19th May 2017

Our family photo shoot with Lidiya Kalichuk Photography…

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

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

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

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

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Visit www.lidiyakalichuk.com



17th May 2017

Currently Loving – May 2017

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

Currently Loving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In collaboration with Mr Tumee



14th May 2017

A love letter to my second baby…

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

You arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, you arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

And how thankful I am to have been in your path

Mummy xx

Photo by Lidiya Kalichuk - www.lidiyakalichuk.com



8th May 2017

Living with Infertility…

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When I posted about infertility a few weeks ago in collaboration with Bourne Hall Fertility, I was amazed by the stories and responses that came back. I’m happy to admit that I shed a few tears too, reading stories that could so easily have been mind if I was walking in different shoes. And having received dozens of private messages too, I already know for a fact that your stories and words of advice have had such an impact on those going through treatment now. I think it’s so important to keep that rapport open, so I’ve been racking my brain about what else might be helpful – and came up with the idea to speak to a specialist at Bourne Hall Fertility to answer questions that those currently going through infertility may have in their mind. You will find those questions below, answered by Medical Director and Consultant in Reproductive Medicine – Dr. David Robertson. And if you want to go and see a specialist at the clinic yourself, simply mention ‘Mum of Boys & Mabel’ and you will get that first consultation completely for free. Call +971 4 705 5055 to make an appointment.

1. When should I seek treatment?

Most doctors would advise a couple to seek advice if they have been actively trying to conceive for more than a year. If there are any specific problems, such as irregular periods, or if the woman is older, more than 35, they should seek advice earlier.

2.      What specific tests would you recommend to diagnose infertility?

Firstly, the couple should be aware of the woman’s menstrual cycle – is it regular, what is the fertile time of the month. They can test for this using ovulation kits that are widely available in pharmacies and supermarkets. Once they see a fertility specialist, there are some basic tests that will be done first:

  • A sperm count (semen analysis) for the man
  • Blood tests for the woman, to check her hormone levels
  • An ultrasound scan of the woman’s uterus and ovaries, and a check of her fallopian tubes, to see if there is any anatomical problem
  • Other tests may be needed in particular circumstances

3.       What are my ‘ovarian reserves’ and how does this determine my fertility? What tests can I do to measure this?

Women are born with a finite supply of eggs and, as they get older, the supply gradually reduces. Usually, the supply doesn’t finish until she is well into her forties but sometimes this happens earlier than expected. The doctor can check the egg supply, or ovarian reserve, by measuring a hormone known as AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone) and by performing an ultrasound scan of the ovaries during a period, to check the number of small egg-containing follicles that are present (antral follicle count).

4.       Does smoking, drinking or other lifestyle related factors affect my fertility?

Undoubtedly. Women who smoke regularly have a reduced ovarian reserve and their eggs tend to be of poorer quality than those from women who have never smoked. This is also true for regular heavy consumption of alcohol. These women, if they do get pregnant, also have more complicated pregnancies and their babies are less healthy with lower birth weights.

5.       Should I consider genetic testing?

Genetic testing of embryos during IVF treatment is certainly of benefit if there is a specific disease that runs in the family and it is known that a couple have an increased risk. Many diseases can be detected this way, but not all. There are many conditions where genetic diagnosis is not possible, so it is important to discuss this issue with your doctor.

Some couples would like to be reassured that their baby will be healthy and genetic testing of an embryo may help with this. For example, older women, more than 35 are more likely to deliver babies with genetic problems such as Down Syndrome, and this can be picked up by genetic testing, so that the problem is avoided. It may also be useful for women who have previously experienced a number of miscarriages and increase their chance of having a successful pregnancy.

www.bournhall-clinic.ae

Image credit - http://www.lidiyakalichuk.com/



4th May 2017

Capturing memories with Pretty Paper Studio UAE

18280860_10158663916535607_2110324407_nRewind to the 80′s and 90′s. Remember that feeling of excitement as you picked up a thick wallet of photographs from the printer? The fun of ripping it open and flicking through those photos for the first time? And then the joy of choosing which photos went into albums, taking time to stick them in, and then spending time looking through the pages to remember every moment?

