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!

I’m also loving… These brilliant south west London builders!

18th November 2015

10 Things I Am 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

This post was updated in April 2018, with everything correct and up-to-date.

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


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


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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.58.36

3.  The Lost Chambers at Atlantis


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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.56.22

4. Le Petit Palais


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.


6. Umm Suqeim Park

Location for taxi driver: Umm Suqeim Public Beach

Public Transport: Mall of the Emirates Metro Station (and then taxi towards the beach – you could walk in the cooler months).

This park is a bit of a hidden Dubai gem, across the road from Umm Suqeim Public Beach. With amazing views down to Burj Khalifa, there are two play areas, a track that runs all around the park for scooters / bikes / pushing a buggy, lots of shade, and a cafe that serves ice creams for 3 AED. I adore this place – so much so, I’m loathed to tell you about  it, as it’s lovely and quiet!


7. LEGOLAND Waterpark


Location for taxi driver: Dubai Parks and Resorts

Public Transport: Jebel Ali Metro Station (and then taxi to the park).

Aimed at children between 2 and 12 years old, this is definitely Dubai’s best waterpark for small children. Think a lazy river to cruise round on large rubber rings, a splash safari, endless water slides for every age, and summery caribbean-style music piped in to put everybody into a good mood! You’ll find plenty of food stops, but taking your own picnic works well too.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.55.38


8. Dri Dri Gelato


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.


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.


10. Kite Beach


Location for taxi driver:

Public Transport: Noor Bank Metro Station and taxi to Kite Beach

How could I write a round-up of things to do with kids in Dubai without including my favourite beach? With miles of white powdery sand, plenty of eateries and gelato houses (always visit Park House for breakfast or lunch) and the sea stretched out in front of you, you just can’t lose. There is a running track along the beach that kids can scoot down – and also trampolines you can pay for kids to bounce on in the cooler months. Enjoy!

31st August 2015

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

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 14.08.47

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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 14.18.35

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).

16th August 2015

10 things I am currently loving…


Some of these companies are based in the UK and some are based in UAE, but everything is available to be delivered in both countries. I have listed prices in £ and Dhs – ignore the currency that doesn’t apply to you!

For the boys…

1 – The Little Boy Who Lost His Name

If you have a gift to buy for a child, this book really is perfect. The story is tailored to your child’s name, helping them go on an adventure (and meeting a group of wonderful creatures on the way) to find the letters of their name. The look on Stanley’s face when he spotted the letters of Stanley was priceless. He’s been asking for it to be read every single night.  Little girls aren’t left out, with The Girl That Lost Her Name also available!

Buy: £18.99 (Dhs110), buy it here (This is a UK company, with FREE international delivery to anywhere in the world).

2 – Cuddle Dry

If you are heading away on holiday this summer, I can highly recommend Cuddle Dry’s SPF Poncho Towel. Throw it on at the pool or beach – and it will protect little one’s skin with SPF50.  We have used Wilfred’s in Dubai and Cornwall this summer and he looked ridiculously cute too!

Buy: £27.99 (Dhs160), buy it here (This is a UK company, with international delivery available to anywhere in the world).

3 – Coochy Coo

If you are looking for a school or nursery bag for little ones, I can recommend the Dubai company Coochy Coo, who sell a range of bags that can be embroidered with a child’s name. Wilfred has a brilliant shark-design Beatrix rucksack with his name on for nursery, whilst Stanley has a dark blue personalised nursery bag for his first year at school. They are simple, cute, and affordable!

Buy: 199 AED / 249 AED (£35 / £43)buy here (This is a Dubai company, with international delivery available to anywhere in the world).

4 – Go Go Merino Sleeping Bag

I use sleeping bags with the boys from the very early days until they move into a big boy bed, so Wilfred still has at least a year in a bag. I ordered the Go Go Merino Sleeping Bag from Baby Souk and I think it’s the best sleeping bag I’ve ever tried. I love it because the 100% natural fabric (finest merino and cotton) help to regulate Wilfred’s temperature as he sleeps – breathing absorbing and releasing moisture away from baby’s skin in warm conditions and insulating in colder. I used it in Dubai in the cold air conditioning – and then used it again the next night in the UK in a big heatwave. It’s expensive, but it’s so reassuring to know that Wilfred’s temperature is being regulated as he sleeps – and I love the way it looks, the softness, and the cosiness too!

