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.



12th March 2017

Currently Loving – March 2017

How is it March already? I can’t believe how fast this month is passing – and on Friday, Mabel will be 6 months old, which beggars belief. HALF A YEAR OLD! Crazy. But March it is – and here is a round-up of the things we have been buying, trying and coveting this month!

CURRENTLY LOVING MARCH

1. Magnificent Stanley. I have been coveting these sweatshirts and tees for my children for what seems like forever – and after seeing my friend Coral’s little girl Willa wearing her ‘W’ onesie with pride, I am ready to click ‘order’. They are just so gorgeous! You start by choosing from the range of sweatshirts, tees, onesies, bibs, blankets or towels  – and then you choose the Liberty fabric that you’d like their initial to be in. I am imagining a group shot of mine wearing their S, W and M tops… This is a UK company, but they ship anywhere in the world. Shop here.

2. Mr Tumee. In an ideal world, kids would get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their food – but if you have picky eaters like mine, giving them supplements is a great way to ensure you are supporting their nutrition. I really like the Mr Tumee brand because there’s no added sugar, they are gelatin-free, and they contain 100% natural colours and fragrances (all these things are really important to me – and I’m sure it’s the same for every parent). Kids as young as 2 can take them – and my boys are both big fans. In fact, Wilfred is convinced they are going to make him into a superhero! Dubai mummies can buy them online here – or on the shelves at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Highly recommended by me.

3. Baby Mona. Once in a while, a new kiddie company opens in Dubai that I fall head over heels in love with – and that is definitely the case with Baby Mona. It’s such a beautifully curated collection of interiors, clothing, toys, and accessories – and I have my eyes on several of the pieces for the boys and Mabel. Especially this whale cushion, which would look so gorgeous in Mabel’s new bedroom! This is a UAE company, with delivery available all over the UAE. Overseas shipping may also be possible, so email directly to enquire. Shop here.

4. InstaShop.ae. Oh how I love this app! Simply download InstaShop to your phone (available in the App Store and Google Play), open it up, select your area, and order your groceries to be delivered to your door (usually within 60 minutes of making the order!). I started using the app in my old apartment in Dubai Marina (generally when I forgot lunchbox items and I was already in my pyjamas at 10pm at night) – and I was delighted to discover it is available in my new community too (and almost all communities throughout Dubai, as it happens). You can pay by cash or credit card when your shopping arrives too, meaning you don’t have to stress about heading to an ATM if you are low on cash either. It makes life so much easier – and I’m keen to spread the words amongst all mums in Dubai, as dealing with mid-shop supermarket tantrums when you drag the kids along to do the weekly shop just isn’t worth the hassle. Download it immediately if you haven’t yet tried it out!  Visit the website here.

5. Snapdragon Lifestyle. I’m a long-time admirer of the beautiful teepees created by Dubai brand Snapdragon Lifestyle – and I have my eye on one for the boy’s room in our new house. In the meantime, I treated the boys to a feather headdress each (check out the photo on Instagram here) and they are so beautifully and skilfully made. In fact, we love them so much that we’ve decided they are far too nice to reserve for dress-up and they will take pride of place in their room (until the teepee arrives, that is!) You can shop the whole range from Little Majlis – with colourful teepees, teepee floor cushions, and a range of headdresses. This company really should be top of every Dubai child’s wish list… Shop here.

6. Not All Who Wander Are Lost. This is one of the prints I ordered in my latest haul – and I’m currently in the process of getting it framed to hang up by my front door. As an expat, it just spoke to me, because it’s true isn’t it? And I love the gold foil print (I went for rose gold as you can choose the finish). It’s available from Lovely Decor at Amazon.co.uk. Shop here

7. St Tropez Brunch at Nikki Beach. This Friday, I escaped to Nikki Beach with my three longest Dubai friends (we met when we were all pregnant with our first babies 5 years ago – and we now have 10 children between us!) We didn’t have our kids in tow, the sun shone, and the food and drink was quite simply delicious. The brunch is located alongside the pool in the hotel, with a perfect view of the beach and azure blue sea (Ive never seen the sea that colour in this part of the world!) – and the food works as half table service, half buffet. We had such a lovely time and I highly recommend heading over before the weather gets too hot. I felt like I was in Miami or Ibiza, making it the perfect tonic to city living! Visit the website here.

8. Hamilton Aquatics. The time has come for my littlest boy (aged three) to learn how to swim. He’s more than ready to try, with bounds of confidence in the water – and he’s really excited to swim without arm bands, just like his brother! The company we chose is Hamilton Aquatics, which operate at a large choice of venues (mainly schools) around the city, meaning there is always somewhere close to home. I am so impressed with this company – from the way the assessment could be booked online, to the follow-up email with details of his level, to the way I could then log back online to find the class most convenient to our location. Wilfred had his first lesson last week – and he enjoyed every second. If you have a little person ready to learn, log onto their website to book an assessment. I am confident you’ll be just as impressed as I am! Visit their website here.

