Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dubai Performing Art Academy is launching!

Looking for a cool activity for the kids? Something to help them build their confidence, develop their skills, make new friends and for the ones that want to follow their dreams, the first step on their road to becoming a star. Here it is, Dubai Performing Arts Academy is launching in conjunction with Fitness First Middle East.

 The founders of the academy; Lisa Scott Lee, a member of UK pop-sensation “Steps” and her husband Johnny, a professional dancer who has worked with the likes of Robbie Williams and Diana Ross and starred on London’s West End, have created Dubai Performing Arts Academy, the first of its kind in the GCC, to bring together dance, singing and drama, the three core performing arts disciplines, for children aged between 4 and 18 years old. Now children of the UAE the chance to train and learn for some of the best in the business. Currently children with ambition to be on stage or be the next big music sensation would have to travel to the UK or US to get access to this level of training, but now with Dubai Performing Arts Academy, Dubai could well be producing the international stars of tomorrow. 

Lisa Scott Lee, Co-Founder and Principle of the Academy commented on the launch; "Since we moved to Dubai we have had a dream to give aspiring performers here in the Emirates the opportunity to experience and enjoy an all-round training and foundation in Performing Arts. We have two young children ourselves and we have built the Academy using experience as both performers and parents." 

Dubai Performing Arts Academy will be based at Fitness First at The Lakes, Sunday’s 4pm, Monday and Wednesday 3.30pm, every Friday 12pm-3pm and The Meadows Community Clubs (every Saturday 10am-1pm). Children will be split into classes based on their age (Mini Steps 4-7 years, Junior Steps 8-12 years and Senior Steps 13-18 years). 

Don't miss out on the launch and free trial, Saturday 6th of September from 11am till 2pm at Fitness First Lakes.

For more information or to enquire about the fee structure, sibling packages and Fitness First member’s discounts call +971 4 424 5159 Sunday to Thursday 9am to 5pm or email 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FunCity indoor fun for the kiddos

In the constant search of things to do with the kids during the hot hours of the day… Fun City indoor kids entertainment center offer a good option for family fun this summer. Lots of games and activities for the little ones to play.

Lots of games and rides to try. We enjoyed playing games like "Spin the Wheel" and collecting winning tickets. The more tickets to exchange at the end the bigger the gift you will get to choose! It's also a great way for children to learn to save in order to collect more "tickets" or "token" to build up for a bigger gift on a next visit.

Fun City also offer a specially designed zone called, Fun N’ Learn for children up to 4 years of age, that focuses on children’s mental and physical development. Similarly, there is the Play Zone for ages 4 to 12 which consists of a soft play structure with a variety of colourful and attractive elements to engage children in constructive play and  Kiddie Rides for the 3 to 6 year old. It's a good solution for children of different ages.

Hours of fun can get expensive, so consider visiting on “Fun Day Monday” where the little visitors can enjoy each Kiddie Ride, Big Ride and Video Game for just 1 dirham per game every Monday of the week!

Check out the different locations like Mercato, Oasis Center, Ibn Battuta Mall, Lamcy Plaza, …

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The "Back to School" Stuff

It's that time off the year, a couple of weeks to go before school starts. Are you and the little ones getting ready? Here's a few tips&tricks, recipes ideas, shopping ideas, activities, promotions and free printable for you to get on track…

Centrepoint stores like every years present the largest selection of fun ‘back to school’ merchandise, right in time for the school-shopping season. The family fashion and "value for money" retailer offers school gear, accessories, and shoes, along with the latest school uniforms all under one roof. The fun and exclusive collection is now available across the MENA region. (top left image)

♥ In the run up to September, we are starting to prepare for the daunting task of making those lunch boxes every day! In order to make it more fun, Db Babies has a wide range of options for lunch boxes, stainless steel containers, insulated food jars, water bottles, name labels, … I really like those insulated food jars (top middle image). Also currently going on, a special back to school offers in store this month including free embroidery when you spend over 350 dhs on back to school items or a free pencil on selected lines. Online at or Town Centre Jumeirah, Mercato Mall, Dubai.

♥ For you to get organized, check out those clever free printable check lists. "Back to school check list" and some and "first day sign" to create memories.

♥ This year GEOX has a special treat in store for its customers! Get yourself a free GEOX Beat Bracelet that lights up in response to sounds and speech with any purchase from the Fall/Winter 2014 Back to School collection or splash on your favorite items get yourself an Apple iPod Shuffle. See in store for conditions.

