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How To Have Fun Without Spending A Fortune This Summer
Keeping busy doesn’t need to mean throwing heaps of money at activities and experiences this summer – there are some awesome offers out there whether you’re looking to eat out, staycation or keep the kids happy and we’ve put together a few of our faves for you to work through. Enjoy, mamas!
Natasha Pathak from Coconutty Kids shares a super healthy summer drink for the whole family to enjoy.
Is there anything more bright and summery than Lemons?! It’s scorching hot outside and my girls keep asking for Lemonade but wait, what about all the sugar that most Lemonades are known for?! No way do I want my girls (or anyone) literally drinking down cups of refined sugar. So, I decided to make up my very own natural and refreshing Homemade Honey Lemonade without all the junk and fake stuff – no nasties here! All you need is Honey, Water and yes, you guessed it, Lemons!
Mamas, this is such a simple and easy recipe for an old favourite and well worth the effort to make as a weekend treat. Please do try the recipe and don’t forget to share your photos and tag #coconuttykids.
This recipe serves 4 people.
1/2 Cup Raw Honey
3/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (seeds removed)
4 Cups is Water and
Garnish: Lemon Slices and Mint
Heat 1 Cup is Water on the stove
Once it’s cooled slightly, then add your honey and stir until it’s completely dissolved
Place your Honey Water mixture into the refrigerator to chill.
Add to a large pitcher or glass jug your Chilled Honey Mixture, the remaining Water and Lemon Juice and stir well.
Taste! It should be a zingy, bright, refreshing Lemonade – balanced between sweet and tart.
Add plenty of Ice and slices of Lemon to garnish.
Optional: Infuse further with Fresh Mint or Slices of Fresh Ginger.
Serve up and watch your little ones enjoy every single sip!
From all the Sassy team to all you Sassy Mamas – we wish you the happiest of summer holidays
Another term has come to an end (sob, they are growing up too soon) and the kids are on a two month long summer break (help and yay), but lucky for you, mama, there’s no chance for anyone to get bored over the hols! From awesome summer camps to water parks,outdoor and indoor fun to indoor birthday parties and even some fabulous holiday and staycation deals for family bonding (some of them don’t even require flights!), check out all the fun things you and your littles could indulge in this summer. There’s literally something for everyone.
Whether you’re staying in town this summer or just looking for ways to entertain the kiddos for a week or two then look no further Mamas, as we’ve got the low-down on some of the best summer camps in the city. From getting stuck into arts and crafts to playing football all day on air conditioned pitches, learning to dive to water play with a difference – camps these days are so amazing that we wish we could join!
Things to do to keep sporty and active little people busy:
A Fun Indoor Art Activity To Keep Your Kids Busy & Having Fun:
Many of us don’t have the time to plan these activities or don’t have the expertise, knowledge or imagination for what’s most suited for the kids – and this is where Victoria can help. IDK Little Miracles is a new monthly service set up and you’ll be guided on how to have fun with your little ones and how to create time for the most important part of your life, your family. Four planned activities at just AED 90. Read all about it here.
Psst… heard of Privilee? This membership not only gives you unlimited access to some of the UAE’s best beach clubs and lush pools but also kids clubs, spa deals and loads more – all for a very reasonable price – and there’s no catch (honestly), just sign up, pay your subscription and start flexing that card! And here are our top 5 family friendly Privilee pools.
Activewear To Take You Through The Summer Hols & Beyond
Whether you like it or not…activewear has become clothing attire, which has earned respect, in terms of when and where you wear it. No longer is it frowned upon, to show up to lunch, a play-date, appointments, your child’s school play or run errands around the malls and supermarket in your gym gear – it is now seen as the most easiest, most wearable ensemble to throw on in the morning. Lets face it, even if you’re not a member of a fitness club or have signed up to 10 Pilates Reformer classes, by wearing your gym clothes, you’re giving off that aura of ‘Hi, I know life is so busy, I still find time to fit in a 6am Body Pump class!’ Hands up who wears their gym clothes on the school run but never actually goes to the gym? Guilty……….
