Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Dreamy sleepover with Kids Party Palace

A surprise sleep over! A very fun and glamorous party set up for three very lucky little girls, thanks to Kids Party Palace.

The setup
Thursday morning, the lovely Kara owner of Kids Party Palace arrived with her team and all the props to set up a dreamy sleepover for Luella, Josefin and her friend. We had agreed on the theme, the number of guests and all the little extra via email previously. You can choose from themes from Sleeping Beauty, Superhero Slumber (cool for boys), Secret Garden, Into the Woods, Dream Racer, Spa Party, Unicorn Magic and Pancakes & PJs. The party package has different options and extra party add-ons are available to create that perfect sleepover party! Within two hours, Kara and her team had set up beautifully our Spa Party with gorgeous teepees, comfy beddings, breakfast trays, twinkling fairy lights, decorative cushions and various styling pieces to make the girl's sleepover super special!

The party
It was a huge surprise on Thursday afternoon, when the girls walked in to find the sleepover set up! The evening was all good laugh, creating special spa treatments with fresh organic ingredients all provided by The Kids Party Palace. We girls watched a movie while snacking on all the treats and the night went by in a blink. As per the girls, beds were cosy and comfortable... It's a such a lovely (and very fancy) idea, a real treat for children! The sleepover was a "goodbye" treat to Luella's dear friends who was leaving Dubai. Definitely memories to cherish. Thank you Kids Party Palace!

For all the details, checkout,

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Our family summer vacation in Greece at Grecotel Creta Palace

Back in Dubai, after a beautiful summer in Europe. Like every year, we go back home to South of France and Sweden. The girls absolutely cherish that time of the year with family and friends. This year, we took a little extra time to explore with my side of the family, the Greek island of Crete. One of my favourite things to do is to travel and discover new family friendly destination, and Crete was a lovely surprise. Very welcoming and infinitely generous are the people of Crete. Every single day we experience kindness and unexpected generosity in a very natural manner, never forced always with a true warmth. Here's a little overview of our stay in Crete at the elegant and very friendly, Grecotel Creta Palace.

The resort 
Crete Palace sits on a rocky coastline, about 5 km from the old town of Rethymnon, about 70km from Chania Airport and 78km from Heraklion Airport. From the exterior the hotel is simply stylish, white low rise building surrounded by trees, pretty green lawns and paths fringed by palm trees, rosemary bushes, and local vegetation. The long beach is sandy but becomes pebbly just as you go into the water. There are three swimming pools to choose from at the Creta Palace, including a super-sized main pool, a children’s water-slide pool and an indoor pool by the spa area.

The interior is bright and open, with open windows directing you to the gardens, the pool, restaurants and even a little Greek village square with shops (souvenirs, local produces, beach gear, mini supermarket) and a traditional Greek coffee house. The setting of the resort is just lovely and convenient.

There are over 300 rooms, divided in four categories: Room, Bungalow, Villa and Suite. Unfortunately I did not visit all the options, but we were really delighted with our Deluxe Family Bungalow located on the lawn, close to the pool facing a beautiful sunset. Simple but elegant decor, with marble bathroom (shower only), robes, slippers and a hairdryer, along with air conditioning, an LCD satellite TV, a safe and a fridge. I would strongly recommend to request (at extra cost) the " Famous Class Package" which include some extra advantages like express checking with champagne, personnel escort to your room, welcoming gift including fruits and wine, daily supply of mineral water in the room, twice daily maid service, complimentary tea/ coffee facilities in the room, beach service with water, tea, coffee, juice, fruits. The extra exclusive service from the package also include two invitations (per week) for complimentary a la carte dinner at selected restaurants and spa discount. (details here).

Things to do
The Creta Palace offers activities to keep the whole family happy and entertained. One of the main reasons we choose the resort while searching for our summer holidays was the children friendly facilities and range of activities available. Grecoland, is a well managed kids Club, for ages 4-6 and 7-12 (year-round) and 13-17 (seasonal). Everyday our 4, 9 and 10 years old checked the schedule and worked around the different activities to try, like art & craft, wall climbing, volleyball, table tennis, baking, pool games, sand building, ... While our oldest child 14 years old enrolled in the Arsenal soccer school and made new friends at volleyball training. All the daily activities and evening entertainment scheduled could be accessed via an online portal which was super convient. There is also a water sport centre available on the beach of the hotel. Jetski, pedalo, parasailing, donut ride, banana ride,... lots of beach fun at extra cost.

The Food
The resort offers great food option. We booked half board option, which included a really lovely breakfast buffet located in main restaurant Labyrinth and its terrace. Our morning started in the shaded courtyard with good coffee and nice variety of breakfast selection. We usually skipped lunch and just enjoyed fruit platters and drinks on the beach (part of the Famous Class package). Dinners were at Labyrinth or at à la carte restaurants Barbarossa the seafood restaurant or Golden Dragon for Asian food. I would definitely recommend both options. There is also Zeus + Amalthia, a trendy, blue-lit roof bar perfect for cocktails and sunset view. Also for authentic local food, the Hellas, a traditional kafeneion, serves local firewater raki and meze snacks.

