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    mumaboutdubai

    The face behind mumaboutdubai is the lovely Franki.  We have actually known each other since we were 12 years old; we went to secondary school together but lost touch through the years.  Just over a year ago I started my Instagram page; I was looking through the accounts of Dubai mums and I stumbled upon Franki’s.  I hadn’t even realised that she had moved to Dubai!

    I absolutely love her clean, crisp yet colourful images of family life in Dubai.  Franki is a photographer by trade and she manages to beautifully capture the joy in everyday moments; from ‘cot shots’ of adorable Alba in the cutest of outfits to images of Lochlan cycling around the neighbourhood.  Enjoy finding out more about Franki and her family.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Some time photographer, some time blogger, full-time mum of two (Lochlan, 3,  Alba, 1). Glasgow born & bred, Dubai adopted. Hate cooking, love eating.

    What do you enjoy most about being a mum?

    I enjoy the day to day of looking after them both, there’s honestly nothing I love more than being with them. They drive me completely insane some days, but their wee smiles and their big cuddles make it all worth it.

    How do you make time for yourself?

    Some days time to myself is scarce as my husband works away a lot. So on the days that he is around, I take full advantage. I’m very lucky he’s so hands on.

    Tell me about your funniest parenting experience.

    Both of them literally crack me up on a daily basis. I’d have to say my eldest repeating things he shouldn’t is quite funny – probably shouldn’t laugh, but it’s hard not too!

    Has your own mother influenced how you parent?

    Definitely. As much as I hate to admit it, I sound more like my mum everyday – which isn’t a bad thing.

    What one piece of advice do you have for other mums?

    Trust your instinct and do your own thing; don’t worry about other people’s opinions on what you should or shouldn’t be doing. We are all in the same boat; winging it & just trying to do the best we can.

    Describe your ideal Mother’s Day.

    We celebrated UK Mothers’ Day recently; we had a lazy day at home playing with the kids & then went out for a family meal together. No-one had a melt down & everyone finished their dinner – what more could you ask for on Mothers’ Day?!

    Describe motherhood in 3 words.

    Nothing else compares!

    a_mummys_home

    I have been friends with the gorgeous Shireen aka a_mummys_home for nearly 7 years. Shireen, my husband Ian and I all worked together as teachers in the same school and have been really close friends ever since.  She was (thankfully) always one step ahead of me and whether she has liked it or not, has been my guru and mentor through lots of my major life events.  She helped me celebrate my engagement, plan and organise my wedding, supported me when my dad passed away and walked me through every step of my pregnancy journey.  I found the first few months of motherhood extremely difficult and Shireen was always on the other end of a phone every time I was crying… whether it was about lack of sleep, breastfeeding or leaky nappies! (turns out I wasn’t putting them on properly!)

    I honestly couldn’t have made it through those really tough first few months without her and I will always be indebted to her.  Shireen is such a great friend to me; supportive, honest and never judgmental!

    As well as being a great friend, she’s also a fantastic mother to James and to her ever growing bump!

    Enjoy finding out all about my gorgeous friend Shireen…

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    To most people I’m known as Shireen, but two years ago my second name became ‘Mummy’ and it’s probably the name I hear 90% of my day now. In fact, sometimes, when I hear my little boy shouting ‘mummy!…mummy?’ in the car, in the supermarket, in his bedroom, on the toilet, from his high chair, I have to remind myself that he is calling me by my new name!

    Two years ago I was a working woman, a Secondary School teacher to be exact.  I loved my job, although I’m sure at times my students would argue against that! I worked extremely hard: planning classes, correcting papers, monitoring behaviour, supporting students, setting exams; my duties were endless and my hours were long and tiresome…or so I thought! I don’t think anything or anyone can truly prepare you for the role of motherhood because in truth it is a job above any other out there.

    My life has drastically changed the last two years. I still work full time, not as a teacher, but as a Mummy. I don’t go out as much any more, date nights with my lovely husband are limited to one every few months and unfortunately for one reason or another I have lost a few friends on the way. Sometimes, when you have a baby, people seem to think that the old you no longer exists! But I do! I’m definitely still here, I may have a new name but my original name will always be Shireen.

    Days are now filled with swimming lessons, play dates, cuddles, trips to the parks and the beach, tantrums, nursery drop offs and pick ups. I have met some amazing mums and I am so lucky that motherhood has brought as together. James goes to sleep every night with his arms wrapped around me, kissing my nose telling me he loves me and I wake to a little voice every morning saying ‘excuse me, morning mummy…bottle?’ (He is quite the gentleman). 

