Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Style Crush


I got an InstaCrush on Sincerelyjules.

I have been following Julie Sarinna visual diary on instagram for over a year now.
I love her inspiring pics from her travel, daily outfits and lifestyle posts.

On top of being a style blogger, 
Jules has set up an online shop of cool tees - flash sale going on right now.


xx

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Box for Happy Time

We got to play and get all kind of creative and messy  with The Happy Box this weekend! Luella received this beautiful box full of cool activities to keep her busy last week. Look what we got up to...

The surprise effect, 'what's in the box' and discovering all the cool goodies was the first highlights of the experience.

Then we picked two of the provided activities to do that Friday morning "Milk Art" and "Making Chalk". Each activity is packed in its own pouch clearly labeled with all the instructions and supplies necessary. Easy does it!

We followed the step by step instruction sheet together and got messy (just enough to make it fun without a cleaning headache). It's a great concept for children to get busy with mama, daddy or loved ones. It's fun, engaging and get the kiddos creative while learning new facts and skills. The best part for children, is the quality time you actually make together out of the experience.

Next day, more fun but this time with pappa. They had a good time making the "Activity Cube" and "Minute to win it" game. Yesterday, while Little Jo was having her afternoon nap, Luella asked for another activity from the box. I was short of time, but wanted to spend some happy time together, well thanks to The Happy Box, we got busy! Challenge : creating a bouncy ball in 20 min max! We did it! It's all about being together, creating something and enjoying the experience. The fun lasted afterward, I got busy with baby Jo while Luella was bouncing around her new ball in the garden. Good end of the afternoon.

This month the box also included a coloring book and a great quality sticker & activity book. Something we will keep for our next road trip… the fun never end! :)



The Happy Box are done using non-toxic, carefully sourced materials. The activities are unique and varied. A good balance of  quick and easy - fun, stimulating, creative and analytic projects.

Check out the website for details on subscription packages. Priced at 250AED per box for 1 month, 235AED per box for 3 months, 220AED per box for 6 months, 200AED per box for 12 months. Hours of fun delivered monthly to your door. It's also a great gift idea.



Sunday, January 18, 2015

A few things this week...




♥  Lovely headband from Desert Rose, Dubai based vintage inspired headbands & accessories, handmade for little girls. Sweet.

♥ Another Dubai base mommy business, Babylu. Check out our competition on Dubai our Sandbox Facebook page, for your chance to win one lovely handmade necklaces made from juniper, beech, apple wooden beads and tied with 100% cotton. Babylu necklaces help to catch your baby's attention while breastfeeding, bottle-feeding or carrying your baby in the carrier…. Win it here!

♥ The Gro Hush is a unique portable white noise baby calmer. Said to be the next ‘must have’ baby product for new and expectant mums across the globe! It transmits soothing ‘white noises’ directly to your baby which allows your baby to be soothed and calmed without disturbing others around you. Only your baby will hear the calming tones and not others, keeping them relaxed and happy. Fantastic for use at home as part of your calming routine, and easily transportable when out and about or travelling on planes. Available at JustKidding-me.com and stores.

♥ Love those no bake energy balls, an healthy snack options for the family. Many recipes online like this one from dabblesandbabbles.com. Yummy.

♥  Did you know that the definition of fever changes with a child’s age? What is an acceptable temperature for a four year old can be classed as a high fever in a new born. That’s why Braun has developed the new Age Precision® technology in its latest ear thermometer, Thermoscan 7 with its age adjustable fever guidance system. It is designed to take the guesswork out of monitoring your child’s temperature. enables you to set the age of your child (0­‐3 months, 3­‐36 months and 36 months to adult) so you can interpret the reading quickly, accurately and easily based on the age, using a simple colour coded display. Green is a normal temperature for that age range, yellow indicates an elevated temperature and red suggests a high temperature. Braun Thermoscan 7 is available at across the UAE at all leading pharmacies, hypermarkets, supermarkets and some popular online stores specializing in children’s products. 

♥ Last week, I came across some really cool prints at the pop up Ripe Market at Nyla House. Have a look at drawdeck.com -  an easy way to buy art an online from cool artists from the MENA region and internationally.



Saturday, January 17, 2015

Desert safari close to home

photos from anantara.com and tripadvisor

Sir Bani Yas Island wildlife reserve, 250 kilometre drive from Abu Dhabi City is on one of my absolute destination to go to this year… A safari only 250 kilometre drive from Abu Dhabi City. There is so much to do and see, from nature and wildlife drives, horse riding, mountain biking, kayaking, sailing, cruising, hiking, snorkelling, to archery and so much more.

