Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Gift your nanny a better future this festive season with Rise

Couple of weeks back I met with Padmini Gupta, the mind behind Rise. From a personal experience with her own home helper, Padmini came with an entrepreneurial idea that would help domestic helpers across the UAE. The idea is to help anyone earning below Dh5,000 that does not currently have access to financial and banking services. To help migrants manage their finances, learn new skills and build a better future.

Last month, our family said goodbye to our beloved nanny of 25 years! It was time for her to go back home to her family in the Philippines. All those years, she had sent money to her loved ones back home and also managed to save for herself. Saying that, she did not have secure idea of how much she owned, her financial situation was not in her full control. We helped her but I truly believed that Rise could have set up a more stable future for her.

Now that we have hired a new nanny to join our family, I am considering introducing her to Rise. It's something which benefit both parties.

The free-to-download app enable sponsor families to immediately access affordable childcare and educational courses, giving domestic workers useful knowledge and qualifications to enable them to properly look after the children in their care. The company aims to help nannies grow their careers by offering over 20 digital courses. Those courses can improve their skills from picking healthy foods for children to how to create a learning environment, potty training, child safety and discipline. All the course cost between Dh50 to Dh250 and can be accessed via an app, so that the nannies can learn at home. Once a course is completed, this is logged on the app and a helper will have access to, and a record of these courses. The app charts achievements that will be useful in subsequent roles, and also when returning to home countries.

A household or an employer looking for a new helper will also benefit from the childcare-specific psychometric testing which will assess a potential helper beyond the norm; giving employers added reassurance before taking the very important decision on who will care for their children.


Banking with Rise, for financial freedom. Gift of a better future.


The wealth management platform for migrants is aspiring to create possibilities and improve lives. It’s a good way to provide our home helpers with knowledge and growth by managing finance, learning new skills for a better future. The platform is also offering the possibility to give sponsors and their employees access to a full management tool on the app, through which employee can actually have a bank account and be in full control of their own finances.

Gift of a better future and financial freedom. This is a gift I hope to give our nanny.

If you are looking for a gift this festive season for your home helper you might be interested to look into Rise App and set up an bank account for her in the UAE, giving her access to a wide range of financial services. For more information on banking with Rise as a gift, visit gorise.co or download the rise app.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Surviving the festive season... with the kids.

Festive season is upon us! Best time of the year... yes! It can also be a little stressing dealing with the children bedtime routine and over excitement during the holidays! In our house the rules definitely loosen up during this special family time. If you don't want to loose total control, here's some tips for good sleep habits during festive time for family with kids from Dr Nas Al-Jafari and Dr Mourad Habib consultant doctors at Intercare Wellness.



About screen time...Did you know?
When the body decides it needs to sleep, the small gland in your brain wakes up into action and produces a hormone called melatonin. Once this goes into your bloodstream, you naturally become less alert and are ready to drift off to sleep. This usually occurs around 9 pm, and melatonin levels will remain high for about 12 hours. However, our modern lifestyles are fighting the production of melatonin. The sleeping gland relies on darkness to become active, and staring at a television screen, iPad or phone has the negative effect of delaying melatonin and causing a disturbed sleep. Steps can be taken to limit the damaging blue light, such as lowering the brightness of the screen or, better still, adding a special screen protector or go back to the classic old book. Check your phone, there should be a night light setting. Turn off the bright blue light effect by turning on "Night Shift" light on iOS.

Tips for kids good sleep habits during festive holidays
With a house full of guests, your child may understandably feel as though they are missing out on all the excitement by going up to bed in their usual time so here are some tips to avoid the Christmas Eve over excitement

Be active during the day
There is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night. One Australian study found that every hour a child spends inactive adds three minutes to the time taken to nod off. Take a break from movies and computer games and head to the park to help get rid of this excess energy before bedtime.

Stick to bedtime routines, music, light, toys and rituals
A consistent bedtime routine before bed-time will signal that it's time to sleep. If you’re staying away from home with relatives or friends, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual time.

Preparing for bed in the same order each night (such as bath, brushing teeth, stories, goodnight hug), will help with readiness for sleep, wherever you are. Even a few days of a consistent schedule should help your child settle into a new location. Bringing familiar bedding, toys and books will help them to relax and feel secure away from home.

Give plenty of notice
Give plenty of notice before bedtime is coming up, and then stick to what you’ve said: “In 10 minutes the movie will end and it’ll be bath time, and then we’ll have time for a bed time story “ nice and firm.

A timer which rings when playtime runs out could be a useful ‘independent’ signal that it’s time for bed, make them do their own timer and stick to it when it rings. If your child refuses to stay in bed, try to avoid giving extra attention for bad behaviour. Be as neutral and uninterested as you can as you return your child to bed, even if you have to do this a few times stay calm. Consistency is key - even at Christmas - to help the whole family sleep well.

Act before your child gets overtired and then hyperactive.
Young children are often reluctant to admit that they're tired - even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with shiny new toys. Look for signs of sleepiness before your child starts to get overtired, which is often the driver for 'hyper active ' behaviour. Try to start the bedtime routine at a consistent time. If they really don't feel tired, they can play quietly in their bed or crib with the lights low. If you notice that your child is often overtired at night, try to shift the whole bedtime routine forward by 15-30 minutes’ earlier than usual time.

Last resort
If you’ve tried it all and still have a stubborn and weary young one hanging onto the bannisters in protest, the suggestion that children who are asleep only get presents might just be enough incentive to encourage heads to pillows. At least, that’s what my mum told me too…

Good luck... and happy holidays! 

About Intercare Wellness:
Based in Al Marina, Abu Dhabi, Intercare Wellness takes a holistic and ‘whole person’ approach to health and offers individuals, families and patients the tools to make healthy decisions that will impact positive change in daily life. Led by Dr Nas Al-Jafari and Dr Mourad Habib, Intercare Wellness is the only clinic in the UAE shifting the focus from a disease oriented health care system toward one of wellness and prevention.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Festive morning with Marks And Spencer (and some gift ideas)

The festive season opened up officially last week with Marks & Spencer's Christmas event. A lovely morning with a festive and cheerful atmosphere - good company and delicious food! We got to check out (and taste) the selections of holidays treats from amazing mined pies, cheese, crackers, to biscuits and cakes. Helen from The Mothership Dubai shared her top picks for a cosy family Christmas eve. Carly from Lean Living Girl blog shared her selection for an healthy holidays season. Irene from Gingham and Sparkles blog showcased some stylish and fun looks for this festive time of the year from the latest Marks & Spencer’s occasion wear. Also loved all the cute family sleepwear and gifting ideas for him, her and children.



Marks & Spencer is a great go to shop to treat yourself or someone special this festive season. They have so many lovely things, well sourced for quality products and stylishly packaged creating truly special gifts. You must check the selection of gift hampers!

Now online, you will find a great selection of ready made food hampers gift sets. Here's some favourites...

Very English
A delicious selection of the flavours, including indulgent tea time biscuit selection, all butter shortbread biscuits and fruity preserve, all packed into a small wicker basket.

Classic Festive 
A lovely wicker hamper with faux leather straps comes filled with an array of Classic Festive favourites, including a bottle of non-alcoholic mulled punch, 6 month matured alcohol free Christmas pudding and an iced bar Christmas cake, ideal for the family to share.

Belgian treats
A lovely wicker basket is packed with a selection of indulgent teatime treats, Belgian curls and chocolates. Includes lovely a bottle of sparking rose grape juice.

Taste of Italy
Treat someone to a taste of Italy with this special selection of our authentic flavours, including balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and more, presented in a small wicker basket.

Have a look online to the full selection and get your festive gift shopping started. Happy holidays!





Sunday, November 26, 2017

Looking for Advent Calendar fillers ? Here's my little list of treats

Pick up two cute advent calendar box sets from Ikea. 


One of my favourite Christmas tradition is the advent calendar. There is a lot of options available around in the shops and online, from felt calendar with 24 small pockets, paper envelopes, little boxes, to free printable... and DIY ideas from Pinterest.

