22nd January 2018

5 Tips For Taking Kids On Ski Holidays!

  1. Go for catered accommodation

I’m usually all about self-catering on holidays with kids, but going with a company that provides meals is such a godsend when you are skiing. Not only are you using up way more energy than the average holiday (not just on the slopes, but in getting three kids into a million layers and then marching them through snow, then entertaining them in the afternoon too) so you are way too exhausted to feed yourself and the kids – but it also saves fitting supermarket trips into the schedule and working out how you’ll trudge there with the kids in the snow. We chose the holiday company Morealps, which meant we had breakfast prepared every morning, a freshly cooked cake mid-afternoon, the kid’s dinner at 5pm, and a 3-course dinner (with the option of cheese too, which we never managed) for the adults at 8pm. It worked really well – and meant that even though the days were tiring, the evenings really did feel like a holiday. You can check out details of Morealps here – http://morealps.com/

  1. Choose a great ski school

If you are planning to hit the slopes (or indeed the spa), you are going to need some childcare for a portion of the day. And whilst you are in the mountains, it makes perfect sense for your little people to hit those slopes too. My boys had never even seen snow before, let alone skied, so I did my research – and settled on ESF (Ecole Du Ski Francais), who looked after our boys perfectly all morning. I was amazed to see them skiing down slopes within a few hours on skis – and the very-friendly welcome as the boys arrived every morning eased any nerves. Visit the La Rosiere site here – www.ski-school-larosiere.co.uk/

3. Pack thermals

It seems obvious to pack warm clothes when you head to the snow, but it isn’t just the thick skiing jackets and trousers that are important. In fact, I quickly came to realise that long-sleeve thermal tops and trousers to be worn underneath were just as crucial to keeping little people warm – and having dressed them in these base layers, my Dubai-born children never shiverred. The brand Engelbert Strauss is worth checking out for this as their thermals are very high quality and affordable. I recommend this top and these trousers.

  1. Pack favourite snacks

A friend gave me the top tip to take away a selection of the childrens’ favourite snacks so you can zip one into the pocket of their ski jacket for hungry moments on the slopes. The ski school hadn’t told me to do this, so I was very relieved when we turned up and the instructor asked if they had snacks to ward off hunger pains. It is expected – and it is necessary when they are burning up so much energy on the slopes. And if you have a fussy eater (and I have one of them), packing what you know they’ll eat from home is a good idea.

  1. Take along ‘quiet time’ entertainment

When my boys finished skiing every day, it was fair to say that they were absolutely exhausted. Completely dead on their feet, dragging their heels and whining. They desperately needed a bit of time to chill – and so I’m very glad that I packed a selection of activity books, colouring books, DVD’s and their iPads. We usually spent between midday and 3pm together in the chalet letting them recharge batteries before we went out again around 3pm – and it would’ve been hard without ways to keep them still!



5th January 2018

Mabel tests: Baby Dove

In sponsorship with Baby Dove

I’m going to start this review by saying that Mabel has sensitive skin. She has eczema on her face and the start of it on her tummy – and whilst it’s very mild, I’ve noticed that certain products flare it up. I have to use very gentle bath and body products – and I have to make sure that her skin is moisturised after every bath or she starts scratching.

Having said that, I like to use products on her skin that feel lovely and smell lovely – because you want that for your baby, don’t you? I usually turn to natural products that contain soothing ingredients like oatmeal, alongside moisturising ingredients like shea butter or almond oil.

So when I read that the Baby Dove ranges are ‘as gentle as water, hypoallergenic and pH-neutral”, I agreed to give it a go with Mabel. Available in Rich Moisture or Sensitive Moisture (fragrance-free), the formulas are also tested by an ophthalmologist, dermatologist and paediatrician, which all sounded very promising. We tried the Rich Moisture Head to Toe Body Wash, the Rich Moisture Nappy Cream, and the Nourishing Baby Lotion. I used the first when she was in the bath (on her hair too) – and the second two on her body and bum afterwards.

So what did we think?

Rich Moisture Head to Toe Body Wash.