I remember all that – and as much as I love the convenience of the digital age, I miss it. I miss the physical photos and the albums to flick through. I miss grabbing a cup of coffee, choosing an album, and taking a trip down memory lane. So when the lovely team at Pretty Paper Studio UAE(an online store packed full of amazing craft supplies, paper, and stationary) asked if I’d like help creating a photo album of Mabel’s first days in this world, I jumped at the chance.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I arranged to meet Pretty Paper Studio for a crafty morning. I’d prepared in advance, by choosing the photos I wanted to include in my album – and I decided on capturing those first two precious weeks of Mabel’s life. I really enjoyed the process of sorting through the photos and what I’d like to include – and I definitely enjoyed the moment of being handed the wallet of photos from the printer and flicking through. Even the smell of the photos took me back to my childhood and teenage years!

I met Neelu at Pretty Paper Studio over coffee at Fortnum & Mason (very civilised I know!) – and when she arrived, she came armed with the most exciting crafty bits. I’m a creative person by nature, but I simply never have time anymore to do it – so this was a real treat.

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Most of the items came from a company called ‘Project Life’ – I had never heard of it before, but since posting on my Insta-Stories yesterday, I have found out it has a big fan base (several of my followers were very excited to hear it is now available in the UAE). The premise is really simple too.. You buy an album with clear pockets – and then you choose your accessories. From printed cards that fit into the different pocket sizes, to stickers printed with phrases and motifs, to cardboard inserts that you can write on or use to decorate. It’s like scrap-booking, but a lot easier.

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So then it was time to get crafty – and I had a lovely morning slotting in photographs, embellishing them, and adding hand-written details (with the odd sip of coffee too!) Below are some photos of what I created on the morning – and make sure that you scroll to the bottom for a link through to the online store, where you will find all of this (and a lot, lot more) to start getting crafty and capture your own memories.

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Thank you Pretty Paper Studio for helping me to do this! It was just the prompt I needed to get creative and capture some memories of those precious early days!

Visit www.ppsuae.com to shop  the ‘Project Life’ range yourself.

In collaboration with Pretty Paper Studio UAE



28th April 2017

How has life changed with a third baby?

18190916_10158637440150607_875274830_n1) I’m winging it like never before…

I still felt fairly organised when I had one baby. After baby two, I was clearly beginning to lose my touch – but things weren’t yet crashing down around me. But with baby three, I threw the rule book on everything I knew out of the window and started winging it. I honestly think you could throw another few babies at me now and life would remain pretty much as it is.  I have gone to make a bottle several times in the last few months, for example, only to discover we don’t have enough formula left in the jar. This would’ve horrified me with my first and even probably my second baby, but somehow didn’t shock me with my third. I basically just wing it to get through the day in one piece. And thankfully we somehow always get through the day in one piece. That’s something, at least.

2) I ache physically…

A friend with three children told me a few years ago that it was her third baby that put her body under the most strain – and knowing I’d quite like a third myself one day, that conversation always stuck with me. And she was right. My third was a big baby, which I don’t think helped, but my back is damaged, my stomach muscles still haven’t come back together (quite a bad case of diastasis recti, I am told by the experts, which I need to fix) and I still feel like I am pregnant sometimes with my lack of core strength. I’ll get it back to some extent, I’m sure – but I can’t imagine ever feeling or looking like I used to. She’s all worth it, of course.

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3) It’s so noisy at home – but it’s usually laughter…

Having a baby in the house with two older brothers has filled our house with squeals of laughter throughout the day. They like to play the clown, while their little sister laughs and squeals in agreement. She’s an incredibly quiet baby compared to her brothers at the same age, but that third baby joining the gang still seems to have tipped the balance. The adults are outnumbered now i guess. In fact, I truly understand the meaning of the phrase ‘I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF THINK!” since Mabel has arrived on the scene. And I can’t – until they are all in bed in the evening, at least.

4) I barely sleep…

It was kind of OK in the beginning. Mabel was a good sleeper and I guess I was surviving on adrenaline. But then she went through a bad case of sleep regression at 6 months and has woken several times a night since. I can cope with the middle of the night stuff, funnily enough – but it’s the early starts that kill me. She wakes anywhere between 4.30am and 5.45am to start her day –  averaging at around 5.15am. And when she wakes, she makes these loud squeals and immediately wakes up her eldest brother, who bounds into the room like a puppy on a sugar high – and the silence is well and truly broken until they all head to bed again that evening. I am drinking way too much coffee at the moment…

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5) It takes us hours to get out the door…

I am surprised by what a gigantic difference having a third baby has made to our ability to get out of the door in the morning – but that small human has stumped us. And it’s not just physically getting them into the car in their respective car seats – but it’s everything that comes before it. Packing the bags, dealing with last minute wees and poos, making sure we have everything we need for each different age (from bottles of milk for Mabel, to snacks for the boys). Sometimes I really can’t be bothered and we make no plans at the weekend – but by 9am, the boys are running up the walls and we do something anyway. And I’m guessing we’ll get better at this with time.

