Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Color your life happy with rice home ware

Love rice! Yes I could buy loads of rice fun, funky and so durable home ware. It's a great way to brighten up your home while being functional. Super practical for kids and stylish for mamas, it's a touch of happiness in your home. In addition rice is a perfect solution for picnic or party with their fun, and colorful designs, loved by children and adults alike. Ideal for Dubai outdoor lifestyle by the pool, the beach… Rice melamine has passed the toughest EU testing, is certified dishwasher safe and is extremely durable and long lasting.

Known for it's colorful melamine dining ware including plates, bowls, cutlery, cups, trays drink jugs and dispensers, and have recently added the basket range, toys and ceramics to the collection.

Our designs are inspired by “the good old days” and are very “down to earth” with lots of detail. We hope to colour you happy when you are washing, cleaning, baking and relaxing in your home. Charlotte, founder, RICE

You can find rice products in Town Center Jumeirah mall, in a cute boutique called "Little Luxuries" and also at Pantry Cafe, Marmarland, 6amBabies, The Urban Yogi, The Change Initiative, Sauce and Baby Souk

Instragram @rice_uae COMPETITION GIVE AWAY COMING UP! Watch this space.
photo: www.rice.dk

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Ritz Carlton Dubai - a lovely family affair

Last Saturday we spend a lovely family day at The Ritz Carlton Dubai. We loved the laid back atmosphere, the lush property, the gleaming white sandy beach and wonderful service of the attentive staff. The Ritz Carlton is a fantastic option if you are looking for a family friendly resort sanctuary to unwind and relax without having to leave the city.

We spend most of the morning by the one of the two family pool, splashing under the waterfall, going down the water slide, enjoying the sunshine or chilling under the palm trees. There is also an adult only pool with a beautiful lounging atmosphere and a pool bar to indulge in cocktails - not to be missed while kiddos are at the KidsClub.

Lunch was perfectly set up on the terrace of Caravan restaurant located at the center of the resort close to the KidsClub. The buffet is elaborate but not overwhelming, it offers a perfect selection of dishes and takes you on a culinary journey all the way to India, Arabia and the Mediterranean. Have you read our “Rotisserie Friday Brunch” review? Read it here!  It's a great organic farm-to-table experiences with seasonal ingredients and vegetables fresh from the country’s selected local farms.

After lunch Luella enjoyed some fun activities at the KidsClub. The Ritz-Carlton’s children’s programme - takes over the little ones with a collection of inspiring, educational and most importantly engaging activities. From smoothies making, cookies decorating, art&craft, it was all fun indoor during the warmer hours of the day. Then it was time for fun outdoor games and treasure hunt in the garden to satisfy their curiosity, stimulate the mind and burn energy. Wonderful way for children to create memories. We also heard about movies under the stars, camel rides on the beach and encounters with falcons, something to hopefully try out in a future visit.

The resort is a perfect balance of child friendly play areas with relaxing setting for adults to enjoy the panoramic views of the Gulf and unwind. " We have crafted experiences that offer plenty of family time but also allow children to participate in fun, educational activities and adults to kick back and enjoy the beach, service and the sumptuous food. From our sunset ritual, which unites the whole family, to Ritz Kids, which is designed exclusively for our youngest guests, it is a destination for the whole family,” said Raul Salcido, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai. "

While children make new friendship and explore The Ritz Kids, mum and dad get to soak up the sun and enjoy some grown up time at stylish outdoor bar The Baie Lounge. I had the chance to learn a few tips and new cocktails ideas with our friendly barman.

The last hour of the day should be spent on the beach gazing at the sunset while the little ones run around in the sand. - perfect way to end the day. We love Dubai! Thank you Ritz Carlton for your hospitality and making our family day special. 

- Day pass to use the hotel's pool and beach facilities, Spa facilities, Gym, Ritz Kids Club is at AED500 per adult and AED300 per child (4-12 years old) from Sunday to Saturday. 
- A special rate of AED750 per couple is offered.
- On Friday, when guests book a "Rotisserie Friday Brunch", a special half day pass rate of AED200 and AED100 per child is available.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Our first 'baby class' with The Bright Minds Institute

Last week, Josefin experienced her first "baby class". At only 7 months, I was not expecting much more then a bit of socializing for her. Wondering if baby really benefit from "baby activity classes" and if it's really necessary to sign up for baby swimming classes, kinder music, baby gym and so on at such an early age. After this morning 50 minutes sessions with The Bright Minds Institute, I would say YES why not! If you gonna enjoy taking the time to do this with your baby, the benefice are significant. It is a way to foster new emotional development and communication skills. I could see Little Jo eyes wide open to new experiences, her focus set to details and her body responding to sound and music. As a mom it's such a joy to see. We both really enjoyed! Thanks for having us.