I admit, since I’ve joined a gym here in Dubai two months ago, I find myself drawn to activewear more and more. I’ve become obsessed with co-ordinating my separates, frequently think about purchasing another few pairs of kick-ass cool trainers and just want the coolest gear around coz lets face it…active wear is now the new outerwear in many respects.
So…let’s have a look at what I’ve had my eye on recently and a few options to ‘up your activewear style’…don’t worry, gym membership is not a requirement here ha, ha!
Get Your Home Summer Ready With This Quick Checklist
Your bags are packed…you’re ready to go…
Before you John Denver your way to the airport, pause for a minute and think: did you make the necessary arrangements to make sure that your home will be as you left it when you return? The UAE offers some unique challenges because of the scorching summer heat and infamously high humidity. Heat plus humidity equals a disaster-in-waiting for your home unless you take the proper steps beforehand.
mrUsta is an online marketplace that offers a full list of service providers across the UAE – so there’s not need to shop around! Simply post the job you want doing and all of the relevant companies will quote to do the work – plus you can check out their ratings and testimonials. Genius!
Here’s a brief checklist on what mrUsta suggests you do before you take your break:
Under absolutely no circumstances should you shut your AC off during your absence. Even though your air conditioning does take up a significant percentage of your monthly DEWA bill, you’ll want to leave it on while you’re gone. Keeping it at 25 degrees is more than suffice; it’ll ensure that there is a consistent flow of cool air to keep undesirables like mold (which can also be dangerous if you’re allergic) from making your home their home.
So it’s highly advisable to get your ACs checked and your ductwork cleaned before you leave on your vacation. mrUsta has plenty of service providers that do both, so post your job here or here to get the work done.
Your water is one of those home appliances you take for granted. When it works – all is good. When it fails, panic ensues. Although you won’t need to leave it on for the summer, it is highly recommended that you have it inspected before you leave. Failing water heaters are the number one reason for home flooding in the UAE.
More likely than not, you probably have an Ariston brand heater – you can easily have it checked out by Ariston themselves with favorable terms through mrUsta here.
Cockroaches love the heat (YUK!). And you know what they love more than the summer? Your home – especially when you’re gone. Take advantage of your time away, when both your family and pets are out of the house, to get some general pest control done. You don’t really want to come home to a bunch of insects getting too comfortable on your couch feeding off your crumbs.
The great thing in the UAE is that pest control service providers are highly regulated. They must provide you with a six-month warranty, and the chemicals they use must be odorless and safe for children. Save yourself some time and book your pest control services through mrUsta.
Speaking of crumbs, it may be a good time to look at some deep cleaning for your home. You want to come back to your home as you left it – dust-free and spic and span clean. Deep cleaning will also keep your home bug and mold (and fungus) free. Your toilets are also a great incubator for bacteria and other nasties – you want those as well as your bathroom cleaned real well before departing.
With mrUsta, it’s also easy to book cleaning services. Just go here.
Little knick-knacks here and there
How long you been putting off hanging a painting? Or changing lightbulbs that are just beyond your reach? Or maybe hang your new curtains?
There is no better time than now to get these small jobs done around the house because it is practically GUARANTEED you won’t get them done after you get back (you know – post-vacation blues and all).
Get yourself a handyman and sort these things out!
You’ll need to pack a few things before you leave – your clothes, your toothbrush; other toiletries. But wouldn’t it be great if you also packed a peace of mind? Only then can you have the vacation you know you deserve. So just follow the helpful guideline above, and vacation like you’ve never vacationed before!
Here’s why you should consider cutting sugar from your diet…and why it’s more doable than you think
Let’s just say that since entering my mid-thirties my metabolism seems to have slowed to a crawl. No matter how much I exercise, or how careful I am about what I eat, losing weight is a lot tougher than it used to be (this became painfully clear in the three years between baby #1 and baby #2).
I started the year off feeling quite blah, and had been toying with the idea of a sugar detox to kickstart my immune system and hopefully get my nutrition back on track. As detailedby numeroussources, sugar is the main culprit behind public health epidemics like heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
“Having too many carbohydrates in the diet—and too much sugar in particular—seems to overtax this system, messing with our metabolism and making insulin less efficient at its job. The case against sugar holds that this condition in turn can make us fat, and also diabetic, and prone to heart disease, cancer, gout, and the rest.”
