17th February 2018

Dear Fitness-App-Thingy…

Dear Fitness-App-Thingy

Every day, I log in. You congratulate me for doing so. I crave doughnuts. You tell me they are too high in fat. I count my steps. You tell me I should be doing more. All these things happen like clockwork, every single day.

But listen Fitness-Tracking-App-Thingy, I am a mum-of-three – and sometimes I feel like I don’t fit into your world. In fact, I think you might be due a bit of an update to become more suitable for mums like me. And here’s are a few questions you might like to use as inspiration…

1 – How many calories do I burn when I chase three children around the house trying to get them dressed in the morning?

2 – Is it true that calories consumed while finishing off my kid’s tea don’t count?

3 – Is my step-count still accurate if my toddler steals my phone and legs it around the house for half an hour?

4 – Could you please add ‘wrestling a 16-month-old on the floor, attempting to change her nappy, while she’d much rather be stealing her brother’s toys or hiding the remote control under the sofa’ to your list of exercise activities?

5 – Does lugging three bags of laundry upstairs count as ‘weight lifting’? How about throwing the cushions back on the sofa 2,851 times a day? Or collapsing the buggy and heaving it into the boot, trapping my finger in the process? Really?

6 – You know the ‘sleep tracker’ function? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Is there any way that I can delete it?

7 – Does it count as a workout if I wear activewear on the school run? What if I have 7 different bags, two coats, two bits of toilet-roll artwork, and a trainer from ‘Lost Property’ in my hands while I’m doing it?

7 – Is there any chance that you got the calorie count for doughnuts wrong? Any chance at all?

8 – Do I still have to log the glass of wine in the evening if my children drove me to it? It seems a bit unfair.

You’re welcome.

Yours, Louise



6th February 2018

Dear first-time pregnant mummy – I remember being you…

Dear first-time pregnant mummy,

I remember being you.

In one sense it feels like yesterday that I was stroking my bump and trying to resist the urge to let my eyes dart to the calendar on the wall and count the days to my due date.

In another sense, the six years that have followed have been such a whirlwind of changing nappies, sterilising bottles, picking up cushions from the living room floor, and barking ‘IT’S TOO EARLY! GO BACK TO BED!’ when a child appears at the door at 5am, that it feels like it’s been forever.

But if I shut my eyes and really think about it, I can remember exactly what it felt like. The sheer volume of overwhelming advice, the texts pinging on my phone that demanded ‘ANY NEWS?’, the googling of labour symptoms, and the staring at a cot lying in the corner of an empty room and finding it very hard to imagine a little person lying inside it.

And if I take myself back to that room, all those years ago, here is the advice I would very much like to pass on…

1. Don’t ask the question ‘Can anybody recommend a buggy?’ on an online forum. You will receive approximately 74,000 replies, each telling you why their model is the absolute best. And after reading all 74,000 replies, you will feel like your head is going to explode. Instead, pick a mother of several children that you trust implicitly and ask her instead (she will probably have trialled at least 3 or 4 of them and have plenty of tales to tell). And failing that, simply walk into a large baby store, try a few, and pick the one that feels best. Just whatever you do, step away from the internet. It won’t help, I promise.

2. Stay in your pyjamas. Do this for the last bit of pregnancy – but even more so, for the first few months of your baby’s life. When your little person starts to crawl and then walk, you will find it very hard to stay within the confines of your living room for any length of time – and when that times comes, I guarantee that you will miss the pyjamas. And if they’re maternity pyjamas with big, wide, elasticated waistbands? Even better.

3. Don’t pack your hairdryer in your hospital bag. Greasy hair will be the least of your problems, believe me.

4. Dress your baby in onesies. Fashionable little outfits with several layers, shoulder poppers, and bows to tie might look adorable while you are pregnant – but in reality, they are going to stay in the drawer. Imagine getting a wriggling octopus dressed, while being totally paranoid about snapping all of his arms, while operating on about 2 hours (broken) sleep – and you can see what I’m getting at. It’s just not worth it. Stick to the onesies.

5. However sure you are that you have baby wipes in your bag before you leave the house, check again. And then again. It’s important.

