31st March 2016

Pregnancy Update: 16 Weeks

12921099_10156781679180607_640425439_nHow many weeks? I’m 16 Weeks and 3 Days. Still feeling sick, which I know is getting boring now, but I really don’t think it’s going to  ever disappear (sob).

How big is the baby? Baby is now the size of an avocado. I can feel regular movement, especially over the last few days. This is hard to explain and probably sounds bizarre, but I’m still not sure I like the sensation when you first start feeling the baby. Coupled with the nausea, I’m just not really enjoying it yet. I do love feeling the baby when kicks are more pronounced, so can’t wait for them to step up a gear.

And the bump? After a growth spurt between weeks 12 and 14, I don’t think my bump has changed much in the last few weeks. It’s that classic pregnancy thing of not really showing in the morning and then growing to a 6-month bump by bedtime! Having said that, my husband laughs at me every morning when I safety pin my vest to my underwear so it doesn’t pop up (I hate a bare bump under clothes). Maybe it’s time to invest in some maternity vests…

Do you know the gender? Well no – the gender is written down on a piece of paper in a sealed envelope. I am supposed to be opening it with my husband tonight – but it’s 8pm and he’s still at his desk at work, with no sign of leaving any time soon. I’ve ordered a pizza and am watching rubbish on TV to distract myself. I want to know – but I am also scared to know. I want it to be both genders, if that makes any sense! I love baby boys, but I’d love to see what it’s like with a baby girl too. We’ll open at some point, share with friends and family, and then I’ll work out a way to tell you the news over the next few days! Sorry I can’t share now (husbands, who’d have them?)

Any symptoms? Apart from sickness, the main one is extreme tiredness. The boys have been brilliant as their Mummy is officially a couch potato at the moment. I had blood taken today to check my iron levels, which always dip crazily low in pregnancy. There was talk of ‘iron infusions’ which sounds pretty brutal, but Ill cross that bridge if we get there.

Anything else? My friend George is due to give birth to her number three baby any day now (well she was due a week ago, actually) and we are all getting very excited. Both of us spent quite a lot of time at the doctors today – and it’s reminded me about those exciting days just before the baby arrives.  I’ve also been eyeing up some lovely products from an online baby store here in Dubai called Mumzworld.com and I’m going to put the orders in soon to get the shopping started on what we need for this baby – nothing huge, but I do like the sound of a bedside cot this time (I enjoy co-sleeping, but worry with a newborn) and need a few things that broke last time round, like my breast pump and digital monitor.

That’s all for now – and gender reveal coming soon (if my husband ever gets home from work, that is!)



7th March 2016

Pregnancy Update: 12 Weeks

12596280_10156645920525607_434445440_n-1This is the first time I’ve blogged about pregnancy, as Wilfred was already 5 months old when I started this blog. I don’t know how often I’ll post these updates, but I’ll see whether anyone is interested and plan the next one accordingly.

To start, I’m going to answer a few questions that people have asked since I’ve shared the news we are expecting number three – including everyone’s favourite question: “will you change the name of your blog if it’s a girl?’

How many weeks are you?

I’m turning 13 weeks tomorrow and I still feel sick as a dog if I don’t fill myself with carbs every hour (at least!) I had no morning sickness with Stanley at all and I had very little with Wilfred, so it’s been a huge shock. I have a lot of food aversions. Eggs – yuck. Chicken – bleurgh.  Avocado – can’t even think about it. But I’m lucky that I never actually vomit and I know a lot of pregnant ladies have it far worse.

How big is the baby?

A large plum apparently – and my bump is growing at a quite alarming rate. I’m already wearing a few of my maternity clothes and considering getting the pregnancy pillow out of storage. It’s going to be a long six months ahead!

What will the age gaps be?

Between Stanley and Wilfred is 21 months. I knew I couldn’t do that again as it was hard going to essentially have two babies in the house. The gap between Wilfred and this baby will be exactly a year bigger at 2 years and 9 months, which I hope will be more manageable. Stanley is so excited about the baby, which is so lovely as last time he had absolutely no idea. He says there is no need to buy a bigger car as he will just hold the baby! He’s quite a sweet, sensitive little boy, who loves nothing more than to please – so I am expecting him to be helpful when baby arrives. Wilfred, however, has been in training for ‘classic middle child’ since the day he was born (and I say that as a ‘classic middle child’ myself). I don’t think it will be plain sailing – but maybe I’ll be surprised!