9. The Brug. I was contacted by the company behind The Brug a while ago – and I instantly knew they were onto a good thing… The Brug is essentially a rug that transforms into a bag – so you can throw what you need inside the bag for the park, then unfold it all when you arrive. I am always the mum that arrives with 3,000 bags when we head anywhere on mass, so I think the idea is inspired… The product is still at the kick starter stage, but it has already reached its goal – so the good news is that it’s going into production – so make sure you snap yours up soon! This is a UK company, but I think it’s well worth using your Shop & Ship if you are in Dubai (imagine how it’ll transform your trips to the park and beach!) Visit their Kickstarter Page here.

10. Zara Kids. I was waiting for a friend to arrive for breakfast last week – but she was late… And in those 10 minutes, an email pinging into my inbox from Zara Kids, I let my fingers click on the site, and the rest (as they say) is history… I ordered from the UK site to my Shop & Ship – and just three days later, Mabel had this adorable new denim dress, plus 2 broderie anglaise tops (a snip at £3.99 each). I’m still blaming my friend (cough, cough). Shop here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s selection – and I will post again in April!

In collaboration with Mr Tumee, InstaShop, SnapDragon Lifestyle and Hamilton Aquatics.

 



12th February 2017

Currently Loving – February 2017

Time for another ‘Currently Loving’ post – with things I have coveting, trying, or enjoying this month…

Currently Loving

1) Scamp & Dude. Top of my wish-list this month is new clothing Scamp & Dude. Not only are the clothes totally gorgeous (I have my eyes on several T-Shirts for the boys), but the collection has a fantastic story behind it too. Scamp & Dude was created by Jo Tutchener-Sharp, a former Fashion and Beauty PR, who saw her life change forever in October 2015 when she suffered a brain haemorrhage. She had to leave her children for a lengthy stay in hospital to undergo life-threatening brain surgery – and it was this moment that inspired Jo to create a brand that helps children feel more secure when apart from their loved ones. From something dark came something light – and Scamp & Dude is the result. Shop here (UK company; ships worldwide).

2) Talking Tables. I’m not really into Valentines Day – but if I was going to celebrate, this ‘Love Balloon’ by Talking Tables (available at ASOS) would be top of my wish list. The balloons would look great hung above the table for a romantic dinner – but would look equally good the next day (and weeks that follow, as they last an impressively long time). And the best bit? It only costs £5. There is also a ‘Happy Birthday’ balloon, which makes a really fun alternative to birthday banners. Shop here (UK company; ships worldwide) #aff

3) Little West Street. I recently discovered this beautiful company, which now ships (for free) to the UAE – and after ordering a few bits for Mabel and her new room, these alphabet cushions are next on my shopping list. I’d love an S, W, and M to pop on each of their beds. And if you are in the UK reading this, the good news is that the company ship to the UK too! $25 dollars each. Shop here. (US company; ships worldwide)

4) Greenheart UAE. I ordered from this UAE company for the first time this week and received a box of amazing organic vegetables to my door. The quality of the vegetables is like I have never seen before in the UAE – and after using the vegetables in meals every evening since, I can vouch for the fact that they taste amazing too. I’m constantly hearing good things about this UAE farm – and the truth is that it’s worth all the buzz and more. Shop here (UAE company; delivery to UAE).

5) ‘Inhale & Exhale’ Prints. We moved house last week and so my mind is on home decor – and I have just ordered these prints by company Lovely Decor at Amazon.co.uk. When they arrive, I’m going to take them to Satwa to get them framed (I’m thinking thin gold frames like these pictured). I can find life at home with two crazy boys stressful at times – and these will remind me to find my zen and take some deep breathes when things hot up. From £13.99. Shop here (UK company; ships worldwide). #aff

6) Fairy Platinum Dishwasher Tablets. It’s not usually my style to recommend household cleaning products (zzzz) but I was sent these dishwasher tablets this week and I’m impressed. The package arrived with an invitation to order a lasagna from a Dubai restaurant – and when I ordered, it arrived in a large glass dish (with instructions to pop the finished dish in the dishwasher with one of these tablets). I didn’t make any attempt to wash it before plonking it in the dishwasher – and in the morning, it was sparkling clean. Not a single mark. It was a clever marketing stunt to show how well the tablets work – and I honestly wouldn’t be bothering to tell you about them if I hadn’t been  impressed. Available at supermarkets (UK and UAE).

7) Boden. I always dress my boys in rash vests when we go to the beach as we all have such fair skin – but with so many beautiful little girly swimsuits in the shops, I’ve been so tempted to buy them for Mabel instead. Then I spotted this gorgeous floral rash vest and knickers set at Boden, which will keep her protected without having to sacrifice on the cute factor. I like it so much, I think I’m going to buy it a few different sizes. £25. Shop here (UK company; ships worldwide) #aff

8) Maluco World. I fell in love with the beautiful wooden toys at Dubai company Maluco world at first sight – especially the pastel pretty kitchens, which I’ve snapped up for Mabel’s new bedroom (not that she’s in it yet. I also have my eye on the doll’s buggies, doll’s houses, and gorgeous cloud and star cushions. Worth a look if you like your toys both traditional and well-made. Shop here (UAE company; delivers UAE).