This was lovely. Creamy in texture, with a clean but very gentle scent. I loved the plunge dispenser, which makes it really easy to use when you have three kids and only two arms (and at least two of them are trying to drench me). I used it on Mabel’s skin and hair. It was easy to rinse off her skin and out of her hair – and it didn’t feel drying. I will definitely continue to use it.

Rich Moisture LotionI wasn’t so keen on the smell of this one – it was a little too neutral, almost lacking in something. But I did like the way it absorbed quickly into Mabel’s skin and left it feeling very soft. No irritation either, even with her sensitivity.

Rich Moisture Nappy CreamThis was my favourite of the lot. I have used the same nappy rash cream since I’ve become a mother from one of the leading brands and had never considered swapping, but this cream is actually better. It’s easier to get from the tube, spreads easier, and stays put (rather than disappearing into her skin two seconds after I apply it). No scent whatsoever, which is the way I like it for that product, and a little goes a very long way. 

For more details about the range, visit  www.dove.com/uk/baby.html 



3rd December 2017

The one question I’ve been asked every day since I left Dubai is this: ‘Do you miss it?’

The one question I’ve been asked every day since I left Dubai is this: ‘Do you miss it?’

And it’s been so hard to articulate an answer before now, because everything was too new and too raw. But I finally feel ready to answer so here goes…

Yes, I miss Dubai.

Now in the depths of winter, I have nearly forgotten what it’s like to feel warmth on my skin. I miss sliding my feet in my flip-flops day in, day out. I miss the dresses that were my daily uniform. I miss the smell of sun cream as I slather it on our skin. I miss the swimwear that we climbed into so often, we decided to buy a storage box and keep it downstairs. I miss seeing the boy’s little pot bellies in swim shorts. I miss seeing the happiness on their faces as they dive in the pool. I miss the sand, and the shells, and the gentle roar of waves hitting the shore.

But that’s not all. I miss my friends. I miss the routines we made together, chatting over mugs of coffee in kitchens, and plates of eggs benedict in cafes after the school run. I miss seeing our children play together like cousins – and sometimes when I realise I haven’t seen those friends and their children for nearly half a year, it floors me. How is it possible we just stepped out of their lives?

I miss places that I never thought I’d miss. The shiny malls that were like mazes, but became as familiar as high streets back home. Even the supermarkets that fleeced me with £7 cauliflowers. The hotel pools we went to at the weekend, where we repeated to the children like robots ‘do you realise how lucky you are?’ The sandy school car park, where I wasn’t ‘the new mum’ and was met with smiles as soon as I strolled inside the gates. The kid’s play areas that I always hated, but now seem part of the very fabric of being a mum. The coffee shops where arriving with my laptop prompted calls of ‘welcome back!’ as I strolled inside.

And I miss just being a family. Being us. With our routines, our home, our belongings, and our little family unit. I haven’t sat on my own sofa, slept in my own bed, or even showered in my own shower for over 5 months now – and that seems so ridiculous and so impossible that sometimes I’m surprised at times that I ever managed to carry on.

I don’t miss all these things all the time, but they come into my mind every now and again. On cold mornings, on lonely afternoons, on days when nobody talked to me on the school run, in moments when something we used to do as a family pops into my mind. These things weave in and out of my mind, sometimes taking longer to disappear again than others, taking their turn to break my heart or make me wonder if we did the right thing.

But bar the odd moment, I am growing more and more confident by the day that we have made the right decision to settle back in the UK. It’s mainly to do with the children and how they have settled – something that was always in the back of my mind as an expat mum, knowing that one day I’d have to uproot them. One day I’d have to break their hearts too.

But it’s somehow more than that too. A few days ago a friend asked that very question ‘Do you miss Dubai?’ and I replied without thinking: ‘Yes, but it feels like we’ve got it the right way round now. It just feels right.’

And it does.

Because ever since that day back in 2009 when I first flew into the desert, I have known that my heart belongs to two places. One sandy, one muddy. One warm, one cold. One old, one new. And the mere act of arriving and settling in that place has meant my heart will be forever split in two.

But this way round feels right. It feels like the natural order has been restored and I never have to worry again whether we’re in the right place. It feels final. It feels like it’s the way it’s meant to be.

