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Stranger danger. That was the phrase growing up that we were taught (and it rhymed, so that helps). But I’ve felt uncomfortable with the concept of telling my kids that all strangers are ‘bad’ people who can’t be trusted. The majority aren’t.
Over the weekend, a man approached Phoebe in a hotel lobby and tried to get her attention by doing a magic trick. He then asked her for a kiss, and I stood, horrified, as she moved towards him. I took her hand and told her that we only kissed family and friends, and laughed it off, while feeling slightly sick. 


A friend had told me recently about the term ‘tricky people’ and it really resonated with me. That we all have an instinct about someone, and that they give us a feeling, good or bad. Since then, I’m trying to explain to my three-year-old that a tricky person might be someone we know, or someone we meet, who makes us uncomfortable or gives us a ‘thumbs down’ feeling. It’s hard to explain.

We need to teach our kids what’s okay and what’s not, and what to do when safety rules are broken. 


Pattie Fitzgerald from Safely Ever After, recommends these guidelines: 


• I am the boss of my body!
• I know my name, address and phone number and my parents’ names too (don’t forget: kids need to know their parents’ mobile phone numbers)
• Safe grownups don’t ask kids for help (they go to other grown ups if they need assistance)
• I never go anywhere or take anything from someone I don’t know
• I must “check first” with my safe-smarts grown-up for permission before I go anywhere, change my plans, or get into a car even if it’s with someone I know. If I can’t check first, then the answer is NO!
• Everybody’s bathing suit areas are private
• I don’t have to be polite if someone makes me feel scared or uncomfortable. It’s okay to say no even to a grown-up if I have to
• I don’t keep secrets especially if they make me feel scared or uneasy (no adult should tell a child to keep a secret)
• If I ever get lost in a public place, I can freeze and yell or go to a mum with kids and ask for help
• I will always pay attention to my special inner voice, especially if I get an “uh-oh” feeling.
How do you explain this to your kids?

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I was conflicted about having a party for Phoebe’s third birthday – the hassle of invites, food, party bags, entertainment, chit-chat with other parents, the (very real) threat of a tantrum as a result of too much cake and attention. In honesty, I very nearly didn’t bother.

But she’s friends with a lovely bunch of kids who had all invited her to fab parties, from lovely at-home affairs to treating everyone to big bashes, and she started asking about her own birthday. Could she have a cake? Would all her friends come? Could Barney the Dinosaur be there?

Barney has long been used as a source of bribery in our house, with promises of taking Phoebe to see him at Mattel Play Town when she sleeps through the night, to telling her that he’s friends with Lucy our dog, so she has to be kind to her (thankfully in one of is songs the name ‘Lucy’ is mentioned, so it seems a bit more legitimate).

Whenever Phoebe sees him, her face lights up, the songs are on a maddening loop in our cars, and we have a LOT of photos of her hugging him – one of which she frequently falls asleep holding.

So when The B Word was uttered, I knew where we’d be going for her birthday: Mattel Play Town. It’s a fab place for kids, and we’ve spent many a happy hour there, enjoying the shows, exploring the soft play, dancing with Angelina, stacking bricks with Bob the Builder and watching the Thomas the Tank Engine cinema show, complete with bubbles.

The staff are fab, it’s on The Entertainer, the food is good, and there’s parking right downstairs. And there are family toilets so dads can do their bit when it comes to changing nappies and the false poop alarm for the umpteenth time.

We hadn’t been to a party there before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was FANTASTIC – and everything Phoebe had dreamt of for her celebrations.

THE VENUE

We took over Barney’s playhouse on the second floor from 10.30am, so the kids could run and climb and play for an hour. They especially loved the interactive lights on the floor, the kitchen area and the slide, while there were sofas (and coffee) for the parents, who could join for free.

There was a huge balloon arch at the entrance, a dining area for the children complete with Barney placemats, a table for presents, and special decorated area for the cake.

THE ENTERTAINMENT

The staff were brilliant at getting the little ones dancing and playing games (adults were also roped in), then Barney and his friends, BJ and Baby Bop joined. Phoebe’s face was a picture! They joined in the dancing, posed for photos and were next to the family while we cut the cake.

THE FOOD

Mattel Play Town prides itself on serving healthy, homemade food, and had sent out a menu ahead of time for us to choose from. Options included pasta with tomato sauce, breaded chicken strips with potato wedges, and sandwiches. Phoebe chose the pizza, and it was a big hit, and we provided a cake and cupcakes (from Spinneys).

