Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Surf's up at the Billabong Sunset Beach Day

We had a fun afternoon last weekend with Iconic Australian beach lifestyle brand, Billabong. The event took place at our favourite beach spot for yummy burger SALT. Held on Kite Beach, the two brands who share the same passion for the sun, surf, and sand, came together for an afternoon of maximum chilled out vibes. Girls and I enjoyed pink lemonade and sliders watching the sun going down with happy chilled tunes in the background from cool local bands.

Billabong’s newest Autumn/Winter’16 collections for men’s and women’s was on display along some fun props like Billabong Airstream trailer and giant inflatable GoFloats flamingos and swans - Josefin favourite! Here's a sneak peek of our lovely afternoon. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SaucetteXPowerpuffGirls - love the collection

Luella and I played wannabe fashionista last Saturday, we peeked into the world of Fashion Forward Dubai. On the occasion, we got front row view to Saucette, s*uce’s multibrand concept boutique for kids fashion show. Such a fun event! The collection is a fantastic collaboration with Cartoon Network’s hit series The Powerpuff Girls. The Emmy nominated animated series is about three little girls with super powers who fight evil to save the world. Following the success of the Powerpuff Girls’ collaboration with Moschino, Saucette has been chosen as the first in the region to partner with Cartoon Network.

Saucette creative director, and head buyer Zayan Ghandour, has designed a 22 piece collection for girls aged 4-12, as well as a series of mommy-and me styles. The collection is fun and fresh. A contemporary take on the super heroines, featuring cross stitch embroidery on sheer white organza, cold shoulder details, delicate hems and soft ruffles.

Was great to see some of Dubai lovely super mamas modelling the collection like Nina Ali from @Lipstickmommy, Amira Ashour from @streetstyledubai,  Jumana Al Darkish from @TheHappyBox and many lovely guests enjoying the fun after party. Here's our sneak peek.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Tips, tricks and ideas for a last minute Halloween party - let's do it mama!

Last week, I met with the Queen of all things party, the lovely Aisha. Managing director, super mama and party expert behind Party Camel - online party store, specializing in stylish, on-trend party ware. It was great to visit the studio, have a peek at all the beautiful carefully curated products available online. Got so inspired for our next celebration.

With Halloween coming up next weekend, I had to ask Aisha her tips, ideas and parent hacks for easy last minute Halloween celebration. If like me you are not the so crafty mama but wanna impress the kids with a cool Halloween party, here's a few easy and impactful pointers to get the ball rolling! Let's celebrate. 

Are you getting dressed up for Halloween? And your children?
If yes what's your costume this year? And your children?

Yes we love to dress up and get into the groove of Halloween. Over the years we have collected some awesome costumes and have a whole box of things to choose from. Everything ranging from bat wings, masks, glow in the dark skeleton outfits to cute witch and many more. We will probably decide which outfit to go for on the afternoon of Halloween, ready for partying and trick or treating in the neighbourhood.

Are you a DIY kind of mama or let's get the costume from the party shop?
When the kids were younger I would love to craft them little costumes but as I've gotten busier, and they've gotten older and their tastes more sophisticated, I tend to now a days buy online. I usually pick afew cute outfits online well ahead of time and ship in.

Could you recommend an easy last minute "homemade" costume for the little ones?
I think you can keep it very easy with choosing block colours as the main outfit, black and white usually works wonders and then add afew accessories. Like these cat ears and tail, easy peasy and super cute!

Party Camel has loads of gorgeous Halloween decorations, whats your favourite?
What's your must have for cool Halloween set up to impress the kids in no time?

I LOVE our bat balloons, they come in a pack of 3 and super sized, guaranteed to add an instant wow. They are very reasonable priced and come with a beautiful neon orange cord and tube for inflation. You really cannot go wrong with these. I also love our skull paper plates and ghost and cat napkins. As well as the black marble balloons and black striped candy bags. You only need afew key items to host a party at home. 

No time in the kitchen but still looking for some cute and easy treats for the kids, what would you recommend? Here's a yummy ideas halloween marshmallow pops. You can also order form our online shop home made cookies from The Lime Tree Cafe, Dress up your sweets and treats in our Coffin Food Tray or why not have pre-packed treat bags ready for trick or treaters. Another easy one, decorate finger food with our spooky Skeleton Crew Canape Sticks.