Will you find out the sex?

Yes, we found out with both our boys and we plan to find out again at the next scan (16 weeks) – as long as the baby plays along and lies in the right position. As much as I love the idea of finding out the sex at the birth, I’m a planner and probably a bit of a control freak, so I need to know what I’m having so we’re prepared. I also love naming the baby while I’m still pregnant, which (for me) really helps me to bond. I was told with Wilfred at 12 weeks, but my obstetrician couldn’t tell at my scan last week. So three more weeks to wait until we know whether to buy pink or get the blue out of storage!

Do you want a girl or a boy?

I always wanted boys – but I have two now and given the choice, I’d probably opt for pink this time to see what it’s like on the other side of the fence! Of course I’ve always wondered what my little girl would look like – and I’d love to have a daughter for the future especially.

I do, however, have very mixed feelings on this one as I just have a thing for baby boys! They are so delicious and I would be sad not to see another newborn in all the gorgeous baby boy outfits the other two have worn. It also feels less scary to bring another boy home. We’ve done it before and I know we could do it again!

I’m a true believer that we get the children that best fit our family unit – and I’m happy to leave that in Mother Nature’s hands. Whatever we find out at our next scan, I will be one lucky Mummy if the baby is safe and healthy.

Will you change the name of your blog if it’s a girl?

If I had a pound/dirham for every time I’ve been asked this question, I’d be bathing in champagne (not drinking it though, obvs).

At first, I didn’t think I would – as I am still Mum of Boys and always will be. But then I imagined how that girl might feel as she grew up and realised I’d need to acknowledge her too.

So yes, I’d change it – but it would just be a few added words to keep it very similar – and until I know whether it’s pink or blue, I won’t bother giving it much more thought.

That’s all for this update – but I will definitely blog another update soon!



23rd February 2016

10 things I fear I will never finish again…

unspecified1. A cup of coffee.  Long are the days of getting to the bottom of the cup in one sitting. I’ve got used to taking a swig and recoiling in horror when it is stone cold. To be honest, I’m not sure I could survive motherhood without my microwave.

2. A novel. Oh how I used to enjoy reading books! On sofas, on beaches, on flights, and before I switched off the bedroom night every night. How relaxing! How intellectual! These days, however, reading words on a page send me to sleep in a matter of seconds (if I’m not disturbed by a child first, that is).

3. A conversation. We arrange play dates in the hope that we can settle down and enjoy a little adult conversation while our darlings play happily at our feet. Between every sentence, however, we are interrupted by demands for biscuits, fights over a remote control car, or the need to jump up and wipe a snotty nose or rush a child to the toilet before we’re faced with a puddle on the floor and entire outfit change.

4. My lunch. Since my eldest decided that midday naps are overrated, he’s become fascinated with my lunch. A meal that he never knew I ate! What a revelation! And whatever I choose to eat that day, he proclaims he loves more than anything in the world – despite the fact he has rarely tasted it before – and he therefore deserves to eat the majority. I’m considering eating a plate of green vegetables every day – that should do it.

5. A thought process. In the rare moments that the boys are playing nicely, the kitchen is tidy, and I have a second to sit down and think, my mind might turn to a birthday party I need to organise or a trip I have been meaning to plan – until I am distracted by a child approaching the sofa with a pen or the whiff of a stinky nappy. And that’s the end of that.

6. Emails to friends.  The same goes for emails to friends. The intention is there – but the reality is that I rarely get further than ‘Hi, how are you?’ before having to rush away from my laptop and forgetting about the draft I saved until weeks down the line.

7. The laundry. It’s a cliché I know, but I really don’t remember the last time I saw the bottom of the laundry basket. Because just when I get close, a child does a wee on a giant towel and once again, the lid doesn’t shut properly again. It’s the law of the world.

