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M AY 2 0 1 8 ISSUE 2 • AED20


Before The Magazine For Stylish Mums


Top prenatal yoga classes

FAMILY FEASTS Must-try iftar meals the kids will love


ISSUE 2 • MAY 2018

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Take a


Chic fashions for Ramadan

Absolutely Mama Emirates

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c ontent s 60 M AY 2 0 1 8

89 AGENDA 14 What’s On

Top local events and activities


16 Ramadan Kareem

Family-friendly iftar meals to try

FASHION & BEAUTY 38  Feeling Modest

Feast your eyes on the new capsule collection from Michael Kors

46  Family Time

The latest looks for little ones from Mamas & Papas UAE

20 New Books

Fab, fresh reads for little ones

MAMAHOOD 24  Lightning Girl

Alesha Dixon on writing her first-ever children’s book

29  Woman in Work

We meet Sofi Chabowski, who’s opening a new shop in Dubai

30  Voice of Reason

Want to silence that inner critic? We’ve got some top tips from a pro

FOOD & FITNESS 60  S iba’s Table

One Food Network star shares her favourite recipes for Ramadan

62  It’s a Stretch

Five prenatal yoga classes in the UAE worth checking out

HOME & INTERIORS 70 Summer Brights

An expert on how to refresh your décor to reflect the sunny season

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82 72 Mind Games



Interiors are all about personality. Find out what you’re all about

M AY 2 0 1 8 ISSUE 2 • AED20


TRAVEL 80 Let’s Retreat

We review the new Dubai hotel that’s focusing on wellbeing

Before The Magazine For Stylish Mums

82 Royal Escapes

Three excellent family holiday destinations that are fit for royalty


90 Ask the Expert

Our resident advisors answer your most burning questions

the kids will love



ISSUE 2 • MAY 2018

A top new pregnancy pillow, disposable nappies and a robot


Top prenatal yoga classes

FAMILY FEASTS Must-try iftar meals

MUMS 6084010480100

Take a


Chic fashions for Ramadan

Absolutely Mama Emirates


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Mamas & Papas’ new Ramadan collection

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elcome to our second edition of Absolutely Mama Emirates, which coincides with the Holy Month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when observers fast from sun-up to sundown. As many of us already know, at this time of year it’s important to dress respectfully. Luckily, we’ve made that easy for you by featuring some of the newest trends in modest fashion throughout the magazine. Brands like Michael Kors (page 38) and Mamas & Papas (as seen on our cover and from page 46) have created gorgeous capsule collections for mums and kids that are stylish and demure. Of course, we’re also looking forward to the festive evening meals that spring up across the emirates, too. Fabulous restaurants and hotels are putting on incredible feasts for iftar, so we’ve found a few family-friendly options you should try out this season (page 16). Or, if you fancy having your own iftar meal at home, we’ve spoken to celebrity chef Siba Mtongana, who’s shared with us her three favourite recipes for time-poor parents (page 58). Whatever you do, we hope you enjoy this special time of year in the UAE. Ramadan Kareem!


Katy G i llett





@katygillett katy@zest-media.com

T h e M a g a z i n e Fo r S t y l i s h M u m s @ E M I R AT E S M A M A

Mid-weight Designer: REBECCA NOONAN, CATHERINE PERKINS Production Manager: CHRIS COUCHMAN Finance Director: JERRIE KOLECI Directors: GREG HUGHES & ALEXANDRA HUNTER Managing Director: SHERIF SHALTOUT For editorial enquiries please email: katy@zest-media.com For advertising enquiries please email: leah@zest-media.com

Group Editor: KATY GILLETT Editor UK: HELEN BARON Editorial Assistant: GEORGIA MCVEIGH Commercial Director: LEAH DAY Marketing Manager: LUCIE PEARCE Publisher: AMINA AHMED Art Director: PHIL COUZENS Senior Designer: PAWEL KUBA

For media partnership enquiries please email: amina@zest-media.com

Absolutely Mama supports

Part of the

LON DON OFFICE : 197-199 City Road, London EC1V 1JN, UK ABU DHABI OFFICE: FACT M.E FZ-LLC, Office 907E, TwoFour54, Park Rotana Complex, P.O Box 769328, Abu Dhabi UAE zest.london Zest Media Publications Ltd. cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken, prices and details are subject to change and Zest Media Publications Ltd. take no responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and edit any letters. All rights reserved.

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10 things we Absolutely

LOV E Our pick of gorgeous items for homes and wardrobes this May...


Z Gen eration The selection of apparel for older kids at this European store based in The Dubai Mall is affordable and just, well, cool. It has darling baby gear, too (see more on page 45). We’re smitten. z-eshop.com

ALL WHITE Isabelle Quinn

We love the exaggerated sleeves and eyelet details on this upgraded 100% linen classic white shirt from the Australian brand Isabelle Quinn. It works just as well over a swimsuit while you’re on the beach as it does tucked into a pair of your favourite jeans. It’s stylish and, most importantly, comfy. AED400; you-boutique.com

Sweet Style

Indie Ju n e Indie June clothes are handmade in the UAE with organic cotton that’s been carefully sourced from Scandinavia. They’re designed to last, and we simply adore the playful patterns. indiejune.littlemajlis.com



Thirst Quenching

Yi s l a mo o One of our favourite drinks for Ramadan evenings features on this fun piece of Pop Art from Yislamoo, the curated wall art and souvenirs collection by indie artists that showcases Arabia. virginmegastore.ae

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The Body Shop It’s not that we need much of an excuse to splash a bit of cash in The Body Shop. But now there’s a new range of fastabsorbing, super-moisturising body yoghurts, we’re defi nitely in. There are six scents, including almond milk, strawberry and banana. Yum. thebodyshop.com


Box i c h Get your fill of natural, organic and cruelty-free beauty products from GCC brand Boxich. It’s the region’s first monthly subscription box that’s working to raise awareness on the importance of using natural products. We wouldn’t eat carcinogenic substances, so why should we slather them on our skin? boxich.me

Hair Care

S HOW B eaut y SHOW Beauty was founded by fellow mama Tamara Ecclestone. It specialises in hair styling and finishing products that focus on volume, repair and moisture. Oh, and they smell lovely, too, thanks to the infused scent from French fragrance house Givaudan. beautysolutions-me.com


Yo un g Pr i nt s Maryam Imran, the mum-of-three behind Young Prints, makes custom tees exclusively for mamas and little ones. And she just added Mommy and Me matching tees and mugs to the mix. youngprints.littlemajlis.com

Big City

Pen ny Sc a l l a n Des ig n The Australian brand Penny Scallan Design released its products to the UAE market last month. We can’t get enough of all the gorgeous bags and accessories for little boys and girls. mumzworld.com

Vacation Vibes

Ha p py Ja c ks o n Hello sunshine, indeed. We love Happy Jackson items any day of the year, but this summery sunglasses case just makes us want to go on holiday (somewhere a little cooler), are we right? ae.namshi.com

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Jump around • FLIP OUT DUBAI •

Exclusively during Ramadan, Flip Out Dubai is reintroducing its unlimited pass to the trampoline park. It allows you and the kids to try parkour, 3D wall running, bubble football and archery tag (to name a few). These are valid from 18 May for a full month, but spaces are limited so make sure you book yours now! AED299; flipout.ae

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W H AT ’ S ON This May, there’s plenty of food, festivals and sports for the whole family to enjoy

3 M O R E E XC ITI N G FA M I LY E V E NT S A festival, forum and free half-day exhibition for mums-to-be

Matryoshka Festival 2- 5 May City Walk Dubai

A three-day festival will see City Walk transformed into a Russian fairytale. There will be pop-up shops, musical performances and kid-friendly activities. matryoshkafestival.com

Mompreneur Forum 8 May Jumeirah Creek Side Hotel, Dubai

The Middle East Mompreneur Forum 2018 brings together some of the most influential and successful “mompreneurs” in this region. mompreneurs.me

Editor’s Pick

Ripe Market

11 May  •  Dubai Festival City Mall

Our favourite local market in Dubai is hosting an extra-special pop-up at Dubai Festival City Mall this month. Stock up with groceries from the Ripe Organic stand, buy some locally crafted treasures, and bring the little ones along to enjoy family activities and even free yoga classes with Pranayama Yoga Centre. ripeme.com

My Pregnancy Arabia 4 May Fairmont The Palm, Dubai

Expecting? Then get yourself down to this free half-day exhibition for pregnant couples looking to find out more from baby experts in the UAE. mypregnancyarabia.net

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Art for Ramadan 15 May-17 June Mall of the Emirates

The third edition of Ductac’s annual exhibition, Ramadanization, celebrates talent and passion within the UAE community. It showcases artworks by local artists who have been asked to express exactly what Ramadan means to them. It’s a lovely way for you to teach your children more about the Holy Month, and learn more yourself about the city’s emerging artists. And spend an afternoon perusing the mall, of course. ductac.org/art



17 May- 8 September Dubai World Trade Centre

he emirate’s largest indoor summer sports area (that’s 25,000 square metres of air-conditioned space) is back, with all sorts of family-friendly activities to keep those hearts pumping. There will be football, rugby, a Ninja Warrior zone and even arts and crafts, plus plenty, plenty more. And, this year, street basketball, virtual golf, a Battle Park and gymnastics for kids and adults are also being introduced. There’s no excuse not to exercise now. dubaisportsworld.ae


First week of Ramadan Tom&Serg, Dubai

uck into a succulent roast chicken with apricot and herb stuffing, a juicy Australian roast lamb or Black Angus rib eye at Tom&Serg’s new edition of Rule the Roast. All plates come with your choice of trimmings, sauces and chips, chicken salt and gravy. For the veggies there’s a smoked vegetable and goat’s cheese cannelloni on offer. Don’t mind if we do. tomandserg.com


3 Classes to Try


16 and 19 May The Courtyard, Al Quoz


13-15 May Coaches Training Institute


Learn all about macramé and flat weave in new crafty classes from Tribe Dubai this month. These four-hour sessions are a great way to learn new skills, share ideas and make friends. tribedubai.com

In this three-day workshop experience how to see the world through your children’s eyes. You’ll learn new concepts and practise new skills using interactive exercises. gozamm.com

This is an intelligence programme that uses hands-on activities targeting children aged three to seven. During May, the focus is on transportation, and each week there’s a new theme. facebook.com/littlebigbrainexplorers

Wednesdays and Thursdays Kids HQ, Dubai

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KAREEM We round up eight delicious and kid-friendly iftar feasts to try with the family this season Wo r d s K AT Y G I L L E T T


he Holy Month of Ramadan is upon us, and with that comes a fantastic opportunity to introduce your children to the lovely traditions observed at this special time of year. That includes iftar, the meal taken to break the fast. Across Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s hotels and restaurants incredible feasts and buffet spreads are being laid out. Here are just a few of the more familyfriendly or more unique ones we think you should add to the schedule...

meatballs in tomato lentil sauce and a traditional umm ali for dessert. It costs AED120, including soft drinks, and children under two dine for free. azzurro@hhh-me.com

Common Grounds • Dubai’s first entirely vegan iftar is being hosted at the healthy café by Tom&Serg, Common Grounds, in Mall of the Emirates. You don’t have to be on a plant-based diet to enjoy it, as each dish is substantial and has been thoughtfully created, plus packed full of nutritional goodness. You get a three-course à la carte meal for AED110, including a smoothie. On the menu are dishes such as a Hokkaido, pumpkin and peanut stew; an umami mushroom and chia burger; and a vegan bread and butter pudding with tonka ice cream. It is a great opportunity to introduce the kids to healthy yet delicious food. • commongroundsdubai.com

Address Boulevard • For something a bit fancy and elegant, the Address Boulevard’s iftar offering ticks all the boxes. The hotel is setting up a rather regal communal table so that friends, loved ones and colleagues can gather together and enjoy a family-style feast of traditional Middle Eastern dishes. An oud player will also be there to set the mood. If you pay before 15 May, you will get 15% off on AED195 per person. • mydubairamadan.com



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Azzurro • Over in Abu Dhabi, the Italian restaurant Azzurro, based in Souk Qaryat Al Beri, offers a lovely environment and a family-friendly feast for iftar that should suit even the most demanding of little diners. There is a three-course meal on offer, with dishes that include lamb soup,

