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…)

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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).

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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).

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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!)

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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.

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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

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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

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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 

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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/

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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

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4th August 2016

It’s DSS – and that means free events all around town for kids!

The Jungle Book (2)It’s been a long time since I was in Dubai during DSS (that stands for Dubai Summer Surprises for those not ‘in the know’) – and it’s a real treat to be able to enjoy it for once!

Along with the shopping bargains to be had in nearly every store in the city (keep an eye on my social media accounts as we do our last minute shopping for baby girl), the most exciting thing about the festival is the endless FREE events for kids throughout the city.

So this summer holiday, I don’t have to think too hard about how to entertain the boys (or bankrupt myself in the process) – I just pick an event in a mall, drive them down, and let DSS entertain them instead. A real blessing at any time, but especially in your third trimester of pregnancy!

Here’s a little run down of what you can experience:

Mercato Mall, Jumeirah 1

Circus Fiesta – a live show of acrobatics and circus tricks that will amaze little ones, running until 20th August (4.45pm, 6.45pm, 8.15pm and 9.30pm)

Details – 04 344 4161

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Dragon Mart 2

Trash Pack – a live show called ‘S’not Your House’ that introduces kids to a world dedicated to recycling and protecting the environment, running until 10th August.

Barbie the Athlete – running in conjunction with the Rio Olympics, this event features both a live show and a fun workshop where you can be a medal winner, running 11-20 August

Sweet Celebration – little ones with a sweet tooth will enjoy this cupcake decorating / creative pretzels workshop, running until 20th August

Details – 04 362 1900

City Centre Deira

Alvin & the Chipmunks – a live stage show of music and laughter, lasting 25 minutes, running until 10th August

Details – 04 295 1010

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Ibn Battuta

Miss Fortune Circus – a fun circus performance, with lots of audience interaction, running 11th-20th August (3 x shows between 4 and 9pm)

Details – 04 362 1900

BOXPARK

Bricks – a LEGO pop-up shop run by LEGOLAND Dubai, with the chance to win annual passes to the theme park, which opens in the autumn. Open until 20th August (12pm-10pm).

Details – 04 317 3999

 Bricks at Boxpark (2)

CITY WALK

Jungle Book Workshop – a fun activity zone where little ones can come face-to-face with Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and Sher Khan, running until 20th August (4pm-10pm)

Details – 800 637227

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Dubai Festival City Mall

Summer in the City – an interactive activity zone, where the outside has bought inside. Kids can choose between beach, park and sports with arts and crafts workshops, photo booths, and interactive simulators, running until 20th August (2pm until mall closing)

Details – 04 213 6213

The Dubai Mall

Giant Ball Pit – a fun giant ball pit for the kids to release energy and have lots of fun, open until the end of August

Details – 04 362 1900

I’m planning to head down to a few of the events with the boys in the next few weeks, so keep an eye on my Facebook and Instagram pages for photos of the fun! (although I’m not sure I’m getting into that ball pit with this bump – I’d never escape!)

For full details of all the DSS events, visit www.visitdubai.com/en/dss/events

 

 

 

 



3rd August 2016

5 new investments for baby number three…

This is my third baby, so I’ve already got everything I need already right?

Well yes, I guess so. We certainly didn’t need to make any big investments. We could’ve re-used what we used with the boys and have stored away.

But now I’m onto my third baby, I have got to the point where I know how I like to parent and what makes life easier at home, so there are certain things I have coveted for our third baby that we have decided to invest in.

So without further ado, here are the five new things I have purchased this time round – and if you’re expecting too, it might come in handy…

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1. Stokke XPlory Stroller

This is the biggy – and to be honest, I have wanted this stroller since my first pregnancy with Stanley, but never felt I could justify investing in it. But as this is almost certainly my last baby (last chance saloon!), coupled with the fact the boys will be at school and nursery most mornings, so I will be spending a fair bit of time with my little lady alone – I decided I wanted a new single for the days it is just the two of us.

When Wilfred was a newborn, I had a much smaller gap (21 months) and used our colossal (but brilliant) double buggy every day. We still have it and will definitely be using it when we have all three children together (Wilfred still loves a buggy ride at 2.5 years old), but this lighter, slimmer stroller will be perfect for the days when I have her alone – especially because the double buggy doesn’t fit through the doors to our carpark without a hefty push, which makes it a little trickier when I don’t have my husband around!

