Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Our new Hacker kitchen : heart and soul of the house

This is it! An overdue blogpost about our new kitchen. About four months in the new house now, we have finally settled. We love the new dynamic of our family life around this new favourite space in the house. Here's the final results and also some before and during photos to show you the process.

I did a quick inquiry around friends and search on Instagram looking for quality kitchen manufacturer available in Dubai. I came across Hacker, luxury kitchen engineered in Germany.
The brand is known for it's quality and design but also function. Making a kitchen look good is one thing - making it work well is another. We decided to trust that their world renowned quality was the solution to our new home investment.

On our first visit to the Hacker showroom, we had in mind some aesthetic but we also felt so comfortable with the designer that we could let him do his job and present to us his vision. My requirement were, " a big open space, bright and white, a family space with lots of storage to hide the mess". I think David, senior design at Hacker absolutely delivered our request and beyond that.

The design process was effortless, we approved the design within a week and choose all the different finishes and appliances shortly after that. The team was great to advise us on what would work best for our needs based on design, function and quality. They have a large selection high quality door and top finishes available to satisfy a variety of budgets. We picked high gloss white cabinets with a light grey stone composite as a counter top. The inserts, clever corner units and soft closer drawers were all part of the design, making the kitchen very functional. They have the technology to find solution and to optimize space, we loved the carousel units for example to fully use our corner space.

The Hacker team can recommend contractors to do the initial work, what I would call the prep job. They were able to co-ordinate with our contractors, making the process relatively smooth. Communication during this kind of stressful project is so important, thankfully the Hacker team is always receptive and ready to step up.

Regarding timing, it took less then two weeks to approve the design layout, the finishes and appliances. After placing the order and first payment, it took about six weeks for the kitchen to reach Dubai. The Hacker team was on site to coordinate with our contractors making sure all was ready for the installation. It took just over a week for the installation to be done, but the team came back a couple of time later for some finishing touches and some tweaking. Again, the process was relatively painless and efficient. We were lucky that all was done before we moved in the house.

The Hacker showroom, is part of Innerspace, a design company based in Dubai. They have a great selection of brands. The portfolio include Kaiser kitchen, Hulsta and Rolf Benz, and also lighting, rugs, flooring and accessories.

During the design process of our kitchen, we came across a flooring solution that was displayed in the Hacker Showroom. We were looking at wood flooring to be installed throughout our new house. We were introduced to Hürne flooring, high-quality and innovative products on the basis of new technologies. I truly believe that flooring is a crucial part of the home decor, so I was very excited to discover Hürne Luxury Vinyl Tiles as our new flooring option. We choose the light wood effect for its warm and elegant feel. It might not be wood but it looks great and feel great. We trust that it has a durability and long-term life. The product is convenient, it can be installed directly on top of your original tiling, no need to removed the old flooring making the installation process quicker and easier. It's also well priced, our option retails for about AED220/sqm. We had our kitchen floor installed and loved it so much that we went back to Hacker and ordered Hürne Luxury Vinyl Tiles for the rest of the house.

Home renovations are always a little scary, stressful, time consuming and expensive. It's a commitment but looking back at it, I have no regrets and I am truly grateful we achieved our dream kitchen. The space is becoming our favourite family hangout, a great entertaining area with friends and with no doubt the heart and soul of our new home.

If you are looking into Kitchen renovation, you should consider Hacker or maybe Kaiser kitchen the sister company. And if you need more feedback back or words of encouragement please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Birkenstock love for kids and mamas... and a few styling tips!

Back in Dubai and already at the mall shopping! Getting stuff for back to school is a way to get the children excited for the new school year. On the wish list, new lunch box and water bottles while the mandatory pit stop at the uniform shop is more daunting.

Sometime mums also need to get back to school ready, right? So this week we stopped by Birkenstock, our favourite summer family sandals brand is gearing up for the new season with a back to school offer. We had a peek at the collection...

Lots of good old classic in navy, black, beige and metallic silver... Luella picked a pair of silver slides and Josefin a pair of pink snake skin printed patter - both very cute but you would agree that the girls did not let go of the summer vibes... To my surprise Birkenstock also carry a range of school shoes. Definitely worth checking out.

Currently on offer in store... "buy one get half on the second one" offer on the Back to School

I am so happy with my classic black slides. They are definitely the most comfortable mum shoes! Their well designed footbed sets them apart because it’s built for lasting comfort and told to your foot shape. Birkenstock can be so versatile, there is plenty ways to style them to avoid the frumpy hippie look. 

Here's some basic tips on how to get the cool new effortless look with your birks. I will work it on the school run... hopefully, cause I am no expert! Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration...

♥ Always show your ankles! Pair it with cropped or cuffed jeans, shorts, dresses... to keep things feminine and light.
♥ Birkenstock is not the sexy shoe type so play with the feminine side to balance out the look. Experiment with fresh patterns, flower prints, nautical stripes, soft material, embroideries,...
♥ Accessories to lift the look to casual cool
♥ Perfect pedi! Yep sorry but freshly painted toes in bold or glossy neutral colours or are a must.

Happy feet for Happy Mums on the school run... 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fun Party at Dubai Bowling Centre

Looking for a fun venue for your next kids party?! You might want to look into Dubai Bowling Centre, it's a cool option for kids of all ages.

Last weekend, my girls celebrated end of school year with a Jump Up Party. It was a fun morning for kids aged from 4 to 10... everybody mingled and had a good laugh together. There is a a
multitude of packages and customizability themes to please celebrants. The DBC was recently refurbished, we love the bright and happy trampoline area, the classic bowling lines and super fun arcade games zone with VR Zone. Some serious fun for the whole family!