When time comes to fill up the little "containers" here's my list of ideas. About 20 little notes of things to do together. The five remaining days will be for sweets, because chocolate is happiness!

My 20 Advent Calendar fillers 

1. Mini Xmas decoration

2. Hair accessories for the holidays

3. Stickers

4. Let’s watch a Xmas movie with popcorn and candy

5. Wrap a gift and let’s take to a charity

6. Make hot chocolate with marshmallows

7. Write your letter to Santa

8. Decorate gingerbread man cookies

9. Make a gingerbread house

10. Let’s go choose a special ornament for the tree

11. Let’s go ice skating

12. Let’s go pick a new Xmas book from the book store

13. Let’s decorate a mini tree for your bedroom

14. Today we do the BIG tree

15. Look under the couch (for gift that don’t fit into the advent calendar pocket) box of artificial snow

16. Write Xmas cards to friends and family

17. Let’s go to the cinema and watch a holiday movie.

18. Look under your bed (for gift that don’t fit into the advent calendar pocket) : new PJ

19. Look in your drawer (for gift that don’t fit into the advent calendar pocket) : new Xmas socks

20. Let’s do a special prayer for the children of the world

Happy countdown to Christmas! xx

Monday, November 20, 2017

What I got on Mumzworld.com this month!








Hello lovelies. Just sharing some of my last picks, I ordered from Mumzworld.com this month. Some everyday basics for the girls, some little treats and somethings to get into the holiday spirit!

Brush Baby Kidzsoni, electric toothbrush
My girls have a very different attitude about brushing teeth. Luella is 8 years old and spend over 5 minutes brushing meticulously - (I have to tell her to quit it). While I have to run after Josefin and beg her to let me brush her teeth. 

Baby Kidzsonic Toothbrush has improve the pre-bedtime routine and Josefin is now much more interest in brushing! After about 3 weeks, the novelty has not phased out. So just for that I would recommend the electric toothbrush! It's  specially designed to help young children care for their teeth and help teach good oral care habits from an early age. The bristles and vibrations seemed to reach well in between and provide a good clean. There is a 2 minutes disco light timer, keep the kids on track! There is two age groups from +3 and for +6. I ordered both! Girls love it! check it out here!

Advent Calendar
 Tradition every year in our house is to have one (or more in our case) advent calendar! It's a special calendar used to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. This year instead of little chocolate gifts, I am trying the Lego and Playmobil version. It's cute and pretty sure they will like it!

Simply Kids 
Little fun treats for the bath. Girls love that yucky stuff, specially the slime version. The crackle one was less successful but glitter jelly was also a hit. Happy and easy way to get the girls excited! Get the bath play time extended, perfect for some afternoons we just don't see the end off! :)

Tangle Teezer - Blow Styling Half Paddle Purple
I like the brand, I have bought a couple of original Tangle Teezer brushes and thought they were good for the girls long hair. I picked up this one Half Paddle Tangle Teezer as new version. It did not work great with the girls. It says to "gliding effortlessly through to remove excess moisture for a quicker, easier blow dry." It's actually not a brush for detangling hair like I was expecting, it's the kind of brush you use after you sorted your hair, ready for blow-dry. So I am keeping it for myself and will stick to the original tangle teezer for Luella and Jo for now.

Pabobo - Portable Nightlight
The nightlight Nomade from Pabobo is adorable. It's very popular night light brand in France, I was happy to find it here. It's easy to use no batteries and no wires. It recharges placing it directly in the wall socket and last up to 70h. This version comes in a cute little teddy bear pocket. There is a sensor which will adjust the brightness depending on the environment. It's a cute gift idea for AED199.

Now with the festive season coming up, Mumzworld is bringing back its Santa Delivery service this December. Santa will deliver the gifts right to your door! Simply do your festive shopping as normal at Mumzworld.com, tick the Santa delivery option at checkout and Santa will arrive on your doorstep, gifts in hand; putting a smile on your little one’s faces! The Mumzworld FREE Santa Delivery service is available from 1st December. For full details here!

Don't forget to use "DubaiourSandbox10" promo code to get 10% off on all your Mumzworld order.
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Yummy Mummy Sunday at Studio 91 - treat yourself!



You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others, right?! It’s like in the plane, they tell you to put on the oxygen mask first. Well, here’s a good offer for you lovely mamas…

STUDIO 91 is launching their ‘start of the week’, Yummy Mummy movement. Every Sunday between 8am and 1pm, the contemporary hair care studio in the heart of DIFC is offering 25% off all color, styling and therapy treatments, with a delicious complimentary continental breakfast to kick off the week in style.

I tried, tested and loved the idea… Let’s treat our self to a little pick me up pampering and breakfast – a rarity for many busy mums in Dubai. Took me just over one hour to enjoy a hair treatment with fantastic head massage, get a blow dry and breakfast. My very bouncy blow dry was perfect… curls were a little tight at first but that’s the secret to long lasting waves… two days later it’s still looking good!

During the morning, Yummy Mummies can also take advantage of a complimentary doctor’s consultation worth 500dhs, in collaboration with STUDIO 91’s sister clinic, SKIN III. The adjoining clinic offers all surgical and non-surgical aesthetics treatments including unique signature treatments for anti-aging, hair re-growth and skin rejuvenation, and more…

Booking is highly recommended
STUDIO 91
DIFC Gate Village, Building 05
+971 4 343 7100 / +97154 448 8610
email info@studio-91.com.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The tiny but mighty sonic face cleanser



This is my current addition to my beauty routine! Still using my favourite products from Living Nature but now I have find a little gadget that maximize the efficacy of my cleanser so my skincare used after is better absorbed and more effective.

Introducing Scandinavian multi-award winning brand Foreo. Foreo’s T-Sonic pulsation technology that has been clinically proven to remove 99.5% of dirt, oil and makeup residue. This helps to clear away dead skin cells and enhance absorption of skincare products and diminish the appearance of pores and refine sin texture. I decided to order the smallest device, the Luna Play (size of a macaron) for practicality and affordable price tag. It's a good introduction the Foreo T-Sonic technology.




The Foreo Luna Play device is water-proof and sealed, made of silicone, very hygienic . The start button is at the back, with one speed, which I think is just fine. The silicon and it's bristles are very soft, you would think it's not cleaning enough! But actually, it does a soft non abrasive job and left my skin really soft.

I use the Foreo Luna Play device every night for 1minute. Easy to use, I believe it provide a gentle but efficient cleanse . It also promote micro-circulation and relax facial muscles to delay development of wrinkles. Well hopefully!

Check out the whole range with it's different sizes, features and prices. I am happy with this travel version, only down point is that contrary to the other Foreo devices, the Foreo Luna Go is not rechargeable. You can use for about 100, then toss it! Not the best, contributing to electronic waste. If I had read in depth before buying it, I would have probable buy the rechargeable version.

Saying that  love that it's a fun, compact and affordable device. A cute design with 2-zone brush for sonic cleanse. Leaving skin glowing in a minute. 




Fore Luna devices are available on mumzworld.com.
Price tag from AED180 to AED 950
Don't forget to use "DubaiourSandbox10" promo code to get 10% off on all your Mumzworld order.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

George’s Marvellous Medicine Live On Stage

Super excited to take the girls to the theatre, it's definitely something we don't do enough. It's a lovely family and friends morning out and a great cultural experience, but mostly it's fun!

This month, on November 17th, as part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration led by the British Council, Art For All is delighted to announce that they will be bringing Roald Dahl smash hit stage show George’s Marvellous Medicine to the UAE. Performed by the Birmingham Stage Company and adapted for the stage by award-winning children’s theatre director, David Wood, this acclaimed production has already proved a sell-out in the four previous times it has been performed in the UAE.