I mean, we’ve always known that sugar wasn’t great, but it’s become increasingly clear that it’s at the root of lots of health problems. I personally have always had a sweet tooth – from scoffing sugary cereals as a kid, to a nightly dessert habit, to a piece of cake every now and then. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was feeling particularly blah at the beginning of this year on the heels of the sugar season.
I started toying with the idea of a 30-day sugar detox and, knowing it would be really tough to go it alone, convinced my husband to join in with me. We decided to start the day after his birthday, in March, and go for a full calendar month.
The more you read up on sugar, the more evident it becomes that there is added sugar in basically everything you’d buy at the grocery store, from pasta sauce, to yogurt, to mustard, to hummus. My husband and I therefore decided to avoid all preservatives to the best of our abilities.
We for the most part followed the Whole30 program, which emphasizes lots of fresh veggies, meat, seafood and healthy fats, along with some fruit (according to nutritionist Marion Nestle, “Nobody eats too much of [the sugar that occurs naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy], not with the fiber and vitamins and minerals that they have”). Although Whole 30 also rules out grains and legumes, I occasionally ate organic rolled oats and brown rice, and we also made our own hummus and falafel with garbanzo beans (freshly soaked, not from a can). We didn’t eat any bread or pasta, though.
We ate A LOT of eggs for breakfast (this bowl with banana, coconut, almonds and apple became my go-to), and had tons of veggies at dinnertime. There are many great Whole 30 recipes out there (we got lots of meals out of this list); the trick is just finding ingredients that are compliant (stuff like coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil, for instance). Per usual, having a helper who’s a great cook made the task more manageable than it otherwise would have been.
My husband and I both entered into the month with a great deal of trepidation, but honestly I feel like the toughest aspects were mental, rather than physical.
Here are eight things I learned along the way:
Sugar was a psychological crutch for me Whenever I hit a lull in the afternoon, or felt particuarly down on a Monday morning, I found myself wanting to cheer myself up with an iced mocha, or a cupcake. While food is definitely something to be savoured and enjoyed, I don’t think it should function as an automatic reward. Instead I went for a walk outside.
Fruits and veggies taste a lot sweeter when you eliminate artificial sweeteners Things like apples, blueberries and bananas all tasted extra wonderful, particularly after a week of no added sugar.
You feel fuller at night I feared that eating tons of green leafy vegetables and meat but eliminating carbs would make me feel hungry at night and in the morning, but I generally felt pretty satisfied and didn’t want to snack as much as usual.
You miss carbs a lot less than you thought you would I thought I’d be craving sandwiches for lunch and crying on Friday nights (when we normally get pizza delivery), but shockingly this has been the part that I’ve continued with most easily (though I have reverted to my Saturday morning pancakes).
Your definition of dessert will change drastically Nuts, a small glass of almond milk (better be freshly made, because most of the stuff at the supermarket contains extra crap), raw cacao nibs… I didn’t eat these things every night, but they made for a nice capper in a pinch. Cutting down on cookies, cupcakes and ice cream was probably one of the biggest contributors to weight loss.
You may lose some weight but that’s not really what it’s about My husband and I both lost some weight (I never weigh myself, but noticed my clothes fitting better), without really changing our exercise routines. My hope is that I improved my metabolism, which was more of a longterm goal rather than something limited to just the month.
There’s a lot of added crap in pretty much everything you buy at the grocery storeMore now than ever, I try to live by two pieces of advice from food writer Michael Pollan:“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
“Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”That second one is so crucial, and as you walk around a grocery store, you realise how much junk – whether it’s preservatives, artificial colors or added sugar – there is in most food (virtually anything you’d want to eat “on the go” – other than maybe a piece of fruit – is going to fall into that category). Fresh veggies and high-quality meat and fish are pretty much the way to go.
