22nd March 2017

Why we love Baby Sensory Classes…

17440175_10158447600015607_651619191_nRewind to January 2013, when my first baby was 9 months old. I was looking for something to do with him – to entertain him and to get myself out the house – and I stumbled on Baby Sensory, which had just arrived in the UAE. I’d done a few trial lessons when I was back in the UK when he was a smaller baby and we’d both loved it – it appealed to my own love of textures and colours and he had loved the bubbles, balls, toys and music. We carried on every week until he was 13 months old.

When I had my second baby, I never got round to attending classes. It crossed my mind several times, but I had nobody to look after his big brother – now a toddler – while I was attending. I felt quite sad about that and vowed to head back to classes if I went on to have a third baby.

So when Mabel arrived – now with her older brothers at nursery and school in the morning –Baby Sensory was back on my weekly calendar. We’ve now been attending for a whole term (in the 0-6 month age group) and her face lights up as soon as we step into the room. Just like her older brother did, she loves the familiar songs, the fun props, the lights and the bubbles.

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I’ve reviewed lots of baby classes in Dubai, but this is the one that I love the most. I just love the way that every lesson is different and so carefully planned out – baby mountains created from mounds of different fabrics with interesting textures for them to crawl over, space-themes with a darkened room and hundreds of twinkly lights for them to watch and hold, underwater themes complete with bubbles, fish and swathes of blue fabric to recreate the water… For me, it beats baby classes where every class follows the same formula – as if I’m bored, I’m less likely to take her every week. And Baby Sensory is anything but boring.

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Baby Sensory UAE hold classes all over the city for babies under 13 months old – and when they get older, they can join Toddler Sense Classes, which are very similar but include more physical activities.

More details and a weekly calendar is online here –  www.babysensory.ae – and the classes definitely come with the Mum of Boys & Mabel approval!



7th February 2017

5 reasons why we loved Global Village (especially during Kid Fest!)

16522865_10158235139285607_1586586341_nI’ve lived in Dubai for 6 years now – but I’ve never set foot inside Global Village. I’m not the only one either, as a quick survey amongst my friends revealed that very few had ever visited. So yesterday, after being told about Kids Fest (which is running every day at Global Village until 25th February), I thought I’d bite the bullet and head over with the boys – and after the best afternoon in a very long time, I just wish we’d done it earlier.

We arrived at 4pm, which is the time the park opens, and stayed until 7pm. This gave us plenty of time to wander around the different areas, watch several shows, enjoy lots of the kid’s activities, and eat their pick of food for their dinner – and we got to watch the sun set (which is amazing by the way – the sky is so beautiful!) If your kids are a little older (or better at staying up past their bedtime), the kid’s events continue until past 9pm. We visited on a week day and it was fairy quiet. I was worried about it being too busy and losing the boys, but it really wasn’t. It was very manageable on my own with two boys and a buggy. It’s a huge place with lots of open spaces, so it has to get very busy before you notice the crowds.

So what is Global Village? Put simply, it’s an entertainment park built around a large central courtyard, with each country from around the world (or a good proportion of them) having their own pavilion to sell traditional goods, food and drink. There are also central stages to watch shows, an area filled with fairground rides for thrill seekers, and plenty of street vendors selling food and drink. And during February, Global Village are running Kid Fest – which means you get all of the above, with the addition of regular kid’s entertainment and activities to keep them busy and happy throughout your visit.

So here goes; here are the five reasons why we loved Global Village… And now is the perfect time to head down!

1. There is lots happening for Kid Fest!

Kids would enjoy a visit to Global Village at any time, but with ‘Kids Fest’ running at the park until 25th February, it’s even more fun. All the extra activities are free of charge, including face painters, balloon benders, meet and greets with ‘Angry Birds’, a brilliant bouncy castle assault course (Stanley’s favourite thing about the afternoon), interactive dance sessions, and plenty of different shows throughout the afternoon and evening to keep them entertained.

Then you have all the kid-friendly things that are always at Global Village – dancing fountains, toddler play areas, a little train ride (Wilfred’s favourite thing about the afternoon), and the shows on the main stage (my boys were stood open-mouthed in amazement at the circus show!)