What is Bright Minds? It's a teaching method involving both side of the brain. The Whole Brain Training Class we took part into equally stimulates a child's left and right side of the brain. The lovely teacher Anna, explained to me that focusing on both parts of the child's brain at such a young age allows a child to develop the ability to utilize more brain capacity to improve decision-making, attention spam, memory… Until about 2 years old, a child use mainly his right side of the brain and is capable of absorbing so much information, it is worth exploiting in a fun & developmentally beneficial way!

The class started with music and song just like a "happy warm up". First part of the session focused on the right side of the brain: the creative, intuitive, imagination oriented side. Josefin enjoyed the flash cards, sensory games and visualization. The fast paced of the activities keep the child interest and fun.

The second part of the class was about literacy, numeracy and fine motor skills, using the left side of the brain. Of course, it's limited for her age but I understood that introducing concept and letting her absorb what she can and want is the key to her development.

The good stuff:
- Lovely teacher with drama teaching background which keep the little ones in real 'woohaa mood', encouraging interactivity and keeping the session fun and entertaining.
- Fast-paced activities keep the child interested
- Great location Apple Seeds Dubai or Kidsvill JBR
- Quality time with baby and social interaction
- After this kind of "brain workout" Josefin had a long nap - bliss

To know:
- Classes are pricey, 150Dhs/class for one time a week, 130Dhs/class for twice a week.
- Free trial class is available
- Different age groups: 6months to 1 year / 1year to 2 / 2 years to 3 / 3 years to 4 / 4 years to 5
- Maximum six per class
- For more details contact info@thebrightmindsinstitute.com or call 0566880773

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Top Tips and Ideas for decorating children's bedroom - from MarMarland Founder

Have you heard of MarMarLand? A new new online shop for mothers, children and babies has arrived to the UAE and is also available for all GCC mothers as well as worldwide international shipping! MarMarLand carries a great selection of well design products for babies and children to play and live in a dreamy environment. Some of the best children’s designer brands available at MarMarLand are:  LuckyBoySunday, ferm living, Anne-Claire Petit, Jupiduu, rice, Burrow & Be … 

If you are after simplistic, high quality long lasting products for their babies and children that brings the ‘cool factor’ to the room, look no further then MarMarLand. The online shop provides trendy, up to date accessories, organic toys, contemporary décor, innovative storage and in vogue furniture.

Dubai our Sandbox had the opportunity to ask award winning entrepreneur Maren Gerber , founder of MarMarLand her top tips for decorating/furnishing your kid’s room. Maren vision with Marmarland is to create "a space that allowed a child to believe they are not just anywhere when they sleep or play, but in actual fact they are in MarMarLand. A place where a child feels comfort and magic, a place where dreams come true and inventions can be created".

Storage, storage and more storage.
Buy enough toy boxes and bags to hide all the toys. So tiding up gets easy and the room looks cleaner and gives the kids more space to play. I have the big Kolor paper toy bags at home in our play area. It just takes me 2 minutes to stuff in all the toys after the kids are in bed to make our living room look a bit more like a living room and less play area again.

♥  Invest in furniture, which grows with your child. You get much more value for money if you buy furniture which can be used many years. For example buy a baby cot, which can be changed into a toddler bed. We will have amazing beds by Sebra online very soon. Another idea is to look beyond products specially made for children. There are many “adult” products, which work really well in children’s rooms. 

♥ Do not overdo a theme. It can be helpful to have a theme or a colour in mind while deciding on furniture and accessories but do not take it to far. If you like to have a certain theme, keep the walls, carpet and furniture neutral and add some accessories like wall stickers and cushions matching your theme. So you can easily change it if you or your child does not like it anymore.

♥  Add a cosy corner. Kids love to have their own little hideaway. It can be a tepee, play house or cuddle corner with a play mat and lots of cushions.

♥ Buy some quality toys. Not only are toys of good quality better for your baby’s health and safety but also do they look much nicer. Many toys are so stylish that they work as decorative item for your kid’s or play room.

♥  Little changes can make a huge difference. You do not need a huge budget to change the atmosphere of your kid’s room. Maybe add some wall stickers and posters or a letter banner and some new bedding.

♥  Leave room for imagination and don’t stuff too much into your kid’s room.

♥  Don’t aim for a “perfect” kid’s room. Mix and match different colours and textures and adding items, which you like or which have a personnel meaning for you, will add character and will make the room unique. Keep in mind that your baby or child and you are the ones who will spend lots of time there.