And that’s a relief, because until now I was relying entirely on the smiles on my children’s faces to reassure myself that we’ve done the right thing. And those smiles have been everything, when my toes are numb cold, or I’m missing the sound of my friend’s voice as I stroll into her kitchen, or it suddenly occurs to me that it’s been months since I heard the sound of the sea, or the call of prayer, or the splash as the children run and jump into a pool.

Those smiles have been everything.

And now – just occasionally, just often enough – I glance in the mirror and see mine too.



22nd November 2017

Currently Loving – November 2017

Another month – and another ‘Currently Loving’ collage! And I’ve really enjoyed putting this one together, because there’s lots of things I am really coveting for myself and my own little people. It really is the very best time of the year – and I’ve been in online retail heaven picking my selection! Happy shopping!

1. Fable Heart Crown. I’ve been coveting this sequin crown for my three kiddies since I saw it on my friend Coral’s Instagram feed. It’s so beautifully crafted – and would look amazing sat on a shelf until they were ready to play. £27 at Not on the Highstreet – shop here.

2. Boden Reindeer Booties. I bought these reindeer booties (or very similar ones) from Boden last year for baby Mabel (just three months old then – squeal) and they are bringing back all kinds of memories. I’m tempted to treat her to them again as slippers… Too cute. £18 at Boden. Shop here.

3. La Redoute Watermelon Rug. I’ve just bought this watermelon rug for Mabel’s new nursery (it’s only taken 14 months to get her into her own room, but we’ve had a few obstacles in our way!) It’s going to add a splash of colour, plus bring back memories of weaning her on chunks of fresh watermelon in Dubai. Happy memories. £20 at La Redoute. Shop here.

4. La Redoute Velour Dunagrees. And while we’re on the subject of La Redoute, which I’ve just rediscovered after about a 10-year hiatus, I have also fallen in love with these pink velour dungarees for Mabel. So chic. £21 at La Redoute. Shop here.

5. Oliver Bonas Storage Suitcases. How gorgeous are these storage suitcases by Boden, which have just hit stores? They come in a range of sizes, each with a pastel trim. I am definitely coveting a set for my new house when we move in a few weeks. From £45 at Oliver Bonas. Shop here.

6. Wolf & Badger Origami Necklace. A few people have asked me recently what is on my personal Christmas list – and this Swan Origami Necklace is top of the list. It’s got a long chain, with a choice of gold, rose gold, or silver finishes. You can choose from a range of different animals – from dinosaurs, to rabbits, to elephants – but I love the simplicity of the classic swan. £120 at Wolf & Badger. Shop here.

7. Joy The Store Salt & Pepper Shakers. These cactus salt and pepper shakers are also on my Christmas list and will look fab in the middle of the dining table. £9 at Joy the Store. Shop here.

8. Parrots Don’t Live in the City Book. My boys are loving reading this story every evening at the moment – and with the most beautiful rhyming prose and stunning illustrations, I’m really enjoying reading it to them. If you are looking to add a book or two to a stocking or Christmas present, I highly recommend it. £7.99 at Amazon. Shop here.

9. Aayami Grandparents Photo Book. I’ve ordered lots of photo books from this company in the past and always been so impressed with the quality and service. I can’t wait to see the Grandparents Books I’ve ordered as presents for this year. I love the fact you can send over photos and get the team to design the book to save time too. From £27 at Ayaami. Shop here.

10. TR-Q Multivitamins. Since I’ve been telling you about these vitamins, which will shortly be available in pharmacies across Dubai, I’ve been asked about whether they really do taste as good as Ive described… And they really do. In fact, it’s kind of hard to remember you are taking a vitamin.  They contain nine essential vitamins and minerals, all of which are 100% of the Recommended Daily Value. And they are allergen free too, free of wheat (gluten), milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, artificial flavors, animal derivatives and preservatives. For more information, click here.

 

Written in collaboration with TR-Q

Contains affiliate links



30th October 2017

Currently Loving – October 2017

This month nearly escaped me, but I’ve just found time to pull together the things I’m been coveting, trying, and buying this month (I’m blaming half term – it’s impossible to even have a wee in peace, let alone find the time for work!)