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2. It’s really cheap to get in 

Global Village costs 15 AED for entry (free for children under 3). I think that makes it one of the cheapest things you can do with the kids in this city – and well worth it for a few hours of fun.

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3. The food is amazing

I loved the street with all the vendors – it was like we were walking through a variety of different cities throughout the world. You can opt for fast food instead if that is your thing (there is an area with eateries like KFC), but we wanted to walk down this street and take our pick from what was on offer. Boys chose German Jumbo Hot Dogs With Fries – and I chose a delicious Canadian Lobster Roll. We sat down by the canal with dhows sailing past and ate it as the sun set. It was a really lovely setting and the boys felt like they were having a treat. It’s all very cheap too – their meals came to 50 AED in total, while my lobster roll was 30 AED.

There are lots of fun things on offer for drinks and snacks too – make sure you head into Afghanistan, where a vendor will make pomegranate juice fresh as you wait. And if you like cotton candy, you must visit the China pavilion. A very skilled man will weave pastel coloured cotton candy into the most beautiful flowers and heart shapes. I had trouble trying not to snatch it out of the boy’s hands.

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4. The shopping is amazing

Walk into any of the pavilions and you will find stores selling authentic items from those countries. My highlight was Africa, where I found an array of the most beautiful weaved baskets and bags. I snapped up a giant woven beach bag with leather handles for 70 AED (and I probably could’ve haggled lower, but I’m rubbish at bargaining) and a multi-coloured fruit bowl for 20 AED. I need to go back soon, as I have my eye on all the baskets for my new home (literally a fraction of the price I’d find them elsewhere in Dubai). I am also tempted by the pots of pure Shea Butter that a lady rubbed into my hand (I walked away but regretted it later).

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5. Kids get a chance to see the world (without the airfare!)

But I think one of my favourite things about Global Village is the fact you have all these different cultures mixing together and having fun – and the kids can discover about new countries too. Stanley and I had lots of conversations about the different countries we were visiting, their National Dress (as there are plenty of people in national dress milling about the pavilions offering photo opportunities), what kind of food the people ate, the music they listened to, and even their climates (he asked why Afghanistan sold fur coats, for example, which led up to conversations about how cold it can get).

Obviously nothing can beat jumping on a plane and showing your children the world – but failing that, I really recommend heading to Global Village. We will definitely be heading back soon!

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Kids Fest runs until February 25th. Entry Tickets to Global Village include access to the Kids Fest activities. Global Village is open from 4pm-12am Saturday-Wednesday and 4pm-1am Thursday-Friday and on Public Holidays until the 8th of April 2017. Mondays are family days at Global Village. Visit http://globalvillage.ae/en/

In collaboration with Global Village

 

 



31st August 2016

Stanley tries: Kidzania, The Dubai Mall

14193733_10157421133515607_1642525071_nI’ve been trying to spend one-on-one time with the boys as much as possible over the last few weeks – and one of mine and Stanley’s trips out last week was to Kidzania in The Dubai Mall.

This is a place we’ve been meaning to try for a long time. He’s an imaginative child and I knew he’d love the chance to wander a child-sized village and get the chance to role play in adult jobs – and this is exactly what Kidzania is all about.

Put simply, you pay for entry, wander around the village, and stop when you see an activity your child wants to try. It could be fire fighting (where they head off in a fire engine to fight a fire), piloting a Fly Dubai flight (with flight simulators to make them feel like they are actually taking off), working as a doctor  (and yes, it includes the dash in an ambulance), or learning how to be a pizza chef (in the village’s very own branch of Pizza Express). To be honest, it feels kind of surreal and kind of magical, all at the same time.

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14159962_10157421139810607_1658629846_nSuitable for kids aged 4+, you drop them at each attraction where they are supervised – and you can either hang around to watch and take pictures – or you can retreat to a parent’s lounge and let them enjoy the experience alone.

