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.

spinneys-dubai.com 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 www.hellochef.me
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!
Convenience!
Fresh ingredients. Salmon was really good. The Beef was from Prime Gourmet. Wish we could have an organic option on the chicken and eggs.

Price
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.
#parenthacks!



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. koita.com. 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 - HalElrod.com, 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

Melijoe.com - 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 http://www.melijoe.com 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!




Sunday, September 4, 2016

Barney and friends at Mattel Play! Town Dubai

Last Friday, we took our little Josefin out to meet our favourite buddy Barney the dinosaur. On the occasion of her birthday, we took a family tour into the world of Mattel Play Town. Success both girls  had a great time and us parents survived. Actually we all had a good time and would definitely recommend it!

Mattel Play! Town is a fun-filled ‘eduplay’ attraction for children between 2 and 10 years. The family indoor destination features engaging and stimulating play experiences built around five world-renowned brands: Barneyᵀᴹ, Thomas & Friendsᵀᴹ, Bob the Builderᵀᴹ, Angelina Ballerinaᵀᴹ, and Fireman Samᵀᴹ. Children will love the live shows, creating long-lasting memories. 

Why kids love it and parents will approve? "Mattel Play! Town is based on the innovative ‘eduplay’ concept that integrates play-based learning and highlights the importance of stimulating children’s imagination and love for fantasy to facilitate the development of social skills."

Mattel Play! Town welcomes visitors from 10am to 10pm daily. The popular destination can be quite busy, but like us head over there on a Friday morning at 10am and pack up by 1pm and you will be just fine. Enjoy a coffee while kids watch the show, get involved in the play activities and time will fly while happy kids build great memories. 

As well as the five play zones and live shows, Mattel Play! Town also features a 4D cinema and birthday party rooms, making it an ideal venue to host children’s parties. Tickets are priced at AED95 for children and AED55 for accompanying adults, and are available online or the ticketing booth at Mattel Play! Town. For more information, please visit playtowndubai.com


Little Jo turned 2


Happy Birthday Josefin!
This weekend we celebrated Little Jo turning 2.
We kept the celebration really small and easy because that's just what we needed.
Walked in Josefin bedroom with cake, balloons and presents for breakfast.
And that was our kinda party!

This little family affair took us to more fun later in the morning at 
Mattel Play Town in Citywalk to meet Josefin big buddy Barney.
It was a great family playdate and huge hit with the girls.

That's it! Another birthday has passed.
She's our little angel with an attitude and definitely wear her heart on her sleeve. 
Bring on 'the terrible twos'! We will survive and actually I look forward to it. 
She might test limits and disagree with papa and mama but she's also developing 
more of a desire to please and follow rules. Or is it my wishful thinking?! 
We love you little Jo
xoxo

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New family attraction: The Green Planet, Dubai

There is a new family destination in town! With high temperatures still going on in Dubai, you will be happy to explore this new indoor attraction with the children. It's the region first indoor tropical forest. The Green Planet at Citywalk is a fantastic recreational and educational bio-dome. We had a sneak peek this week before the grand opening on September 1st. Lucky us, we took a tour of the lush tropical forest featuring over 3,000 stunning plants and animals. We loved it!


A great intimate and unique sensory experience for the family. The Green Planet will take you on a journey into the very heart of a tropical forest, to give a glimpse of the inner workings of an ecosystem. From the ‘Flooded Forest’ for a first look of the extraordinary forest floor, complete with a giant aquarium filled with species such as arapaima, arowana and stingrays. Visitors are then guided to the top of the bio-dome where they are presented with a magical panoramic view of the largest indoor, man-made and life-sustaining tree in the world. As visitors slowly descend through the biome, via a winding path alongside its periphery, they will have unique encounters with exotic and tropical animals. From magestic South American toucans and crocodile lizards to pre-hensile tailed porcupines.



Horticulturist Rob Halpern added, “The Green Planet is an ecology museum, and we want visitors to both have a good time, see something beautiful, but also learn something important about nature, and the way nature works. There is a great deal of life, a great deal of diversity, and that’s why this ecology museum in Dubai centres on the tropical forest as it is to best tell the story of an ecosystem.”

Children will love exploring into the fascinating flora, exotic insects and animals while as parents we can underline the importance of nature preservation and raise awareness for the delicate balance of nature and the preciousness of our planet.

The Green Planet Dubai
Daily 10am – 10pm (weekend 10am - 12am)
Located at CITY WALK Dubai
AED95 for adults and AED70 for children 2 – 12 years.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Al Bustan Palace in Muscat - A Ritz Carlton Experience ♥


Looking for your next family escape? A mini break for the next Eid holidays coming up? Let me tell you about our weekend in the beautiful  Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton property. You might be inspired by it's unique mix of old, new traditional elegance and family friendly atmosphere.

