Tag Archives: Balance Bike

31st March 2015

Family Update: Beach, Brunch, and Bicycles

Both my parents and my sister have been in Dubai at various points in the last few weeks, so we have been very busy. This weekend was especially nice as their trips overlapped, meaning we were all together for a couple of days. On Friday morning, we started the day at the beach.

photo 1

It’s getting hot now and I know our beach mornings will come to an end soon, so we are making the most of them by heading down at least a couple of times a week. We used to always head to Palace Beach in the car; a relatively quiet beach, with great views of Burj al Arab and Palm Jumeriah. But since THE BEACH complex, opposite JBR, has been completed, we head down there. It’s a 5-minute walk from our apartment and has great facilities; toilets, showers, sun lounger and umbrella rental, and an endless choice of places to pick up coffee and pastries so we can have a beach breakfast.

Both my boys adore the beach. Wilfred especially has no fear and crawls boldly into the sea without even flinching when the cold waves lap his tummy. We have to keep a careful eye on them, but I find the whole experience much more relaxing than going to the pool where I am constantly worried about them slipping and falling in. They’ve already started to play with each other too, building and knocking down sandcastles, filling up holes with water, and using the spades to draw on the sand – and I can see this will only get better as they grow up.

After showering off the sand, I headed off to Friday Brunch with my parents and sister at Mina al Salam, The Madinat. This is my very favourite brunch in Dubai.

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For those of you that haven’t been to a brunch in Dubai, these are pretty grand affairs. Everyone gets dressed up and it’s treated like a special occasion. There is food from every cuisine imaginable, as far as the eye can see – and Mina al Salam spreads over three hotel restaurants, so it’s one of the biggest in Dubai. You have four hours to devour everything from sushi, to lobster, to shell fish, to cold meats and salads, to full-on roasts, to whole restaurants dedicated to Chinese, another dedicated to Mexican, stalls outside serving burgers and fish & chips, Arabic cuisine, a whole room dedicated to cheese, and a desert selection that will finish you off. Whether you fancy a glass or bubbles, cocktails, or want to stick to soft drinks, you won’t go thirsty either.

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We had a great table overlooking Burj al Arab – and as The World Cup horse race was the next day, there were obviously a lot of pretty important people in town and helicopters landed on the helipad every five minutes throughout our brunch. I also love the fact that Mina al Salam has a turtle sanctuary, so I spent some time watching these amazing creatures swimming between courses. It was a really lovely afternoon and definitely reaffirmed my love for this city (maybe that had something to do with the kids being at home with their Dad so I got a much-needed break for a few hours). Either way, I really recommend this brunch. I’ve tried a lot across the city and this is still my favourite.

The next day, my parents went down to Abu Dhabi for a beach barbecue (a belated Mother’s Day treat), so we had a quiet day at home – and that meant it was the perfect opportunity to surprise Stanley with his early birthday present – a balance bike.

photo 4

The surprise went down well and he spent the first 5 minutes cycling around our apartment with a massive smile on his face – but after a few near misses with a crawling baby (convinced at the age of 14 months that he should also get a go on the balance bike), we decided to head down to the promenade underneath our apartment. He found it very difficult and nearly gave up a few times, but with the help of his Dad, his confidence grew and he was soon pushing along himself. He needs a lot more practice, but I think he’ll get the hang of it soon.

We are off to the UK on Friday, so my next family update will be from home shores. Wish me luck on the flight – my husband is staying at home, so my sister and I will be juggling the two boys for 7.5 hours and the jetlag repercussions will be totally down to me. I already predict I will be relying quite heavily on my friend caffeine next week, so expect many coffee-relalated updates and perhaps some incoherent babbling…



2nd February 2015

Currently Loving… February

Wow, February already. And I have to admit that I am quite pleased about that – as although January has got easier to handle now we can soak up the sunshine in Dubai and have a birthday to celebrate to cheer up the month, I have never really liked the month. The decorations come down and the apartment looks bare, we miss family and friends overseas after such a happy month of celebrations, and it’s still months away from our summer in the UK. And this year, we have been so sick too, making it a bit of a miserable month. So hello February – I am happy to see you.