THE BONUS

After the party in Barney’s playhouse, everyone was free to stay at Mattel Play Town to have more fun, so we stayed until everyone was well and truly partied out. I think I did 18,000 steps that day….!

THE EXTRAS

I loved that when we arrived there was a photo of Phoebe on the screens above the desk, and it made her feel really special. Personalised e-vites were also sent to me ahead of time, so I could send them out via email or WhatsApp, which saved a headache. They can also provide party bags, face painting and vouchers for the kids.

THE VERDICT

We’re so glad that we had this party for Phoebe. She talks about it ALL THE TIME, and loves looking at the photos. Prices start from AED115 per child, and the birthday boy or girl goes free, plus parents/guardians are included. I just wish I could get the songs out of my head…

For more information, visit dxbvenues.com

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It might just be another Wednesday to you, but your lady might have other ideas on February 14th.  Here’s one for the men in your life to read…

Don’t – forget

Let’s warm up with an easy one. Pick up your phone, go to the calendar, select February 14th and set an alarm. Even better, set one on the 7th to remind you to book something, buy something or ideally both.

Do – figure out her expectations

Spoiler alert: all women want to be ‘the cool one’. We’ll breezily say that these dates don’t matter, label others psychos when they make demands, and generally pretend that we’re down with nothing happening on this, the most allegedly romantic of days. This is a lie. And a trap.

Don’t – buy cheap flowers

They might all look the same to you, but women can literally sniff out a sad bunch of AED18 flowers at 50 paces. Check out new business Florette.ae for seriously stylish bouquets that can be ordered via Instagram, and don’t feel pressured into buying overpriced red roses – they might not be her thing anyway, so find out her favourites in advance. Peonies are a safe bet if you’re stuck.

Do – send them to her office

You know how we’re not ACTUALLY cool about getting nothing on Valentine’s Day? Bear that in mind when you plan to give your lady flowers in the evening – and she has spent all day watching her colleagues getting elaborate floral arrangements delivered to their office, then lovingly gazing at them all day, while her desk is conspicuously empty…

Do – act early

Breakfast in bed just isn’t feasible on a working day – and is pretty impractical at the best of times – but set the tone by bringing her coffee, opening cards before you head to work or sticking a love note to the bathroom mirror. And let her know if there are plans for later. We’re not that cool about surprises either, especially if you’ve been joking about not doing anything for ‘a fake day’ or have given her reason for doubt in the past.

Don’t – just sign your name

Another spoiler alert: women are sentimental, and most have a stash of all the Valentine’s cards we’ve ever received somewhere. We want to look back on them with fondness, and writing her name then your name underneath does not cut the mustard, unfortunately. We’re not asking for poetry (though a quote borrowed from someone wouldn’t hurt), but a couple of lines about her, your relationship or the future goes a long way. And if you can’t find a Valentine’s card that doesn’t make your stomach turn, buy a blank one and write your own message. Just choose one with an appropriate image on the front (yes, I’m referring to the now infamous elephant card I received last year).

Do – stay away from romcoms

You might think you’ll win points by offering to watch a romantic movie. Don’t do it. All you’ll end up doing is comparing your relationship (which is understandably lacklustre because it’s not fictional and you’re not Ryan Gosling) to the one on the big screen. Step away from The Notebook.

Don’t – go out for a Valentine’s menu

Heart-shaped desserts and restaurants full of couples trying to out-romance each other, while spending over the odds for the privilege? No thanks. If you’d like to do dinner, cook at home (wear something nice) or go to a firm favourite. Save the ‘special’ destination dining for birthdays.

Don’t – pick up your phone

Please, put your phone out of sight, on silent (even better – off) and ignore work. She’ll really appreciate it. And, of course, ask she does the same. Social media is a cruel mistress and we all rationally know this. But a filtered, posed photo with a saccharine caption might just be enough to make your date think that everyone is having a better time than her.

Do – get creative with your date spot

It doesn’t have to be traditionally romantic. Make some memories with a movie under the stars (try Vox at the Galleria Mall in Jumeirah or invest in a projector), go bowling, try crazy golf at Wafi, have a row at Hint Hunt…

Don’t – propose

Just. Don’t.

