St.Regis Mauritius Resort

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Finally coming to terms that I’m not waking up to fresh island air, crystal blue ocean and the sun beaming on my face (where it’s not uncomfortable like Dubai heat), I thought i’d re-live the holiday by sharing it with you guys. At the end of April we heading off to the St Regis hotel in Mauritius, we spent 6 nights on the island and could have easily done much longer. St Regis is roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes away from the airport, the airport was very quick to get through and transportation was handled by the hotel so it was a very smooth journey, the driver was very informative with things to do in Mauritius, supermarkets, ATM and the history of the island.

As soon as you arrive at the hotel the views are breathtaking, there is just so much greenery, a rarity in Dubai. The staff are sooooo friendly and accommodating, I can’t fault a single one of them from the check-in desk, the bar staff, the room butlers and buggy drivers, honestly this made our whole experience so magical. We had a sea view room with a semi-private pool which lead directly down to the beach, the rooms were pretty standard but a good amount of space and a HUGE bath tub, Yayyy!

We spent most of our days around the pool, or down at the beach by the boathouse bar, the weather was on and off, some days were beautiful blue skies, others it would rain for an hour and then be sunny, and then one day we had a cyclone level 2 (4 is the highest) which we pretty much hung out at the kids club or in the cinema (yes the hotel as a cinema). They also have a pretty decent gym that I used…once.

Going on holiday with Bella I never really thought we would get much of a “holiday” and instead spend most of our time pushing the YOYO around hoping she’ll take a nap but now she’s that little bit older it was so much easier, Bella was either happy playing with her toys on the sand or playing in the pool, half of the pool was very shallow which she could stand up in and play in, which was very handy! Bella honestly had the best time and even made a few little friends towards the end of the holiday.

The hotel has five restaurants you can dine in:

Floating Market, which is Asian cuisine the ginger steak is unreal.

The Boathouse, is a seafood restaurant located on the beach this was by far my favourite restaurant, the food, the drinks, the atmosphere is just 10 out of 10 and we ending up dining here twice, we would have gone again but it was rented out for a wedding,

Atsuko, is their Japanese and sushi restaurant, too be honest it was ok, it’s indoors and quite small so there wasn’t much of an atmosphere, the night we went it also wasn’t very busy, our main course was very good though it was wagyu steak which you cook yourself on your table which was a great experience.

They also have ‘Simply India” and “Le Manoir Dining Room” which we unfortunately didn’t get round to trying, breakfast is also hosted in the Le Manoir. Next to Le Manoir is The 1904 bar, which is great for a drinks and a shisha after dinner.

I could go on and on about how amazing this hotel is and I’d probably lose you, so I will list below the thing included below, but honestly if you’re a couple or a family with young (Bella loved it) or older children it really is a must visit, it’s my favourite family hotel and will defiantly be returning next year.

Rating out of 10: 8/10
Child friendly: yes
Swimming pool/Beach: Yes
Activities: Kids centre, games room, cinema, football, beach games, gym, water skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, pedalo
Spa/salon: Yes (defiantly book their Kite Surfer massage)
Transportation: Yes, and if you want to go out of the hotel, they will arrange everything
Baby-sitting: Yes, we had one for one even she was fantastic and very sweet

Website: http://www.stregismauritius.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stregismauritius/?hl=en

S x

 

 

TAPAS Y BOTANICOS AT BOCA WITH CAORUNN

Stop what you’re doing… BOCA has a new menu, and it is un.real.

Chef Matthjis Stinnissen had us all going crazy again at the gastro bar, with samples of the latest menu such as the sweet potato hummus (yum), the grilled squid, roasted heritage carrots, the baked oysters, and much, much more.

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Each dish was as delish as the next, however, there was a hand’s down winner from all of us… and that was the 12 hour braised lamb.

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I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that you could cut this lamb with spoon. It was 10/10, and all the proof you need to know that Boca takes fine dining to the next level.

