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From time to time
I open the book
And turn the page
Backwards
See her standing there
Look at her big eyes
Big dreams
Strong will
Great hopes
Never still
Ready for
Whatever will come
Confident
Hungry
And smart
She’s staring at me
I know what she thinks
But I am happy
I say
And look to the right
So that she cannot see
My big eyes
Big dreams
Strong will
Great hopes
Never still…

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A few weeks ago and nearly two years after giving birth to Maëva, I have been diagnosed with Diastasis Recti (otherwise known as abdominal separation or ‘split abs’). I also have an umbilical hernia.

Abdominal separation occurs principally in pregnant or postpartum women and is defined as a distance of 2.7cm or more between the left and the right abdominal muscle. It’s a quite common condition. While the umbilical hernia (intestine or other tissues bulging through a weak spot around the belly button) is a bit less common.

From what I read, Diastasis Recti should lessen within the first few months after childbirth. If not, the condition can lead to back pain. Constipation. Bloating. And more. Umbilical hernias can be painful and usually require surgery (for adults). In my case, the hernia is small. And there is no need for an immediate surgical treatment. In some cases, however, abdominal hernias can be dangerous.

Anyway. I am not a doctor. And I don’t want to say too much about things I don’t fully understand. What I do understand is that, since nearly two years, I am suffering from intestinal problems and back pain. And that these issues might be linked to my abdominal separation. At least to some extent. So, I want to raise awareness.

A few weeks ago, I decided to get in touch with Emma from Bactive.me?. Emma is a personal trainer and specialised in pre and post natal exercises. She was recommended to me and kindly agreed to help me talk about the topic.

Together with Ally and Hannah, Women’s Health Physios at Optimal Therapy, we came up with the idea to organise a free coffee morning for those who want to learn more about Diastasis Recti, or ‘split abs’.

Emma, Ally and Hannah will share some information about Diastasis Recti and show you several exercises that can help improve the condition.

If you want to join us, please fill in the registration form below.

The info morning will be free of charge but places will be limited. So please RSVP to secure your space.

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We are looking forward to seeing you on the 10th!

Emma White, Founder of Bactive

Emma said goodbye to the corporate world after the birth of her second daughter to spend more time with her children. She has always been passionate about fitness so becoming a personal trainer was the obvious next career move.

Emma, like most women, experienced the frustrations of getting back into shape after child birth, so she decided to focus her training and education on Pre and Post natal exercise. Emma then expanded her qualifications to encompass people with specific medical conditions and injuries. This allows Emma to work with a wide variety of people, something on which she thrives.

Her past experience in corporate HR and Sales, along with her advanced training enables her to motivate her clients to lead healthier lives. Motivation, fun and variety are the key elements to working with Emma. She has a Level 3 Gym Instructor & Nutrition certification and is qualified in a range of areas such as:

  • Pre and Post natal workouts and exercise
  • Exercise referral for specific medical conditions such as Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Asthma, Back pain, Recovery after surgery, Diabetes, and Obesity (if you have a specific condition please contact us for further advice)
  • Boxercise
  • Pilates – using the STOTT technique
  • Group Exercise (indoors and outdoors)
  • One -2- one sessions (indoors and outdoors)
Alexandra Collishaw, Physiotherapist at Optimal Therapy

Alexandra qualified in 1998 from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom (UK). She worked within the National Health Service for 5 years and then served as a Military Physiotherapist in the British Army for 7 years. During her time with the British Military Alexandra worked all around the world providing treatment and rehabilitation in sometimes challenging environments. Alexandra has worked in Dubai since 2011.

Alexandra has a special interest in both Sports Injuries and Rehabilitation and Womens Health. She has completed a post graduated diploma in Sports Physiotherapy at Bath University in the UK. She has previously been the Physiotherapist for the Great Britain (GB) Long Course Triathlon Team, the British Army Rugby and Cricket teams and has treated numerous GB athletes at the ‘Team Bath’ Sports Injuries Clinic in the UK. Alexandra has provided physiotherapy care for Disabled Military athletes competing in the Safaricom Marathon in Kenya as part of the Military ‘BattleBack’ project.