6. Enjoy the cuddles. This one sounds a bit obvious, but when you have a newborn attached to you for 24 hours a day, you will start to fantasise about the day when you might be able to put them back down again. But believe me – in what seems like the blink of an eye, they will turn into a toddler that sits on your lap for approximately 4 seconds, before struggling to get down, stealing your phone in the process, and giving you glares from across the room as they work out how to video call their grandma.

7. Enlist help. You are an independent, feisty female, ready to take on the world. You can handle a baby! And I get it, because I was one of them once too, utterly determined to do it on my own (and then some). But the truth is that independent, feisty females still need sleep. And food. And wees and poos. And showers. And sometimes (shock, horror) a little time to themselves to stay sane. So if somebody tries to take that baby from your arms, whether it be husbands or boyfriends or grandparents or aunties or best friends or nannies, just let them. For a little bit, at least.

8. Take photographs. A little voice in your head will say ‘Am I taking too many photos of the baby? Maybe I should calm down a bit!” Ignore it. In fact, double your efforts. Those bow lips, and chubby wrists, and curled toes won’t last forever and you will treasure those photographs more than you ever imagine.

9. Slow down. Your newborn doesn’t need to learn sign language or be held in your arms as you dance around the room to piano concertos. There is plenty of time for that. For now, feel no guilt for sitting still and watching entire series back to back on Netflix.

10. You don’t need a nappy bin. Believe me. Once you remove it and bag it up, you aren’t going to want it anywhere near your house. Steal an extra wheely bin from a neighhour* and leave it just outside the back door so you can sling them out in your slippers (*just joking. kind of. actually quite a good idea).

 

Love from Louise x



4th February 2018

Six months in the UK – an update…

It’s Sunday evening and the kids are about to go to bed. My feet are in slippers, the central heating is cranked up, and a furry blanket is covering my knees. Outside, the temperature has plunged to 3’C and when I open the back door to throw a nappy in the bin, my breath smokes and dances in the air.

This isn’t where I expected to be in February. I expected to be in my dusty desert home in Dubai, enjoying after-school playdates to the park, planning weekend trips to the beach, and feeling smug about the perfect winter weather. After all, that is exactly where we have been for the last 7 Februarys. And being there at this time of year is the only real normality I have known as a mother. It was my ‘normal’.

But not anymore –  because after our last-minute decision at the end of summer to bring our return to the UK forward, we have now been here for six months. It’s the longest I’ve been away from Dubai since my husband moved there in 2009 – and sometimes, the place I used to call ‘home’ feels so far away and so distant that it feels like it was all just a dream.

I’m not going to lie, the first six months back in the UK were hard – but this was kind of our own fault for making the decision without any forward planning. I’m sure that we’d have found it all a lot easier if we’d shipped our things back to the UK when we first left in July and found a family home to move in as soon as it reached us. Instead, it took us a while to get our bums in gear, choose a shipping company, have my husband single-handedly pack up our villa in Dubai, and then find somewhere to live in the UK that was close to school and would fit all of our children into. It wasn’t easy, but we managed it – and in December, a truck pulled up to our new home in the countryside and our belongings (all those “things” I hadn’t seen since we left for Dubai Airport in the early hours of July 7th 2017) came tumbling out the back and into the place we would now call ‘home’.

Christmas and New Year arrived very quickly after that, making it feel a little bit like we were on holiday – but as soon as we returned home from skiing and settled into a routine with school and work, life started to feel normal again. Not the “normal” I was used to – but a “new normal”. And very quickly, it started to feel right that we were here.

In the darkest hours of the last six months, I thought we’d made a big mistake. So many times, I told my husband I wanted to go back. To turn back time. To re-register the kids at their school, to resume the play dates with the friends that felt like family, to be reunited with our nanny, our favourite weekend spots, our favourite malls, our favourite restaurants, and the life that I had loved so much. But since we settled into this new house in the UK countryside, I have realised that I wasn’t really missing many of those things at all – I was just missing having my life in order. I wasn’t missing Dubai – I was missing the feeling of normality, of security, of having my feet firmly planted on the ground.  The exception, of course, is my friends – but I’m no stranger to missing the people that I love. I’ve been doing that for the last 9 years and I can handle long distance relationships better than anyone.