    I’m slowly finding my way through motherhood and I think I’m getting the hang of it…so much so that I’m due my second baby in two months time! And then the journey will start full circle again! But second time around, I’m prepared and know that each difficult phase will pass… and I will get through it!

    What do you enjoy most about being a mum?

    Now that James has started speaking and can express what he wants and how he feels, life is a lot easier. I don’t need to second guess his thoughts. I love that we have our little conversations and that only I know what he is trying to say. Those moments when he tells me he loves me are priceless or when he tells other people that I’m his mummy are so cute. We’ve become a little team and bonded so much in the last year. 
    I love meeting new mums and when we share our experiences of motherhood and relate to each other’s stories, I sigh a breath of relief that I’m not the only one! 
    Being a mum allows you to see the world though different eyes and takes you back to the innocence of childhood, something we lose as we grow up and don’t truly get back until a little one takes your hand and brings you on their journey through the wonder they see everyday.

    How do you make time for yourself?

    This is a difficult one as it is only recently that I’ve been able to find time for ‘me’. James goes to nursery twice a week for four hours and it is in that time that I try to book any appointments I need to make i.e hair, nails, doctor etc. I also plan a lot around his nap times (1.30pm-3pm) and I’m very lucky that, since January, we have a wonderful lady who comes to the house everyday and helps me out. So if I need to leave while James is sleeping, I know he is being looked after until I get home.
    ‘Me time’ isn’t just about getting out and about on my own though, it also means spending that bit of extra time blow drying my hair in the evening, or eating my lunch in peace, drinking a coffee in the car, listening to the radio instead of nursery rhymes! They’re actually my most precious moments as it’s those little moments that I once took for granted but appreciate so much, now that I have a little one.

    Tell me about your funniest parenting experience.

    This probably came in the early days, just after I had James and was learning how to breastfeed. I was also expressing milk and for anyone who knows what these contraptions look or sound like, you will fully understand when I say I felt like I was a cow in a milking parlour! It wasn’t a pleasant sight for me or my husband!! But we had to laugh and we did laugh because in that moment we realised just how different our life had become; things had taken a sudden and abrupt U-turn! Intimacy meant something completely different and we had quite frankly entered a new chapter in our relationship. 

    Has your own mother influenced how you parent?

    Every woman believes their mother is the greatest…I’m no exception. My mum is the kindest, gentlest and least selfish person I know. I love her more because I know all the sleepless nights I put her through, all the tantrums I made her endure, all the times she must have pondered and questioned whether she was doing things right! And it is only now…a whole 31 years later that I fully appreciate her in her entirety. I understand why she was so strict when I was growing up, why I wasn’t allowed to stay out late, why I wasn’t allowed to travel anywhere without her, why she pushed me so hard in school and why she always put me on such a high pedestal…it was all in the name of love.
    I’m so lucky to have my mum to turn to on a daily basis to help me along the way, I know she’ll always point me in the right direction and her advice is what I trust above all others.

    What one piece of advice do you have for other mums?

    This is a hard one as I feel there is so much I could probably offer advice on, but if  I were to give just ONE piece of advice it would be to tell new mums that with every trying stage that you enter with a little one, I can promise and assure you it will pass and you will get through it! Then there will come a day when you are able to offer advice and support to another mama who is going through what you once did.

    Describe your ideal Mother’s Day.

    Having a lie in until 9am, waking to a warm cup of tea and looking forward to a lovely massage that day. Followed by a spot of afternoon tea and then dinner with the family later that evening. 

    I think an ‘ideal’ Mother’s Day is of course spending your day with your loved ones, but having an hour…or two by yourself as well…just to recharge those batteries!
     
    Describe motherhood in 3 words.
    Adventurous, Tiring, Perfect 
                    

    _englishrosewithsandytoes_

    The lovely Hannah is the face behind _englishrosewithsandytoes_.  I’ve been following Hannah’s journey as a mummy to the adorable Connie, and was so excited to see her make the move over to Dubai just a few weeks ago.  Her Instagram feed is a beautiful mix of travel, motherhood and home inspiration, and I can’t wait to watch as she turns a desert house into her family home.

    Instagram is strange in that you feel like you know someone even though you have never actually met them!  I can’t wait to finally meet Hannah now that she is living on this side of the planet.

    Sit down with a cuppa and enjoy getting to know her…

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I’m Hannah and I am actually 31 today!!  I am from London originally but have just moved over to Dubai with my husband Joe, and my 16 month old daughter Connie. I work part time as Cabin Crew for Virgin Atlantic.  Travelling is my ultimate passion. The plan is to commute from Dubai back to London to work (crazy I know!). I hope it works out as I am just not ready to give up work yet.  I’m addicted to tea, I think I drink about 10 cups a day (it has to be PG tips!) and I am very particular on the way it is made! My friends would probably say I’m a little bit scatty – haha.