♥  If you are unsure or do not have the time to furnish and decorate your baby’s nursery or kid’s room ask an interior stylist. There are amazing stylists in the UAE like Linda from Liveloudgirl and Kathryn from House of Hawkes

♥  If you just need a bit of inspiration, have a look at Instagram and Pinterest. There you will find lots of images of amazing rooms.

Thank you Maren!

To get some ideas and get inspired visit Facebook: MarMarLand and Instagram: MarMarLand

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Destination: Ski Holiday - Burg, luxury hotel for the whole family

I love ski holidays, it's a fantastic family vacation. We are fortunate to go once a year (now 4 consecutive years) to meet with our family for some snow fun in Oberlech, Austria. This year with the arrival of Josefin I was a bit more apprehensive with the travel and the hotel stay but it turned out to be a wonderful time again. Thanks to very helpful grand-parents and auntie and the child friendly hospitality from Burg Hotel. The family has been returning to Burg Hotel for many years. We all love the  beautiful, warm and cosy wooden Alpine atmosphere of the hotel.

The 4*superior hotel is located in the auto-free "village" of Oberlech that sits above Lech, reachable by gondola in the winter months, and sits right on the ski slopes. Making it the perfect location for skiing, ski school and some fun sleigh time. The picturesque villages of the Arlberg region are charming and set beautifully against the Austrian Alps backdrop. To reach Lech, we flew to Zurich airports and the hotel arranged a pick up service to drive us. It takes just under two hours drive to get to Lech from Zurich.

Why we like it and keep coming back...

- The region offers all levels of skiing from beginner to advanced skiing to plenty of off-piste skiing.
- The Ski School and Children Snow Park is less then 5 minutes walk.
- Ski lifts up to the pistes are just in front of the hotel.
- Lech and Oberlech offer many option for aprés-ski fun. Numerous bars and restaurants offering both indoor and outdoor seating with entertainment and music playing. Also many terraces and sundecks to enjoy the weather.
- Shopping available in Lech, from designer clothes, jewelry, ski equipment, to supermarkets for food, snacks, and souvenirs.
- Ski and snowboarding equipment rental available within the hotel, with a friendly and professional staff.

The Hotel
The Burg hotel offers many different room categories. Always in warm neutral tones and wooden furniture to create a cosy Alpine atmosphere. I find the room / apartment style to be quite spacious. The bathroom are large and well appointed with bathrobe for the whole family and slippers.

The hotel is well know for it's wonderful gourmet cuisine. The main restaurant propose a gastronomic experience every nights (with the half board package) and a great breakfast buffet with eggs made to order and served at the table to get you ready for the day. You must try Helga's quaint, authentic Stube for fondue. Also on the not to be missed list is the beef tatar, the best I ever had!

The service and friendly staff is excellent (except a few issues this year) we have always been very pleased with our experience at Burg Hotel.

The wellness area is very pleasant for the whole family. It has many facilities including a swimming pool, baby pool with slide, jacuzzi, sauna, massage, fitness room and yoga classes. We enjoyed some pool time after skiing, and took some relaxing time in the jacuzzi and the sauna. Perfect way to end a day of skiing.

The spacious and inviting lounge with its cosy sitting, fire place, wooden bar and putting green is a charming space to have an evening drink, play cards, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere…

The kids stuff

The hotel is very child friendly and offer many convenient services to accommodate parents.
- Just steps away from the ski school (from about 3 years of age) and kindergarden facilities of Lech.
- There is a small kids club to entertain the little ones, also available is a playroom with table tennis, foosball and games.
- The hotel offers a very good kids menu and can accommodate to special request.
- High chairs, baby monitors, baby cots, linen and bathrobe for the young guests is provided
- Baby push sleigh available for walking around the little ones.
- Don't miss going down to Lech with a sleigh… kids and adults had a great time taking the toboggan run from Oberlech down to Lech. Great fun!

See you again soon Oberlech! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Travel: Hello from Nice Cote d'Azure

Hope everyone is enjoying their Easter School Break. We are in Nice Cote d'Azure for a week, visiting the grand parents and enjoying the gorgeous spring weather. If you are thinking of visiting the South of France, check out our little chat with the lovely ladies from  Mumstheworld.net, where we share our child friendly travel tips and things to do and see in the Riviera region. (or read an extract below).

This summer you visited the stunning Cote D’Azur. Why did you travel there?
My parents live in Nice, and we wanted to enjoy the South of France with friends and family.

How did you travel there?
Emirates fly direct to Nice. The flight is around 6 hours and the airport is conveniently located in the entrance of the city along the beach.

What 3 things would you recommend to our readers to do there?
1. Daily Market on Cours Saleya in the Old Town:
One of my favourite things to do is to stroll through the beautiful flowers and food displays of the Cours Saleya Market, surrounded by little cafés, bistros and tourist boutiques.