As you can see, my picks are getting a bit glitzy and festive – and that’s not surprising given this is the first autumn I’ve been in the UK for 5 years. It already feels festive and it’s still October, so please consider this a warning for how Christmassy my blog is going to get over the next few months! Sorry (not sorry)….

  1. Glitter Slippers, Boden

I now live in the UK and my feet are cold – step forward, slippers. And top of my wish list are these glittery numbers from Boden. From £22, click here to shop.

  1. Penguin Fairisle Jumper, Marks & Spencer.

I’ve spotted so many gorgeous Christmas jumpers for kids in the shops already this year – but this Fairisle penguin number by M&S is top of my list for Mabel. £10, click here to shop.

  1. Rose gold bag, H&M

I bought this rose gold shopper from H&M in Dubai before I flew back for the summer – and I’ve used it nearly every day since. I love it so much that I’m already worried about the day it starts looking a bit tired (it’s not real leather sadly, hence the affordable price tag!), so I hopped over to the UK website to see if I could buy a replacement. I was delighted to discover it’s just been added to the online aisles for £19.99, click here to shop.

  1. FujiFilm Instax Mini, John Lewis

The instant camera has been on my wish list for a while – and now it comes in Rose Gold (exclusively at John Lewis), I obviously have to have it. It’s £94.95 and comes complete with 10 shots of film, click here to shop.

  1. SAVE THE CHILDREN Christmas Jumpers, The FMLY Store

There are so many stunning designs in this year’s Save The Children Christmas collection by The FMLY Store that I had trouble picking my favourite, but I think it’s this MERRY design by Karen Elson that gets the top spot for me. Each jumper costs £50 (with 50% going straight to Save The Children) and you can pre-register to buy them here.

  1. Multi Vitamins, T-RQ (UAE)

Last month, I gave you a bit of an overview about these adult gummy vitamins by T-RQ – and this month, I wanted to go into more detail about why I especially love the Multivitamins. In fact, they are the only gummy multivitamin in the world that contain nine essential vitamins and minerals, all of which are 100% of the recommended daily value. I love them because I hate swallowing vitamins with water and they are so easy to chew (and taste great too), but also because they are made from only natural flavours and colours, with a plant-based formula, and no allergens, artificial flavours, or preservatives. You’ll soon be able to get your hands on bottles at most pharmacies across Dubai. Click here for more information

  1. Wire Letter, Oliver Bonas

Gorgeous wire letters to sit on a shelf in rose gold? Well of course I want one for every member of my family – especially when they are only £12 each! Click here to shop.

  1. Billy Bee Sugarplums and Honey by Paris Brosnan

The author Paris Brosnan sent my boys this delightful story – and I have so enjoyed reading it to them before bed. Highly recommended for your little people or for gifts. The paperback version is £7.99. Click here to shop.

  1. First Christmas Bauble, Not on the Highstreet

How gorgeous is this ‘First Christmas’ bauble from Not on the Highstreet? And if it isn’t your baby’s first Christmas, you can just pop their name on the bauble instead! Just £14.99 each, click here to shop.

  1. Yo Neighbor App (UAE)

I’m a big fan of this very clever app, which has just launched in the UAE. If you need something briefly (such as DIY tools, camping equipment, or baby equipment – and everything in between), you can search for those items based on the area you live and see daily / hourly charges for items available to hire nearby. It’s a great way to connect with your neighbours, save money, and live a little more sustainably. I’m seriously impressed. Download on iTunes here. Download on Google Play here.

  1. Initial T-Shirts, Mina and the Moon

I couldn’t resist ordering my three these long-sleeved T-Shirts with their initials in gold. They come in a choice of different styles and colours (also sweatshirts for a bit more warmth in winter) – and they start at just £14 each, click here to shop.

 

Written in collaboration with T-RQ and Yo Neighbor

This blog post contains affiliate links

 

 

 



26th October 2017

It was an autumn afternoon, back in 1999…

It was a cool autumnal afternoon, back in 1999. Quite unremarkable as days go, but I remember it clearly.

It was my first term at university and I was walking to campus for a late afternoon lecture. The sky was a dark, twilight blue as dusk rolled in – and as I strolled, my eyes were drawn to a house with the lights shining bright inside. Without the curtains pulled, I could see two school children sat in the lounge. They were watching afternoon TV, sipping cups of orange squash, and nibbling biscuits.