6) Travelling takes on a new spin…

Being an expat, I have travelled on a pretty regular basis with all of my babies. In fact, I’ve just added it up and Stanley has now travelled on 29 long-haul flights in his just-turned-5 years, while Wilfred has flown on 15 in 3 years, and Mabel on 4 in her 7 months. That’s not to mention the regular weekends away to hotels – and the dashing around and staying in so many different places when we are back in the UK. And whilst I know we will keep doing it (as we are expats and we really don’t have much choice if we want to visit the homeland) it now exhausts me to even think about it… I’ve cancelled weekends away recently, as even the packing is too much at the end of a long week (let alone having three excited kids refusing to sleep in hotel beds). And whilst we are still planning to head home in the summer, I wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t happen (for the first time ever). Home, our own things, our own car, and our own routine is more important than ever.

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7) It feels like she has been here forever…

As one of three children myself, I always dreamt about having three children of my own. It was always my magic number.  But if I’m honest, there was a time a few years ago when I had the two boys and was more than happy with my lot – and I wondered for a while whether we were ‘done’ after all. Life was getting easier and the two boys together just felt ‘right’. So when I was pregnant with Mabel, worries constantly flitted through my mind about whether we were destroying this precious  family unit unnecessarily. But I realised that I had no need to worry from the very first night that Mabel was born. Within hours, she felt like she fitted in. Now I feel like I have known this beautiful little soul forever – and that her brothers have always been alongside her.

8) But it’s really hard getting rid of the baby things…

Having had the three babies I always dreamt about, I really thought that I’d feel ‘done’. I wrote blog posts about it, listed maternity clothes for sale, and promised cots and buggies to friends when Mabel had grown too big for them. But whilst I am still 99% sure we are done, the other 1% wants to hoard baby clothes, keep my maternity clothes hanging up in the wardrobe, and cling onto cots, toys, and buggies for dear life. I expected to feel relieved to be done with them and totally ready to pass them on – but the truth is that I still feel pangs of sadness about the newborn days being over. I am hoping that time will convince that 1% of me that I am utterly bonkers. After all, I may eventually get to sleep again as they all start growing up. Hopefully, at least…



26th April 2017

My Top 10 Buys from Linen Obsession

Have you heard about the amazing online linen store LinenObsession.ae? Owned by an expat Mummy like us, you can expect to find bed linen, towels, and accessories for every price point – but with everything very suitable for Dubai lifestyles, especially Mummies.

So when founder Pamela asked me if I wanted to offer my readers a 10% discount on the website (code Mabel10), I jumped at the chance – and to help inspire you, I have pulled together the 10 buys that are currently on my wish list (with links to click through and buy).

Happy shopping – and I really can vouch for the quality of this company. Visit www.linenobsession.ae for a browse.

1. The Hotel Quality Set 

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Linen Obsession “Real Hotel” Bed Linen 300 Thread Count Cotton Sateen – from 50 AED

You know when you climb into bed in a hotel room and you dream about your own bed being just as comfortable? According to the experts, it can be – you just need to buy the right bed linen. This affordable set boasts a fantastic thread count and has been personally selected by the Linen Obsession team to be just like a hotel bed. It’s on my wish list.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

2. The Pretty Set

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Christy “Victoria” Bed Linen – from 624 AED

I adore the pastel colours of this floral duvet cover and bedspread – and with 200 Thread Count Cotton Percale, it would feel amazing climbing into bed too.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

3. The Kids Set

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Humming Bird Ice Lollies Kids Bed Linen – from 295 AED

My boys love ice cream and I am very tempted to add this fun print to their collection (ice lollies on one side, colourful sprinkles on the other). It’s great quality too (which is important for little people), with 180 thread count and 100% cotton.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

4. The Luxury White Set

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Henry Christy ‘Luxury Supima’ 500TC Sateen Bed Linen – from 375 AED

I have the bottom sheet in the range on my bed right now – and oh my goodness, it feels incredible! So simple and stylish in its design, with an incredible 625 threads per 10 square cm. I’m not surprised this is one of the company’s best-sellers!