JUM UP PARTY (trampoline fun)

Party host
30 mins free-jump with coach
2 Party Games with prizes
30 min arcade access, all rides , VR Zone, select video games

Private Party Hall with Stage & LED Dance Floor
Music & Party lights
Balloon decoration
Photo backdrop with celebrant’s name

YAMU kids’ meal
Juice box & water

AED 2,600 for 20 kids

Get in touch for more info about Strike Party, Game On Party and all the party possibilities!
Thank you team DBC, you made lots of kids very happy! Great memories.

Dubai Bowling Center
Al Quoz 1, Meydan Rd - Dubai
04 339 1010

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Chloe's Beauty Salon - cute, convenient and affordable ♥

It might not be new on the block, but this is my new little gem in town. A convenient and affordable salon for mamas and their little ones! This week we tested Chloe's beauty salon located on Jumeirah Beach Road it's a bright, clean and friendly salon perfect for easy pampering. They do hair treatments, beauty treatments, massages, spray tan, eyelashes and more .... (list)

Chloe's open at 7.30am perfect after school drop off or early-bird emergency, while the afternoons are more busy with 'mommy and mini me' treatments, kids hair cuts and even little girls beauty parties (checkout their photo gallery for inspiration)

Took the girls for a hair cut, getting our self ready for summer holidays! Perfectly set up in the children corner with cute decor and all the iPads needed to keep the little ones still. The girls enjoyed cookies and juice while mama had a coffee - Thank you! A simple kids haircut is AED50, while the wash, cut and blow-dry package is about AED120.

Two happy little girls being pampered...

Getting myself ready for summer, I was in need of a facial, a good skin treatment to deep clean my congested pores and get back some healthy glow. Chloe's offer two kind of Dermalogica facial (475AED and AED550), your therapist can advise you. I absolutely enjoyed the treatment, from face analysis, cleanse, exfoliation, extractions, high-frequency treatment, massage, masque... I got exactly what I needed a deep clean and a more hydrated and luminous skin. Good to know, you will find this Dermalogica treatment from Chloe's in the Entertainer 2 for the price of 1! #DSBrecommends

The no makeup no filter shot! Feeling very happy about my deep cleaning and rehydrated skin.

Chloe's Beauty Salon
Jumeirah Beach Road
next to BurgerFuel, opposite Saga World.

Sunday to Thursday 7AM – 9PM
Friday to Saturday 9AM – 9PM
+971 4 388 4884

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Annilein Bracelets - cute gift idea made Dubai

Adorable little gift ideas! Absolutely love this little bracelets handmade and custom made in Dubai. Annilein Bracelets are specially made for kids, with wooden beads from Germany with names, initials, charms... From sweet bracelets for little girls, the collection has expended to a woman line.

We had a lovely time creating our own design and choosing colour combination. You can find Annilein Bracelet at ARTE, the Makers’ Market , you must check her Instagram page to checkout the dates and all her lovely creations.

Also available via ToyBox.

Happiness is Handmade ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Family Safari in Kenya - The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille in Laikipia

Africa, you were on top of my bucket list for years! I was dreaming off one day experiencing the wilderness and beauty of scenery from the movie Out of Africa. The idea to go on a family safari had been delay by fear of having children too young for the adventures. While my 40th birthday was approaching, I decided to look into it again and find a way to make it work for us. My mind was set to celebrate this milestone birthday with my family in Africa, close to Nature. We made it happen and it was a memorable experience as an individual (it's very humbling) and as a family (bonding time). Here's why and where we went, how it was and why we would recommend it.
♥ ♥ ♥

We are not really adventurous, would like to think that we are but we like our comfort and things to be safe and within our comfort zone. Going to Africa on a Safari was my wish, my birthday present, something I wanted to share with my family. Planning this trip, I felt very responsible for my choices.

I knew, what my priorities were and I could work around it. Now I needed help and advise on how to make it work. I had worked before with Lightfoot Travel on a family travel feature (read here), so I decided to call them up. And that's how our magical journey to Kenya took shape...

I gave Victoria our lovely and dedicated African Travel Expert a short brief.
- Going to Africa on a family Safari
- No malaria or Yellow fever to worry about
- Limited amount of time in a car for game drives ( I knew, 6 hours in a car on a bumpy road and waiting silently to see a lion would not work with my 3 years old)
- Relaxed and flexible schedule
- Travel time must be efficient, we are only going for 4 nights

Her answer was Kenya, in the Laikipia region. The suggestion was a beautiful retreat at The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille.

Located in Northern Kenya, on the Laikipia Plateau with a distant view over the Mount Kenya, the lodge offers a stunning view, 360degres panorama of wilderness. You are truly in a far remote location surrounded by Nature. The lodge is on a wooded rocky heel, very charming. The private conservation has four private full-service, fully staffed villas (butler, cook, housekeeping, guide) . The four private villas are one, two or three bedrooms and are all individually designed with different themes. We decided to stay in The Sultan Villa, a charming cosy but very large one bedroom. We loved the Swahili design elements like plaster carvings, the unique artifacts and furniture, the craftsmanship of the tightly-plaited papyrus thatched roof and the rocky walls. The villa consist of really large bedroom, dressing area and bathroom. Across a courtyard there is a huge lounge and dining area with a terrace and another shower room. It was perfect for us with the girls, they had set up very comfortable "put up beds" for the children and we all had a cosy, unique and charming space for our self. The lodge categories under luxury resort but it's all unpretentious, it's charming from mix match decor and eclectics elements.