Once the kids have completed a job, they get paid in Kidzania Currency (nothing like teaching them the value of money at a young age, right?!) and can spend it either in the shops or on trying activities. Stanley loves art – so he decided to spend his hard-earned cash on an art session, carefully painting away for half an hour! Very cute.

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We both really recommend heading over to The Dubai Mall for a visit. Kidzania is located close to Reel Cinema on Level 2 (follow the signs for cinema parking). Head over any time, but be aware that there’s a shift change between 4 and 5pm and Kidzania is closed (my tip is to head over first thing at the weekend when it’s very quiet!)

For more details and entry prices, visit www.kidzania.ae

In collaboration with Kidzania



23rd September 2015

My Top 10 Things To Do With Small Children In Dubai

I have been sent private messages no less than four times in one week to ask for recommendations of things to do in Dubai with small children, so I thought it was time to update the post I wrote a year ago (which has changed quite a lot as we’ve discovered new things that are better!) So here are the places we tend to go in Dubai. It’s worth bearing in mind, like with anything in life, that different mums will recommend different things based on their location and the tastes of their children, but I think this list is a great place to start – whether you are a resident or a tourist. Please feel free to comment on Facebook or underneath this post with your own suggestions! So here goes…

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.56.361. The Dubai Mall

www.thedubaimall.com

Location for taxi driver: The Dubai Mall

Public Transport: The Dubai Mall

Take the kids to the mall? You must be mad! Well no actually, because this is the biggest mall in the world and that means it has an aquarium, a 150-155 million year old Diplodocus dinosaur, an ice rink, the opportunity to head up the tallest building in the world, and countless family friendly eateries. We tend to head over early on a Friday or Saturday to avoid the crowds.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.56.50 2. The Beach at JBR

www.thebeach.ae

Location for taxi driver: JBR at Dubai Marina

Public Transport: JBR 1 or 2 on Dubai Tram (connects from JLT Metro Station)

I’m probably a bit biased about this one, as I can see it from my bedroom window – but this area of Dubai, running in front of JBR complex, just keeps getting better. Not only is there a stretch of soft white sand for kids to play on and splash in the shore, but there are a plethora of kid-friendly restaurants, a splash pad attraction for toddlers, toilet and shower facilities, and (during the cooler months) a market every weekend.

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3.  The Lost Chambers at Atlantis

www.atlantisthepalm.com

Location for taxi driver: Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah

Public Transport: Monorail from terminal next to One & Only Royal Mirage

I was trying to think of words to describe The Lost Chambers at Atlantis aquarium to write this post – and ‘stunning’ and ‘breathtaking’ keep coming to mind. To be honest, this aquarium has spoilt us, as nowhere else we visit can compete. The boys love the space, giving them the freedom to toddle/run between the displays. I love the beauty of the place – you just have to sit down on the floor cushions and gaze up at the stingrays, sharks,  and colourful shoals of tropical fish to feel instant calm (even when your children are wrestling on the floor). It’s my dream to stay one of the rooms at the hotel that looks out at the aquarium – until then, I will make do with day trips.

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4. Le Petit Palais

www.lepetitpalaisdubai.com

Location for taxi driver: The Dubai Mall

Public Transport: The Dubai Mall Metro Station

There are so many indoor soft play areas to take your children in Dubai, but we love Le Petit Palais because it’s more than just a jungle gym. It does have that, if your kids are that way inclined, but it also has a charming French-style mini village to spark their imagination. Think cars to drive around the roads, a grocery store to fill a mini trolley, a beauty salon to sit and imagine you are having a fabulous beauty treatment, a patisserie to pick up your croissants, and a playhouse to explore. It’s located on the second floor of The Dubai in Galeries Lafayatte.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.59.525. Café Ceramique

Location for taxi driver: Town Centre Jumeirah (next to Mercato Mall)

Public Transport: Nothing nearby

We used to live next door, so we have visited plenty of times before for a coffee – but last week, we let the boys paint on ceramic for the first time and they loved every second. You start by selecting from the ceramic items on the shelves around the café (priced individually) and then you choose up to five different coloured paints. Then they can get creative – and with kids meals at just Dhs17 each, it’s worth feeding them too. I was jealous – so next time, I’m painting something too.