Luckily for us, it was a very special invitation only evening at Boca ( @bocadubai ), and we were spectators to the MMI Bar Academy  (@baracademyatmmi ) showcasing the newest cocktails made with the heavenly Caorunn (@caorunngin)

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Caorunn is a super premium Scottish gin handcrafted using only the finest pure grain spirit as well as traditional and foraged gin botanicals. (and for those of you that want that in plain English, it’s just damn tasty)

So, one by one we were treated to a fresh, new Caorunn based cocktail whilst we enjoyed Boca’s cool and chic DIFC atmosphere & here’s the verdict:

Celtic Foragers

This was unlike any cocktail I’ve ever tried before. Watching the lovely cocktail Pro start with an ‘Absinthe rinse’ I was slightly terrified, however, after just a sip through the dainty foam top, we were pleasantly surprised!

The flavor was interesting due to the strong basil infusion (we joked that it almost reminded us of pesto) however, it was actually refreshingly tasty & thankfully not overpowering from the absinthe rinse!

Ingredients used: Caorunn, absinthe rinse, simple syrup, ginger ale, lemon, aquafaba, basil leaves

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Hallogin

HELLO HEAVEN. This was gorgeous.

So fresh & fruity with the sweet pumpkin puree, this was an absolute winner for me.

With the splash of prosecco, it had many similarities to a pornstar martini, so if you’re a fan of fruity/sweet cocktails… this is the one for you!

Ingredients used: Caorunn, vermouth bianco, triple sec, prosecco, lemon, pumpkin puree

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Berrysimo

This was the beautiful, dainty, instaworthy cocktail.

Delicate pink in colour with a fluffy foam top, its adorable and a close favourite after the Hallogin!

It was so fresh with the elderflower & strawberry, the kind of cocktail you could drink all night & recommend over your instastory looking like a Princess.

Ingredients used: Caorunn, dry vermouth, elderflower cordial, lemon, fresh strawberry, aquafaba

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Atoll Pao

This was like a luxury, classy take on the classic G&T.

With infusions of peppermint tea & orange bloom honey, this if perfect for those of you that enjoy the simplicity of a good gin & tonic, however with an impressive twist.

Ingredients used: Caorunn, peppermint tea, orange blossom honey, lemon, tonic water

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So all in all, the night was a great success thanks to the wonderfully charming Omar.  And if you’re looking for good food, good gin, & good vibes… Boca is the place for you.

See you there Sweethearts.

A x

 

 

 

5 DAY WATER FAST REVIEW

Hey gorgeous guys & gals,

So I’ve been going through one of those phases of over indulging & enjoying cake just a little too much… and i’ve really felt like my body needed a good detox.
Initially the plan was to join Sian on her juicing journey, however with my late nights at the bakery & unpredictable schedule, I needed something a little bit simpler that wouldn’t take much time & effort to prepare. Then the lightbulb moment hit me & I realised… what’s easier than doing absolutely nothing?

I’m a big supporter of intermittent fasting anyway so the Curious George inside me thought ‘why not try a 5 day water fast?’
Yes you read that correctly…. 5 days of absolutely nothing but water. Easy enough to follow with just one rule to abide by, the water fast seems like the simplest option.

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Now before the keyboard warriors get their engines running… I am fully aware of the possible risks of fasting & metabolism & muscle loss blah blah blah…. i’ve done all the research & this is not my first rodeo sunshine.
Back in 2014 I did the 7 day Beyonce/Lemonade diet and lost 8 pounds and I genuinely enjoyed the experience.
These sorts of cleanses & detoxes are not for everyone, but I can certainly say they’re brilliant for slimming in to a dress quickly for a special occasion.

On another note… you can read just a few of the many articles here that explain the wondrous benefits water fasting has on your body & why its not as crazy an idea as most of us are trained to believe.

https://www.google.ae/amp/www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-7-day-water-fast/%3famp=1

https://www.nateliason.com/5-day-water-fast-health-benefits/

Anyway, along my journey I kept a short & sweet diary of my experience for anyone intrigued to see how it went….

Day 1:
60.80kg
A few hunger pangs but nothing major.. Headache towards the end of the day & and ‘slight’ irritability… (the receptionist at the nail salon said they couldn’t fit me in for a mani and I felt like she’d murdered my mum)
Although irritable, the motivation is still high by the end of the day and I’m pretty confident I can do this.

Day 2:
59.85kg
Surprisingly woke up not feeling hungry at all and slept really well!
However, lunch time came around and we were taking images of cupcakes… something switched in me and I felt like I wanted to eat the whole world. But amazingly I carried on sipping away at my water.
Headache again towards the eve.