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

5. The Statement Set

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Christy ‘Kashvi’ Bed Linen – from 1,250 AED

There’s something I adore about this set by Christy, with its quirky pattern and bold hues. And another 200 Thread Count makes it very high quality too.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

6. The Luxury Towels

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Christy ‘Supreme’ Towel and Bath Mat Collection – from 75 AED

Need some new towels in your life? You won’t beat these beauties, which are 650 grams per square metre, making them the fluffiest, thickest, and softest towels you’ll ever have the pleasure of owning. I want one in every size!

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

7. The Stylish Set

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Christy “Sofia” Bed Linen – from 624 AED

The blues and greens of this floral bed spread are super stylish and on trend – and with the signature Christy 200 Thread Count Cotton Percale, you can guarantee the high quality and comfort too.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

8. The Chic White Set

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Christy ‘Penny’ Bed Linen – from 249 AED

There is something incredibly chic about plain white bed linen – and when it’s this amazing set from Christy, complete with a delicate lace trim, it pretty much wins on the style front. That’s not all, as you are getting 300 thread count too.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

9. The Colourful Set

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Esprit Modern Ethno Bed Linen – from 94 AED

This affordable set from Esprit features the most beautiful colours and on-trend geometric print. Perfect for your bed – or for a spare set. And with 300 thread count per 10cm2, you are getting seriously good value for money too.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

10. The Decorative Touches

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Christy ‘Vibe’ Quilted Pillowsham and Throw – from 150 AED

I have this throw on my own bed and I love it. It’s thick, heavy, beautifully textured, and very affordable – and it can transform your bed in seconds.

Buy online here (use code Mabel10 for 10% off)

For a browse of the whole website, visit www.linenobsession.ae - and make sure you use code MABEL10 to snap up your 10% discount across the whole website! Happy shopping!

Written in collaboration with Linen Obsession



19th April 2017

Dubai Nursery Spotlight: Toddler Town Jumeirah

18034693_10158589945450607_872174627_nThis month’s nursery spotlight is all about Toddler Town Jumeirah – and when I was invited in, I was already expecting good things as this is a nursery close to my heart. After all, my son Stanley was a pupil at the JBR branch for two years when he was a toddler – and the day he left, I was the one in floods of tears in the car park. I loved the warmth of the nursery and the fact it felt like a big family – but I also loved the facilities, extra-curricular activities, and the excellence of the teaching staff.

With this second branch now in Jumeirah boasting impressive amounts of space, I knew I was going to like what I saw. And I wasn’t wrong. Here’s the low-down on what they are offering, split down into sections. And if you like what you see, the link to the nursery website is at the bottom of the page.

The Location

Toddler Town Jumeirah is located in Umm Suqeim, just off Al Wasl Road. It’s very close to Al Manara Road – just around the corner from Safa Park 2 and Splash & Party, if you are aware of their locations. It would take a matter of minutes from Sheikh Zayed Road, making it a convenient spot for those on the morning commute – and is located close to a number of top schools in Dubai, if your little one has siblings attending.

It’s a quiet road, with plenty of parking outside the nursery.

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Important Details

The nursery takes babies from 4 months old, right up to FS1.

You can pick the most convenient hours, right from 7.30am to 6pm – and there is a dedicated baby unit to care for the littlest pupils.

If your little one sleeps during these hours, there also several different rooms for them to sleep.

The nursery offers discounts for UAE Nationals, Siblings, and those that pay the year’s fees up front.

There is CCTV throughout the nursery – and parents will be given an individual log-in to be able to keep an eye on their child throughout the day.

There are options for catered lunches, delivered daily to the nursery by a UAE company.

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Facilities

The nursery is located in a large, spacious white villa. The inside seems extremely large and airy (plus notably bright and clean) – and the outside areas are just as vast, with further indoor classrooms dotted around the outside. It’s an impressive facility, with huge amounts of space for your little ones to grow and learn.

Inside, you will find wonderfully clean, spacious and colourful classrooms, alongside a library, IT area, two soft play areas, a role play room, an amazing sensory room, a cookery and music room, and an indoor climbing wall.