Luella definitely enjoyed the book and look forward to see the live show. I am sure most children kind of know the story of George! The hero George; a little boy who lives on a farm with his mum and dad, and horrible grumpy grandma – who is rather strange and tells him she’s a witch. One day, while left in charge of grandma, George decides he’s had enough of her bullying ways, and he’s going to teach her a lesson. Instead of giving her a dose of her normal medicine, he sets about making one of his own - with extraordinary results… An absolutely brilliant tale that stays true to Dahl’s wonderfully imaginative story.

The reviews have been great! Complimenting the amazing sets and actors, saying audiences are in for a huge treat. This interactive show brings Dahl’s magical story to life for children and adults of all ages. It’s a must-see event. So, we look forward to see you there!

Reviews
“Phil Clark's production revels in Dahl's anarchic vision and its own furious energy. David Wood's adaptation gradually makes the young audience deliciously complicit in George's outrageous experiment. This is a very nicely put together affair that celebrates the anarchy of Dahl with great gusto and a naughty sense of fun.” - The Guardian

“The BSC’s adaptation of George's Marvellous Medicine is cacophonously good fun. An exceptionally pungent and effective piece of child theatre. It's a riot!” - Time Out

“Staged in a beautiful farmhouse set, with impressive puppets, amazing special effects and truly magic tricks up its sleeve, George’s Marvellous Medicine perfectly demonstrates that children’s theatre is very rarely as simple as one might expect. A wickedly mischievous tale!”
- Society of London Theatre Reviews


Details
Showing at Ductac MOE
Prices: Dhs150-Dhs200
Tickets are available from Ductac Box Office, Virgin Tickets




Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Color Run 2017 - We have signed up to the Happiest 5k on the Planet! Join us!



We have signed up for The Color Run 2017! Very excited to take part for the first time in the Happiest 5k on the Planet! The Color Run presented by Daman’s ActiveLife returns to the UAE this November and we are ready for the fun family challenge. The Color Run, will take place on Saturday 11th November at the Dubai Autodrome. After a surprise visit from the Runicorn, the girls and I are so looking forward to this fun family day! Join us it's gonna be wild and colourful! We won't be running much with little Jo but we will skip, hop and dance our way to the finish line... (and I'll have the buggy because realistically no way my 3 years old is gonna walk 5k).



What’s The Color Run?
A fun family event part of the The Color Run Dream World Tour. Dr. Michael Bitzer, Chief Executive Officer at Daman, presenting partner of the event said: “The Color Run presented by Daman’s ActiveLife is the perfect event to encourage the community to come together, have fun and exercise. Aligned with our ongoing ActiveLife initiatives that seeks to empower the UAE community to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, this fun 5k is accessible to all.”

What’s all the fun about?
The Color Run participants will be covered from head to toe in an array of colour in the Color Zones along the 5k route. Runners can show their aspirations on the Dream Wall, snap selfies with giant unicorns, and enjoy the ultimate color party with family and friends at the Finish Festival...including the famous color throws! New this year, the Foam Zone, where foam clouds make everything better and more fun! Kids are gonna love it!

Get ready!
Each Color Runner will receive a fun participant kit, which includes; a limited‐edition Dream World Tour race shirt, embroidered headband, a fun temporary tattoo, welcome card, rainbow pencil and some awesome goodies from sponsors. Deluxe Runners will receive the kit plus a Gold bib for VIP Parking, a wristband, tutu, party socks and sunglasses for the ultimate Color Runner look on the day. Luella and Josefin are very excited to get ready in their tutus and most colorful outfit, for a fun day with friends, family and unicorns.

Join us and how to!
The Color Run has become a global phenomenon, continuing to innovate the 5k paint race genre each year. The Color Run has been experienced by over 6 million people worldwide in 35+ countries and has donated a staggering $5 million dollars to charity to date.

Tickets are on sale at www.colorrun.ae and Reebok stores in Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Mirdif City Centre and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.
Doors open at 7am
Saturday November 11th, 2017
Dubai Autodrome
www.thecolorrun.ae
See you there!!!!



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A few things this week...


La Mer by Meraas
La Mer, really cool beachfront development is finally open. We had a stroll around to check it out. Stretching out into the ocean from Jumeira 1 neighbourhood, La Mer takes it's inspiration from the way the sea embraces driftwood, timber, rusted metal, barrels and other items, brought by the tide to shore, many of which form the main elements of the built-up environment. It creates a cool and easy going vibe. We loved the hammocks in the sea, the colourful little beach huts, children’s playground and pathways leading to the beach. The first phase comprises La Mer North and La Mer South, which has over 130 hundred shops, cafés, restaurants, and beach activities, that act as a meeting point for people to enjoy a great time, whether they are visiting La Mer to eat, play or unwind. It's still a work in progress with many shops, cafés, restaurants soon to open. We are so excited for this new Dubai family destination. La Mer will also be home to ‘Hawa Hawa’, a new air-filled trampoline concept that was first created and installed in public parks in Japan. Let's stay tune...

‘Wellness Wednesday’ at Heavenly Spa
If you are looking for a treat or some pampering "me time", you must check the special offer from Heavenly Spa at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City. ‘Wellness Wednesday’ is a pampering day when guests can choose from a unique selection of wellness and leisure offerings that are designed to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul and enjoy a 50% discount. Yes mamas, 50% discount on a selection of over 20 unique spa experiences and treatments booked on the day. I experience the Papaya Facial for soft and glowing skin, and it was just perfect. The experience doesn't end there. Whether looking to relax, refresh or simply treat yourself, with ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ at The Heavenly Spa, guests are granted complimentary access to the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio as well as the breath-taking rooftop swimming pool. Things just got heavenly on Wednesdays.
Every Wednesday, from 9am to 9pm
The Heavenly Spa is located at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City
+971 4 437 3300
heavenlyspaalhabtoorcity@westin.com

Holster, cute Jelly footwear for the family 
Shout out to Australia’s leading jelly footwear, Holster. I received a cute pair of comfortable black flat sandals with studs while the girls totally loved their bright pink embellished funky jelly beach shoes. We love that Holster is eco conscience and take pride to reduce their ecological footprint. This extends to using vegan-friendly components in all holster footwear, non-toxic PVC, recycled materials in packaging and absolutely no production waste.

Salla.ae
Getting in the Halloween spirit with super cute Halloween lights. We already love the marquee letters from salla.ae but now we get to play with the pumpkin and the ghost light to add some fun dimension to our Halloween decoration. Only AED40! Salla.ae has recently introduced a new product, a very sweet Dream Catcher, perfect addition to bedroom or nursery. #stuffwelove

Florette.ae
Gorgeous blooms available on newly launch Florette.ae, Dubai best new online flower market. You will love the selection of foliage like eucalyptus, monster leaves, palm leaves, acacia mimosa. The flowers and composed bouquets are elegant with a focus on garden roses, which as well as being incredibly good quality they have beautiful perfumes and colors that are reminiscent of vintage rose gardens or beautiful romantic peonies. The market flowers are shipped straight from Holland and arrived on Thursday morning. When sold out, the market closed until next shipment. Its fresh!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Oli Oli, Dubai's first children's play museum



Last weekend, we had a fantastic sneak peek into Oli Oli. It’s a one-of-a-kind venue curating truly innovative content from the most successful children’s museums, makerspaces, science centres, and art studios from North America, Asia and Europe to create ‘Tomorrow’s Playground’.

I was so impressed and excited to see the girls exploring the experiential play museum. It was a fantastic, whimsical and education environment for children. Josefin (3 years old) had equally as much fun as Luella (nearly 9 years old), which makes a great family experience.



The beauty of Oli Oli is the focus on hands-on activities that nurture curiosity, imagination and exploration. It’s also very well designed with an artist feeling to it. For example, OliOli has engaged with globally acclaimed artists like Toshiko MacAdam, who has built the region’s first “textile playground” (one of less than 10 in the world), a large-scale textile structure made from brightly-coloured crocheted and knotted nylon weighing 1,000 kilos. Truly amazing!