Alexandra is continuously developing professionally completing courses and conferences throughout the year to continually maintain an up to date knowledge base. Alexandra has two small children but in her spare time is a keen runner and has completed the London Marathon and several triathlons.

Hannah Bennett, Physiotherapist at Optimal Therapy

Hannah is a UK Chartered physiotherapist who qualified with a B.Sc. Physiotherapy from Manchester University in 2002.  Following 2 years in the National HealthService she joined the British Army and served as a physiotherapist for 10 years in Her Majesties Armed Forces providing physiotherapy in challenging environments around the world.  Whilst serving Hannah completed a Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Medicine at Cardiff Metropolitan University in the UK.

She has significant experience in the management and rehabilitation of sports and trauma related injuries and gait dysfunctions.

Hannah also has additional training in spinal manual therapy, acupuncture, pre and post natal rehabilitation and clinical Pilates.  Whilst in the British army, whilst based in Cyprus, Hannah brought Clinical Pilates to the skeptical male population developing a high level conditioning program with her rehab team which was designed for Search and Rescue helicopter crew to reduce common injuries.

Hannah is qualified in the field of Women’s Health and is experienced in treating conditions such pelvic floor weakness, Diastasis Recti and back and pelvic pain. She predominantly works with ladies who want to return to exercise or participate in competitive sport post pregnancy.  Hannah achieved her qualification through the Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy group. A UK based Professional Network affiliated to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

While her two small children keep her busy, she is in her spare time a keen skier, swimmer and runner. She has completed the London and Limassol Marathons as well as several triathlons.

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In my first ‘Fun for kids in Dubai‘ post, I decided to focus on affordable activities you can do with the little ones in Dubai. This time, I will also share with you some ‘special treats‘. Maybe slightly less affordable. But absolutely worth it.

Hope you enjoy xx

THEJAMJAR

Probably my son’s favourite place in Dubai. thejamjar is a community arts space in Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. We go there pretty often. They do have classes for adults and kids 5y+ but also a DIY studio where adults and kids of all ages can paint on canvas and experiment with colours. Get creative.

The acrylic paint provided by the studio is non-toxic. Access to the DIY studio is absolutely free. The only thing you pay is the canvas (click here to see the rates; we usually take two medium sized canvas at aed 130).

Give them a call before you go to make sure they have no classes running at the same time.

By the way, I know several mums who organised a birthday party for their little ones at thejamjar and it was a big success! I am not 100% sure about the conditions (food will need to be brought from outside I guess) but it’s such a unique party idea, especially during the hot summer months!

Address:
Unit H74, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai

Opening hours:
Mon – Thurs & Sat 10 am – 7 pm
Friday 2 pm – 8 pm
Sunday – Closed

Phone: +971 4 341 7303
Email: info@thejamjardubai.com

Website: www.thejamjardubai.com
Facebook: @thejamjardubai
Instagram: @thejamjardubai

LA PERLE BY DRAGONE
La Perle By Dragone - Dubai's #1 Show - YouTube

“Looks amazing. But not sure if I would take the kids…”, I can hear you say. Well. We took our little ones (3 and nearly 2) to La Perle’s Saturday afternoon show. And it was the best experience ever.

Let me be honest with you. I was a bit hesitant to take my youngest. I didn’t know if she would sit still for over one hour. But both of our kids were mesmerised by the water and light games. They hardly even moved while the artists were performing!

One thing you might want to consider if you go with small babies is that the music can be a bit loud. Our kids were totally fine but for smaller babies it might be good to take ear plugs.

Going to La Perle show with the whole family is obviously not something you do every day. Also price-wise… Having said that they now do have a special offer for families (for more info, you can have a look at the ‘Offers & Packages’ section on their website).

Address:
Al Habtoor City, Dubai adjacent to the W Hotel

Shows:
Performances run from Tuesday to Friday at 7:00pm and 9:30pm, and Saturday at 4pm and 7pm.