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Outside, there is two swimming pools, a water play area, a car track, an outdoor play area, a gardening patch, and a sand pit and sand play facilities.

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In fact, the nursery puts so much emphasis on a rounded education for the kids, that they employ a swimming teacher, dance teacher, an Arabic teacher and a French teacher full-time, visiting each class in rotation.

There’s a separate baby unit too (from 4 months old), complete with their own classrooms, sleeping room, and soft play facilities – and see how happy those babies were in that lovely facility, I would have no hesitations about trusting them with Mabel if I had a full-time job.

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General Overview

Kids at this nursery really are very lucky – and I’ve seen first-hand how happy children can be at Toddler Town. Stanley loved going into nursery every day – and he excelled both academically and socially at the JBR branch. With the same quality of teaching at the Jumeirah branch, coupled with facilities that really are first-rate, I can imagine the children flourishing very quickly.

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For that reason, it really doesn’t surprise me that Toddler Town Jumeirah won ‘Nursery of the Year’ at the Mother, Baby and Child Awards in 2016.

It’s a warm, friendly, and really very impressive nursery – and I urge you to take a tour and check it out yourself.

Get in touch for more information – http://www.toddlertown.ae/ or call 04 362 4550 to arrange a tour.

 

In collaboration with Toddler Town Jumeirah

 

 



18th April 2017

My final thoughts on classes at Heguru Centre Dubai

18009230_10158589291200607_1312326789_nIf you didn’t catch my first post about the classes we have been attending at the Heguru Centre Dubai, you can find it here – and it’s well worth a read to understand the concept of these ‘Right-Brain Education’ classes, which take place in Motor City.

Wilfred has been attending the classes every week on his morning off nursery – and we’ve now got to the end of the six-week trial, so it’s time for an update.

And honestly? I am so amazed by these classes and the ways they can clearly help children visualise and think, that I have decided we are going to continue with the classes (despite my collaboration with Heguru Dubai coming to an end). With such a busy work and family schedule, that’s quite rare – but it’s testament to the fact that I really believe in what it’s doing…

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So why am I impressed?  

So let’s rewind to late 2016, when Heguru asked if I’d like to trial the classes with Wilfred. I had a look into Heguru and was fascinated by the science behind ‘Right-Brain Training’ – but I have to be honest, I was kind of unconvinced it would work. Especially with my wild child, who would much rather spend his time dashing around the garden or a giant soft play.

In early 2017, I went to a taster session at the centre – and it was my first glimpse of Heguru in action. Seeing flashcards flashed for a split second, the teachers talking incredibly quickly, the kids only getting 60 or so seconds for every task…. I was once again intrigued, but baffled – but I told myself that I would give it a chance anyway, bring Wilfred for six weeks, and then we could return to the soft play areas instead.

So imagine my surprise when we started the classes and we both started to really enjoy it. It was fast-paced and a bit comical at times – but as the weeks ticked on, I found myself looking forward to it each week. Parking the car outside, walking in the sunshine to class, and then spending an hour with Wilfred as he took part.

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I started to see some changes in Wilfred after about class 3 – so the mid point in our trial. He started to recognise the tasks that were about to take place – and he was quicker at completing them. He loved the physical challenges the best, like fitting wooden shapes into spaces on paper, tracing letters, and matching colours to a diagram on the wall. But I also noticed him paying attention more as the weeks went on – sat listening intently to a song about a fresh water salmon, trying to sing along to a Chinese song he remembered, and watching the flash cards in silence.

But the real clues that it was working came outside the lessons… When we were in the car and he suddenly blurted out ‘NO U-TURN’ when he saw the sign he remembered from class. When he looked at the pieces of apple on his lunch tray and suddenly stacked them so they looked like three Burj al Arabs… When he was eating a pancake one afternoon, then ripped it up into pieces, laid them on the table, and then blurted out ‘Eurasia, Africa, Australia, South America, North America, Antartica.’ I was truly staggered.

It was like he was getting triggers visually as he went about his day – triggers to remember things, create things, and learn things. The right side of his brain was obviously waking up – and it was really fascinating to see.

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So what happens now?

Well, I’ve decided we are going to continue and see where it takes us. But not only that, Stanley is going to come along too. Stanley (my eldest child) is quite academic and keen to learn anyway – so I am expecting to see results even quicker.