What I have always loved specifically about this stroller is that she is high up so I can keep an eye on her at all times. It’s also the most beautiful buggy I have set eyes on… I went for the beige colour purely for my husband’s benefit – I was coveting the purple, but I’m not sure he would have agreed…

UAE Stockist: Just Kidding UAE

2. Water Wipes

When we had Stanley, I did the newborn nappy changing ‘by the book’ with cotton wool and water. Until we got that first meconium poo and realised cotton wool wasn’t going to cut it, so reverted to sensitive wipes. It worked perfectly and his bottom was fine – so we did the same with Wilfred in hospital. This time round, however, my beautiful newborn ended up with a severe, weeping nappy rash that lasted for weeks – so I knew I couldn’t risk using regular wipes on another baby of mine.

Step forward Water Wipes. Essentially, they are thick, pillowy wipes that are 99.9% water (and the rest just fruit extracts). Simply put, they are the next best thing to cotton wool and water (but a lot, lot easier on those yucky newborn poos!)

I had to bring these over in my suitcase from the UK (possibly not one for your Shop + Ship account if you live in Dubai, as they are the heaviest wipes in the world!) but I knew I needed them this time round, so it was worth blowing the luggage allowance!

Stockist: Buy online at Amazon.co.uk or in Boots in the UK

3. Snuzpod

I love co-sleeping with my babies. I like to feel them close to me, to hear them breathing, and to have the convenience of rolling over and feeding them. However, I have always worried about the safety implications, which is why I decided we needed a bedside crib this time around. I was coveting the Chicco Next2Me Cot – until I spotted the Snuzpod, that is… It’s just so beautiful and so convenient – and I love the fact you can take the top part off, so baby can snooze wherever you are in the house.

The way it works is that the side comes down and you physically attach it to your bed, so it’s an extension of where you are sleeping (whilst being a lot safer as you couldn’t roll inside). People have told me that their babies slept in them until they were 6 months, which sounds perfect to me, as then she can move into her cot in her own bedroom (well, the spare room actually, poor third baby!)

UAE Stockist: Mumzworld

4. Sleepyhead

This is the one I wasn’t sure about, but after hearing so many amazing reviews of babies sleeping so well in their Sleepyheads, I’ve decided to go ahead with it. Essentially a  nest for your baby, you place them inside it to sleep – and they apparently feel safe, snug and secure instantly, making them far more likely to sleep well inside it (or so the theory goes). I’ll put my Sleepyhead inside the Snuzpod (above) for her to sleep at home – but when we travel, I’ll use it in travel cots, or move it into the lounge, or if I am in bed alone, I can place it right next to me (as long as the bed is firm) and sleep safely next to her. I can’t wait to see if it’s as good as the reviews suggest!

UAE Stockist: Sleepyhead GCC

5. Rainforest Jumperoo

I am jumping (boom, boom) forward a little bit with this one, as she wont be able to use it until she’s a little older (I’m guessing early next year) – but it is definitely something I’ve mulled over with each new baby before deciding we a) didn’t need it and b) didn’t really have enough space. Well this time round, we do have the space – and with two older brothers to entertain at home, anything I can get my hands on that she might enjoy for a few minutes while I cook dinner / spend some time with her brothers will be worth its weight in gold. So this time, I am finally investing in it – what a lucky girl she is!

UAE Stockist:  Mumzworld

 

 



28th July 2016

Dear boys, there’s one more sleep and we are flying back to the desert…

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 18.39.56Dear boys,

There’s just one more sleep and we are flying back to the desert.

Back to Dubai.

Back to 45’C and little chance of playing outside until October rolls around.

And whilst I am ready to go home; to be in my own home, my own bed, and with my own things around me, I don’t think you will ever be ready to say goodbye to the weather, outdoor life, and family fun we have enjoyed for the last 5 weeks.

As expats, it never gets easier leaving the UK after a trip home; especially a longer visit over the summer. But as soon as we have walked through passport control and out the other side at the airport, our thoughts turn to getting home. Surviving a flight with two small people to entertain. Getting home and collapsing through the door with exhaustion. We can cope with saying goodbye, as this is the life we chose. The life we love.

But you didn’t choose it, which is why it stings to pull you away from so many people and things that you love.

As I think back to the last five weeks, memories flick through my mind in quick succession. The two of you watering flower beds with giant watering cans, howling with laughter with your cousins in the swimming pool, beaming with excitement as we flash past villages on train rides, throwing balls for your dog in the garden, running into the arms of your auntie as she gets home from work, jumping in puddles on overcast beaches, collecting eggs from chickens and dipping your toast into the brightest yellow yolks the very next day.