Any suggestions to get the kids involved? Some fun crafty options little ones can actually do?
Bake some cupcakes with our cupcake kit. Hang lots of bats from the walls and ceiling. Getting the kids invloved with decorating really gets everyone in the mood. 

What kind of fun activity would you set for kids to get into the Halloween mood?
Trick or treating is the best! And fun pictures with our Photo Booth.

Where will you celebrate Halloween this year?
In our neighbourhood, the whole place comes alive on the 31st of October. People do go all out and decorate their houses and invite friends over for a little pre-party in the afternoon and as soon as it gets dark, all the kids followed by the adults go off trick or treating.

Do you have a favourite family movie for Halloween?
Not yet but this is a great idea! My kids dont do scary too well ;) but maybe time to find something they will enjoy...

Thanks Aisha for your answers!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Halloween Movie Night: Our 15 Favourite Family Movies

One of our family tradition is "Pizza & Movie" on Thursday night. We start around 6pm with the girls and make the most of our family evening at home together. It's tradition we got into over a year ago and it's a great way to start the weekend. We all have our little treats like popcorn and candy or well deserve glass (or two) of wine for mama and papa.

The whole family love pizza!!!! We have tried loads of different pizza delivery. Last week we gave a go to FreedomPizza, a healthier and honest pizza option. Multigrain crust, all natural herb-infused sauce, all-natural cheese, hormone free chicken and organic produce in mind: it's food is designed to be better for you.

When Halloween season comes our Thursday night get little spooky as we like to pick movies with the holiday theme in mind. Great way to scare up some excitement with these kid-friendly Halloween movies. Whether they’re scary, funny, or just a bit nostalgic, these flicks are sure to get you in the spirit this Halloween… Here's some of our favourite with some different age rank, to your discretion as every child is different and only you has a parents will know if its appropriate to your child.

1. Hocus Pocus - age 11 and up
2. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - age 7 and up
3. The Book of Life - age 7 and up
4. Casper - age 5 and up
5. A Monster in Paris - age 6 and up
6. Beetlejuice - age 12 and up
7. Nightmare Before Christmas - age 7 and up
8. Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie - age 5 and up
9. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - age 4 and up
10. Harry Potter  (the first movie) - age 8 and up
11. The Addams Family - age 13 and up
12. Hotel Transylvania - age 6 and up
13. ParaNorman - age 10 and up
14. Coraline -  age 9 and up
15. Ghostbusters - age 11 and up

To complete your pizza order during Halloween week, add a set of 6 cookies to decorate. AED 45. It's fun and kids will love it. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NOOK Concept - Love it! Gift ideas sorted!

Great find! Love this cute boutique in our side of town. Located in old school and quirky The Beach Centre on Beach Road, Jumeirah 1- it's a gem!!! Lovely concept store specializing in the retail of home accessories along with children home accessories from around the world. NOOK Concept is a new favourite. Perfect for gift ideas and cool home accessories well priced. Refreshing! Also, a small flower bar with seasonal bloom with a different edge.

NOOK, definitions from " 1/ interior angle formed by two meeting walls. 2/ A corner offering seclusion and serenity. 3/ A special place which nourishes dreams, imagination. " Yes, it's all that wrapped up in cosy and elegant aesthetic. Best find this week!

NOOK Concept
Jumeirah 1, The Beach Center
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
04 265 4666
11:00AM - 9:00PM

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The STOKKE Steps - we love it!

Came home from our summer holidays to find our Stokke® Steps™ Chair waiting for us! We were excited to open up the box and experience the STOKKE Design and functionality. A lovely upgrade from our good old ikea. The Stokke Steps Chair is also from Scandinavian origin and is a total stud, beautifully designed with real functionality in mind from newborn, toddler, pre-schooler to pre-teens.

It's a transformable children’s highchair which grow your child. It’s a stylish design but is worth the hype and the price? Here’s our review and why we love it.

The big picture
A new contenders in the convertible high chair, the Stokke Steps system, which takes you from those early baby bouncer days right through proper table eating. That’s some good usage! It’s a scandivanian design, so you get a stylish, high quality piece who fit nicely in your home decor. I think it’s an upgrade in aesthetics and function from the already famous STOKKE Tripp Trapp.

Packaging & Assembly
Flat packed, the chair arrived with easy instruction to put together. Easy and straightforward, you just need the Allen key provided. I am not an expert and usually struggle with putting things together, this time, it took about 15 minutes and no headache (after a minor dumb moment and some distraction from little Jo).