So without further ado, here’s what we’ve been loving in the Mum of Boys house this month…

CURRENTLY LOVING FEB

1 – THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

Stanley received this book for Christmas from his Auntie and Uncle. I had a quick flick through on Christmas Day and thought it was very clever – and a few days ago, I rediscovered it on the shelf and Granny (who is currently visiting) read it to him. It was an instant success – and by instant, I mean he was howling with laughter from a couple of pages in. He likes it so much that he is asking for it constantly to be read and has even taken it into nursery for the day. The idea is that the person reading the book has to say exactly what the words say – and with some very silly words in there, that is freaking hilarious to a toddler. Stanley is nearly three and I think that’s probably the youngest that would understand the concept – and I think children would probably find it pretty funny up to 7 or 8.

Buy it: £9.09 from Amazon.co.uk (UK)

2 – BALANCE BIKE

We have pretty much decided that Stanley’s third birthday present at the beginning of April will be a Balance Bike. He’s had a Mini Micro Scooter with a little seat for over a year now – and despite taking the seat off several times so he can scoot along standing up, he’s never enjoyed it as much as sitting down and pushing along with his feet before cruising. So we’ve come to the conclusion that he will be into bicycles more than scooters – and the Balance Bike seems like the perfect first step.

Buy it: £64.99 at John Lewis (UK); 599AED at SandyPants.com (Dubai)

3 – LE PETIT PALAIS (Dubai)

You can see pictures of our visit to the charming kids’ play area Le Petit Palais here in my post about Wilfred’s first birthday. We had a lovely time and will definitely be back soon – so it is great to hear that they are offering a deal for cheap play sessions for Dhs80 for two hours throughout early February. Offer valid 10am-noon, weekdays only, Feb 1-12.

More details: www.lepetitpalaisdubai.com

4 – SAND-FREE RUG

We live five minutes walk from the beach, so you can imagine we spend quite a bit of time on it with two active little boys to entertain every weekend. But the thing that really bugs me? When those active little boys run/crawl over the towels and cover them in sand – time and time again. So when I read about a company called Cgear that made sand-free rugs, my ears pricked up. These uber-clever things were developed by the US military for landing their helicopters in the desert. The fabric is filled with tiny holes that allow the sand to fall through (one quick wipe of your hand across the surface and the sand is gone) but don’t allow the sand to come back up again. I asked for one for Christmas and we just gave it its first outing – let me tell you, it’s a game changer. All families in Dubai should have one – and all families everywhere for their next holiday (or if you happen to live by the beach in the UK, of course).

Buy it: From £34.99 from Amazon.co.uk (UK) Shop and ship this if you live in the UAE – it’s worth it!

5 – NUTRIBULLET

I have wanted a Nutribullet forever – and surprisingly, they are a lot more affordable in Dubai than the UK (this happens, ummm like never, so it’s nice to finally have the cheap deal over here!) The very kind people at Mumzworld, where it is on sale for just Dhs399, sent me one a few weeks ago and we have gone a bit smoothie and juice crazy ever since. I have never seen or tried a blender as powerful as this one – you can drop in fruit and vegetables, complete with skin, and it will blend them up in seconds. The idea is that by including every part of them, including the cores, stalks, and sometimes pips, you are getting the very best goodness. So it’s a big health boost – and great for making the kids healthy smoothies too.

Buy it:  £99.95 at John Lewis (UK); Dhs399 at Mumzworld (Dubai)

6 – KENZIBOX (Dubai)

Dubai Mums, I really recommend signing up for KenziBox; a monthly subscription service of a box packed with activities to enjoy with your kids. I’m the kind of mum that has the very best intentions every day to get crafty with Stanley in the afternoons (Wilfred is still a bit too young and prefers crawling around eating anything he can get his hands on) but when it comes down to it, I just don’t have the time to prepare anything exciting. That’s where KenziBox comes in, giving you a box full of ready-prepared activities in individual bags to pull out whenever you have a spare moment. We have been getting crafty with our January box, which is all about gardens – perfect if you live in an apartment and want to bring the outside inside for your children. I’m mucho impressed and cant wait to see what is in store next month too.