The play museum has 8 separate galleries spread over two floors with over 40 different activities applying a genuine love of learning as principal: Toshi’s Nets , Future Park Air, Water, Forts & Dens, Cars & Ramps, Creative Lab and Toddler Space. All the different experiences will nurture our children imagination. The girls favourite attractions were Toshi's Nets, the water gallery specially washing the life size car and finally building cars out of Lego type bricks and testing them out on the car ramp. Mama loved the beautifully design space, innovating content and very cute coffee shop.  Oli Oli is a fantastic new addition to indoor play for Dubai families. Very excited to come visit again.

OliOli (translates as ‘joy’ in Hawaiian)
Next to Oasis Center, Al Quoz
9am to 7pm from Saturdays to Wednesdays
9am to 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays.
Prices start from 120 AED per child and 40 AED for adults


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tested this week: Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa & LVL from Nouveau Lashes



Rossano Ferretti
Last week, I was invited to experience the recently opened ROSSANO FERRETTI Hair Spa on Jumeirah Beach Road just across the Four Seasons Hotel. I was very excited to get a much need haircut to refresh my locks after a long summer away. Even more excited to experience “The Method” (said to be the most expensive haircut in the world when performed by the man himself). Celebrity hairdresser Rossano Ferretti, has beautifully created haircut for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kate Moss to name a few. The highly trained stylists from his team around the world can apply his method to a much more reasonable price.

The Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa located in a converted villa, is gorgeous. It’s like walking into a beautiful house well decorated in shades of greys. The salon offers hair services but also manicures, pedicures, and waxing. I enjoyed a fantastic head massage after the shampoo, followed by a deep conditioning mask. Totally at easy with the lovely stylist Christina, I felt comfortable to let her do her magic. The method used is based on this fundamental principle (which revolutionized hair industry), the natural fall of the hair to create an invisible haircut. The Method is about enhancing the natural beauty of the hair, creating harmony in order to achieve the most natural effect. The hair is cut vertically rather than horizontally using specially designed scissors. It creates a more natural flow. Christina, was like dancing with the scissors, never still giving the impression to create a piece of art.

The result was lovely, I kept most of my length but my hair got much lighter and flowy. I could see some natural movement to it. I loved the place for the cosy European elegance, the lovely stylist with “magic scissors”, the best head massage and Italian coffee.

The Method haircut ( include blow-dry) start from AED450 on short to AED550 on medium length and AED650 for long hair.

rossanoferretti.com/world
rossanoferretti.com/world/salon-dubai




LVL by Nouveau Lashes
Here’s another beauty treatment I got to experience this week. The LVL treatment by Nouveau Lashes. I have never done anything to my lashes, never felt the need or just a bit worried about the maintenance involved in lashes extensions.

Now, this is different and absolutely what I was ready to try… LVL: Lift, Volume and Length. Who would not want that. If you love the idea of beautiful, fluttering eye lashes but are not so keen on the time and regular upkeep that eyelash extensions demand, not to mention the adhesives used, LVL could fast become your new best friend! It naturally lift eyelashes at the root, creating the effect of longer, thicker and lifted lashes.

What I like
- The gentle product formulations used, are carefully manufactured to prevent any damage to your natural lashes
- Last hopefully about 4 to 6 weeks, let’s see…
- It also include eyelashes tint. Mimic the mascara effect, perfect for pool and beach season.
- The result is great

What you need to know
- It takes 45 minutes, eyes closed.
- Took me about 5min to get comfortable and relaxed. 
Specially with my watery eyes, I kept wanting to blink.
- Checkout the line of maintenance products - loved the eyelash conditioner serum
- LVL treatments are available at Pastels, Kozma & Kozma and The Nail Pavilion with prices starting at AED 300.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Kickstart your day with a morning routine!


photos from pinterest.com

I truly believe in the benefit of a positive morning routine. I have talked about it before on the blog : Miracle Morning: 6 minutes to change your life , have you read it? Do you apply a certain routine to start your day with good vibes and positive energy? If you are not a morning person, it seems difficult to set up your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier, but with little effort and disciple it can become your "your sanity time", "me time" and something to look forward to.

If you decide to kick start your day the best possible way try to set aside time and space for yourself to follow a routine that works for you. Here's my current morning "ritual" during the week. It really helps me set my mood for the entire day. Annoyances and irritations don’t get to me as much, I feel more grounded. Well most of the time, it's still a work in progress...

Lemon water
I drink a glass of warm water with lemon first thing in the morning before eating anything. I have a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and 2 ginger slices. I think it’s an excellent way to get your body going, to help the body wake up, the digestive system to be ready for the coming meals. It supposed to help flush toxins and remind you to keep hydrated all day. I’m convinced that a lot of people looking for anti-aging creams are actually just dehydrated! If I make sure to drink 1.5L of water a day, within a few days the lines on my forehead are much less visible and my skin more supple. 

Stretch /yoga
I apply some very simple moves to feel good, gently wake up and stretch my body. Nothing too time consuming, just enough to get in tune with the body. Side stretch, cow and cat pose, downward dog, low lunge stretch, seated twist and forward bends. That's it! Similar to this routine : eatingbirdfood.com/10-minute-morning-yoga-routine

Meditate
Currently learning to sit still, cross-legged on my mat for 3 minutes. I am using the app "HeadSpace" to guide me into easy meditation. It's perfect for beginner with easy step to follow. Have a look into it, you might love it too. headspace.com : Headspace is meditation made simple. It will teach you the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day. Worth a try.

Grateful and intentions
I wrap up my 3 minutes of stillness and mindfulness with some grateful words and I set some intentions for my day. It's hard to start the day off wrong if you make a point to remind yourself of things you are grateful for, even the "little things". Then to kick start my productivity and give me the motivation to seize the day, I set myself some intentions and goals to achieve.

Drink liquid collagen
This a beauty routine, that I started before summer. I have been using Gold Collagen , a collagen-enriched formula. It combines a unique powerful blend of anti-oxidants which work from within to reinforce your skin by providing protection against oxidative stress, one of the key factors in ageing.

Recently, I was introduce to multi award winning Skinade. The collagen drink which contains a formulation of active ingredients that aims to boost your body's natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. Skinade collagen drinks aim to improve the way your skin looks and feels in as little as 30 days. Skin experts now recognize the importance of working from within, thereby supporting vital functions in the lower layers of the dermis. Look forward to try out Skinade and get back to you on the results.

So that's my little routine, that I try to apply during the week, not necessarily during the weekend but most days. It takes between 10 to 15 minutes, nothing more. If some days, I am running out of time and can't do it all, I don't bit myself up about it.  I just do one or two pointers and get the day going.



Sunday, September 24, 2017

Welcome to Earth with Orbi Dubai : fun educational adventure

This attraction is worth a visit! Open since Spring 2017, its a really lovely family experience. Orbi is an attraction like no other in Dubai. Fusing SEGA’s innovation in the world of entertainment with BBC Earth’s groundbreaking natural history content, Orbi will put you at the heart of nature.

Last weekend, I took the girls with some friends to Orbi, located in Magic Planet Midriff City Centre for an educational and fun play date. Total success, we all loved it! Could not take many photos and none of my shots would do justice to the great set up and exciting experience.

Orbi consists of twelve different nature zones designed to create experiences that would be impossible in the real world like being placed in the centre of an elephant migration. It's a great encounter with Nature's beauty and power. An educational adventure for children and the whole family, thanks to fantastic technology.



The centrepiece of the attraction is the Earth Theatre, a 40metre-wide screen with a powerful 3D sound system where the natural world comes to life through state of the art technologies including fog, vibratory sensations and fragrances. We watched the vast landscapes of Yellowstone National Park, 20 minutes documentary made by BBC Earth films. Total surreal beauty, we all enjoyed the experience.

Other attractions include "Mountain gorilla in 4D" , Merging 3D film with a special effect 4D experience, guests are transported to a BBC Earth location shoot with mountain gorillas helping you truly understand what it takes to film in the natural world. One of my favourite experience at Orbi. You get to understand the behind the scene and learn about gorilla behaviour. Super interesting. 