A scene being played out in thousands of houses all over the country.

A scene I’d played out thousands of times myself.

And my eyes took in that familiar scene as I strolled past the house to my lecture, it hit me like a lightning bolt.

That part of my life was over.

I would never be a schoolchild again. I’d never get home from school and raid the biscuit tin. I’d never sit and watch after-school TV.

It was over.

I had been so excited about moving on with my life, leaving home for the first time, cooking my own dinners, making my own decisions about what time I would roll into bed in the evening, and what time I might roll out of it the next day, that I’d completely forgotten that I was leaving so much behind.

Did I want to go back there? No way. You couldn’t drag me.

But for the very first time in my life, I had an understanding of the finality of time. And I was shocked to realise that there was no way back. Even if I ended up hating university and wanted to go home, I could never be a schoolchild again drinking squash and nibbling biscuits.

I often think about that autumn afternoon stroll to university, because the realisation had shocked me. And over the years that followed, it had taught me to stand still and think ‘enjoy this moment – because once it’s over, it’s over.’ I learnt to appreciate moments, like the last night at university dancing in a dodgy club with my housemates, the day my boyfriend proposed, and the final dance on our wedding day.

But the finality of time has never been more obvious to me than since my first baby was placed on my chest back in April 2012. I suddenly wasn’t pregnant anymore – and until that moment, I had no idea I would miss the bump that housed the very baby I had been desperately trying to evict.

In fact, in the months and years that followed, I wished so much I could go back and tell my newly-pregnant self to enjoy that pregnancy. To soak up every second as life would never feel as exciting or as special again. To sleep, to relax, to cradle my bump, to take hundreds of pictures of it. To truly appreciate those nine months.

And there were lots more moments to remind me that life was passing at a crazy pace.  There was the moment I was stood behind another mother with a newborn in a supermarket queue and her baby jumped in shock at a loud noise – and I suddenly realised, with absolute horror, that my baby didn’t do that anymore.

There was the pace at which he grew out of sleepsuits. The joy of seeing him in new outfits peppered with the sadness of folding away his tiny clothes into boxes.

There was the joy of seeing him walk for the first time, before the sinking realisation that I’d never see the funny commando crawl he’d mastered again.

And even now – five years later – there’s the one single word he mispronounces every single time, which I have no intention of correcting. Because once he’s mastered his entire vocabulary without any sweet little slips, he somehow seems less of my baby.

Life passes at such a fast pace that I find it hard to soak everything up sometimes. I find it hard to pause and think ‘I really should commit this to memory’. In fact, some moments I don’t want to remember – whether it’s a difficult day, or a tricky night with a grouchy baby – and it’s only with the benefit of hindsight, probably years down the line from now, that I’ll stop and think to myself ‘those moments were pretty special after all, I guess’.

So in many ways, I was right on that autumn day back in 1999. You can’t go back in time – and you often don’t appreciate something until it’s long gone, out of your reach.

But I was missing something too, because now I am a mother I get to see it all again through their eyes.

Complete with the TV after school, the orange squash, and the biscuits.

And this time, I’m going to try – really try – to not let it slip away too quickly.



11th October 2017

We try: Slumbertots Sleep Training

Rewind to the day I stopped breastfeeding Mabel to sleep, when she was 7 months old. The very moment that the milk stopped coming and she started flailing around on the boob and we both decided we were done – that was the very moment she stopped falling asleep in my arms.

As the months ticked on, I came up with other ways to get her to sleep. I’d lay her in her bedside cot and feed her to sleep with a bottle as I lay in the bed alongside, creeping outside when she was snoring away. When she got older, I’d lie her next to me in the big double bed to feed her. And when she stopped falling asleep doing that, I’d lie next to her and cuddle her until she finally dropped off.

This all worked well and I loved those bedtime cuddles – but as the months ticked on, it was taking longer and longer for her to fall asleep. She’d try to stand up, she’d try to roll, she’d laugh hysterically, she’d whip me in the face with her cuddly elephant, and she’d cry with frustration. A few weeks ago, with my husband in Dubai and my boys downstairs with their grandparents in their pyjamas, it took over two hours to get her to sleep. And as much as I enjoyed that sleepy time with her, that was the moment I knew that something had to be done. It wasn’t fair on either of us – I was frustrated and Mabel was over-tired. We both needed to come up with a better plan.