9) Zara Kids. There are some gorgeous things at Zara Kids in the new season collection, including these beautiful unisex dungarees. Seriously tempted for Mabel (I’d team them with a pretty floral vest underneath) – but I’d definitely have dressed the boys in them too. £14.99 / 99 AED Shop here (UK and UAE stores)

10) Transguard Living. We moved house last week, which can be a stressful affair – but discovering the new app by Transguard Living has definitely eased the pressure. You download the app from The App Store or Google Play and then choose ‘Fix’ ‘Clean’ or ‘Move’ to book a service. ‘Fix’ includes services including air conditioning repair or service, appliance installation, handyman, painting and plumbing repair. ‘Clean’ includes regular home cleaning services, deep cleaning services, and window cleaning. And if you choose ‘Move’, a representative will get in touch to discuss your booking with a moving team. Booking a service takes a matter of seconds via the app – and the prices are very competitive (a handyman starts at 140 AED per hour, for example). Best of all, however, I can personally verify that the team are incredibly professional and reliable – and we know how valuable that is in a city like Dubai. I highly recommend downloading the app for whenever you need some help at home (services are available 24 hours a day, which means you’ll never be wondering what to do about  a leak in the middle of the night again). For more information, www.transguardliving.com or 800 845.

 

 



21st November 2016

Currently Loving… November

Wow, it’s a long time since I’ve done one of these posts! I know you all like them, as I usually get feedback along those lines, but they take me such a long time to pull together and baby Mabel and her crazy brothers have been taking priority for the last few months (naturally!) But here we go, I’ve finally done it! So without further ado, here are the things I have been doing, planning, buying and coveting in November…

currently-loving

1. Jo Jo Maman Bebe Christmas Jumper. Out of all the Christmas jumpers I’ve seen this year, this is my favourite – so it’s the one Stanley will be wearing this year (Wilfred has hand-me-downs from previous years – poor second child!) I just love the simplicity of it – and it’ll look so cute with his jeans and boots when we head home to the UK for Christmas! It costs £22 (worldwide shipping) and you can shop here.

2. Boden Christmas Cardigan. How beautiful is this Robin cardigan by Boden? I think Mabel already has enough clothes for Christmas at home, but I am very, very tempted to add this beauty to her stash. Price starts at £30.50 (worldwide shipping) and you can shop here.

3. Oliver Bonas Initial Hooks. We are moving to a villa soon – and when my sister asked what I’d like for my birthday this year, I pointed her in the direction of these rose gold initial hooks. She  kindly obliged, so now I have a set for the whole family and I can’t wait to hang them on the wall when we move in. They cost £7.50 each (worldwide shipping) and you can shop here.

4. Erin Condren Life Planner. It seems crazy that 2017 is only a month or so away, but it’s true – and that means I need a new diary. And in my humble opinion, there are no better diaries than Erin Condren’s beautiful life planners! They aren’t cheap, but they are so worth it – and with three kids now, I need some planning in my life (i’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on, seriously)! I’m coveting this rose gold design (can you tell I’m a bit obsessed with the rose gold at the moment?!). It’s a US company (worldwide shipping, although I’ll be using my Shop + Ship account), with prices starting at $60. Shop here.

5. ExpatWoman and Toddler Town British Nursery Christmas Fair. I am SO EXCITED about Christmas – and I’m kicking off my festive season with a visit to this Festive Fair, held at the Toddler Town Jumeirah Branch this coming Saturday (26th November, 10am-4pm). It looks brilliant! The fair will feature a Santa’s Grotto, Bouncy Castle, Pony Rides, Face Painting, Snow Globe, Petting Zoo, Candy Floss, Carnival Games – and lots of gifts to browse and buy! I’ll be taking the boys down to have some fun, so why don’t you come along too? Stanley went to the JBR branch of this nursery and we loved it – so it’ll give me a chance to have a nose at their Jumeirah branch too! For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page here.

6. Elodie Details. New Swedish brand Elodie Details has arrived in Dubai at Mumzworld – and I have fallen a bit in love. The brand takes things that are usually quite boring (dummies, dummy clips, bibs, muslins, and storage baskets, for example) and makes them very, very pretty – and with prices starting at just 65 AED, it’s great for gifts too (worldwide shipping). Shop here.

7. “I Am So Freaking Cold’ Sweatshirt. Sold by an Etsy seller in the States who ships worldwide,  I am really coveting this sweatshirt for my trip back to the UK. I really struggle with the cold having lived in the desert for 6 years now, so it appeals to my sense of humour, whilst also stating the facts. If you feel the cold like me, you should definitely treat yourself – and at just £20.77, it’s affordable too. Shop here.

8. Tots session at Dubai Ice Rink. Wilfred and I had an amazing morning last week at the Tots Morning at Dubai Ice Rink (every Monday, 10am to 11.45am). The sessions are put on for little ones 1-4 years old, where they are protected from the other skaters in their own fenced-off area and assisted by a professional coach throughout. Wilfred was apprehensive when he realised how slippery ice really is, but he soon built up confidence and had a smile on his face for the rest of the day! I really recommend trying it for some festive fun! It costs 90 AED per child/carer duo, which I think it very reasonable too. Visit the website here.

9. Kidore.com. A very cool new website for parents and kids has just launched in Dubai called Kidore.com, with everything from toys, to clothing, to essentials. I have fallen in love with the toy section, which has plenty for birthday and Christmas gift ideas. I especially love this garden tool set (because we will finally have a garden soon!) at 60 AED – and for my slime and goop obsessed boys, this Slime Baff, which will turn their bath water into slime (yuck!) at 35 AED. Perfect stocking fillers! Shop here.