And of course there will be days in the road ahead where I miss that old life with such intensity that it takes my breath away. Yesterday was one of those days. I pined so much for those friends, those old haunts, and the feeling of sunshine on my skin that it nearly brought tears to my eyes. But by bedtime, I was OK again. And I know I need to accept I’ll feel like that occasionally  – and that it’s OK to look back and say ‘Wow, I loved living there. I really did!”

There are so many things I am enjoying about being back in the UK. From the impromptu visits to grandparents to feed the children their tea, to ordering weekly Tesco deliveries to our door, to the weekends suddenly having this incredible possibility (“Shall we visit a 15th Century Castle today, kids? Why the hell not!”), to getting invites from my school friends to birthday parties and baby showers and being able to type back ‘YES!”, to holidays being about where we want to go now, rather than spending all our spare money on flying back to the UK.

For a long time, I didn’t think I’d be as happy as I was in the sunshine in Dubai – but I know now that I can be.

I will be.

I am.

As soon as we became expats, I knew I’d always love two places, two sets of people, two homes – but the easiest way to describe it is that finally it feels like we’ve got it the right way round.

The right way up.

And I am sure, finally, that we made the right decision back in late August.

I know we did.

It just feels right.

 



2nd February 2018

Mabel Tries: Annabel Karmel Chilled Toddler Meals and Finger Foods

Before I had children, I always thought I’d be the mum that prepared three meals a day from scratch. I’d only use fresh, organic ingredients (locally sourced, obvs) and I’d sit down in my floral pinny and watch them gobble up my creations with smiles on their little faces.

And then, I actually had children – and things weren’t quite what I’d imagined.

Meals were usually prepared with at least one child clinging to my legs shouting ‘MAMA MAMA MAMA!’ whilst the other two were having a full-blown fight in the living room over who gets to hold the TV remote. And when I finally managed to knock something edible up and dish up onto three plates, at least one of the would declare that they weren’t hungry – which then resulted in a stand-off that lasted up to an hour and often resulted in tears (usually mine).

So do you know what I did? I started relying on convenience food more and more. I just didn’t have the energy or time to do that 7 times a week. But as easy as feeding them fish fingers and pizzas a couple of times a week was, I always got an attack of the mum guilt that they weren’t getting enough nutrients and veggies in their little bodies.

So when the team at Annabel Karmel asked me if I’d like to try their range of Chilled Toddler Meals – with delicious sounding dishes like ‘Lovely Beef Lasagna’, ‘Mild Chicken Tikka and Rice’ and ‘Tasty Spaghetti and Meatballs’ – I jumped at the chance. Because not only can these individual meals be stored in the freezer and prepared in a matter of minutes, they also contain all the good stuff that I was worried they weren’t getting when I donned that floral pinny and chucked a pizza in the oven. Each meal contains up to 3 of their 5 a day, low in salt, with no artificial additives or preservatives – and most importantly, taste very, very yummy (and we can take Mabel’s word for that).

For the five days, we’ve been trialling a different meal every evening – and here is what was on the menu for Mabel…

Day 1 – Tomato & Mascarpone Pasta with Hidden Veggies

Day 2 – Mild Chicken Tikka and Rice

Day 3 – Mighty Meaty Bites

Day 4 – Lovely Beef Lasagna

Day 5 – Beef Cottage Pie with Five Veggies

Without exception, she gobbled up every single one. In fact, the curry was so popular that the boys got jealous and wanted a quick taste – and then Wilfred was so miffed that he didn’t have his own portion that I had to promise to buy him a meal the next day, which he didn’t forget! The meals are so easy to make, literally taking a few minutes from chilled or 5 minutes from frozen. And I love the Mighty Meaty Bites too, as they can be popped on an oven tray and either given as a warm meal for dinner or as party of a snacky tray for lunch or a snack. On that evening, there were enough for the boys to have it for dinner too – and one pack fed all three of them, with a few other bits on their tray like cheese, cucumber, and tomatoes.

How much do they cost?

Currently only £2.30 at Tesco per meal, which I think is such a bargain. You can buy them in bulk and store them in your freezer too, which means you always have a healthy meal to hand when you are rushed or just don’t have the energy to don that floral pinny.

