower with your first baby, which I’m a bit disappointed about to be honest – as I want to gather up my friends and tuck into one of these masterpieces! I guess I’m just going to have to wait for an invite to someone else’s shower and point them in the direction of the cakes instead!

There are four branches of Magnolia Bakery in the UAE. In Dubai, you can visit within Bloomingdale’s in The Dubai Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall, and The Beach on JBR. Whilst in Abu Dhabi, you can visit The Galleria Mall on Al Maryah Island. For full details and contact numbers (for ordering those cakes!), visit  http://www.altayer.com/en/retail/hospitality/magnolia-bakery/magnoliabakery.com/locations



16th August 2016

Do I really need to make their summer ‘magic’?

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 20.36.25It was one week day evening last week – and I was sat on the sofa stressing that the plan for the next day wasn’t remotely exciting for the boys. They would spend an hour at the indoor play center near our house in the morning – and then we would come home, have lunch, and spend the afternoon together at home.

As I mulled over the plan, my husband turned to me and said: “What do you remember about summer holidays from your childhood?”

I thought about it for a second.

And happy memories came flooding back.

I remembered long summer evenings playing with my siblings in the garden, pretending our climbing frame was a treasure island and that dipping our toes onto the grass would mean certain death from shark attack. We ran around that garden screaming, grabbing the climbing frame in sheer relief, and pulling ourselves up huffing and puffing until we reached the top, And we’d do it all afternoon – until at some point, probably well before the sun set, my parents would call us in for tea, bath and bed.

I remember going to watch my Dad play cricket at the weekends, wiling away hours playing on swings and seesaws, eating ham sandwiches and dipping fresh strawberries into cream, before lying on a picnic blanket on the grass staring up at the sky to find shapes in the clouds as the sound of birdsong, cheers, and the knock of a ball hitting a cricket bat filled the air.

I remember pub gardens, fish and chip suppers, visits to doting grandparents, the smell of freshly cut grass, the feeling of the mild summer air on my skin, and the simple joy of not having to get up early to go to school.

I know there was more to it – we went on holidays in caravans, made sandcastles on beaches, ran out to ice cream vans when their song rang out in our street, visited zoos, and fed duck in the park.

But there was nothing complicated about the memories of my childhood summers. No doubt my parents spent a fortune trying to entertain us – but I don’t remember the expensive things.  I remember making my own memories, with my siblings, letting my imagination run wild as we ran around our garden fearing shark attacks.

I asked my husband the same question – and his memories were very similar. He remembers playing football with his friends until the sun started to set, grabbing tennis rackets and heading off for a match with his Dad, and long, lazy days at home playing in the garden.

Simple memories.

Happy memories.

Uncomplicated memories.

And as we sat there reflecting on the sofa; him sipping a glass of wine and me sipping something far less exciting, I realised how hard I’d been trying to make every activity over the summer holidays ‘magic’ – and the guilt I’ve felt that I am inevitably, at 36 weeks pregnant, stating to fail.

I wanted every day to be about making memories they held onto forever; memories they wanted to tell their teachers and friends about when they got back to school; and memories that would stay with them until adulthood.

I just didn’t realise I was doing that anyway.

And the very next day, as they ran around the house together (one pretending he was a tiger – sat on a red car, obviously – and the other shrieking with laughter as he was chased), I realised they were making their own memories too.

Different to the summers of my own childhood, yes.

But still making their own memories, together, in this hot summer in Dubai.

And that’s as ‘magic’ as it needs to get.



13th August 2016

I didn’t want to be a shouty mum…

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 19.35.59It was Wednesday morning and the boys were testing my patience. Now into the 8th week of the summer holidays, which happens to coincide with the last few months of my pregnancy, I am exhausted and running out of ideas to entertain them – especially when the weather is a steamy 45’C+ outdoors.

Wilfred was on the floor playing with his car garage, whilst Stanley had decided he needed a poo. I was enjoying a moment of peace – when suddenly, I heard the lock turn in the bathroom door.

Stanley is 4 and a half now and he has never shown any interest in door locks before – not even so much as a glance. Still, I don’t like the idea of locks at home (even the horror of knowing what they could do was enough to remove them) – but the lock exists on that particular door, as they share their bathroom with guests when they come to stay – and those guests don’t want two boys storming into the bathroom in the middle of their showers and toilet trips (believe me; those boys try every time someone comes to stay).

I guess we got complacent – and whilst I know we have a stack of keys somewhere in the apartment, in the panic of the moment it didn’t even cross my mind to head off and find them.

So what did I do?

I shouted.

In a flap, with visions in my mind of my child discovering something incredibly dangerous in his bathroom (irrational, as the calm side of me knows there is nothing is within reach) or having to call the fire brigade out to break down the door, I shouted louder than I’ve ever shouted in my life for him to open the door.

And then I waited a second or two, before shouting again.

And this time, as I paused the shouting, I heard him scurry off the toilet and run to the door to unlock it.

I flung the door open and I rushed inside – but instead of pulling him into me in pure relief and explaining why I had been so upset, the rage got to me. I put myself down to his level and shouted more. I told him how stupid it was, how dangerous it was, and how he should NEVER, EVER, EVER DO IT AGAIN. If anyone could shout until they were blue in the face, that was me that morning.