Buy: Dhs400 (£70), buy here (This is a UAE company, with international delivery available to anywhere in the world)

5 – Whistle And Flute Ice Cream Top

I’m very excited that the cool brand Brighteyez.ae has opened up its virtual doors in the UAE – and this cool Whistle And Flute T-Shirt is going to be my first purchase. There’s lots on there for UAE mummies, who have had a limited choice of online shopping in the past. It’s already my favourite new website  – and it ships internationally for a flat fee of Dhs100 (£17) if something catches your eye abroad (google ‘Whistle And Flute’ and you should be able to find this T-Shirt in the UK too).

Buy: Dhs102 (£17.50) buy here (This is a UAE company, with international delivery available to anywhere in the world).

6 – The Shoes – Stan Smiths

Stanley is about to start school and the uniform rule is for white trainers with Velcro. I was about to head to Clarks and pick up some standard trainers when my friend Katie alerted me to Adidas Stan Smiths. They are white, they have velcro, and they have the word ‘Stan’ on the back, so what is not to love? But seriously, I am happy to discover this cool toddler-friendly footwear (available in different colours too if you are too scared to let them loose in white).

Buy: From £32 (Dhs180) buy here (Available in Adidas Stores across the Middle East).


For Me

The Shoes – FitFlops

I’m a fan of FitFlops for not only the way that they can help to tone legs, but also for the way they can help correct your posture. I haven’t worn mine for a few years as I left them in the UK, but when I spotted the new Spring Summer collection, it gave me a whole new reason to rediscover the brand! Very cool deigns, including nautical stripes, beaded straps, and snake print effects!

Buy: From £60 (Dhs350) (Available in the UK and UAE, visit the site for your nearest stockist).

The Top – Mother T-Shirt

I’ve been meaning to treat myself to this Organic Cotton T-Shirt for a while now and have finally made the order. Available in a range of colours and designs, the company Selfish Mother donates all profits from sales to the charity Women for Women International, which helps women in 8 war-torn regions to rebuild their lives. So much love for this T-Shirt. Expect to see my modeling it soon!

Buy: £30 (Dhs170) buy it here (This is a UK company, with international delivery available to anywhere in the world).

The Picnic Rug – Basil Bangs

It’s a bit of a joke amongst my friends now that I am in love with a picnic rug – but I can’t quite put into words how much I love this picnic rug by Basil Bangs at Baby Souk! This lightweight package (with a handle for hanging over buggies or shoulders) unfolds to a giant circular, wipe-clean, comfortable picnic blanket in the coolest print! It’s on sale at the moment, so shop shop shop!

Buy: Dhs338 (£58) buy it here (This is a UAE company, with international delivery available to anywhere in the world).

The Gift Shop – Blossoming Gifts

It’s always good to know reliable flower and gift delivery companies when I am over in Dubai and want to send a birthday gift to someone back at home. Blossoming Gifts is a great find, with really affordable flower bouquets, plants hampers, wines, and personalised gifts. My pick is the Baby Boy Gift Set, which contains goodies for new babies and mummies and would be very much appreciated in those early days at home!

Buy: £40.99 (Dhs235) buy it here (This is a UK company with delivery only available in the UK).

29th June 2015

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


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





24th May 2015

Currently Loving – May

May is almost over, so I’ve just made it with my monthly selection – I have no idea why I leave these picks until the last minute every month, but I hope it’s worth it as it’s given me a little longer to try and buy some amazing things throughout May.

So without further ado, here goes…

currently loving

1 – Dumyé

Oh I just love this company and this initiative! Dumyé are a small Dubai based company (but with stockists all over the world) that make the most beautiful organic rag dolls – and for every doll that is sold, one is gifted to an orphan. I’ve got to be honest, the dolls aren’t cheap – but the craft that goes into them is amazing and I think it is the most beautiful way to give to charity. Owned by Sahar Wehbeh, the company is currently in line for a grant so they can expand and help even more children – so please do vote for by clicking here (it’s free and takes 10 seconds). If you live in Dubai, you can find out more and shop here. And if you live in the UK, you can shop at Alex and Alexa by clicking here.