10. The FMLY Store. I’ve long been a fan of my MOTHER T-Shirt by Selfish Mother (now known as The FMLY Store) – and their Christmas range is totally fabulous! Top of my list for the kids is this ‘Off Duty Elf’ sweatshirt for the boys. They cost £20 each, but £10 of each sale goes to Save The Children. And they are super stylish too.  Shop here.

11. GAP Reindeer Hat. This hat is so simple, but so very cute for cold festive days. I really want one for each of the boys to wear on our UK visit – and it only costs £9.95 each. Shop here.



26th August 2016

Currently Loving in Dubai – August

We have been back in Dubai for nearly 4 weeks now (wow, that’s gone quickly!) and there are certain places that have been keeping me sane in 45+’C, with two active little boys and a rapidly growing tummy. There are also things I have been buying for the boys and new baby and the odd moment I have been enjoying myself (not that I am ever really on my own any more, with these kicks to the ribs!) So here goes – the things and places I have been loving in August…

Currently Loving Aug

1. Magnolia Bakery

You may have seen my posts recently about Magnolia Bakery – and if your kids have a sweet tooth, it’s a really lovely way to treat them over the summer holidays (I think you might enjoy it too!) We spent a lovely morning at one of the branches a few weekends ago and there’s just something I really like about the atmosphere in there – it’s like a chilled coffee shop (and the coffee is really good if you haven’t tried it) but with the addition of the most beautiful cakes, desserts, and cookies. So the husband and I get our caffeine fix – and the boys are kept happy with their pastel pretty cupcake. Winner!

Details – www.magnoliabakery.com/locations/

2. Pastels, Al Wasl Road

I had a lovely afternoon at Pastels Al Wasl Road this week, getting ready for new baby, with a cut, colour, manicure and pedicure. I always like a bit of pre-baby pampering, mainly because I have no idea when I will be able to visit the hairdresser again (especially as I plan to breastfeed so will have a baby attached to me for a while at least), but also because (quite vain to admit), I know I will treasure those newborn photos and I don’t want my dodgy roots spoiling them. For my nails, I chose Essie Baby’s Breath; here’s hoping, hey? 
I really recommend this salon on Al Wasl Road – it’s such a peaceful spot to spend an afternoon, with lots of light streaming through the windows, fish swimming around a tank, and the comfiest chairs. Let’s hope it’s not tooooo long before I can make a return visit!

Details: www.pastels-salon.com

3. The Bedouin Penguins by Asma Al Ketbi

I love discovering books written about Dubai – after all, this is where my boys live and I want them to read about it. So I recently treated the boys to The Bedouin Penguins by Emirati author Asma Al Ketbi, which tells the tale of a family of penguins from Ski Dubai heading into the desert to meet a Bedouins and see their way of life. The illustrations by Maitha Al Khayat are beautiful and the story is gorgeous. I recommend buying a copy for your kids – and think it’d make a wonderful gift for handing out at all those upcoming birthday parties too.

Details: 20 AED at Jashanmal Book Shops – www.jashanmalgroup.com

4. Bright Eyez

In the midst of buying a new girly wardrobe for baby number three, I barely noticed that my eldest had shot up and his T-Shirts now looked like crop tops! When we got back to Dubai after 5 weeks in the UK, I knew I needed to get him some new clothes and I stumbled on BrightEyez.ae, where some of the coolest T-Shirts (which I’d previously coveted from the UK and USA) were available with some amazing discounts. I treated both the boys to a few and wish I’d done it sooner. Now just trying to resist buying more!

Shop: www.brighteyez.ae

5. Mamas & Papas

Dubai Mummies, we are in luck – as the online world is finally starting to make life easier for us! And the latest brand to start delivering to our door is Mamas & Papas, who launched their online boutique this week. I made an order on Thursday evening as there were still a few things on my ‘to buy’ list for baby girl (including her record book, which I’m sure I’ll ignore for a few months – but at least I’ll know it’s there haha) – and the next morning I got a phone call and then my order was delivered before lunch. Impressive service!

Shop: www.mamasandpapas.ae

6. Kaiser Furniture

We’re in the market for a new bed for Stanley at the moment – mainly because his younger brother keeps climbing out of his cot, so he needs to move into the toddler bed Stanley is currently sleeping in (not ideal timing with a baby on the way, but it seems kids don’t work to a timetable). Whilst browsing places in Dubai to buy it, I’ve fallen in love with a German furniture company Kaiser, which is based in Umm Suqeim. Fun designs and seriously good craftsmanship. The pieces are investments, so don’t expect budget prices – but you definitely get what you pay for. How much fun is this monster design bed?

Details: www.kaiserme.com

I’m also loving…

Taking one of these amazing Waterproof Bags to the beach! Buy here.