8. A relaxing bath. It’s not always the kids, to be fair. It’s usually because I suddenly remember I’ve got packed lunches to make before bed / panic that we’ve lost the library book from school / realise I have less than 6 hours sleep before the alarm goes off. I’m never going to stay in that bath until my fingers are wrinkly, because I seem to have forgotten how to relax.

9. The baby books. I had the very best intentions – and with my first, I didn’t do a bad job. I filled out most of the pages, leaving gaps for the bits that needed a bit more thought. He hasn’t done badly, to be fair. My poor second child, however, has a few pages filled in at the beginning with the rest waiting to be filled out on a rainy day. I’m blaming the fact we have very few of those rainy days in Dubai on the fact that it’s still pretty much blank. Poor neglected second child.

10. A full night’s sleep. Nearly 4 years down the line, I have realised that I may as well give up; the day I will wake up feeling awake and refreshed, thinking  ‘wow, what an amazingly fulfilling night’s sleep that was!” is decades away. Decades, I tell you. Until then, I will always feel like sleep has been unjustly snatched away from me as one child crawls up onto our bed at the crack of dawn to steal my leg space, whilst the other child prods me in the eye to see if I’m awake.

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15th February 2016

Nobody warned me that you don’t always feel a rush of newborn love…

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 16.53.51I was happily scrawling through Instagram last night when a picture of a mother posing with a newborn baby stopped me in my tracks. I’d never met the mother, but I’d been following her account for a while and I was eagerly awaiting her baby news.

And here it was; a smiling photo in a hospital bed, posing with a scrunched up newborn (as let’s be honest; they are all a bit scrunched at first) and the words underneath:

I loved him from the very second we met eyes. I never knew love existed like this. Blessed.”

There was no doubt that it was a lovely photo and sweet words.

But I can never read comments like that without thinking back to my own birth experiences – and the truth is, I just didn’t feel the same way.

Delighted, yes.

Relieved, yes.

Protective, yes.

But filled with instant and unconditional love? Just not yet.

It took a while with my first baby to feel a rush of motherly love. The kind of love that you read about everyone experiencing. When I imagined the moment of meeting my baby, I expected to lock eyes with him and feel my heart swell with these overpowering feelings. After all, I had heard countless stories recounted on social media and within articles in magazines. Nobody warned me that it doesn’t always happen the very second a newborn is placed on your chest. I didn’t even have a chance to wonder if anything was wrong; I was so overcome with having this new little baby to cuddle that it didn’t even occur to me that it hadn’t happened in the first place.

Despite the lack of this epic, otherworldly rush of love, our bond grew quickly. He was taken away to the nursery to be changed every morning and my heart pined until he got back. I was in too much pain to even stand up and change a nappy and I felt overwhelmed by news that there was a small hole in his heart; it turned out to be nothing to worry about, but seeing him wheeled away to see a cardiologist with my husband in tow made my heart jump right into my mouth. I definitely felt like his mother. I definitely knew he was mine. But still I didn’t experience this amazing epiphany.

Once we were home, I enjoyed being his Mummy. I loved showing him off. I enjoyed hanging out with him at home – or going on adventures to pick up groceries at the mall. I started to wonder if it was all a myth; this sudden rush of newborn love – a lie fed to Mums-to-be to keep their spirits up through encounters with hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and middle-of-the-night grabs in the dark for bottles of Gaviscon.

But while discussing birth stories with friends over extra strong triple-shot lattes, I learnt that some of them did feel this amazing rush of love as their eyes locked. It did happen for them, they said. It was amazing, they gushed.

I eyed them suspiciously as they told their tales – but soon realised they had no reason to lie to me. Some of us felt it – and some didn’t. Gazing down at my sleeping newborn in his pram, I wondered why I wasn’t one of the lucky ones.

Then at 4 weeks old, something happened.

He’d been gurning like an old man for a while, but suddenly my delicious newborn baby cracked it – he could smile! It might have been aimed at the cabinet by the TV – but could definitely, definitely smile!

I grabbed my camera and ran back to him, cooing away like a loon above his face. And that’s when it happened – he looked at me and broke into the biggest, most beautiful smile. Tears filled my eyes and quickly began falling down my cheeks. The love literally rushed around my body at 3000 miles per hour – and I knew that I’d finally experienced it; the amazing rush of maternal love I’d been waiting for.

