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 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!