Highly recommended by Mabel – and most importantly, by me!

You can find out more at the Annabel Karmel website here – https://www.annabelkarmel.com/products/chilled-toddler-meals/

Post sponsored by Annabel Karmel



25th January 2018

Currently Loving – January 2018

Anybody else still writing 2017 whenever they write the date and having to change it to 2018? Or is that just me? I’ll probably still be doing it next December. To be honest, I can’t believe that we’re nearly at the end of January already. The month is whizzing past and I nearly forgot to write this post, so distracted by our skiing holiday and preparations for Wilfred’s birthday next week. But thankfully I remembered in the nick of time – so without further ado, here is my first ‘Currently Loving’ post of 2018…

 

  1. Boden Shark Sweatshirt. The new season collection for kids at Boden hasn’t disappointed – and this time round, it’s the boys’ selection that has made me swoon. I love the shark prints in the collection, especially this fun sweatshirt, which starts at £22. Shop here.

 

  1. Matalan Lamp. I’ve fallen head over heels for this copper lamp from Matalan. I’d like one for each side of our bed and think it would transform the room. They are £60 each and you can shop here.

 

  1. T-RQ Biotin Hair, Skin and Nails. I used to be a beauty journalist and spent hours testing lotions and potions – and my skin, hair and nails thanked me for it. But three children later and my beauty regime has been abandoned. That’s it. So I’ve made a vow to look after my skin a bit better in 2018, starting with these chewable vitamins by T-RQ (available worldwide via the web shop). Biotin, which is derived from the Greek word meaning “life”, is an important B vitamin which promotes healthy hair, skin and nails. The blend also contains Vitamin C and E, making them a fabulous all-rounder. The chewable fruity pastilles taste great too. Shop here.

 

  1. The Crown Prints. I fell in love with the baby animal collection by The Crown Prints as soon as I lay eyes on them – and I couldn’t resist framing the bunny face and bunny bottom next to each other in Mabel’s new bedroom. She also has the little chick, which she enjoys quacking at every night before bed! You can either buy the file to download and print yourself – or the prints shipped to your door. I did the latter and the quality is great. Shop here.

 

  1. Senspa Relaxing Shower Gel. Whilst shopping for some bubble bath for the kids in the supermarket last week, I decided it was time for a treat for myself. And this lovely shower gel has been turning my morning shower into a luxury spa experience ever since. Of course I’m exaggerating a little, but the smell really does transport me to the luxury spas I loved visiting in Dubai. So gorgeous. It’s £5.95 and you can shop here.

 

  1. The Tattooist of Auchwitz by Heather Morris. I haven’t started reading this book yet, but it’s on my bedside table and I can’t wait to get stuck in. It comes very highly recommended – and I keep hearing glowing reviews wherever I look. Shop here.

 

  1. ‘I AM MORE THAN BEAUTIFUL’ Print by ThisLakshmi. Mabel was lucky enough to be gifted a very similar print to this for Christmas last year, by the very talented artist ThisLakshmi. Her print reads ‘You are more than beautiful’, which isn’t currently available on the site – but I thought the subtle difference was actually very lovely. And it’s available as an A5 card for just £4, which is a total bargain. Shop here.

 

  1. Clarks Kendra Shoes at FOOTWAY.co.uk. I recently spotted these navy suede shoes by Clarks online at the online footwear store FOOTWAY.co.uk – and I fell in love instantly. Not only are they the perfect heel for an evening out (I’m imagining wearing them with a dress and tights – but skinny jeans and a blazer would look equally good), but the website slashes the price of the RRP too, meaning I saved money too at £63 (from £79). Shop here.

 

  1. La Redoute Pink Duffel Coat. Mabel just keeps growing and we’re onto her third coat of the winter (lesson learnt for next year – buy big and she’ll grow into it!) And this is the coat I am hoping will see us through until spring. It’s so beautifully made for the very affordable price tag of £14 (from £35)

 

  1. Next Dinosaur Pyjamas. My boys have so many pyjamas that I’m struggling to shut that door in their room – but there is something so, so gorgeous about this set of three dinosaur-print pyjamas from Next (brand new in – and I don’t think it’ll be long before they have totally sold out). They cost from £22 and you can shop here.