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6. RIPE Market

www.ripeme.com

Location for taxi driver: Zabeel Park, Gate 1

Public Transport: Al Jafiliya Metro Station

This is my favourite thing to do at the weekends during the cooler months – and I’m counting down the days until mid October when it will be back in Zabeel Park every Friday between 9am and 2pm. I can’t fully describe how lovely this event is, with foodie, craft and gift stalls along palm-tree lined paths and a petting zoo and pony ride area for kids. We head over shortly after opening for the boys to eat pancakes and let off some energy in the play areas, my husband to swig strong coffee, and me to sip from a fresh coconut whilst browsing the stalls.

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7. Apple Seeds Dubai

www.appleseedsdubai.com/

Location for taxi driver: Gold and Diamond Park

Public Transport: FGB Metro Station

This one is only for residents rather than tourists, as you need to take out membership – but if you have babies, toddlers, or young children, I really recommend you do. The spacious location at Gold and Diamond Park has a play area like no other in Dubai, with educational features wherever you turn (disguised as fun) and nothing you need to worry about little ones hurting themselves on. You really can sit down and relax while they enjoy themselves, which is a godsend if you have two children as they will always be in sight. There are also regular classes and a sweet little café with free WiFi.

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8. Dri Dri Gelato

www.dridrigelato.com

Location for taxi driver: The Beach at JBR and Box Park

Public Transport: JBR 1 or 2 on Dubai Tram / None nearby Box Park

While you’re in the sunshine, you need to eat ice cream, right? Of course – so it might as well be the best. Dri Dri makes authentic Italian gelato – and it’s so good that it really does melt in the mouth. We visit the branch at The Beach – and the boys love selecting their flavour (usually Orange for Stanley and Vanilla for Wilfred) and then taking a stroll along the beach as the sun sets. This charming gelato spot also runs regular workshops for kids and can even host parties.

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9. Marina Promenade

Location for taxi driver: Marina Promenade, opposite JBR Amwaj

Public Transport: JBR 2 Tram Station (you can connect onto tram at JLT Metro Station)

I should probably keep quiet about this one, as we love how peaceful it is on Marina Promenade. Unlike Marina Walk (the other side of the Marina), it is rarely busy – so there’s lots of room for kids to zoom past the boats and water on their scooters. There’s also numerous family-friendly cafes along the promenade and a kids play area under the bridge.

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10. Kiddies Café

www.kiddiescafe.com

Location for taxi driver: Lake Shore Tower, Cluster Y

Public Transport: JLT Metro Station and walk around the lake

A lifesaver in the summer months – and also when I first had Wilfred and needed to get Stanley out the house. You can have a cup of coffee in front of the big glass windows, whilst watching your children have fun in the giant play area, jungle gym, ball pit, and craft room. There’s free WiFi and a morning deal that includes a cup of coffee and two hours of play per child.



31st August 2015

The ultimate guide to inappropriate baby toys (which is all they will ever want to play with).

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1. Your phone.

Don’t buy them their own. Not only is this silly considering they will probably ring Australia and leave the line open for 7 hours and 33 minutes, but they will never, ever like it as much as yours.

2. A wire.

Preferably one attached to the wall. Preferably with a switch you can flick on and off. Also preferably with something interesting at the other end.

3. Steps

Don’t bother buying expensive garden toys. Just re-landscape your garden to include a giant set of dangerous steps! As soon as they are on the move, your baby won’t want to play with anything else!

4. Your car keys

Real keys that drive your real car. They will not be fooled by coloured plastic keys. They would like to roam around with these real keys and slot them into toys, into cupboards, and `between sofa cushions. It would be unreasonable to expect them to stay within eyesight – and they won’t.

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5. Your glasses

Glasses for your eyes, that is. Although having said that, a box of wine glasses would also be fun. So generally, if they are glasses and they belong to you, they will go down very well indeed.

6. Curtains.

Not for the windows! For swinging on, hiding behind, winding themselves up in, and trying to pull off the window frame. All done with a high-pitched squeal (in case you had any doubts where they were hiding).