    What do you enjoy most about being a mum?

    I really enjoy the social side of being a mum – it means I get to drink tea all day long! I just love meeting new mummies and watching our babies develop and grow. I also equally enjoy socialising with mummies in the evenings as well over a cocktail or two!! Honestly though, the look of unconditional love that your child gives you is just incredible. You simply cannot beat that.

    How do you make time for yourself?

    It’s so hard as a mummy to make time for yourself. The only way I get time to myself is by physically leaving the house. My daughter is currently going through a phase where I cannot even leave the room for two seconds without her having a complete and utter meltdown. Going to the gym was one way I got a bit of me time when Connie was first born, or even just popping to the supermarket for an hour. It’s crazy though the things you will do just to get five minutes peace!

    Tell me about your funniest parenting experience.

    I don’t think I have one funny parenting experience that stands out. To be honest everyday is full of laughter in this household as me and my husband never have a clue what we are doing!! Although I have just thought of a time when the window cleaners caught me breastfeeding my daughter naked through the lounge window. Does that count?!!

    Has your own mother influenced you on how you parent?

    My mum has really influenced the way I parent. She is definitely my role model and Connie absolutely adores her. Sometimes I like to try things my own way but then nearly always end up reverting back to how my mum did it.

    What one piece of advice do you have for other mums?

    To just completely go with the flow and trust your instinct. A mother knows their child more than anyone else.

    Describe your ideal Mother’s Day.

    My ideal Mother’s Day would be to spend it with my mum and my daughter (which I am doing!) maybe some tea and cake in a cute little café and then an afternoon on the beach until sunset. That would be perfect.

    Describe motherhood in three words.

    Challenging, rewarding, truly incredible

    mumofthetribe_dxb

    The real life girl next door (well, technically across the road and a few doors down), I first got to know mumofthetribe_dxb through Baby Sensory classes that Poppy and Frankie went to together at the Polo Club. When I first met Amy, I was blown away by how calm and laid back she was.  She’s the kind of girl you feel instantly relaxed around, instantly at ease with, and ready to share your tales of motherhood over a cuppa.  (Our darling 17 month olds still don’t sleep so it’s good to feel like we aren’t alone!)

    A talented photographer as well as blogger, Amy’s feed is simply beautiful.  It is filled with picture perfect images of family life, fashion, travel and home inspiration.

    I hope you look forward to finding out all about Amy and her gorgeous tribe…

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I’m a 34-year-old Manchester born, mummy of two little girls, Lola, 6, and Frankie, 17 months. We’ve been living in Dubai for 3 and a half years with our two fur babies and my lovely husband Andrew. I’m extremely lucky that I get to spend a lot of my time with my children, which I thoroughly enjoy. I could say I’ve fallen gently onto an instinctual parenting path as it just seemed to be what worked for us, especially with the birth of my second baby, Frankie. In a lot of ways I like to live a natural lifestyle, whether that’s the food I eat or the way I parent as I’m a great believer in listening to my own and my babies cues rather than what others think we should be doing. Before I had Frankie I worked with preschoolers which I absolutely loved! Apart from a life around little people I am a bit of a fashion addict as well as being very interested in world issues such animal rights and protecting our environment.

    What do you enjoy most about being a mum?

    Being a mum is enjoyable in so many ways but it’s the unique experiences between my girls and I, such as seeing their first steps and hearing their first words that are such a wonderful thing to be part of. As they grow and learn it’s equally as amazing to be able to have a full conversation with them and really see their personalities unfold. Though what I really love is the little intimate moments between us that really make being a mummy so special. This could be a quiet cuddle at bedtime or a big warm hug at school drop off.

    How do you make time for yourself?

    When Andrew isn’t travelling I’ll have a rare day or evening out kiddie free. However, I probably get the best opportunity to have time to myself once the kids have gone to bed. I use this time to read and sometimes write my own posts. On a good day, I’ll hopefully get an hour of yoga in too (if there isn’t a huge pile of washing to sort out). When my husband is at home though, I love to take my dogs out by myself for long evening walks, I find it the perfect way to de-stress if I’ve had one of ‘those’ days.

    Tell me about your funniest parenting experience.