I’ll be updating you all on how we are getting on every now and again – so keep an eye on my social channels. And in the meantime, head over to the company’s website here – http://hegurudxb.ae/ 

 

In collaboration with Heguru Dubai



9th April 2017

Currently Loving – April 2017

Another month has rolled around, I’ve survived the spring holidays, and it’s starting to get hot (I had that first ‘OMG’ moment when I got back to the car at lunchtime and it felt like a sauna)… This year seems to be whizzing by. But here we are in April – so without further ado, here’s what I have been buying, trying, coveting or hearing great things about over the past month!

Currently Loving

1 – Nordic Fairyland - I’ve discovered the online kid’s store Nordic Fairyland – and oh my goodness, I am so pleased it’s now on my radar! The boys and Mabel now have the softest, most beautiful pyjamas they have ever owned – and not only are they super comfy and gorgeous, but the company that makes them (Sense Organic) only use premium organic cotton, with non-chemical dye. But not only that, they are very much involved in Social Responsibility Campaigns, such as building schools and offering fair working conditions – so you aren’t just treating your kids to some beautiful organic cotton, but you are being socially conscious too (and that feels almost as good as those super soft pyjamas). There is so much I want from this lovely website for the kids from both Sense Organic and equally-wonderful brands Franck&Fischer and Maxomorra. I highly recommend heading online for a browse. Shop here

2 – Mamas & Papas Personal Shopping Service - I tried this service out last month – a service available at all Mamas & Papas stores across the Middle East. After getting invited into a private area by your very own personal shopper for the day, you will chat about what you need for your baby or are confused about (with cups of coffee, which makes it feel like you are chatting to a friend in their front room!) Then it’s time to hit the shop floor (or stay comfy if you prefer – and let the personal shopper do the legwork). My personal shopper on the day really knew what he was talking about and I was very impressed – in fact, I left determined to save up and buy the new pram he had shown me. This is a wonderful service for parents-to-be or new parents in Dubai – and it’s completely free too. Contact your nearest store in the UAE to book – details on the website here.

3. Hayley’s Comet - If you have a little starlet destined for the stage, you’ll be interested to hear that a new term of Hayley’s Comet Acting and Musical Theatre Classes has started today. Located at James & Alex Dance Studios in Media City, the classes are suitable for kids aged 6-18 years, who can join professionally led workshops, vocal training, acting lessons and dance classes all combined in specific age groups. The award-winning classes are taught by top industry professionals – and lead towards a showcase, so you can sit in the audience and feel super proud as they show you what they’ve learnt. I’m not trying to wish away time, but I really wish Stanley was old enough to take part as it’s exactly the kind of thing he’d enjoy. It makes the perfect activity during the hot summer months too, when it’s a bit of a struggle to stay out of soft play areas (my personal idea of hell!) For more details about the classes, email INFO@HAYLEYSCOMET.COM or call +971 (0)4 4470773 for details on how to register – or visit their Facebook Page here (you can also enter to win a term of classes on my Facebook page here!)

4. Mr Tumee Vitamins - I don’t need to worry about forgetting to give the kids their Mr Tumee vitamins each morning – as since we discovered the brand, the boys remind me at the crack of dawn! It’s something to do with the fun flavours and shapes I think, which is fine by me – as I know they are healthy, gelatin-free, and made with natural flavours and colours. With the new school term back in session (and no doubt endless germs queued up and ready to do the rounds), my latest favourite is Echinacea Plus Vitamin C and Zinc. They can be taken for up to 2 weeks at a time, promising to boost the immune system. Definitely worth a try, especially with the change in season coming too. Dubai mummies can buy them online here – or on the shelves at most pharmacies and supermarkets.

5 – Birdies & Bearcubs T-Shirts - Regular readers will know I am a big fan of the boy’s black Mumma’s Boys T-Shirts by Birdies & Bearcubs – so when I spotted the designs in green and blue too, I knew I had to have them. These tees are incredibly popular and fly off the vitual shelves as soon as they hit them (literally within an hour or so) – so keep an eye on the brand’s social media to find out when the next launch will happen. I actually set an alarm on my phone to get mine. I’m that dedicated… Buy online here.

