Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monkies shoes, playful creativity at your feet

Cool gift idea for cool kids in town… Monkies Shoes! You and the kids are gonna love drawing on those shoes. Get inspired, get ready to play and create your own design. Monkies, the company behind the fun idea allows kids imagination and personnel expression to flow.

How does it work? The glossy white retro high top sneakers come in a kit with a set of special markers and eraser/sponge. The shoes are like a white canvas to design your own artwork or get inspired by the little booklet provided. The beauty of the product is that you can erase and start again… If you let it dry out a bit, it will be waterproof and stay put until you give it a good soapy wash with the special eraser. Ready to start all over and to create endless design.

It's a brilliant idea, a good combination of creativity, fashion and playtime. Luella and I had a good play around this afternoon, and already looking forward to get creative before our park outing this weekend. She's gonna want to show off her personalized Monkies… Theme in mind "lollipop".

The Monkies shoes are available at www.melijoe.com.

Our work in progress…

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic chocolate chip cookies recipe… For some reason, I have never find a recipe for this old time classic that worked for me. It was never worth baking at home, store bought version was always better. Until maybe now, love this easy recipe with little tricks on how to make your cookies soft and chewy or crispy. We tried the chewy version, and it was soooo good. Thanks to theeverygirl.com!

Chewy Cookies:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda and put aside. In the bowl of your mixer, add butter and both granulated and brown sugars and cream together for 3-4 minutes on high until light and fluffy.
Next add in eggs one at a time beating until incorporated. Then add in pure vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Turn down your mixer to low and add in flour mixture in three intervals beating after each addition until well-combined. Lastly, stir in chocolate chips.
Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Two hours is even better.
Scoop cookie dough in balls the size of a tablespoon and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cookies may seem undone but remove from oven.

Notes to making cookies chewier:
"More brown sugar in this recipe increases moistness due to the addition of molasses.
This version replaces on whole egg with two egg yolks. By omitting the egg white, the end result is softer and moister. By adding the secret ingredient cornstarch, the texture of the dough becomes softer and chewier. It's like magic! My chewy cookies need a little bit of chilling time. By chilling the dough, you create a firmer base that slows spreading and thinning as it bakes. This step is crucial and should not be skipped. Plan ahead when attempting these cookies. This is one of the most important steps for chewy cookies. You must slightly underbake. Underdone cookies are the key to soft cookies for days, though I don't think these delicious treats will stick around that long."

To read more and try the crispy version… read more here

Today'd style pick

Total style crush for Stella McCartney children swear collections for the Spring/Summer 2014 season. Influenced by her 2013 resort collection, the line is stylish, fun, practical with a vintage touch. Characteristic of Stella MacCartney's collection is effortlessly chic and modern style with strong strong ethical values. We love the 100% organic cottons and carefully sourced materials. The line feel accessible, easy-to-wear, durable for play. Have a look at the colorful motifs, to fashion-forward styles largely inspired by the Spring/Summer 2013 runway collections, your little princess will love the printed dresses and any little boy will be dashing for super-hero t-shirts, something for the everyone… Available at www.melijoe.com. ♥

Friday, February 21, 2014

Le Petit Palais… french twist to indoor play

Yesterday we dropped by Le Petit Palais indoor play for some fun. Situated in The Dubai Mall within the Galeries Lafayette, the "little french town" is a hidden gem for children. Perfectly located for a hour or two of shopping without your precious little ones.

The set up is very well done, children get to walk around the street of a little french town passing by the boulangerie (bread shop), supermarché (supermarket), the petrol station, salon de beauté (beauty saloon) and so on… I love role play for children, it's a great creative activity. Luella enjoyed visiting the little house with it's well equipped kitchen and dress up selection and of course the beauty saloon for hair and makeup session. The fun continue with arts and craft, karaoke and jungle gym… enough to keep little ones entertain for hours.

The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. The place is clean and well maintained. Luella settled in quickly and gave me a kiss good bye before I headed out for 20min to look around Lafayette Gourmet, the french grocery outlet located just near by. Le Petit Palais children’s play area, provides a convenient drop-off for parents while shopping or dining. Of course, you can also spend the time with your children, the soft play area is perfect for the younger ones.

Le Petit Palais is bit of a luxury indoor play area. Might be pricey for one hour AED80 but totally worth it for two hour AED100. Membership plan is also available.
For more details on birthday, events and classes check out facebook.com/lepetitpalaisdubai

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Pantry Gourmet Café

Today, I took my hubby out on a mid week lunch date. It was the occasion to try out the new soon to be launch menu from The Pantry. The gourmet café located in Al Wasl has been one of our weekend favorite since the opening. We were attracted by the convenient location, the outdoor terrace, the urban open loft aesthetic of the interior. In the early days, despite the sometime slow service and food being a bit inconsistent, we kept coming back! Now a year down the road, it all came together and it became a Dubai favorite.