19th July 2016

Currently Loving – July 2016

It’s been a while since I have written one of these posts, so I thought it was about time for some shopping and entertainment inspiration. As I’m in the UK at the moment (for another few weeks at least), there are a mix of UK and UAE companies this time round. And just shout if you have any queries about stockists or availability…

Currently Loving

1. Mammylicious.com (UAE). Good quality, fashionable, and affordable maternity wear has been a long time coming in Dubai – but all of a sudden, we are spoilt for choice. One of my favourite websites is Mammylicious.com. Not only does the store have a range of stunning maternity dresses (which fit like a dream), stylish tops, comfortable trousers and plenty of nursing wear for when baby arrives, but they are offering Mum of Boys readers 20% off everything on the site until the end of August using the code MUMOFBOYSREADER – which gives me all the more reason to shop… Shop here

2. Jelly Cat (UAE and UK). Both my boys have had Jelly Cat soothers as newborns. Stanley still sleeps with his blue bunny and Wilfred is rarely parted from his monkey – so now has come the time to choose something for their baby sister… I still can’t decide, but I am tempted by this pink bunny with liberty-style floral print inside the ears. Available at John Lewis in the UK and Db Babies in the UAE.

3. Cath Kidston (UAE and UK). I recently picked up this Cath Kidston Foldaway Overnight Bag at the gifting suite of the Stylist ME Social Media Awards – and although I can’t find the exact one for sale on the website anymore, there are lots of other designs to pick from. It comes with a small pouch to keep valuables in and is roomy enough to use as a nappy bag (and is washable and waterproof too). The long strap means I can sling it over the handle of the buggy, making it really practical too. Available at CathKidston.com in the UK and in Cath Kidston, Mall of the Emirates in the UAE.

4. Mumzworld.com Pregnancy Pillow (UAE). Thank goodness for my Mumzworld.com Pregnancy Pillow, which I bought a few months ago online. I am currently separated from it whilst in the UK and it’s not easy – and I can’t wait to get back to its pillowy support. I really recommend this style by Leacho (132 AED). Shop here.

5. Aden & Anais Swaddle Wrap (UAE and UK). I fell in love with Aden & Anais swaddles when Wilfred was born, with giant dimensions, the softest breathable muslin, and beautiful designs – and I’ve always secretly coveted the neon pink star design… Now that I have a little girl on the way, I am definitely snapping it up. You can shop online (with shipping to both UAE and UK) at Melijoe.com

6. Fred & Noah (UK). It’s no secret that I am a fan of Fred & Noah leggings for Wilfred (and I have a few pairs for baby girl already too) – and the latest collection is just amazing. Wilfred has been rocking dinosaurs, whales, stars, and clouds while he’s been back in the UK. I don’t want him to wear anything else! Shop here.

7. Etsy (UK and UAE). I’m a fully fledged Boy Mama for a few months longer – and of course, I always will be after that too, so I adore this T-Shirt from Etsy. Shipped from the US to all over the world, it costs just $19.95. Shop here.

8. Zoomer (UK). Thank you to the makers of Zoomer for sending Stanley and Wilfred this very cool garden ride-on for their summer in the UK. Created by two mums, Zoomers are designed cleverly to be stable, comfortable and easy to steer – we’ve tried a lot of garden toys in the past, but this ride-on is definitely the most stable (you could take it to the park or woods) and the boys love it so much there have been more than a few scraps over who gets to ride it. Lovely addition to Nanna and Grandad’s garden, especially now the sun is shining! They cost £54.95. Shop here.

9. Selfish Mother (UK and UAE). You may remember me wearing a ‘MOTHER’ T-shirt in photos on this blog a while back – and Selfish Mother have just started selling these cool year T-Shirts (with £5 of every sale going to the charity KIDS CHARITY UK). I definitely want a 2012 and 2014 for Wilfred – too cute! They cost £18 each – and although they’re a UK company, they ship all over the world. Shop here.

10. Finding Dory (UK and UAE). We were lucky enough to get a very early release of Finding Dory in the UAE and watched it before we flew back to the UK at the end of the June. We LOVED it. I have a slightly fish-obsessed two-year-old and I knew it would be a big hit – and I wasn’t wrong. Both the 2 and 4 year old were glued to it from the second it started and they’ve been talking about it ever since. It opens in the UK on 29th July – the day we fly back to the UAE, which is a shame as we’d definitely watch a second time. There seems to be a lot of merchandise around too, so that’s his Christmas present sorted! Watch out for the Octopus; he’s definitely their favourite character!

11. Bear Nibbles (UK and UAE). We’ve always got Bear Nibbles in our house – even when that has meant buying in bulk and taking bags back to Dubai in our suitcases! These days you can buy them in the dried fruit aisles of Waitrose and at Ripe Markets in the UAE. And in the UK, we are spoilt for choice, with countless different varieties available in every supermarket – from Bear Claws, to Yo Yo’s, to Dino Paws. And now every multibox box comes with 3 x Alphabet Cards inside to collect. Oh and one packet of these yummy dried fruit snacks counts as one of their 5-a-day, which is music to my ears as they think it’s a treat! Supermarkets nationwide (UK); Waitrose and Ripe Market (UAE).

I’m also loving… 

Getting active! Find out the Best Trekking Poles and Walking Sticks here (now I just need to book a walking holiday!)



28th February 2016

Currently Loving in Dubai – February 2016

Time for another Currently Loving – and this month, it’s all about Dubai (apart from one sneaky Shop + Ship purchase!) – and I’ve just managed to sneak it in before the end of February, phew.