Step forward Katy from the sleep consultancy Slumbertots.

Katy is a Certified Baby and Child Sleep Consultant – and she’s also a mum-of-two, meaning she understood exactly what sleep deprivation feels like and how we feel as mums when bedtime isn’t going well. She’s also lovely – like really, really lovely. Warm, relatable, gentle, and helpful. She can work with you anywhere in the world, as the consultations are by phone/skype, whilst a lot of the support is by email. I highly recommend reaching out.

But back to my story. After a consultation (Katy offers 15-minutes free consultation to all parents), Katy came up with a 10-day plan to help me get Mabel to sleep happily in her cot. Katy works with parents that want all kinds of different things for their babies – and I made it very clear from the beginning that I didn’t want to simply leave the room and let her cry. With that knowledge, Katy came up with a very gentle 10-day plan, where I would gradually retreat from the cot.

Over 10 days I would move from sitting right by the cot and comforting her – to being able to walk straight out the room by the end of day 10. It sounded amazing, but I have to be honest, I didn’t have high hopes that it would work – I just couldn’t imagine Mabel ever settling herself to sleep.

I don’t want to go into exact details, because it isn’t really fair on Katy to give away the tricks of her trade, but let’s just say that I followed the plan to the letter – and I was amazed by how quickly it worked. Katy offers a couple of Skype calls throughout the plan too, alongside email support, which means that you can check in regularly, ask questions, and be reassured that it’s all working OK.

Night one was the hardest, but I was still pretty amazed by how quickly she settled down and went to sleep (it genuinely wasn’t that hard at all). The middle of the night wake-ups were also tricky for the first few nights, because whilst Mabel didn’t always wake up during the night, she wanted to come into the bed for milk when she did and I always obliged. However, after a few nights of staying in her cot (with me comforting her and laying her back down to sleep), she understood that she would be staying in her cot and learnt to settle herself back to sleep.

So now I’m at the end of the plan, how does bedtime go now? After her milk and her bath, I kiss and cuddle Mabel to say goodnight – and then I place her in her cot. I say ‘Sleepy Time now, Night Night. I love you!’ and I walk out of the room. And she goes to sleep! I’m still in shock.

The first night that I walked straight out, I went downstairs and put the monitor on and heard silence. I sat with the boys in their pyjamas, cuddled them as they watched the CBBC Bedroom Story – and I got to read them a story when they went up to bed. I hadn’t been able to do this for a long time, as I’d been with Mabel on the bed – and I was so, so thankful that Katy and Slumbertots had come into my life.

Highly, highly recommended!

www.slumbertots.com/



9th October 2017

One to download: Yo Neighbor

If you live in the UAE, I recommend that you grab your phone and download the app Yo Neighbor immediately – because honestly, I think this is one of the best app launches I’ve seen come to the UAE in a long time.

Let me explain. Yo Neigbor is all about renting out your belongings to your neighbours – so you can list all those items lying around the house that you don’t use very often to people that may need them for a few hours or a few days. You make some extra cash  – and your neighbours get the things they need much more affordably than buying them new.

So how does it work?

Firstly, you download the app and input the area where you live (Arabian Ranches or Jumeirah, for example) – and then you simply take pictures of the items you would like to hire out, upload them to the app, and name your price. People will soon start to see your items pop up in their feed – and they can contact you to arrange pick-up when they want to hire your item.

If you’re the one that wants to hire something from a neighbour, it works exactly the same way. Input your location, pick the category (such as Baby Stuff, Enjoying The Outdoors, or Let’s Get Fit!, for example) and start browsing what is on offer. The app is arranged so that the items closest to you are first in your feed, moving to those further away as you keep scrolling.

I think it’s a fantastic way to make a bit of extra cash when hiring out your belongings or to save cash when hiring things you need yourself, whilst also meeting new people in your community. I also love the fact the app offers UAE residents the opportunity to be more sustainable, given that they can share items, rather than always buying new.