Design & Aesthetics
My hubby is Swedish with a product design degree, so minimalist wooden design is kinda the look we would go for. Love that the chair is not bulky with loads of plastics elements. It’s a good looking piece of furniture. Modern, easy to clean and fit nicely at the diner table. One another plus note, the Stoke Steps Chair received the most desired and highly ranked international prize for design - The Best of the best Red Dot award in 2015.

Function and usage
The Stokke Steps can be used from new born age if you add the The Bouncer, which I think is a great feature. Josefin is 2 years old, so we went straight to the toddler stage and will probably be using it until about she’s 9 years old, i would guess. The transformable feature makes it great all in one product.

We should be using the high chair with the toddler seat - help of a harness, tray and seat-back. Our Little Jo is feeling like a big girl and actually enjoy the independence of climbing up and down at her own risk. I have seen the toddler pack and it looks comfortable and very much recommended for a toddler. The back is adjustable and you can add padding. I like that there is a tray option or can be used directly to table level.

Even though we should be using the toddler seat, we are already on the ‘grown up seat’ version , where the little one can hop on and off by herself. It has been great because my older daughter Luella who is 7 gets to also use it now and then. They both love it! We are already facing the sharing issue, but ultimately it is Josefin high chair.

The plastic parts are easy to clean, no fuss, no little corner to reach. It wipes down easily. It looks and feel durable, just like STOKKE promise.

Little boos…
The seat will not move up or down.
No harness option when you remove the toddle seat.
Pricy but would say worth the investment if you are looking for quality, design and long life function.

Totally recommend the STOKKE STEPS. The cost will be justified in the long run from new born to pre teen and from child to the next…
STOKKE - Locate your nearest retailer.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Self-Awareness: Enhance Your Child’s Self-Esteem

As a mama of two girls, I often think about the importance of raising our children with a healthy-self esteem, even just the idea of feeling good about themselves. Growing up as preschooler up to my teenager years, I was quite confident and outgoing. My parents always encouraged me, made me feel valued taking pride in my abilities and accomplishments. But as a teenager like most children I got less confidence and more self-critical. I understand that it’s part of growing up and reaching new milestone in life. But today, as a parent, I also realize that we can be pro active and help our children. We can enhance a sense of healthy self-esteem and self-acceptance to prepare them for everyday challenges.

Here's some interesting pointers from Dr. Candice Render, Educational Psychologist at the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology. I believe awareness and knowledge is prevention, so I am happy to share this feature with you.
Cultivating a healthy self-esteem for your child is key to a lifetime of well-being and happiness. Children with high self-esteem value themselves and have a more realistic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, while children with an unhealthy self-esteem, often have a hard time fitting in and don’t always have control of their emotions.

Research shows that more and more teenagers are suffering from low self-esteem, this is more prevalent in girls than boys. Statistics suggest that up to 70% of girls in Western countries suffer from low self-esteem especially when it comes to their body image. Girls as young as 10 years old are afraid of being over-weight and often compare themselves to their peers. On the other hand, the number one cause of low self-esteem with boys, is obesity.

Reasons for Low Self -Esteem
When parents are not responsive to the needs of their child, he or she can grow up without any attachment to their parents. Therefore, early nurturing is vital and helps set a child up and make him or her feel good about themselves. Moreover, if a parent is suffering from low self-esteem it tends to affect the child; a parent should never speak negatively or talk down about themselves in front of a child as this causes the child to feel that they too need to change something about themselves in order to be happy.

Way to Boost Self -Esteem
Quality time
Spend quality time with your kids. Regardless of their age, do an activity together where you give full attention to them; this will make them feel important and hence improve their self-worth.

Positive Image
Always reflect a positive image of your child. Your opinion of them counts, and they always want to please you. Thus, make sure you are giving them positive reflections.

Give Responsibility
When a child see’s that you trust them to do something, they begin to feel they are an important part of the family. For example, when a teen is helping with the dishes, he/she gets a sense of accomplishment when the job is finished.

Being Part of a Team
Children that are involved in sports or other team activities are less likely to experience low self-esteem because being part of a team gives the child a sense of belonging. It also helps them work together with others towards a common goal. Always encourage your child to express their feelings instead of hiding them. Make sure that your home is a safe zone where a child can say whatever they feel without fear of judgement.

Fabyland: new indoor attraction park for the whole family

NEW INDOOR FUN for kids! The beautiful Dubai season is upon us and we are all ready to hit the beach and the parks but this newly open indoor attraction park will make many children happy, keeping you with many fun options.