Currently Loving Feb New

1. Bumpamats. I have been looking for a rug or large mat for the boys’ room for a long time – and right on cue, Bumpmats UAE got in touch with me to tell me about the brand’s arrival in the country. These giant mats have a car track printed on one side (heaven for Wilfred) and a stylish design printed on the other (heaven for me). Better still, they are hygienic, water resistant, embossed, cushioned, easy to clean with detergent, and non-slip. The launch price is Dhs950, but they have a special offer running for Dhs1700 for two mats (delivered to one location) so you can team up with a friend for less (or buy one for two different rooms!) The discount code is “friend1700”. Buy here.

2. Comptoir 102. If you are always on the hunt for cool cafes with a delicious menu, good coffee, and free Wi-Fi, let me introduce you to Comptoir 102. Located down in Jumeirah 1 (opposite where the old zoo was located), it’s the most peaceful spot – with seating inside and outside, and natural sunlight streaming inside. The styling is quirky and incredibly stylish and the menu is not only yummy, but super healthy too so you can feel virtuous as you enjoy a catch-up with a friend. The French-owned cafe has a fashionable store attached with clothing, accessories, and homewear too. I spent a morning there last week and will definitely be back soon. More information.

3. Ya Ya Multi Minerals. After an endless battle with germs in my house in the run-up to Christmas, I needed to get some vitamins into the boys to boost their immune system – so when Wilfred turned two, I could start giving them both Ya Ya Multi Minerals. Just one little gummy pastel a day is enough to make sure the good stuff is going in – and the boys literally queue in the kitchen every morning, completely unaware it’s not a regular sweet. I can vouch for the effectiveness, as we’ve had no snuffles since we started using them (and impressive 2 month period of wellness, which has been unheard of!) More information.

4. White Cotton Cards Dubai. How many times have you handed over gift cards to a shop assistant in Dubai and recoiled in horror when you have been told the price? It’s happened to me plenty of times – and the worst bit is that the cards I am buying are usually seriously underwhelming, making me vow to buy a stack of cards on my next trip to the UK (but of course, I always forget). For this reason, I was delighted to hear about White Cotton Cards Dubai – a range of high-quality, beautifully designed cards, which have been sold in top end boutiques across the UK (and the likes of Harvey Nichols and Harrods, no less). I’ve been stocking up! Shop via the Facebook Page here.

5. Man Cub T-Shirt. It was love at first sight when I spotted this Man Cub T-Shirt by US brand Love by Hannah and Eli – so I immediately snapped one up for Stanley with my Shop & Ship account. They sell out fast – so be quick with your order. I’m coveting a Baby Bear design for Wilfred too! Shop here

6. Four Cow Farm. This 100% natural baby, kids, and mum-to-be range is handmade on a farm in Australia – and it’s just found its way to Dubai. Suitable for the most sensitive skin, I’ve fallen in love with the gentle formulas and beautiful ingredients – and the fact that the products are never tested on animals is another big bonus. Shop at DbBabies here.

7. Ronda Locatelli Brunch. We were invited to the launch of the new Saturday brunch at Ronda Locatelli, Atlantis The Palm a few weeks ago – and we had a lovely lunchtime. Not only was the table filled with the most delicious cuisine (it’s table service, rather than buffet, and believe me; you won’t go hungry), but the activities for children were fantastic. Stanley enjoyed painting his own canvas in a shaded courtyard (thanks to a pop-up by The JamJar) and making his own pizza (he even got a tour of the kitchen, lucky him!) It’s really affordable too – at just 195 AED per person (non-alcoholic) and 295 AED per person (including house beverages). Details here.

8. Fortnum & Mason Dubai. If you haven’t yet visited The Parlour in Fortnum & Mason Dubai, you are missing a treat. With incredible views of Burj Khalifa (and so quiet in the morning), kids will be nothing short of delighted when they arrive and spot what is on offer. With rows and rows of pastel-hued ice cream flavours to pick from, alongside traditional favourites including Banana Splits, Knickerbocker Glories, and Coke Floats, it’s our new favourite hangout. Details here.

9. Party Camel. I get more impressed with party supplier Party Camel every time I log on, with a stock of decorations and party essentials that are definitely the most stylish, unique, and fun available in Dubai.  I purchased most of Wilfred’s 2nd Birthday Party supplies from the online store – from rainbow hued food boxes, to a fun cake topper, to striped goody bags for handing out as everyone left – and I was impressed with not only the selection and quality, but the prices too. Delivery is very quick too, making it ideal for last minute panic buys before parties. Shop online here.

10. HotelsCombined. I’m always being asked for hotel recommendations in Dubai – and the most common request is for accommodation that is a little more affordable. I now know where to direct everyone, as I’ve discovered HotelsCombined, which scours the city for the best deals. I have been craving a weekend staycation – and a quick browse on the site came up with budget hotels for as little as 250 AED a night and 5* luxury resorts on the beach coming in as little as 1000 AED a night for a deluxe room! Seriously good prices and definitely worth checking out!  Visit http://www.hotelscombined.ae/



18th January 2016

Things I am Currently Loving – January 2016

Here’s my first Currently Loving selection of 2016 of things I am loving or coveting on the shopping front (for the boys or for me!)