It also works really well if you are in the UAE but don’t know how long you’ll be staying, so don’t want to buy everything new – or if you have just arrived and are waiting for your shipment to arrive.

 

What kind of things can I hire / hire out?

There are hundreds of different things you can hire / hire out, but I’ve listed below some of the categories I think the app works especially well for – those items you don’t need often enough to buy new, but that you need occasionally and wish you had a neighbour to borrow from…

  • Camping Equipment
  • Ladders and DIY tools
  • Baby equipment like cots and toys, for when friends are visiting
  • Barbecues and Outdoor Entertaining Items
  • Kid’s Costumes for dress-up days at school / nursery
  • Sporting Equipment like tennis rackets or golf clubs
  • Musical Instruments for lessons at school

There’s lots more too – so I highly recommend you download the app and have a browse!

Download on iTunes here.

Download on Google Play here.



6th October 2017

Love used to be about kisses at the station in the morning…

Love used to be about kisses at the station in the morning when you said goodbye, lazy weekends together on the sofa, booking last minute trips to Paris on a Friday afternoon, taking selfies where only two of you had to fit into a frame, date nights that lasted until the morning, wearing lipstick and pretty underwear and still thinking it mattered, holding hands as you strolled through villages, and feeling flutters of butterflies before they got home.

Love was new, exciting, passionate, and romantic. And you thought it would always be that way.

But then you became parents and it changed.

Slowly at first; feeling a fuzzy warmth when you realise the baby has her eyes and his feet, seeing each other at your least glamorous and most vulnerable, watching them cradle a newborn and wanting to capture it in your mind forever, saying ‘no, I don’t mind!’ when it definitely isn’t your turn to do the nappy, trying to squeeze more faces into those selfies and suddenly realising they are the best selfies in the world.

And as the years ticked on, love became different again.

It was about going on family adventures, about sandy trips to the beach and muddy trips to the park, about waking up early at the weekend and heading downstairs with sleep still in your eyes, about doing things together that might not be new, exciting, passionate or romantic, but that something made your heart sing with joy.

It became about knowing somebody so well that you could can tell in one glance how they are feeling, about booking date nights weeks in advance because it all got so complicated, about getting excited about buying furniture or upgrading the family car, about seeing the best bits of them in your children and knowing you made the right choice all those years ago.

And it became about making decisions that might not be best for the two of you, but are best for those little people – and knowing hand on heart, that those decisions were still right.

Love changes.

It isn’t always better – and there are arguments spat with sleep-deprived anger in the kitchen and glares shot across restaurant tables when one of you knew eating out with kids would be a bad idea .

It isn’t as pretty, or as spontaneous, or as passionate, or as exciting.

But it’s just right.

And if you’re lucky – if you’re very, very lucky – you still feel flutters of butterflies before they get home.



27th September 2017

Currently Loving – September 2017

So here’s my first ‘Currently Loving’ blog post-summer – and as usual, it blends companies that are in the UK and companies that in the UAE (with 8 of the picks available in both countries). I hope you enjoy reading it – and Ill be back next month with more things I have been buying, trying, loving, or coveting! See you then!

  1. EcoToys.ae (UAE)

I was so happy to hear about new toy store EcoToys.ae, which is the first toy distributor in the GCC committed to selling safe toys to kids, whilst also preserving the planet. Every toy is made from 100% natural hardwood (mainly beech and maple wood) sourced from sustainable, eco-friendly forests. They never use plastic or toxic paints, colorants, phosphates, or any other harmful substances – and the non-toxic water-based colours are perfectly safe and healthy for kids aged 0-6 years (even if they get sucked – and believe me, Mabel likes to suck a toy!) There’s tons to choose from at every different price point too. A wonderful new option for Dubai Mummies. Shop at www.ecotoys.ae

 

  1. Cath Kidston (UK and UAE)

I’ve fallen in love with the new Initial Mugs by Cath Kidston – and I’m planning on buying one for each member of the family. And at just £7.50 each, they are affordable too. Click here to buy on the UK website (or head in stores in the UAE, as they should arrive very soon!)