The girls felt like we were living in a tree house, from the terrace we could admire the hills, the plains, Mount Kenya in the distance with its snowy peek and a watering hole where elephants are said to come for a drink. Truly beautiful.

It's an all inclusive fee, which include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner with all the drinks. The staff is always available to help and accommodate. The food was good, home cooking, made to our taste and preferences. Breakfast with fruits, eggs and pancakes was always a hit. Lunch consisted of fresh salads and homemade bread. Elegant dinners were prepared and set up with candles every nights in different locations (outdoor deck, the library, our room and in the Bush).

One of our best memory is our sundowners on top of hill, watching the vast wilderness and a stunning sunset before the rain arrived. It was so dramatic and very magical. We drove back to lodge in the rain so excited by the stormy unreal weather. The staff took the initiative to set up dinner for us in the library by the fireplace, and organized the Lion King animation movie for us to watch as a family after dinner.

Another must do is the bush dinner under the vast starry African skies, surrounded by wilderness. We could hear the hyenas in the distance and on the walk back to the lodge with our lanterns we were searching for a leopard with our Maasai guide. You can imagine the excitement...

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille does not focus on game drives. In fact it's often recommended as an add on destination after a busy safari experience in the iconic Masai Mara. The Laikipia region offers less animal viewing but the relative scarcity of game here becomes an advantage because it allows you to experience Africa and the community in different way. We never took off for a full day drive, we had our personnel Maasai guide/chauffeur to take us around the bush and experience the wilderness at our own pace, which is exactly what we wanted with young children. Maybe less but still plenty to see... Everyday we saw many elephants, zebras, kudus, egeals, antelopes, even baboons, klipspringers, rare wild dogs. Plenty to keep us totally amazed everyday! Around the resort lots of adorable rock hyraxes and mongooses to spot and at night we could hear the leopards and hyenas roaming around. You probably won't see a lion or a giraffe but about a couple hours drives toward the plains you might. We decided to stay around the Sanctuary already so excited by it's beauty and variety.

We had a fantastic guide, a Maasai warriors, Boni, with passion, love and knowledge to share. We enjoyed so much our daily drives on the bumpy roads (road massages) and listening to all his amazing stories. Boni even took us to his home, to meet his family. It was a very special experience.

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is proud of it's commitment to responsible tourism. By visiting The Sanctuary guests have donated over 5 USD million to help built schools, hospital, and water sanitation projects within the community. Make sure to visit the local village, the school or the women artifacts, it's a great contribution to the community but also a fantastic way to experience and learn about about Maasai and Samburu culture, traditions and customs. It's very humbling and a total eye opener to the world. The people are so giving and welcoming, so many smiles everywhere we went! The girls were a little shy at first but slowly Luella joined the dance and the singing while Josefin was negotiating bringing a goat back home to Dubai. A beautiful afternoon and a lifetime experience.

One morning we tried archery, which was good fun for Luella while little Jo tagged along. There is also the possibility to do quads biking and cycling. Boni, our Masai guide recommended the camel ride deep into the wilderness to the river where a lovely picnic lunch was waiting for us. You can discuss how long you want to ride on the camels, for us 45 minutes was a bit long but we enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

Getting there? And things to know!
Relatively easy to reach by plane, for such a remote location. We flew Emirates Airline to Nairobi (less then 5 hours), from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport we took a private (very tiny) aircraft, Boskovic Air Charter East Africa (just about 1hour). It was all very smooth, thanks to the pre-arranged Meet and Greet service to help with arrival formalities. The private charter was so small, just enough space for our family of 4 and the pilot! I was a bit apprehensive but it went very well, the captain was fantastic and we got to fly over beautiful landscapes and spot some Rhinoceros and Giraffes. From the landing strip in the middle of the bush, we drove about 15 minutes to the lodge.

Remember to pack light, those safari aircraft are very small with limited storage space for luggage. You must pack using soft-sided duffel bags. Important to check the weight recommendations as well.

You will need to purchase travel insurance, we use AIG and it cost us around AED350 for a family of 4 over a week travel. Also, depending on your nationality you will need to apply for visas (not for children under 16), we did it online, (about $50 per adults).

Regarding Heath and Immunization, it's always recommended to consult your general practitioner for advise. The girls are up to dates with all the regular immunizations including Hepatitis A and B. Our destination was not considered a Malaria area due to the altitude and yellow fever vaccination was also not a requirement. I was happy with that.
The weather: warm and dry during the day, cooler at night. We visited Laikipia during the rainy season (mid April to end of May) which I was a bit apprehensive but it was absolutely perfect! Not too hot, the air was fresh and crisp in the morning, the sky was blue, and the vegetation was really green and lush. We had rain one evening for about 20 minutes. That was it!

Having fun and doing good. We were so happy to contribute somehow to the community. It's the kind of tourism that actively protect the area for future generation and also hopefully improve their livelihood. You can read about The Ol Lentille Trust program. Also the lodge takes its responsibility to the environment very seriously. 90% of store water is from the rain (not drain from rivers), electricity is solar generated and hot water is solar heated. If you visit, you must talked to Jon and Jill the lovely passionate couple behind The Sanctuary. Their amazing story is inspiring.