I had loved him throughout it all, of course – but doubting my own feelings without something to affirm it, I needed that moment. And I sobbed for at least 10 minutes at the amazingness and the relief when it happened.

With my second baby, I was more relaxed. I think the bond grew quicker, but I still wasn’t treated to the instant rush of love when he was placed on my chest. This time, however, I was content in the knowledge that I didn’t need that moment to be a good mother. And two years on, I genuinely couldn’t love either of my boys more.

I wish somebody had warned me that you don’t always feel an instant rush of love when a newborn is placed on your chest.

And I wish somebody had told me that it really doesn’t matter at all.



7th February 2016

Here’s why I’m excited about Buy One Get One Free Virgin Atlantic flights with the Entertainer…

12647906_10156530295340607_1706426362_nIf I had to name my three favourite cities in the world, they would be Dubai, London and New York. So when I heard about an offer for Buy One Get One Free flights back to either London or New York with Virgin Atlantic, my ears pricked up immediately.

That is exactly what the Entertainer is offering this February. Book a return flight by the end of February (to fly the first leg by end of June) and we will get another flight completely free.

The flights need to be booked by the end of February (details on how to book at the Entertainer website here) and flown by the end of June – and it’s valid on both Economy and Upper Class fares, meaning we can enjoy a little luxury for less!

It seems too good an offer to miss, but which city to choose? That’s the bit I’m struggling with…

london_big_ben_england_city_architecture_hd-wallpaper-1827314

Oh London, how I miss you! You have been part of my life forever, with childhood visits to Selfridges, Harrods, and the Natural History Museum, then later school trips to watch plays at The Barbican, shopping on Oxford Street during my teenage years, and work experience on Carnaby Street while I was at University.

And then I moved to London when I was 22, living in houses in Clapham, Tooting, and then Blackheath. I spent my mornings on trains, walking over London Bridge to get to my desk. Every morning I looked to my right to soak up that view down the Thames to Tower Bridge – and however tired or miserable I was feeling, the city picked me up.

I miss the city’s energy, I miss the determination of the people to ‘just get on with it’ even when it was pouring with rain. I miss seeing moments in history whenever I turned – the starting point of The Great Fire of London down a tiny side street, reminders of the grisly history of The Tower of London whenever I glanced down the river, policeman riding on horses down Charing Cross Road and no one batting an eyelid, and the heart-stopping sound of Big Ben chiming to remind me I was running late.

If I booked one of those Virgin Atlantic flights with the Entertainer for myself and the husband, I’d revisit all of that. But because we’d saved so much money getting there (buy one, get one free, don’t forget!) I’d spoil myself too – I’d book Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, I’d window shop on Bond Street, and I’d have cocktails at The Mayfair Hotel. It would be the ultimate city break!

Virgin Atlantic flies into London Heathrow – and that’s just a short tube journey away from Central London, meaning that we’d be in the heart of the city in no time. Just the thought of it is exciting!

NYC-1

But hang on, what about New York? The Virgin Atlantic deal with the Entertainer is also valid to the city – and that’s a whopping saving on the usual price of flying from Dubai!

And New York – well, there is nowhere quite like it in the world. It sounds like a cliché, but the first time I visited I genuinely felt like I’d stepped into a movie. The buildings! The people! The fact that smoke actually does come out of the ground! I walked around for 10 days feeling like I was in a parallel universe – and when I came out the other side, the place had stolen my heart forever.

So what would I do if I used the Entertainer offer to buy a couple of Virgin Atlantic flights? I’d stand in queues just so I can eat the fluffiest pancakes in the city for breakfast, I’d book tickets for Broadway Shows and spend the day feeling flutters of excitement, I’d stop on Fifth Avenue to buy a steaming hot dog piled high with caramelised onions for lunch from the cheeriest street seller, I’d stroll around Central Park in the afternoon to take in the incredible vistas, and after the show, I’d treat myself to a Manhattan in Manhattan (and I’d enjoy every sip).

And no trip to New York would be complete without popping into FAO Schwarz on Fifth Avenue to pick up something special for the boys! So yes, I would love to fly into New York this spring using that amazing Virgin Atlantic deal with the Entertainer. In fact, I’d enjoy every second.