7. Your bag

Sacrifice your bag and its contents and your baby’s attention will be gripped for record lengths of time! Yes, the contents will be emptied onto the floor, dropped between cracks in the floorboards, and scattered in mystery places throughout the house, but think of it as a sacrifice for your child’s happiness and will soften the blow.

8. Older children

Especially the kind that are boisterous, noisy and liable to cause injury in play areas. Your baby will want to follow them like a little lamb, up the steepest ladders, down the most extreme slides, and generally wherever the older child likes to put their big, stampy feet.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 14.17.409. Older children’s toys

Expect a toy that belongs to an older child to become the single most important toy in the entire world. Hazardous small parts or frightening elements will be an advantage.

10. A box of tissues.

To pull out the box one by one, rip up into a million pieces, and leave all over the floor like cheap confetti. Also to take to the sink and create a big sloppy mess that blocks up the plug hole (nb: a toilet roll works just as well).

11. A cupboard with breakable items inside.

The contents must have breakable. Don’t try and fool them with less entertaining plastic goods. They will lose interest in seconds.

12. Wheels

Wheels on buggies, wheels on scooters, wheels on their sibling’s bicycle, wheels on massive great trucks. Babies aren’t bothered about what they belong to – they turn round, which makes them one of the best toys ever made (especially if they recently rolled through dirt).

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 14.09.4413. The cat

A walking toy for pinning to the floor for hugs, licking, and sharing food. This would in fact be the best toy ever, but you will find that it is unreliable (he is usually hiding on top of the kitchen cupboards or roaming the streets several miles away from his baby).

14. The dog

As above, except the dog is unlikely to run away, making it far better value for money as toys go.

15. The toilet

Fascinating. Makes louds noises when you drop the lid, has water inside for dropping things into, and isn’t always the most hygienic spot in the house – which makes it brilliant fun!

16. Credit cards

The great thing about credit cards is that a) you can chew them and b) they slot perfectly between things, under things, and behind things. The more credit cards you can spare, the more fun baby will have!

17. Coins

Shiny coins! That they absolutely, definitely, totally have to put into their mouth as soon as they see them. Just to see if they taste nice. And give you a heart attack when you see a flash of gold between their teeth as they stride past.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 14.15.4518. Your shoes

The dirtier, the better. And yes they will need to put the soles into their mouths and chew as a taste test. That’s just how it is.

19. Mud

In fact, this applies to anything wet, messy or yucky. Old chewing gum, for example, would be a great toy. As would the dog’s bowl, a dirty puddle, or the leftovers in the bin. Warning – they will definitely want to taste it too.

20. People who don’t really like children

When they catch sight of these child-hating people, they wont be able to resist making enough noise to draw attention to themselves, smiling like a loon to a completely blank response, and making a beeline for them whenever they have the freedom to move. These people are like the Pied Piper of Babies (only they hate children).



29th June 2015

If I was in Dubai this summer…. The best ways to entertain kids in the city this summer

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1 – appleseeds Dubai Summer Membership

I’m so impressed with appleseeds Dubai that we have become members – and the great news is that the centre is offering summer membership deals so you can hide from the heat. The play area is one of best thought out I’ve seen in Dubai – and there are also classes, a café area (open after Ramadan), and a fun-packed summer camp. I highly recommend giving it a go over summer!

Unlimited for July; Dhs475 per family. Unlimited for July and August; Dhs700 per family. appleseeds Dubai, Gold and Diamond Park. www.appleseedsdubai.com

2 – Julia Donaldson Summer Camp

This camp almost made me cancel my summer holiday! Such an inspired idea for little Julia Donaldson fans, with a different story from the famous author introduced to children every day through mediums including arts and crafts, mask making, puppet shows, drama workshops, and much more.

Dhs1,000 per week. July 5-17 2015, 10am-1pm (morning) or 2pm-5pm. The Courtyard Playhouse Theatre, Street 4B, Al Quoz. www.courtyardplayhouse.com

3 – Lost Chambers at Atlantis

We adore this aquarium, located in Atlantis The Palm. It’s so well suited to smaller children, with displays that are so beautiful it takes your breath away – and lots of room to toddle, run, and explore. I recommend stopping by Cold Stone for an ice cream afterwards (open during Ramadan). And if you have the Entertainer app or book, you can get 2-for-1 on entry.