Day 3:
59.15kg
Horrendous nights sleep, kept dreaming of food. Woke up feeling achy & weak… I am exhausted.
Todays bake was a big chocolate cake, and I noticed my sense of smell has heightened (ffs) I was washing chocolate ganache off my spatula and genuinely had to hold back from putting the whole thing in my mouth.
However, I’ve read that day 3 is usually when the body goes into full ketosis (optimum fat burning mode) so I’m extremely determined to push past it.

Day 4:
58.25kg
I woke up to the smell of bacon, I am HUNGRY. however, I don’t feel as weak this morning & have a bit more energy… hello ketosis!
But then the afternoon comes around and I’m extremely irritated, people chewing loudly has my blood boiling… Completely reasonable reaction.
4pm- i feel exhausted, my head hurts, my muscles ache, i feel miserable
5pm – i ate a cupcake

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The End.

So in conclusion, the water fast only 4 days for me. The only way I can describe it is almost like having the flu, headaches, feeling weak, achey, every step & arm movement feeling heavy. My body just wasn’t prepared for it & being on my feet all day at work was absolute torture.

I’m glad I tried it and have no regrets although it would have been great to complete the full 5 days. However, its always best to listen to your body in those situations. Don’t ever feel guilty for finishing early if thats what your body needs.

If you do decide to give it a go & have any questions or even if you just want some moral support to get you through the challenge.. give us a message at blondes who blog! We’re always happy for a chat.

Have a amazing sunny weekend, & remember to drink more water 😉

A x

LEGOLAND DUBAI

We may be a little late to the party but last weekend we visited LEGOLAND Dubai. I don’t know if other mum’s have this problem but I struggle to find activities to do with a toddler? other than f**king softplay, which we all know sucks.

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Anyway, we headed out Legoland on Friday afternoon, not really knowing what to expect other than we’d been to the one in the UK and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised.  You can pre-book tickets online as well as buy them at the ticket office, costs range depending package you’d like to go with, they also offer a discount for GCC residents making entrance only AED 165. As it’s still a little cold we didn’t plan to go to the water park, but it’s actually under construction for the next 6 weeks.

Legoland is made up of six areas as such and the first thing you come across is Legoland miniatures, which for me was the coolest part, they have Dubai and worldwide landmarks all made out of, funny enough Lego…

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They also have a kingdom area which is themed on the knights & dragons era, this is also where Legoland main roller coaster is, of course Isabella was too young but we had a go, it was alright but definitely a children’s rollercoaster.

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Another great part of the park, is all the fun fair stands, you know the games that you rarely win but you’re conceived you could win that giant teddy bear if you just do one more game, them ones. They had lots of different ones and the staff were great, really fun, upbeat, and let you have that extra go… so we came home with a blue dragon.

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There are over 40 attractions throughout the whole park, the factory, 4D cinema, submarine adventure, LEGO driving license, rescue academy, boat license and so much more but we spent most our time at the LEGO park as Isabella was just that bit too young to go on 90% of the park.

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Overall, I would definitely recommend going if your kids are aged between 4-10, its a great day out, something different and great fun. We’ll be revisiting  for sure, when little miss is a few years old.

Information:

Location: Sheikh Zayed Road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Opening times :10am to 6pm (waterpark currently closed)
Ticket price: Normal AED 235, Resident Rate: AED 165
Website: https://www.legoland.com/dubai/
Instagram: @LEGOLANDDUBAI

Love S x

 

Mum’s Know Best with…Lyndsey Carphin

This week we’re talking to the gorgeous Lyndsey Carphin from the Newcastle (a Geordie without the accent!), who has been living in Dubai for the past 4 years, and working as a retail manager as long as she can remember from Handbags, Diamonds and now cosmetics! In just a few weeks Lyndsey is going to a mummy and we talked to her all about being pregnant in Dubai and preparing for her new arrival…
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What were your initial thoughts when you found out you were pregnant?
Complete excitement and a little shocked as the baby will come before our first wedding anniversary! I wrapped up the pregnancy test for my husband coming home from work and he thought I was gifting him a pen! 
How have you find being pregnant in Dubai? 
Having a March baby I have managed to escape the extra weight in the summer heat so no complaints here! The biggest challenge is the Dubai social aspect, weekends revolve around celebrations, getting together with friends and activities! Pregnancy has certainly changed the dynamic- although great preparation for motherhood!