Rates varies. During the green season: USD500 per adult per night, USD250 per child per night, free for children under 5. The set fees included exclusive use of house, full board accommodation, non-premium wine and spirits, beer and soft drinks and conservancy fees. Also all activities like private game drives, guided walk, quad biking, cycling, yoga, camel rides, archery and unlimited spa, fantastic lunch and dinner in magical setting. The wonderful staff (butler, cook, housekeeper, guide, night watch man) is dedicated to make your stay a unique experience.

What to bring? 
You can find plenty of safari packing list suggestion online. I would recommend a wellness and basic medicine kit, sun protection, insect repellent, sun hat, good walking shoes, antibacterial gel and dollars specially for gratuities and tipping. Before our travel, I was wondering if we could bring something for the children of the community? Toothbrushes, pens and pencils were the recommended items.

A last word...
I left a little piece of my heart in Kenya, and I came home a little different. I think we all did! Truly an amazing experience. Travelling with children is an opportunity for us as parents to teach our children first-hand about the differences that exit in the world. It's about learning to do and see things in a different way and it's an eye-opening experience. So grateful we did this trip!

About Lightfoot travel
The luxury tour operator with an office in Dubai specializing in designer holidays to countries spanning six continents around the world is the perfect tool to plan you next escape. I am so grateful for all their suggestions and recommendations. Very professional, always ready to accommodate, quick to reply to emails and to provide the peace of mind you need when planning a unique family travel experience.

Lightfoot only uses properties they have personally experienced and trust. For inspiration and to plan your personalized holidays check out their online Lightfoot Inspiration . And start dreaming of your next family holiday destination...

I have teamed with Lightfoot Travel to bring you a special discount. If you are planning to travel for Eid, make sure to quote Dubai our Sandbox to received $250 discount. This Eid voucher is valid until the end of June 2018.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Atlantis The Palm, Family Staycation

Looking for a family staycation in Dubai? Something special for the whole family? Checkout our family weekend at Dubai gorgeous iconic resort, Atlantis The Palm. The unique ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine and entertainment attractions, as well as 17 hectares of waterscape amusement at Aquaventure Waterpark. Fun for everyone! Here's a peek at our lovely weekend.

The resort is massive, it's a little overwhelming at first but quickly you overcome the scale and sink into the magic of the underwater theme and appreciate the special attention and services provided to hotel guests. I would highly recommend adding to your booking the Imperial Club access, which unlocks an array of exclusive benefits, to ensure your stay at Atlantis is more convenient and relaxed. Definitely worth it when staying in large scale resort like Atlantis.

Imperial Club access benefices
- Experience private check in and check out in The Royal Majlis
- Choose to have your breakfast in the exclusive Imperial Club Lounge
- Imperial Club Lounge access for an afternoon tea from 2:30pm – 4.30pm
- Start your night-time meal on the perfect note with complimentary evening drinks and canapés in the Imperial Club Lounge between 5:00pm – 7:00pm.
- Late snacks 8:00pm-11:00pm
- Complimentary daily entry into Atlantis Kids Club for children aged 3 – 12 years of age
and Club Rush for teens aged 13 – 17 years
- Access to the exclusive Imperial Club Beach
- and more...

Staying at Atlantis is all about family fun. The resort is home to one of the largest open-air marine habitats in the world, with over 65,000 marine animals in lagoons and displays including The Lost Chambers Aquarium, a maze of underwater corridors and passageways providing a journey through ancient Atlantis.

The ultimate attraction, the Aquaventure park is an adrenaline pumping experience with great  exhilarating and fun ride, slides and a newly open area for younger guests (below 1.2m). Splashers Island is fun addition to current children’s area ‘Splashers Mountain’. Josefin absolutely loved it. It definitely makes the Aquaventure suitable for all ages. We also loved our little afternoon break by the sea, best way to kick back and relax on 700 metres of pristine private beach within the water park.

The highlight of our stay was our encounter with sharks and rays, truly a fun family experience to remember and talk about for years to come. We headed toward the Tower of Neptune around 1pm, for our Shark Safari experience. No need to have scuba diving knowledge for this marine animal adventure, but children must 8 years old minimum. So little Jo was a little spectator, watching from the edge of the Lagoon.

The experience allows non-certified visitors to become marine explorers and walk underwater wearing a special helmet. During the 20-minute Shark Safari, participants get up close and personal with the many Black Tip Reef Sharks, rare Marble Rays and exotic and colourful fish. It is impressive at first but the briefing is straight forward while the experience well organized and supervised. We felt comfortable and excited about it. Thanks to the underwater photographer we got lots of great memories to show our friends.

Your Atlantis experience is also about gourmet food! Atlantis The Palm is known for as the culinary destination in the region with a collection of world-renowned restaurants including Bread Street Kitchen & Bar by Gordon Ramsay, Nobu and Ronda Locatelli. We sure enjoyed our family dinners, always delicious, in a gorgeous setting. The success of the Atlantis to is assure parents are happy in an exquisite environment while children feel welcome and entertained.

Thank you Atlantis for this memorable weekend!
See you again soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Little Jo's new bedroom : kids home decor

Hello! It's time to redecorate! You will see in the next couple of months, my mind and heart will be about home improvement and decoration. Stay tuned for the reveal.

Just for now, I am sharing a little mood board I created to help me restyle Josefin's bedroom. Our little Jo's bedroom has been for the last three years a combination of Josefin and the guest room. It worked out but it's time to giver her, the appropriate space she deserves.