We have tried and tested last week, Fabyland in Dubai Festival City. KSA’s largest ‘Family Entertainment Destination Makers’ brings exciting indoor entertainment facility to Dubai and it's a hit! Kids loved it! From 2 years to 8 years old, everyone had a blast. I can imagine teenagers will enjoy it just as much while parents won't mind the thrill of a couple of rides. It's great, Fabyland caters for all age groups, exactly what Dubai families need.

FabyLand offers ‘Futuristic’ fun for all the family with an array of amusement rides, attractions and games to play on with friends and family. Offering the latest technology across 75,000 sq ft, the entertainment centre has 15 major rides, a MyTown area for kids to play and learn and more than 100 game machines.

FabyLand features a variety of attractions for the children which include BOUNCE N SPIN, JUMPING STAR, HAPPY SWING RIDE and a state of the art Climbing walls and family oriented attractions like BUMPER CARS and FAMILY SWING which engages not only children but also brings parents in on the fun-filled action. View here.

Some of the extreme rides include AIR RACER, MINI DISCOVERY, TOP DANCER, SUPER JUMPER and DROP N TWIST TOWER. For the teenagers, an arcade lined up with the latest video games, redemption games and novelty games further enhances the experience. An attraction like XD THEATER also assures everyone plenty of thrilling entertainment. FabyLand will also feature the Dubai exclusive DISCO ride which will whirl and twirl guests to new heights. 

Open daily from 10:00AM - 10:00PM
Located in Festival City mall next to ToysRus 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A few things this week...

Mums@Work is like a recruitment firms for mums! Its a fantastic way for women to revitalise their careers in the UAE following having children. At Mums@Work they have very simple goal – to connect talented mums to flexible work. Now launching monthly workshops to give mums support as they consider returning to the workplace. First workshop is at the InterContinental Dubai Marina on 5th October 2016, around 100 Mums@Work candidates will have the chance to network with and gain useful advice from speakers from global brands including PwC Middle East, Bayer, Mumzworld and Edelman.

Becoming a member of the Mums@Work online community allows for great benefits, from job alerts to member news and offers, as well as being the first to know about Mums@Work events and workshops. It's a great initiative and fantastic business opportunity for us mums! Love it!

♥ Don't forget last couple of days to order your Koita Organic Milk online using the promo code: dxb16 for your special 15% discount. Sincerely we love it - No Synthetic Hormones, No Antibiotics, No Artificial Pesticides and NO artificial preservatives. Offer valid until October 1st 2016.

♥ Tonight is our traditional family "Thursday Pizza & Movie Night". Gonna check SMARTFEED for family movie suggestions. Love this parenting hack for guilt-free screen time. It’s a great tool allowing parents to positively shape their kids’ mindsets through the media they consume. A smart way for parents to chase better content by making it easy for them to find movies, apps, shows, books with inspiring content! Sign up and start filtering out negative media content and show to my children the “good stuff”. Yes, positive media can impact kids’ perspectives on the world.

♥ This week the girls and I had a lovely time at Caboodle CityWalk. A favourite indoor play area with a cute beauty salon. Luella and mama enjoyed a pampering session while Little Jo took on the playground. We love it so much that we have teamed up with Caboodle to bring the chance to WIN a complimentary pass to their Freaky Friday fun science event. Go to Dubai our Sandbox Instagram for your chance to win hours of fun science workshop, face painting, goodie bag, play area and meet a Minion!

♥ Modern vintage British brand Cath Kinston is launching a new line in collaboration with Disney. The brand’s signature is to take inspiration from a variety of sources, including vintage finds, to create beautiful, distinctive prints and modern everyday products with a sense of fun and a nod to its British heritage. The brand plays host to various new ranges and services; from must-have fashion & accessories, fantastic children and baby range, fabrics, wallpapers, kitchenware, to Cath Kidston bespoke furniture upholstery service. Cath Kidston is laucnhing a limited edition of DisneyXCathKidston Collection. In stores on the 6th of October. Stay tune for some cuteness.

Happy long weekend! xo

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tips for easy wholesome kids lunch box... what I have learned!

This week, I had a lovely and informative breakfast with the Spinneys team at TasteKitchen. It was great to catch up with other mums and get some inspiration and healthy tips on good and wholesome food for our little ones tummy.