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TV personality and culinary whizz (who we speak to on page 60), has created traditional dishes that have been prepared in the most authentic way. You get four starters, three main courses, a dessert platter, and tea and soft drinks, all for AED125. And there is a new menu available every Sunday. You will also find a range of international options on the restaurant’s à la carte menu in case you have any fussy diners in tow. Meanwhile, also on Sundays, from 5pm, Chef Hanane will be teaching cooking classes. On top of all that, before you leave for the evening, make sure you check out the specialty grocery section, which has been transformed into a true Moroccan souq and features a selection of traditional ingredients and gourmet Ramadan hampers. • galerieslafayettedubai.com/ le-gourmet

Fairmont The Palm

Crowne Plaza Dubai • You don’t have to choose cuisine from just one restaurant at Crowne Plaza Dubai’s Al Dana or Jumeirah Ballroom this Ramadan, as its international buffet selection also includes special dishes from its popular outlets, including wagamama, Chamas and Trader Vic’s. While you’re there, diners are entered into a raffle draw, with prizes such as free meals and a two-night hotel stay up for grabs. On top of all that, if you book one iftar, you’ll get another one for free between 15 and 19 May. It costs AED165 per person, with 50% off for children aged seven to 12, and it is totally free for kids under six. • crowneplaza.com/dubai

• The family-friendly hotel’s impressive Fairuz Ramadan Tent and Arabian courtyard are back, offering both iftar and suhour from sunset to sunrise throughout the Holy Month. Feast on the spoils from a wide-ranging buffet while enjoying a spot of traditional entertainment. It costs AED195 per person (early bird) or AED215 (standard), and that includes Ramadan juices. For children aged six to 12 it is half price, while kids under five years old dine for free. • fairmont.com/palm-dubai

Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet City Walk • A set menu dubbed “My Morocco At Your Table” is available at Le Gourmet’s City Walk branch throughout Ramadan. Chef Hanane Ouaddahou, a popular


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The Els Club


• Th is is easily one of the best options for families this Ramadan. Dubai Sports City’s 261 restaurant, based in the lush green surroundings of The Els Club, is offering a delicious buffet, plus free access to the kids’ zone, which will keep the little ones entertained. You will fi nd traditional dishes such as hot and cold mezze plates, salads, Moroccan tagine, lamb ouzi, grilled meats, and baklava for dessert. It all costs AED125 per person, including soft drinks, or AED75 for children aged five to 11. • elsclubdubai.com

• Launched at the end of April in The Dubai Mall is Two, where there are three offers on the table for iftar this year. There is a set menu for AED129 per person (minimum two guests), which includes lentil soup followed by a date garden salad and baked feta, and a choice of salmon, ravioli or baby chicken for a main course. For AED47, you could try the limitededition dessert Rahash by Two (fi lo cigars, halawa cream, ghazl and halwa sauce). Or, for AED49, there is “The Pick Me Up”, which includes coffee and dessert. • thedubaimall.com




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We love


Colours, counting and new babies in the family all feature in this month’s best reads Wo r d s G E O RG I A M C V E I G H

Sibling love TH E N EW BABY By Lisa Stickley



Told from the perspective of his big sister, The New Baby documents the fi rst year of a baby’s life. It’s a great book to unite siblings and show how important they are to each other. Follow Albert’s journey from sitting to crawling – and even blowing a few cheeky raspberries. AED35.4, pavilionbooks.com

For all the budding artists out there, this book aims to uncover the complexities of colour and explain them to younger readers. Th rough beautiful illustrations discover how pink is sometimes fuchsia instead. — AED100, prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de



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RAINBOW WORLD W H AT ’ S YO U R FAV O U R I T E C O L O U R ? By Eric Carle and Friends

From the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a plethora of picture book-creating friends, this vibrant tome delves into the world of colours and their many evocative associations. — AED40.5, walker.co.uk

CO O L CO M PA R I S O N S TA L L E S T T O W E R , S M A L L E S T S TA R By Kate Baker and Page Tsou Studio

Little Linguists

If you’ve ever wondered whether a hummingbird could outfl y a jet plane or how many atoms fit into a grain of sand, this wonderfully illustrated book will sate your curiosity. Its vintage feel and intricate drawings are sure to delight kids and adults alike. — AED76, templarco.co.uk

H O W T O S AY 1 T O 5 I N F I V E L A N G U AG E S By Kenard Pak

Learn how to count to five in Japanese, Spanish, English, French and Mandarin with this colourful and interactive book. The press and listen feature helps with pronunciation as kids meet and count with five children from around the world. — quartoknows.com



A B C YO G A By Christiane Engel

PA D D I N G T O N AT S T PA U L’ S By Michael Bond

Why leave learning yoga for the later years? After all, it’s proven to have both mental and physical benefits. Th is book includes playful illustrations and catchy rhymes to introduce yoga to toddlers – all while they learn their alphabet. — AED56, quartoknows.com

Paddington is embarking on his fi nal adventure in celebration of his 60th anniversary. The book will be published in June – a year after the death of creator Michael Bond. It’s a wonderful keepsake to celebrate the lives of Paddington and his founder. — AED66, harpercollins.co.uk May 201 8

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The mum-of-four (under age five!) behind Eggs & Soldiers has just opened up her very own store in Dubai, where she has spent her entire life. We have a chat with Sofi on page 29 about juggling responsibilities and how the city has changed since she was a child.

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I N H E R O W N W O R D S Pop star turned TV presenter Alesha Dixon reveals her latest literary venture by HELEN BA RON


t’s fair to say that Alesha Dixon’s life to date has had something of a whirlwind quality, at least to the outside observer. Born in 1978 to an English mother and Jamaican father, she was raised in Hertfordshire before moving to London in her early 20s. A childhood punctuated by divorce, dysfunction and domestic violence (Dixon’s mother experienced abuse at the hands of a partner) gave way to an adult life in which her talent for dance, music and performance created rare opportunities. Her fi rst real success came with Mis-Teeq, the urban-influenced girl group formed in 1997, in which Dixon rapped and sung. The quartet (that later became a trio) went on to release three Top Ten, double-platinumselling albums and a string of chart-topping singles. By the time they broke up in 2005, they had entered the UK’s consciousness sufficiently enough to earn a greatest hits compilation – and Dixon became a household name. A series of well-received solo albums followed, but this time around Dixon was intent on broadening her reach. In 2007, she




competed on – and won, with the highest ever average score – the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, then took up a position on the judge’s panel for three seasons from 2009. In 2012, she left Strictly to become a judge on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, a role she’s maintained to this day. Busy, much? And this isn’t even an exhaustive rundown of all Dixon’s projects – others of which have

included a street dance series for Children’s BBC, voicing a character in hit kids show Powerpuff Girls, launching her own jewellery line and fragrance, and supporting all manner of charities and good causes. To cap it all, in 2013, Dixon gave birth to her daughter, Azura – and now, almost five years later, she’s adding another string to her already plentifully strung bow: that of children’s author. Dixon’s debut novel, Lightning Girl, was published last month. Aimed at kids aged eight and above, it’s the story of 10-year-old Aurora Beam, who is surprised (and not a little appalled) to discover that she’s the daughter of a crime-fighting superhero, and has inherited her mum’s ability to shoot lightning bolts from her fi ngertips. Sound like fun? It is – but not always for Aurora, who feels that her powers make it even more difficult to fit in with her friends and the other kids at school. It’s a book that marries superhuman adventure to the most natural, everyday anxieties. But where did the idea come from? “I’ve always been a writer,” says Dixon, “whether it’s been through songs, poetry… May 201 8

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but I didn’t want to do the obvious, go down the autobiography route. I was inspired by my own daughter – when you’re reading stories to your child every night, as a creative person, your mind’s always coming up with new ideas. So [writing a children’s book] just felt like a natural fit. And I’ve got the bug for it now! “For me, whenever I take on a new venture, it’s really about whether I’m passionate about it and feel I can make my mark. I’m really excited about the character of Aurora Beam; it’s lovely to create a young, female superhero and I think she’s a really powerful, positive character. I hope children are inspired by her – and by her friends, who may not be superheroes but who defi nitely contribute to her success.” What we fi nd interesting about her book, we say, is how Dixon places so much emphasis on the everyday details of her hero’s life – her emotional quirks and vulnerabilities. Also, the fact that she’s opted for such a contemporary setting and story, one that plays against traditional gender stereotypes. Did she make a concerted effort to echo real life rather than penning an escapist fantasy? “Defi nitely. Aurora and her whole family are inspired by my family. I can see a lot of myself in

She explains: “My mum is a very spiritual individual who has taught me a lot about life, compassion, precious stones and their healing powers. You see a lot of that in the book in the character of Aurora’s mum, Keana. My mum has essentially been my best friend and biggest inspiration. She taught me how to be a good person and showed me that life is about giving and helping others – any good quality I have is probably from my mum!” Dixon is clearly excited about the book, so much so that a sequel is already in process – and her enthusiasm is infectious. But we wonder if writing a book proved more challenging than all her previous endeavours. After all, achieving success in the music business is no mean feat – and pivoting to TV presenting can’t be as easy as she made it look. “You know what, writing this book has been such an enjoyable experience. I’ve had such great support from the team at my publisher and it’s been really exciting to get their feedback on ideas as the story takes shape. It’s a real privilege to write for children, and a responsibility, too.” At the same time, she is aware of blazing a trail for her daughter and others like her – girls who might be tired of the gender stereotyping of yesteryear, and of the inequalities that still exist today. Overall, it seems she wanted to challenge outdated tropes in her book. “We live in a multicultural society and it was important to me that that was reflected in the book. Each character is so different, with their own qualities. In real life, no two people are alike and that’s what makes every one of us special. “I want every child to be able to pick up the book and identify with something in it. And it’s so important for me to have a young black girl on the front of this book.” It strikes me that Lightning Girl is the perfect next chapter in Alesha Dixon’s whirlwind story – a combination of electric energy and human emotion of the exact same sort that drives its creator.


Aurora, a lot of my daughter in Aurora. She’s a normal girl, trying to fit in. She’s not the most popular girl in school, but she tries to be liked. And when she fi nds out she’s got these powers it’s a bit of a burden, because she sees it as another reason other kids might not like her. “And, yet, on her journey, it’s the people she fears the most, the ones who seem most judgemental, who end up being her best friends, who support her and believe in her. And even though she’s a superhero, when it comes to the end of the book she can only succeed because they all work together as a team. “I think that’s a really important message. At school, it’s so competitive: who’s the fastest runner? Who’s the smartest? Who’s going to go on to be the most successful? But I actually believe that in life it’s relationships that are most important.” Is it also deliberate that Aurora’s powers are handed down through the maternal line? Does that say something about Dixon’s relationship with her own mother?


Lightning Girl by Alesha Dixon is out now. Available for AED46 from uae.kinokuniya.com May 201 8

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mama h ood


would constantly ask me where I got them from, so I saw the gap in the market… and started Eggs & Soldiers! For the fi rst couple of years, I sold my products at various monthly markets. Then we opened our pop-up shop at Dubai Garden Centre in September 2017, and now our brand-new standalone store at Times Square Centre opened this April.

woman in

WORK L We chat to mum-of-four Sofi Chabowski about opening up her own one-stop shop for baby products in Dubai





ifelong Dubai resident Sofi Chabowski is not just a businesswoman setting up her fi rst-ever bricks-and-mortar store (called Eggs & Soldiers in Times Square Centre). She is also a supermum to four children under the age of five. Yet, despite how much she has on her plate, she still fi nds time to talk to us about how she manages it all.

Q How was your childhood in Dubai, and how does it compare to today? A Dubai was an amazing place to grow up. I think it still is, but I think I experienced a much quieter and slower pace of life than is the norm now. We didn’t have all the soft play centres, adventure parks and giant malls. It was a much simpler life, but because we felt so safe, we had a lot of freedom to explore and make our own fun. Being a much smaller community, everyone looked out for and included each other.