    We were on holiday with a then 3-year-old Lola. One evening she was asking me why she had only met one of my Grandmothers and never the other one. I explained that my other Grandma was an old lady and had been very poorly a few years before Lola was born and sadly passed away. The conversation led on to her asking why she had only ever met one of my Grandfathers followed by what happened to her nanas cat and her dad’s childhood pet dog. I could say it was a rather gloomy conversation about life and death with a very inquisitive child, so I tried to answer as honestly as I could and avoid beating around the bush. When our holiday had ended, the first thing we did when we got off the plane was head to my in-laws to pick up the dogs as we still lived in the UK at this point. My father in law, Lola’s grandad, opened the door and before her dad or I had a chance to talk to him, Lola boldly proclaimed “My mummy said that you’re going to die!” A very red-faced me replied “I did not say that Lola!”, To which Lola replied, ” you did mummy, you said that Grandad was really old and is going to die!”  To say I was beyond mortified was an understatement as I tried to explain my way out of it. What must he of thought!? I imagined him having visions of me telling Lola ‘not to worry about Grandad as he’d be dead soon anyway’ while we were on holiday.  I nervously laughed along with him when I told him about my chat with Lola, but it didn’t distract from the lingering thought that he must think I’m the evil daughter in law trying to bump him off! To this day I wince at the thought of her shouting that to him!

    Has your own mother influenced how you parent?

    My own mum has had a very big impact on the way I parent. When I fell pregnant with Lola I knew I wanted to breastfeed as my mum had done with me. She breastfed me for 12 months and would often tell me what a chilled out baby I was which carried on through my early years. There was never any doubt in my mind that it was what I wanted to do because of the positive message she gave me about it as I grew up. Another big reason my mum inspires me more than she probably knows is the fact she brought my sister and me up as a single parent. She worked hard and sacrificed so much for herself so that we never went without. It’s probably why I’m so determined to be such a hands-on mum with my own two girls, if she could do it then so can I!

    What one piece of advice do you have for other mums?

    Be present with your little ones, talk, play and laugh often and try to be gentle with words and actions as everything we do now will set the foundations for who our children become in the future.

    Describe your ideal Mother’s Day.

    Firstly I always send my own mum a big bunch of flowers to say a huge thank you for everything she’s done for us over the years. As I’m in Dubai at the moment my mum will get an extra long skype call from us. Then, I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate on Mothers day than spending the day with my girls, perhaps having lunch in a nice restaurant followed by plenty of snuggling up on the sofa.

    Describe motherhood in 3 words.

    Beautiful, exhilarating, fulfilling.

    If you want to follow more of Amy’s journey, head on over to her blog www.mumofthetribe.com

    daffodil in the desert

    The gorgeous face behind daffodil_in_the_desert is the beautiful Laura.  A newcomer to Instagram, Laura only started posting in September but is already one of my firm favourites. Her feed is filled with interior design inspiration (think country cottage cosy, floral prints and DIY projects), as well as life with her pilot husband and gorgeous three daughters.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Laura in ‘real life’ and she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  Her honesty has had me crying with laughter over voice messages and wine and I’m a little in love with her welsh accent!

    If you don’t already follow Laura…why not?! You won’t be disappointed…Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Hi I’m Laura, I have three little girls, Rosie 5, Florence 3 and Lottie 1. I married my childhood sweetheart Ryan at 22 and finished working in banking to start a family – I haven’t looked back since! We moved to Dubai 3 years ago.

    What do you enjoy most about being a mum? 

    The feeling of completeness! It’s a funny one and it’s the only way I can describe how I felt when I first held Rosie in my arms, I feel a bit lost when I haven’t got at least one little hand to hold!  They say nothing compares to a mother’s love and that is so true!

    How do you make time for yourself? 

    With no nanny or family here, I rely on Ryan’s days off to escape the madness and have a little ‘me’ time, I love to go and get my hair or nails done, but I’m always happy with some chocolate, a cuppa and a good series on Netflix (without the chill!) once the girls are all asleep!

    Tell me about your funniest parenting experience. 

    Whilst breastfeeding Florence I craved chocolate and constantly had a bar or two of it next to me, I was basically feeding her chocolate milk! The health visitor came one morning to check Florrie and suddenly looked quite concerned, as she held her towards the window, she asked me when the marks on her face had started appearing, I jumped up in total panic, she had what looked like a million little freckles on the side of her face, I quickly licked my hand and rubbed them off – don’t panic I told the lovely midwife it’s chocolate! I fed her just before you came whilst eating a ripple!! Although that was funny and we both laughed, fast forward a couple of years to a potty training Florrie, being handed ‘choc choc’ – which to be fair did look like maltesers, was not so fun! (For the record they were flushed not eaten!!)

    Has your own mother influenced how you parent?

    Yes, she’s the one I go to for advice every time! From day one of becoming a mother, when she taught me how to bath a new baby to helping me negotiate with threenager tantrums! Let’s face it who gives better advice than someone who raised you?

    What one piece of advice do you have for other mums?