On a personal note, our visit to Al Bustan Palace last weekend was quite special for me. About 20 years ago, I came to Muscat with my family and stay in this beautiful resort. I have lovely memories of our time. Coming back now, as a wife and mother of two little girls and being invited as a blogger to share our experience is part of the great circle of life. I am very grateful for this turn of event.


Al Bustan Palace, also called the Jewel of the Sultanate, opened in 1985 for the first GCC Summit in the Sultanate of Oman. The imposing building stand strong against a dramatic backdrop with the rugged Al Hajar Mountains and the pristine Sea of Oman. Conveniently located only one hour flight from Dubai, Muscat offers many beautiful attractions to explore: "Clifftop landmarks such as the 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, looming over Muscat Harbor. Its modern, marble-clad Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, with 50m dome and prodigious Persian carpet, can accommodate 20,000 people." 

The palace lobby is impressive by it's scale, shimmering gold walls and the grandeur of the glistering chandeliers. The rest of the hotel is more traditional of a Ritz Carlton resort. We stayed in an Executive Suite with Mountain view, perfect for a family of four, very plush and comfortable.



With 200 acres of lush beachfront and gardens, a 50-meter infinity pool, and the longest private beach in Muscat, Al Bustan Palace Ritz-Carlton Hotel offers many options for the family to be entertained. We spent most of our day by the main pool surrounded by lush palm trees. Our perfect spot was between the children pool (perfectly shallow for little Jo to paddle around), the sandy beach and the main infinity pool. I love, how close the beach is to the swimming pool and the bar. It's so convenient with little ones constantly exploring.
There is some fun watersports activities offered by the beach club, such as catamaran excursions, kayak safari, and snorkeling with a video of your underwater experience. Luella and papa went out kayaking and snorkelling around the rocks. They got to see a puffer fish and enjoy some quality time together.


 The Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace is a family destination. A beautiful resort where children are special guests with privileges. On arrival, Luella and Josefin got to do their own fun checkin at the Ritz Kids counter. They were surprised to discover a very special set up in their room. The in-room kids tent package has been created to add more family fun in the room, and can be personalized for the young pirates and princesses visiting Oman. Luella loved the tent set up over her bed decorated with balloons, soft toys, personalised letter and bedtime stories.
 
Al Bustan Palace will make sure, little ones are entertained. No Kids Club room, but the Ritz Kids children’s program. Ritz-Carlton propose a collection of inspiring, educational and most importantly engaging activities. Read the list of activities. The warm weather kept the girls indoor during "Ritz Kids time" but the crafty and environmental activities like Leaf Arts and Recycle Arts was a hit! We missed out on Indoor Ball Games, Origami and Aerobics... next time!



While Luella enjoyed creating her summer scrap book with Janette from the kids activity centre, Josefin had some quality time with papa by the pool sipping on a milkshake. Treat! Me? I had the chance to enjoy my own kind of treat at the Six Senses Spa. Beautifully designed surrounded by the mountains, the spa is a total wellness destination. Reflective of traditional Omani design like an ancient Arabian fort, heavy wooden doors for the imposing entrance. Inside the soft, elegant and minimal interior is just beautiful and inspire relaxation and peace. 

The 90 minutes body massage was just what mama needed to relaxed some knotted shoulders and stressed lower back. Perfectly done with  smooth but firm strokes. The acupressure and skin rolling were the perfect combination to feel relaxed but also rejuvenate. Bliss. 
Full spa menu  and details here.


video


On Saturday after a lovely breakfast on the terrace facing the infinity pool, we took a ride to the Marina. We could not leave Muscat, without a boat trip along the gorgeous coast. The waters around Oman are filled with extensive marine life and one of the most familiar sights is the dolphins. We were lucky to see many dolphins swimming, jumping around our boat. It was a lovely experience and all very exciting for the children. Such fun adventures that both girls fell asleep on the ride back to the hotel. Al Bustan Palace will book for you the Dolphin watching boat trip, it last about two hours and cost around OMR 17.000 Per adults / OMR 10.000 child, which include transfer from the hotel and refreshments. 

Dubai our Sandbox Family Verdict: 
- Lovely resort only one hour flight from Dubai.
- Peaceful and relaxing Al Bustan Palace is not the busy resort with Friday Brunch music in the background. It offers a more tranquil approach for the family.
- Weather was amazing! About 10C to 12C degrees less then in Dubai, we enjoyed our breakfasts, lunches and dinners outdoors! Priceless.
- Unfortunately, during our visit two of the restaurants were closed (Beach Pavilion and China Mood). We had breakfast and dinner at Al Kiran terrace. The all-day dining experience with a large buffet, live cooking stations and themed nights. Hubby and I are not fans of buffet set up but it was well prepared and appetizing. We enjoyed it just like the girls. I believe the currently closed restaurants will be open again next month.
- Lovely family resort, with plenty of family time but also enough for children to to participate in fun, educational activities and adults to kick back and enjoy the facilities. We sure did! Thanks for having us. Look forward to be back.