What made you start Eggs & Soldiers? Eggs & Soldiers started in 2014, following the birth of my fi rst baby, Kaya. I had heard from friends with children that the quality of disposable diapers here was not what they were used to back home, so I looked into alternatives and found cloth diapers [from the UK]. I loved them. Back in Dubai, people Q A

Q How do you choose which products to sell in your store? A All the products we stock have been tried and tested by my toughest customers – my kids and myself! Having four children, who are all very different, and have thrown me their different challenges, I’ve learned a lot about what is worth spending on. And, more importantly, what isn’t. There are a lot of gimmicks out there! Everything has to be of the highest quality and, importantly, good value. Our tagline – “A More Natural Way” – means we seek out products that are more naturally inclined. Q How do you manage to find a work/family life balance? A It is hectic, but I genuinely enjoy it! Yes, I love my kids to bits, but I also need something just for me, and I love the mental stimulation and continual challenge that owning my own business gives me. Part-time work is hard to come by in Dubai, and Eggs & Soldiers has given me the flexibility to work around school, nursery and family activities – and I can bring the baby to work! I’m very lucky to have an extremely supportive husband, who also owns his own business, and so understands what it means to run a company. He also has the flexibility to help with the kids where he can, too. We also have a great helper at home. Femmy is the glue that holds our busy family together, and I couldn’t do what I do without her there to keep our home running. I can’t pretend I do it all by myself, it just wouldn’t be possible. Q Have you got any tips for working mums on achieving balance? A I think knowing your limits is really important. You can’t do it all, so you either need a support system to help you (at work or at home) or you need to limit what you set out to do. A stressed-out mum is no fun – for her or her family. For me, mornings are work time and afternoons are kids time. I really try to stick to that, but, at times, I fail. And you need to make time for yourself, too.

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Voice of



We all have a negative voice in our head that holds us back. Here leadership coach Annalie Howling tells us how to silence it

As mothers we know not to worry about the monsters under the bed. We comfort our children, helping them understand that the monsters are in their imagination and that there is nothing to be afraid of. But as adults it is the monsters in our heads that often get the better of us. The nagging, negative chatter that belongs to what I call our “inner critic”. Quite simply, our inner critic is the voice in our head that tells us that we aren’t good enough. It whispers a constant list of reminders to us as to

Illustration PHIL COUZENS

why we can’t or shouldn’t do things, thriving instead on a foundation of guilt. And it is this feeling that somehow we are not doing the best job we possibly can that often stops us fully enjoying parenthood. A survey conducted by Water Wipes found that four in 10 respondents said their happiness at becoming parents had been tempered by feelings of guilt, and a further 63% of those surveyed admitted feeling overwhelmed since having children. It wasn’t all guilt and self-doubt, however. The survey also revealed that new mums and dads feel more fulfilled, with 96% saying that having a child had brought them a new kind of happiness. So why, with these extremely high numbers of joy and fulfilment, were so many of those who were surveyed still also reporting greater feelings of guilt? Many experts blame the media, especially social media, as it offers

a 24/7 platform for us to view “perfection” and allow our inner critic to tell us where we don’t measure up. We don’t eat as cleanly as some, didn’t snap back into shape as quickly as others and aren’t breezing through the daily challenges motherhood brings, leaving us to feel guilty about our perceived failures. We can just as easily find ourselves comparing ourselves to friends and other mothers around us. Or indeed simply to the image of ideal motherhood that we create in our own minds. While the quest for perfection is an exhausting and disappointing struggle for most of us, the inner critic, however, loves our constant battle. It thrives on our sense of consistent failure, in not measuring up, and is on hand to offer new benchmarks, set ever further from reach. And no one is exempt – we all have an inner critic. I have worked with

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hundreds of men and women of all ages and every single person will bring up this internalised negative voice as a reason why they feel that they can’t achieve their goals (although they don’t necessarily recognise it as their inner critic). Believe it or not, the inner critic should actually be thought of as a well-meaning friend who is a dreadfully unskilled communicator. It wants to keep us safe, after all; it doesn’t want us to fail or to be judged and it has often been with us for longer than we can remember. The stream of negative messages is its way of guaranteeing that you won’t fail – by not allowing you to try. So once you have identified this negative force in your mind, you can tackle it. There are many techniques that I use when coaching to create resilience and help people become the master of their inner critic, redefining the relationship. Firstly, learning to take care of yourself is a good place to start, especially for parents who so often put their own needs and wellbeing last. Self-care is always the key to successfully mastering and transforming the relationship with your inner critic. When you are feeling weak and drained, you are most vulnerable to self-doubt and guilt. Mothers particularly give so much of themselves to other people and things that they often view self-care as a luxury or an indulgence. In fact, it is essential. Without being your best self you cannot give your best to anyone else. But self-care comes in many forms and often involves more than


FEEL THE FEAR & DO IT ANYWAY he inner critic is the loudest when you are about to make a big change. It knows that it is about to lose the battle, so is slinging everything it has got at you. Think about a time when you did something bold and tackled a fear, and remember that the chatter was loudest in that moment just before you pushed past and did it anyway. Remember to look out for this peak in activity and take it as an exciting signal that you are on the precipice of a big change.



one thing. For any person, however, it is the things that you need in your life to feel the most fulfilled and your best self. This can include time spent with and without your children, exercising, learning, working, laughing with friends, dancing, walking. Whatever self-care means to you, try to find ways to work these essentials into your day. And here are a few tips to get you started...

ccept compliments. People wish to give them to you as if they were a gift, so accept them graciously with a simple “thank you”. If the inner critic makes it hard for you to accept or believe them, then imagine that they are true. Think about trying on a beautiful gown. You don’t have to buy it, but you are just seeing how it looks on you. Now try the same with compliments. You will start to see that they suit you.



hink of a time that you were feeling your best self; yourself at a 10. Perhaps it was at a friend’s wedding, a date night, a memory of laughing with your children. Whatever that moment is, stop and think about it. Think about who was there, what music or sounds were there, what the light was like. Make the memory as vivid as possible; this is a peak experience of yours. When you have made some notes, find an image and/or song that instantly takes you to that place and keep it on your phone or somewhere that you can access it quickly to give you that boost when you need it most. It will remind you what you are capable of and push you away from those feelings of guilt and worthlessness that plague us. I have a fabulous client that pulls on a pair of “leopard print power pants”, which are workout leggings, and heads out for a run before she needs to make a tough call. Another who plays Katy Perry’s Roar in the car to reconnect to that energy from her peak experience. Whatever works for you, do it.

ook at the time that you use social media and how it affects your moods. If you look through your Instagram feed and feel exhilarated and inspired on a Tuesday afternoon and you have great energy, then fantastic. However, if you find yourself entering a negative cycle of self-doubt on a Sunday evening from the sofa after a manic weekend of birthday parties and social events, then turn it off and invest in a self-care routine instead.




AND, FINALLY, JUST SAY “NO” his is one of the hardest but most rewarding changes you can make. It is incredibly hard sometimes to just say “no” to your inner critic, but you can do it. Recognise the negative chatter when it’s starting and put a stop to it quickly by simply reminding yourself that you don’t have to listen. Remember: you are in charge, not your inner critic.


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fashion & beauty M U M ’ S S U M M E R ST Y LE S p . 3 6  •  M I C H A E L KO R S ’ N E W C A P S U LE CO LLEC T I O N p . 3 8 LOV E LY LO O K S FO R R A M A DA N p .4 6 •  B E ST B E AU T Y B U YS p . 5 2

A Po p of Summer • STRADIVARIUS •

Chic silhouettes, urban style and bright pops of colour underpin the latest seasonal collection from Stradivarius, as well as other highstreet and high-end brands this summer. We feature the latest and greatest on page 36. stradivarius.com/ae

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6 of the best H A N G B AG S

STRADIVARIUS Black handbag, AED149; stradivarius.com/ae



Holiday inspiration and chic new collections for summer...

Keep it casual

KURT GEIGER Daisy Shopper, AED599 kurtgeiger.com


CHARLES & KEITH Pink handbag, AED479; charleskeith.com

The new casual line at Spanish fashion brand Sfera is perfect for summer in the UAE. It’s comfortable, airy but also super-chic with urban and sporty styles to suit all you stylish mamas out there. sfera.com

DESIGUAL Yellow leafy backpack, AED319; desigual.com

ROBINSONS Tote bag, AED2,430; robinsons.me

VINCCI White handbag, AED249; thedubaimall.com



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TRAILBLAZER •Stradivarius•

Bursts of colour and bold prints can be seen throughout Stradivarius’ Spring Fling collection. Green, yellow, orange and fuchsia are all key hues, while satin takes centre stage, highlighting florals and sporty looks. stradivarius.com/ae

COVETI ONLINE A new platform for independent designers


PAYING HOMAGE •Gerard Darel•

How gorgeous is this little number from the Parisian ready-to-wear brand, Gerard Darel? We’re loving the peach tone and lacy details, which all work well for summer. It’s the perfect indoor brunch dress, we must say. Or a garden party, if you’re planning to travel. AED1,285; gerarddarel.com

GARDEN STATE •Charles & Keith•

These fresh slides just scream summer, don’t they? Charles & Keith have pulled it out of the bag with their new collection, Garden State. It pays homage, naturally, to the great outdoors and bright summer sun. AED249; charleskeith.com

Malibu chic MICHAEL Michael Kors

reaming of your next island escape? Michael Kors new Malibu collection will make sure you are. Th is tote is woven from natural straw and it’s spacious enough for all your beach essentials (and the kids’ bits, too). AED1,900; michaelkors.com


he new e-shop, Coveti, has plenty of outfits and accessories for men and women that’ll catch your eye. Like the gorgeous scarves by Furious Goose and the Purple Daze shades by Bana Sunglasses that feature quirky faux flower embellishments. Or the colourful trainers by sustainable and ethical brand, Panafrica. The site aims to uncover hidden treasures in the world of design, all while finding pieces that epitomise luxury. The team works hard to source those extra-special pieces, as exclusivity is central to the brand’s ethos. That means one-off designs, bespoke pieces, made-to-order and limited-edition collections; from old classics and timeless favourites to contemporary creations and out-ofthe-box ideas. Above all, the team, which is led by founder Heba Al Fazari, encourages its customers to “be unique”, and believes emerging and indie brands should have a level playing field. That’s why they support small companies and also ensure the bulk of the sales go directly back to the designer. For us, it’s about being a little adventurous with your wardrobe, and having the confidence to express yourself freely through fashion. That’s our kind of store. coveti.com

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Gold foil print kaftan, AED1,430; Barbra Clutch, AED1,000; Paloma Mules in gold, AED609; all from the MICHAEL Michael Kors Ramadan Capsule Collection

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Feeling modest Michael Kors has dropped a brand-new capsule collection designed specially for the Middle East m ich ael ko r s .c o m

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Mercer Studio Crossbody in Oat, AED1,650; MICHAEL Michael Kors Ramadan Capsule Collection

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Jade Clutch in bright red, AED1,490; Paloma Mules in gold, AED690; all from the MICHAEL Michael Kors Ramadan Capsule Collection

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Jade Clutch in Admiral, AED1,490; Mercer Studio Crossbody in Admiral, AED1,650; all from the MICHAEL Michael Kors Ramadan Capsule Collection

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Jet Set leather card case, AED280; Jade Clutch in Oat, AED1,490; all from the MICHAEL Michael Kors Ramadan Capsule Collection

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6 of the best B AG S & B AC K PAC K S

CATH KIDSTON Breton Stripe quilted mini rucksack, AED125; cathkidston.com



New collections and the best summer buys for little ones in the UAE MADPAX Green Exo full pack, AED319; virginmegastore.ae

ROCK PAPER SCISSORS Unicorn lunch bag, AED57.75; mumzworld.com

PENNY SCALLAN Big City large backpack, AED219.45; mumzworld.com

Royal blue •La Coqueta•

All of the regal-looking outfits from the latest selection at Spanish designer clothing brand La Coqueta are this adorable. The London-based boutique ships internationally, but, if you’re ever in England’s capital, you should make it a point to swing by this store to stock up. lacoquetakids.com

HERSCHEL Tan synthetic leather backpack, AED329; virginmegastore.ae

HAPPY JACKSON Beauty organiser, AED160; ae.namshi.com

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STEP UP •Z Generation•

We’re loving this affordable European brand’s selection of cute and colourful babygrows and rompers for the little ones, and the range of cool kidswear for the older lot (see page 10 for more). It has one shop in the UAE at The Dubai Mall. Prices vary; z-eshop.com

BACABUCHE A brand we love


Wo r ds HE L E N BA RO N



Sweet little outfits in subtle pastels and darling prints come as part of Okaïdi’s summer line of kidswear. They’re all on-trend and cool (in more ways than one) for the scorching season here in the UAE. Prices vary; okaidi.com/ae