Her current room is light grey, white and plush pink. So I am trying with this new room to reused existing elements while creating something new with some cool updates. A fun, graphical but girly space in a similar colour scheme. I picked up some inspiration from Pinterest and looked around some Dubai based brands for furniture, accessories, wallpaper and wall art.

Look forward to start! ♥

1 Cute Black Hearts wallpaper from Lilipinso available from Caramel and Sun, love the black and white graphical design. They have some adorable design to choose from.
Must also check Paper Pop for more wallpaper options. 

2 and 7 Wall art from Desenio and Paper Pop 

4 Toy bag to hide all the mess, love this graphical option from 

5 and 8 Children furniture, cute junior size chair with mid 20th century style design from

6 h&m home has a good selection of fun and well priced kids room accessories like this storage box.

9 little glittery star garland from h&m home

10 clothing stand / hanger this one is from

A favourite interior shop for fun accessories and home decor items : Maison du Monde.
Also the new Home Centre kids collection where you might find some surprises and the new paint collection from Jotum for children bedroom. Must visit Jysk as well. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Van Gogh Alive in Dubai

Yesterday, was the opening of Van Gogh Alive in D3. The Experience is an acclaimed art exhibition showcasing works by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. It's been been touring the world, and will be stopping off in Dubai for a six weeks. It's a great opportunity to explore the life and work of the artist. Van Gogh Alive is not your typical museum experience. You won't see the actual canvas painted by Vincent van Gogh, you will experience over 3000 images of his art displayed on the walls, the ceiling, and even the floor, with high-definition projectors. Along the visual experience, the guests will enjoy a beautifully curated classical soundtrack to accompany the exhibition. It works really well and create a multi sensory experience.

This is a fantastic way to introduce art to children, it's vibrant and engaging. Might be the perfect family outing for the weekend.

Van Gogh Alive
11 March - 23 April 2018
AED70 adult
AED65 kids (till 16 y.o.)
Dubai Design District
Buy tickets :

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Wellness Consultation with Tayyaba Jordan

Third month into 2018, I am already contemplating how the year is going and if I have made any of the improvements I had set myself in January. I don’t really do resolutions but I do set intentions. It’s hard to live in conscious harmony and balance so I think we could all do with a little help sometime.

I was kindly offered the opportunity to meet up with TAYYABA JORDAN Health & Wellness Coach for a wellness consultation. I was very interested to meet with a wellness coach but I had no real concern. I just knew, I could always improve my approach to life, my sense of purpose and improve a bit more my journey through self-love. We probably can all do with little advice, guidance, plan and positive support. So I was ready to meet up with Tayyaba.

Tayyaba is a lovely lady, very easy to talk too. I got comfortable right away and enjoyed talking together. I felt heard. It’s a pretty good feeling actually, you can talk about yourself, no judgment and you get some feedback… The consultation took about one hour. The initial process is to go through the twelve segments on the 'Circle of Life’, which cover all the areas of our world. It’s fantastic exercise that get you talking, that get you into seeing your life as a whole and where you need to give more time and attention. It definitely can be eye opening. My wheel was quite balanced but still I had some points that seemed to need my focus and attention. And that’s how we can start some improvement.

Here’s the process you would go through with Tayyaba in order to redirect, improve your self and find that ever coveted ‘balance’ in your life.

* Initial 30 minute - 1hour consultation
Working with the twelve segments on the 'Circle of Life’.
The Integrative Nutrition Circle of Life is an incredibly simple – and powerful – tool for getting a clear picture of where your life is thriving, and what areas could use a little more work.

* 90 minute Health History
A more conventional form but vital to addressing the medical challenges you may be facing. Tayyaba works with a nutritionist to find an improved 'way of eating' for yourself (and often the whole family too!). She will see if there are any other health challenges which can’t be met with food alone and with natural bio 'supplements' with the guidance of a functional medicine doctor and or herbalist.

* 3 x 55mins sessions/month 
 Working through the things that are lowest scoring on the wheel or your more focused concerns.

Tayyaba's website offers a tips, recipes and inspirational ideas to get you started. Read more.

What’s important to understand is that solutions are all individual. There is a similar pattern to achieve success. It’s about looking into the primary food i.e.: (healthy relationships, regular physical activity, fulfilling career and a spiritual practice) which essentially feeds the soul. Sometimes a lack of it makes some people turn to food as a way to fill the hole in the secondary food . As the Institute for Integrative Nutrition teaches, “When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you actually eat secondary.” This is where the distinction between primary and secondary foods arises. Essentially you need both to feel great!

Tayyaba believe that " no matter how much kale you eat or how many spin classes you take, you won’t be truly happy and healthy until you find fulfillment in your relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality, whatever that means for you."

Tayyaba can help you with weight issues, emotional eating, anxiety, stress, depression, low self esteem, a difficult relationship, a career dilemma, a loss of identity or even a debilitating illness or condition. Setting up a plan and taking on practical suggestions with a weekly timetable is proving to be helpful.

Tayyaba is based in the UK, but travel to Dubai monthly to meet up with her clients. If you are interested in a complimentary consultation that can be done in person, over the phone or on Skype you can contact her via A good way to kick start positive change, discuss wellness goals and current health and lifestyle status for you and the the family as a whole!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dubai Kid Play Gym: We Rock the Spectrum

This is one of my daughter Josefin favourite indoor playground. This small but well equipped play gym in the heart of Jumeirah. It is the perfect stop to keep the kids busy and active for one hour or two when Dubai temperature will rise up and confine us to the AC. 
Good from age 2 to 8 years old.