    Nothing lasts forever!  – something my grandfather told me when Florrie had colic and I was ready to sign myself into a nut house! And it’s something I constantly say to myself when things get tough! But this also goes for the good times too, so don’t wish time away, enjoy every second and every milestone, but when you feel like you can’t anymore, YOU CAN!!!

    Describe your ideal Mother’s Day.

    Handmade cards, fresh flowers and of course chocolate!! I’m very easily pleased! But this year I would really like the most beautiful  yellow armchair from marina homes, (if your reading this Ryan, take note!!!)

    Describe motherhood in 3 words. 

    Incredible, Challenging, Rewarding

    ippandco

    The face behind ippandco is the wonderfully talented, funny and honest Dubai blogger Krysia.  With an Instagram feed filled with colourful squares of travel, adventure, motherhood and smiles, I was instantly drawn in.  A mummy to gorgeous toddler Casper, Krysia’s conversational instablog leaves you feeling like you’ve known her for years.  A truly inspirational mummy who juggles being a wife, mother and journalist.

    I hope you enjoy getting to know Krysia as much as I have…Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I’m a 37 year old British Expat living in Dubai. I’ve been here for 8 years and currently have no plans to leave. I write for a living, often for one of the national newspapers in Dubai as well as other publications.

    What do you enjoy most about being a mum?

    When my son comes into our bedroom in the mornings after my husband has got him up, the smile on his face makes my heart fill up. I absolutely adore watching him develop and understand the world around him, I had no idea these small things would bring such happiness. I also love seeing him interact with our wider family. Being expats we don’t see family as often as we’d like so it’s extra special when we do.

    How do you make time for yourself?

    I’m lucky in that I have full time, live in help without which I think I would go crazy! Casper also goes to nursery three mornings a week which gives me time to work. Work is a break these days, that’s about as much time as I get to myself!

    Tell me about your funniest parenting experience.

     Casper makes me laugh pretty much every day, it’s hard to single out one particular moment. At the moment he’s making me laugh every morning when he wakes us up chatting about apples. He really does love an apple that boy!

    Has your own mother influenced how you parent?

    To an extent. My own mother is very much a ‘take no nonsense’ sort of person and I think I’m applying the same sort of principles to my own parenting. I try and set boundaries and rules where I can although a lot of things I thought I would be very strict about have gone out of the window.

    What one piece of advice do you have for other mums?

    We’re all just muddling through, trying to survive each day in one piece. If it works for your family, it works. So far, I’m finding that distraction is the way to surviving the Toddler Years! Distract, Distract, Distract!

    Describe your ideal Mother’s Day.

    Hmm can I have two?! I love family time with my husband and son and a nice lunch out would be perfect. I’d also kill to have a day on my own at a at a fancy beach club with a bottle of Rose and my book!

    Describe motherhood in 3 words.

    Amazing, joyful, exhausting!

           

    If you would like to know more about Krysia, head on over to her blog: www.ippandco.com

    Celebrating Motherhood

    ‘Mothers are society’s weavers.  They make the world go round.’

    I am so excited to announce that in the run up to UAE Mother’s Day, I will be interviewing some of Dubai’s loveliest mummies in my new ‘Celebrating Motherhood’ blog series. Through this series, I want to celebrate some of the wonderful people behind the little Instagram squares. The women whose feeds have kept me company when I’ve been up doing night feeds, the women who have sent me many direct messages of support to tell me that ‘it’s just a phase,’ the women who have shared their experiences of motherhood with me, the women who have become friends.

    Since becoming a mum, I have discovered that motherhood is different from family to family but there are some things that unite us all. We are all trying equally hard to be the best that we can be for our little ones and along the way we will laugh, cry and sometimes tear our hair out! It’s important to remember that we’re all in it together and that we all must empower and support other mums on our journey.

    Chasing Sleep…

    If you follow me on Instagram you will know that it’s been approximately 11 and a half months since my last decent sleep.

    Whenever I tell people that Poppy doesn’t sleep through the night, the response usually goes something like this, ‘Have you tried…’