Phone: 800 LA PERLE or +971 4 437 0001

Website: www.laperle.com
Family offer: https://laperle.com/en/tickets/offers-packages/
Facebook: @LaPerleByDragone
Instagram: @laperledxb

PRIVILEE

In the first year after moving to Dubai, we haven’t been to the beach very often… The kids were still very small. And I found public beaches not always very practical. There was of course the possibility to go to one of the stunning hotels here in Dubai and pay for a day pass to access their private beaches. But this was expensive…

Then, a few months ago, my husband and I got a Privilee membership. And the situation changed completely.

Privilee gives its members access to a vast selection – now over 25 if I’m not wrong – of luxury resorts and beach clubs in the UAE (mainly in Dubai but also in Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Fujeirah). For AED 529 per month (yearly payment), you can access their partner hotels’ private beaches, pools, and gyms as often as you like. Kids (depending on the hotel this means kids up to 15y!)  are free of charge. In some hotels, the same is true for nannies.

You also get great spa deals and exclusive discounts (up to 30%) in many restaurants and bars. Some hotels even give free access to their kids’ clubs and tennis courts.

Considering that some hotels ask for over AED 300 for one day beach access only, getting a Privilee pass is definitely worth it.

Our favourite hotels for a family day at the beach day are Sofitel The Palm, The Westin Mina Seyahi and St. Regis Saadiyat Island, AD. But there are many other hotels where we haven’t been yet and that we still want to discover.

Privilee is a pretty amazing concept and has definitely changed the way we spend our weekends.

Let me know if you have any questions cause there is not so much info out there (it still seems to be a bit of an insider tip ;)).

Website and sign-up: www.privilee.ae
Email: info@privilee.ae
Phone: 04 554 7820
Instagram: @privilee_uae
Facebook: /privilee

Disclaimer:
I’ve worked with thejamjar, La Perle and Privilee on several occasions. None of them has however asked me to write a blog post about them. The decision to include them in this post and to recommend them here is my own.

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Tonight, I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of being your mum.

I don’t always feel this responsibility. But tonight I can see it. And I see it crystal clear.

Tonight, I cried in front of you. I wish I could say that this never happens to me. That I am a strong mum. A happy mum. A smiling mum. All of the time. I wish I could say that this never happens to me. But it does. Life comes with its challenges. And it’s hard to hide your feelings from the people you love the most.

So tonight, I cried in front of you. You looked at me. At first, you seemed confused. But then you wrapped your little arm around me. And held me tight. “Don’t cry, mummy”, you said. “Don’t cry.” I nearly forgot that you are not even two…

At this moment, I was so incredibly proud of you. Proud of the beautiful little person you have already become. But I also realised how small, how vulnerable I was. How imperfect. And full of scars. Scars that tell many stories. Of a time when I was just like you. Stories of a time that you never really leave behind…

Tonight, I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of being your mum.

You’re like a sponge. Your little eyes follow me everywhere. Register everything that I do, everything that I say. I am your hero. Your reference. To you, I am the world. In a way.

You’re an empty book. A blank page. And, very often, I am the one who is drawing on it. At least for now… What if I fill your pages with doubts. With fears. And even with pain? What if I don’t always succeed in drawing a rainbow. What if there are storms. What if there is rain in the pictures I draw sometimes?

Tonight, I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of being your mum. Cause I know that my smiles, my tears, my doubts and my fears

are leaving footprints in the sand…

.

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Recently, quite a few people asked me about my ‘life before I became a mum’. And one of the questions I am asked a lot is how I met my husband.

I warn you. This is not a ‘awww-so-sweet-it-was-love-at-first-sight-story’. When I met Fabio – at work – a bit over 12 years ago, I had just been cheated on. And I had just ended the relationship with what I thought back then was the man of my life. A new relationship was very honestly the last thing on my mind. I had serious doubts if I would ever be able to trust anybody again.