Here's some of the equipment and activities:
Suspended equipment with swings – for balance and vestibular treatment
Crash mats and crash pillows – for fun, motor planning, and strength
Zip line – for stress release and joint and body relaxation
Trampoline – for building leg and core strength
Indoor play structure – for climbing and increasing playground skills 
A selection of toys and dress up costumes
A small arts and craft corner
Beach Park Plaza Centre, Beach Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Flipping fun at Flip Out! The little Ninja class.

What's flipping'? Well Luella has been taking a class at Dubai largest trampoline park, Flip Out, and she loves it! If you are looking for an after school activity and a way to get the kids to release some energy, you might be interest in Little Ninja class.

Luella has been doing gymnastic for a couple of years, it's been fun but she was loosing interest. She had in mind to learn to do tricks like flips! Even back flips! That's scares me and she has no idea how to go about it. That's how we got interested in this FlipOut and their Little Ninja class.

The class is all about having fun doing jumps, twists, flips but it's definitely a work out for little ninjas! The coaches are so friendly and professional they pass on tips and techniques to achieve personnel goals. Making the class rewarding each time. Saying that, I am not sure Luella will manage to do back flips, it's definitely not an easy skill! But she's having a great time while working on balance, coordination and agility. Some tricks include flip and bounce of the walls as well. At their own pace, the kids will develop new skills and reach new achievements. There is a coloured belt system like in martial art, to motivate and acknowledge their achievement.

The Little Ninja program
AED850 for 10 classes. 
Age 4 to 12 years old.
All the details here.

While Luella is being a Ninja in the making, Josefin and I usually hangout in the foam pit or the kids trampoline arena together on a special date - (she does sneak into the Little Ninja class sometimes  to checkout her sister). We get some one and one time and she gets ready for a good night sleep! Bonus!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Maxi Micro scooter or a less expensive price tag option: introducing the Zycom Crusiser...


Here’s another post on scooters…. Yep! First time I actually brought up the subject because we have been fan and loyal customers to award winner, Swiss brand du jour, Micro, for years. Until this holiday season when our Little Jo needed a scooter replacement and I thought do I really want to spend AED775 on a scooter?! And I looked at cheaper alternative with all the safety and quality features I would expect from a Micro.

Good to know in choosing the right scooter…
- Make sure, the hight is appropriate for your child that’s why adjustable steering column is important. The handlebars should be at the same height as their waist.
- Sturdy frame
- Fast action brake
- Large standing board for comfort and easy specially younger children
- Foldable scooter are great option

Mini Micro and Maxi Micro
Luella is now now on her second generation of Micro and absolutely love it still today. When we purchased her Mini Micro, Micro was the most popular option and said to be the best. I never questioned buying it. Then the Micro Maxi was the perfect transition. I still today think it was one of the best buy we did. It’s highly durable and high in quality to ensure outstanding performance for year. Steering is made easy, it’s a lean to steer technology a bit like on a skate board, makes for a more fun and easy scooter ride. Children steer by using their body weight to lean right and left, intuitively learning to lean into a turn. Both of our girls picked up the technique quickly and learn stability, balance and coordination.Another great point about the Micro was the ability to be replaced parts. Making it an ever lasting scooter. We replaced the rubber handles once, but that was it. Most friends replaced their break pad once. The Micro scooters are relatively light, easy to carry! When you have kids and loads to carry around, you must take that in consideration. The Micro Mini Kickboard has been the highest rated scooter for years. It’s expensive but no doubt if used as much as my daughter did (even passed it on to her little sister) it’s a good value present.

Mini Micro about AED 471.45 Recommended Age: For 3+
Maxi Micro about AED 775.95 Recommended Age: For 5+ years and above

Zycom - Zinger 3 wheel Cruiser
That’s the newbie, the scooter we decided to get Josefin for Christmas. The Australian brand has developed a scooter we felt comfortable investing in after years of loyalty to Micro. It’s only been 3 weeks… so can’t really tell you about life time quality but I have high expectation. (Will update you in a few months).

The Zycom Zinger, is a 3 wheels cruiser with similar features as the Micro. We love the pivot steering, and self-righting technology that is patented providing good balance, enabling smooth turns and fun “surfing” aka riding. It has adjustable handle bar means you can adjust it as your child grows (3 positions). It’s also foldable thanks to an easy pull and twist folding mechanism. Great for easy storage and transport. It rolls well, good smooth wheels and has a quick break for efficient stoping. I truly happy with the scooter, it feels sturdy and of quality. A downside would be the weight, I find it a bit heavy not as light and manageable to carry as the Micro. Just a feeling. Now for the price, it’s better positioned then the Micro and would consider it a good value.

Zycom Zing 3 Wheel Scooter AED 313.95 Recommended Age: For 3+
Zycom - Zinger 3 Wheel Cruiser AED 418.95 Recommended Age: For 5+ years

So yes we have been total fan of Micro for years, we have three in France at the grandparents for the girls and the cousins to share, and two here in Dubai. I admit, it was firstly our choice because of it's popularity back in 2011. It was the hit scooter to get, then high quality and performance grabbed our attention and our loyalty. So why looking into another option? Because Micro Scooter are expensive, the price tag is going up and as a consumer I felt I needed to look around and see different options. The market is full of different scooters... The zycom is the new addition to our family of scooter, it's well priced and up to now, it has not disappointed! I would definitely recommend it. 

Both scooter brands are available at where you will find all the description, features and dimensions.