“African Elephants”, Encounter African elephants in their natural habitat. Migrate with them and experience how these huge mammals survive in the harsh nature of the African continent. Feel the vibration of their stamping feet as you are taken on a virtual African journey into the wilderness. Josefin being 3 years old was slightly frightened but also very excited and intrigued by the experience.

"Frozen Kenya" experience the chilling temperatures of Mount Kenya at -25°C! By combining a variety of modern technologies including thermal images, Orbi Dubai will take you on an unforgettable Kenyan experience. You will get to experience the exhilaration of a temperature change that is sure to exhilarate kids and adults alike. Again with strong and loud wind blowing, Josefin did not enjoy the experience... but only 10 seconds. Older kids were more impresses!

"Earth Palette" A near 360 visual treat. Stand in the middle of this spacious zone and engage with a wealth of natural images in a spectrum of colours projected around the surrounding screen. It's a lovely interactive experience, all the children enjoyed. Beautiful imagery to please everyone.

There is more to see and learn, we recommend paying a visit to Orbi. The current attractions are beautiful, powerful and will delight all nature lovers. The Orbi concept is coming from Japan with it's cutting edge technology. It's a game-changing entertainment experience that will plunge visitors into the heart of the natural world through a visceral, multi-sensory edutainment experience.“Orbi truly represents the next generation of edutainment,” says Damien Latham, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure and Entertainment chief executive officer.

Looking for something to do this weekend with the family? While its still hot outside, we suggest a fun and engaging visit to Orbi Dubai. Fantastic way to learn about animals and the environment.

Orbi Dubai is located inside Magic Planet, South Level 1 in Mirdif City Centre
Sun-Wed: 10:00 A.M. TO 10:00 P.M 
Thu-Sat 10:00 A.M. TO 12:00 midnight

Ticket price
- Below 3 years : free
- 3-10 years : AED 80
- 10 years old and above : AED 100 
- Family ticket, package of 4 family members: AED 320

Monday, September 18, 2017

Kids style and WIN with The Children's Place



One week into Back to School and we have settled into our routine! Part of being ready for the new year included getting some new clothes for the girls. After an exciting summer and lots of active fun they both have grown so much. They definitely need an wardrobe upgrade!

I was introduced to The Children's Place, "America's #1 Specialty Kids Fashion Store". There is a great selection of cool clothes, with all the must-have trends and classic school uniforms for toddlers, tweens and everyone in between. Great place to shop all the gotta-have-it looks this school year, including kids jackets, girls leggings, fun graphic tees and cool accessories.


Kids will love the cool on trend selection. For the boys, chinos, polos, graphics tees, vests, to mix and match. For the girls, stylish uniform tops, classic cardigans, hoodies, skirts, skorts, shorts, and pants she needs for every day. Lots of denim trends for girls and boys: different washes and cool styles that include bootcut, loose, straight and skinny styles. To finish their look, kids will love the fun accessories and functional back to school essentials they need for every day like backpacks, lunchboxes, hats, socks, belts and shoes.



Our first visit to The Children's Place was a success, lots of fun stuff specially graphics tees with cool quote like "GIRL STRONG" and " EVERY GIRLS IS SUPER HERO". Luella's favourite picks were a jeans skirt, hoodie with fun girly patches, glitter tees and a plush cap with furry pompons. Her wardrobe is sorted and she's  ready for the new season.

Competition via Instagram
Really happy to bring you the chance to win a shopping voucher worth AED300. I have teamed up with @childrensplacearabia on Instagram - share with us the cutest reason you have heard your kids use to skip school? The most creative answer will win! You must use the hashtag #MyPLACEaravia and #CutestExcuse. All the details on @Dubaioursandbox
Good luck and happy shopping!



Monday, September 11, 2017

Back to school shopping with Cath Kidston - cute stuff for kids




Back to School usually means shopping at the uniform shop on our return from summer holidays. Somehow the girls are excited to get their new kit for school and look forward to start school in the new set of clothes and shiny shoes. It’s also the time of the year, we pick up some more fun supplies. They love picking up some playful essentials like backpacks, drawstring bags for after school activities, pencil cases and stationery, lunch bags and drinks bottles.

This year we had a look at one of our favourite, Cath Kidston and their Back To School Collection. The girls like the cute brand for their happy and playful designs. I always appreciate their signature prints with a hint of vintage and the practicality of their products (remember the DisneyXCathKidston 101 Dalmatians collection?)




Here’s a peek of the large collection currently available at Cath Kidston in Mall of the Emirates, and some of our favourite items. Josefin spent some time trying out the mini backpacks with matching accessories. She was overwhelmed with the choice and we had trouble getting her to pick one only!

Cath Kidston, focus on comfort and practicality when designing. The prints are sweet and playful, some of my favourite graphics from the new collection were Pink Safari, Mythical Fairies and Fire-breathing Dragons. Josefin took the Lion backpack as a favourite but change her mind for classic floral at the last minute to match her cute little twirly skirt. The suede booties and high top trainers are adorable, could not resist the plush pink version of the boots for Josefin.

The new addition, target to age 6+, include stylish satchels and backpacks in metallic spots, stamped stars and ditsy florals in a punchy palette of bright blue, hot pink and cool aqua. Super cute, something you might like for yourself mama.



Check out Cath Kidston collection.
Happy Shopping and wishing you all a great start to the new school year.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Getting Back to School ready with Mumzworld


We are 6 weeks into summer holidays and we are starting to think about Back to School season. Did you read my post "Tips On Getting Your Child ‘Big School’ Ready This Summer" ? Now we gonna enjoy the last 2 weeks off but also getting ourself ready with some online shopping. Getting the girls sorted with lunch box, bags and water bottles. Also picked up some easy write on label pack.

Here's what we picked to get school ready from Mumzworld.com

Yumbox, lunch box with 4 Compartments
A bento-style, kid-friendly, leakproof food container designed to make health lunch packing a breeze!

CamelBak water bottles
Favourite water bottle features a spill-resistant design and fun graphics to keep you and your kids happy. 100% free of BPA, BPS and BPF. Most reliable! Two size .4L and .4L

Happy Jackson Yummy Snacks Lunch Bag
Insulated lunchbox has a zip closure to secure contents and a bright yellow handle for little hands to carry with ease. Cute design. Love this adorable brand.

SkipHop Zoo Food Jar, Butterfly
stainless steel container keeps kid-sized portions warm or cold. Store the spork, or most utensils, in the handy built-in holder so your little one is ready for meals on-the-go.
keeps food warm for 7 hours or cold for 5 hours

Stuck on You Name Labels
Each pack of Stick on Name Labels includes 30 stick on name labels (60x16mm.). They are microwave and dishwasher safe making them an ideal label for school books, lunch boxes, drink bottles and more. It's as simple as write, laminate, peel and label.

Koita Organic Whole Fat Milk 200ml mini tetra pack
Our favourite Organic Milk in Dubai
It's yummy and has no typical UHT aftertaste!
No synthetic hormones, No antibiotics, No artificial pesticides, Naturally gluten-free
Organic certified and with added vitamins A & D3

Don't forget to use "DubaiourSandbox10" promo code to get 10% off on all your Mumzworld order.
Happy shopping! And enjoy the rest of the summer.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tips On Getting Your Child ‘Big School’ Ready This Summer

About 5 weeks into the summer holidays, I am starting to think about Back to School season. Just a thought… we still have about 3 weeks off. Girls are totally out of the routine and bed time schedule. We are all too busy making summer memories. Need to say I am gonna have to get back on track sometime soon! This year is a little special with Josefin starting the “Big School” in September. It’s a big change from nursery to primary, specially as she will just be turning 3 at the start of school. She will be one of the youngest in her class.


Sumer is about exploring, building confidence and creating memories.

As a parent whose child is starting school, there are many ways to help your child to have a happy and satisfying beginning to the great adventure of their school years. Sharing with you some easy tips from Monica Valrani, CEO of Ladybird Nursery to help our little ones ensure they have a smooth transition in September.