When we met, we were just colleagues. Then colleagues who drink coffee together. Then some kind of friends. The reason why I even accepted to spend time with him was because there, for once, was no dramatic love story in sight. While all of my previous relationships had been very Hollywood-like, like a glass of rich red wine that got diluted, lost their aroma over time, the relationship with Fabio started as a refreshing glass of water. That slowly turned into wine. Never too strong to give you a headache. But full of subtle aroma notes. That you discover one after the other.

Fabio is what might be the only constant in a life full of variables. Our relationship is the home for our children. That don’t consider any country to be “home”.

I don’t write a lot about love. Cause, until today, I find it hard to put it into words. While we are taught that love has to be about big emotions. About ups and downs. Big smiles. And butterflies. I more and more think that love is about hard work. About reevaluating every day where you stand. Both of you. And about walking into the same direction. Supporting each other. Lifting each other up. While following your own dream. Building your own life.

I find it hard to put in words what love is. But if I had to draw a picture it would probably be the basement of a house. On which our children can build. A place where they can always return to. That gives them stability. Security. Warmth when they are feeling cold.

I didn’t actually say much about how we met. But maybe it doesn’t really matter. It wasn’t that spectacular after all. What is spectacular might be the fact that we are still together today. In a time when everything is thrown away and replaced as soon as it shows minor defects. We are still standing.

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This post is basically a compilation of activities we did with the little ones (aged 3.5 and nearly 2) during the past few weeks. Most of them are free or pretty affordable. And the kids thoroughly enjoyed them. So, I thought it might be a nice idea to put them up on the blog and share them with you (planning to do this from time to time now).

I will mainly share the pictures of our days out (as I think they say more than 1000 words). Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (tani@ourbigdubaiadventure.com).

Enjoy!

KITE BEACH & XPARK JR.

Quite often, we take the kids to Kite Beach for a nice morning walk. The little ones love to run around. Take the scooter for extra fun.

We usually stop at Park House for a yummy breakfast.

Recently, XPark Jr., a natural playscape / adventure park, has opened. It is located behind the X Skate park at Kite Beach and for kids aged 1 to 12.

It’s a lovely little place for kids complete with a petting zoo (closed when there are too many people; I recommend to go early in the morning ;-)), wooden forts, climbing ropes, tree houses, waterfalls, fountains and streams, as well as a sand play area and little planting garden. They even organise arts and crafts workshops but I’d give them a call to check on the timings.

It’s very green overall and so lovely to be outside in the nature.

Address:
35A Mizmelah Street, Kite Beach – Dubai

Opening hours:
8am-6pm, Sunday to Wednesday
8am-8pm, Thursday to Saturday

Entry priced at 45 Dhs per child and one adult for two hours of free-play.  Additional hours of play are 25 Dhs per hour and children under 1 year of age enter free of charge.

D3 & RAS AL KHOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

I am a huge fan of D3 (Dubai Design District). It’s like a big play area for the kids. If you go, ask Security to show you the recently opened park “The Block“. It’s lovely for the kids! There are climbing walls, a skate park, basket and volley ball court and more…

If you plan to go for breakfast, 1Life is a lovely place.

Very close to D3 is the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary where you can see flamingos in the middle of Dubai. Definitely worth going with the kids (even though you will probably not stay for hours). And it’s free!

Make sure you look for the flamingo hide 2 if you want to see the birds really close.

DUBAI FRAME

From time to time, we also like to play tourists in our own city. So, a few days ago, we went to Dubai Frame.

Definitely an activity to do with the little ones. The views over old and new Dubai are breathtaking and, at aed 50 for adults and aed 20 for kids aged 3 to 16 (under 3s are free), it is rather reasonable priced.

There is also a nice exhibition on Emirati culture you will walk through before getting into the lift. And a glass floor at the top that goes clear when you step on it (I was super scared, my kids loved it).

One to add to your Dubai bucket list for sure!

NB: Strollers are not allowed. So, make sure you take a baby carrier if you plan to go with a small baby.

Dubai Frame
Zabeel Park, Gate #4

Opening hours: 9am to 9pm

Entrance: AED 50for adults, AED 20 for kids 3-16yo, under 3s are free

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