♥ Looking for after school activities for the little ones? James & Alex Dance Studios is opening its doors again, to help keep your kids dancing, moving and smiling all autumn long! This season, the James & Alex Dance Studios Kids’ Programme is jam-packed with a host of fun-filled classes including ballet, breakdancing, contemporary dance, hip hop, musical theatre and salsa, offering something to suit every kid’s style and personality. The Kids’ Programme is split into age groups and plays to the strengths of each individual, ensuring that all their needs are met. The new term begins 13th September and will run for 14 weeks with term fees starting from just AED 700. The studios are also offering a Free Class Week from 6-11th September so your child can try out any class free of charge, to see which one suits them best! Classes for kids aged 2 to 16.

♥ Got some vitamins for Luella! Trying out Yaya Vitamins Omega 3, for an extra boost and to kick start the year with a good supply of essential vitamins and nutrients. Check out the full range: (bottom left image)

♥ Cute DIY chalkboard note book tutorial - from (bottom middle image)

♥ Keep your kids healthy this school year with Right Bite’s Lunchbox Gourmet. Leading healthy catering company Right Bite has introduced a service to help parents provide proper nutrition to their children while at school. The program that helps parents save time, while taking out the worries on varying lunch box content without compromising on their nutrition values. Parents can subscribe their kids to the Lunchbox Gourmet program for one week or up to a month or more. The daily Lunch Box includes a main meal, a side dish, a choice of dairy beverage and a fruit snack prepared fresh daily by Right Bite chefs. You can also opt to add an afternoon snack to the daily package. Lunchbox Gourmet meals are delivered right to the subscriber’s doorstep during the school week.

Or check out those not so crazy / time consuming (who the hell has time to prep that) but very realistic lunch box ideas. Simple ideas that works from

♥ Check out Dubai our Sandbox previous Back to School features: "Back to school Round Up", "Kids Labels", "Lunch Boxes ideas". And some Back to School jokes - read here!

Monday, August 11, 2014

we ♥ for all baby, toddler and parenting products

It's all getting very exciting! Just a few weeks to go before we welcome our "Little One" to the world… We are getting ready, still buying a few necessities and checking out our new favorite online boutique for baby and toddler products,

Recently and another locally based successful e-retailer and distributor for children products merged together. The new common venture will offer many unique features and a very robust shopping experience for parents throughout the MENA region. Together they can source high quality and unique products and brands from all over the world – brands which stand for their comfortable, safe, fashionable and feeling good qualities. Looking forward to see the new website to launch in October.

" Our inspiration for selecting our products comes from our experience as parents and from our children. There isn’t a product which we, or our children, haven’t tried and approved before it makes it to our online store. Busy parents have limited time to shop, and we therefore we aim to bring our customers a safe, quick and hassle-free shopping experience with our uniquely personal touch. Our next-day delivery service in the UAE and quick turnaround times around the Middle East region bring near-instant shopping satisfaction!"

Looking at the online selection, I am happy to find products that don’t compromise on luxury, durability and practicality. Here's a few items on my radar… Like "The Boba Wrap Carrier" for babies from birth until around 18 months, " My Buggy Buddy Clips " great way of hanging bags and shopping from the pram handle, " My Brest Friend nursing pillow ", " Serenity Star " a multipurpose sleep system that includes a room temperature indicator, a night light, a sound machine, "Aden & Anais Dream Blanket "… and lots more. has also teamed up with, Dubai's premium service for registering the birth of new born babies and help you sort out all your visa and passport requirements. Useful: "helping you every step of the way"!

Another great reason to like the online retailer supports the ZB Foundation by donating AED 5 from every online order to the foundation.

Based in Pakistan, the ZB Foundation’s initial aim is to pioneer the use of New Born Screening. "To target the uncharted medical area of rare metabolic diseases, and over time, become a compelling soldier for the fight against baby/infant deaths and 3rd world standard pediatric medicine and healthcare facilities. Through collaborating clinics and hospitals and a comprehensive network of labs, doctors and parents will finally have the opportunity to provide their babies with a heel prick test (New Born Screening Test) which in the West is taken for granted but which saves countless lives. This simple test is not available in Pakistan so we aim to pioneer and provide this test free of cost- all in the name of Zahra Beau. " Please read more about Zahra Beau and the mission of the ZB Foundation, set up by Zahra’s parents in her memory and spirit and designed to give other babies the chance that Zahra never got herself.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Prenatal massage at Sensasia Urban Spa - best treat for mummy to be!