I must admit, the girls lunch boxes are quite simple and a bit repetitive. It's healthy and they eat it so I am not too concerned! But variety is not my strength and I would love to offer them more options.  That said,  Spinneys nutritionist expert Freda Molamphy explain, simple is good if you follow some simple pointers. Here's what I learn and will be applying to our daily meals.

Freda explains: " When planning a lunchbox for children, or indeed any meal in general, Mums can often get quite stressed due to the ever-increasing pressure of ensuring that the food included is balanced and healthy." Here's her simple guideline to help you prepare a balance nutritious meals for kiddies.

♥ Try to choose foods that are as close to natural as possible i.e. Minimal processing. This automatically reduces added sodium and sugars which are present in processed foods.

♥ Don’t create separate “children’s meals”. This can encourage faddy eating behavior. Give exactly what the rest of the family are having, but offer it in appropriate in serving size.

♥ Eating together as a family should also be encouraged as this creates a positive attitude to food and also encourages children to eat when they see parents and siblings enjoying the food.

♥ Variety – try to vary foods as much as possible and practical as this exposes children to a whole range of nutrients. If children eat the same foods day in day out then they only get exposure to the nutrients in same and it narrows their food experience.

♥ If children don’t eat much of their meal, accept what they have eaten but don’t offer any further snacks in “compensation” until the next meal as this can encourage a pattern of only eating snacks that they like rather than getting used to regular mealtimes.

♥ When it comes to breakfast – think outside the cereal box!! If children like foods such as meatballs, chicken, cheese, sardines on toast etc then you can offer these for a highly nutritious breakfast.

The 5 core nutrients that children should have in their lunchbox or at meals include:

Healthy Starch for energy – Wholegrain breads, bagels and tortillas, wholegrain pasta, rice, grains (quinoa, couscous, bulgur, freekeh, barley etc). Serving size can vary with the age and activity level of the child, but give less more often rather than too large a serving.

Protein for growth and overall health – Meat, Fish (especially the oily varieties such as Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, Sardines) Chicken, Eggs, Tofu, Nuts, Cheese.

Fruit for vitamins and antioxidants – a portion size is roughly the same size as the child’s hand. Don’t over feed fruit as all fruit has sugars, albeit natural sugars. Try to vary fruit also as much as possible. Berries are a powerhouse of nutrients and usually loved by children. Try to avoid too much acidic fruits such as citrus as they can be irritating for some children. Always remember that eating fruit is far better than drinking juices and kinder to teeth also.

Vegetables for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Portion size here can be larger than a child’s hand. Children often prefer raw, hand-held veggies rather than cooked. The “Sulphur” notes in broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower and cabbages, when cooked, can be off-putting for some wee folk but do keep re-introducing them on a regular basis as palates develop over time.

Dairy for Calcium – a very important part of a child’s diet in order to lay down healthy bones, teeth, hair etc. Always give full fat to younger children so that they get the valuable fat soluble vitamins A. Also, look for a milk that is fortified with Vitamin D where possible. While yogurts are a good source of calcium for children, some varieties are loaded with added sugars. The best option is to choose full fat plain yogurt and blend through some fresh fruit. A little sweetness can be added in the form of honey.

Don’t forget Hydration! The best fluids to keep children hydrated are plain water, milk or very diluted fruit juices. Avoid fizzy drinks except for special treats as they contain not only a lot of sugar but also phosphoric acid which draws calcium from young bones. You can make “cheat” version with a fizzy water and some fruit puree. offers lots of good tips and inspiring recipes for the whole family.

Check out this two Kids Lunch Box ideas with yummy recipes. I tasted the crunchy quinoa falafel and loved it! And mini miso chicken skewers.

So that was another Lunch Box post but hopefully it wrapped up all the essentials to make our mum's life a little easier. No pressure...

Super easy mini Origami - for the not so crafty mama

Get your kids into Origami, it's such a good activity to keep busy. I love that you get different level of difficulty from basic to really sophisticated. We are into entry level here... Super basic cat or dog faces kept Luella busy. As always Little Jo tagged along tearing and folding paper like an expert.

The art of folding paper can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. It's affordable, keep the brain engaged, good for coordination between hand and eyes as well as improving motor skills. Easy to do on travel journey or while waiting around on doctor appointments.

