We scour, shop and drag strollers through the jungle (urban and otherwise!) to bring you the latest news on what’s hot in the world of parenting in Dubai. From new products and shop openings, tips, tricks and advice from Dubai's leading experts, not-to-be-missed social events and more, we've got you covered, mama
An Open Morning to meet the Senior Leadership Team & Admissions Team at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park
It may feel like the academic year is winding down and that summer holidays are on the horizon- but this is also the most important time for securing a school place for September. And whether you’re looking for a Year one spot for your little pre-school leaver or you’re keen to think about moving your petit pupils and would like to get an idea of what’s available, one thing’s for sure – the best way to find the perfect place is to visit firsthand.
Dubai British School Jumeirah Parkis a Taaleem school which offers a holistic, well-rounded, modern and value driven curriculum modeled on the National Curriculum for England and which has been rated ‘Excellent’ by PENTA International. Currently open to students from years 1 to 10 (with years 11 to 13 added in the beginning of 2019).
The Open Morning on Tuesday, 29 May at 9am, will allow you to meet the people who lead the school as well as tour the amazing modern campus which includes everything from a state-of-the-art performing arts theatre to an 8-lane swimming pool, radio station, music and recording practice rooms, art studio, food technology room, beautiful bright and airy library, ICT laboratory with Virtual Reality, Green Screens and so much more. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about an awesome range of extracurricular activities, all offered to compliment the school’s core curriculum.
Community focused, dynamic and a firm favourite of many parents already, Dubai British School in Jumeirah Park might just be the perfect place for your kiddo.
Admissions are now open for applications for years 1 – 10.
For more information, please contact the Admissions Team; Phone: +971 (0)4 552 0247 Email: email@example.com Open Morning: Tuesday, 29 May 2018 at 9am
Is a juice diet the best way to prepare your body and mind for summer? We’ve often shied away from juice diets for fear that they’re just too hard or promise too much. But Polly spills all (the juice) on why she loved itWhy do it?
In celeb-land, everyone who is anyone has been on a juice diet. Beyonce swears her cayenne pepper concoction helped her drop twenty pounds in two weeks for a movie role, while Gwynnie, Fergie (Black Eyed Peas not disgraced royal!), Olivia Wilde and Salma Hayek are just a few of the hot mamas out there crediting juice diets with helping them get red carpet ready.
Now awards season may be over (and all my invites must have got mysteriously lost in the post!) but summer is coming and I’d really like to go home for the holidays, looking and feeling my best. So when the guys at Wild and the Moon invite me to try their entry-level essential detox programme for three days, I jump at the chance.
They tell me their carefully balanced juices will help my body eliminate toxins,reboot my system, increase my energy levels and even help me lose weight. And, they promise, their juices actually taste good. Where do I sign?
Put simply, juice! For three days, I have to cut out everything but their essential programme, which consists of a ‘bam shot in the morning and five juices to have, spaced at different intervals (they suggest 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm), through the rest of the day. They also advise cutting down on processed foods and upping your intake of leafy greens in the days before you start but I’m afraid I warmed up with a McDonalds because I have a demanding four year old (and a sugar problem). Hey, if I were already a healthy eater, I wouldn’t need the programme, right?
So is it hard?
I must admit I felt totally daunted when the first delivery (yes, mamas they’ll bring them to you so there’s really no excuse!) arrived and I unwrapped five bottles of juice, some of which looked like pond water. But of the ten different juices I tried (day three’s juices are the same as day one!) there was only one that I didn’t like (and that’s because I hate pomelo). The rest were delicious and because you get to have five a day, you genuinely don’t have the chance to go hungry.
What do the juices really taste like?
See above. One of them was a bit too grapefruit-y for my liking but there’s a huge variety. I could swig on ‘better than botox’ all day long. The juices are also a mix – some are fruitier and refreshing, while the ones that you drink instead of a lunchtime meal tend to be a bit creamier (yummo almond milk) so they fill you up and make you feel like you’re having a treat.
Are there any side effects?
Other than suddenly sympathising with the dog every time she eyed up somebody’s else’s food, none! No headaches, hunger pangs or emergency trips to the loo. Hub claims that my temper was shorter than usual, but perhaps he was just being more annoying than usual. Jury’s out on that one!
Did it work?
Definitely! Not only did I lose 0.2 of a kilo in three days, but my stomach definitely felt flatter. More importantly, it made me more mindful when it comes to food. I realized how often I reach for a snack out of boredom, deal with stress by diving into the biscuits or finish the kiddos’ food because it’s there. Cutting out the crap has made me reevaluate my entire approach and I’m already planning my next cleanse.