Summer Package:
Better Together: Enjoy three nights’ stay when you pay for two.*
Additional benefits include:
Complimentary accommodation and dining for up to two children under the age of 12
Daily breakfast
20% savings in select hotel restaurants (30% savings for Ritz-Carlton Rewards members)
25% savings on select spa treatments
Ritz Kids® activities
Complimentary WIFI
*The free night will be reflected as a 33 percent discount on each night.
Package available for stays between May 15, 2016 - September 17, 2016.
Information and reservations: reservationsalbustan@ritzcarlton.com ; Tel: +968 24 799 666




Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our choice for Back to School Shoes: Clarks Kids


The last couple of years, I have been recommending Clarks shoes for Back to School season. I believe in the traditional shoemaking skill along innovation. With a proper shoe fitting with iPad technology and a good quality shoe, Luella kept her school shoes for a whole year! I guess 170 years of experience will go just that! 

Currently the Back to School offer is on, buy any 2 pairs of kids shoes and get 1 free. 



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Postcard from our Summer Holidays in South of France




Saying Goodbye to Nice and the Côte d'Azur this morning. 
After a really lovely time with friends and family and an emotional time after the tragic 14th of July. The last part of our summer travel take us back to Sweden. We are looking forward to see the family, settle in our new house, celebrate Josefin's baptism and W birthday. 
Let's do it! Hej Sverige. 

Happy summer everyone!
Emily, Luella and Jo
xoxo


Monday, July 18, 2016

Postcards from our Summer Holidays

First part of our summer was in South Sweden with family celebrating the traditional Midsommar festivities. Read more about the beautiful festivity in a previous blog post - here.
We enjoyed some lovely walks on the wild beaches and gorgeous forest.
The highlight of our stay was moving into our summer house, a beautiful home in Viken. 
A cosy spot on the beach to start making new memories with friends and family. 
Exciting time!


Second part of our travel took us to Kronberg Germany to visit the cousins. We had a wonderful time visiting Lochmuhleropal zoo park, Opel Zoo and watching the Euro 2016 Football games on TV. We got to celebrate  France against Germany in semi final and got all worked up and dressed up to watch the final, where unfortunately France lost against Portugal. It was all good fun!
Wonderful family memories.

Next South of France!

Happy summer to you all.
Love from Emily, Luella and Josefin


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Off we go... Happy Summer everyone


Tomorrow our  Summer travels will begin!
From the wild beaches of South Sweden, to country side Germany to Provence and 
the French Riviera we will be busy with friends and family.

We love you Dubai, but really right now we are too excited to miss you!
Wishing you all a beautiful summer.

Keep in touch and follow our adventures 
on Instagram and Snapchat.

#DSBsummertravel

Love, 
Emily, Luella and Josefin
xoxo

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Merino Go Go Bag, the Superstar of the sleeping bags


Do you have well established sleeping routine for your baby or toddler? Did you set up some daily habits or sleeping cues to make bed time easier? Children just like adults like the comfort of routine and habits. I believe sleeping cues are very useful to put the little angels to bed, making sure to choose some 'good' habits. A good sleep cue from a bad one? Bad sleep cues are inconvenient, demanding on you, and hard to wean, while good cues are easy to use and easy to wean.

What worked for our girls? Creating a familiar and comforting sleep cues. In the early months, we used a snug swaddle, white noise then we moved on the sleeping bag, pacifier and a favourite comfort toy 'doggy'. Wherever we go I will need those three things for a peaceful night. Those three sleeping cues are only available to my daughter Josefin at bed time, so they became a strong sleep association. 

Next step getting the pacifier to go! Any suggestions? 

At about 22 months Josefin is still happy in a sleeping bag... Unfortunately most of sleeping bags available on the market stop at size 18 months. It's been difficult to find a bag for children age +2.

Babysouk.com came to the rescue! They offer a good selection of bedding, swaddles sleeping bags, and linens... We love the The Merino Kids™ Go Go Bag™ is a 100% natural sleep bag, made from the finest natural Merino wool and 100% certified organic cotton. Known for its natural ability to regulate body temperature by capturing and circulating air to insulate child when the room temperature falls, and releasing excess body heat and moisture as the room temperature rises. Child stays warm and dry without overheating.

Top of the range, sleeping bag. Go Go Bag is not cheap but with its clever merino wool technology, you can use it all year round, making it more cost effective. The merino is very soft and warm yet breathable. It doesn't make the children sweaty. The beautiful quality is long lasting  and the size from 0 to 2 years old and 2 to 4 years is also great value in the long run. We also love the special vent in it to put the car seat strap through. It’s particularly great for journeys without disturbing her sleep as the bag has a special vent in it to put the car seat strap through.

The international award winning Go Go Bag available at Babysouk.com
Retail from AED400