UNDER THE SEA •Bebe Bombom•

Sometimes it’s worth forking out for international shipping costs when babywear is as cute as this. British brand, Bebe Bombom, has released its Heirloom Collection that’s made with hand-harvested Pima Cotton and features handmade designs by Peruvian artisans. Prices vary; bebebombom.com

En Vogue Kiabi

rench affordable fashion brand, Kiabi, has just opened its fi rst two UAE stores, at Dubai Festival City Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall. With the launch comes a whole host of new wardrobe options for kids, including this gorgeous pin-striped dress. AED69; kiabishop.com


nderstated, beautifully crafted and refined – words that capture the essence of Bacabuche. The brand’s unusual name is actually a term of endearment. When the founder was a child, her Bolivian grandmother called her “bacabuche”, meaning “little rascal”. Decades later, this sense of gentle familiarity, playfulness and warmth has found its way into the clothing, for which tasteful, modern minimalism is a unifying thread. Based in LA, but available to order to the UAE through Kuwaiti website, athlah.com, Bacabuche specialises in Japanese milled textiles, a neutral colour palette and pared-back designs. Simple tank tops and romper suits are so sweet they even look great hanging in baby’s closet, while the SS18 collection features crossover straps, crushable linens, darling kimono gowns and beautiful bonnets. Natural, organic materials imbue the pieces with a feeling of calm and comfort, while fuss-free designs make the dressing experience easy. It’s alert to modern needs but grounded in all the finest bits of tradition – just like a good grandmother. Bacabuche is a brand we’re backing all the way. athlah.com

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FAMILY TIME Just in time for Ramadan, the British nursery brand Mamas & Papas has created a festive line of kids’ fashions that we adore mamasandpapas.ae

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Previous page: Waistcoat and geo shirt set, AED199; coral shorts, AED99; Broderie Anglaise dress, AED229 Opposite page: Embroidered tulle dress, AED249 This page: Waistcoat and check shirt, AED199; coral shorts: AED99

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This page: Floral lace dress, AED199 Opposite page: Three-piece linen set, AED299

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6 of the best VEGAN FINDS

BEAN BODY Coffee Scrub, AED99; bloomingdales.com



New products that’ll leave you feeling and looking beautiful from top to toe…

RAHUA Classic shampoo, AED235; beautifulbrands.me

THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Carrot butter cleanser, AED295; beautifulbrands.ae

CIATÉ LONDON Nail polish, AED70; beautysolutions-me.com

LOTTIE LONDON B.A.E Face Illuminating Primer, AED55; beautysolutions-me.com

GROWN ALCHEMIST Vanilla & Orange Peel Hand Cream, AED100; harveynichols.com



Sugary tones •CND•

Inspired by the South Korean K-Pop culture trend, CND has launched Chic Shock the Collection, a line of nail polish in four pastel shades – Candied, Taff y, Jellied and Gummi. They’re feminine yet edgy, dainty yet bold. The range is also available in Shellac Gel Polish. You’ll love it, and you know your little girl will, too. Find them at salons across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Prices vary; creativebeautysource.com

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fash io n & bea ut y M A M A


The new Vitamin C range from Rodial is now available in the UAE, and includes a brightening cleanser, pads and mask, as well as an energising sheet mask. They’re all infused with Vitamin C (naturally), exfoliating fruit acids and glycolic acids to leave your skin brighter, smoother and looking younger. You got this. From AED84; harveynichols.com


Probiotic-infused treatments launch in the UAE



Wo r ds K AT Y G I L L E T T


Jennifer Lopez has teamed up with Inglot Cosmetics to launch the limited-edition collection, JLo Glow. It’s fi lled with the starlet’s go-to products in her favourite colours, including mascara, lipstick, eyelashes, blush, eye shadow and bronzers. Prices vary; inglotcosmetics.com


New gorgeous-smelling products have been added to Molton Brown’s original fragrance and range. The new eau de toilette and body luxuries have been modernised yet are still bursting with Andalusian sun-drenched notes of neroli, orange and bergamot. From AED229; moltonbrown.com

ensAsia Urban Spa has become the first spa chain in the region to offer a range of ESSE facials and products. These promise age-delaying and compositionchanging results through the use of organic, ethical, prebiotic and probiotic nutrition for the skin. ESSE, a South African-born brand, believes our skin is alive and that optimal skin condition depends on the probiotic microbes living on and inside it. Which is why the team at SensAsia has been working with the like-minded brand on a series of new treatments for the region, which includes their most budget-friendly facial to date. There’s the ESSE Hydrating Facial, a facial for sensitive skin, the Live Probiotic Plus facial, The Urban Detox, an anticellulite and firming option, plus the Back Me Up, which targets back acne specifically (hello, backless dress).

Water wonders L’ O c c i t a n e

he new Aqua Réotier collection from L’Occitane is formulated with calciumrich water from Provence’s Réotier spring to ensure your facial routine is fully hydrating and moisturising. It includes this Ultra ThirstQuenching Gel that promises to recharge your skin. Parched yet? AED135; ae.loccitane.com



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Š2018. All rights reserved Young Soles. Photography by Emma Donnelly.

A cool treat for little feet www.youngsoles.co.uk Use code ABM18 for 10% off all orders Promotional code only applicable to footwear bought from the official Young Soles website. Offer expires 31 May 2018.

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food & f itness N E W W E LLN E S S K I T p . 5 7 • R EC I P E S FO R R A M A DA N p . 5 8 F I V E O F T H E UA E ’ S B E ST P R E N ATA L YO G A C L A S S E S p .6 2


Hanane Ouaddahou – the chef, culinary consultant and TV host – has created a Moroccan-inspired menu for Galeries Lafayette – Le Gourmet City Walk’s iftar offering. So, on page 60, we catch up with the busy mama to find out more about her dishes (pictured), and how she manages to encourage her own children to love food and cooking.

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Keep on track • F i t b i t Ve r s a •

Fitbit’s new intuitive smartwatch has a lot of nifty tricks up its (your) sleeve. The Versa is its lightest metal watch, it’s comfortable, and features a new simplified dashboard. It has 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, and tracks your sleep stages. Plus, it even helps ladies take note of their menstrual cycle and view holistic health data in one place. AED899; fitbit.com


WELLN ES S N OTES Healthy food and fitness solutions for mindful mums and munchkins



Movement for Modern Life

Fade Fit Kids

Kris Fade, our friendly local radio personality and fatherof-two, has revealed a new healthy, affordable, nut-free kids’ snack with no artificial additives. It’s now available in Carrefour hypermarkets. AED7.50; carrefouruae.com

Not got time for the gym? Leaving the house can be tough, which is why yogi Kat Farrants founded this online yoga and wellbeing site, with expert-led instruction and challenges. Prices vary; movementformodernlife.com

The final frontier


ancy brushing your teeth with a celebrity toothbrush? Yes, that’s (kind of) a thing now, as FOREO’s new ISSA 2 sonic electric toothbrush actually made an appearance in episode 5 of Star Trek: Discovery. Why? It’s pretty state-of-the-art. With just a one-hour charge, it lasts up to

365 uses. It uses medical-grade silicone (which means it’s gentle on the gums and won’t scratch tooth enamel), and T-Sonic technology to pulsate more quickly in order to effectively clean your teeth and massage gums. There’s other technical stuff, too, but we don’t want to bore you. From AED850; foreo.com May 201 8  |  57

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s a new season of the Food Network’s popular TV show Siba’s Table airs, celebrity chef (and mum-of-three) Siba Mtongana shares three “Sibalicious” iftar recipes with Absolutely Mama Emirates. Whether you and your family are fasting or not, these classic, easyto-make Middle Eastern dishes can be enjoyed all year round. Ramadan Kareem!

Harissa Tabbouleh Cook time: 10 mins Serves: 4-6


• 1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat, cooked according to package instruction and cooled • 400g cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthways • 1 red onion, very thinly sliced • 4 spring onions, including the green part, chopped • 1 red pepper, diced • 1/2 cucumber, cored (to remove softer parts) and diced • 4 tbsps Italian parsley, chopped • 2 tbsps fresh mint, chopped • 1 tsp dried spearmint For the dressing • 1 tsp harissa paste • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil • Juice of 1/2 lemon • 1 tsp sugar • Pinch of sea salt • Freshly ground black pepper, pinch for taste

S I B A’ S

iftar table

The South African TV star Siba Mtongana shares three Ramadan-friendly recipes for time-poor parents Recipes by SIBA M TONGA NA



For the garnish • 50g fl aked almonds, toasted

Directions 1 Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 cup bulgur wheat, bring it to the boil, get the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes, until the water evaporates. 2 Make the dressing: separately mix together the harissa, lemon juice, oil, sugar, salt and pepper to make the dressing. 3 Toast the almonds. 4 Prepare the vegetables and herbs and add to a bowl. 5 Add the now cooked and cooled bulgur wheat to the vegetables and mix. 6 Drizzle over the dressing and toss to combine. 7 Tip onto round platter in a mountain shape. 8 Garnish with toasted fl aked nuts.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Prep time: 5 mins Serves: 4


• 2 roasted red peppers from a jar or can (or roast the peppers yourself in the oven until charred) • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained • 2 tbsps tahini paste • Juice of 1 lemon • 1 garlic clove • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin • Pinch sea salt, to taste • 2 tbsps sesame oil • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil • Coriander leaves to garnish, optional

Directions Tip the chickpeas into a colander and rinse. Place the red peppers in a blender with the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic clove (whole), cumin, salt (rub the salt flakes to break them up) and sesame oil and process to a smooth paste. 3 Transfer into a serving dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil just before serving. 4 Garnish with coriander leaves, if using. 1

Chicken Kebabs Cook time: 10 mins Prep time: 15 mins Serves: 4



• 4 skinless chicken fillets, cubed • 4 tsps za’atar • 4 tsps olive oil • 2 garlic cloves, crushed • 2 lemons, sliced • 2 lemons to halve for garnish • 8 store-bought mini pitas • One bunch of fl at leaf parsley

Directions 1 Wrap the pitas in foil and put into 200°C oven for 10 minutes to warm. 2 Combine the za’atar, garlic and olive oil and pour over the chicken. Toss to combine. 3 Th read the chicken onto metal skewers, with a folded slice of lemon in between each piece. Each breast makes two kebabs. 4 Heat griddle and cook the chicken for 6-8 minutes, 3-4 minutes on each side, rotating and pressing down the skewers to make sure they cook evenly. 5 Remove from heat and put on a platter. If you are not using straight away, cover with foil. Garnish with halved lemons and a bunch of parsley.

S I BA’ S TA B L E Catch Siba’s Table Monday to Friday at 10.25am UAE time on Food Network

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MY MOROCCO at Your Table

Celebrity chef Hanane Ouaddahou chats to Absolutely Mama Emirates about her new Ramadan menu and how to encourage happy, healthy little eaters at home Wo r d s K AT Y G I L L E T T


anane Ouaddahou is a mother, but also a busy career woman, as she works as a Moroccan culinary consultant, chef and TV host. She started out as a business intelligence consultant, but, in 2011, she left her corporate job to follow her foodie dreams and open her own restaurant in Paris. Now, as she prepares the menu for the Moroccan-inspired Ramadan menu at Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet – City Walk Dubai, we have a chat with her about how she manages to keep mealtimes healthy at home.

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also be leading cooking classes at Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet – City Walk every Sunday throughout Ramadan.



ABSOLUTELY MAMA: What made you leave the corporate world and pursue a new career in the hospitality industry? HANANE OUADDAHOU: Cooking has always played a central part in my life, as food was what would bring the whole family together. Having my own restaurant was always a dream and, although I had a corporate career as a business intelligence consultant, I kept cooking for myself, my friends and at home. When I got pregnant with my first child, I finally decided to take the leap and fully live my passion. With the support of my family, I opened La Marocaine, a Moroccan restaurant in Paris. Two years later, my husband relocated to Dubai for work. We closed the restaurant and a new adventure started here!


AM: What are mealtimes like for you and your family at home? HO: We normally have a very hearty breakfast with Moroccan jerky meat, fried eggs, Moroccan msemmens and, of course, the Moroccan atay tea. Lunch is usually couscous time! We also enjoy pasta – we could eat it every day. I cook at home and my son loves joining in with baking or making the meatballs tagine.