Siting on the terrace under a large umbrella, enjoying the lovely weather we ordered our dishes. We shared the appetizer "Buffalo Mozzarella Salad", a lovely twist from the traditional salad. We both loved the sweet caramelized fruits addition. As a main course, hubby enjoyed "Lamb Chops", perfectly grilled served with warm lentil salad. At first the large portion and rustic look could have been dissuasive but the flavors and home cooking taste was a real treat. My selection of Bruschetta was simple and good. The crusty bread and fresh ingredient with a drizzles of a very tasty olive oil was just what I fancied, specially the Bocconcini, strawberry, figs combo.

With a full and very happy tummy, we ordered coffee. As desert we were presented with two items from the breakfast menu, as a taster to delight our sweet taste buds. It was impossible to finish the "Oat Bars" served with caramelized fruits and cream. Slightly heavy as a desert, it felt quite healthy, and definitely something I would considered for breakfast. The moist "French Toast" filled with Mascarpone cheese, drizzled with maple syrup and served with home made compote was also a perfect breakfast option for any sweet tooth.

Today everything was good! It's that simple. The new additions will be included in the original menu by the end of the month. I am sure it will add to the success of The Pantry and contribute to further establish them as a Dubai favorite.

The gourmet café is also a kid friendly venue with its outdoor seating, children menu option and coloring sheets.

Congratulation The Pantry on your first anniversary, celebrated this month and all your accomplishments. Visit for more details, pantrycafe.me

Sunday, February 16, 2014

United Bloggers of Benetton

Looking forward to new projects with iconic brand Benetton. United Color of Benetton has launch for the fourth year, #unitedbloggersofbenetton, a collaborative program where selected bloggers get involved via different media platforms and events to celebrate, expand and stir new creative interests for the brand.

Today, It was lovely to meet some fellow bloggers like Kat Lebrasse, Ushisato, Mariyah Gaspacho, Tinayums. All very talented fashion bloggers and stylists. I am very exited to have been selected for the "United Bloggers of Benetton Dubai 2014" and look forward to work with the children's wear collections as a brand ambassador. Watch this space!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Fun family day at the Ritz Carlton - New Ritz Kids program launched

This weekend, we ventured out of Dubai to Abu Dhabi to visit the recently opened Ritz Carlton, GrandCanal. The beautiful resort located at the waterfront consists of ten stately buildings arranged in a crescent formation, overlooking the 1,600 square meter pool. The amazing backdrop of the hotel is the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Stunning. The reason behind our day trip was the launch event of the new exclusive Ritz Kids program. A fantastic partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau Futures Society. A program for children aged 4 to 12 years old engaging little guests to explore the world around them.

We were escorted to the Kids Club, 10 minutes for Luella to settle in and make new friends, we said bye, and let her in the hands of the very kind and professional staff. She had a busy program ahead of her and seemed excited about it all. The content of the Ritz Kids programming was created by Ocean Future Society exclusively for The Ritz Carlton, with experiences in mind based on Water (emphasizing the importance of sea life), Land (encouraging exploration and discovery), Environmental responsibility (promoting environment health), Culture (exposure to art, music, local customs, history, food…)

How do you translate those concepts to young children in a fun way? Divided in age groups, the activities are designed to intrigue and thrill the young minds. The exciting adventures like treasure hunt, exploring the garden, searching for birds, playing games to learn about different types of fishes and sharks, related arts&craft activities, learning about myths and legends… create memories to take home.

From a distance, once in a while we could see the children with their "guide" looking for "something" through the resort, skipping through the pathway of the garden… Later on Luella mentioned a map and stickers. All very mysterious and exciting. Back indoor at the Kid Club, my little spy told me, the excitement continued while watching funny educational videos about friendly sharks and different type of fishes...

The children were served lunch at Dolce, the very cute italian-style café. The bright, friendly and colorful venue offered a large selection of sweets for desert, a real treat for children.

While Luella enjoyed herself we had fun playing master chef at the Asian restaurant Li Jiang. Behind the open kitchen we practice the art of pulling noodles! Then we had a lovely lunch at Mijana, Contemporary Arabic restaurant. Classic lebanese food served very well. Everything from homemade mezzos, hummus, kibbeh, falafel, moussaka, baba ghannouj, grape leaves and tabouleh to hearty grilled meat and hombaked pita breads was delicious. All very tasty and served in an elegant and warm atmosphere.