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How have you found working while being pregnant? 
I have worked throughout my pregnancy, attended the occasional (less than I can count on one hand) yoga class and had amazing support from my colleagues. My doctor is wonderful, I am planning a water birth at Al Zahra.
Have you had a good pregnancy?
I have to count my lucky stars, the pregnancy has been great albeit wanting to fall asleep on my laptop at midday on occasion. We don’t now the gender so that has tested my patience but contributes to the excitement!
What has been your favourite part about being pregnant? 
My bump!!
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What is your biggest worry/fear about becoming a parent? 
Hoping that I have a healthy, happy baby!
How will you be spending your finally weeks before becoming a mummy?
I am working up to the birth-  I am 1million miles per hour and love being organized so getting the house ready, meal prepping for my family and hitting the spa! 
IMG_2939Would you have any advice for mums-to-be I’m Dubai?  
Join the mummy groups. I have met some new mum’s expecting at the same time as me which has been great in sharing experiences and I look forward to coffee’s with the little one’s in a a matter of weeks!

5 Valentines Desserts in 5 Minutes

Whether you’re spending 2018 Valentines Day with your man/ your girl/ your friends, or your cat… There’s no judging here at blondeswhoblog. We just love an excuse to get loved up and eat cake.

Now, if you’re like us and you like to experiment with making your own extra special desserts and treats… we have the perfect video for you try out.

With options such as chocolate dipped strawberries for the beginners, to a chocolate box inspired fondant cake for the daredevil bakers… this video has the best options for you to surprise your loved ones and kick start that romantic evening.

 

Love A x

Mum’s Know Best with Carol Shenton – Relocating to the UK.

Our Mum’s Know Best series is back, we’ll be talking to mum’s from all walks of life from new mum’s, young mum’s, stay at home mum’s, working mum’s…we’ve got them all!!
This week we’re talking to Carol Shenton who after 6 years in the UAE has recently relocated to the UK with her family, she tells us about her new life in Cheshire and how Dubai will always be somewhere special…
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Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Carol, American born and raised. Lived all over America, mainly in New Jersey and California for most of my years. I have the sweetest one year old daughter named Isabelle. I met my husband and spent our recent years In Dubai, even our daughter was born there but, we have now decided to relocate to Cheshire area of England. After 6 & half years in Dubai, we decided to move back for Isabelle to be close to her grandparents. His parents live here in England and mine are 6-7hour flight in Florida instead of 14hours from Dubai.
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What was the hardest thing during the transition? Not seeing sunshine everyday is the hardest thing. In Dubai the sun must be out 350 days of the year lol! The UK is so cold at the moment and I’m still adjusting to all the layers Isabelle and I have to put on before leaving the house, I had to change our wardrobes completely!

I miss having the beach at my doorstep. When we lived in Marina it was so easy to leave the house and walk to amazing food spots right on the beach. Growing up in California beach life has always been a big part of me. And that’s something that I will probably always truly miss aside from all the lovely friends I made there. Another thing I will miss is how close you become with friends. Most turn into family.

 

How is little Isabelle handling the cold weather of the UK? She’s picked up a couple of small colds but she gets soooo excited when the cold breeze hits her face. I think she’s handled it much better than me haha.

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What advice would you give to families leaving Dubai to relocate? Honestly, I would make sure you’re 100% set on your decision, it’s such a big change that you can’t go into it half-hearted, I say this because most people will take a pay cut and a completely new lifestyle. Some days you’ll find yourself sat, missing Dubai and your old life that you’ll need to remind yourself why you left in the first place, I sure do! I think if I was moving from Dubai to Cali I would probably be too busy to think about Dubai that often, but moving from such a fast paced city to the countryside has been the most difficult challenge. I do love my new life and the people here are lovely but it will probably take me a few years to get accustomed.

 

On the other hand, it’s so refreshing to be around fresh air and seasons again. The UK is filled with so many beautiful places to go on road trips too. I have fresh food on my doorstep and summer is no longer going to be a struggle! I look forward to spending more time with the family and making lots of memories.