The first week is tough but by the end of the month it’s not hard to just keep going It’s really hard to break habits, whether it’s a morning bowl of cereal, a big iced coffee with milk and sugar, carby snacks (like crackers, or energy bars) in the afternoon, even veggies with ranch salad dressing. But this detox helped us create new, healthier habits, and for the most part we’ve been able to keep them up. I did notice that I got headaches in the mid-afternoon over the first few days – I assume this was my body saying, “Hey, where’s my sugar?” – but they quickly abated and, once the month was up, I then noticed myself getting headaches when I did consume sugar.
So would I do it again?
Yes, absolutely. I’d say I’ve been pretty good in continuing to adhere to the main principles of the sugar detox, though I also realize there’s nothing wrong with a piece of cake or an ice cream here or there. The key is just limiting it to a couple times a week, rather than making it an almost-nightly occurrence.
There are many variations on the sugar detox out there, starting with something as brief as a 3-day version. If you want to learn more, or get more personalized advice, we’d suggest seeking counsel from nutritionists, Eat well, mamas!
This article was originally published in Sassy Mama Singapore, and edited for Dubai.
Tips in need of some TLC? Here are our some of the best nail salons in Dubai…
Whether you’re a bit of a mani-pedi addict or you fancy a few minutes quiet time (with the added bonus of beautiful nails and restored sanity at the end), Dubai is ch0c-full of nail salons and spas in which to get buffed and polished.
We’ve made choosing one a little easier with a round up of our favourite spots to get your digits and tootsies looking gorgeous mamas! Just in time for summer too – perfect!
Download These Apps To Guarantee Smooth Tantrum Free Journeys & Screen Time With A Difference, Mamas!
Picture this; Day one of the school hols and your precious little person is already ‘bored’. Whether you’re trying to fill up those hours (in between camps – make sure to read up on some of our faves this year), you’re facing a mammoth journey and need to keep the kids distracted and entertained or you’ll need to rely on the iPad as an occasional babysitter this summer just to get some peace and quiet – these new apps are not only fun but also a good way to keep the brain cells engaged when school’s out! Happy downloading!
An epic adventure of logic, physics and fun! With 228 physics puzzles, 12 fairytale castles, toothy crocodiles, goofy ghosts and a friendly dragon, your little ones are guaranteed hours of fun-filled play and brain training (in fact this app is loved by older kids too). Unleash the magic and let your young knight or princess embark on an epic quest of twists and turns.
A is for Apple, B is for… BORED! Yup, most of the alphabet games don’t get our kiddos super excited but this one’s a little different. Users will be encouraged to poke, prod, drag, and spin each of letters to reveal fun transformations. A giant ‘B’ appears with a bushy beard and a beak – and then starts belching an endless stream of colourful bugs.
Eric Carles brilliant little story comes alive in a 3D interactive app which will have kids nurturing the little caterpillar from its egg stage right until it becomes a butterfly, feeding fruits, playing and more – a kind of virtual pet!
Anything which involves animals is always a huge hit in our household and this new little game is going to be a guaranteed winner! The basic game involves your kiddos identifying the correct cartoon animal based on clues including emotions, actions, sounds and more. Once they pick the right character, a new scene appears.
Yup, we’re obsessed by the weather – especially when we live in the desert so any variation on hot is super exciting! Through interactive scenes, the kids can do anything from melt ice to help someone fish, cool the temperature for a panting dog or unleash all kinds of craziness through tornados and storms plus learn how to tell what kind of weather it’ll be outside (um…hot?!) .
What could be cooler than creating your own monsters while learning about the concept of DNA (see, there’s an element of learning in here too, mamas!). And once they’re made, the kids can get their monsters doing everything from skateboarding to dancing and more.
Literally one of the most genius app ideas I’ve seen in ages – and one that’s perfect for kids who love making/crafting. All they gotta do is select a template (human, car etc) then use the app to decorate it either by importing photos, painting, adding stickers etc. The app will then create a 3D model which can be printed out, cut and folded so that it exists in the real world too.
There’s a room at OliOli (the kids museum we’ve long raved about, check out our review here) which allows kids to watch drawings of their sea creatures come to live on a giant interactive screen. Well now they can do the same at home (or in the car/on a plane etc) by drawing a fish on a white paper, coloring it in then holding the iPad over the drawing and watching as their fishy friend comes to life.