The highlight of it all is the Arabian Wildlife Park developed to provide an authentic environment for Arabian animals to freely roam while the island remains an exceptional experience for visitors. The conservation team has bought a variety of animals from captive populations. These include cheetah, Striped Hyena and Arabian Oryx that have now been successfully bred in the Arabian Wildlife Park. These populations are all considered extinct on the Arabian Peninsula.

Checkout desertislands.anantara.com to plan a visit to Sir Bani Yas Island, the largest natural island in the United Arab Emirates and experience a magical family encounter with nature.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Coffee master from Coffee Planet

Coffee lover, have you heard of MOCCAMASTER introduced by Coffee Planet UAE’s freshest home grown coffee brand?

I like my "café " espresso or cappuccino are a daily necessity with our nespresso machine. It's only recently, that I have been into black coffee or filtered coffee.

I was very happy to test drive the Moccamaster last month. Specially for Luella's birthday party, it was a very good and easy option to serve our guests. Super easy to use and environmentally friendly, the filter coffee machine did the job well. Used with some freshly roasted Single Origins coffee, created by Coffee Planet, the result was up to taste with our coffee enthusiasts friends.

Moccamaster is available in ten bright colours from Dutch Orange, to pink and even to an elegant Royal Blue to fit in any kitchen. It's fun and add personality to the kitchen.

Available at select Coffee Planet locations across the UAE: Dubai Internet city, Knowledge Village, Al Barsha traffic department, ADCB Building and ADCP in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah City Center and Roseleaf Café in Dubai Garden Center. Or online http://shop.coffeeplanet.com. Priced at AED 1,299.
photo from pinterest



Cool blues from Mothercare


Lovely Indigo collection from Mothercare, in store now.
Easy, practical and durable style.
xx

French Children Don't Throw Food - book review

Couple of months back, I was asked to do a book review for Justkidding blog. Thought I would share with you my thoughts on the book and a few pointers I got from it.


French Children Don't Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman

1) What initially attracted you to this book? What made you decide to pick it up? 
The title was catchy and I already heard about the author previous book "Bringing Up Bébé". Actually the main reason is probably me being French, I wanted to see what Pamela Druckerman had to say about raising kids the french way. I am also a new mom second time around of a 9 weeks old, little Josefin.

2) What would you say your overall approach to parenting is (i.e. relaxed, formal, strict) and would you say this book matches with your approach?
While reading "French Children Don't Throw Food", I realized that I am bringing up my daughters in many similar ways I was brought up and following a certain apparently typical french approach to parenting. Maybe like Druckerman puts it, it consists of a balance between "extremely strict and shockingly permissive". Where I might differ with french parenting style is the amount of time and play activities I do with Luella. I also find it difficult to stick to one snack - le goûter at 3 or 4pm… we tent to snack much more… oops!

3) Why do you think this particular book works for you?
I think some points are totally valid and I do apply them like the "Pause". What I have learn : The concept of waiting is very important in french parenting. From early on when a baby cries in the night the parents go in, pause, and observe for a few minutes. They know that babies' sleep patterns include movements, noises and two-hour sleep cycles, in between which the baby might cry. So most french parent will wait a bit before "jumping in", baby might "self-soothe" and go back to sleep. It applies even to newborn. French do not do instant gratification. More "pause" or waiting applies in the toddlers years. This waiting, according to the French "is a first, crucial lesson in self-reliance. There is also "le cadre", a frame – "setting firm limits for children, but giving them tremendous freedom within those limits". The author explain the importance of boundaries, and how the French think children must learn to cope with frustration. It's a core life skill. And "the word 'No' rescues children from the tyranny of their own desires." Another point I can relate his the "relation to food". The children are trained to eat or try everything. No children's menus in restaurants, and a four-course menu is served at nursery. I also admit that some clichés are a bit unfortunate and should not be generalized to all french children and nothing is perfect or that easy. Like with any parenting book / philosophy you take what you like and believe to make it work your way.

4) Would you recommend it to friends with young ones?
Yes, because it's a fun and easy book to read… but not really a parenting book. Druckerman offers a self-descriptive witty and informative tell about the french culture. It doesn't seek to give advice, just describes the author's experience, struggles and triumphs raising her children within two methods - French and Anglo-Saxon.

5) Can you describe the basic premise of the book?
New Yorker Pamela Druckerman married an Englishman and lived with him in Paris, where she had a baby, closely followed by twins. Threw the book, you get a glimpse of the strange world of motherhood in Paris. A world where babies slept through the night from two months, ate at adult meal times, often attended nursery from nine months, where they ate a varied and sophisticated diet and didn't throw their dinners at you or on the floor. How they do it? Druckerman depicts the easy, calm authority that French parents seem to possess when enforcing the cadre, the waiting and the varied diet.