Precious memories.

But tomorrow, those summer memories will fade away for another year – and we will load four suitcases into the car boot, drive to Heathrow, and board a flight back to our life 3,000 miles away.

It’s earlier than usual, as your sister is growing so quickly in my tummy that we need to get home and start getting ready for her arrival. Your summer has been cut short so we can all get back into the swing of expat life before she makes her appearance.

I don’t feel bad about that – as I know that the gift of a sibling is far greater than a few more weeks playing outdoors. And her arrival means that visitors are booked up throughout the autumn – grandparents and aunties, visiting in quick succession to distract you from the change to our family dynamic (for a little while, at least).

Boys; you have an amazing autumn ahead – and that is what I am going to cling to as we kiss family goodbye at the airport tomorrow and walk away with tears stinging our eyes.

We are saying goodbye to a summer of fun – but we have so much to look forward to as we arrive the other side.

And as Winnie the Pooh once said: “How lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!” And what a clever bear he was!

Love Mummy x



20th July 2016

The last pregnancy

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 18.20.18As she wriggles around in my tummy, I think to myself ‘This is it now – 8 more weeks of feeling baby kicks and that is it. I will never feel a baby again beneath my ribs, stroke a bump in a maternity dress, or wash tiny newborn outfits to pack into a hospital bag.’

I tell myself ‘Enjoy it. Soak it up. Commit it to memory. One day, you can tell your daughter just what it’s like. But you won’t feel this again. This is it now. And soon, it will be over.”

I am pretty sure this is the last pregnancy. You can never be 100% sure with life’s twists and turns and a fourth baby would by no means be a disaster – but I am confident this baby will be our last. I will walk out of hospital in a few months time with a newborn in a car seat and that chapter of our life will be over.

The last pregnancy, now just a memory.

The first of ‘the lasts’.

I loved pregnancy so much the first two times that I imagined I would feel nostalgic and a little sad about that as my due date approached with my last baby. But the truth is that I don’t – I feel like it’s right. This pregnancy has not been easy on my body and I have no energy for my boys. I can’t wait for her to arrive. And even though she is still safely tucked up in my tummy, I already feel complete. I already feel done.

But I haven’t met her yet – and as much as I have got to know her wriggles, the positions she likes me to sit in, and the fact that she prefers me to lie on my left hand side at night (or I get a boot in the ribs for my troubles) I don’t really know her yet either. And I am sure that as soon as she is placed on my chest and we’ve met eyes, I will know exactly who she is – and saying goodbye to the newborn days for the last time will be harder.

Saying goodbye to the small sleepsuits, the tiniest vests, and the softest swaddles that all three have been wrapped in as newborns. Packing them away in boxes, selling them, having to hand them all over to a stranger to dress a baby I have never met. Or not having the courage just yet, keeping it stashed away, too painful to say goodbye to such precious memories (even if they are stained yellow with milky sick and bobbled from so much use).

That will be harder, I know that already. Not because I am aching to do it all again – but because I don’t want those hazy, but so special newborn days to be over too soon. I don’t want her to grow too quickly, to become a big baby, then a toddler, and then a child.

Then the baby days really will be over.

But for now, I can’t wait to walk out of that hospital and head home to my boys with their little sister, to start our life as a family of five. No more baby kicks in objection when I lie on my left side – but a baby girl swaddled in my arms.

The first of ‘the lasts’ – yes.

But more importantly, the first of the ‘the firsts’.

And I can’t wait for it all to begin.



19th July 2016

Currently Loving – July 2016

It’s been a while since I have written one of these posts, so I thought it was about time for some shopping and entertainment inspiration. As I’m in the UK at the moment (for another few weeks at least), there are a mix of UK and UAE companies this time round. And just shout if you have any queries about stockists or availability…

Currently Loving

1. Mammylicious.com (UAE). Good quality, fashionable, and affordable maternity wear has been a long time coming in Dubai – but all of a sudden, we are spoilt for choice. One of my favourite websites is Mammylicious.com. Not only does the store have a range of stunning maternity dresses (which fit like a dream), stylish tops, comfortable trousers and plenty of nursing wear for when baby arrives, but they are offering Mum of Boys readers 20% off everything on the site until the end of August using the code MUMOFBOYSREADER – which gives me all the more reason to shop… Shop here

2. Jelly Cat (UAE and UK). Both my boys have had Jelly Cat soothers as newborns. Stanley still sleeps with his blue bunny and Wilfred is rarely parted from his monkey – so now has come the time to choose something for their baby sister… I still can’t decide, but I am tempted by this pink bunny with liberty-style floral print inside the ears. Available at John Lewis in the UK and Db Babies in the UAE.