PS – If you need a helping hand with finances this month, check out this site!

 

Written in collaboration with TR-Q and FOOTWAY.co.uk

Contains affiliate links   

 

 



22nd January 2018

5 Tips For Taking Kids On Ski Holidays!

  1. Go for catered accommodation

I’m usually all about self-catering on holidays with kids, but going with a company that provides meals is such a godsend when you are skiing. Not only are you using up way more energy than the average holiday (not just on the slopes, but in getting three kids into a million layers and then marching them through snow, then entertaining them in the afternoon too) so you are way too exhausted to feed yourself and the kids – but it also saves fitting supermarket trips into the schedule and working out how you’ll trudge there with the kids in the snow. We chose the holiday company Morealps, which meant we had breakfast prepared every morning, a freshly cooked cake mid-afternoon, the kid’s dinner at 5pm, and a 3-course dinner (with the option of cheese too, which we never managed) for the adults at 8pm. It worked really well – and meant that even though the days were tiring, the evenings really did feel like a holiday. You can check out details of Morealps here – http://morealps.com/

  1. Choose a great ski school

If you are planning to hit the slopes (or indeed the spa), you are going to need some childcare for a portion of the day. And whilst you are in the mountains, it makes perfect sense for your little people to hit those slopes too. My boys had never even seen snow before, let alone skied, so I did my research – and settled on ESF (Ecole Du Ski Francais), who looked after our boys perfectly all morning. I was amazed to see them skiing down slopes within a few hours on skis – and the very-friendly welcome as the boys arrived every morning eased any nerves. Visit the La Rosiere site here – www.ski-school-larosiere.co.uk/

3. Pack thermals

It seems obvious to pack warm clothes when you head to the snow, but it isn’t just the thick skiing jackets and trousers that are important. In fact, I quickly came to realise that long-sleeve thermal tops and trousers to be worn underneath were just as crucial to keeping little people warm – and having dressed them in these base layers, my Dubai-born children never shiverred. The brand Engelbert Strauss is worth checking out for this as their thermals are very high quality and affordable. I recommend this top and these trousers.

  1. Pack favourite snacks

A friend gave me the top tip to take away a selection of the childrens’ favourite snacks so you can zip one into the pocket of their ski jacket for hungry moments on the slopes. The ski school hadn’t told me to do this, so I was very relieved when we turned up and the instructor asked if they had snacks to ward off hunger pains. It is expected – and it is necessary when they are burning up so much energy on the slopes. And if you have a fussy eater (and I have one of them), packing what you know they’ll eat from home is a good idea.

  1. Take along ‘quiet time’ entertainment

When my boys finished skiing every day, it was fair to say that they were absolutely exhausted. Completely dead on their feet, dragging their heels and whining. They desperately needed a bit of time to chill – and so I’m very glad that I packed a selection of activity books, colouring books, DVD’s and their iPads. We usually spent between midday and 3pm together in the chalet letting them recharge batteries before we went out again around 3pm – and it would’ve been hard without ways to keep them still!



5th January 2018

Mabel tests: Baby Dove

In sponsorship with Baby Dove

I’m going to start this review by saying that Mabel has sensitive skin. She has eczema on her face and the start of it on her tummy – and whilst it’s very mild, I’ve noticed that certain products flare it up. I have to use very gentle bath and body products – and I have to make sure that her skin is moisturised after every bath or she starts scratching.

Having said that, I like to use products on her skin that feel lovely and smell lovely – because you want that for your baby, don’t you? I usually turn to natural products that contain soothing ingredients like oatmeal, alongside moisturising ingredients like shea butter or almond oil.

So when I read that the Baby Dove ranges are ‘as gentle as water, hypoallergenic and pH-neutral”, I agreed to give it a go with Mabel. Available in Rich Moisture or Sensitive Moisture (fragrance-free), the formulas are also tested by an ophthalmologist, dermatologist and paediatrician, which all sounded very promising. We tried the Rich Moisture Head to Toe Body Wash, the Rich Moisture Nappy Cream, and the Nourishing Baby Lotion. I used the first when she was in the bath (on her hair too) – and the second two on her body and bum afterwards.