Currently Loving January

1. Long-Sleeve Slumbersac Sleeping Bag. My boys aren’t used to the cold for obvious reasons – so when we fly back to the UK every Christmas, I know from experience that they are going to struggle to acclimatise. I notice this most at night, when they tend to wake up and cry about the strange cold sensation on their skin! So this year, I decided to be proactive and ordered a Long-Sleeved Slumbersac Sleeping Bag for Wilfred, which was waiting for us when we arrived home. It made a MASSIVE difference, as he slept through from the very first night, staying toasty warm  even though the thermometer was plunging. We didn’t bring it back to the UAE as we just don’t need it here, but I ordered the longest one so that it gets use again next year. I really recommend these if you live in the UK or are planning a trip to colder climes. There are lots of different designs, with prices starting at £17.99 (Buy here).

2. Cloud Place Mats. I love these non-slip, silicon place mats, which means less mess on the table (while looking pretty adorable too). They are available at the UAE website Marmarland.com, costing 80 AED each (Buy here).

3. The Julia Donaldson Audio Collection. I bought this as one of Stanley’s Christmas presents and it’s been a surprise hit. We listen to the audio CDs in the car, with the box containing stories including The Gruffalo, The Snail on the Whale, The Troll, Room on the Broom and much more. I got his set from Amazon.co.uk, so if you are in the UAE it’s probably a job for your Shop + Ship account (Buy here)

4. Love Lights Letters. I have been looking for Marquee Letter Lights for the boys’ room for the last year, but I could never find any in Dubai and it was too heavy to ship them over. So I was delighted to discover the company Love Lights Letters, which sells right here in Dubai. I went for the Metal Initial Lights, which are 250 AED – and I’m tempted to head back online and order the star for me! (Buy here).

5. Kids’ Camelbaks.  Dubai baby and kids online store DbBabies.com website has had a stylish new update and it’s absolutely brimming with things I wanted to buy for the boys (seriously, it was hard to just pick one item!) I am going to do some work with the company to pick out my wish list and attend an event next week (so watch this space!) but in the meantime, I am coveting the range of Camelbaks for the boys, which they both take to school/nursery every day – it’s the best collection of designs I have seen available in the city, at 78 AED each. (Buy here).

6. Shoeq Sandals. This is another Dubai company that I have fallen head over heels in love with, having seen my friends wearing their gorgeous sandals. The leather, spanish sandals come in a range of different designs (with little ones for the kids too) and I am definitely coveting the most popular design in the range of silver glitter (the perfect way to add some style to little black dresses or denim). For more information or to order, visit the Facebook Page.

7. Escape Bag. I fly pretty regularly with the kids – and when we arrived back in Dubai a few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a better shoulder bag as mine just doesn’t cut it anymore with everything we need on board. I have fallen head over heels for this bag by Southwoodstores.co.uk – a UK company that ships overseas for those of us in Dubai. It’s roomy and stylish, which is a winning combination when flying with little ones. It costs £75 (just under 400 AED) (Buy here)

8. Mama Sweatshirt. While I was browsing Southwoodstores.co.uk, I also came across this Mama Sweatshirt, which I need in my wardrobe immediately! It is £45 (235 AED) and comes in sizes XS to XL (Buy here)

9. Smoothie Bombs. I’m a bit addicted to my Nutribullet – not only for making smoothies every morning, but to make and freeze ice pops for the boys too (they think it’s a treat, when actually they are packed with goodness – BONUS!) So when I heard about a new product launching in Dubai called Smoothie Bombs; balls of goodness that can be thrown into the smoothie maker to add extra good stuff to the blend. I went for Raw Cacao (which contain linseed, sunflower seed, almond, raw cacao, desiccated coconut, psyllium husk, black strap molasses, coconut nectar, coconut oil, chia seeds) – and guess what, the boys didn’t notice any difference and gulped it down! For more information on stockists, click here.

10. Emma Bridgewater Personalised Mugs. My sister bought these mugs for the boys for Christmas and they are just the cutest thing! They are ceramic, so we haven’t let Wilfred use his much through fear of him throwing it across the room (always a worry with my wild child) but Stanley has been enjoying his milk in his mug every night. We have a collection of Emma Bridgewater mugs in our cupboard for the adults, so the two little ones look adorable alongside them. They would make a very special gift for a little boy or girl. They cost £17 with delivery only available to the UK. Although breakable, they are pretty well packaged, so you would probably  be OK to order Shop + Ship to Dubai (shop here).

11. Woolovers. Finally, the stylish knitwear company Woolovers.com kept me warm over the Christmas period in the UK (I know everyone thought it was mild, but I was shivering).  I wore this shrug cardigan nearly every day, which was cosy and comfortable – and is also coming in handy on the cool mornings in Dubai at the moment. Better still, I’ve just clicked on the site to discover an amazing sale for picking up some bargains – and if you fancy a browse, delivery is also available internationally (shop here).

I’m also loving… Having a home cleaner!



18th November 2015

10 Things I Am Currently Loving…

CURRENTLY LOVING

1. Hatley.com (UK and UAE)

I have a bit of a thing for cool pyjamas – but it isn’t easy to find ones I love. So I am happy to discover the brand Hatley, who have answered my pyjama prayers with the coolest pairs for my boys. The company is based in the US, but ships anywhere in the world. Shipping to the UK is cheap at £3.90 and only takes 2-3 days (wow) but it’s pricey to UAE so I’d use my Shop + Ship instead. Stanley is currently sporting these cool bear-print pyjamas most nights – and I have my eye on the fabulous Christmas collection too.