Don't forget to use "DubaiourSandbox10" promo code to get 10% off on all your Mumzworld order. Happy shopping!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A new favourite destination for Dubai kids : Aventura Park

This is a new favourite Dubai destination for adventurous kids with loads of fun guaranty! We had a great time at Aventura, 35 000 square meters Ghaf tree forest in Mushrif Park. Aventura is an adventure park in the heart of nature that teaches kids love and respect for nature, while engaging in fun exhilarating challenges. We spend one fantastic afternoon celebrating Luella’s 9th birthday!

Aventura offers different fun and challenging circuits with different level of activities depending on age and height of the participants. There is about 80 challenges within 5 different levels always off the ground and between trees. I loved seeing the children working different skills and building their confidence. It takes a little practice but the coaches around the circuits are great at directing and teaching the kids autonomy and problem solving.

The adventure park brings a unique experience that challenge physical abilities but also brings hours of fun and exhilaration. After about 20 minutes of technical briefing, the little adventurers are off to explore and conquer the longest series of thrilling tree-top zip-lines in the region. There is plenty to do like navigate through high rope obstacles, nets and wobbly bridges.

Little Ranger circuits (with 19 challenges) is designed for young children (115 cm and above) The Thriller circuit and Aventura circuit are design for adults and children 140 cm and above with lots of fun challenges and exhilarating zip-lines to surf through the tress. More details on age group and park circuits here.

All Aventura games and challenges are 100% safe. The entire park is developed and audited to meet special safety regulations, and is constantly monitored by professionally trained staff. When I met the man behind the project, I realized the passion and dedication behind the park. It’s a great combination of educational fun learning about the flora and fauna of the Emirates, practicing coordination, balance, independence, observational skills and just plain fun, all in the nature. Definitely what kids need!

Aventura was the perfect choice for Luella's surprise birthday party. Our group ranged from children 7 to 9 years old. (I would recommend the attractions for kids age 7 and above.) Everyone had fun and managed the Little Ranger circuit after a little practice run. Three of the children above 140cm tried out the Thriller circuit for extra challenge. After nearly two hours up in the trees on exploration mode, the children were ready for pizza and cake! Aventura can set up table, balloon decoration and provide pizza as part of the birthday package. There is an indoor café and large terrace for the convenience of the guests. It felt very easy and friendly.

It's definitely a fantastic destination for kids to play and have some exhilarating fun outdoor! They also have an education nature-based programs, that can be extended to the classroom, designed to enrich each student’s knowledge of flora/fauna, outdoor survival and cooperation through games.

Also team building & leadership development programs are available for secondary students, staff, faculty and administration, and are conducted on high-rope and low- rope installations in the midst of nature. Aventura has a lot to offer!

For me getting the kids active outside while the Dubai weather is gorgeous, seeing their confidence growing while having fun is key - best play date! This winter break get the kids to Mushrif park and give a try to Aventura. Have fun!

Details and pricing
General access is Dhs150.
Access for children under 1.4 metres is Dhs125.
Birthday package are about AED170 per child
Aventura, Mushrif Park, Mirdif, Dubai.
Sun to Thu, 9.30am to 50pm, Fri to Sat 9.30am to 6pm. 
Tel: (056) 8871687.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Gift your nanny a better future this festive season with Rise

Couple of weeks back I met with Padmini Gupta, the mind behind Rise. From a personal experience with her own home helper, Padmini came with an entrepreneurial idea that would help domestic helpers across the UAE. The idea is to help anyone earning below Dh5,000 that does not currently have access to financial and banking services. To help migrants manage their finances, learn new skills and build a better future.

Last month, our family said goodbye to our beloved nanny of 25 years! It was time for her to go back home to her family in the Philippines. All those years, she had sent money to her loved ones back home and also managed to save for herself. Saying that, she did not have secure idea of how much she owned, her financial situation was not in her full control. We helped her but I truly believed that Rise could have set up a more stable future for her.

Now that we have hired a new nanny to join our family, I am considering introducing her to Rise. It's something which benefit both parties.

The free-to-download app enable sponsor families to immediately access affordable childcare and educational courses, giving domestic workers useful knowledge and qualifications to enable them to properly look after the children in their care. The company aims to help nannies grow their careers by offering over 20 digital courses. Those courses can improve their skills from picking healthy foods for children to how to create a learning environment, potty training, child safety and discipline. All the course cost between Dh50 to Dh250 and can be accessed via an app, so that the nannies can learn at home. Once a course is completed, this is logged on the app and a helper will have access to, and a record of these courses. The app charts achievements that will be useful in subsequent roles, and also when returning to home countries.

A household or an employer looking for a new helper will also benefit from the childcare-specific psychometric testing which will assess a potential helper beyond the norm; giving employers added reassurance before taking the very important decision on who will care for their children.

Banking with Rise, for financial freedom. Gift of a better future.

The wealth management platform for migrants is aspiring to create possibilities and improve lives. It’s a good way to provide our home helpers with knowledge and growth by managing finance, learning new skills for a better future. The platform is also offering the possibility to give sponsors and their employees access to a full management tool on the app, through which employee can actually have a bank account and be in full control of their own finances.

Gift of a better future and financial freedom. This is a gift I hope to give our nanny.

If you are looking for a gift this festive season for your home helper you might be interested to look into Rise App and set up an bank account for her in the UAE, giving her access to a wide range of financial services. For more information on banking with Rise as a gift, visit or download the rise app.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Surviving the festive season... with the kids.