Don’t – let Valentine’s Day define your relationship

Things go wrong, you misread signals, bookings go awry, you buy a card with an elephant on it. You’ll get over it. She’ll get over it. If you’re in a happy relationship you’ll laugh, because at the end of the day, it’s just another day. And I almost mean that.

This article first appeared in the February issue of Men’s Health Middle East.

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Aside from the nausea, breakouts and bloating, the biggest complaint I hear from pregnant women is the sleeplessness. Surely this should kick in AFTER the baby is born?! But no, for many of us – myself included – uncomfortable nights become one of the most upsetting parts of pregnancy. After a long day of growing a baby, all we want is a solid night of zzzs, but our bumps and backs have a different idea.

A body pillow helped alleviate the pressure, at first, but by four months I had full blown fantasies about sleeping on my stomach without worrying or pain. How I had taken it for granted before…

And I was hurting, having regular appointments with my physiotherapist to undo the work of my cheap mattress.

But halfway through my pregnancy I was asked to try out a new product…

I didn’t want to write a review of the Bedding Bliss mattress at the time because I was a) delirious with happiness that a mattress existed for pregnant women SO WE COULD SAFELY SLEEP ON THEIR FRONT and b) I wanted to give it time, to see if it held up over a year or more. And it has.

So how does it work? Our bed is now effectively now two singles mattresses, with mine called the Sleeping Hollow Mommy Mattress (AED6,300). It has – as the name suggests – a hollowed out area halfway down, where your bump can comfortably nestle, allowing you to sleep on your side or stomach without cause for concern.

The whole mattress is spring-free, and firm, allowing for great spine support, with core wrapped in three different densities of Viscose Elastic, and each layer a specific composition to give a comfortable and luxurious feel, no matter which way you lie on it. It also relieves pressure on veins and your uterus, and promotes circulation.

Both mattresses (the Sleeping Hollow and the classic Inspiration model) support the upper and lower back, helping to prevent pain and sciatica, as well as assisting body temperature control – crucial when your body can’t decide what’s going on, and you have those weird hot flashes in the first few weeks after giving birth.

Bedding Bliss was developed by Patricia McGettigan, a mother of SEVEN, who suffered through endless nights of pain and discomfort during her pregnancies, and was determined to find a solution for other women.

Over 16 years, she researched maternity mattress technology and devised the Sleeping Hollow to offer mamas-to-be the support they needed, regardless of the sleeping position.

It is also endorsed by Dr Roberta Cirillo, a doctor in Physical Education, who recommends it to her patients (both pregnant and otherwise), and the staff at The National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, which is Europe’s largest maternity hospital.

After pregnancy you just pop in the removable insert to convert it to the Inspiration mattress, which my husband has.

In short – and I don’t mean to be over-dramatic here – it was an absolute game-changer during my pregnancy, and I went from sleepless nights to being well-rested literally overnight.

It might be more expensive than our old mattress, but it’s absolutely brilliant, and while it can’t stop the sleepless nights that are inevitable once the baby arrives, at least you’ll be able to get a good rest when you are in bed.

We’ve had it for over a year now – long enough to give it a fair review and two thumbs up! It’s like sleeping in a hotel bed, which is basically my dream, and highest praise.

As the saying goes, if you’re not in your shoes, you’re in your bed, and I personally can’t wait to crawl into mine every night.

The Sleeping Hollow Mommy Mattress (with insert): AED6,300, 

The Inspiration Mattress: AED6,300

The base alone: AED1,840

 

The Hybrid

Both the Inspiration Mattress, the Sleeping Hollow Mommy Mattress (with insert) and both bases: AED12,600

 

Free delivery in Dubai.

 

Available exclusively in Dubai from JustKidding.  

 

Thank you to Bedding Bliss for the mattress for review purposes.

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The highlight of every bookworm’s calendar is only seven weeks away! The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (or ‘lit fest’ as everyone calls it) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and is bringing together authors, illustrators, agents and avid readers for 10 days of top-class events. Think workshops, meet and greets, talks and more. With some BIG names.

Held from 1st to 10th March, the lit fest is taking place at the InterContinental Hotel in Festival City, and the schedule is packed (you can check out the full line-up online here).

Don’t know where to start, or what to book? David Walliams might be sold out, but there’s still lots to get your little book worms excited.