2 – Tell Kiddo

I discovered this cool Swedish kids interior company through Instagram and have fallen a bit in love with their cool toy sacks and monochrome prints. I’m gradually re-decorating the boy’s bedroom and made an order for 3 x prints last week (they ship to the UK and I used my Shop & Ship to get it to Dubai). Check it out for achingly cool bits and pieces for your children’s rooms! www.tellkiddo.com

3 – Slumbersac with feet

We love sleeping bags in our house and used them for the first three years with Stanley, only upgrading to a duvet in the last few weeks – so Wilfred still has a long time to go in them. When I heard about Slumbersac Sleeping Bags with Feet, I thought it was an inspired idea, as we can put him in the bag before bed so he’s cosy and ready to go down – but he can still walk around freely until bedtime. What is clever about the bag is that they are designed to keep feet inside during the night (so no cold feet) but you can pull them through in a second when they want to walk. The UK company ships all over the world, and you can shop online here.

 4 – Barney & Wilf

I have been running a competition with the brilliant company Barney & Wilf on my Facebook page (quick, it finishes tomorrow!) – and I am so impressed with their concept. Instead of collecting stacks of artwork or displaying throughout the house, the company will create beautiful prints with mini versions of your little person’s masterpieces.  Stanley will be saying goodbye to nursery at the end of June (sob) so I have decided to order a print that shows off the artwork he created while he was there. The perfect memento that we will treasure forever! The company ships internationally, so prints can be ordered to the UK or Dubai. www.barneyandwilf.com

5 – Phil & Ted’s Discovery Car Seat

Wilfred has grown out of his baby car seat – so rather than buying a second identical second stage, we decided to upgrade Stanley to something that would last him a good few years. As I am an ambassador for online store Baby Souk, I asked the company to recommend the safest and best seat for the job – and they came back with Phil & Ted’s Discovery. With an extendable headrest and removable car seat harness, it is an ultra safe child car seat that converts from a toddler car seat to a child booster as a toddler grows. It will in fact last Stanley until he is 11 years old – and it’s very slim too, so if you are a mother of three, take note that three of these would fit across a back seat! If you are in the UAE, you can buy at Baby Souk here. If you are in the UK, visit www.philandteds.com for your nearest stockist.

6 – Eat Greek

If you live in Dubai, I have a great date night recommendation of Eat Greek at The Beach. My husband and I love this restaurant for seriously tasty and authentic Greek food – the tzatziki and lamb kebabs are making my mouth water even thinking about them. It’s non-licensed and affordable – and it works really well in the summer months as the interior is so lovely with twinkly fairy lights and low-hanging light bulbs that make the setting both cosy and intimate. I promise you wont be disappointed.www.eatgreekkouzina.com

22nd April 2015

Currently Loving… April

Oh dear, I always like to post my ‘Currently Loving’ posts at the beginning of the month, but life (and a trip back to the UK) got in the way of blogging for a few weeks. Better late than never, though, so here are the things we’ve been loving in the Mum of Boys house recently! I will try harder next month *slaps own wrists*

currently loving april

For everyone (UK and Dubai)

1 – Sago Mini Apps

Wilfred was doing some serious grumbling on our trip back to the UK thanks to the appearance of a random molar tooth (way too soon molar, way too soon). His godmother Katie was giving cuddles to try and calm him, but nothing was working – so she whipped out her phone and revealed an app called Sound Box by Sago Mini. He stopped crying instantly – and within seconds, his brother and friend Raffy joined them, all totally transfixed. I took the hint and downloaded a Sago Mini bundle for our flight back to Dubai yesterday – and believe me, these were well worth the download! I got a package of 4 games called ‘Sago Mini Starter Pack’.

Buy: Sago Mini Starter Pack

2 – Cuddle Dry Towels

I am now an ambassador for the kids store BabySouk.com, which means I will be trying out things every month – and the first item I have reviewed is Cuddle Dry towels. Stanley was sent a bunny towel, complete with floppy ears, and Wilfred was sent the pony, with hair and tail! Aside from the fact they look adorably cute (the towels are like costumes for bathtime!), they are really practical too. They are big enough to keep both the boys very warm after their bath, implausibly soft (even after a wash), and make it really easy to lift babies from bath, hook towels over their head, and carry out the bathroom (without soaking yourself in the process). So top marks for my first Baby Souk item; I am very confident that you will love Cuddle Dry as much as I do!