So what did we think?

Rich Moisture Head to Toe Body Wash.

This was lovely. Creamy in texture, with a clean but very gentle scent. I loved the plunge dispenser, which makes it really easy to use when you have three kids and only two arms (and at least two of them are trying to drench me). I used it on Mabel’s skin and hair. It was easy to rinse off her skin and out of her hair – and it didn’t feel drying. I will definitely continue to use it.

Rich Moisture LotionI wasn’t so keen on the smell of this one – it was a little too neutral, almost lacking in something. But I did like the way it absorbed quickly into Mabel’s skin and left it feeling very soft. No irritation either, even with her sensitivity.

Rich Moisture Nappy CreamThis was my favourite of the lot. I have used the same nappy rash cream since I’ve become a mother from one of the leading brands and had never considered swapping, but this cream is actually better. It’s easier to get from the tube, spreads easier, and stays put (rather than disappearing into her skin two seconds after I apply it). No scent whatsoever, which is the way I like it for that product, and a little goes a very long way. 

For more details about the range, visit  www.dove.com/uk/baby.html 



3rd December 2017

The one question I’ve been asked every day since I left Dubai is this: ‘Do you miss it?’

The one question I’ve been asked every day since I left Dubai is this: ‘Do you miss it?’

And it’s been so hard to articulate an answer before now, because everything was too new and too raw. But I finally feel ready to answer so here goes…

Yes, I miss Dubai.

Now in the depths of winter, I have nearly forgotten what it’s like to feel warmth on my skin. I miss sliding my feet in my flip-flops day in, day out. I miss the dresses that were my daily uniform. I miss the smell of sun cream as I slather it on our skin. I miss the swimwear that we climbed into so often, we decided to buy a storage box and keep it downstairs. I miss seeing the boy’s little pot bellies in swim shorts. I miss seeing the happiness on their faces as they dive in the pool. I miss the sand, and the shells, and the gentle roar of waves hitting the shore.

But that’s not all. I miss my friends. I miss the routines we made together, chatting over mugs of coffee in kitchens, and plates of eggs benedict in cafes after the school run. I miss seeing our children play together like cousins – and sometimes when I realise I haven’t seen those friends and their children for nearly half a year, it floors me. How is it possible we just stepped out of their lives?

I miss places that I never thought I’d miss. The shiny malls that were like mazes, but became as familiar as high streets back home. Even the supermarkets that fleeced me with £7 cauliflowers. The hotel pools we went to at the weekend, where we repeated to the children like robots ‘do you realise how lucky you are?’ The sandy school car park, where I wasn’t ‘the new mum’ and was met with smiles as soon as I strolled inside the gates. The kid’s play areas that I always hated, but now seem part of the very fabric of being a mum. The coffee shops where arriving with my laptop prompted calls of ‘welcome back!’ as I strolled inside.

And I miss just being a family. Being us. With our routines, our home, our belongings, and our little family unit. I haven’t sat on my own sofa, slept in my own bed, or even showered in my own shower for over 5 months now – and that seems so ridiculous and so impossible that sometimes I’m surprised at times that I ever managed to carry on.

I don’t miss all these things all the time, but they come into my mind every now and again. On cold mornings, on lonely afternoons, on days when nobody talked to me on the school run, in moments when something we used to do as a family pops into my mind. These things weave in and out of my mind, sometimes taking longer to disappear again than others, taking their turn to break my heart or make me wonder if we did the right thing.

But bar the odd moment, I am growing more and more confident by the day that we have made the right decision to settle back in the UK. It’s mainly to do with the children and how they have settled – something that was always in the back of my mind as an expat mum, knowing that one day I’d have to uproot them. One day I’d have to break their hearts too.

But it’s somehow more than that too. A few days ago a friend asked that very question ‘Do you miss Dubai?’ and I replied without thinking: ‘Yes, but it feels like we’ve got it the right way round now. It just feels right.’

And it does.