Here’s my best of the fest…

Who? Dame Jacqueline Wilson

When? Friday 2 March, 10am-11am 

One of the biggest names in children’s literature (who doesn’t love Tracy Beaker?) is returning to the festival with her new book, Wave Me Goodbye. It tells the moving story of 10-year-old Shirley, an evacuee in the Second World War who is sent to live in a strange old house with the mysterious Mrs Waverley….

Best for: ages 9+

PLUS:

The lucky first 200 ticket buyers will have a chance to meet Jacqueline for a special book signing and photo.

Tickets priced at AED50, or AED45 for Festival Friends. Book here.

Who? Jon Klassen

When? Friday 2 March, 10am-11am 

I don’t want to use the word ‘hipster’, but it’s hard to describe Klassen’s super stylish picture books, which are part intrigue and entertainment, and part art, without thinking about all things cool.

The author-illustrator of cult books I Want My Hat Back and We Found A Hat, he’ll be joining from the US via live video link, sharing insights into his new book Triangle (about a sneaky shape), and an irreverent look at why eating by a wolf could be a good thing. Intrigued? You should be – he’s one of the most exciting writers around.

Best for: ages 4+

Who? Katy Hudson

When? Saturday March 3, 12pm to 1pm

I’m so excited to be hosting this session with children’s author and illustrator Katy Hudson. Her sweet, whimsical drawings remind me of a Beatrix Potter, and her book Too Many Carrots is a real favourite. At this event Katy will be taking the audience through how she creates these gorgeous images, and reading from her award-winning books.

Best for: ages 4+

Who? Judith Kerr

When? Saturday March 3, 4pm to 5pm

It’s hard to believe that the classic The Tiger Who Came To Tea is 50 years old! Judith Kerr will be joining the lit fest via live video link, reading her famed story and sharing tales of Mog, then afterwards there will be fun activities for your little ones – and maybe even an appearance by a certain stripy someone…

Best for: ages 4+

Who? Rachel Hamilton

When? Thursday March 8, 4.30pm to 5.30pm

One of the UAE’s greatest writing talents, Rachel Hamilton weaves stories of everything from exploding toilets to adventurous unicorns. In this session she’ll be reading some of her favourites, and sharing inspiration for any aspiring young writers.

Best for: ages 6+

Who? Tony Ross

When? Saturday March 10, 12pm to 1pm

I owe Tony Ross a LOT. His Little Princess book ‘I Want My Potty’ seemed to convince Phoebe that potty training was actually a good idea. Legend. He’s also the illustrator of the Horrid Henry series, as well as many of David Walliams’ biggest stories, and during this Saturday session he’ll be drawing live on stage, and giving you a glimpse of his brand new book.

Best for: ages 4+

Who? Korky Paul

When? Saturday 10 March, 2pm-3pm 

Want to see magic right in front of you? Children’s writer and illustrator Korky Paul will be in Dubai to read from his crazy stories, drawing pictures and even doing live competitions. We’ve also heard a whisper that Winnie the Witch might even join him on stage…

Best for: ages 5+.

You can check out the full digital programme here: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/fullscreen/59688339/dubailitfest-digital-programme-2018) and book online here: https://www.emirateslitfest.com

The post 7 to see: my family-friendly picks of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature appeared first on .

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Confession time: I mock my husband A LOT for his planning. He’s the king of Excel, with our holidays, family meet-ups and more, all plotted out in colour-coded glory.

But guess what? It works. So that shuts me up.

Last year he created a huge (A0) wall planner for our kitchen, and it helped a huge amount for coordinating daily life. I shared the link for it, and have had a few people asking for an update (you can imagine his delight) – so it’s back for 2018!

Here’s a free basic wall chart for you to download and take to the printer (complete with UAE weekends blocked out):

2018 WALLPLANNER MOTHERSHIP

To download, just right click in the new browser bar, then ‘Save As’ (or if you’re on a Mac select ‘File’ then ‘Save As’) and it will be saved to your Desktop, then emailed or put on USB to take to the printers (we used DESCO and had it put on foam board).

It looks like this, and can be printed up to A0 size.

Hope it helps – and Happy New Year! x

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Dear Santa,

Here’s the dilemma, big man, I can’t talk yet, so my parents are having to guess what I’d like to find under the tree. Also, I have an older sister and they seem to have bought her ALL the stuff. They’re uninspired, I can tell. I saw the lady them looking at a stuffed camel the other day with genuine consideration.