So fly to London or New York? I haven’t decided yet – but it’s got to be one of them.

Have you decided? For details of the booking process for Buy One Get One Free Virgin Atlantic Flights with the Entertainer (and all the terms and conditions), visit http://bit.ly/TheEntertainerVirginAtlantic



31st January 2016

Dear Wilfred, It was your second birthday on Friday…

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Dear Wilfred,

It was your second birthday on Friday. We watched your face light up as you walked into the lounge and spotted a giant balloon and pile of presents. We watched you smile as you ripped open the paper and heard you squeal when you saw what was inside. At times, I wondered if you really knew what was going on – but when your friends sang happy birthday to you at your party, your shy smile revealed you knew that you were the star of the show.

Two years have passed since you were placed on my chest in that hospital bed. Two years since we met eyes for the first time. Two years since you came into our lives like the little whirlwind that you are. Our adorable, determined, sensitive little boy.

I think you’re going to like being two. It’s one step closer to your brother, who you idolise. You’ll learn new words, get better at climbing in play areas, maybe even get invited to playdates and parties of your own. It’s going to be a good year; the year you turn from a toddler into a little boy.

But what about me? How do I feel?

The truth is that two years feels like nothing – but at the same time, it feels like forever.

I can barely remember what our family felt like before you arrived. You were always supposed to be here; such an important part of who we all are. I’m not pretending it’s always been easy; your stubborn streak has caused me to pull my hair out at times, whilst your physical strength has made my back ache and arms tremble during tantrums. But those arms are more than willing to hug you close until you calm down. Until you get over whatever caused your grief (generally not being allowed a second snack or absolutely, definitely needing exactly what your brother is playing with at that exact moment). Until it passes and my sweet, funny, cuddly little boy returns.

In one sense, I love this age. I love the fact I can chat to you now (an important tool in the “negotiation” process of dealing with a toddler), that we don’t always need a buggy to head outside, and that you can play independently without risk of slipping and bumping your head every few seconds. I find it easier – but most of all, I have loved seeing your character appear.

In fact, we often chat about how we’d like to freeze this moment in time forever; with your funny garbled sentences, mixed up lyrics to nursery rhymes, and hilarious dancing whenever you hear music.

But the flipside is that I miss your baby-ness. I miss your chubby thighs that have slimmed down since you started scooting, climbing, and running. I miss watching your eyes droop and close as you fall asleep with a bottle. I miss hearing your sweet little baby laugh when your brother walks into the room.

And this is the problem with parenthood, isn’t it?

Constantly pining after the past, whilst full of excitement about the future.

And I am excited. I can’t wait to watch you open your stocking next Christmas, to celebrate your third birthday, to start school, to learn to play rugby, to rush down water slides with your friends, and stay up late at the weekend to watch movies and eat pizza as a treat. I can’t wait to see what kind of boy you will become; your interests, your talents, and your passions. I am so excited for all that.

But until then, I am going to enjoy this moment, exactly as you are now. Your shy smile in front of your birthday cake, your sweet little pot belly in pyjamas, and your garbled sentences that make us smile.

The truth is that two years feels like nothing – but at the same time, it feels like forever.

And Wilfred, we are so lucky to have felt forever. So very lucky indeed.

Happy birthday, little man.

Mummy x



24th January 2016

My Top 10 Newborn Essentials from DbBabies.com

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 13.57.03If you are expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet and haven’t yet checked out DbBabies.com revamped site, you must head online immediately. I haven’t been this impressed by an online baby store in Dubai for a long time. There are so many brands that I ordered and shipped over from the UK when my boys were due, but are now available right here in Dubai!

So here are my 10 Newborn Essentials picked out from the site! And if you are around on Tuesday morning, don’t forget to pop into the Mummy Shopping Morning at the new Mudon store where the team will be unveiling their own Top 10 Essentials for Newborns (and I’ll be there to share some coffee, cake, and chat!)

1. The Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix, Dhs750

Your baby is going to be the most precious thing in the entire world – so making sure that bundle is strapped safely into a car seat is a necessity, right from that first trip home from hospital. I used this car seat for both my boys. It’s light, so you can easily move it around and attaches to most stroller systems with adapters.  I used it for over a year with both my boys, making it my top newborn essential.