Wild and the Moon offers two detox packages – the essential for beginners or the intense for those who’ve juiced before – for either one, three or five days at a time. Packages start from 270 AED/day. For more information click here.
Laughter really is the best medicine, mamas – and when you’re having a bad day or the kids are driving you crrrraazzzy, these parenting memes will help bring a smile to your face
Memes – I love them!! Assuming you all know what they are (the funny little pictures/quotes that we often see on social media) you’ll probably understand why. Firstly, they bring some joy into my life, however childish and short lived . A meme will bundle up the bad/funny parts of parenting and life in general in the most succinct and relatable way, with a good dollop of humor on top. These mostly hilarious (and sometimes poignant) little squares can make you laugh at the stuff that can otherwise drive you mad on those days when the kids are being completely revolting, when the husband throws you that flippant comment, when everything seems to be going wrong. Parenting memes connect mamas around the world and make the everyday a bit funnier. And those are just two of the reasons to love and share them.
Below are a few of my faves, mamas. Enjoy!
This is literally me every day coming back from school, carrying the kids bags, the groceries and every other random thing they’ve insisted on bringing with them that day (plus the rubbish they pick up everywhere from the parking lot to the garden and become completely obsessed with…)
I dare you to read this next one and not laugh out loud…
Does anyone else wander from room to room in the house forgetting exactly what it is you were looking for or in the middle of doing in the first place?! Baby brain is a thing. Forever.
Put on your shoes, put on your shoes, put on your shoes, put on your shoes…. and repeat x 500000
Why not? They clearly love doing it all, right?!
My husband and I need to read this every time we think it’s a good idea to attempt another family meal out…
Seen ‘The Letdown’ yet on Netflix, mama? It’s an unflinchingly realistic look at motherhood with some hard-earned laughs thrown in for good measure
Last week I started seeing mamas on Facebook rave about The Letdown, an Australian comedy (originally aired in 2016!) that just quietly popped up on Netflix. I’m a bit of a TV junkie, yet hadn’t read anything about it on any of my fave TV blogs (mostly written by men, hmmmmm).
I’d say that’s pretty accurate — The Letdown confronts postnatal issues like incontinence, bleeding, depression, loss of identity, sexual frustration, and of course sleeplessness head on. But I’d also say the childless probably aren’t the intended audience for The Letdown anyway; it kind of feels like the first show ever made expressly for moms, without giving a damn what anyone else thinks. In that regard, it is totally refreshing.
The name The Letdown makes double reference to the (uncontrollable) breastfeeding reflex that causes milk to start flowing, and to the unexpected feelings of sadness and disappointment experienced by the main character (and many of her mum friends) in the throes of new motherhood.
The Letdown primarily follows Audrey, a kind of cool and witty lady in Sydney with a 2-month-old baby and a nice-ish but slightly flaky partner who forgets to tell her about business trips. The series kicks off with her managing to offend pretty much everyone in her designated community new mothers’ group (can I just say that it is SO cool that Australia has these for everyone?), but we as the audience are of course meant to sympathize with her as she processes her daughter’s traumatic birth, struggles with sleep deprivation, and tries to keep up with her unsympathetic, childless friends.
There are a couple funny moments in the first episode but overall I found it almost too close to real life, and not really what I’d look for in my typical entertainment. I have a crying baby who keeps me up at night and a husband who takes work trips in real life, I don’t need to be reminded that that sucks, you know?
As entertainment, I also found the characters in the new mums’ group to be a bit trite and 2-dimensional: there’s the perfect overachiever with glossy hair; the workaholic mum whose husband is the primary caretaker; the kinda trashy mum who can’t keep track of her multiple kids; the single mother trying to go it alone. Each of these characters gets fleshed out to varying degrees in subsequent episodes (the workaholic and her husband most successfully), but the underlying message that’s hammered into our heads is “In spite of our differences, we’ve all got each other’s backs!”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, in fact that’s exactly how things should be. It just feels a little too easy and predictable in contrast to Audrey’s complex relationship issues and identity reckoning.
All that said, from episode 3 onwards the humor gets lighter and the plots get a bit sillier (in a good way). Co-creator and star Alison Bell, who plays Audrey (and is herself the mum to a 4-year-old) is marvelously expressive and quite funny in her line delivery.