Tips On Getting Your Child ‘Big School’ Ready This Summer

 The transition to ‘Big School’ can be daunting not only for children, but for parents too. As children transition from nursery into primary school, there will surely be some excitement, but also a little fear. Going from a relatively small nursery into a large primary, or even larger combined primary and secondary can be a shock to the system. Monica Valrani, has put together her top tips on how to get ‘Big School’ ready over the summer.

“This time of the year is very bittersweet for us at the nursery as it is always difficult to say goodbye to our children who we have nurtured over the years. We have seen them get ready to spread their wings and move on to Big School. Having gone through the transition with my own children, I understand how daunting it can be for both the parents and the child. ” comments Monica Valrani, CEO of Ladybird Nursery

Introducing them to their new environment
Making a number of visits to the new school before the term starts and talking with your child about all the fun things they will be doing is a great way to start familiarising them with the environment and getting them excited about the things to come in their new school.

Further developing your child’s social skills
In order to build further on their social skills, organising more play-dates with other children and families to encourage sharing, taking turns and building their confidence is a good idea. If possible, it is even more helpful to get together with families whose children are going to the same school.

Building up confidence and independence
Talking to your child about being able to do things independently, such as allowing them to dress themselves in their new big boy uniform, choosing their own snacks to pack in their lunchbox and even choosing their own school bag, are all great for building up their confidence and independence, two skills they will need to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Continue the learning process throughout the summer
During the summer holidays, continue to work on number recognition and literacy skills and play fun counting and word games like “I Spy”. These games keep young minds sharp and are great for giving your child a step up when they start the year.

Communication is key
In order to relieve anxiety, on both sides, share happy stories about your own school experience, all the friends you met and explain how they can speak to the teacher anytime about anything. Reading some Starting School books together is also very helpful for prepping them for what is to come.

Most importantly establish a routine
As school is a longer day than nursery, make sure to get your child into a good routine for dinner, bath time and bedtime to ensure they get enough sleep. This will ensure that when term time rolls around they are not sluggish or tired in their first few weeks.

Founded 20 years ago, Ladybird Nursery has established itself as one of Dubai’s leading British nurseries for children aged between 6 months and four years. Ladybird Nursery is located in Jumeirah 1 and Jumeirah Village Circle.

Hope it helps you and your little one. Let's keep a positive approach, keep it light and fun... breathe, it will work just fine! Well that's my thought and hope. Let's see. Until then enjoy the rest of your summer.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Join the movement : The Rainbow Rock Project




Here's our new happy project. Totally inspired by Alia, 7 years old from the San Francisco, we are joining in our own way the Rainbow Rock Project.

Alia started painting rainbows on rock to leave outdoors as a surprise for people to find. She loved it and wanted to to paint more and more rainbow rocks for people to find and spread joy and kindness. Her mom suggested painting rainbow rocks for a good cause. And the Rainbow Rock Project started! Follow her adventures on on Instagram (@rainbowrockproject). 




So just like Alia, Luella (with her very messy 2 years old sister) started to paint rainbow rocks. Our mission inspired by Alia is to spread kindness and make people smile.

We had fun, looking for the stones, getting the supplies (Ikea fluo paint, some kind of sealant to protect the paint being washed away from the rain) and setting up our arts and craft station in the garden. As a mum, I loved the easy activity and very thoughtful concept.

Need to write a little quote at the back. Alia’s quote is “"Here's a rock from me to you that grants wishes and happiness too!" We love it! Luella’s quote “Here’s a rock from me to you to brighten up your day”.

Now, we look forward to put those little rainbow gems back in the "Universe" for people to find. We will place them around our neighbourhood, at the beach, the park and the forest and hope to brighten up people days or just make them smile.






Have a look at The Rainbow Rock Project to see more about Alia’s goal to raise money for her local charity and how to keep spreading some kindness and sunshine in the Universe.
Thank you Alia for inspiring us!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Living Nature, my new skincare routine this summer ♥



Living Nature. Such a lovely name and philosophy. It's also a certified natural skincare and makeup line of beauty products. Last month, before leaving Dubai for summer holidays, inspired by an article on Organic and Natural cosmetic from Dubai based Good Magazine, I decided to rethink my skincare routine and get a new set of skincare products for the summer.

I was looking into natural products to rejuvenate and pamper my skin without harsh and synthetics ingredients. I also wanted to simplify my routine and travel with minimum products. I came across Living Nature, New Zealand's original, certified natural skincare company, founded in 1987, inspired by the healing properties of New Zealand native plants to remedy her own skin conditions. The story and philosophy was appealing... Geographically isolated for more than 80 million years, New Zealand has developed a natural landscape unlike anywhere else on earth. More than 80% of New Zealand's native plants are indigenous and many have remarkable bioactive properties. Sourced from forests, lands and seas, Living Nature's active ingredients come from the most potent of these unique plants. They're chosen for powerful healing, purifying and nourishing qualities, and combined, they create some of the safest, purest and most effective certified natural skincare in the world.

I am no Beauty Blogger or Beauty Expert but, I truly like what I have purchase - 3 skincare products to cleanse, refresh, hydrate and nourish my face this summer. I feel like I am giving my skin a break from too much of everything and let Nature do her magic. I am convinced these plants work to protect, repair and nourish, without the side effects of harsh or damaging chemicals.

Here's the three skincare products from Living Nature, I am currently using.

Vitalising Cleanser | Normal/Dry Skin
A milky cleanser that gently removes all traces of makeup and impurities without stripping your skin of its protective oils. With moisturising and antimicrobial active Manuka honey and naturally cleansing Kumerahou, your skin is left clean, dewy and soft. Your skin is a living organ; treat it well, and it will return the favour. Suitable for normal to dry skin.

Extra Hydrating Toning Gel | Normal/Dry Skin
It helps to restore your skin's natural pH levels. This gentle gel prevents excess oil production whilst firming, toning, and adding moisture to your skin. Harakeke Flax Gel soothes and hydrates, while Manuka honey nourishes, and helps maintain skin health. Great for summer month or Dubai weather.

Nourishing Night Cream | Normal/Dry Skin
Rich milky with active Manuka honey, it is a midnight feast for your skin. While you sleep, it restores elastin and collagen levels for firmer, younger-looking skin. It also increases moisture levels, plumping fine lines and leaving your skin soft and dewy. The active Manuka honey enhances the skin's natural renewal and healing process, while native super antioxidant, Totarol, gives the Cream an extra boost of antibacterial protection and fights skin-ageing free radicals.

I am applying Vitalising Cleanser and Extra Hydrating Toning Gel every morning before my BB cream with SPF50 from La Roche Posay. In the evening my skin indulge in extra dose of Nourishing Night Cream.

I like the light consistence of the products and the simple delicate smell. My skin is feeling simply fresh and healthy thanks to some powerful natural ingredients like Manuka Honey and Harakeke Flax Gel. Next time, I might look into the firming serum and elixir night oil as well.

Nature Living is available in UAE on mumzworld.com. Don't forget to use "DubaiourSandbox10" promo code to get 10% off on all your Mumzworld order.

I am really happy with this little gem. Have a look at Nature Living and let nature be your beauty guardian. Get inspired read their story and mission - here.
Happy Summer.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Disney x Cath Kidston 101 Dalmatians collection ♥



Last year, I discovered Cath Kidston, the lovely "Home of Modern Vintage" British brand. The girls and I loved their Disney Collaboration at the time. So we were super happy to hear about the new collaboration in store just on time for Summer season. This time the collaboration
DisneyXCathKidston feature the 101 Dalmatians. Adorable Pongo, Perdita and their puppies are part of a sweet signature design including Button Spot and Townhouses.

The children will love it because it's Disney and a reference to cute doggies and loveable cartoon characters. Adults will appreciate the original character illustrations to inspire its cheerful designs, the soft monochrome shades balanced with colourful flourish of bold pink roses. It's stylish, elegant and fun!

The success of the line, comes from the iconic and original design elements from Disney and Cath Kinston working so well together. Maybe its the London heritage of the brand and the Disney Classic story set up... We are loving it, hope you will too!