Find our simple templates from Origami-Amazing but you can find many more options on Pinterest. Got the coloured origami paper from Daiso for AED7. Then used markers and stickers to decorate. Cute and fun. Start folding mamas!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Let's get cooking with a little help from Hello Chef

This week dinners were made easy thanks to HelloChef : online meal-kit delivery service. Did you follow our InstaStories? I had fun cooking with the girls. Well Luella loved it while Little Jo tagged along making a mess. Last night dinner was super easy. Yummy tomatoes, spinach,black olives and Chili pasta. 😋 Tasty recipes and fresh ingredients to your door!

The good stuff
Eating well is made easy for you, another alternative to ready made /fast food delivery.
Fresh ingredients, great recipes delivered weekly to your home.
Easy to follow recipes.
No brainer for family on a schedule.
Less time spent at the supermarket!

How it works?
Easy to navigate
You choose the size (2, 3 or 4 people) and kind (low cal, family, veggie) of pack that suits you
No more visits to supermarket. Delivered to your door step.
You prepare easy to follow meals.

What did we eat this week?
Fried Salmon with Cauliflower Mash and Sugar Snap Peas
Beef and Pepper Wraps with Black Bean Sauce
Chicken Escalope with Greek Lemon and Garlic Potatoes
Tomato, Black Olive and Chilli Pasta

Dubai our Sandbox Family verdict
Was great not to have to think about "whats for diner tonight"! Sometime I run out of ideas...
Cut down my time at the supermarket.
Got to experience new recipes
Made a point to do a "Family Cooks Together" session . Messy but fun!
Fresh ingredients. Salmon was really good. The Beef was from Prime Gourmet. Wish we could have an organic option on the chicken and eggs.

4 recipes × 3 people = 12 meals / week
Price per meal (approx) AED 29Weekly
Total AED 350

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cherrios Necklace for munchkins

Cherrios necklace and how to keep the little 'snakers' busy while on the go!
Think supermarket shopping made easier, a little easier...
Get your older kids in the family to put it together. Double entertainment!

Pretty self-explanatory directions and supplies.
Just string the Cherrios onto string, ribbon or twine.
Get the toddler to wear as a necklace.

Little Jo happily munched away while mama picked her grocery.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Great Parenting hack for guilt-free screen time: SmartFeed

Media is increasingly everywhere…especially in front of our children. Do you ask yourself how much screen time is too much? Are you concern with what’s being ‘fed’ to our children. Sure you do, we all do.

Still, I am the first one to admit using tech gadgets to entertain my children because they are convenient. A 2015 survey of 1,000 British mothers of children aged 2 to 12 found that 85 percent of mums admit to using technology to keep the kids occupied while they get on with other activities. Maybe I might have also encouraged the girls to pick up the iPad to get tech-savy?

So yes, it’s important to control the amount of time spent in front of screen. What’s also essential is the content of what's being watch. Instead of just filtering out bad content, it’s time to drive positive content to them. I don't mind Luella watching "My Little Pony" over and over, its very cute and the messages are all positive, the lessons are valuable but let's open the door to new variety of engaging possibilities.

As a mom, I want my children to be inspired, to be encourage to great new adventures and see the world in a positive and valuable mindset. I understand it’s my job as a parent to do so but I am also happy to rely on digital media as a powerful tool. There is so much disappointing and even dangerous programs, show and general content out there but there is also some inspiring, fun, educational and engaging kids’ digital media.

How can I filter out the negative media content and show to my children the “good stuff”. Where do I find the positive media to impact my kids’ perspectives on the world? 

SmartFeed might be the answer. Recently I came across this parenting hack for guilt-free screen time. It’s a great tool allowing parents to positively shape their kids’ mindsets through the media they consume. A smart way for parents to chase better content by making it easy for them to find movies, apps, shows, books. I have signed up!

How it work? Set up profiles for your children to customize media lists by interests they love (Animals, Music, Sports, …), academic topics you support (Coding, Writing, Geography, ..) and values (Empathy, Gratitude, …). SmartFeed will fill your feed with hundreds of movies, shows, apps and books matching your topics, your children’s ages and – clearing any “Watch outs” like violence or profanity you’d like to avoid. Make "playlists", get recommendations, download and allow your children dedicated time to watch curated programs.

Here’s some featured “playlists” to get started. “Inspire your Daughter” and “Kids Movies: The Best Movies for Teaching Values” are my first pick to beginning with. Make it work for you and your children. It gives me ideas of movies to watch as family on our 'Thursday Family Movie Night'. It also inspires Luella to learn about new subjects or watch a programs she never thought or heard about before. 