    and my response goes a little like…

    ‘I’ve tried…

    • sleeping with her nightlight on
    • sleeping with her light off
    • installing black out curtains
    • sleeping with the curtains wide open
    • dressing her in a short sleeved baby grow
    • dressing her in a footless baby grow
    • wrapping her in a thick blanket
    • wrapping her with a thin muslin
    • removing her ‘Sleepyhead’ from her cot
    • putting her ‘Sleepyhead’ back in her cot
    • raising her mattress at one side
    • giving her a toy to cuddle
    • having earlier nap times
    • having later nap times
    • having shorter nap times
    • moving bath time to earlier in the day
    • giving her a bottle before her bath
    • giving her a bottle after her bath
    • moving her dinner time to earlier in the day
    • singing lullabies (yes me personally singing…it’s horrific!)
    • playing Brahms lullabies on loop throughout the night
    • playing ‘Say Hello to the Sun’ song on repeat
    • blaring white noise
    • inserting a dummy into her crying mouth
    • brushing her hair
    • playing quietly in her darkened room an hour before bedtime
    • a strict ‘no tv 2 hours before bedtime’ policy
    • putting her to bed when she’s almost asleep
    • putting her to bed when she’s fully asleep (thumb is fully out of the mouth!)
    • standing over her cot and rubbing her stomach,  leg, hand…any body part I can actually reach
    • sleeping on the floor next to her while wedging my hands through the rails of the cot (why didn’t I buy one of those cots where the sides slide down?!)
    • crying it out
    • wedging her in-between Ian and I

    I’ve given up! She must be teething.  That’s the answer to everything, right?

    A little about me…

    Recently I took part in an interview for the lovely Kate aka ‘Mumwithaplan’.  In the interview I discussed the ups and downs of my motherhood journey so far as well as my hopes and dreams for Poppy.  Enjoy…

     Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

    I’m Jacqui, I’m 31 years old and originally from Scotland.  For the last 8 years I’ve been living and working as a primary school teacher in sunny Dubai.  I met my husband (a fellow teacher) in Dubai just over 5 years ago and we have been married for 2 years.  We had our beautiful baby girl Poppy in October and I am trying my best to be her mummy whilst working full time. 

    Mummy, Daddy and Pops

    If you could give one piece of advice for an expectant mother, what would it be?

    ‘Love your baby with all your heart.  Keep one end clean and the other end fed, the rest is optional.’

    There are SO many books and SO many theories and opinions on how best to raise your child.  Should you let them cry it out when they are struggling to sleep? Should you give them a pacifier? Should you bottle feed? I’ve learned that you have to do what feels right in your heart and this might not be what another mum might chose to do.  This is ok as we are each on our own journey.
    All of us parent differently and have different values.  What is your most important parenting value?
    Love and security.  For us it is so important that Poppy knows that she is well-loved.  I have definitely made lots of mistakes on my parenting journey and I will definitely continue to do so but every action I’ve ever taken is underpinned by love.  I want Poppy to feel secure and happy when she is with her family; I want her to know that her mummy and daddy will always be there for her no matter what.

    What motto do you try and live by?

    Make Memories

    My husband and I are very busy with work during the week and often we don’t spend quality time together.  On Saturdays we always make time for each other as a family, whether this is a day at the beach of going to a cafe for a cup of tea and a chat.

    Making memories this summer in Australia.

    What are your hopes for your daughter?

    I hope that she lives a life full of happiness and confidence, surrounded by friends and family who love and support her.  I want Poppy to be secure enough to follow the path that she wants in life, one that makes her truly happy.  Above all else I hope that Poppy grows up to be a good human; I want her to have good morals and live her life honestly, compassionately and with a warm and open heart.
    You are an expat living in Dubai.  What took you out there and would anything persuade you to come back to the UK?
    Initially I moved out to Dubai for my career.  Full time teaching posts were very difficult to come by in Scotland and I was becoming frustrated with the lack of opportunities.  I was also keen to explore the world and thought that I could combine my love of travel with my career.  I applied for jobs in South America, Spain and Dubai.  After signing a 3 year contract in Dubai, I was sure that I would return to the U.K. when I had finished.  However, after meeting my husband I changed my mind!  We love the life we have created in Dubai and for now it is definitely ‘home’.  We would like to return to the U.K. in the future and ultimately we see ourselves living closer to our friends and family but for now we are happy.

    Do you worry about raising a daughter in a world that doesn’t always prioritise the rights of women?

    I am a proud feminist and sometimes I do worry about Poppy growing up in a world which doesn’t always prioritize the rights of women.  I think it is so important that young girls growing up have powerful female role models to look up to from Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart to Malala Yousifazi and Michelle Obama.  Through education I do believe that mindsets will continue to change and that girls today are more empowered than ever before.
    I want Poppy to grow up in a world where she can be anything she wants to be, whether that is a scientist, dancer or homemaker.  I want her to be paid the same amount of money as a man doing the same job and I want her to be given equal consideration for job roles.

    You have mentioned your nanny on Instagram.  How does having a nanny compare to other forms of childcare?