Shop: www.hatley.com

2. Petit Bateau (UK and UAE)

Last week, Petit Bateau invited me to join them for breakfast at La Serre Dubai surrounded by other Mummy bloggers and journalists. I got to eat, chat, and browse the brand’s new collections. It’s kick-started a love affair with Petit Bateau’s cool, fashionable pieces (not a brand I knew too well before my introduction at La Serre) and I have been browsing in store ever since. I definitely recommend heading into store or having a shop online if you have little ones – the prices are really good too, and it’s available in the UK and UAE.

Shop:: UK – www.petit-bateau.co.uk UAE – The Dubai Mall, Yas Mall, Mall of the Emirates

3.  Dubai Winter Festival (UAE)

I’m a little bit excited about this one! It might only be November, but things are starting to get festive in Dubai – and tickets have just gone on sale for Dubai Winter Festival (scroll down my Facebook page and you can even win tickets!) Now in its 4th year, Dubai Winter Festival  is moving to Dubai World Trade Centre for 2015 and taking place 17-19 December! Head down with the family to meet Santa, play in the snow zone, watch a traditional pantomime, sing carols, skate on the ice rink, shop the festive market – and lots, lots more!)

Book Tickets: http://dubaiwinterfestival.com/

 4.    Caramel and Sun (UAE)

I’ve fallen a little bit in love with the new Dubai store Caramel and Sun. Located in Mercato Mall (which is my favourite mall in Dubai by the way, as I used to live a few minutes walk away and push Stanley round as a newborn every day), the store is packed with the most stylish children’s pieces. We love our bunny nightlight and I am coveting so many of the gorgeous toys and fun interior pieces for my boys. The perfect place to head for a spot of Christmas shopping – and you will catch them at the markets too, with stalls at Ripe and Marina Souq, amongst others too.

Shop: Mercato Mall, Jumeriah Beach Road. Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/caramelandsun

 5.    Miniterior (UK and UAE)

I find it difficult to find fun, but stylish bedding for my boys in Dubai, but then I clapped eyes on Miniterior’s new range of bespoke bedding and I knew I needed it in my life! The prints to pick from include dinosaurs, cactus, and lightning strikes (all with your choice of colour on the other side). I’ve ordered a dinosaur duvet for Stanley and will post pictures when it arrives. Miniterior can ship overseas too – just contact the company through the Facebook page and you can discuss your order and get a quote.

Shop: www.facebook.com/miniterior

 6.    Tiny Trolls of Norway (UK)

On one hand I am bursting with excitement about our trip back to the UK in December for Christmas – and on the other, I am wondering how my Dubai-born and bred children will cope with the cold (especially with the oldest, who frequently tells me he is freezing on the beach). Right on cue, I discovered the band Tiny Trolls of Norway, which have a collection of functional, but incredibly cute outerwear for little ones – including winter suits, coveralls, rain suits, fleece and microfleece. I really recommend a browse online, as little ones will definitely stay warm and dry throughout winter if you live in cooler climes. We have a package waiting for us in the UK – so you will see the boys modeling them a lot over Christmas!

Shop: www.tinytrollsofnorway.com

 7.    I See Me Personalised Books (UK and UAE)

When I was asked if I would like a couple of personalised Christmas story books for the boys, I expected the odd mention of their name every now and again – but I am so impressed by the personal details throughout. The company ships internationally all over the world by FedEx (shipping starts at $8.95 and if you use the code HOLIDAY by 19th November, you will get $7.95 taken off so it’s nearly free). I can’t wait to see the boys’ faces when they open their Christmas Eve boxes and discover them inside!

Shop: www.iseeme.com

 8.    Big on Children Alarm Clocks (UAE)

Talking of personalised presents, the alarm clocks at Big On Children are fantastic and Stanley is getting one in his stocking to wake him for school every morning! Personalised with his name, the alarm clock will sing to him every morning – and I don’t think he’d be able to roll over and go back to sleep! The company also does some very fun DVD, where the child features in their own movie. Shop online – or visit any of their concessions across the UAE.

Shop: www.bigonchildren.com

 9.    Vaniday (UK and UAE)

I enjoyed an amazing lunchtime at the weekend getting pampered – and I arranged it all in the laziest way with the new Vaniday App. Download it, find your nearest or favourite salon (there are hundreds and hundreds), book a convenient time, and then choose to pay through the app or in cash on the day. SO EASY! And my favourite Pastels Salon on Al Wasl Road is on there, which makes life that little bit easier! And UK people, you can do it too with the UK version!

Download: Search ‘Vaniday’ on The App Store or Google Play

10. The Happy Box and The Lucky Dip Club (UK and UAE)

I’ve always been a bit jealous of those of you in the UK who could sign up to The Lucky Dip Club every month (a subscription service for a surprise box of jewellery and stationary every month to take us back to being children again) – so when The Happy Box here in Dubai announced a collaboration with the company for a monthly ‘Happy Go Lucky’ box, I was first in the queue to try it.  And when I unwrapped my necklace, note books, and other goodies, I knew I’d be subscribing every month.

Order: www.thehappybox.ae

I’m also loving…

Check out the Baby Carriers reviewed here!



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.