I hope you will find SmartFeed a useful tool for your family. I truly believe its a great initiative, a great way to manage kids’ usage and connect to what they’re consuming. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Shop online : Koita Organic Milk - promo code

You know about our favourite Organic Milk , KOITA?! If not read more here
Sincerely we love it - No Synthetic Hormones, No Antibiotics, No Artificial Pesticides and 
NO artificial preservatives. Great tasting milk, from grass fed, free range cows from Italy where the soil produce nutritious pasture. Well the news is out, it's now available online! 
Place your order and get free delivery in the UAE.

We have teamed up with Koita to bring you a special 15% discount on your next 
online order towards Koita Organic Milk. 
www. Just use the promo code: dxb16
Offer valid until October 1st 2016. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Letter to Josefin

Dear Josefin,

I should say “ Dear Jojo”, that’s how we call you.
Today at the indoor playground the lady asked you “Whats your name?” First time you answer that question. And Jojo was your reply.

On the occasion of your 2nd birthday this month, I was reading one of our blog post dated September 1st, one day before your arrival: Love for two. 

It got me to the core, as I was going through it. Closer to my due date, I kept wondering “ how can I love this child as much as our first one! Luella has changed our life in amazing ways, to me, she is the meaning of love – and life. I know I will dearly love my new baby, there is no question about it, but the concept of loving again and as much has not settled in yet. “ Well your pappa and I, we sure love you and the wondering did not last. In a blink when the nurse put you on my chest for the first time… I knew.

Then going through another blog post from February 2015, “5 months - a great journey” which was based on an article I wrote for Time Out Kids about being a mum second time around. " Five years since my last pregnancy, I am rediscovering the joy and surprises of motherhood. Being a new mama is a bit like being on a roller coaster. I easily hit some highs and a few lows everyday. I had forgotten about the constant mix of emotions from exhilarating pleasure to nail-biting frustration. But in the lowest moments you can always find sweet coos and little goodness to cheer you up.” I liked this feature, it was about the clichés and struggles of motherhood which were my reality.

The thing is, I truly love being a mama. It’s not easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and we have to get up every day and do it all over again. I take it as privilege. Parenting the second time around is different, I take things more lightly and I became less of a dictator with the schedule and the healthy food. I also seem to hang on to all the sweet moments, because I know how fast it all fly by.

I enjoy you so much, well most time. You are a handful, busy and always on the go. Coming into the terrible twos, you are a roller coaster of emotions from happy to devastated in a blink. You got some issues sharing your stuff, we are working on that and your loud “voice”. You like to let people know how you feel loudly. What I like the most, are your facial and corporal expressions, you communicate a lot that way. You are something special of a character. To me anyway!

I am so grateful to have you and your sister. My heart is full and I feel content with you both. I feel complete. 

Happy birthday chérie. 
Je t’aime, maman.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Miracle Morning: 6 minutes to change your life

I am a morning person. I usually don’t mind waking up early on the exemption of party nights or if I played the night owl game. The reality is, I love mornings.

I wake up before the alarm. I dread waking up with a BEEP BEEP BEEP, worst way to start my day. I must have trained my body to wake up a few minutes before the alarm clock! Even on weekend, I love being up before everyone to enjoy the quite house, get some me time or work on the blog.

During the week, on any school run day I would wake up at 6am and get myself sorted then the girls. Its fine, it worked out just fine. I am grateful that I can wake up and start the day without rolling out of bed like a zombie, wondering around mindlessness before my coffee. I like mornings and more could be done to about it! I recently felt I could use this small habilitilty to my advantage and maybe, be more efficient and productive.

No. In reality, my mornings do not look like that but in my mind for a couple of minutes it's pretty close. 

And that’s how I came across: The (6-minute) Miracle Morning -, a Personal Development technique based on a simple to follow (minimum of) 6 minutes morning routine. I hear you, you might not want to add steps to your already very busy and stressful morning?! But the author shows how such a small time investment can be such a powerful tool. “Hal Elrod is a genius and his book The Miracle Morning has been magical in my life. What Hal has done is taken the 'best practices'—developed over centuries of human consciousness development—and condensed the 'best of the best; into a daily morning ritual. A ritual that is now part of my day.” -- ROBERT KIYOSAKI, #1 bestselling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Intrigued? Here’s a very concentrate idea of Hal Elrod routine.
Imagine that the first six minutes of every morning begins like this…

Minute One… (Silence)
Imagine waking up in the morning, and instead of rushing carelessly into your hectic day—feeling stressed and overwhelmed—imagine that you instead spend the first minute sitting in purposeful Silence. Take the time to be in the moment and develop a sense of peace, purpose, and direction…

Minute Two… (Affirmations)
Daily Affirmations—the ones that remind you of your unlimited potential and your most important priorities—and you read them out loud from top to bottom. Focus and get motivated.