Buy here.

 

2. The Stroller

Baby Jogger City Select, from Dhs3,195

If I have one regret from my baby shopping the first time round, it’s that I didn’t buy this stroller – it definitely would’ve saved us a few dirhams when number two came along. I needed it the second time, as it converts into the most awesome double buggy (I spotted my friend with it, who told me that she had been chased down the street to ask the model several times!) Now that my oldest is well past his stroller days, we use it as a single again (it literally takes seconds to add and remove seats). We also have the basinet, which we used during the newborn days – and you can purchase car seat adapters, buggy boards, and travel bags to customise it to your needs.

Buy here

 

3. The Carrier

Boba 4G Babier Carriers, Dhs495

I’ve got to be honest; I’m more of a stroller girl than carrier girl – but once in a while, it’s nice to have your baby close and it can sometimes be easier than lugging around a stroller too (especially when travelling). This carrier ticks all the right boxes and is suitable for children between 7 and 45 pounds.

Buy now

 

4. The Bassinet

Babyhome Air Bassinets, Dhs1,599

I didn’t see these specific bassinets when my two babies were born, but I love the idea of there being a panel at the bottom so you can see through to your sleeping baby to check them – this would’ve been especially useful when I was lying in bed at night and wanted a quick peek. They are also light and easy to move around the house with you throughout the day, which is perfect as I’ve always wanted my babies close when they are little.

Buy here

 

5 – The Nappy Bag

Skip Hop – Duo Signature Diaper Bags, Dhs299

When I was pregnant with my first, I didn’t really understand why I needed a new bag to dedicate to nappies – after all, I had plenty of bags I could use! It only took a few weeks of nappy explosions and spilt bottles of milk to understand why I needed one dedicated to baby things only – and this bag by Skip Hop is ideal, with different compartments to zip dirty things away and a travel-sized changing mat for when you’re out and about.

Buy here

 

6 – The Swaddles

Aden + Anais Classic Swaddles, 4 Pack at Dhs280

I tried lots of swaddles with my first baby – but by the time I had my second, Aden + Anais had arrived in Dubai and it was what I used from the very moment he was born. Not only are they gorgeous, with an array of different prints – but they swaddle so easily and perfectly. I also used them as blankets and giant muslins for throwing over my shoulder. An absolute must-have for all new Mums!

Buy here

 

7 – The Sleepsuits

Db Babies – Personalised Baby Sleepsuits, Dhs110

As lovely as it is to fill your baby’s wardrobe with lots of gorgeous outfits before he or she is born, there is only one type of outfit that you really need for the first few months – and that is sleepsuits. Mine wore their sleepsuits day and night for months – and these plain, personalised designs are ideal.

Buy now

 

8 – The Bottles

Dr Brown’s – Blue & Pink Bottles, 2 Pack, Dhs76

Whether you plan to breast or bottle feed, I always think it’s best to be prepared – and I made sure I had stocked up on Dr Browns bottles after taking a recommendation from a friend. Sure enough, my first baby decided to go on breastfeeding strike when he was 5 days old – and I fed him with these amazing bottles until he was over a year old. I highly, highly recommend them, as they have a special anti-colic vent to prevent air getting into the baby’s tummy. I’ve got nothing to compare them to so I can’t say that they made a huge difference, but equally I never had a baby with colic so they are really worth the purchase.

Buy here

 

9 – The Breastfeeding Support

My Brest Friend Deluxe Feeding Pillows, Dhs225

On the other hand, I did breastfeed my second baby until six months old – and having a support pillow was invaluable to all those hours clocked up feeding him on the sofa. It made it so much easier (especially when I wasn’t feeling that confident in the early days).

Buy here

 

10. The Bath Towel

CuddleDry Baby Bath Towel, Dhs245

We love CuddleDry towels in our house. With hoods to keep them snug and warm and the softest texture, they are definitely the best thing to scoop them up in after a bath. The baby version is simple in design – and when they become toddlers, they can choose from a fun range of animal designs!