Dhs75 per adult (resident rate), Dhs100 per adult (visitors rate). Dhs50 per child (residents rate), Dhs70 per child (visitors rate). Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah. www.atlantisthepalm.com

4 – Mini Monsters New Location

I was very excited to hear about the new Mini Monsters location in DNATA Building on Sheikh Zayed Road. The play area and boutique café (closed during Ramadan) look brilliant – but it’s the sensory room I’m really excited about, with features including a colour changing ball pit that I know Wilfred would go mad over.

Dhs50 for two hours play, Dhs35 for sensory room, Dhs75 for two hours play including sensory room. Ground Floor, DNATA Building (beside Emirates Holidays), Sheikh Zayed Road. www.minimonsters.ae, 04 259 8843 or 052 529 2192

5 - Gelato Making Workshops at Dri Dri

Dri Dri at The Beach is one of our favourite places for treating the boys after a warm morning on the sand – and I love the idea of enrolling on their Gelato Making Workshop. They can be organized whenever you want, with a minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 children in each session. Give them a call for more information or bookings.

Call 04 553 0647 for more details. Located at The Beach, opposite JBR.

6 – Le Petit Palais Summer Camp

I’m a big fan of this lovely play area in Galeries Lafayette in The Dubai Mall, which is set out like a mini village. My boys had hours of fun driving cars around the track, filling trollies with groceries, and cooking in the large playhouse. The play area is running a summer camp this summer and I’ve heard some great things already, so make sure you book in soon.

Sun-Thurs, until August 28th, 10am-3pm. Dhs140 per day, Dhs650 per week. Le Petit Palais, Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall. www.lepetitpalaisdubai.com 04 382 7333 ext 2754.

7 – Kidzania

I can’t wait to take Stanley to Kidzania, where he will be able to get a fun-filled taster of professions including a fire fighter, chef, surgeon, and much more. During Ramadan, kids can also take part in cultural activities like henna, Arabic calligraphy, and modeling traditional clothes.

Dhs140 per child, Dhs95 per adult (book online for discounts). Kidzania, The Dubai Mall www.kidzania.ae

8 – Fairmont The Palm and Falcons Junior Club

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of this extremely family-friendly hotel – and I could very happily spend a day of my weekend making use of the Falcons’ Junior Club, lounging around the pool, and enjoying the Break Slow Brunch (back after Ramadan).  The kids’ pool is shallow and safe, with water cooled down to keep little ones at the perfect temperature during the hot summer months and lots of shade.

Falcon Juniors’ Club, from Dhs60 per hour per child. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah www.fairmont.com

9 – Kiddies Café

I recently rediscovered this brilliant play area in JLT and remembered why I loved it so much when Wilfred was first born. It is one of the only play areas in Dubai where you could happily sit with a newborn while an older sibling played the other side of the glass window. Staff are brilliant and very helpful – and what is inside the play area (a large play house, craft room, small jungle gym, and mini grocery store) keeps toddlers and young children very happy.

Dhs45 per hour, Dhs25 per additional hour. Kiddies Café, Cluster Y, Lake Shore Tower www.kiddiescafe.com (04 360 8571)

10 – Urban Picnic at Vida Downtown

I have a new favourite brunch in the city – so after Eid, I would highly recommend trying the Urban Picnic. You can pretend you are in cooler climes, with picnic baskets to fill from a vast and absolutely delicious spread – and then a selection of dishes are brought to your table as mains. It’s the perfect way to bring the outside inside this summer – I cant wait to take visitors when we are back in the autumn.