Subscribe: www.kenzibox.com

7 – BRAUN THERMOSCAN 7

If there was one big theme to January for my family, it was sickness. We just couldn’t get over the bugs, with one of us falling after the other like bowling skittles. I have never needed a thermometer more in my life – so the arrival of the Braun Thermoscan 7 digital in-ear thermometer to test was absolutely perfect timing. This clever gadget allows you to set the age of the person with the fever (0-3 months, 3-36 months, or 36 months to adult), with a simple colour coded display to tell you whether the temperature is normal (green), elevated (yellow), or high (red). It takes seconds, which makes it a godsend with a baby that hates having anything put in his ear too. It’s one of those things that every Mum and Dad should have to hand.

Buy it: £34.99 at Boots (UK); Dhs299 at all leading pharmacies, hypermarkets, supermarkets (Dubai)

8 – EARLY LEARNING CENTRE ACTIVITY TABLE

If you are looking for a gift idea for a one-year-old, you can’t go wrong with this brilliant activity table. We have one in the UK that I bought at a second-hand toy warehouse – and Wilfred loved it so much at Christmas that I decided to buy one for him for Dubai (as that is where we are most the time, after all). He was given it on his birthday last Thursday and hasn’t stopped playing ever since. Even if he lost interest right now, the past five days would have been worth the money given the hours he has put in! He goes nowhere without the balls in his hands and has already learnt how to push the buttons and make the balls roll. It comes highly recommended.

Buy it: £45 at Early Learning Centre (UK) and Dhs395 at Early Learning Centre across the UAE (Dubai)

 



26th July 2014

Favourite birthday presents

Need to buy a present for a boy and no idea what appeals to their age? Looking for inspiration for your own boy for their birthday? I’ve fallen into both categories in the past few months, so I thought it would be helpful to ask 11 boys, aged between 1 and 10 years, for the three gifts that they loved most at their last birthday. I find the selections quite fascinating – isn’t it amazing how quickly our little boys grow up from babies to nearly-teenagers?

So without further ado, here’s what our boys (and their mummies) chose…

1 - OLIVER + GEORGE

collage twins

Oliver and George chose: Little Tikes Tool Box,  Wooden Push and Pull Along Butterfly, and Veleda Kids Cleaning Trolley

2 - STANLEY

collage Stanley

Stanley chose: Wooden Fruit and Vegetables Set, IKEA Kitchen, and Digger Truck

3 - Leo

collage Leo

Leo chose: Balance Bike, My First Peppa Pig Laptop, and Wooden Kitchen Utencils Set

4 - Isaac

collage Isaac

Isaac chose: ELC Police Costume, Remote Control James Bond Car, and Grow Your Own Butterflies Kit

5 - Reuben

collage Reuben

Reuben chose: Galt Paper Planes Kits, Playmobile Knights Castle, and the Usbourne ‘Look Inside’ series

6 - Ruben

collage Ruben

Ruben chose: LEGO City Boat, Nuts & Bolts Game, and Walt Disney Dinosaur DVD

7 - Matthew

collage Matt

Matt chose: Bike, Big Book of Drawing, Doodling, and Colouring for Boys (plus felt tip pens), and Skylanders Swap Force

8 - Mekhi

collage Mekhi

Mekhi chose: The Beano Album, Chess Set, and Iron Man Figurines

9 - Joe

collage Joe

Joe chose: iPod Touch, Watford Football Strip and Premiership Football Tickets

10 - Thomas

Tom collage

Thomas chose: iPad Mini, Lynx Toiletries, and Subscription to Football Magazine