Buy here

 

DbBabies allows you to create your own wishlist and share on social media, so why not head online and create your own list? As an added bonus, everyone that places a web order in January has the chance to win Dhs500 towards their wish list. Shop online now at DbBabies.com

 



14th January 2016

Why I’ve decided to give my boys organic milk

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 11.18.25It’s January – and although I am usually a bit loathed to make resolutions, there is one thing that I am keen to stick to this year and that is feeding the boys a healthier diet. When I’m busy with work, I tend to opt for the easy way out – cooking them the same dishes (usually from an oven, thanks Mr Birdseye) and hoping a portion of fruit for dessert will even it out.

In 2016, however, I am going to make a real effort to feed them a very healthy, balanced diet – as not only is this mega important for their little growing bodies, but I’ve also noticed a real difference in their behaviour when they eat well.

I’m going to share our healthy journey over the next year, with recipes and progress reports – but I’ve already taken a first step by swapping them to organic milk.

Why?

Well, we love milk in our house. It stems back to my childhood, as my Dad worked in the dairy industry in the UK. I visited dairy farms on my summer holidays, went to trade shows to see the cows win rosettes, and drank milk like it was water. I love the taste, believe in its health benefits, and enjoy seeing the boys drinking a cup or two before bed.

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However, it has come to my attention over the past few months that organic milk is the best option, with research showing that antibiotics, hormones, and traces of pesticides can be harmful – and I don’t want that going into my boys at the rate they drink it.

I had read a bit about Koita Organic Milk before, which is available in supermarkets here in the UAE. I loved the story about how the brand had visited cows in several different countries, before finally finding their herd in Italy. They describe their naturally grass-fed cows as ‘happy’ – and I can see why. I’m actually a bit jealous of their life grazing in the Italian sunshine at the foot of mountains, being looked after, and eating delicious food.

Just look how happy they are!

Koita Cows (2) Koita Farm (1)

The fact the cows are so well cared for is definitely central to why the milk tastes so good too. I couldn’t believe the difference in the taste – it’s creamer, purer, and just tastier all round. The boys agree and have been enjoying a mug of milk every night before bed in their new Emma Bridgewater mugs!

Most importantly, I know there are no nasties. Koita Milk contains no hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides and no stabilisers.

But it’s not the only organic milk on the shelves in the UAE, so why did I pick Koita? This comparison chart explains it (click on the image to expand and read).

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So now the important bit… How much does it cost? Organic food has a reputation for being quite pricey, but Koita Organic Milk has been reduced recently to just Dhs13.50 for 1 litre and Dhs5.50  for 250ml, making it really quite affordable to swap.

Long-life carton you say? Well yes – but the brand explained to me that the milk is made in exactly the same way, simply taken to a slightly higher temperature during pasteurization before being bought back down quickly and sealed in the recycled paper cartons. And what I love about the long-life milk is that I can buy it in bulk and store in the cupboard until I need it – meaning I never have to worry about running out of milk again, which is a big bonus to us Mums!

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My only regret is that I didn’t discover it earlier. I wish I’d weaned both my boys onto this milk when they were ready to move from formula/breast milk. It would have given me real peace of mind that I was doing the right thing.

But from now onwards, we’re going organic thanks to those happy cows!

Koita Organic Milk is available in 250 supermarkets across the UAE. You can find it in the long-life milk aisle, with a happy cow on the packaging!  It costs Dhs13.50 for 1 litre and Dhs5.50  for 250mland Kids’ Sizes will come in February 2016. For more information, visit www.koita.com

 

 

 



10th January 2016

Motherhood can be lonely sometimes…

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 20.43.15Perhaps it’s because Christmas is over. I’m missing all the shoes lined in the kitchen. All the coats hanging on the back of the door. The sound of the kitchen door constantly opening and closing. The noise, laughter, and energy of a house full of people.

And now it’s just me and the boys, rattling around an apartment all afternoon with nowhere really to go, nowhere really to be.

I think it’s this contrast between ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ and the routine of everyday life that has reminded me that despite never really being alone, being a stay-at-home mother can be lonely.

It’s not like we can’t go out. We have a car. We have friends I could call. But after three weeks of holiday and still feeling foggy from jetlag, we decided to stay in today. Sometimes you have to stay in. Sometimes the kids are too tired and you all need to stay in, even though you know they’ll be running up the walls (quite literally in our case, before crashing back to the floor and screaming about the injustice of gravity).