Festive season is upon us! Best time of the year... yes! It can also be a little stressing dealing with the children bedtime routine and over excitement during the holidays! In our house the rules definitely loosen up during this special family time. If you don't want to loose total control, here's some tips for good sleep habits during festive time for family with kids from Dr Nas Al-Jafari and Dr Mourad Habib consultant doctors at Intercare Wellness.

About screen time...Did you know?
When the body decides it needs to sleep, the small gland in your brain wakes up into action and produces a hormone called melatonin. Once this goes into your bloodstream, you naturally become less alert and are ready to drift off to sleep. This usually occurs around 9 pm, and melatonin levels will remain high for about 12 hours. However, our modern lifestyles are fighting the production of melatonin. The sleeping gland relies on darkness to become active, and staring at a television screen, iPad or phone has the negative effect of delaying melatonin and causing a disturbed sleep. Steps can be taken to limit the damaging blue light, such as lowering the brightness of the screen or, better still, adding a special screen protector or go back to the classic old book. Check your phone, there should be a night light setting. Turn off the bright blue light effect by turning on "Night Shift" light on iOS.

Tips for kids good sleep habits during festive holidays
With a house full of guests, your child may understandably feel as though they are missing out on all the excitement by going up to bed in their usual time so here are some tips to avoid the Christmas Eve over excitement

Be active during the day
There is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night. One Australian study found that every hour a child spends inactive adds three minutes to the time taken to nod off. Take a break from movies and computer games and head to the park to help get rid of this excess energy before bedtime.

Stick to bedtime routines, music, light, toys and rituals
A consistent bedtime routine before bed-time will signal that it's time to sleep. If you’re staying away from home with relatives or friends, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual time.

Preparing for bed in the same order each night (such as bath, brushing teeth, stories, goodnight hug), will help with readiness for sleep, wherever you are. Even a few days of a consistent schedule should help your child settle into a new location. Bringing familiar bedding, toys and books will help them to relax and feel secure away from home.

Give plenty of notice
Give plenty of notice before bedtime is coming up, and then stick to what you’ve said: “In 10 minutes the movie will end and it’ll be bath time, and then we’ll have time for a bed time story “ nice and firm.

A timer which rings when playtime runs out could be a useful ‘independent’ signal that it’s time for bed, make them do their own timer and stick to it when it rings. If your child refuses to stay in bed, try to avoid giving extra attention for bad behaviour. Be as neutral and uninterested as you can as you return your child to bed, even if you have to do this a few times stay calm. Consistency is key - even at Christmas - to help the whole family sleep well.

Act before your child gets overtired and then hyperactive.
Young children are often reluctant to admit that they're tired - even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with shiny new toys. Look for signs of sleepiness before your child starts to get overtired, which is often the driver for 'hyper active ' behaviour. Try to start the bedtime routine at a consistent time. If they really don't feel tired, they can play quietly in their bed or crib with the lights low. If you notice that your child is often overtired at night, try to shift the whole bedtime routine forward by 15-30 minutes’ earlier than usual time.

Last resort
If you’ve tried it all and still have a stubborn and weary young one hanging onto the bannisters in protest, the suggestion that children who are asleep only get presents might just be enough incentive to encourage heads to pillows. At least, that’s what my mum told me too…

Good luck... and happy holidays! 

About Intercare Wellness:
Based in Al Marina, Abu Dhabi, Intercare Wellness takes a holistic and ‘whole person’ approach to health and offers individuals, families and patients the tools to make healthy decisions that will impact positive change in daily life. Led by Dr Nas Al-Jafari and Dr Mourad Habib, Intercare Wellness is the only clinic in the UAE shifting the focus from a disease oriented health care system toward one of wellness and prevention.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Festive morning with Marks And Spencer (and some gift ideas)

The festive season opened up officially last week with Marks & Spencer's Christmas event. A lovely morning with a festive and cheerful atmosphere - good company and delicious food! We got to check out (and taste) the selections of holidays treats from amazing mined pies, cheese, crackers, to biscuits and cakes. Helen from The Mothership Dubai shared her top picks for a cosy family Christmas eve. Carly from Lean Living Girl blog shared her selection for an healthy holidays season. Irene from Gingham and Sparkles blog showcased some stylish and fun looks for this festive time of the year from the latest Marks & Spencer’s occasion wear. Also loved all the cute family sleepwear and gifting ideas for him, her and children.

Marks & Spencer is a great go to shop to treat yourself or someone special this festive season. They have so many lovely things, well sourced for quality products and stylishly packaged creating truly special gifts. You must check the selection of gift hampers!

Now online, you will find a great selection of ready made food hampers gift sets. Here's some favourites...

Very English
A delicious selection of the flavours, including indulgent tea time biscuit selection, all butter shortbread biscuits and fruity preserve, all packed into a small wicker basket.

Classic Festive 
A lovely wicker hamper with faux leather straps comes filled with an array of Classic Festive favourites, including a bottle of non-alcoholic mulled punch, 6 month matured alcohol free Christmas pudding and an iced bar Christmas cake, ideal for the family to share.

Belgian treats
A lovely wicker basket is packed with a selection of indulgent teatime treats, Belgian curls and chocolates. Includes lovely a bottle of sparking rose grape juice.

Taste of Italy
Treat someone to a taste of Italy with this special selection of our authentic flavours, including balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and more, presented in a small wicker basket.

Have a look online to the full selection and get your festive gift shopping started. Happy holidays!