6) Did you find it easy to read? (if not, explain why)
Yes, it's an easy, light page turner. I find the cross-cultural parenting differences intriguing. It also gave me some ideas to take home and refreshed my memories on some of my own up bringing. It's a good mix of both entertaining anecdotal bits and research-based evidence.

7) Who is this book aimed at? (i.e. Someone with very boisterous children? Someone with a child that won't eat? Someone with a bad sleeper?) 
Anybody up for an easy fun read or interested in french culture or different way to bring up children.

8) What is the number one tip/piece of advice you have taken away from this book.
The over all attitude toward parenting: firm but fair within a frame that provides limits and freedom. The idea of "the pause" is nothing new and probably common sense but it reinforce the idea. It also provide an insight into encouraging adult time, children playing by themselves as an important skill and children learning patience.

Another good read, check out fellow blogger Heidi Raeside from tuesdayschild.me, who share her "French style" parenting experiment based on Bringing Up Bébé from Pamela Druckerman  in this month Aquarius.

Happy reading!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beautifully Messy



Hair of the moment, sexy tousled long bob from Anh Co Tran, winter curls, choppy bangs, beachy waves, messy ponytails,… lots to play with.
It takes styling but should look like you didn’t even try!
Inspired! Thanks Pinterest.



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy King Cake

Today we will celebrate Epiphany by eating "la galette des Rois" or King's cake. The "king cake" takes its name from the biblical three kings. In Catholic liturgical tradition, the Epiphany- commemorated on January 6 - celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.

A tradition we follow back home, by eating a simple round pastry and almond paste filled cake. The tradition is to hide a small trinket like a porcelain baby or a little character (or a fava bean) into the king cake, used to represent Jesus. Today, the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in their slice of cake. In some traditions, the finder of the baby is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening by wearing a paper crown.

It's a sweet and yummy tradition, we like to keep on in the house… to prolong the holiday spirit just a little longer. 

Recipe here :) or store bought at Paul, Gérard café and Carrefour.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Fairy Garden - sweet memories

Luella turned 6 on December 28th. We asked for help in creating a stylish and memorable party to Dubai expert Sweet Life - all things party. The friendly and professional team behind Sweet Life created a magical fairy garden for the birthday girl. A wonderful experience I highly recommend.



On the day of the party, right on time at 10am, the Sweet Life van parked in front of the door, the team introduced them self and the set up could beginning. It takes lots of props and custom elements to create the theme we had chosen. The set up included a castle backdrop - perfect for photos, a welcome arch with fairy girl and sweet garden mushrooms, custom made signs to direct guests to the party, an adorable lemonade stand for the thirsty children and a beautifully decorated table setting for 15 little guests.




What makes Sweet Life party planing so special, is the attention to details that comes into setting up the decor. It took over 3 hours to put together the fairy garden with all the detailing that's required. There is so many special touches put together to create the whole set up. It was wonderful to see the decor comes to life, thanks to a great team who know their job very well. I hope you can see in the photos the sweet touches and design elements creating the beautiful experience.








Sweet Life is a fantastic option for busy parents who wants to offer their child a memorable party in a stylish set up with lots of fun activities but who don't have the time, the resources or the inspiration to do so by themselves. The Sweet Life team takes care of it all or as much as you want, to take away the stress of planning a party.


On top of setting up a magical decor, they can also provide the wide array of fun kids activities to entertained the little guests like the usual but always successful face painting, makeup and nail art, dress up, art and craft, … You can also request candy floss, ice cream cart and a lot more of special surprises to bring the fun into the event. We decided to keep things simple with some fun games in the garden. The lovely hostess was brilliant with the children, entertaining, outgoing, patients and engaging.

Luella had a fantastic afternoon with her friends. It felt special to her, I believe she will remember and cherish those memories just like we will. Look at this smile… that's a happy girl!

Thank you Sweet Life for making it easy and stress free on us and memorable for all. If you are looking into organizing a kids party, special event, corporate event, check out Sweet Life, you will get all the help you need. A one stop shop for stylish and professional party planning.

sweetlifeparties.com
facebook.com/sweetlifeparties
Tel: 00971 50 321 0839 - Sunday to Thursday, from 10am -5pm.





Happy time! Looking forward to 2015..


Hope you all had a lovely holiday with family and friends.
Wishing you all a beautiful, healthy and inspiring 2015.
Love, Emily and the girls
xx