AM: What are you working on at the moment? HO: I’m working on three TV shows, which is something I’m extremely proud of. Especially as the first time I appeared on TV was live, with no experience on camera, and during the most anticipated time of the year – Ramadan! Since September, I’ve also been on the show Al Qahera Al Youm, a popular Middle Eastern show on OSN. As it’s aired live from Cairo, I travel there every week for three days of shooting. It’s been quite intense, but this has helped me gain a lot of experience.  I recently worked as a consultant for Martha Stewart for the new season of her Cooking School, which focuses on Arabian Gulf cuisine. It’s been an incredible experience and I can’t wait to see the show air during Ramadan!  The month of Ramadan is actually going to be quite exciting, as I’ve also had the pleasure of collaborating with Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet on a concept called “My Morocco At Your Table”. Together with their culinary director, Russell Impiazzi, we’ve put together an authentic Moroccan iftar menu and you’ll be able to enjoy my adaptation of traditional Moroccan recipes, which my mother and my grandmother passed on to me. The idea is to make people rediscover Moroccan cuisine. And for those who’d like to learn how to cook them, I’ll


AM: How do you encourage your kids to have an interest in healthy food and cooking? HO: I got my kids used to eating lentils and beans, which makes for a very balanced meal as it contains wheat, vegetables and protein. I also include vegetables in the food by hiding them in “briwates” (they are Moroccan sambousek) and disguising them as balls. And I involve my son by making him cook with me – he loves following the recipes I use during my shows. AM: What are your kids’ favourite dishes from your repertoire? HO: They love the couscous, kefta meatballs, sardines, the lentils and white beans, and zaalouk (see image on the bottom left), which is one of the dishes we’ll serve at City Walk during Ramadan.  AM: What’s your best advice for parents trying to make sure they are bringing up healthy, happy little eaters? HO: Always try to include vegetables in kids’ meals, either by hiding them or making them fun. Getting them to participate in the meal preparation, to cook with you and discover the ingredients in the kitchen is also a great way to make sure they’re involved. Having their meals should never be seen as a chore, but as a time they look forward to. May 201 8  |  61

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It’s a


Absolutely Mama’s pick of five great prenatal yoga classes in the UAE Wo r d s K AT Y G I L L E T T

ot only can prenatal yoga help you relax and stay fit while you’re expecting, but research shows it also helps you prepare for labour and promotes your baby’s health, too. It’s said it can improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, boost your strength and flexibility, increase your muscle endurance (definitely needed for childbirth), as well as decrease a host of aches and pains. So, if it all works out, you can say farewell to nausea, headaches, constipation, back ache, swelling, and more. Plus learn to breathe properly and harness that all-important mind-body connection. There’s no harm in trying, right? We’ve found five sessions you can join in on across Abu Dhabi and Dubai…

Rumana Rab Holistic Yoga


his studio, led by dynamic yoga specialist Rumana Rab, specialises in yin and prenatal yoga, and introduces the practice as a therapy in a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. The Pregnancy Yoga sessions (AED75 per class) train you for labour and promise to enhance the experience of pregnancy, while also helping you to decrease any stress. Not to mention spend time with other likeminded mums-to-be in a relaxing setting based in Oud Metha, Dubai.  rumanaholisticyoga.com

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fo o d & fitness PRENATAL


Lifestyle Yoga



he brainchild of Yoga Master Sumit Manav, Lifestyle Yoga offers a range of classes across various locations in the UAE. Its prenatal sessions (AED75 per class) help mamas-to-be maintain their mental and physical health, with the qualified instructors ensuring your safety and leading you to a state of wellbeing through customised classes. These take place in Dubai at the Shangri-La Hotel and Fairmont The Palm. — lifestyleyogadubai.com

Urban Yoga




usiness Bay is home to this New York Cityinspired loft yoga studio that caters to Dubai’s modern yogis. Th ink concrete, brick and big windows. The Pre and Postnatal Yoga class (AED95 per session) in particular focuses on breathing exercises and guides you through a “feminine flow” that’s tailored to pregnancy and recovery, building strength, opening and lengthening the body, and helping you to move more fluidly. Classes are on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. — urbanyoga.ae





nother urban-style, Downtown Dubai-based yoga studio is Zoga, which is also home to a healthy café so you can grab a bite to eat or a smoothie to slurp after class. It boasts more rustic interiors and a very welcoming, calming vibe, and the Prenatal Yoga classes (AED100 per session) provide a safe environment for expecting ladies to “nurture their bodies and bond with their unborn babies,” founder Kamelia Salimi tells us. “Th is class will help build and maintain strength, stamina and flexibility, and improve balance and circulation,” she says. It also takes you through the breathing techniques and meditative aspects of yoga, alleviating anxiety. No previous experience is necessary, and sessions can be modified for mums-to-be in any trimester. — zoga.ae

Bodytree Studio


very week, Abu Dhabi’s wellreputed Bodytree Studio offers prenatal yoga, Pilates and Reformer sessions. And, specially for one day this month, on May 18, instructor Lenka Dalby is leading a special prenatal partner session (AED135 per person) that allows you and your other half to try out some poses, breathing techniques and vocalising that will prepare you for birth. — bodytreestudio.com


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fo o d & fitness EXERCISE


Training Discover a high-energy, super-fun fitness routine for the digital age that’ll get both mum and tots healthy in no time W o r d s K AT Y G I L L E T T


new kind of fitness routine for kids and mums has emerged, which promises to burn up to 1,000 calories in just one 45-minute session, and it’s taken the wellness world by storm. Originating in Spain just two years ago, PRAMA is a high-energy circuit training-style workout, complete with music, LED lights and pressure-sensitive walls, which has turned traditional training into a far more interactive, sensory and immersive experience. It’s more like playing a life-sized, fast-paced game, but it also has endless state-of-the-art training programmes and intensity levels that can be customised to your abilities at the touch of a button (and your data is stored in the cloud so you can keep track of your progress, too). Personal trainer and PRAMA Master Hanna Belyaeva, who teaches classes at Fairmont The Palm in Dubai, tells us more about this unique workout… Absolutely Mama: What is PRAMA? Hanna Belyaeva: PRAMA is a circuit training-style workout that’s similar to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It’s functional, physical and fun. The interactive training software available with PRAMA offers six new and improved training modes and more than 500




different exercises. The training modes include free training, workouts with a partner, group training, challenges and tests. Overall, the platform delivers a complete solution for functional training at gyms and fitness clubs, using interactive flooring with integrated LED lights and sensors, several different types of functional markings, versatile new training software, and PRAMA Mood lighting. AM: What benefits and advantages does it have for children? HB: PRAMA looks like a crossover between an arcade game and a playground. Children have a lot of fun, plus they learn social skills and good sportsmanship during classes. It also helps to increase bone density and improves the cardiovascular system, muscle strength and endurance. AM: How about adults?  HB: While circuit training classes invariably involve people working at a

set pace, this game uses a computer to set different levels at each section of the touch-sensitive floor, featuring grids, patterns and numbers. So different age groups and levels of fitness can exercise at the same time. In adults, this game-style programme helps to improve muscle strength, endurance, reflexes, coordination, agility, cardio and unleashes plenty of positive energy. AM: How did you get into this industry in the first place? HB: I finished my career as a professional athlete in free-style wrestling in 2013 and started as a personal trainer in Fairmont Baku Hotel. In 2015, I transferred to Fairmont The Palm. So, I have 18-plus years of experience in the fitness world. fairmont .com May 201 8  |  65

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Scandinavian inspired children’s design

www.scandiborn.co.uk Find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @Scandiborn


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Of f the Wa l l • DRAWDECK•

It’s vibrant, bold and summery prints like this – Waiting by Cole – that are going to help us refresh our interiors to reflect the new season. That’s what we find out on page 70 from the founder of Drawdeck, an online affordable arts store based in Dubai. drawdeck.com

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6 fun and quirky KITCHEN THINGS

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Dreamy home furnishings for our living rooms and kids’ nurseries...

Top knots •Armadillo&Co•

You’ll now find gorgeous rugs from US brand Armadillo&Co at Tribe Dubai. These are 100% handmade in India using fair trade practices and natural, sustainable fibres. We’re particularly crushing on the Daisy rug (pictured), which adds a touch of richness and texture to any modern yet rustic home. AED630; tribedubai.com


1. Chrome serving tray, AED25; aceuae.com 2. Salt & pepper mill set, AED119; virginmegastore.ae 3. Gold measuring spoons, AED69; crateandbarrel.com 4. Coffee sign, AED125; maisonsdumonde.com 5. Rosanna Love Letters mug, AED109; virginmegastore.ae 6. Silsal Arabic coffee cups, AED284; emirates.store

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AU NATUREL •Crate & Barrel•

The new seasonal line from Crate & Barrel is certainly fresh. It hones in on muted, earthen colours, natural textures and greenery infused throughout, with faux succulents and glass terrariums. Prices vary; crateandbarrel.com

New lines

Al-Futtaim ACE launches its new Ramadan collection

GOING FOR GOLD •Maisons du Monde•

Golden Oasis is the new collection at Maisons du Monde and it’s all about shimmering hues paired with subtle, natural shades and a variety of textures to offset that bling. Prices vary; maisonsdumonde.com

Wo r ds F RAN CE S CA K I R BY

UPDATED CLASSICS • R .V. A s t l e y •

Interiors has introduced products by luxe British brand R.V. Astley into its furniture stores across the UAE. Its collections draw inspiration from classic styles yet are infused with a sense of modernity, as you can see from these elegant table lamps that would add a sophisticated flair to any home. AED1,350; interiorsfurniture.com

Softly sleep SnüzPod

f you’re currently co-sleeping, check out SnüzPod’s three-in-one bedside crib. It allows you to sleep safely next to baby, has a handy storage shelf, and can also be used as a standalone crib OR a bassinet that you can carry around. AED1,299; mumzworld.com



ore than 800 new and exclusive products have been launched across stores in the UAE as part of Al-Futtaim ACE’s new Ramadan collection. This includes cookware, dinnerware, home décor and gifts for this special period of giving. Stylish items from brands such as Luminarc, Dimlaj and British kitchenware specialists Wilko are included. And, outside of the kitchen, you’ll also find traditional lanterns, unique novelty items, jewellery boxes and more from the homeware section. These will all appeal whether you’re observing the Holy Month of Ramadan or not. Rasool Taj, Head of Buying – Home and Seasonal at Al-Futtaim ACE, said: “The team has done an amazing job bringing together Ramadan essentials, as well as new and exclusive products that you can’t find anywhere else. We are excited for the Holy Month and are wishing everyone a Ramadan Kareem.” As are we!


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MELON SHIP by Lemon-Apes

Don’t play with your food? Luckily, the Lemon-Apes didn’t listen to their parents on that one. The Stockholm-based group of graphic designers creates wild compositions out of melons, broccoli, bananas and more. Their ambition? To spread good vibes. With backgrounds in all corners of the creative sphere, they feel it’s their mission to spread some happiness and colour in an often dark and grey world. Art print starting from AED118


s temperatures soar in the UAE, so does the time we spend in our homes. It’s never been more important to love the space we’re in. That’s why Absolutely Mama has turned to David Hammond, the founder of Drawdeck – a Dubai-based online store for curated and affordable art – for a few tips on how we can easily refresh our interiors, plus his pick of the most summery art on Drawdeck now.

Tell a story Artwork throughout the house reflects your personality, style and interests. A gallery wall is a great way to do this, but you need to get the balance right. Pick one focal piece as the anchor and scatter the rest around it with different sizes and orientations. The best gallery walls tell a story, so think it through.

Pops of colour



Refresh your interiors this season using a few super-simple steps from the founder of UAE-based online art store, Drawdeck W o r d s D AV I D H A M M O N D draw deck .com



Nothing says “summer” like a pop of colour. Pick a coherent palette of pastels that will subtly grab the eye of visitors, but don’t overdo it. Too many colours may backfi re. Light variations of pink, green or blue are always a good starting point.

Bring the outside in Summer is synonymous with relaxation and vacation, so leave the wintery things for the more “cosy” months. Botanical prints, crashing waves and sunny beach landscapes are a great way of bringing the beauty of nature inside your home. Complement this with pots of greenery.

Switch up your cushion covers It may seem like an obvious one, but changing out your dark, warmer cushion covers with bright, fresh patterns for the summer will give a simple facelift to existing furniture and help bring a new dimension to a room.