A kind of virtual forest school where kids can engage in and explore the life of plants, learning about everything from how they make food to experimenting with underground root systems. Perfect for curious minds.
How about making volcanoes with your fingers? Or sculpting mountains and controlling the forces of nature?! This beautifully designed app combines aspects of science books, toys, simulations, and games in a new interactive experience that’ll prompt lots of thought and knowledge about our world.
Mini astronomy lovers this one’s for you! Solar Walk is an amazing 3D model of our solar system bringing the universe to the palm of your hand and allowing you to interact with planets, satellites, moons, comets and other space objects. Hitch a ride on a comet, spin Saturn around to take a good look and just zoom around our universe. Super cool.
Yes I know, the idea of getting them to do math during the holidays might seem like a crazy one but this app makes this often uninspiring subject quite fun (honestly!). Defeat Dr. Odd and earn the latest spy gear in a game that transforms math drills into a global learning adventure. From the streets of Paris to the pyramids of Egypt, Operation Math includes more than 100 timed missions that help players learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Another for all those curious kids and endless question askers! Universal Zoom provides users with a superpower of seeing the invisible so that you can discover the world from the tiniest subatomic particles to the most prominent space structures plus learn how to measure size and compare objects too.
It’s a Busy Time Of Year! But These Quick & Easy Family Dinners By Annabel Karmel Will Make Mealtimes A Breeze
Busy nights can sometimes leave you lacking inspiration come dinner time, but cooking from scratch doesn’t have to mean producing elaborate meals and spending hours in the kitchen. Leading children’s cookery author Annabel Karmel is here to help with these deliciously simple suppers!
Looking for more food inspiration? Unlock a world of exclusive recipes, insider news and special offers by downloading the Annabel’s handy Baby & Toddler Recipe App. This is the must-have app for delicious mealtimes (and clean plates!) Available via the app store or visit www.annabelkarmel.com for more information.
Annabel Karmel fans like us? Here are few other recipes, you can try:
The city that we are lucky enough to temporarily call home is a bountiful one that is full of momentum and change. And as expats, we must learn to manage and adapt to the changes that happen around us. One of the hardest changes that impact’s our lives is the feeling that we are perpetually saying goodbye.
Leaving our friends and family back home is tough but it doesn’t end there. The average stay for an expat family in the UAE is 8 years. (www.dec.org.ae). So, once you have said farewell to the family and made the move, you will still have to experience the difficulties that come with the seemingly frequent departure of friends and loved ones from Dubai.
Saying goodbye is hard enough as an adult and for children it can be a confusing and lonely time. So what can we do to help our little ones understand and cope with their feelings when they need to say goodbye to their family or when their friends move on?
According to Dr Susan Linn, the founding director of ‘Campaign for a Commercial free Childhood, helping our children to cope with change is all about laying a solid foundation in which they can confidently express their feelings. Being listened to and empathised with is key.
“Helping children successfully manage the separations that inevitably occur is a good way to help them develop lifelong strategies for managing loss. Let your child know that you hear what she/he is saying. Feeling unheard compounds a child’s sense of isolation.” (Dr Susan Linn).
Bright Horizons is an international provider of early education that focuses on nurturing each child’s unique potential. They believe that saying goodbye is a lifelong process that does not necessary have to be negative.
“Children may react to change with excitement and enthusiasm, or crying, sulking and even using aggression. Talk to your child about the positive things. Too much talk about how hard it is to say goodbye can sometimes make our children more upset. While we should never ignore our children’s feelings, it’s also important to be encouraging.” (Bright Horizons)
According to Bright Horizons there are activities that you could do with your child that will help them to compartmentalise and process their emotions in a positive way.
Such as, creating a classroom scrapbook, writing a friendship note to departing friends and using art as therapy by painting, storytelling and drawing.
Frequently having to say goodbye is one of the more difficult ramifications of being an expat. But a few simple techniques can help you and your child develop coping strategies that will have lifelong benefits.