    I went back to work the day after Poppy turned 5 months old.  Poppy felt so young to me and we didn’t want to go down the nursery route.  I suffered from anxiety and it gave me peace of mind to know that Poppy was at home following the routines that we had established together.  She has her naps in her own cot, plays with her own toys and has 1:1 attention all day.  She feels secure even though her mum and dad aren’t with her all day and that is so important to us.  Our nanny is AMAZING! She sends videos and photographs to us throughout the day and she keeps a diary to let us know what’s happened each day e.g. the times of her naps and what she’s had for her meals.
    As a couple, having a nanny gives us flexibility.  We don’t have to rush back home from work to pick P up at certain times so if we are running late it is not a problem.  Our nanny also babysits on the odd occasion which allows my husband and I to have a rare date night.
    As she gets older I will definitely put Poppy into nursery at least once a week so that she can socialize with other children.

    Poppy playing with her much loved Lego

    You talk about sleep deprivation a little, how does that impact on your day to day life?

    I find it particularly difficult to deal with sleep deprivation when I have work the following day.  In the middle of the night when I sit in the dark soothing P, I start counting down how many hours of sleep I might manage before my work alarm will sound. I remember we were up 9 times one night and I just sat there sobbing while holding P.  Having a bad nights sleep definitely hinders my ability to function properly throughout the day; I have less energy, I make mistakes more often, I am forgetful, irritable and often tearful.  I doubt myself and become very anxious.  I spend most of the day thinking about sleep, yet I dread bedtime as I never know what kind of night I will have.
    I am currently on holiday at the moment and am feeling less anxious about sleeping.  I know that I can sneak a nap in during the day if I’m lucky or simply rest on the sofa and watch tv for an hour or so while Pops plays on the carpet.

    Catching up on some much needed zzzzzzz

    Parenting is tough and beautiful all at the same time.  Can you tell us about a tough time and a shining moment that you’ve had as a parent?

    I remember having a particularly tough week when Poppy was about 6 weeks old.  I felt really inadequate as a mum and I was finding it really difficult to breastfeed.  Nothing was coming as naturally as I wanted it to and I just couldn’t cope.  I went to the doctors 4 times in a row for unrelated thing, I was scared of getting it all wrong!  I remember sitting with a box of tissues crying my eyes out at every appointment.  I even took Poppy to A&E that week.  I remember calling my husband and begging him to come home from work.  I was hysterical and anxious about motherhood and I couldn’t cope on my own.
    For me the shining moments are the everyday moments.  I love that Poppy smiles every times she sees me and that if I tickle her right under her chin she bursts into fits of laughter.  I love that she crawls around the room after me and gets excited playing ‘peak-a-boo!’.  I love cuddling up to her and  staring at her gorgeous little face as she sleeps.  To me she is perfect.

    Everyday moments – Poppy taking a bath

    I hope you enjoyed reading my interview,

    Hamilton Island

    Going to the Whitsundays has always been on my travel ‘hit list’ for as long as I can remember so when we booked our trip to Australia I knew we had to make it a reality.  This part of our Australian adventure I like to refer to as ‘planned relaxation’. A place where we would drink cocktails, go for leisurely walks, swim in the pool and dip our toes in the coral sea…pure bliss!

    We flew from Sydney directly to Hamilton Island, with a reasonable flight time of 2.5 hours. I’m not the biggest fan of planes, especially tiny propellor planes but the incredible views forced even me to stray from the safety of my aisle seat to have a peek outside.

    When we landed, the usual airport stresses did not exist! This quaint airport doesn’t even have a baggage carousel, instead your bags are placed on the tarmac for you to collect at your leisure. Free shuttle buses then take you to your hotel and your luggage is delivered to your room by porters.  Usually airports and airport transfers cause me high levels of anxiety, however this was, dare I say, pleasurable!

    Our Island Home

    We decided to stay in the family friendly Reef View Hotel, located on Catseye Beach.  It’s not the most luxurious of hotels but this is also part of its appeal. For a start, there were no precious ornaments or valuables for Poppy to smash up while she was crawling about in the lobby.  What you are really paying for in this hotel is the incredible sea view! Greeting us on the balcony of our room were a few local cockatoos.  Poppy is obsessed with birds so this kept her occupied for at least 5 minutes. Before this trip, Lake Como always topped my list of best views but now I’m not so sure!

    A great thing about staying on Hamilton Island is that they have a ‘Baby’s First Holiday‘ initiative. This means that you can preorder items to be placed in your room for arrival – cots, highchairs, changing mats, baby baths, jogger prams and even a microwave with a bowl and baby spoon!  The best thing about this service is that all of these are free of charge to use during your stay. As we were travelling around Australia we had most things we already needed, but we took advantage of the high chair. The hotel also offers ‘Convenience Shopping’ for your little one. You can buy wipes, nappies, swimming nappies, sudocreme, bonjela and even a bath duck! Out of all the hotels I’ve ever stayed in, this caters for little ones the best!