At Cregotel, kids eat free from the Kids Corner, providing food throughout the day, it was super convenient, as our little ones are constant snackers.

The region and sites seeing options
If you are looking to explore the surroundings, Creta Palace Guest Services will be very helpful organising day trips to various destinations with private chauffeur or boat trip along the coast.
The Island of Zeus offers some interesting sites seeing, we enjoyed the Old Town of Rethymno and its pittoresque harbour with multitude of taverns, kafenions and souvenirs shops.

The Holy Arkadi Monastery founded in the 13th century, build around 1587 and expended all through the 19th century is truly beautiful. Located between olive tree, oak trees and vineyard, we absolutely loved exploring its architectural beauty.

Another pointe interest we got to experience was The Museum of Ancient Eleuthera, an on-site museum of Greece in the archaeological park of Eleutherna, and houses artifacts found in the nearby archaeological site of Eleutherna and the necropolis of Orthi Petra.

Next stop... The little town of Margarites, is one of the largest pottery center in Greece. We visited a lovely traditional family pottery workshop Tsikalario, where our children could experience clay and a bit of ceramic history. Perfect spots to grab a few souvenirs and little gifts for friends back home. In the village, we stopped at a little taverna for simple lunch under the oak trees.

We took the road again for another 20 minutes to reach the Melidoni Cave, absolutely fascinating underground caves with stalagmites formations were mesmerising for adults and children. The site is rich in history, a quite tragic story during the war with the Turks in the 19th century.

Another favourite day of our summer holidays in Crete was the boat trip to explore the coast, jump of the boat, snorkel and enjoy the true beauty of the Island of Zeus. This was also organised via our hotel in a perfect manner.

While staying in Crete, you must experience the famous traditional cuisine and the mixture of old-world charm and lively Cretan life. The AgrecoFarms, traditional farm located around 5 km from the hotel will deliver this unique experience - a true Greek hospitality. The farm is gorgeous, nestled between olive trees and vineyards, it's a beautiful example of environmentally friendly methods for traditional and modern cultivation. We had a delicious, very copious dinner followed by some traditional folklore dancing. A fantastic evening!

The lowdown and little extra you need to know...
♥ Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. It's mountainous and rocky with abundance of olive trees and vineyards. Rich in history and various influences Roman, Byzantine Empire, Venitian, Ottoman ...

♥ The resort best feature was definitely the friendliness and efficiency of all the staff.

♥ Food was super from daily buffet to a la carte dinner. Nothing to disappoint.

♥ There is activities and entertainment throughout the day to keep everyone busy. It's also a place to rest and chill out. There are few sites seeing opportunities within an hour radius but longer distance will also take you hydilic beaches with crystal Caribbean-like water. Balos, Elafonissi, Falassarna are known to be of stunning natural beauty but quite touristic during the summer months so we decided to avoid them.

♥ The resort is beach is nice but can be a little rough with some strong current. It's a Blue Flag-awarded beach. Sandy with pebbles into the water, I would recommend wearing water shoes or slippers for comfort.

♥ The kids pool with fun slides, located close to the kids club need renovations at the time of our visit.

♥ I would recommend doing a little "homework" before booking to choose your accommodation and plan. Again we suggested the upgrade to "Famous Class Package"

♥ The resort is working to be eco friendly with recycling bins and encouraging the Sea Turtle Protection initiative on the beach (and within the children kids club activities). Plastic cups and straws were still in used around the pool/beach but after requesting alternative the staff made sure to provide us with reusable, non disposable options.

♥ We would love to visit again! Hope this is helpful. Feel free to DM if you have questions.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Zip Water Hydro tap - Instant filtered, chilled, boiling and sparkling water for your Dubai home

About two years ago, we had what I called a mini revolution in our house. A life changing update to our daily life as a family. I wrote a blog post about it then, but today I would like to give you a little update. We consume a lot of water, we use to buy bottled water (1.5L and 50ml) and also have a dispenser in the kitchen with a scheduled weekly home delivery of gallons containers. This was our set up for years. As a Dubai family, we understand the importance of drinking the right amount of water in this climate. Not like back home in Sweden, tap water is not an option for me here in the UAE : “Tap water is completely safe to drink at the time of dispatch. But, the tanks must be cleaned systematically, at least once in six months, to ensure it is unpolluted. Commercial tanks are monitored by us, but not the residential ones,” said Bobby Krishna, Principal Food Studies Officer at Dubai Municipality at the time. With this in mind, we preferred to rely on bottled water until we were introduced to a high quality device, a filtered drinking water tap: The Zip Hydrotap. 