AED 265 inclusive of unlimited soft beverages and juices; AED 295 inclusive of unlimited selected beverages; AED 495 inclusive of unlimited bubbly. Vida Downtown Dubai. www.vida-hotels.com

11 – Dubai Dino

No trip to The Dubai Mall is complete without a visit to Dubai Dino; the bones of a dinosaur from the late Jurassic era, circa 155 million years ago. This dinosaur skeleton was discovered in 2008 at the Dana Quarry in Wyoming, USA, and air-freighted to Dubai. It now lives in The Souk Dome and is completely free to pay a visit. Stanley loves checking in on Dubai Dino between shopping errands – it’s amazing and surreal that such a precious thing is free for everyone to see!

Free. The Souk Dome, The Dubai Mall. www.thedubaimall.com

12 – Caboodle, City Walk

Caboodle at City Walk is another place that I have rediscovered recently – and both my boys were in heaven when we paid it a visit one Saturday morning. They both had a haircut in the salon section, before moving next door to the play area to climb, slide, and use their imagination. It’s a lovely airy play area that you could easily go to with two children and keep sight on both – and if you have errands to run, you can also drop the children with the amazing staff.

Dhs70 per child for first hour (with parents), Dhs70 per child per half an hour (supervised by staff). Caboodle, City Walk, Jumeirah 1. www.caboodle.ae 04 3444570

 

 

 

 



12th April 2015

Stanley’s Bumble Bee 3rd Birthday Party in the UK

Stanley celebrated his third birthday yesterday – and it was the first birthday he’d ever celebrated in the UK with his family and friends. It was a such a treat to see the smile on his face as he danced,  laughed, and ate cake with his family surrounding him – and I thought you’d like to see what we got up to. I’ve shared all the details below of what I bought / what I booked, so scroll to the bottom of the photos and you will discover all the information.

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Details:

Cakes
Bee hive cake and cupcakes designed and made by my talented mum. If you live in the Tunbridge wells area in Kent, she can make your cakes for you. Just contact me to get in touch with her.

Decorations
My friend Leanne had a bumble bee party for her daughter Poppy in January. This was obviously Stanley’s inspiration when he decided he wanted a bumble bee party – so I took his request and ran with it, as it’s such a lovely theme (and I have a feeling it’s the last time he’ll choose something cute like this!) Leanne was kind enough to give me a lot of her leftover decorations, including a table cloth, banners, hats, and twirly decorations that hung from lights. I had a quick research and this is all available to buy on amazon.co.uk

Lunch boxes 
I found this idea on Pinterest and loved it. I made a little packed lunch in a yellow box for each child. Each box contained 2 x sandwiches in the shape of animal faces, a bag of popcorn, a bag of fruit, a bag of biscuits, and a fruit shooter drink. The kids got so excited finding their box and discovering what was inside – and it was the easiest way to prepare for a party. I also found that the children (or their parents!) put their rubbish back in their box so there wasn’t much tidying up to do at the end either! I bought the boxes on eBay.

Entertainment 
We had children at the party between 8 years and 5 months – and I wanted to entertain everyone. But we had just flown back from Dubai, I was working, and looking after the children full time too (as my husband isn’t back in the UK yet), so I didn’t have time to think up party games nor the energy to become the party entertainer. So I asked my cousin who lives in Tunbridge Wells to recommend a party entertainer and she suggested Kelly the Clown.
Kelly was BRILLIANT! She came, set up, then mingled with the children so they felt comfortable. Then we all moved next door into the dining room and she kept the children laughing, smiling and dancing for a full hour. I knew she’d be good as she came highly recommended, but she was better than I even hoped – and every adult at the party commented on how good she was. It’s high energy and a bit nutty, but the children (right from babes in arms to 8 year olds) were transfixed throughout. I loved the fact that she kept singling Stanley out so he felt special – and he loved it so much we’ve had to play Kelly the Clown all day today in the dining room (me Kelly the Clown, Stanley, Wilfred and my sister the audience – yep, we know how to live on a Sunday!) You can find out more and book Kelly here.

Party bags
For the party bags, I ordered some popcorn-style boxes from eBay and filled them with a crazy straw (also eBay), few bags of haribo for the older children or fruit snacks for the babies, and box of raisins. I also ordered foam masks to hand out with the party bags – either bumble bee, ladybird or butterfly. The kids loved these and all left wearing their masks.