    Our Island Highlights

    Sunrise on the beach

    One perk to Poppy being an early riser is that we are often awake at ridiculously early hours. One morning when she woke up, we decided to quickly chuck on some clothes, grab a bottle of milk and head to the beach to watch the sunrise. We had the beach completely to ourselves and it definitely was the best way to start our day with positive minds.

     

    Exploring Catseye Beach

    We set up camp on this idyllic treelined beach, relaxed on the sun loungers and drank cocktails! While Ian dozed off in the afternoon sun, Poppy and I explored the sea. Pops finally got over her fear of sand (albeit temporarily) and she sat in the water and watched the fish as they swam around her body. It was lovely to have a day that was all about Poppy.  In Sydney we dragged her from one tourist spot to another and she didn’t really get a chance just to play around and enjoy herself.  For us this day was perfect and stress free!

    Exploring the Island

    Being a small island, it’s very easy to explore on foot.  Walking around the marina was a real highlight of ours as we could take (pizza and wine) pit stops in the local restaurants.  Manta Ray was our favourite restaurant as it was informal and easily accessible with a push chair.  Island life is enhanced by the fact that there are no cars allowed.  Instead, inhabitants use golf buggies to get around.  These buggies can be rented from your hotel and children’s car seats are supplied at additional charges.  The buggies aren’t really a necessity …more a bit of fun!

    Daytrip to Whitehaven

    Technically Whitehaven Beach is not on Hamilton Island but rather a (very worthwhile) 1 hour boat ride away! As you can imagine these boat excursions are very popular with tourists and sell out almost immediately.  In fact we tried to book the Half Day Boat Cruise the morning after we arrived but unfortunately there were no available seats left.  Ian could see the disappointment on my face and we waited at the pier for ‘no shows’ or cancellations.  Lady Luck was on our side and we managed to get some seats!  We’ve learned our lesson and in future we will book excursions in advance!

    We were greeted by 7km of brilliant white silica sand on this uninhabited island.  It is the whitest beach in the world and the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of stepping foot on!

    We brought a blanket with us so we found a quiet spot and made ourselves at home for a few hours.  I took a photograph of Poppy sitting with her little bum on show, looking out to turquoise waters with toys in her hands.  It’s my favourite photo but I’m sure she won’t thank me for it when she’s older!

    After writing our names in the sand and paddling in the water for a while, Poppy dozed off in the late afternoon sun. Such precious memories.

    This blog is written for the Hamilton Island website, however all of the opinions expressed are my own. 

    Preparing your home for motherhood

    When I was about 7 months pregnant, it really hit home that we were about to have a baby and it also really hit home that the only things we had for her were adorable outfits.  Gorgeous, but clothes wouldn’t be enough!

    In an attempt to get organised, Ian and I went to the mall to buy some essentials for our bump.  I naively thought that it would be easy; that we would just wander into the baby stores and step out a few hours later with everything we could possibly need to get us started on our journey into parenthood.  Oh how wrong I was! I couldn’t believe how much choice there was and how many different brands there were (all claiming that they are the best of course).  I remember standing in the middle of Babyshop in the Mall of Emirates and feeling really lost.  Should we get a microwave steriliser or a steam steriliser?  Should we get Dr Brown bottles or Tommee Tippee bottles? Do we want a baby monitor that connects to our phones or do we think that its more important that we monitor her breathing? NOT.A.CLUE! We definitely needed to go back home and do a bit of research.

    Now, anyone that knows me will tell you that if someone recommends something to me, it’s as good as bought so I relied heavily on my mummy friends for their advice on what to buy.  I bombarded them with messages about their favourite products and I also spent hours online trawling through recommended lists, award lists and reviews. There are so many amazing products out there and some that really are just a complete waste of money. My insecurities meant that I wanted to buy my unborn child every single product that they might possibly ever need.  Stupid I know, but I was a first time mum and I really wanted to do my best.

    I’ve decided to tell you about some of my favourite purchases in the hope that it might just help you on your journey into motherhood. These products are not necessarily award winners or the best rated in reviews but these are the products that worked for me and in turn might just work for you!

     

     

    1. SLEEPYHEAD DELUXE

    The Sleepyhead Deluxe is definitely one of my firm favourites.  It is a portable baby bed that ticks all the right boxes.  It is 100% breathable, hypoallergenic, non-heat harbouring and has a firm mattress which reduces the risk of SIDS.  When your baby outgrows the Sleepyhead Deluxe, there is a Sleepyhead Grand, recommended for 9-36month olds.  (I bought this one too!)

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