So I thought it best to outline in a letter what I actually want this year. And it’s pretty straightforward. I’ve been dropping hints for months, through the medium of grabbing, crawling and crying.

  1. A phone

Specifically, I want to eat that phone that the one called Mum is always holding/talking into/making me smile at. I’ve tasted its wonders a couple of times when she wasn’t looking and I WANT MORE.

  1. Those things you stick in the car

Keys? They’re delicious too. Especially that black one with the buttons. Gimme.

  1. The TV buttons

The lady gives me these when she doesn’t want me licking her phone, and they’re pretty good. Chewy.

  1. Plugs glorious plugs

I learnt to crawl to drag my tiny body across foam matting in order to touch the plugs. But the big people watch my progress, and see my delight when I finally touch the power source, only to cruelling move me away. What’s the worst that can happen?

  1. Voucher for an experience

How about unrestricted access to the dogs’ water bowl? It’s fun, it’s free, and so refreshing. Or five minutes of peace and quiet to rearrange the bookshelf? Or some quality time pulling my sister’s hair?

Thanks Santa. I’m just an uncomplicated baby. I don’t need toys, just household item with a hint of danger.

See you on Christmas Eve – we have big plans to stay awake all night (no changes there).

Tabitha x

The post What I want for Christmas, by Tabitha, age nearly 10 months appeared first on .

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I was one of those parents who would never give my baby a dummy. This was before I had children, of course.

But by week two of my first daughter’s life I was off to the pharmacy, willing to try anything that would stop the mewling, stretch out her feeding and give my nipples a break. Pacifier, indeed.

And so began our love affair.

In order for Phoebe to sleep, when all else failed, we needed three things: the car, the Woman’s Hour podcast, and a dummy. And so I’d drive, up and down, cursing traffic lights and speed bumps until she dropped off.

Upon leaving the house I would double, triple check that I had one about my person, or in the changing bag. If I went somewhere and realised we were dummy-less, I’d panic. Cold sweat. Eyes scanning the horizon for the nearest Avent salesman. Disaster.

The only thing worse than leaving home without one? The dull sound of plastic on plastic, as one fell from her hand onto the floor of the car, JUST out of reach, no matter how Cirque du Soleil I got with my contorting.

Of course she had favourites. And woke up in the night asking for specific models. Tantrums over not wanting the purple one. Throwing dummies to the floor when having a ‘moment’ (I’ve just had a flashback to me lying on the pavement outside her nursery, trying to fish one out from under a neighbouring car, failing, and having to sit listening to screams while we waited for the driver to return).

The pleading, the bribery (my husband would rattle a dummy to get Phoebe’s attention), the judgement from other parents (and my mother), hating how it looked in photos, hating how much we all relied upon this plastic arsenal that we kept in the cupboard, worrying about her teeth, wishing we’d whipped it away at a few months before she could articulate what she wanted.

Dummmeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! More sobs, more pleading, more giving in.

Enough was enough.

I think we established a long time ago that I’m not a parenting expert. Far from it. So I asked readers of this lovely blog what worked for them, and had a go.

There were many suggestions, from swapping dummies for presents on Christmas Eve (is it just me, or does a wailing child sound like torture on Christmas Day?) and going cold turkey with no explanation (brutal), to weaning off gradually by limiting to bedtime (Phoebe would whine too much for it at other times, I feared) and distracting your toddler when they’d usually want their dummy (I would run out of stickers by lunchtime).

The one that made the most sense for us was The Dummy Fairy – a magical creature who swaps your child’s dummies for a present or ten.

So here’s what we did…

  1. LOTS of casual chat about older friends being big girls and boys, so not having a dummy.
  1. Telling her a few days in advance about how The Dummy Fairy chooses big, kind girls and boys to give their dummies to new babies who need them, and asking what present she would like from her as a thank you.
  1. Tracking down all/any Peppa Pig items from across Dubai. I won’t lie – they’re a rip-off here, so I bought a Peppa Pig playhouse that definitely isn’t licensed merchandise because the pigs are a suspiciously bright shade of pink, and there are two Peppas and no George. Plus stickers and bath bombs for good measure.
  1. Deciding on a whim to do it that night in case she found said fake swine-related counterfeit goods.
  1. We located all the dummies in the house (or so I thought…) and snipped the ends off them (very pleasing). Then showed Phoebe and told her that they’re broken, and explaining that The Dummy Fairy will fix them for the babies.
  1. The dummies were put into a magic cup (eg one with a rainbow on it) and put at the bottom of a tree in our garden. I pointed at the stars and told her The Dummy Fairy was coming, and that we had to run inside and count to ten.
  1. My husband was hiding around the corner with the presents, and swapped them for the dummies (which were swiftly binned).
  1. Delight and confusion all round. She wanted to see The Dummy Fairy, so we waved goodbye to a star then played with Peppa’s (dodgy) playhouse for a while.