At 36 weeks into my pregnancy, I needed a pick me up / feel good kind of treat. Thanks to Sensasia Urban Spa I got exactly that, a pampering "me time" to reboost myself. I went to the newly renovated, just reopened last week SensAsia at The Village Mall in Jumeira1, conveniently located 5min from our home.

SensAsia menu offers plenty of delicious, targeted, pampering options for "Mum to be" like "Yummy Tummy" layers of goodness for your belly with Omega 3, 6,and 9, "Scrub a Dub Mum" to exfoliate and improve circulation, "Lighter Legs" a treat for your pins to ease water retention. My "Yummy Mummy to be Massage" was a real treat. The lovely therapist was obviously knowledgeable about pregnancy treatment. After setting me up comfortably with different cushions to adjust my legs and growing belly, she could proceed with the massage using warm sweet almond oil. We discussed my needs, pressure preference and overall comfort. Within minutes I was on my way to relaxation, my mind could drift away to peaceful thoughts. The massage was the right combination of "feel good" but also "I am here doing something good and worth it" for my body!

It's important to understand what is a prenatal massage and it's benefit. When you are pregnant you’re likely to feel all kinds of aches from back pains, legs discomfort, hormones levels unbalanced and more. There are several ways in which a prenatal massage can improve your well being (always good to check with your Dr as well). It can reduce swelling, help with water retention and blood circulation, relieve sciatica nerve pain, adjust your hormones, relax you… Even post delivery, it it can help ease the stresses of all the change you’re experiencing at home.

I highly recommend the "Yummy Mummy to be Massage", it's a lovely treat to yourself and a thoughtful gift to a pregnant friend. Price: 60min / 380dhs or 90min / 480dhs

Recently, (you might remember my previous blog post: Get in the Club) Salina Handa, mom entrepreneur behind SensAsia Urban Spa has launched a new concept for pregnant spa fans that extends far outside the treatment room. It offers pamper packages to take expectant mothers – floating on a cloud of tranquility! – from month three through to delivery and beyond, but, the Yummy Mummy Club is also an opportunity to get together at a variety of Dubai locations, swap tips and listen to guest experts in areas including women’s health, baby preparation and nutrition.

I had the opportunity to try out on top of my pre-natal massage one of the newly launched Enhancements Treatments. A series of additions that can upgrade your spa experience is now added to the menu. This 15 min pre- massage called "Workaholic" ease you into your treatment, using lavender-based oil blend – aptly named Calm – to target the tiny areas that hold onto tension, including the temples and the nape of the neck. Ouhaaa… There is plenty to choose from the Enhancements Treatments list, "The Hot pack" using heated herbal packs to target really sore spots, "Go Upper Class" to say bye bye to dry skin with super-luxe cocoa butter, "Your Pins" a lightening and cooling leg treatment, twinkle toes, and more… Priced from 45Dhs to 225Dhs.

Little secret: SensAsia Urban Spa in Downtown has a surprise for us ladies… Starting September 1st, they are launching a Ladies Night, a special treat on Monday nights. " The Thai-meets-NYC day spa right in the hub of the action at Souk Al Manzil, Downtown Dubai – invites the city’s stylish females to come as a pair, for great savings, and a very special experience. From 6pm to 10pm every Monday, ladies can book in for any 90-minute signature massage, and bring a gal pal along to enjoy one at the same time – absolutely free!"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jumeirah Fishermen harbor - our charming neigbourood

Yesterday I finally made it to the new Jumeirah Fishing Harbor. This lovely fishermen harbor is actually part of a project commenced in mid-2008, the development of three harbours — Jumeirah 1, Umm Suqeim 1 and Umm Suqeim 2, with the aimed to bring back the fishermen to a more centrally located fish markets, reviving traditional fishing heritage, improving the life of fishermen and creating a new neighborhood retail outlets with cafés restaurants and cafes, majlis, prayer halls and recreational facilities.

I look forward to try out the newly open cafés and restaurants inside Al Souq and more down the jetty facing the waterfront. Here's a little selection of what's on offer…

Bait Misk Lebanese Restaurant serves a selection of mezzeh and authentic of Lebanese food inside the Al Souq complex. Decor looked cosy mainly in wood and stone with a rustic feel and a see view over the harbor.