Minute Three… (Visualization)
You close your eyes and you visualize. Your Visualization could include your goals, what it will look and feel like when you reach them.

Minute Four… (Scribing)
Take a minute to write down what you’re grateful for, what you’re proud, and the results you’re committed to creating for that day. Doing so, you put yourself in an empowered, an inspired, and confident state of mind.

Minute Five… (Reading)
Then, you grab your self-help book and invest one miraculous minute reading a page or two. You learn a new idea, something that you can implement into your day. You discover something new that you can use to feel better—to be better.

Minute Six… (Exercise)
Finally, you stand up and you spend the last minute, doing jumping jacks for 60 seconds and getting your heart rate up and getting energized and waking yourself up and increasing your ability to be alert and to focus.

Overall I like the idea of showing us how to to wake up each day with more ENERGY, MOTIVATION, and FOCUS to take life to the next level. I think everyone would benefit from this routine. Like any knowledge acquire, you take and make it your own. Tweak it, to make it work best for you.

Since last month, my morning routine includes Hal Elrod technique but I skip the Scribbling and Reading spending more time on Silence, Affirmation and Exercise.

I make the time - 10 minutes most days - for a new kind of me time. I love it. It’s time to WAKE UP to our full potential…

Guess I am being a little bit more "soul of a gypsy, heart of a hippie" and less Rock n' Roll... Lets see how long it last. Maybe it's just part of the good intentions that come with the month of September.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Coconut Water Coolers

Inspired by those beautiful summer coolers from Pureella, we made some super easy and kids healthy ice lollies. There’s nothing like a cold, refreshing popsicle in the heat of our lovely Dubai.Super simple and made with real ingredients that you’ll love. All are dairy and refined sugar free.

Kids will love to experiments with the ingredients and find the right combo. Our version was a success but while Little Jo sucked up the ice lollies on no time, Luella was contemplating skipping the fruits in favour of gummy bears. And we all agree, kiwi did not freeze well, pick sweet and juicy fruits instead! 

How to:
Chop up mix your choice of fruits (berries, peace, mango, papaya, ...)
Combine all fruit in a mixing bowl and place in your favorite popsicle mold. Pour enough coconut water in each mold to just cover the fruit.
Dash Agave Nectar if required.
Freeze overnight.

We use our favourite coconut water : Go Coco 

More ideas for the little ones - 50 homemade ice lollies.

Happy tummy, happy kid.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mama's thought of the day

There is days when I think, I am doing pretty good and I got the mama game on point and some days I wonder what the hell I am doing. Well this week was a bit like that.

Quote: "A bad moment or a bad day doesn't make you a bad parent" and "there is days you feel like you have failed but in the eye, mind and heart of your little one you are super mom". Bang! I am good then!

Have a good weekend! A 9 days family weekend! Eid mubarak!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - luxury online shopping for little ones

Been shopping for the girls! While back to school season is on and I should probably focus on all the beautiful collections for the new season… I shopped some super cute swimming ‘necessities’ because it’s always summer here in Dubai.

Dubai has a great selection of shopping destinations for children but sometime you rely on e-commerce. Favourite online shopping is an international e-tailer hailing from Paris, France and delivers its exclusive shopping edits of luxury children wear with their top tier service of express worldwide shipping to your very own doorstep. Love it’s trend reports and kid wear news. A super world of digital fashion for the smallest of fashionistas!

Looking for that special little outfit, Melijoe represents 100 brands like Paul Smith Junior, Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney Kids, Petit Bateau and loads more… You are sure to find something exquisite.

Melijoe is an international e-tailer hailing from Paris making its mark in the Middle Eastern market. The luxury online retailer has now launched in Arabic. Catering to its large Arabic speaking audience this allows users to choose between the language options for a more positive and user-friendly shopping experience. Easy shopping also include express shipping, delivering directly to your doorstep within the UAE. Our order took less then 48h arriving pronto to our door step.

Happy shopping!