I will leave you with this video, which sums up how much the children loved Kelly the Clown. Happy birthday little man – I can’t believe you are three already!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdDmQ5p07ZY&feature=youtu.be



1st April 2015

Dubai Competition: Win 1 of 5 Partylicious vouchers, worth Dhs200 each!

photo 1I am a big fan of dressing my boys in fancy dress costumes. When nursery announces a dress-up day, I get excited, as it means I can walk Stanley over the road dressed as a bumble bee / little elf /  caterpillar – and although he’s never the most willing participant at first, he warms up once he’s in it and is always pretty chuffed by the time we arrive at his classroom.

I’ve got to be honest though, with work every morning and mummy duties every afternoon, I am too exhausted every evening to sit there stitching something together. So ready-made costumes are an absolute lifesaver. In Dubai, however, I’ve never really known where to buy them – and when I do find a selection, it’s pretty slimline and I end up walking out the shop feeling uninspired.

So when Dubai company Partylicious got in touch to tell me about their costume selection, my ears instantly pricked up. Located inside Zaks stores across the region (in actually very convenient locations, with easy parking), there are kid’s costumes as far as the eye can see when you walk into the store. And they are really very good costumes!

I was allowed to pick some for the boys – and couldn’t resist the dinosaur and tiger. I knew the superhero would go down well too, so added that to my pile. We still have a cowboy outfit that I haven’t dressed Stanley in yet, but it’s equally good. I am really impressed with this company, the choice, and the quality of the outfits.

photo 2

photo 3photo 1photo 2photo 4To find out more about Partlicious and check out their store locations (I went to the Al Barsha branch, which is right next door to The Change Initiative and very easy from the Marina), visit www.partylicious-me.com

Partylicious offered me the chance to run a competition for my readers in the UAE to win one of five vouchers of Dhs200 each – and I jumped at the chance, as I wanted to spread the word about this cool  store and give you the chance to add to your costume collection to.

To enter, head over to my Facebook Page and do the following:

1) “Like” Mum of Boys (if you aren’t already)
2) “Like the competition post
3) Comment underneath with the name of your child’s / children’s book character.
4) You are under no obligation to share the post, but we would be very thankful :-)

After two weeks, I will input all names into a random name generator (RandomPicker.com) and ask it to select five winners. After the big reveal, winners will be contacted by the company directly, who will arrange delivery of vouchers.

Terms & Conditions
The competition will be live for two weeks, with the winner names drawn and announced on April 15. Winning vouchers are for Dhs200 each, with five prize vouchers available. Vouchers are non-refundable and non-exchangable. The decision is final. Vouchers will be delivered to winners by Partylicious.



19th February 2015

25 Creative Pregnancy Announcements

Love them or hate them, pregnancy announcements are getting more and more creative thanks to the world of social media. They can be funny, cheesy or emotional – literally anything goes (but please, no-one wants to see the pregnancy test you wee’d on). If you have a baby currently brewing or are thinking of adding to your family soon, here’s some inspiration.

Oh and before you ask, there definitely isn’t a Mum of Boys baby on the way – but if it ever happens, I’m totally going to announce it with superheroes.

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e1912a41b31591be989533863a2ebd05Which is your favourite?



17th February 2015

10 of the coolest bedrooms for boys

OK, I admit it. I’m addicted to Pinterest. And sometimes, when I’m sat twiddling my thumbs waiting for an appointment, I pick up my phone and start scanning through visual ideas from people that are far more creative than me.

The latest thing to get my attention is cool bedroom ideas for boys. It’s probably because we rent in Dubai and don’t have the freedom to do what we want to the room – so of course, I torture myself looking at things we could do if we owned the place. There are some ways, however, I could transform the room without getting a team of builders in, such as the metallic paint in the first photo (I may well be doing this in Stanley’s room) – and for the rest, such as the army hideaway with slide, I guess I will just keep dreaming.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 ideas for cool bedrooms for boys. Which one gets your vote?

photo 5 copy photo 4 photo 4 copy photo 3 photo 3 copy photo 2 photo 2 copy photo 1 photo 1 copy

photo 5

Very cool!