Boteko Brasil brings to Dubai traditional Brazilian treats. Cute little café, serving homemade variety of pot pies, hot savouries, sandwiches, sweets, candy, cakes, chocolate, juices and delicious coffee in a pure Brazilian Café menu. Down by the jetty facing the waterfront.

Mint Leaf inside Al Souq this bright and elegant well decorated Indian restaurant look very attractive. The menu is also appealing, offering a classic selection of Indian dishes. Look forward to try it out.
04 343 1651

Omnia Gourmet Launched by Dubai "celebrity Chef" Silvena Rowe. This adorable looking café-deli is another favorite on my list to try out. The concept is farm-fresh, healthy food with local organic ingredients. After looking at the menu, I have no doubt this cute neighborhood deli café will be a success. I look forward to try Silvena "super healthy" food with "super ingredients" like Chia Seeds, Acai powder, Hemp Seeds, Pomegranate, Goji… but also decadent desert (still healthy).
04 343 7181

Also on the jetty Charm offers Thai cuisine and Sea More Café is quint coffee shop with small food selection.

The fish market itself will be a reason to visit the harbor. Soon fully operating.
Checkout this interesting read from TimeOut Dubai.

Located on Beach Road heading down toward Jumeirah beach park, Mercato mall will be on left hand side, pass two traffic lights down and turn right into it, pass the gate for easy parking. Easy venture… see here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chocolate Banana Popsicles

Super Easy treat to beat the heat…

4 large bananas
½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt (1 small container)
150g dark or milk chocolate

Serves: makes 4-6 Popsicles (depending on the shape/size of your containers)

- Combine bananas and yogurt in a blender or small bowl. I use a hand blender to mix.
- Heat the chocolate until it is just melted (about 30 seconds in the microwave). Pour ¾ of the chocolate over the bananas and yogurt, reserving the remaining melted chocolate, and blend banana mixture until smooth and creamy.
- Pour remaining chocolate in the Popsicles molds.
- Freeze for at least 4 hours
- Enjoy!

Note: You can find popsicle containers at Ikea, Diaso, Spinney's...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What am I packing? Getting my hospital bag ready...

Just a couple of days ago, I was asked if I had packed my bag? At nearly 36 weeks pregnant, it did not cross my mind yet! So now, it got me thinking… and I don't even remember packing a bag the first time around with Luella. I remember things I wish I had and with a little reading around and tips from friends… here's my packing essentials to make our stay a little more pleasant.

For me...
Comfy robe and PJs: I like Zara Home for soft and cosy home wear like this plush cotton and cashmere robe with matching pants.

Flip flops: Would like to hung around in those Zara Home sleepers in rose gold, but might just bright some flip flops because you can wear them in the shower.

Toiletery essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, brush… and some favorite products to make you fell little better like a nice scented shampoo and conditioner combo. Palmer's oil just because it's now an everyday essential.

MakeUp basic: To look and feel good on the photos and surprised visits from friends and family. Mascara and shimmer powder will do...

Nursing tops or bras: For confort and practicality. Got mine from h&m as a starter pack.

Tech stuff: Can't be without my iPhone and MacBookAir.

More stuff: Less glamorous but probably needed, pack of maternity underwear, maxi pads, nipples cream to name a few necessities. Also a comfortable and feel good  "going home" outfit…

For baby...
Things to wear: simple cotton onesies

Receiving blanket: Practical and for multiple usages, like as a nursing cover, wiping little mouths, light blanket…Versatile!

Soothers: might be usual while waiting for milk supply to build up. Some babies love it some just don't care for it… Will see.

Swaddle blanket:  You could use a large receiving blanket but I like to use the pocket kind with wrap around. Gro Swaddle is an option, I used The Miracle Blanket for Luella… was great!

Going home outfit: Comfy and easy to wear like this Petit Bateau 2 pieces set. 

More stuff… Scratch mittens, wipes and diapers, and don't forget the car seat...

To make your stay cosier… a private room...
Room scented spray: Won't be allowed to bring my beloved Dyptique candle, so a home spray will do - figuier or freesia.

A batteries operated candle:  For a cosy glow at night

Small picture frame:  Like this double fold frame to keep hubby and Luella close by.

Flowers: Hopefully from your first visitor.

Ok so the list might be updated or modified but that's a good start… What do you think!?

Get some reading from the experts or on a lighter note (but still useful) .