6 – John Lewis Heirloom Collection - How gorgeous are the bits in the new John Lewis Heirloom Collection? From vintage-style rompers for little boys, to old-school cricket jumpers, to ditsy floral rompers – I literally want everything in the collection! I’m sure it’s the kind of things I was wearing back in the 80s (I definitely remember rocking my fair share of ditsy floral and a hand-knitted cricket jumper to match my Dad), so the collection is nostalgia at its finest. You can buy it all online here.

7. Toddler Town - I’ve started a new feature on my blog called ‘Dubai Nursery Spotlight’, where I profile a new nursery in Dubai every month (you’ll find a tab at the top of the page, where each of them will be filed for ease of scrolling through). This month, that nursery is Toddler Town Jumeirah – and I couldn’t be happier, as my eldest son attended the JBR branch and we absolutely loved that nursery. In fact, it felt like family by the time he left and I sobbed proper tears! I got a chance for a sneak peek a few months ago and the Jumeirah location is just an impressive, with tons of space, amazing teachers, a really warm and friendly feel, and just amazingly happy children. I can’t wait to visit the nursery again later this week for a full tour – and I’ll be taking you along with me to find out more. Watch this space – and in the meantime, visit their nursery here.

8 – Bab Al Shams Brunch - Regular followers will know that my mother has been in town this month, helping to entertain the boys and Mabel on their Spring Holidays – and while she was in town, we wanted to treat the whole family to a Friday brunch. We’ve been to stay at Bab Al Shams a few times, but we’ve never taken the kids to brunch and it’s always been on my ‘to do’ list. Not only is the food amazing (with everything from sushi, to grills, to noodles, to curries, to endless deserts, to a fantastic selection for kids), but the entertainment for small people is first rate. Think camel rides, a petting zoo, magicians at the table, juggling clowns, sand art, crazy golf, and a giant bouncy castle. In fact, the boys said it was the best brunch they’d ever been to (and in the interest of this blog, we’ve tried a few!) Make sure you go before the weather hots up too much. Details on the website here.

9. Cover Up Stone Cases - As a working Mummy, my laptop is one of my most loyal companions – so it’s nice to treat it to something every now and again. In fact, I’ve treated it to two new gifts this month – the first to be revealed soon and the second, a real stone case by the online store Cover Up. These laptop skins and phone covers jazz up and protect your tech – but in the coolest way, handcrafted from real slate. There are tons of different finishes and colours – and whilst it seems bit crazy, it’s actually pretty stunning. I went for Marine, which has a silvery finish.  And with shipping to the UK and UAE, it’s available to all of us. Buy online here.

10. Freshly Foods - I have lots of job titles – Mummy, wife, chief taxi driver, blogger, journalist, tidy-upper, baby entertainer… The list goes on – and what it all means is that my time is extremely limited. So as much as I’d like to create every meal for the kids (and my husband) from scratch, it just doesn’t happen. I rely on freezer food at least a few times a week to feed them, which is why my ears pricked up when I heard about a company in the UAE called Freshly Foods. This UAE company is known for creating healthy, quality, MDM-free food – which is super convenient too. That MDM bit is important – it means “Mechanically Deboned Meat”, which is actually quite yucky as it means that crushed bones make it into your foodstuff (gross, right?) Freshly Foods very proudly doesn’t do this – meaning if you buy frozen chicken bites for your kids, they are 100% pure chicken breast. Convenient, but healthy – and I am not arguing with that. I’m going to create 4 recipes for kids and adults with Freshly Foods products over the next month – so keep your eyes on my social media accounts. And in the meantime, check their website here.

11. Bounce - We have had so much fun this Spring Holiday – and one of the boy’s highlights was the morning we spent at the trampoline park Bounce trying out one of their famous parties. The boys both got to invite a few of their friends  - and the Mummies got to drink coffee, natter, and take a million photos of their bouncing minis as they had fun. I was seriously impressed with the staff too, allowing the kids to have the most fun possible, but to stay safe while they were doing it (and with the clumsiest three-year-old in the world in my care, that is very reassuring). They bounced, they climbed walls, they threw themselves onto giant cushions, they played tag on a giant network of trampolines – and when they’d used up all their energy, they sat down for a party lunch in a private room. They’ve been asking me constantly to go back, so I think it’s going to be top of our summer hide-out list! For more details, visit the website here

In collaboration with Nordic Fairyland, Hayley’s Comet, Mr Tumee, and Freshly Foods.