Dubai you always hold a big place in my heart…

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Amy – Essex to Dubai

Moving to Dubai was an easy and exciting decision to make…

Luckily for me, my best friend was already there waiting for me and we had an amazing new addition; my Goddaughter Isabella. I felt like I had missed a lot of the milestones whilst living so many miles away, so I knew I was making the right decision when I booked my flight for 17th September (10 days before Bella’s 1st birthday).

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The 17th came around quick and as expected, my excitement turned to nerves. To pack up my whole life and leave everyone I love behind, was the toughest thing I’ve ever experienced. I questioned if I was making the right decision constantly and toyed with the idea of cancelling my flight to resume my okay lifestyle in Brentwood. But instead, I pushed past the fear and packed my suitcase.

So my Dubai experience was off to a perfect start when I was seated next to the silver fox businessman with an American accent on my flight. I had originally planned to sit at my window seat and sleep away the 7 hour flight with my headphones in to avoid any human contact… But when wine and great chat came as a pair, the 7 hours was over before I knew it. I was hoping this was a sign of what was to come.

I felt like I may need a miracle as I had moved to Dubai with no job, no place to live, and only a handful of friends in the UAE. Staying on your best friend’s sofa when you’re unemployed and watching her live her dream life with a husband, child and great job was the kick I needed to get the ball rolling. Day 1 would be purely focused on job searching and apartment searching. NO TANNING ALLOWED.

1 week in and I was no longer on the sofa. I found a 2-storey penthouse in the Marina, full of young professionals to live with, and finally I felt some independence. 3 days later, I have a job for a very successful investment company in DIFC and I finally feel like I can relax, knowing I won’t be struggling for rent in the months to come.

However, week 2 hits and I still feel like something is missing. I wasn’t loving life in the Essex as I was working a mediocre office job and never felt excited for the work I was doing. In the back of my head, I imagined living in the sun and surrounded by palm trees would change that feeling… but I quickly realized that wasn’t the case and I felt unfulfilled once again.

Sian had always told me that Dubai had much more opportunity than the UK, and that if you really wanted to pursue a career in something you love, this was the place to make that happen. So, why not at least try?

My original life plan was to one day retire and own a cute little bakery where I could spend my days in an apron, drinking endless cups of tea. I hadn’t really thought much on how I was going to get there, always being scared of failure and the anxiety of not succeeding. But I knew I couldn’t carry on working these jobs that meant nothing to me.

Less than 2 months later… I was starting a new job that I could only dream about. A job I would never have had the chance to do back in the UK. A job that I wake up excited to go to in the mornings.IMG_4040

Now, I’m 3 months in and the homesickness is long gone.

With 90% of people living in Dubai being expats, you’re surrounded by like minded people that are all in the same boat. People that want to be successful, make money, and yet still enjoy the nightlife throughout the week…

Dubai has allowed me pursue the career and lifestyle I’ve always wanted with ease, and I can happily picture myself here for the next few years.

So if you’re thinking of moving here:

1) Just do it! And give yourself at least 3 months before even thinking of going home. (We all have homesick days)

2) If you’re not hearing back from recruiters whilst applying from the UK, don’t worry they only tend to care if you’re in Dubai (take the plunge!)

3) On arrival apply for EVERYTHING, you’re dream job, something you’ve not done before, Dubai is a place where you achieve anything.

4) Find a great friend with a sofa for at least 2 weeks… and if you’re half as lucky as I was, you may get to wake up to a face like this every morning…

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Love A x

Three places to take the kids this weekend.

As a newish mum, I’m always looking for places/activities to get my little one out of the house and do something a little different from going to the Westin every Friday (thanks Privilee!). Three places we came across last weekend were:

  1. Green Planet – City Walk: located in the fairly new City walk, green planet is a giant bio-dome, with the world’s largest indoor man-made tree, they have over 3,000 plants and animals within the dome including two super adorable Sloths. Green planet is spread across four platforms, the canopy, the midstory, forest floor and flooded rain forest,  they have everything from Sloths, monkeys, parrots, insects, fish and turtles. It’s the only place where you can experience so many different species in one place, however Green Planet is very much a one time visit, it takes roughly an hour or just over to experience the whole dome, if you’re thinking of venturing out to City Walk I would defiantly recommend a visit, children under 3 are completely free, 3 – 12 years are AED 70 and Adults are AED 95 bonus it’s also on the entertainer so it’s great value for money!