 

  1. HOTBUNZ (UK and UAE)

Regular readers will know I am a big fan of HOTBUNZ baby pants, which are made from the softest organic cotton. They have wide bands over the tummy, to stop them pinching baby bellies, and come in a range of beautiful colours and designs. In fact, this swan design (along with a stunning twinkle design in beige and black) are new to the collection and I am seriously coveting all three for Mabel! You can shop from anywhere in the world, with a flat rate $7 for shipping – and 10% off orders when you register on the site. Click here to shop

 

  1. Cissy Wears (UK)

While our worldly belongings sail across from the UAE (which will apparently take 6-8 weeks), I am dreaming about a new UK abode for my family and all the things that may fill it. This will be the first time Mabel has had her own bedroom – and I want the shelves filled with beautiful things. This bunny snow globe is top of my wishlist to pop on a shelf, at just £9.99. Click here to shop

 

  1. Love Roo (UK)

I have fallen head over heels for the bonnets and shoes made by the talented mum behind Love Roo – and I ordered a bunny bonnet for Mabel a few months ago thinking we’d be back in Dubai. Mabel looks adorable in it – and it really is beautifully made. Now that it’s getting chilly, I am coveting the fleece-lined range of bonnets, which includes this beautiful fox cub hat, plus a teddy bear version. Equally gorgeous for girls and boys, they cost £19,99 each and are made to order. Order yours here

 

  1. H&M (UK and UAE)

How adorable are these fur-lined slippers by H&M. They are available from the teeniest size 0 to kids size 5 – and they cost just £7.99 in the UK (click here to shop) and coming to stores in the UAE very soon.

 

  1. H&M Home (UK and UAE)

Another pick from H&M, but this time the home store, where these Christmas tree branch cushions have caught my eye. Such a stylish nod to the festive season, without being too full-on (in fact, I’d be tempted to keep them on the sofa all year). Just £6.99 in the UK (click here to shop) – and in Dubai stores a little closer to Christmas.

 

  1. Scamp & Dude (UK and UAE)

I can’t get enough of this fantastic UK-based brand (which ships overseas) for its stylish kids and adultwear. Wilfred has this cat sweatshirt and it looks simply adorable – and I am currently carrying out my laptop in this gorgeous leopard print canvas bag. I’ve got a pink leopard print sweatshirt on my Christmas list already. Click here to shop

 

  1. T-RQ Multi Vitamins (UAE).

I’ve always been a bit jealous of the kids and their gummy multivitamins, which is why I was very happy to get my hands on a bottle of Adult Gummy Multivitamins by the brand T-RQ (especially given my kids have been bringing colds, coughs, and sneezes home from school every day). I keep my bottle next to the kids to remind me to take them – and it’s reassuring to know that they are made with the highest quality ingredients. I’ll be telling you more about these vitamins over coming months – and you’ll soon be able to get your hands on bottles at most pharmacies across Dubai. Click here for more information

 

  1. Stuck on You (UK and UAE).

Let’s just say that individually sewing name stickers onto pairs of socks is not my thing – and that’s exactly why I am such a big fan of these name stickers by the company Stuck on You. You can stick them to the labels of clothes, onto pots and lunch boxes, and even into shoes. I’m so impressed with them, that I’ve ordered in bulk this year for all three children. Head over to www.stuckonyou.ae to order (UAE) or www.stuckonyou.uk (UK)

 

  1. Black & Beech (UK and UAE).

I’m proud to be a Mum – but I’m more than that too. And that’s why I love this “More than a Mum” pin badge by Black & Beech. I love the brand’s new ‘Mama Merch’ sweatshirts and tees too, which can all be shipped worldwide. Click here to shop.

 

  1. Charlotte Tilsbury (UK and UAE)

So I am going to start by saying that I know Charlotte Tilsbury Magic Cream Moisturiser is expensive – but I started my pot back in June and I don’t think I’m even half way through it, so it does last a long time (and I’ve used it every single morning). And let’s just say that if you are sleep deprived and looking for a little glow back in your life, this will give it to you. I will definitely be restocking when this pot runs out. It’s liquid, well cream, gold. Click here to shop.

 

 

Written in collaboration with EcoToys.ae, T-RQ, HOTBUNZ and Stuck on You.