Let me tell you again why we have been relying, for over two years, on our Zip Water Tap for our water consumption and all the benefits for our family. Also excited to show you the updated, more designed version of the device, which is now fully incorporated into our new kitchen in our new home. 

Since its inception in Australia in 1962, Zip Water has been producing boiling water systems. Other the years the multinational company has evolved and now provides world class filtration technologies. The tap technology is now sold in 70 countries and provides great tasting, pure drinking water and instant boiling water. In the Middle East, Zip is sold exclusively by Culligan, also a world-renowned water treatment company.

Characteristics and functions
Zip filtration system is the solution for pure and crystal clear water, by removing chlorine and bacterial contaminants from your ordinary tap water. The single inbuilt-action-sub-micro water filter removes micro-organisms tiny as one thousandth a millimetre. Zip Hydrotap system has a NSF certification, a public health and safety organization which provides third-party certification to ensure the product complies with the technical requirements of the relevant standard. The Zip 0.2 micron filter is one of the most advanced and most practical filtration system available anywhere today. This advanced process produces crystal-clear and pure tasting water, free from odours and contamination; ensuring water in its healthiest form.

Zip Hydrotap offers different water options. You can pick a tap that delivers filtered chilled water only or choose to have chilled, boiling and sparkling water all at the touch of a button. We decided that our home would benefit from all options. It’s convenient to refill school water bottles, use the boiling water for instant coffee or tea, enjoy sparkling water at dinner time or prepare refreshing lemon concoctions throughout the day. I also tend to use it while cooking. It's so convenient! The chilled water is set at 3-5ºC, while hot water is set at 98ºC and there is a child lock security.

There are also many technical benefits, from the power-pulse energy saving technology and adjustable water temperature function,  to the sleeping function when inactive and programmable timer. Love that the water is instantly dispensed at the set temperature, no longer any need to waste water running from the tap while waiting for it to be at the correct temperature. No more water wastage. Zip’s intelligent technology makes the Zip HydroTap supremely efficient. It saves on power, energy and water wastage, meaning it’s good for people and the planet.

Cost and environmentally friendly
Zip filtered water will be cost effective, a much cheaper solution then bottled water. The bottled water market is exploding in the Middle East. Did you know that bottled water can cost up to 124 times more than filtered water? The bottle, cap and label amount for 90% of the total price of mineral water. We should also rethink bottled water from an environmental point of view. Even if water bottled are made of completely recyclable polyethylene (PET) plastics, but PET's don't biodegrade. They photodegrade, which means they break down into smaller fragments over time. Those fragments absorb toxins that can pollute our waterways, soils and eventually our food... There is also a Carbon Footprint to consider, with the delivery and manufacturing of bottled water.

Stylish design
The Zip Hydrotap is well designed and offers different styles to suit your kitchen from Classic, Cube, Arc and Elite all available in different finishes. You will find the one for you. It will become a stylish highlight in your kitchen. We decided to update from the practical “Classic design” installed onto the kitchen sink to a standalone “Arc design” in rose gold to be fully incorporated into our new kitchen. The “Arc design “ is fixed in position, with rubberized illuminated touch buttons on the side and a smooth rotating tap. The upper button scrolls through the three dispensing modes with accompanying colours: blue is the default and signifies it will dispense chilled water; white indicates chilled sparkling water; red is for boiling water.

The Culligan team proceeded to the installation in a day and were very professional. You need to keep in mind to plan a space to “host” the device under the counter. It took up half a double-width cupboard for all the required parts (boiler/chiller unit, cartridge filter, CO2 canister for sparkling water, …) but it’s all neatly put together under the cupboard. It might also require, a cut-out and vent installation in the floor of the cupboard to ventilate the chiller mechanism. I fully trusted the team and the customer care service. Keep in mind that you will need to replace filters and canisters ( we do it about every 5/6 months).

The lowdown … our verdict…
We were very happy to collaborate with Zip and Culligan water, to experience all the benefits of our Zip Hydrotap. We genuinely could not be more grateful for this addition to our family home and I truly love the product.

It is frankly amazing, since it turns mains supply into the great tasting mineral water. I have noticed a better flavour and taste to my cup of tea while my husband loves the refreshing sparkling water as an alternative to plain H2O.

It works well, require minimum maintenance and looks great in the kitchen. It’s a premium kitchen appliance that also comes with a price tag. The Zip Hydrotap is expensive but you truly get what you pay for. The design and quality is said to make the Zip Hydrotap the very best multi-function boiler tap on the market. We are totally addicted to it’s convenience and love how we have reduce our consumption of plastic bottles.

The price range varies greatly from the design and Hydrotap system you choose.
For all details check out : or call +971 (0)4 803 9900

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 :