The next bit…

As expected, after using dummies (the word ‘dummies’ is losing all meaning to me now) as a sleep aid and cue for two-and-a-half years, Phoebe took aaaaaaages to settle that night. She wasn’t crying for one, but seemed weirdly excited. She eventually got to sleep around 9pm.

The next morning, I made a really big deal about her new presents, and how lucky she was, and told her nursery teacher about what we had done, so she could reiterate the story.

Then… not a lot. I was expecting Phoebe to beg for a dummy the next night, but she didn’t.

Turns out I was more terrified about giving them up than she was.

It’s been about a month now, and there have been a few sleepy requests for one, which I laugh off with a ‘Silly! The Dummy Fairy came and gave them to the babies! You got a Peppa house to say thank you, you lucky thing!’ etc, and that seems to be her appeased.

I have, of course, found two dummies around the house since The Great Snipping Session of 2017 – one under a sofa that I quickly binned, and Phoebe discovered one in a kitchen drawer. Immediately it went in her mouth, and it looked so strange. I asked her if it felt funny, and made a face, and she agreed before happily handing it over.

She has put her thumb in her mouth a couple of times (her baby sister is a thumbsucker – as am I when I’m knackered!), usually when she’s in a new situation or feeling shy, but it’s fleeting, and I don’t think it will become a habit.

There was one MEGA meltdown when she was overtired and saw her friend’s dummy. Ballistic is an understatement. But I do feel like it was a one-off, and later told Phoebe that her friend is younger and hasn’t been ‘chosen’ by The Dummy Fairy yet.

The lies, the lies…!

I feel I need to further explain just how addicted Phoebe was. She was mad for it. Needed a fix at all hours. And in the quest for peace and quiet she got it. Anything to avoid the whinging, wailing and wheedling. She’d be tearful and angry when refused. It was changing her for the worse, and had to go.

I feared I’d become like an ex-smoker in the way that they’re suddenly repulsed and noisily judgemental about their beloved habit as soon as it’s beaten, but I don’t care if other kids have them. I’m grateful that our nine-month-old daughter isn’t interested, but purely because it means I don’t need to worry about forgetting one when we go out, or having to go through this palaver again.

Does it affect their teeth and language skills? Many dentists advise against them after the age of one, but who knows. It’s hard to say, when you don’t have a direct comparison point for your child.

Is there a right time to bin them? I’d say when they’re causing more problems than they’re solving.

But I will say that if you’re scared of going through this – I was too – then you might just be pleasantly surprised…

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As holiday season approaches, many of us are left scratching our heads, panic buying and over-spending on presents that don’t hit the mark.

My husband and I have a long-standing tradition of buying each other prints for special occasions (though we also have a bad habit of taking them to the framers and forgetting about them for months, but let’s not dwell…) and it’s so special to have them on display throughout our home.

I discovered Yislamoo a few years ago, and fell hard for their greetings cards, which are super cute, and often feature Arabic phrases. Recently, the range has expanded, and there’s a world of prints to suit everyone in the family. Some have the option of being personalised, for a custom touch that’s ideal for a new baby or special anniversary. And Yislamoo can even frame your pick, or have it put on canvas, within a matter of days.

From superheroes and nursery-friendly designs to Arabian influences and typography, there’s a print for even the hardest person to buy for.

Here are my highlights…

Souvenirs with style

Finding presents for visitors, or when friends leave the UAE, can be a challenge – especially if you’re looking for something stylish. Yislamoo’s mugs, tote bags, cards and prints, with Arabic phrases, iconic items and distinctive designs, are a chic (or funny) reminder of their time here.

Gift cards 

Unsure of someone’s style? Yislamoo now offers gift cards, so they can pick their perfect print. Click here to order, and get inspiration with the dedicated gift guide.

