Monthly Archives: April 2017

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

1 Real Hotel

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.



6th April 2017

10 things that make us feel unexpectedly emotional as parents…

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 22.21.471. Packing tiny clothes away. We are obsessed with our children growing from the moment they are born. Regular weight checks, plotting them on a growth chart, cheering when they reach milestones. Growing is obviously a good thing. It’s obviously what we want to happen. But when the moment comes to pack away tiny outfits into a storage box, we hold each one up and feel like blubbing.

2. Watching performances at nursery and school. Standing on a stage singing (or possibly not singing – it doesn’t really matter) in front of parents shouldn’t be a tear-jerker – but from the moment they walk into the room with their classmates, you seem to have something in your eye…

3. When they tell us they love us. We’re not entirely sure they understand the meaning of the word ‘love’ at their age, but that doesn’t stop us soaking up every second (and shedding a tear or two as we recount the story).

4. When they tell us they hate us. We know they don’t really mean it. We know they don’t understand the meaning of their words. But still – the first time your child tells you they don’t actually like you very much, it stings.

5. First smiles. Rewind to those first delicious moments when your little baby meets your eyes and breaks into a giant smile. It’s the best feeling ever! So why are you wiping away tears?

6. Getting ready to have another baby. We are giving our kiddies the ultimate gift in a new sibling, but as the bump grows and excitement builds, we can’t help dwelling on the fact that our time together as a tight little unit is coming to an end.

7. Their first day at the childminder, nursery or school. You always thought you’d jump for joy and relish the freedom – but when it comes to saying goodbye and walking out the door, you are a crumpled mess on the floor.

8. When siblings begin to bond. It happens slowly – but over time, you notice your children fall in love with the new little person in their life. And then one day, out of the corner of your eye, you catch a moment between the two (or three or more) of them. A tender kiss on the head, a giggle together, a moment playing together. And that is enough to make you sob with happiness.

9. When you are handed your first masterpiece. The moment your little one toddles out of nursery or runs out of school grasping a painting or picture just for you is a momentous one. And who ever thought painted macaroni could give you the feels?

10. Birthdays. Hooray! Another year old older! The day I gave birth! Let’s celebrate! Let’s party! Order the cake! Send the invites! (Where has my baby gone? Blub).