Buy: BabySouk.com (UAE) and Boots.com (UK)


Back in the mid 2000’s, I got a bit obsessed with dry shampoos – but when I died my hair dark, the streaks of white powder put me off. I didn’t pick up another can until last week, when I spotted COLAB in Superdrug; a new brand of dry shampoo brand co-founded by the blogger A Model Recommends, which promises to be invisible in hair. It’s true – there really are no streaks. And as a busy mum that sometimes just doesn’t have time to wash and blow-dry my hair in the morning, it’s great to have the product on hand. It’s available in the UK at Superdrug (only £2.29 a can!) and will be coming to the UAE very soon!

Buy: Superdrug (UK), stockist to be announced soon in UAE.


4 – Godstone Farm

We have spent a lot of time at Godstone Farm in Surrey over the past year, as it is the perfect middle-way meeting point with my friend Katie. The farm was in the news a few years ago for a hygiene / health scare, but they shut down, made some major improvements, and are back better than ever. I really do love this farm for a day out – there are animals (everything from cows, to chickens, to bunnies, to goats), tractor rides, a dinosaur trail, an indoor soft play, an outdoor car track, a huge sand pit with slides and diggers to push round (great for very little ones), a petting zoo, a café, and lots of lawn / picnic tables to enjoy lunch on. Stanley and Raffy love the place and I always leave looking forward to going back, which has to be a good thing. One to bookmark for summer holidays if you live in the area…

Details: http://godstonefarm.co.uk

5 – Les Enfants

In the midst of organising Stanley’s party last week, I had a dream one night that I hosted the most amazing Frozen-themed party. When people arrived, it started snowing on cue – and then they entered a huge chalet that the events company had constructed in the garden and discovered a roaring fire with marshmallows on sticks to roast. It was a good dream and I woke up wishing I had the funds to hire a party planner to pull it off. Sadly I don’t – but if I did, I’d go straight to Les Enfants, who have worked with royalty and a host of celebrities, including the Beckhams and Elle McPherson. Their parties really are the stuff of dreams – and if you are reading this after winning the lottery, you should get in touch immediately. But if you’re a pauper like me, you can get the look of their amazing events with their sister sites www.littlepartyshop.co.uk and www.littlepartyhire.co.uk


6 – Essentially Juices

Back in March, I went a bit bonkers and decided I was going to a juice cleanse. I failed miserably, but one thing I did discover was how amazing the juices from Esssentially.ae are. I am now hopelessly addicted and can highly recommend ordering online. And yes I know you can make our own (and I do, thanks to my Nutribullet), but there’s something about these juices that makes me feel amazing. Give them a go if you want a health boost – after flushing my system with these juices over the course of three days, I felt so much more energetic and healthy. They taste delicious too.

Order: www.essentially.ae

7 – Atisuto

I’m a bit obsessed with Japanese food, so when I was invited to dine at Atisuto at Galleria Mall (Al Wasl Road, just round the corner from City Walk) with my friend Priya, I jumped at the chance. The food was to-die-for. We filled our plates with tempura, sushi, and an amazing array of veggie dishes – and after eating more than I thought was possible, we left knowing we’d discovered a new dining favourite. Since our evening, I have been told about how family friendly the restaurant is too, with a great kids menu, highchairs, and a fun rubber fish that teaches little ones how to use chopsticks. And to keep them entertained, skilled waiters will teach them the art of origami! I will definitely be heading back soon!

Website: www.atisuto.ae 

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.

Dphoto 3 Dphoto 4 2photo 3 2photo 4 Dphoto 5 Dphoto 2 2photo 5 1photo 2 1photo 1 1photo 3 1photo 4 1photo 5 photo 11 photo 12 2photo 1 photo 13 photo 14 photo 4 2photo 2 Qphoto 4 Qphoto 3 Qphoto 1 photo 5 photo 1 photo 2 photo 15 Qphoto 2 photo 3 Qphoto 5 Dphoto 1 photo44


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.

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.

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!