Made to order

Every print is made for you, and takes 3 to 5 business days. Shipping is free in the UAE, and worldwide delivery is available. Numerous designs can be customised, too, so you can personalise your print to mark the arrival of a baby to the family or make someone’s day with a special design just for them.

Framing available

Yislamoo also offers expert framing so your gift will be complete, or opt for the design to be put on canvas so it’s ready to hang on the wall.

Here’s my pick of the virtual shelves…

Christmas cards

Everyone I know complains about the quality (or lack of quality!) of greetings cards in the UAE, but these fantastic designs have a little bit of Arabian magic, whether it’s Santa and his camels, or a snowman wearing a keffiyeh scarf. Love love love.

Mr & Mrs

A fab wedding or anniversary present, you can have beautiful flowers every day when this is on your wall (men, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to buy flowers anymore…).

Yalla Do It

Available in colour or black and white, get motivated with this twist on the well-known phrase. Perfect for your home office – or above the shoe rack where you keep your trainers!

The Bedouin

A modern take on the traditional Bedouin, I adore the colours on this pop-art print.

Personalised Milk Only!

Got milk? This print can be personalised in Arabic or English, in red or blue, with your baby’s name and birthdate.

Arabian Side of the Moon

One for the music lover in your life, this riff on Pink Floyd’s iconic album can be framed or put on canvas too.

Supername!

Tell someone just how super they are with this bright print. Their name is added to create their superhero persona – great for little girls and boys, or grownups who need to be reminded that they can take on the world.

Vimto

After nearly 11 years in Dubai I STILL don’t get the obsession with Vimto! But anyone who has lived here will understand that it’s a classic come Ramadan. Celebrate it with this pop art print – it’s a tongue-in-cheek housewarming or leaving gift that will make anyone smile.

So this year stay away from the boring scented candles or packs of socks and instead give the gift of art – it will be a joy for years to come.

Visit https://yislamoo.com for more. Happy holidays!

Need to know

To guarantee delivery for Christmas, the last day to place orders for wall art (posters, frames, canvas) is December 17th, or December 21st for all other items.

The post FOUND! The ultimate UAE gifts from Yislamoo appeared first on .

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Every little girl and boy is living their own adventure – from learning new words and making friends to exploring nature and navigating the ways of the world, each day is exciting.

So what if they could be the star of their very own story? Imagine their excitement when they see their name on the pages of a real book, and even find their photo inside.

That’s exactly what happens when you order a book from Story For Me. Founded by Zeeshahn and Sharavati, two Dubai mums who were looking for special presents for their own little ones, this new online store is very special indeed.

Offering personalised stories for children, you can now find the perfect gift for your little bookworm. Simply pick the book you think they will like best (there are options covering everything from sportsmanship and careers to the alphabet and their birthday), and send over some information such as your child’s name, who you want the book to be from – this will be included on the cover – and a description of them or a photo for some stories, and the team will do the rest, with your custom book arriving within 14 days.

Shipping is available across the GCC, and what arrives is a hardback book that you can enjoy for years to come, complete with their name, image and a message from the sender.

Family from home can order online at http://www.storyforme.me for birthday or Christmas presents delivered across the UAE, or they can even opt for a gift certificate so your child can choose the story they like best.

This will be a book that they feel connected to, and is truly ‘theirs’.

If your child is into taking pictures or scrapbooking, the Photo Book (AED100) will provide hours of entertainment, with pages where they can stick in photos, write memories, do drawings and fill in details about their life. It’s the ultimate keepsake. They even come with stickers for even more of a personal touch. And guaranteed to keep them busy!

I’m a passionate believer in the joys of reading together, and there’s nothing better than having your bath-fresh sprog curled up on your lap as you turn the pages of a favourite story.

Phoebe was absolutely delighted to see her face looking back at her from the book, and loved finding her name, proudly telling her granny on the phone that we were reading HER story. My only concern is how many times she wants to read it!

Make your child a star of their own story this holiday season – order online at www.storyforme.me.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR FOLLOWERS OF THE MOTHERSHIP!!!! For 10% off your order, simply enter the code MOTHER10 at the checkout. This discount is available until December 31, making it perfect for your Christmas shopping x

The post Must-have custom children’s books by Story For Me   appeared first on .

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