The Letdown: Mother's Group - YouTube
The series is just seven 30-minute episodes and very bingeable, and given the slight cliffhanger finale and the buzz it’s picked up globally on Netflix, I’m sure we’ll now get a second season. They’ll be hard-pressed to find another baby as adorable as the one who played Stevie (Audrey’s daughter) – despite the fact that we’re told she’s basically ruined Audrey’s life, she (and all the other babies in the show) are angelically quiet and basically silent props. Given how aggressively realistic the show is in depicting the harsh physical and mental realities of motherhood, I found it a bit distracting how the babies are effortlessly carried all over town in car seats or tucked under their their mothers’ arms, without ever making a sound. Perhaps I’m just being nitpicky, though.
The best part of watching The Letdown is seeing that someone else out there (in fact, lots of moms out there) get it. Motherhood is messy and crazy and probably not at all how you pictured it, and that can be a bitter pill to swallow at times. But if you make it through the haze of the early days, and you find yourself a real support network, you just might surprise yourself with who you’ve become.
“You are still you, as well as being a mum,” someone wisely counsels Audrey in the finale’s climactic scene. That might as well be The Letdown’s tagline, and it’s not a bad lesson for any of us to remember.
For Nielouphar Abdurahiman, a mama of three and the founder of Pretty Paper Studio, an art and crafts supply store based in Dubai, the Holy Month of Ramadan is all about slowing down – something we should all try to do more often.
I love the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan and how it nudges us to be our better selves. Ramadan brings back a lot of fond memories from my childhood back in India and I try to instil the same traditions in my children here in Dubai. What I miss the most about Ramadan is the way all the ladies in my family used to come together in the kitchen to prepare Iftar. Of course, Ramadan isn’t about just food but one cannot deny the important role it played in bringing family members together.
The patient wait for Maghrib call of prayers, the walk from our home to Masjid to say the Taraveeh prayers, meeting our friends for a quick chat, and the way the community comes alive during this month are some of my favourite things about Ramadan.
Islam constantly reminds us to connect with our Maker and live our lives as per its teachings on a daily basis. During Ramadan, however, this connection with our God takes a whole new meaning, as we believe all the doors to paradise are open and the gates of hell are closed during the blessed month. This means our work and whatever else normally keeps us occupied takes a back seat and we spend extra time in worship. We are more aware of our surroundings and how we treat our fellow beings. Ramadan, in a nutshell, is the time for increased spiritual discipline.
Thanks to the shorter working hours in the UAE, non-Muslim expats are also able to enjoy more time with their family and friends. I have noticed several of my non-Muslim friends use the extra time to unwind or get back to a hobby or fitness regime.
My children are learning more about Ramadan as they get older and they are really excited to welcome Ramadan once again this year, in sha Allah. We have plans to do some Ramadan related crafts and distribute food among friends and family. I am also looking forward to taking them back to Ramadan Sharing Fridges like we did last year so that they are reminded of the importance of sharing what we have with the less fortunate, Insha Allah.
I personally am looking forward to spending more time doing ibadah, cook good food for my family and spend more quality time with them, Insha Allah.
A Fun Indoor Art Activity To Keep Your Kids Busy & Having Fun
Little Miracles is a new monthly service set up by mama Victoria who was inspired by her little girl to create something which would not only give her the best start in life but also allow them to spend magical moments together. With an NVQ in Children’s Care, Learning and Development, Victoria now offers monthly planned activities that are personally designed to fit in around your families, time and lifestyle. 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. 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.
How it works?
For AED 90 a month Victoria will send you 4 planned activities designed solely for your family, each with four sections including what you’ll need, instructions, full overview and guided duration time. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sounds amazing right? We’re all for supporting mama businesses and this is one we’re definitely trying over the hot summer months! Want to try it out? This mess-free (yup, mess free!) painting activity below is the perfect start.
Large clear plastic sealable bag
Sellotape / sticky tape / duck tape
Benefits from this activity:
Children learn to explore textures by themselves.
If your child does not like messy play, this is a great way to introduce paint.
Encourages your child to write.
Fun way to learn.
It is calming and soothing and provides relaxation, whilst having lots of fun.
Step by Step guide
Step 1 – Add a few different colored blobs of washable paint in to the large clear plastic sealable bag.
Step 2 – Remove air from the bag you can do this by pressing this out, seal the bag and line it with duck tape or sellotape to ensure there will be no leakages.
Step 3 – Tape the bag to a window (this is my favorite choice), table, highchair or floor.
As always, supervise your baby during this activity and do not leave unattended with a bag.
Step 4 – Once you have introduced this activity to your child, they will then begin to explore by moving the paint around the bag, by doing so the colors will then begin to mix quit quickly.
You can encourage your child to start writing on the paint bag, this is a great way to help a child learn spellings, numbers and sums.