Our neighbours probably muted their televisions and paused in sipping their morning coffees, wondering what on earth was happening…

With his mother shouting so angrily, his little face crumpled and tears began to roll down his cheeks like big, fat raindrops – and that’s when I realised how frightened he had been too.

Of course, I immediately regretted my reaction to the whole bathroom-door-locking debacle. I wished I had been the mum that stayed calm, talked her child round, and then sat him on her lap to explain why it had been so silly.

And as I pulled my sobbing, terrified child into me, I wished I could take it back.

I never wanted to be a shouty mum.

But that morning, I was her.

And seeing how much it upset him, I wanted to bury my head into his soft curls and sob too. I wished I’d handled it differently. I wish I’d paused before I let the rage and panic take over.

But since that morning, I’ve had a chance to think. And I’m pretty sure we’ve all been the shouty mum at some point – and with the exhaustion and hormonal dips of pregnancy, I think I can be forgiven.

But next time, I am going to try and stay calm.

After all, I know there will be a next time – whether it’s something as dramatic as a bathroom lock-in or simply losing patience with the boys in the supermarket.

And when it happens, I will try not to be the shouty mum.

Not every time, at least.



11th August 2016

My Dubai Back-to-School Shopping List…

Is it the end of August yet? But seriously – I’m more than ready for the school gates to open again now. My boys have been off school and nursery now for 6 weeks, with another 3 and a bit to go. It’s a long time – especially when you are carrying around a gigantic beach ball of a belly and the temperature outside in the high 40’s.

But I digress… The point of this post is to talk about the ways I have been getting ready for the new school term (hurrah) – and the places we have been shopping for bits and pieces for the boys. So without further ado, here are the places I have been shopping to get my boys ready for the new term…

1 – Shoe Shopping

Where I go: Pairs Middle East

When it comes to shopping for the boy’s school and nursery shoes, my first port of call is the footwear store Pairs. With stores all over the UAE, the shelves are full to the brim with the coolest casual sports brands, including Converse, Skechers, Keds, Ralph Lauren, and Adidas – and the shop assistants are very helpful when it comes to finding sizes and picking styles (a breath of fresh air in Dubai, especially when you have kids in tow). Also excitingly for back to school this August, the company are giving away a complimentary school bag (personalised with your child’s name embroidered on it) with the purchase of any pair of school shoes (black and white) – I got these for the boys (see below) and they couldn’t have been happier! I really recommend heading into store yourself.

For more information, visit the Pairs Middle East Facebook Page or head straight into store at Deira City Center, Dubai Festival City, The Dubai Mall, Mall of Emirates, IBN Battuta, Al Ghurair, Marina Mall Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Mall, Yas Mall, Sahara Center and Mushrif Mall. You can also now shop online at their new website at www.sportlanduae.com/brands/pairs

 13956869_10157323160330607_273883222_n

2. Name Label Ordering

Where I buy: Ladybug Labels

School uniform isn’t cheap – which is why everything I send to school is labelled to within an inch of its life. That means my name label sticker stash is running short, so I’ve just re-ordered from UAE-based Ladybug Labels. I’ve just ordered the ‘Back to School Pack, which has a selection of classic stickers, large sticker labels, pencil labels, spot labels, and iron-on labels. The sticky labels are all dishwasher safe (and they honestly do last) and I like the fact you can design the labels online too.

Order online at www.ladybuglabels.com

train8_1024x1024

3. Lunchbox Buying

Where I buy: Mumzworld

My two have had the same lunch boxes for the last few years and they are showing the signs of daily use, with grubby marks and dodgy zips – so I am treating them to new ones this year from Mumzworld. The online store (which has just been redesigned and looks amazing!) has a large selection of different lunchboxes – from spacious zip-up boxes by Beatrix (I love these ones!) to hard protective boxes with colourful designs by Yubo, to bento-style boxes from Bentology. All at good prices too, with delivery to our doors (whoop!)

Buy online at www.mumzworld.com 

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.59.31

4. Swimwear Buying

Where I buy: COEGA

My two seem to have shot up over the summer – and as a consequence, their UV swim tops look like crop tops and swim shorts look like hot pants (not the best look admittedly). I need to get them some new swimming things for their lessons at school and nursery – and I am sticking to a brand I know and trust with COEGA. There are stores all over Dubai where you can browse and buy the brand – and you can trust that little ones are protected even when in the bright sunshine.

For more information and stockists, visit www.coegawear.com/mobile/locations/

boys_1

5. Haircuts

Where I go: Orlando, JLT

My boys had their very first haircuts at Favourite Things in Marina Mall, which has now sadly shut its doors – so I was very happy to hear that employee Orlando (who everyone raved about when it came to haircutting) had set up on his own in JLT. I will definitely be taking the boys here for their pre-school and nursery haircuts in the last week of the holidays and can personally vouch for the service (there are toys aplenty to keep them happy while their siblings are having their turn too).

Kids Salon, JBC1, Cluster G, UB 12, Lake Level JTL. Timings 9am-9pm. Call or Whatsapp 05560 72563 for appointments

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.07.53