Because ever since that day back in 2009 when I first flew into the desert, I have known that my heart belongs to two places. One sandy, one muddy. One warm, one cold. One old, one new. And the mere act of arriving and settling in that place has meant my heart will be forever split in two.

But this way round feels right. It feels like the natural order has been restored and I never have to worry again whether we’re in the right place. It feels final. It feels like it’s the way it’s meant to be.

And that’s a relief, because until now I was relying entirely on the smiles on my children’s faces to reassure myself that we’ve done the right thing. And those smiles have been everything, when my toes are numb cold, or I’m missing the sound of my friend’s voice as I stroll into her kitchen, or it suddenly occurs to me that it’s been months since I heard the sound of the sea, or the call of prayer, or the splash as the children run and jump into a pool.

Those smiles have been everything.

And now – just occasionally, just often enough – I glance in the mirror and see mine too.



22nd November 2017

Currently Loving – November 2017

Another month – and another ‘Currently Loving’ collage! And I’ve really enjoyed putting this one together, because there’s lots of things I am really coveting for myself and my own little people. It really is the very best time of the year – and I’ve been in online retail heaven picking my selection! Happy shopping!

1. Fable Heart Crown. I’ve been coveting this sequin crown for my three kiddies since I saw it on my friend Coral’s Instagram feed. It’s so beautifully crafted – and would look amazing sat on a shelf until they were ready to play. £27 at Not on the Highstreet – shop here.

2. Boden Reindeer Booties. I bought these reindeer booties (or very similar ones) from Boden last year for baby Mabel (just three months old then – squeal) and they are bringing back all kinds of memories. I’m tempted to treat her to them again as slippers… Too cute. £18 at Boden. Shop here.

3. La Redoute Watermelon Rug. I’ve just bought this watermelon rug for Mabel’s new nursery (it’s only taken 14 months to get her into her own room, but we’ve had a few obstacles in our way!) It’s going to add a splash of colour, plus bring back memories of weaning her on chunks of fresh watermelon in Dubai. Happy memories. £20 at La Redoute. Shop here.

4. La Redoute Velour Dunagrees. And while we’re on the subject of La Redoute, which I’ve just rediscovered after about a 10-year hiatus, I have also fallen in love with these pink velour dungarees for Mabel. So chic. £21 at La Redoute. Shop here.

5. Oliver Bonas Storage Suitcases. How gorgeous are these storage suitcases by Boden, which have just hit stores? They come in a range of sizes, each with a pastel trim. I am definitely coveting a set for my new house when we move in a few weeks. From £45 at Oliver Bonas. Shop here.

6. Wolf & Badger Origami Necklace. A few people have asked me recently what is on my personal Christmas list – and this Swan Origami Necklace is top of the list. It’s got a long chain, with a choice of gold, rose gold, or silver finishes. You can choose from a range of different animals – from dinosaurs, to rabbits, to elephants – but I love the simplicity of the classic swan. £120 at Wolf & Badger. Shop here.

7. Joy The Store Salt & Pepper Shakers. These cactus salt and pepper shakers are also on my Christmas list and will look fab in the middle of the dining table. £9 at Joy the Store. Shop here.

8. Parrots Don’t Live in the City Book. My boys are loving reading this story every evening at the moment – and with the most beautiful rhyming prose and stunning illustrations, I’m really enjoying reading it to them. If you are looking to add a book or two to a stocking or Christmas present, I highly recommend it. £7.99 at Amazon. Shop here.

9. Aayami Grandparents Photo Book. I’ve ordered lots of photo books from this company in the past and always been so impressed with the quality and service. I can’t wait to see the Grandparents Books I’ve ordered as presents for this year. I love the fact you can send over photos and get the team to design the book to save time too. From £27 at Ayaami. Shop here.

10. TR-Q Multivitamins. Since I’ve been telling you about these vitamins, which will shortly be available in pharmacies across Dubai, I’ve been asked about whether they really do taste as good as Ive described… And they really do. In fact, it’s kind of hard to remember you are taking a vitamin.  They contain nine essential vitamins and minerals, all of which are 100% of the Recommended Daily Value. And they are allergen free too, free of wheat (gluten), milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, artificial flavors, animal derivatives and preservatives. For more information, click here.