If you would like your child to create a piece of art work from this activity, simply put a piece of paper (different shaped paper is a nice idea) in the sealed bag and when you add the paint blobs add this on to the paper, when the child moves the paint around it will move all over the paper. When your child is finished, carefully remove the paper and leave to dry. You will then have a great memory from this activity. I always date and mark the currant age on the work my child creates as I think it is nice to look back and I will know how old they were when they created that particular piece.
This activity is also nice for a baby/toddler, it is a great way for them to explore.
Guided duration time – 20 Minutes (however can be kept on the window, high chair or table for the duration of the day if supervised).
We hope you enjoy this activity just as much as you we do. Don’t forget if you take any pictures please email them to us to email@example.com as we would love to see how much fun you all had.
Twinning With Our Minis. The Fashion Trend We Love!
I’m just going to start this off by saying, ”I’m Irene….and I’m a Twinaholic”. Yes, you’ve heard right, I’m obsessed with ‘twinning’ with my four year old daughter (and my two year old son given half the opportunity – is ‘tripleting’ a thing?). Even if they don’t share my enthusiasm and don’t know it yet, I can’t help myself! Anyone else? Just me?
It seems the fashion industry has now caught on to the whole ‘mini-me’ trend and twinning has taken on a whole new fashionable journey. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love mini furry animals, fun-size chocolate bars and mini-size cosmetics and makeup – super cute right? Anything that is a tiny, identical version of something else is instantly adorable and has that ‘awwwwww’ factor!
Instagram and celebrities have a lot to answer for in my opinion when it comes to making ‘matchy matchy’ with your parents a ‘thing’ now. I mean, if Beyoncé can do it…
Who knew there is now such a world dedicated to all things ‘twinning’?! I didn’t until I began researching into it all for this post! Twinning is big business now so I’m going to share a few of my favourite brands I found plus a couple based here in Dubai which I love – to get you all ‘matchy-mathcy’ with your little ones. WARNING: The following may incur serious ‘buying-frenzy’ notions, just don’t blame me….OK!
School finishes early during Ramadan – but thankfully there are some great camps and play offers to keep the kids busy!
With most of our little darlings home well before 2pm, there’s a big chunk of time to fill before we can start the bedtime routine. Whether you’re a working mama who needs to be in the office with zero guilt about what your kids are getting up to or you just need to find ways to amuse everyone before they tear the house apart – we’ve found a few fabulous Ramadan camps and play offers guaranteed to make afternoons so much more fun.
Amna Al Haddad is a weightlifter, a Muslim athlete, the inspiration for the Nike Pro Hijab, part of the ‘Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls’ series and a true role model for all girls. Win tickets to her storytelling session for 5-9 year olds at Le Gourmet, City Walk, below and read all about why and how this amazing woman is pushing boundaries and championing women’s rights.
Please tell us a little bit about you
The beginning of my journey started when I was very unhappy with myself, and my lifestyle was very unhealthy and negative. One day, I’ve said to myself that I’ve have enough and decided to go for a walk around Safa Park in 2009, and that walk changed the course of my life. I never thought that a single step could lead me to become an competitive athlete or role model. While pursuing my physical fitness, I was also a full-time journalist working for a leading English newspaper. During the same time, I had competed in a sport called CrossFit, the Reebok crossfit Asia regionals in Korea, where I made history as the first GCC National to participate, and that was the beginning of it all.
When did you first know that you wanted to become a weightlifter?
Whenever I went to the gym, I loved the weight training section. I first used to do it to build stronger bones, muscles and reduce my body fat percentage. As I was more exposed to the gym environment, I further learned what Olympic weightlifting was, which is a sport that requires you to lift weights from the ground to overhead in a quick motion. After the crossfit regionals, I decided to come back to the UAE and focus on an official sport that I can achieve in and raise my country’s flag — I set my sight on the Rio Olympics, training as a weightlifter. I felt there was an under representation of Emirati women in sports, so I took it upon me to create a shift in that image and change the misconception of weightlifting for women.
How did you redefine yourself and your objectives afterwards?
I made it my goal to stay focused no matter what challenges I would be facing as I was embarking on an untouched path and creating a new one. I told myself I’ll keep going no matter what. As a result of that, within less than four years of training, despite injuries, I joined the UAE national female weightlifting team, and we had competed at the Olympic Qualifier that led us to gain one spot for the Rio Olympics. I learned despite achieving such heights, success is more about self-acceptance and being in the journey, not the end result. As with everything in life, success comes and goes, but how you grow as a human being, is the ultimate success.
Did you face many obstacles to achieving your dream?
Absolutely. When you tap into something new, and pioneer a new path, you surely deal with a lot of rejection, ridicule, and limited support. There was challenges with finding the right infrastructure, sponsorship, and training environment.