Out of the collection, Luella and Josefin really loved the tote bags, mini backpacks with little wallets and note books to complete the look. I also picked up the soft and comfy matching pyjamas to them. For home, check out the sweet coffee cups and kitchen towels.

The 101 Dalmatians prints is available on products across all of Cath Kidston’s categories: bags and accessories, homeware, kids, and fashion are now in store exclusively in Dubai at Mall of the Emirates. For more details, please visit facebook page @CathKidstonGCC



Some of our favourite from the collection... Happy shopping! The Disney x Cath Kidston 101 Dalmatians collection is perfect for gifting family and friends.
#StuffWeLOve #DSBrecommends


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Watermelon Slushy our way...


Just wanted to share this recipe, a yummy watermelon slushy perfect for summer! It's a cooler, kids will love. Thinking that a grown up version with something a little stronger might be also a hit in the house for mamas and papas!

Watermelon Slushy our way...

Ingredients:
Fresh watermelon
2 tspn sugar
¼ cup water, cold, we use our Zip Water, Hydro Tap (Read more here)
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
4 sprigs of mint

Instructions:
Slice the watermelon into 1-inch chunks. Remove seeds.
Place watermelon chunks in a gallon-sized ziplok bag and place in the freezer.
Allow to freeze completely (recommend to lie flat to separate the chunks).
Mix water, lemon and sugar together in a small cup until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from the freezer and open the bag.
Pour the water/sugar mixture into the bag, then reseal.
Smash the watermelon/water/sugar and break it up until it makes a nice, smooth mash.
Pour into cups decorate with mint. Perfect by the pool...

It's easy to make but the truth is, it took us two tries! Here's what you need to keep in mind. Make sure the chunks of watermelon are really frozen. Remove the seeds. Double up the freezer bag and wrap in paper towels to avoid leaking or braking the plastic bag. Eat with spoon, to hard with a straw.
Try and error... practice to perfect. Enjoy!

Monday, May 22, 2017

How to party with Party Social - event rental

Often I get inspired and blown away by gorgeous table set up, stylish party decor and well planned events that stands out. Saying that, couples of weeks ago, I had in mind to plan for my husband a pre-birthday celebration. We will be home in Sweden this summer for his 40th birthday, but with our life and our friends being here in Dubai, I had to surprise him with an early celebration. I was running out of time, the weather getting hotter in Dubai, I had to set the date and launch the process.

The truth is, I was not so sure how to start. I called up my favourite catering company: Dish. The reputable boutique catering definitely focus on food quality, presentation and design. They did not disappoint the service provided during the evening in the kitchen, at service and behind the bar was great. My guest list included 40 guests, the Dish team helped me pick a great selection of finger food. Some of our favourites included , "mini Angus beef burgers, smoked tomato, baby gem, aged cheddar and pickles", " black truffles, wild mushroom, and asiago toasty" and " Dish fish and chips tartar".

Now, how will I get a pretty set up to welcome and entertain our guests? I look around, and came across Party Social. The event rental company cater to individuals, event planners as well as corporate clients. They provide a good selection of stylish tables and chairs for a home party, an elegant table setup for a corporate dinner function or beautiful furniture for events. Within an hour from my online request, Linda project manger called me up to get an idea for what I was looking for and suggested I visit their office showroom in Oasis Mall. It all worked very easily and within a couple of days I had the vision of the look of the party, the quotation and schedule. I felt relieved that the party planning process was in gear.



Party Social is convenient and accessible, providing just enough of a stylish selection of table wear, furniture, cushions, props without being overwhelming. They have a good sense of trends and aesthetics. If you have no ideas what you are looking for in term of theme and style I recommend you browse through the galleries for ideas.

They have a great feature " Ready to Rent Collections" making it easy to choose a look and rent that look. Have a peek at " The Business Lunch", "The Chic Cocktail Party", " The Contemporary Lunch", " The Corporate Elegance", "The Modern Arabian" and "The Rustic Charm" collections to be inspired. Super convenient, it's a great base to party planning, you can then add extra details and props to personalize your event.

From our meeting, I picked a selection of white wash wooden lounge furniture, high cocktails tables with high chairs, a selection of cushions and a couple of wooden boxes as props. That was the important base to the decor. Party Social is not an event planner, they are a rental company. They work closely with stylist and event planners to provide the best items to suits their visions. In my case, the celebration was small and at home, Party Social was the perfect collaboration providing the furniture I was missing to accommodate my 40 guests. The team was lovely and very professional from the first email to delivery, installation and pick up.




To complete the look, I added fairy lights to the garden, creating a sparkling canopy to define and cosy up the space. Call up Sultan Mir for quote 050 842 3707. I was charged AED 1100AED for our small garden. Loved the result and wish I could have keep the fairy lights. Also, don't forget lots of candles!!

The final touch to the decor was some pretty flowers from 800Flowers. I had in mind some simple white and green compositions for the tables. I sent a couple of photos examples to the 800Flowers team for inspiration and received just what I had visioned. Great service and the flowers were beautiful.

So grateful for the results! It was a lovely party. I managed (with the help of the right vendors) to create an event without stress. Feel free to get in touch if you have questions. Happy to help.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

HydroFacial from Nova Clinic - loved it! Now you can win it!

Looking for a radiant look and healthy glow? Yep, we all do! Well, this week after my first visit to the newly opened Nova Clinic on Al Wasl Road, I felt like a glowing mama. Thanks to the award-winning treatment: The HydraFacial MD®. I loved it! Here's why and your chance to win the treatment to try for yourself.

The HydraFacial MD® is a non-invasive treatment that detoxifies, rejuvenates and protects your skin for immediate results and long term benefits without downtime or irritation. Sounds good right? The process is great for all skin types. It is relatively easy, painless and done in about 40 minutes.

Here are the easy steps of The HydraFacial MD® :

- Vortex-Exfoliation (the first serum removes dead skin cell)

- Vortex-Peel (Glycolic and Salicylic Acid, benefit of a peeling with no post peel scaling)

- Vortex-Extraction (Suction to clean the pores)

- Vortex-Boost (to combat fine lines, improve skin tone and texture)

- Vortex-Fusion (serum to deliver nourishing and protecting antioxidants)

It's a great base for skin health, a well round up treatment that can be customized to your particular needs. The therapist can concentrate on different area and will focus more on your actual need. My skin felt fresh and healthy, more plumped and firmer. Overall the texture of my kin was better and skin tone more even. It would take more than one session to work on my sun spots due to the mild and non aggressive quality of the treatment but I would definitely consider it.

If you are looking for a skin enhancing treatment and to improve skin texture, removing fine lines, hyperpigmentation, dead skin cells and treating oily skin, dryness, enlarged pores and other advanced signs of waging, you might want to consider the HydraFacial MD®.

Side note from my lovely therapist Vasilisa. Drinking water is so important to your skin health and appearance! Gentle reminder everyone, she recommends drinking 3 litres of water a day, specially here in Dubai. I am working on drinking 2 litres to already improve my intake and should see noticeable results in one month. Just saying... 

Watch the procedure and benefits of The HydraFacial MD® here!

The HydraFacial MD® starts at AED 850 per session.
Currently the Nova Clinic offer a monthly promotion on this treatment: 15% off during April

COMPETITION / GIVE AWAY
Check out Dubai our Sandbox Instagram page for your chance to win a HydraFacial MD®. 
Winner announced on April 24th.
Good luck.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives - our family holiday



Destination Maldives - our spring break holiday turned to be a family holiday of a life time. Here's the details on the gorgeous resort, how to get there, what to do and maybe inspire you and your family to visit beautiful Maldives.

Our journey to Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives
Morning flight from Dubai with Emirates Airline to Malé, only 4 hours flight. Relatively easy, we had some lunch and watched a movie, girls were happy and excited to go on an adventure. When you are used to 6 or 7 hours to Europe, that’s a breeze, well kinda!

Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives, is located in Gan (Addu Atoll), it’s the southernmost island of the Maldives, pass the equator. The hotel will arrange for you a domestic flight from Malé to Gan International Airport. It’s not a cheap flight, about USD405 for adults and USD325 for children plus tax. We had to wait one hour in Malé Airport before boarding our flight to Gan with Maldivian Air. It was well organized, a staff from Shangri-la Villingili Resort escorted us to Moonimaa Lounge, where we had some snacks and complimentary wifi. The staff did all the checking-in for us. The small propeller plan is a bit daunting at first but it’s fine and with the excitement of reaching the island you get at ease. When passing the equator, the flight attendant will give you, your personalize certificate “You passed the Equator”. I expected a 1h flight, turned to be more like 1h30. Both girls slept on the flight, recharging their “batteries” for what to come. Arriving in Gan tiny airport was smooth and within 20min we were on the speed boat to Shangri-la’s Villingili. The boat transfer is just 10 minutes, we were all of a mix of emotions tired, excited and full anticipation.



It’s quite a journey, specially with kids, but I can’t complain all went well and relatively smoothly. So yes, I would say after domestic flight and speedboat transfers to get to there, it was all worth the effort. It really felt like an adventure.

Arriving at the resort was like falling into paradise, being welcomed by smiling staff, beautiful flowers arrangements, cold towels and refreshing fresh coconuts. After being escorted to our villa by buggy, by our personal villa host we did the check-in process in our room while the girls were exploring our beautiful Deluxe Pool Villa.

The resort
Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives is one of the biggest in Maldives. It’s about 3km long, which give you plenty to explore by walking, in a buggy or on bicycles which we absolutely loved! The resort feel eco conscious if I can say, it has retain lots of its original vegetation and wild life. There is three natural lagoons and jungle with trails to explore and frogs, lizards,  bugs, birds and flying foxes (fruit bats), making the island fascinating for children. I regret we did not do the Ecological Tour, sure it would have been very interesting as family activity. Love that they have a rule of planting 2 coconut trees for each one they cut down. The island counts over 17 000 coconut trees, making the island so green and lush. To show their commitment to eco-conservatism there is a Chef’s Garden, with locally produced spices, herbs and vegetables for the restaurants to use.








At the centre of the resort you will find The Village, small little pathways to the shop (souvenirs and beach gear), dive centre, eco centre, health club, medical centre, tennis courts, kids club, the reception and M lounge for sundowners (happy hours at sunset). Also close by, is the main restaurant Javvu for breakfast facing the sea and along the way the swimming pool resort with the water sport centre. The resort is big enough to never feel busy while you still get to meet other guests if you are looking to socialize or kids to make friends.

Villas
The jetties take you to the Water Villas (see here). They must be a real treat, but with our two years old, we decided to stay in a land villa. Our Deluxe Pool Villa (see here) was absolutely gorgeous, well situated quite central not far from the village. Composed of two separates areas, first the bedroom with a massive bathroom and outdoor shower on one side and a lounge area on the other side. Both bungalows are facing the swimming pool with a nice deck and outdoor furniture. The pool is lovely and the sea is step away from the garden. It might not be the best side of the beach for swimming but just seeing the sea when you wake up or for a quick morning walk, is truly blissful.








Each guest is provided with a bicycle parked in front of the villa, perfect for exploring the island, getting places and as a family activity. We absolutely LOVE it. They equipped my husband bike with a child seat so we could have Josefin tagging along with us all around the island.

Family guests are appointed a personal villa host to help you with bookings, activities, reservations and all your questions. You get a mobile phone to personally reach him if needed. Our host visited us everyday to make sure all was well and offered suggestions about activities and restaurant booking. I think it's part of a great guest service.

Activities
The resort offers a lot of family friendly activities and everyday there is a schedule of fun things to do for adults and young people like tennis, snorkelling (get all your gear at the beginning of your stay free of charge), coral planting, yoga, pilates, aqua aerobics, water sports, eco tour, diving, glass bottom boat tour, fishing, dolphin cruise…

We spent most of our time at the beach or at the pool or exploring the island on bicycle. Hubby took our daughter Luella for a round of golf just before sunset, truly beautiful setting and quite a special experience. Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort use to have the first  9-hole golf course in the Maldives until recently. We enjoyed some water sport as well, took a tour on Jetskis as a family and enjoyed it so much we did it again the next day. 








There is a Kid Club, “ The Cool Zone” and an outdoor playground that we visited once, it’s small and a bit dark but convenient. We did not experience any of the daily kids activity, the days were already filled with so much family fun. If your little ones need some adventure or entertainment there is some educational activities and lots of land and beach-based activities to ensure a fun-filled vacation for the children. The program included Jungle Discovery, Crab Hunting & Racing, Nature Arts & Crafts, Island Fitness, Tropical Safari to identify the Big 5 and Small 5 inhabitants on land and underwater.

Dining options
An important part of a vacation is definitely the food. The Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort restaurants and food quality did not disappoint. We enjoyed our daily breakfast at the main restaurant, Javvu meaning “atmosphere” in local Dhivehi language facing the turquoise water right on the beach where the girls could run around while mama and papa enjoyed a second cup of coffee after a very delish meal. It’s a large buffet but not overwhelming with eggs, noodles and pancakes station. There is a small kids buffet table as well. It’s all very friendly and tasty, great way to start the day.

There is two other restaurants, that were both very nice, set by the sea and that I would definitely recommends, Dr Ali’s serves South East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Indian dishes.We had a curry degustation menu - lovely!

The second option is Fashala, meaning “the edge”, a more formal option with amazing fine dining. Local produce from the surrounding waters and neighbouring farms are at the centre of the gastronomic offerings. The gorgeous set up on the north tip of the island is perfect for a romantic diner but like us, a family with children could enjoy the special treat as well.




For children there is a good kids menu across all the restaurants. As a family resort, Shangri-La's offers a Family Plan which provides children under 12 years old free accommodation staying in the same room with their parents, up to a maximum of 2 children per room. It’s also inclusive of food. Yes kids eat for free! Everyday, our girls could enjoy their meals from the Kids Menu free of charge. Must read all the details but it workout great for us.

Dubai our Sandbox recommends...
So yes, we definitely would recommends Shangri-la’s Villingili as a beautiful family friendly resort.
- Loved that the island is big enough to be explored on bicycle with a green a lush vegetation and enough wild life to get the kids excited about nature.
- Convenience of providing bicycles for the whole family to enjoy together and get to places.
- Large villa to accommodate our family in gorgeous setting.
- Service was friendly and efficient. The personal villa host is a good example of the quality guest service.
- We never complained about the food and truly enjoyed every dinner experience. We were on half board plan, which i think is a great option on vacation. Late breakfast and family diner at night are covered and you can just take a snack by the pool at lunch if needed.
- Shangri-la takes care of it's little guests. The Family Plan with complimentary accommodation and food is a great program. It's a good factor when considering your holiday budget.

Keep in mind...
The Maldives is gorgeous as we have all seen beautiful photos of turquoise water and white sandy beach. I was wondering if the domestic flight is worth the effort (extra time to your travel journey) and money (a considerable expense as a family of four ). After reflection, yes it probably is, as we love the beautiful island so much. While travelling with children you definitely need to take it in consideration.

We were not so lucky with our snorkelling experience. The weather was lovely but the constant wind we experienced during our stay made the water little murky for visibility. To snorkel you need to get to one of the jetty and snorkel toward the reef, making sure to go the right direction. It's a bit far and not that convenient, make sure to ask at the dive centre to direct you properly. Compare to our previous Maldives experience years ago where we could snorkel right from the shore in front of our villa up to the reef and see the most amazing marine life, I was a bit disappointed.



Our 5 days vacation in Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives will be something we’ll never forget. While enjoying our last drink at the M bar before heading onto the boat taking us to Gan airport, we as a family could reflect on the experience and all the wonderful memories to cherish for years. Thank you Shangri-la Villingili for your hospitality.

All photos are from my iPhone, except a couple of shots from www.shangri-la.com/male/villingiliresort