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SKATE FLAMINGO by Paul Fuentes

l Mexican graphic designer Paul Fuentes creates colourful works of art using everyday objects such as animals, food, skateboards and paint cans. Combining two elements in one, he recreates his subjects into strange and funny compositions. He finds inspiration in his mischievous nature, childhood fantasies and vibrant dreams. Art print starting from AED129

SAG UA RO by Shot by Clint

l Shot by Clint is a South African photographer who brings attention to untouched textures, and forgotten places from far and wide. This includes stilled landscapes, wildlife portraits, abstract expressions and enchanted nature studies. He shines a light on the beauty and richness of our natural world. Art Print starting from AED100

Beach Love by Ingrid Beddoes


Fine art photographer Ingrid Beddoes calls herself a “dreamer with a camera”. Originally from England, she has spent most of her life travelling and living in different parts of the world, but has finally settled down in Portugal. She’s inspired by nature and simplicity, and captures the people, beaches and wildlife of the Portuguese coast. Art print starting from AED100

by Farina Kuklinski

l Farina Kuklinski’s ethereal aquarelles have a seemingly simplistic style and evoke a certain sense of nostalgia. The graphic designer and illustrator studied in the Netherlands and Spain before moving to Germany where she now works as a floral designer – a calling that undeniably leaves its traces on her watercolour wonders through beautiful arrangements in her flowery designs. Art print starting from AED100

S U M M E R PA R ROT by Robert Farkas

l Robert Farkas has creativity in his blood; his grandfather was a film director and his great uncle invented fluorescent ink. Farkas now works full-time as a film animator. In design, he combines watercolours with digital illustration techniques to create surreal collages and colourful images of wild beasts and film heroes. Art print starting from AED63 May 201 8

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MIND Wo r d s P E A R L B OY D





Sophie Robinson is using the concept of colour psychology in her work. Which type are you?


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t’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when faced with a choice of colours. That’s partly why so many of us end up with white walls. But, according to theories of colour psychology, every one of us has a palette of colours to which they are most suited, and finding it involves thinking about your personality. “If you’ve ever faced painful procrastination over a paint colour or agonised over an investment buy, then tapping into colour psychology is a real game changer,” says colour expert Sophie Robinson. “When it comes to finding clarity and focus in order to pull a scheme together, colour psychology gives you a fantastic framework to work to. It helps you make decisions faster and with more confidence and does away with the fear that you might not love a design once the trend has passed. Essentially, it’s a framework that enables you to combine colours, patterns, textures, furniture and artwork that work together and, more importantly, create the feel you want for the room. What I really love about this concept is it’s actually very instinctive – it gets us out of our heads and back in touch with our gut and allows us to make more emotional and bolder design choices, which I’m all for! The result is a home that resonates more deeply, and, more importantly, one you’re not going to tire of.” The concept of colour psychology was devised by the psychologist Angela Wright who studied different personalities and their relationship with specific colours. Wright divided them into four groups – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, using the seasonal colour palettes found in nature to reflect the colour preferences and energetic styles of each personality group. The theory was taken and made into a powerful applied framework by brand stylist Fiona Humberstone and it’s this system that Sophie uses to design her own interiors. Colour psychology shifts the focus from how people want their room to look towards how they want their room to feel as a starting point. “Once you have identified which season you are or what season you want your room to feel like, the choices you make in terms of colour palette, fabrics, accessories and furniture flows much more easily. And the result is a room that feels as good as it looks.” So, turn over to find out which season you are. May 201 8  |  73


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COLOUR PSYCHOLOGY Which Colour Personality Are You?

The Spring personality is full of life and youthful energy. Like the first signs of spring they are optimistic and have a very positive outlook. In terms of their home they crave lots of natural light. They favour new designs but also busy prints with lots of energy. Colours are warm but clear so they have a lightness to them. Furniture will have clean lines in pale woods or painted, and they love a little sparkle so glass and glossy surfaces are a favourite. Textures will be smooth or shiny and styling will feel modern yet welcoming. Ultimately, they are young at heart so they love anything cute. The Summer personality is graceful and elegant and more reserved in character. Take inspiration from a lazy hazy hot English summer’s day. They are attracted to more muted and subtle colours and patterns are painterly and flowing. Generally they love a soft, floaty and romantic style but also they love a touch of formality and enjoy symmetrical arrangements and structure. They are attracted to tradition and will look towards the past for inspiration, so love elements of patina and distress. They are inspired by nature and the overall look is understated and never showy. 74  |  May 201 8


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Winter personalities love drama and making strong design statements. Just as winter is generally a season of extremes, in terms of design, they love the same potency. Colours are sharp, cool and bright and they match this strength with striking patterns like geometrics. They love their homes to be a reflection of their self-assurance and are likely to choose pioneering or iconic designs. In terms of style there is a coolness and attention to detail throughout and they’re drawn to the latest tech or luxury furnishings. Minimalists would be winter people, but, on the same extreme, so would a dramatic maximalist pad.

Autumn is organic, robust, and abundant. They are passionate people with a strong connection to nature, attracted to rich colours and furniture with a substantial or textured feel. Authenticity is an important element and so they love the rustic style and anything that celebrates craftsmanship and heritage. They have a great love of art and education, so they will definitely have a library of books in their home. They want their spaces to feel welcoming, cosy and relaxed, so you’ll see collections of sentimental importance on display. May 201 8  |  75


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Break for Eid


Six Senses Zighy Bay invites families to enjoy their own private resort within a resort dubbed Beit Musandam. Your package includes everything from breakfast to a massage, a yoga session and even time in the spa’s ice cave, plus plenty more. It’s the ultimate way to spend Eid. sixsenses.com

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Our beautiful catered villas in Mallorca and the south of France come with a private pool and experienced Scott Dunn staff. Your private chef will prepare mouth-watering menus, with ingredients sourced from local markets, while your host will take care of everything from bringing you fresh sorbets by the pool, to advising you on the local highlights. For little ones, we offer fantastic private nannies that will look after children from 4 months old. They tailor activities around their needs, interests and routine while always ensuring the fun factor. To start planning your luxury family holiday, visit scottdunn.com or call on 0208 682 5000

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Villa Bastide des Virettes, south of France


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Luxe stays

• L U X * G r a n d G a u b e • There’s a lot to love about the newly reopened LUX* Grand Gaube. We’re not sure what we like more – its six restaurants, dreamy décor, the comfortable mattresses and Egyptian cotton linen, the incredible spa or the PLAY kids’ club. Then there’s also the fact that it’s in Mauritius... luxresorts.com


TR AVEL N OTES New openings, nifty kit and three excellent active trips to book...



•Kempinski Hotel Muscat•


The modern-style resort, Kempinski Hotel Muscat, has just opened its doors in the Al Mouj community of Oman. It has stunning coastal views, 10 worldclass restaurants and Dippy’s Clubhouse for kids. kempinski.com/muscat

Never miss a precious family travel moment again with the Prynt Pocket, which turns your iPhone into an instant photo printer. Snap live photos or pick from your camera roll, and even add some video, too. AED629; virginmegastore.com

3 ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS TO BOOK Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort

Tan jong Jara Resort

Chateau les Carrasses

This resort on Dhigufinolhu Island offers plenty for families, including kayaking, snorkelling, kite-flying and beach games (followed by a barbecue on the shore). Not to mention a climbing wall and tree house for kids at the Dhoni Club.

From March to October, the waters of the Terengganu Marine Park come to life. There are more than 20 nearby dive sites, providing plenty of underwater fun. Book the Tenggol Divers’ Delight package at Tanjong Jara Resort.

Group horse-riding trips in some of France’s finest countryside are now available at this upscale, familyfriendly chateau in Languedoc. They’re suitable for riders of all abilities. There’s no more magical way to discover the region.







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H O LIDAY We check in at The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel for a day of total relaxation W o r d s K AT Y G I L L E T T


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From the moment we check in, the holistic health aspect is introduced, as the Spa Manager welcomes us with a spot of colour therapy. Based on the hue we choose (we went for calming turquoise), we’re given a bracelet infused with an all-natural essence that we’re told will continue to increase our relaxation for 24 hours. Feeling uplifted and smelling sweet, we then check out our beautiful sea-view suite, which is clean and simple – not overly lavish – and then head back downstairs for a chat with Nishula Raghunathan, the naturopathic lifestyle consultant. For every guest or group enrolled on the programme, she offers customised consultations and evaluates your THE LOBBY COMES TO LIFE IN eating and exercise habits, health woes, and THE EVENING WITH LIVE MUSIC overall lifestyle. From that, she then gives you a full report that’s packed with advice on how you can be healthier and happier. he focus is on holistic Bath salts are then prepared for us to soak wellbeing at the brandin that evening and we also enjoy a little time new hotel, The Retreat at the scented oxygen bar, before heading off Palm Dubai MGallery by to recline in one of the in-water beds perched Sofitel, located out on the in the infinity pool that looks out over the East Crescent of the Palm Arabian Gulf. Jumeirah. It’s unique to Suitably sunned come dusk we check out the UAE in that sense; the Rayya Wellness facilities, which includes it’s not about luxurious highlights such as a Moroccan-inspired amenities, lavish buffet hammam, cryotherapy, Glenville Nutrition spreads and noisy nightspots. The focus truly Clinic and wellness consultation rooms. is on you and your inner health. We immediately book ourselves in for the The hotel only opened its doors at the Melting Massage, a full-body treatment that end of last year, yet, when we arrive (on a sees you slathered in soothing Shea butter weekday), it’s buzzing with families, couples for ultimate relaxation. and groups of friends. While you can simply Later that evening, as the lobby springs go and use it as a hotel, naturally its unique to life thanks to a musical duo performing selling point is its retreat programme, which a few jazz numbers, we head to Vibe, the can last from three days to two weeks and be all-day international dining restaurant that completely customised. Are you looking to hosts themed buffets (we’re there on Asian relax? Revitalise? Rebuild? Is it just for you? night). The spread is fantastic; there’s a super, You and hubby? You, hubby and the kids? colourful fresh salad bar sat next to an array The team caters to all. of authentic, healthy hot dishes and main courses, plus fruit platters and a dessert station. It’s all about the little THE ROOMS ARE LOVELY touches at The Retreat; small AND NOT OVER-THE-TOP tokens that promise to bring about big change in your life. Fresh juices are served regularly throughout the day; herbs are grown on-site; there’s a wellness chef who hosts afternoon cooking classes. There is also a range of activities you can take part in, from meditation to yoga and kayaking. For families, specifically, the little ones are well taken






care of at the cute, cosy Rayya Kids’ Club, which sits next to the supervised children’s pool. Down on the beach, you’ll find a deck with giant and miniature versions of chess, carrom, table tennis and jenga – to name a few. And, back in your room, you have a menu of pillows (including a pregnancy option) and a selection of bath rituals to choose from, including Kids Wellness, which uses lavender and Roman chamomile to calm the sprogs down before bed (and comes with a cheeky hot chocolate or milk to go with it). As it’s only been open a few months, The Retreat is still a work-in-progress. But it certainly has potential to become our go-to haven in Dubai, where reconnecting with yourself, your health and your family is what it’s all about.

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The Royal


With the date of a certain British wedding creeping closer, we take a look at three other monarchy-ruled travel hotspots, and the regal attractions and five-star hotels they have to offer W o r d s K AT Y G I L L E T T

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est known for Petra, the Dead Sea and some seriously lovely five-star hotels, Jordan – which is ruled by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, and the glamorous mum-of-four, Queen Rania of Jordan – is often overlooked as a must-visit travel destination. But it shouldn’t be. The childhood home of Kate Middleton has a lot to offer families, from historical and cultural icons to thrilling adventures and incredible nature reserves. Hot-air ballooning, diving and trekking; Dead Sea spa rituals, detox treatments and anti-cellulite mud wraps; age-old Roman forts, relics and ruins. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a historian, a nature-lover and a leisure-seeker in the family – there’s something to suit everyone here.




ome May 19, it’s all about the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle in the UK. TVs across the world will be tuning in to watch the much-talked-about nuptials, as London teems with travellers looking to get in on the celebrations. And while the UK’s royal family is one of the most famous in the world, did you know there are more than 25 other monarchies to speak of? It’s an elite network of kings, queens, sultans, emperors and – of course – emirs ruling or reigning over a total of 43 countries. And these three regal nations, in particular, offer a family-friendly holiday of a lifetime, with myriad top-notch tourist attractions and hotels fit for royalty.