 

Written in collaboration with TR-Q

Contains affiliate links



30th October 2017

Currently Loving – October 2017

This month nearly escaped me, but I’ve just found time to pull together the things I’m been coveting, trying, and buying this month (I’m blaming half term – it’s impossible to even have a wee in peace, let alone find the time for work!)

As you can see, my picks are getting a bit glitzy and festive – and that’s not surprising given this is the first autumn I’ve been in the UK for 5 years. It already feels festive and it’s still October, so please consider this a warning for how Christmassy my blog is going to get over the next few months! Sorry (not sorry)….

  1. Glitter Slippers, Boden

I now live in the UK and my feet are cold – step forward, slippers. And top of my wish list are these glittery numbers from Boden. From £22, click here to shop.

  1. Penguin Fairisle Jumper, Marks & Spencer.

I’ve spotted so many gorgeous Christmas jumpers for kids in the shops already this year – but this Fairisle penguin number by M&S is top of my list for Mabel. £10, click here to shop.

  1. Rose gold bag, H&M

I bought this rose gold shopper from H&M in Dubai before I flew back for the summer – and I’ve used it nearly every day since. I love it so much that I’m already worried about the day it starts looking a bit tired (it’s not real leather sadly, hence the affordable price tag!), so I hopped over to the UK website to see if I could buy a replacement. I was delighted to discover it’s just been added to the online aisles for £19.99, click here to shop.

  1. FujiFilm Instax Mini, John Lewis

The instant camera has been on my wish list for a while – and now it comes in Rose Gold (exclusively at John Lewis), I obviously have to have it. It’s £94.95 and comes complete with 10 shots of film, click here to shop.

  1. SAVE THE CHILDREN Christmas Jumpers, The FMLY Store

There are so many stunning designs in this year’s Save The Children Christmas collection by The FMLY Store that I had trouble picking my favourite, but I think it’s this MERRY design by Karen Elson that gets the top spot for me. Each jumper costs £50 (with 50% going straight to Save The Children) and you can pre-register to buy them here.

  1. Multi Vitamins, T-RQ (UAE)

Last month, I gave you a bit of an overview about these adult gummy vitamins by T-RQ – and this month, I wanted to go into more detail about why I especially love the Multivitamins. In fact, they are the only gummy multivitamin in the world that contain nine essential vitamins and minerals, all of which are 100% of the recommended daily value. I love them because I hate swallowing vitamins with water and they are so easy to chew (and taste great too), but also because they are made from only natural flavours and colours, with a plant-based formula, and no allergens, artificial flavours, or preservatives. You’ll soon be able to get your hands on bottles at most pharmacies across Dubai. Click here for more information

  1. Wire Letter, Oliver Bonas

Gorgeous wire letters to sit on a shelf in rose gold? Well of course I want one for every member of my family – especially when they are only £12 each! Click here to shop.

  1. Billy Bee Sugarplums and Honey by Paris Brosnan

The author Paris Brosnan sent my boys this delightful story – and I have so enjoyed reading it to them before bed. Highly recommended for your little people or for gifts. The paperback version is £7.99. Click here to shop.

  1. First Christmas Bauble, Not on the Highstreet

How gorgeous is this ‘First Christmas’ bauble from Not on the Highstreet? And if it isn’t your baby’s first Christmas, you can just pop their name on the bauble instead! Just £14.99 each, click here to shop.

  1. Yo Neighbor App (UAE)

I’m a big fan of this very clever app, which has just launched in the UAE. If you need something briefly (such as DIY tools, camping equipment, or baby equipment – and everything in between), you can search for those items based on the area you live and see daily / hourly charges for items available to hire nearby. It’s a great way to connect with your neighbours, save money, and live a little more sustainably. I’m seriously impressed. Download on iTunes here. Download on Google Play here.

  1. Initial T-Shirts, Mina and the Moon

I couldn’t resist ordering my three these long-sleeved T-Shirts with their initials in gold. They come in a choice of different styles and colours (also sweatshirts for a bit more warmth in winter) – and they start at just £14 each, click here to shop.

 

Written in collaboration with T-RQ and Yo Neighbor

This blog post contains affiliate links