I was pursuing this goal independently, and at a time where women in sports wasn’t encouraged as a career path, it made the journey that much more difficult to realize, and now it is more rewarding to talk about and the lessons learned dealing with adversity.
Do you think that times are changing for girls in the UAE and worldwide in terms of what is expected of them?
With a doubt. Change is happening. Our UAE leadership are pushing girls and women to get the best education and have better opportunities than ever before, but it is also up to as individuals to seek the things we want to achieve, because often times, it’s there waiting for us to make it happen. It’s important to acknowledge as individuals we all have different talents to offer the world, and to realize our full potential all we need to do is try.
What advice would you give to all of the girls out there who want to succeed at something that would traditionally be thought of as a ‘mans’ job or hobby?
When pursuing weightlifting, I never once thought it was a male-only activity. I saw it as a sport, a neutral activity, that can help build my confidence and overall health.
When seeking a goal or a passion that may be unpopular traditionally, it is important to keep an open mind and realize it us who sets these limits. The job itself, or the activity itself, cannot distinguish whether the participant is male or female, just how good you are at doing it. My advice is work on your skills, focus on the goals and achieving the success you’re looking for, and more so don’t listen to what other people about how you should live your life. We all have unique talents, and those talents need to be shared with the world. Always approach your goals with an open heart and good intentions.
Who were your role models as a child? And why do you think it’s important to put forward more strong female role models?
I can’t truly say I’ve had any role models to look up to being a kid, especially not from our region and not for the kind of activities I dreamed of pursuing. Our upbringing was very much focused on finishing school, get good grades, get higher education, etc. but since I was 16, I truly wanted my own financial and choice independence in life, so I’ve held many jobs prior to my full-time position. At that time, it wasn’t common for school students to be working part-time jobs, especially as an Emirati girl. And sports as a career wasn’t pushed in schools either back then, PE classs barely had proper physical fitness component to them. This is what I hope my story does, truly inspires the younger generation and creates hope for them that there are many paths to take out there and one size doesn’t fit all. Having strong women as role models can give young girls hope to know they can have big dreams and goals, and that their gender should never hinder their success in their chosen field. In the end of the day, I personally believe everyone should be their own role model and look at others for inspiration, not “model” Per Se as each individual had different life circumstances, upbringing, background and experiences. In the end of the day, we are all human and we all can be inspired by each other.
Sustainability, Happiness & Community: You’re Invited To View The Very Exciting New Fairgreen International School
There was a time when school meant sitting at a desk staring at a blackboard, when homework meant hours of cramming dates and facts and when there was little room for anything beyond the traditional subjects.
Luckily, those days are long behind us and schools these days are much more about the world as it is today, about the priorities we hold dear and the values we want to instill in our kids. Fairgreen International School is one of the most exciting projects opening in Dubai later this year because of its dedication to offering children an education which reflects modern life. We’re talking sustainability, happiness and community promoted in harmony with the three R’s – where ‘reduce, reuse and recylcle’ sit alongside ‘reading, writing and arithmetic’. Yup, this Sustainable City IB curriculum school is set to embrace technology and science with health, wellness and learning, working to engage students as global citizens. Brilliant.
Not only is the campus designed for minimal environmental impact – using solar power for all of its energy needs, recycling all of its water for agricultural use and implementing waste separation but Fairgreen International School will also be empowering students to help create a sustainable future for our world. This is modern education at its best, where curiosity and exploration are promoted and encouraged, where growing herbs and vegetables, harvesting fruits and creating meals together at the school’s urban farm are just as important as learning spellings and times tables and where lessons include visits to the duck pond, chickens and bee hives. Because we all know that not all classrooms have four walls and that kids who are engaged and having fun are more likely to want to learn, right?!
The official school of The Sustainable City – the Happiest Community in the UAE; Fairgreen International School will be the first sustainability focused school in the UAE. Founding Director Mr. Graeme Scott has over 30 years of educational experience working in high performing IB schools in the Netherlands and Bangkok. Joining the Esol Education team, Mr. Scott will work alongside visionaries including Stephen Ritz, director of the school’s Health, Wellness and Learning Centre and winner of Seeds & Chips Global Educator Award 2018.
Sounds amazing right mamas? If you want to find out more, Fairgreen International School is offering you the chance to come in and meet the team at the Fairgreens admissions villa, at an Open Morning Saturday on May 26 from 9 am. to 12 noon. This family open morning is open to all – simply head to Cluster 1, Villa 45 and you’ll be welcomed with open arms. See you there!