The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi would be a nice weekend destination for the whole family. The dining venues, the beautiful resort, the location, the stunning spa and the children facilities make The Ritz Carlton a nice option for weekend get away from Dubai. To see more of the resort and all its facilities visit ritzcarlton.com

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A few thing this Valentine's week...

Here's a few thing to put you in a Valentine kindda mood.

♥ One of our favorite Dubai café, The Pantry will be offering different delicious sweet treats on 14th February. I look forward to start the day with one of the rich red velvet cappuccinos accompanied by a creamy topping and a hint of Dulce de Leche flavor.

♥ Something for the children Caboodle, indoor playground is prepping up its facilities for an exciting family day with the announcement of its special Valentine’s activities happening all day on February 13, 14 and 15. While the kids participate in heart-themed activities, parents can enjoy some Valentine specials in the café. There’s something for everyone to enjoy in a Valentine date at Caboodle.” A special event rate of AED 70 for two hours will be offered by Caboodle, which includes two hours of play, Valentine’s arts and crafts, face painting, nail art and so much more!

♥ Jumeirah gem gift boutique Harvest Home just received some boxes full of LOVE from Emma Bridgewater… Great Valentine's day gifts. You are sure to find a little something for someone special or a little treat for yourself with a piece of Emma's hand decorated ceramic ware.

♥ Cute DIY book mark idea, using paint chips sample… seen on Pinterest.

♥ How I would like to spend my valentine's day… With a BookMunch picnic at Safa Park. BookMunch the cute book store / coffee shop located in Al Wasl Square offers picnic basket options as take away. It include everything, the basket, the picnic blanket, the lovely munchies and even the Safa park tickets. Breakfast Basket for 4 pers. AED 220 or Lunch Basket for 2 to 3 pers. AED 250

♥ Treat for yourself… Get your hands on the limited edition 'Love Box' by Micaroon now available at at S*uce. The sweet and quirky Micaroon Makeup is a collection feature adorable packaging inspired by the feminine look of macaroons.

♥ Another Valentine's day Party for kids: Kidville offers loads of activity to celebrate like Cupid's keepsake art projects, grooving' to love ballads, popcorn and cotton candy, puppet show… Checkout: facebook.com/KidvilleUAE or Contact Kidville JBR: 04 4401220 or Kidville Mirdif: 04 236 3648 to book your spot!

♥ Something to cherish for year… A romantic photo shoot, to create memories that will last forever! The Love through a lens, “ Valentine’s Day photography package from fishfayce is a lovely gift for your loved one this Valentine’s Day. Fishfayce, the innovative photography and viral marketing company, offer an hour photo shoot priced at just AED 1,200. You’ll receive 20 high-resolution photographs from the shoot on a USB and two 8 x 10 prints of the photographer’s choice. Available to purchase throughout the UAE throughout February 2014 and will be valid for three months from purchase. For further information or to book, please contact us on 800 fishfayce (347432923) or email info@fishfayce.com

Check out our preview VALENTINE'S DAY blog posts and get inspired…

Have good week… 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I am a Kinder Chocolate maker!

There is a new attraction in town and it's a delicious one! The Kinder Chocolate Factory for children opens at KidZania yesterday. We had a fantastic time at the launch of the world’s first “Kinder Chocolate Factory” for children at the award-winning edutainment centre. The children’s mini-city offers many "working" experience to choose from, no doubt, Kinder Factory will be one of the new favorite.

The special event was a real treat for the children who got to experience the beloved world of Kinder chocolate. After the opening ceremony, the children got the chance to work on the production line and learn about each step of the Kinder Chocolate making process, from ingredients to manufacturing. Children walked out of the Factory with a "newly" made chocolate barre, a chocolate maker certificate card and ten kidZos money in their pocket. Great fun for kids!

What is KidZania? More about Kinder Chocolate 

Special mention to the FANTASTIC balloon twister from kiducation parties who was very talented and great entertainment for the kids.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Family Food Challenge event with Holiday Inn

Holiday Inns kid friendly hotel : little ones dine and stay for free
TimeOut feature February 2014
Read more here: dubaioursandbox.com

Smile, it's pancake day

Today's blog post is a repost from 2012.
On February 2nd French people eat pancakes... Here's why and how to make.

Today is Pancake Day in the UK. For us in France we celebrated Crêpes Day - "Chandeleur" on February 2nd. Not only we eat a lot of crêpes on Chandeleur, but it is traditional to hold a coin in your hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year. I like traditions...

Anyway... I am ready for more pancakes...

Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday in the Christian calendar, and is celebrated as Carnival and Mardi Gras elsewhere in the world. It falls just before Lent, and was traditionally a day of fun and feasting before the fasting during 40 days of Lent.

Looking for a classic pancake recipe, here it is!