SEE: For families with kids who can handle long car journeys, a trip along one of the Middle East’s most ancient roads, the King’s Highway, is a must. You can wind your way through some incredible scenery, on your way to Wadi Musa, the nearest town to the legendary archaeological Rose-Red City of Petra. The route edges across the Great Rift Valley, taking you through farmland plateaus, forested highlands, the edge of the Eastern Desert and the Gulf of Aqaba. Along the way, there are plenty of pit stops you can make, allowing you to discover secrets of ancient civilisations. visitjordan.com S TAY: Located on King Hussein Street is the fabulous Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea. It’s a four-hour drive or quick plane KEMPINSKI HOTEL AQABA RED ride from Jordan’s SEA HAS A GREAT KIDS’ CLUB capital, Amman (then the hotel is just ten minutes from the airport), but its stunning sea and mountain views, array of watery activities, eight food and beverage outlets, spa, and kids’ club are a few reasons why it’s worth going out of your way for. kempinski.com



xtravagance and luxury are built in to the DNA of the world’s second-most smallest sovereign state (after Vatican City). Albert II is the reigning monarch and head of the princely house of Grimaldi (the family that has reigned the principality for more than 700 years). He’s the son of Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly (so, Hollywood royalty). You might scoff at such ostentation, but Monaco is a beautiful place, steeped in history, and actually a great travel spot for families, too. Attractions such as the Oceanographic Museum (oceano.org) are perfect for little ones, with its Turtle Island (where tortoises and turtles congregate), touch tanks and play area. There are plenty of high-end shopping opportunities, historical jaunts and familyfriendly bus tours on offer, too.


S E E : For a true taste of how the Grimaldis roll, take a trip to The Prince’s Palace (palais.mc), where The State Apartments are open to the public. It dates back to 1215 and over the centuries has been transformed into one of the most excessive and luxurious residences you’ll ever see (Louis XIV style). Get there at 11.55am (sharp) and you’ll also get to witness the traditional ritual of the Changing of the Guard, or the Carabiniers du Prince. The Palace is nestled within MonacoVille, and you’ll find the Jardin St Martin, stunning architecture and the tombs of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace nearby.

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Discover blissful baby & toddler friendly holidays Everything that parents need for stress free getaways in luxury villas and resorts All private pools barriered

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Mark the royal wedding in style, with exclusive access to palaces and private residences, plus stays in two rather majestic hotels

S TAY: The Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo’s décor and design epitomises Monaco’s lavishness. It’s child-friendly, has four gastronomic destinations, and a sophisticated House of Givenchy spa. That’s our kind of place. metropole.com



he nation that pioneered the concept of Gross National Happiness is surely a pretty jolly place to visit. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the fifth “Dragon King”, is head of state and also been hailed as the “People’s King”. In terms of jawdropping, mountainous, foliage-strewn landscapes, Bhutan has a lot to offer. It’s all about deep-rooted traditions, adventure and nature here. There are also colourful cultural festivals going on throughout the year. Most of all, it’s a fantastic place to open the kids’ eyes to a culture very different to their own. Just note: you’ll need visas prior to travelling here. tourism.gov.bt


S E E : Kyichu Lhakhang is believed to be one of the oldest (and most beautiful) buildings in Bhutan, located in the Paro



district, in the west. The story goes that King Songsten Gampo of Tibet built it in 659 in a bid to stop a “giant ogress” from getting in his way. He is said to have created 108 similar relics, each placed on a different part of the ogress’s body (Kyichu Lhakhang is on her left foot, we hear). S TAY: The Como Uma Paro boasts nine gorgeous villas and 20 rooms that feature traditional Balinese craftsmanship fused with stylish, contemporary design. The twobedroom Como Villa, in particular, has an alfresco hot stone bathtub and an open-air courtyard with a fire pit. comohotels.com/umaparo

ack on Harry and Megan’s own royal turf, the Rocco Forte Hotels, alongside Queen Elizabeth II’s second cousin, Simon Rhodes, has launched The Grand Royal Experience at Mayfair’s Brown’s Hotel and Edinburgh’s The Balmoral, from 31st May to 7th June. The truly royal affair – for groups (up to six) or individuals – offers guests exclusive access to palaces and private estates in England and Scotland. It all includes a five-night stay at Brown’s Hotel in a Classic Suite, followed by a two-night stay at The Balmoral in a Castle View Suite, all with breakfast. During this time, you’ll visit St James’ Palace, Buckingham Palace, Sandringham Estate, Windsor Castle, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and Glamis Castle. For food, there will be lunches at Berry Bros & Rudd, York Cottage Dining Room and Chartwell, plus dinners at Brown’s Hotel, The Balmoral and Archers’ Hall. All transportation is covered – and that includes the train ride between hotels and a private helicopter to Sandringham Estate from London. It’s a package fit for blue blood indeed. Prices start from £40,000 (AED 202,119!) per person; roccofortehotels.com

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Give your little one a parent’s-eye view of the world with award-winning LittleLife child carriers. For life’s little adventures. littlelife.com










01/03/2018 10:10

TO P BA BY B U YS p . 8 9  •   A S K T H E E X P E R T S p . 9 0  •  T H E UA E ’ S N U R S E R I E S p . 9 6

On a Ro l l • MAMAS & PAPAS •

As part of its Ramadan collection (see more on page 46), Mamas & Papas has also launched the new Henna Signature rose gold pushchair. It’s designed for style-lovers in trend-inspired fabrics, but it’s also comfortable for baby and really handy for you to use, too. AED3,999; mamasandpapas.ae

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Sweet dreams CLEVAMAMA

l The ClevaFoam Support Mattress promises baby a good night’s sleep. The low-resilience polyurethane foam is light, breathable and reduces heat retention, all while protecting the shape of your baby’s head, and supporting their growing body. It’s available exclusively here at Mothercare. From AED400; mothercare.com

d& Triested Te



Top-notch baby kit designed to make parenting easier


Pregnancy pillows are a modern essential – ask anyone who’s tried to go the third trimester without one. Th is model is perfectly sized and is made from medical-grade materials. One word – dreamy. AED534; desertcart.ae

Robot tricks KIDMATE

l Th is nifty little device is a smart educational robot that helps develop a child’s early learning abilities. How? It has the ability to interact through a mobile app and teach basic maths, English, logic, and tests cognitive skills. It’s suitable for ages three and up. AED599; mumzworld.com


BAMBINO MIO CLOTH NAPPIES Should we all be switching to reusable nappies?



was sceptical about reusable nappies at first. But in a bid to be kinder to the environment, I thought I should give them a go. Though biodegradable nappies are widely available, they still take time to break down, come in single-use plastic packaging and contain non-compostable material. The award-winning Miosolo reusable nappy is soft and stylish, but the website recommends you buy additional booster pads for maximum absorbency (especially at night), which is not entirely convenient. You’re also recommended to buy liners, though these are cheap and completely compostable. Changing time is around two hours, so you need a few nappies to get started, and you also need to factor in washing time. That all said, being eco-friendly is rarely about what’s convenient. Ultimately, I’ve found a comfortable balance between using both biodegradable (for when we’re on the move) and reusable nappies, safe in the knowledge that I’m doing my bit (or trying to!) and saving money. Plus, little ones do look cute in the Bambino Mio’s snazzy designs. Find a selection in the UAE at Mamas & Papas. mamasandpapas.ae

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Ask the




Parenting professionals and leading entrepreneurs answer some of your most pressing questions




Cheryl is the Head of Proposition, Middle East and Africa, at Old Mutual International, a cross-border provider of wealth management solutions. oldmutualinternational.com Q I’ve heard schooling can be very expensive in the UAE. Do you have any tips on how we should start saving up now? A Arguably the largest single expense facing parents in the Emirates is paying for their children’s

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education. Old Mutual International has estimated the cost of putting a child through school in the UAE, followed by attending a university abroad, at AED1.1 million. Shocking as that figure may be, it goes to show the huge amount of cash most parents will likely have to find at some point – and, with living costs increasing all the time, that figure is likely to go up in the future. Almost half of that money will go toward putting a child through a UK or US curriculum school in the UAE. Accumulated fees up to university age can reach AED558,352. How much you spend on your child’s university can depend on which country they choose to study in. A typical four-year course in the US, including university fees, room and board, transport and other living costs, can be as much as AED689,695. By comparison, studying in the UK represents a cheaper option at around AED345,729 for a three-year course. However, it is important to note that sending a child to a top-tier university either in the UK or the US can mean significantly higher costs for parents. So, what can parents do to prepare? Here are six top tips:

Prepare for unexpected problems and new priorities  Expect the unexpected and have a back-up plan ready to go. Your priorities can change for a variety of reasons, such as unforeseen medical expenses.


Keep your savings secure  Ring-fencing your cash to ensure you can cover future educational expenses will appeal to a lot of parents. A trust can help to ensure your child’s future is provided for in the event of something happening to one or both parents.

Speak to the professionals  It is important to remember that any cash you have in the bank will be eaten away by inflation. What you need is a robust wealth preservation strategy. A savings plan will benefit from the kind of broad investment expertise

only a professional financial advisor can offer. Do not be put off by the fees involved, as the services provided will likely help you cover the cost of school and university fees. In terms of where you choose to put your cash, there are several options. Investing for three or more years allows you to benefit from higher risk investments. These are more likely to bring in higher returns, enabling your portfolio to outgrow inflation. A more flexible, longer term strategy also allows your investment manager to avoid any forced sale of assets in the event of adverse market conditions.

Start planning early  The sooner you start to save your money, the less you will need to put aside when the time comes to pay school fees. Also, any investments you make will have time to accumulate growth.

Calculate costs  The burdens of school fees aside, there are numerous added extras that can build up over time. Old Mutual International has an online education calculator that can help parents understand the costs involved.

Don’t rely on income alone  Relying only on your current salary to cover the cost of education is risky. Savings will be impacted if you lose your job, meaning children may have to leave school temporarily, which can impact both them and their studies. May 201 8  |  91

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www.gabbitas.ae www.gabbitas.ae


+971 445 16933 | admin@gabbitas.ae UNIVERSITY, HIGHER EDUCATION UNIVERSITY, HIGHER EDUCATION & & CAREERS ADVICE CAREERS ADVICE Gabbitas Educational Consultants is registered in England No. 2920466. Part of The Prospects Group.

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES & GUARDIANSHIP & GUARDIANSHIP +971 445 16933 | admin@gabbitas.ae +971 445 16933 | admin@gabbitas.ae Gabbitas Educational Gabbitas Educational in England ConsultantsConsultants No.Part 2920466. is registeredisinregistered of TheGroup. England No. Prospects Group. 2920466. of The Part Prospects GABBITAS.indd 1

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Linda is a Dubai-based life coach, author and keynote speaker. She is a certified Master NLP Coach and Master NLP Practitioner, who started Evolved Coaching in 2012. lindabonnarlifecoach.com Q I literally went from working career woman to stay-at-home mum overnight (I was working right up until I gave birth). I feel almost like I’ve “lost myself”, but I don’t have any time to focus on me. Will I ever get back that sense of self? A I can fully relate to Have you got a burning question about that feeling of having anything to do with being a mama in the “lost yourself” and I can UAE? Just send an email to our editor at understand that right katy@zest-media.com, and we’ll now it doesn’t feel like get a highly qualified expert to you have any time to focus answer it for you. on yourself either. That will change. Sometimes in new roles (like your new role of being cause. One way of doing a mum) it can be hard to see where so is by keeping a “Sleeping we’re satisfying our core values and Journal” that will help you beliefs, and that can be challenging uncover patterns that otherwise as it can cause us to feel out of sync remain unnoticed. Take note of with things. Instead of looking to when your child went to bed, if they get “that sense of self” back that was had a nightmare, how long it took there for you as a career woman, to soothe them, what they had for think about where you are honouring dinner, and what they’ve watched and satisfying your core values by during the day. Look back at your being a mum. Ask yourself: “What’s notes and see if you can fi nd any important to me?” and “What’s common triggers. Learning what important about that?” These are your child’s triggers are can help really powerful questions that allow you resolve the issue of nightmares. us to become more aware of our It’s always helpful to chat with values and beliefs, and how we’re your child about nightmares, share meeting them in our lives. Even if some of your own strategies, or you can do this exercise through read child-friendly books together conversation with a close friend or on sleep and nightmares. Offer family member, it’s a great way to your child cuddles or hugs when help you begin to recognise how you they wake up. If you choose to are honouring your values in your share your sleeping space with new role and to see where you could them for comfort, just be weary of acknowledge other core values, too. it becoming a challenge in the long Th is will help you get back on track to run when your child refuses to sleep fi nding yourself. alone in their bed.