2. Beach:
The beach in Nice is pebble stones. You have not only the public beach, but also many private beaches. We go to Beau Rivage Beach Club for the day, which is conveniently located for us but there is many different options along La Promenade des Anglais. If you want some sandy beaches explore Juan Les Pins and St Jean Cap Ferrat (Hotel Royal Riviera in Cap Ferrat)

3. Restaurants:
Our favourite gourmet bistro not to be missed is Le Bistrot d’Antoine in the Old Town.
Or try La Petit Maison (the original one)

Would you recommend Nice to other parents for their children and if so why?
Nice and it’s surrounding offers a some good options to entertain the children. It’s actually a nice city break for the whole family. Some attractions include:
Parc Pheonix
The parc has 7 hectares of exotic gardens with 2500 plant species and one of the biggest glass-houses in Europe. There is lots to do and see including animals such as beavers, wallabies, prairie dogs, tarantulas, pelicans and other birds living in sympathetically designed enclosures. It also has several excellent play areas and is a nice day out.

Nice Chateau
Situated between the Old Town and the Port is a great outing. The chateau was originally the site of the fort that guarded the city when it fell in 1706. There is no more castle to visit but a spectacular view and pleasant walk with a friendly playground at the top, a snack bar and some ruins to visit.

La Promenade du Paillon
This is a green corridor of 12 hectares of park land right in the centre of Nice with fun water features for kids to play. (see collage above)

MarineLand (about 45 mins from Nice)
The biggest marine life theme park in Europe with dolphin, orca and seal shows, as well as sharks, rays, penguins and polar bears. Usually it’s not something that I would want to promote, however, it’s actually impressive and lots of marine life research is also carried out there.

Musée Océanographique de Monaco (about 45 mins from Nice)
This museum sits spectacularly placed on the cliff face looking out to sea on the rock of Monaco. It is a historic museum, perhaps not for the younger members of the family, but there is a small aquarium to suit smaller children. The museum is stuffed full of marine world curiosities.

What local delicacies did you try? 
Salad Niçoise…you must try:
Fleur de courgettes: Deep fried zucchini flowers.
Pissaladière: Salty tart (or pizza) topped with anchovies, onions and olives.
Petits Farcis: A classic specialty of Nice — vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini, hollowed out and stuffed with ground meat, garlic, and bread crumbs. They are baked and served hot or cold.
Rosé wine

Happy Holiday everyone! 
Love from Emily, Luella and Little Jo.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cuddledry towel for happy bath time experience

Here's our new find love, The Baby Apron Bath Towel for Josefin and The Snuggle Monkey Towel for Luella from Cuddledry. Adorable and practical towel made from natural bamboo fibre and pure cotton, the Cuddledry is much softer than a normal towel, and stays that way after washing – ideal for snuggling and drying the little ones.

The Baby Apron Bath Towel is an innovative yet simple solution for baby bath time. The story behind the apron towel come from Cuddledry designers, Helen Wooldridge and Polly Marsh, who were inspired to create the Cuddledry after they and their husbands struggled at bath time with slippery babies, and realising this was a challenge every new parent faces: “We asked hundreds of parents and found that mums and dads everywhere battle with baby towels held awkwardly under their chin, or in their teeth, or put crying babies onto towels on cold bathroom floors, to get over the need for an extra hand to hold the towel at bath time,” explains Polly Marsh, one of Cuddledry’s creators. “It is of course impossible to safely lift a baby without two hands, but you also somehow have to hold a towel and wrap them in it!” 

The solution to an easy bath experience, thanks to the clip on around the neck hooded style towel that lets you dry your baby hands free and stay dry. We loved the soft and cuddly fabric, perfect for the little ones delicate skin. It's one of those things you don't know it exist, you don't know how good it is until you try it and then you can't be without it… Josefin love her bath, it's always a happy time that ends in tears when it's time to get out of the bath tub. Thankfully, cuddledry is helping the "after bath" experience making it just a bit more cuddly and happy… much less tears!

Luella being the big sister wrap herself up in the Snuggle Monkey dress up towel and jumps around the room making monkey sounds entertaining her little sister. Being 6 years old, she's getting a bit old for the cuddledry towel but the towel is large enough for her to snuggle into it and the softness and cuteness of the towel keeps her interested. Overall, as a mum, I think it's a great quality product. The microfiber - super soft bamboo and pure cotton blend is ideal for little skins. After a few washes and tumble dry, it is still silky soft. The apron feature is definitely very convenient with little babies. Its a good buy and a lovely gift for a new parent. 

Cuddledry products are available at Babysouk.com
Cuddledry Snuggle Monkey towel retail price AED195 and Cuddledry Apron Towel retail price is AED240, checkout the Cuddledry range here.