3. Cath Kidston (UAE and UK). I recently picked up this Cath Kidston Foldaway Overnight Bag at the gifting suite of the Stylist ME Social Media Awards – and although I can’t find the exact one for sale on the website anymore, there are lots of other designs to pick from. It comes with a small pouch to keep valuables in and is roomy enough to use as a nappy bag (and is washable and waterproof too). The long strap means I can sling it over the handle of the buggy, making it really practical too. Available at CathKidston.com in the UK and in Cath Kidston, Mall of the Emirates in the UAE.

4. Mumzworld.com Pregnancy Pillow (UAE). Thank goodness for my Mumzworld.com Pregnancy Pillow, which I bought a few months ago online. I am currently separated from it whilst in the UK and it’s not easy – and I can’t wait to get back to its pillowy support. I really recommend this style by Leacho (132 AED). Shop here.

5. Aden & Anais Swaddle Wrap (UAE and UK). I fell in love with Aden & Anais swaddles when Wilfred was born, with giant dimensions, the softest breathable muslin, and beautiful designs – and I’ve always secretly coveted the neon pink star design… Now that I have a little girl on the way, I am definitely snapping it up. You can shop online (with shipping to both UAE and UK) at Melijoe.com

6. Fred & Noah (UK). It’s no secret that I am a fan of Fred & Noah leggings for Wilfred (and I have a few pairs for baby girl already too) – and the latest collection is just amazing. Wilfred has been rocking dinosaurs, whales, stars, and clouds while he’s been back in the UK. I don’t want him to wear anything else! Shop here.

7. Etsy (UK and UAE). I’m a fully fledged Boy Mama for a few months longer – and of course, I always will be after that too, so I adore this T-Shirt from Etsy. Shipped from the US to all over the world, it costs just $19.95. Shop here.

8. Zoomer (UK). Thank you to the makers of Zoomer for sending Stanley and Wilfred this very cool garden ride-on for their summer in the UK. Created by two mums, Zoomers are designed cleverly to be stable, comfortable and easy to steer – we’ve tried a lot of garden toys in the past, but this ride-on is definitely the most stable (you could take it to the park or woods) and the boys love it so much there have been more than a few scraps over who gets to ride it. Lovely addition to Nanna and Grandad’s garden, especially now the sun is shining! They cost £54.95. Shop here.

9. Selfish Mother (UK and UAE). You may remember me wearing a ‘MOTHER’ T-shirt in photos on this blog a while back – and Selfish Mother have just started selling these cool year T-Shirts (with £5 of every sale going to the charity KIDS CHARITY UK). I definitely want a 2012 and 2014 for Wilfred – too cute! They cost £18 each – and although they’re a UK company, they ship all over the world. Shop here.

10. Finding Dory (UK and UAE). We were lucky enough to get a very early release of Finding Dory in the UAE and watched it before we flew back to the UK at the end of the June. We LOVED it. I have a slightly fish-obsessed two-year-old and I knew it would be a big hit – and I wasn’t wrong. Both the 2 and 4 year old were glued to it from the second it started and they’ve been talking about it ever since. It opens in the UK on 29th July – the day we fly back to the UAE, which is a shame as we’d definitely watch a second time. There seems to be a lot of merchandise around too, so that’s his Christmas present sorted! Watch out for the Octopus; he’s definitely their favourite character!

11. Bear Nibbles (UK and UAE). We’ve always got Bear Nibbles in our house – even when that has meant buying in bulk and taking bags back to Dubai in our suitcases! These days you can buy them in the dried fruit aisles of Waitrose and at Ripe Markets in the UAE. And in the UK, we are spoilt for choice, with countless different varieties available in every supermarket – from Bear Claws, to Yo Yo’s, to Dino Paws. And now every multibox box comes with 3 x Alphabet Cards inside to collect. Oh and one packet of these yummy dried fruit snacks counts as one of their 5-a-day, which is music to my ears as they think it’s a treat! Supermarkets nationwide (UK); Waitrose and Ripe Market (UAE).