Website: http://www.thegreenplanetdubai.com/en
Instagram: @TheGreenPlanetDubai
Contact: 800 637227

2. Butterfly Garden – near Arabian Ranches: I absolutely loved this place, it’s located next to Dubai’s Miracle garden. The butterfly garden is made up of 3 different domes/gardens which have a stunning selection of gorgeous butterflies, plants and interior. The first room you enter before the dome is butterfly art, now I have read a few reviews regarding the use of ‘dead’ butterflies used for images, however I really don’t know enough information to comment…anyway, as you enter the first dome it’s so peaceful, honestly I felt so calm as we walked in, they’re a butterflies everywhere, flying around, resting on plants and on the floor (mind you step), Isabella absolutely loved looking at all the nature elements and following the butterflies, I was a little nerve when butterflies were landing on the push-chair (haha). Each dome has a slightly different layout a feel, however the whole experience doesn’t take very long so I would defiantly recommend tying it in with a visit to the Miracle Garden to make a day of it. After the garden domes, there is cute little cafe, playroom and a small cinema area. I would defiently reccomend a visit to the Butterfly Garden, it is open daily from 9am – 6pm, and tickets only cost AED50.

Website: http://www.dubaibutterflygarden.com/
Instagram: @dubaibutterflygarden
Contact: 04 422 8902

3. Cheeky Monkeys – Dubai Marina: I’ve never been a huge fan of softplay centres, too many children, germs and just an hour of complete stress. However, last Friday we ventured out Cheeky Monkeys, and to my dismay it was great fun (well Bella enjoyed it), firstly it was empty apart from one other child, Isabella and her friend had the whole centre to play freely, they had fantastic interactions lights, water slide, merry-go-round, ball pit, trampoline,  supermarket and climbing frames. I believe cheeky monkeys can be pretty hectic during the week but Friday mornings is a breeze. Cheeky monkeys is suitable for children aged 10 months – 8 years. Entry is just 50AED and there is also a cafe to grab a drink and snack while the little ones burn of some energy!

Website: http://www.cheekymonkeys.com/
Instagram: @cheekymonkeys.uae
Contact: 04 385075

If you have any recommendations on places to take the little ones, drop us a comment! x

 

 

 

 

Isabella’s first birthday at Fume

When planning Isabella’s first birthday, initially in my head I had this huge garden party with hundreds of balloons, a bouncy castle, a swimming pool and a magical unicorn serving rainbow ice cream (yes I day dream) however, I soon realised ones budget doesn’t stretch that far, especially for a day that Isabella wouldn’t actually remember. Also, even at the end of September it’s still far too hot to be drinking pimms in the garden, so I went for the most Dubai option there is for birthdays, brunch.

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Top of my list, was somewhere super kid friendly and somewhere Isabella could crawl around. I had heard of a few family friendly brunches but one that kept coming up on mum groups and Instagram was Fume Kids brunch for 30AED! Every Friday and Saturday Fume set up a children’s play pen with toys, colouring table and a little buffet bar for just 30AED, the kiddies food includes pizzas, mini burgers, chips, pasta, vegetables, carrot sticks, popcorn and ice cream! It really is good value for money.

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Fume thought about the parents too, for just 199AED per person you can have a selection of wines, beer and cocktails including their infamous “ultimate gins”,  the food is served to the table, on sharing platters. The adults menu includes a selection of starters, and for mains they offer ribs, mac and cheese, pasta, meatballs and sliders, yeah the food is pretty basic but again, great value.

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If you’re looking for somewhere great for the all the family, able to eat without your child hanging off you then fume is a great shout, be warned there are children everywhere and one thing that was a little frustrating, there is no age limit on the play pen so lets just say there were a few older kids trying to smash stuff up and mummy had to step in when a few blocks were being thrown.

 

Location: Fume, Pier 7, Marina
Timings: 12-4pm, Friday & Saturday
Children’s brunch: 30AED
Adults brunch package: 199AED
Contact: +971 4 421 5669