And so I’ve spent most of this afternoon with packs of raisins in my hand, negotiating with two small children and wondering why exactly Christmas gifts that we lugged back halfway round the world aren’t apparently enough to entertain them for just a few hours just weeks after they unwrapped them…

So I’ve had company, yes.

But I’ve still felt quite lonely.

It seems strange to state that motherhood is lonely at times. After all, I can’t even go to the toilet with a small person breaking in and demanding sheets of toilet paper so he can block up the sink.

But that didn’t stop me breaking into a high-speed 5-minute monologue to the husband the minute he walked through the door, relieved for both adult conversation and the fact another human could listen to an entire sentence, without suddenly throwing himself to the floor or interrupting me to shout ‘SNACK SNACK SNACK!’ before attaching himself to my legs in protest.

The loneliness is something that surprised me in the early days of motherhood.  I expected broken nights and hazy days. I didn’t expect the loneliness that came in hand with days in a giant villa with a tiny baby that, let’s face it, didn’t really do much back then. Nobody warned me about that at antenatal class.

I wasn’t unhappy by any means, but I craved adult company. I craved conversations. I missed my family and friends overseas. I missed pointless chats about last night’s TV while making cups of tea in the kitchen at work.

I’m not complaining and I don’t want anything to change. I adore my boys and I choose to spend most my time with them, despite the fact the extra dirhams would be useful if I chose to work full-time. But with two children under the age of 4, sometimes it’s a bit lonely.

I’m sure that all mothers of small children feel it at some point.

It’s a special, wonderful, memorable time in our lives.

But it can be lonely.

And on that note, I’m just off to talk some nonsense to the husband…



9th December 2015

When Christmas became magical again…

FullSizeRender-2It was Christmas Eve. I was in my early twenties and had left my friends at the pub and joined my family for Midnight Mass. The air was thick with frankincense and I was struggling to stifle my yawns as the priest delivered his sermon.

I tried to follow his words, but my thoughts turned to the following morning, when my family would be joined by my Uncle for present opening and Christmas lunch. We’d then collapse in front of the TV to watch a festive special of The Vicar of Dibley and Eastenders (or similarly high brow entertainment), before helping ourselves to cold turkey, and eventually heading to bed.

I had always loved Christmas, but for the first time in my life, I realised I wasn’t excited.

We had grown up.

The magic had gone.

As I sat on that cold pew all those years ago, it occurred to me that the excitement of Christmas would return when children joined our family. Whether it would be my own children or nieces and nephews, I probably only had a few years to wait and we would all rediscover that festive spirit.

After all, Christmas is for children.

Not for twenty-somethings, stifling yawns at Midnight Mass.

I was right, of course.

I became a Mummy in 2012 – and the magic returned.

Even when he was a baby on his first Christmas, learning to crawl amongst the piles of screwed up wrapping paper on the living room floor, I took so much pleasure in shopping for the perfect gifts, getting him dressed up as a reindeer, and taking him to meet Santa Claus for the very first time. He didn’t care much for his presents, of course – but I did. I loved helping him unwrap them, setting them up, and watching him enjoy what we’d chosen (even if he was really more excited by the box).

I made salt dough decorations with his handprints, took pictures of him with a backdrop of twinkly lights, and bought him a crimson red stocking of his very own.

Every December that has arrived since has got better and better. Mince pies left out for Santa, trips to decorated grottos, tales of flying snowmen, dancing to Christmas music at bath time, mentions of the ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ list, and now a countdown to the big day that makes him shriek with excitement every morning.

He has a sibling now too – and seeing them in their reindeer-printed pyjamas every night, reading stories about Jack Frost and Rudolf under the soft glow of fairy lights fills me with the same excitement I felt as a child.

So I was right on that Christmas Eve all those years ago.

I didn’t have long to wait and the magic would be back.

It’s true that Christmas is for children.

But getting the chance to see the excitement and belief in a child’s eyes when they imagine reindeers galloping through a night sky and a man stuffing gifts into two crimson velour stockings is even better.

That is even better.