Ask us anything!

Shadan KHAWAJA A Child & Adolescent Behaviour Specialist who currently works in Dubai at LightHouse Arabia. lighthousearabia.com

Q My toddler often has bad dreams and wakes up crying. Why could that be happening, and what should I do about it? A There can be many different reasons why your toddler is having bad dreams. It can be tiredness, irregular sleep, illness, trauma, significant change in environment or a reflection of something they’ve seen! The fi rst step in dealing with bad dreams is to fi nd out their source or

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COUNTS An education expert talks about the difference between the arts and being creative at school, and why the latter is so important... Wo r d s F I O N A M C K E N Z I E Illustration PHIL COUZENS


he days when your children come home buzzing with excitement about something they have learned are the days you know they have truly engaged with a topic. Perhaps they spent the school day as Romans. Suddenly, there is nothing they don’t know about what the Romans wore, ate, drank or talked about. Yes, making that costume might have been a chore, but suddenly it is all worth it when you see what a memorable experience it has been for your child. That is creativity in education. It is far more memorable to actually “experience” being Roman, than being “taught” about it. The children will have had the opportunity to research Roman food, cook some ancient delicacies, work out how Romans sat at a banquet, and even speak some Latin. They have not only learnt about a historical topic, but also acquired valuable life skills by creating their own




understanding and appreciation of how the Romans lived. They get the opportunity to use their creative voice to act out the parts, acquire some contextual knowledge and perhaps some technical skills, working collaboratively with their classmates and then sharing it with you on the car ride home. Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that creativity is the preserve of the arts, and can only be acquired through activities such

as drama, dance, music and creative arts. Of course, these subjects do give multiple opportunities to develop different talents and skills, but being creative is about playing with ideas and this can equally be done in a number of subjects, including Maths, Science and Technology. Educationists appreciate the vital role of creativity across the curriculum and – within the sometimes-rigid confines of an assessment-driven curriculum – there is recognition that the “academic” way is not the only way to learn. For many children, approaching traditional subjects in different ways can fire up their curiosity. Encouraging them to look at things from a different angle and to try things they would not expect to do in lessons can draw children into learning. Di Latham, an experienced primary school teacher, talks about using the stimulus of Sir Michael Morpurgo’s novel Kensuke’s Kingdom. “From reading this one book we had children working out how to build a shelter, and then writing an instruction manual on how to do it, painting in the Japanese style, producing Haiku poetry, and writing a diary about living on a desert

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island.” The children who thrived on the practical tasks, she says, learned about teamwork and decision-making, and found writing an instruction manual much easier once they worked out how to create the structure. The less able scribes loved keeping the diary as they could write freely in their own style. Having gained confidence, they were better able to tackle more complex writing tasks. Thomas Friedman, author of The World Is Flat, says those people with the imagination “to invent smarter ways to do old jobs, energysaving ways to provide new services, new ways to attract old customers and new ways to combine existing technologies” will thrive. While education is not a linear path, with the sole aim of preparing children for the future, one of its roles is to ensure that people are equipped with the skills they will need to earn a living. And one of the most marketable skills this future generation will need is creativity. As Sir Ken Robinson, the renowned British author and creativity guru, explains: “the real driver of creativity is an appetite for discovery and a passion for the world itself”. This takes us back to the Romans… The children engaged on a journey of discovery and became passionate about this topic. They might have thought they were learning about the Romans, but, in fact, they were learning about research, collaboration, teamwork, communication, decision making, adapting to new circumstances and being creative. These are the skills that will give them the best opportunities in the future.

Fiona McKenzie

Director, Gabbitas Education Middle East May 201 8  |  95

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Kids Academy Street No. 27, Al Mushrif 02 441 1991

to know Mama’s guide to top nurseries and preschools in the UAE

A BU D H ABI Apple Bee Nursery Villa 22, Hazaa Bin Zayed Street, Al Rawdah Area 02 443 4747 Blooming Buds Nursery Between Khlaleej Al Arabi Street (30th) and 32nd Street, Intersecting at Al Saada Street (19th) 02 491 8068 Bright Beginnings Nursery Al Ayay Street, Near to Al Muhairi Mosque, Mehairba 02 445 5339

Bright Beginnings Nursery Al Mushrif 02 449 2840 Bright Beginnings Nursery NYU Abu Dhabi, B2 Building 02 628 4816 British Orchard Nursery Villa 2, Al Ladeem Street, Al Nahyan Camp 02 443 9892 British Orchard Nursery Al Falah Street, Al Bateen 02 622 2903

Children’s House Montessori Casa 7, Street 23, Khalifa City 02 444 1150 Easy World Nursery Near Hazza bin Zayed Street, and One to One Hotel – The Village, earlyworldnursery.com 02 643 8867 Falcon British Nursery 200 Saif Ghobash Street, Zayed Sports City 02 444 8814 Greenopia Eco Preschool Villa 5, Al Rowdah – Karamah Street, Opposite Umm Al Emarat Park 02 679 8887 Hummingbird Nursery Amaya Towers, Al Reem Island 02 671 7701 Humpty Dumpty Nursery Street 11, Al Bateen 02 666 3277 Humpty Dumpty Nursery Street 16, Khalifa City 02 556 1068 Kids Academy 17th Street, Khalifa City A 02 557 7636

Kids Academy Al Khaleej Al Arabi St. Al Bateen 02 446 6484 Kipinä 13 Al Mirzam Street, Al Bateen 800 547462 Kipinä 84, Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Al Mushrif 800 547462 Ladybird Nursery Villa 18, 4th Street, Al Zaabi Area 02 667 3881 Mindchamps Nursery Bloom Gardens, Al Muntazah 02 610 9666 Odyssey Nursery Street 20, Plot 41, Khalifa City A 02 665 5994 Redwood Montessori Nursery Street 38, Khalifa City A 02 556 4611 Redwood Montessori Nursery Abu Al Abyad Street, Gate A, Villa 21, Al Bateen 02 667 3741 Redwood Montessori Nursery Saadiyat Island 02 643 2888 Step by Step Nursery Villa 11 & 13, Al Huwelat Street, Al Bateen 02 665 3331 Stepping Stones Nursery Villa 22, Mileih Street, Al Bateen 02 681 5583

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essentials DIRECTORY

Crystal Valley Nursery Arabian Center, Khawaneej Road, Al Mizhar 04 284 5519

Jebel Ali Village Nursery Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, Al Qudra Road, Near Arabian Ranches 04 368 9882

Emerald City Nursery 21st street, Jumeirah 2 04 349 0848

Jebel Ali Village Nursery Discovery Pavillion Mall, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan 04 551 6335

Stepping Stones Nursery Villa 3, 3rd Street, Abu Dhabi Gate City 02 558 8318

Blossom Marina Nursery Beauport Tower, Marina Promenade, Dubai Marina 04 422 1068

Golden Gate Nursery Building 27, 6B Street Umm Al Sheif-367 04 321 6069

Stepping Stones Nursery 26th Street, Khalifa City A 02 556 5991

Blossom Mudon Nursery Al Salam Town Center, Mudon 04 551 9330

Stepping Stones Nursery Villa 37, Street 12, Sector 40 Muroor 02 443 4430

Blossom Village Nursery Villa 43, Street Al Ragay, Umm Suqeim 1 04 394 8837

Homegrown Children’s Eco Nursery Street 33, Al Safa 2 04 321 8333

The Windsor Early Years Nursery Street 23, Khalifa City A 02 557 9295 White Fields Nursery Villa 4, Corner of Delma Street, 32nd Street, Al Bateen 02 666 0826

D U BA I Blossom Burj Nursery Villa 37 Street 10A, Umm Al Sheif 04 348 6275 Blossom Downtown Nursery Yansoon 7, Al Manzil District, Downtown Dubai 04 448 7661 Blossom Early Learning Centre Block 12, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai-Al Ain Road 04 421 4458

British Orchard Nursery Villa 20A, Street 33, Al Mankhool, Bur Dubai 04 398 3536 British Orchard Nursery Villa 35, Jumeirah Road, Umm Suqeim 1 04 395 3570 British Orchard Nursery Opposite Choithrams, Dubai Silicon Oasis 04 388 6602 British Orchard Nursery Business Central Towers, Dubai Media City 04 438 5255 British Orchard Nursery Shams 2 Plaza Level Jumeirah Beach Residence 04 447 5881 CreaKids The Sustainable City 04 240 6728 CreaKids Egypt Court, Ibn Battuta Mall 04 368 4130

Hummingbird Nursery Precinct Building 5, DIFC 04 370 0449 Hummingbird Nursery Limestone House, DIFC 04 379 9800 Hummingbird Nursery Building 7, Bay Square 04 552 1909 Indigo Valley Nursery 13A Street, Al Twar 2 04 263 3544 Jebel Ali Village Nursery Honsho Street, Motor City 04 422 1415 Jebel Ali Village Nursery Lakes Club House, Emirates Living 04 454 8404 Jebel Ali Village Nursery Al Bahar Tower 1, Jumeirah Beach Residence 04 424 3791 Jebel Ali Village Nursery Al Furjan South, Al Furjan Pavilion, Meadows Village 04 420 8267

Kids Cottage Nursery Al Heeba Street, Umm Suqeim 04 394 2145 Ladybird Nursery Villa 8 & 10, Street 25A, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 1 04 344 1011 Ladybird Nursery District 12, Street 26, Jumeirah Village Circle 04 553 9900 Redwood Montessori Nursery Mezzanine Floor, Building 8, Golden Mile, Palm Jumeirah 04 248 5854 The Wonder Years Nursery Motor City, Dubai Sports City 04 368 5600 Toddler Town British Nursery Amwaj 5 Plaza Level, Dubai Marina 04 452 8080 Toddler Town British Nursery Villa 20, 21st Street, Al Safa (Al Manara), Jumeirah 04 388 2999 Willow Children’s Nursery Al Wasl Road 050 472 5890 Yellow Brick Road Nursery Street 31 A, Al Garhoud, Across the road from Irish Village 04 282 8290

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m am a


Last Word

The UAE and Me


Meet Amy Stead, an expat who lives in Dubai with her husband and two lovely little girls... education our daughter receives at her school. Another fabulous thing about the UAE is that it’s always growing into such a vibrant and exciting place with so many new developments for us to explore.

Q Where is your favourite place to shop for the kids? A Toys “R” Us in Times Square Centre is great for kids’ toys, as it’s never too busy and there’s a wide variety at good prices. For clothing, we tend to head to Next and H&M as they have great selections for girls.

Did you give birth in the UAE? Yes, I gave birth to my second baby at Al Zahra Hospital. I chose this hospital as I had my heart set on giving birth using calming hypnobirthing techniques. The facilities were lovely, with a relaxing birthing room, and comfortable birthing tub for water births. The staff at the hospital really respected my wishes and I’m happy to say my experience was very positive. Q

Where do you like to eat out as a family? A We love having breakfast at Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah 1, as the interior décor is gorgeous and they do delicious buckwheat pancakes with egg and avocado. ONE OF AMY’S FAVOURITE I’m a vegetarian and we FOODIE SPOTS IS COMPTOIR 102 often eat at Super Natural Kitchen in Galeries Q What is it that you and your family Lafayette at The Dubai Mall, which has the love about the UAE? most delicious raw vegan menu. However, A We love that for two-thirds of the year my husband is a meat eater so we often the climate is beautiful, which means we compromise and head to wagamama as he can really take advantage of outdoor living. loves the chicken katsu curry and the kids What is really great is that the UAE is very love the noodles! much geared around family life, as there’s Q What do you all like to do as a family so much to do for everyone. We particularly love how diverse and multicultural it is, on the weekends? A We have Privilee membership that allows which positively impacts the fantastic us to use the beach, pool and gym facilities of some of the most beautiful hotels in Dubai. We feel like we’re on a mini holiday when we’re sat around the pool or beach! We also love to get out and explore. Some of our favourite places are the Arabian Tea House and La Mer. We also try to head into the desert as the kids and our two dogs love to run up and down the dunes. Q





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AMY STEAD Age: 34 Nationality: British Occupation: Pre-school teaching assistant Kids: Two, aged one and six Lives: Arabian Ranches, Dubai

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Profile for Zest Media Group

Absolutely Mama Emirates May 2018  

Absolutely Mama Emirates May 2018