Happy Thursday to all of you! I know I know its been forever plus I was supposed to upload my travel diary as soon as we got back but life is just getting more and more hectic! We are moving into our dream home in December just in time for Christmas and I cannot wait. But I am spending so much time picking out fabrics and wallpapers (which I love doing!) and its keeping me super busy plus I have no nanny at the moment so time for work is..well I don’t get a lot done lets put it that way. Had the 20 week scan today and our baby is healthy – and no we didn’t find out the gender 🙂 With the girls we always found out around week 12 through the Harmony Test (highly recommend this btw we always go to the Fetal Medicine Centre) but this time we decided not to and its been surprisingly easy. I didn’t even feel tempted at the scan – I know it will be such an incredible surprise at the end so I would rather wait.
So for today’s post I wanted to share a little about our trip to Dubai. Truly one of my favourite holidays so far. Before we had children neither of us had ever really thought about going to Dubai for a holiday – somehow we always ended up booking a holiday in the Caribbean (my absolute fav!), the Maldives, LA or somewhere exotic and entirely new. Im not sure why because now having been a few times I am sure we would have loved it even before having kids, but what I definitely can say is that it is SO child friendly so definitely one we will keep going back to for the next few years. You are guaranteed sunshine, great hotels, lots of amazing restaurants (they have some of my London favourites such as La Petite Maison, Scalini, Coya etc), so much to do for children and its only a 6.5 hour flight from London. We took a night flight there and daytime flight back (but even that was ok – the girls napped for 2 hours and then the rest of the time its short enough to keep the girls entertained) and it is just easy.
One of the most asked questions I got during our holiday was do we travel with a nanny. I am honest and open and I really don’t mind answering these sorts of questions – I guess not much point in writing blog posts if I am not but I do sometimes wonder why does it matter either way? I said it before but you truly have to do what works for you as a family and I am all about whatever makes you be a better mother (or feel relaxed on holiday.) We did not travel with a nanny this time. But we have done before. Before Anoushka was born when we only had Mila we never took our nanny with us- we travelled alot and it never even crossed my mind to bring someone along. It was our family time and we found it so bonding and we loved it. Then when Anoushka was born we reconsidered – mainly because we feared it might not feel like a holiday without a nanny there to lend a pair of extra hands. I am aware that we are lucky that we have the choice – and so we decided to try it out so our nanny at the time came to LA with us in March, to a couple of weddings with us in the summer (which was actually key because we didn’t want to leave the girls behind but wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise!), as well as the South of France and then Ibiza in the summer. But after those trips my husband and I decided it wasn’t for us. Don’t get me wrong it was great to have a pair of extra hands and we loved our nanny, but the problem is we are both very hands on and it just didn’t feel like we needed her that much. I am a control freak at the best of times – honestly I am so OCD I probably drive most people mad – and so I would end up doing most things myself anyways. And it also didn’t feel like a family holiday – constantly having someone around however close you are to them. However we take the girls out alot with us because they sleep in their prams which I realise is not for everyone – so we never really had to think about a babysitter.
Our nanny left in August after almost two years with us and since then I haven’t been able to find anyone that I really like so I would rather do it alone for now. But as I said different things work for different families and ultimately I do want to get someone again just to lend an extra pair of hands day to day especially when the new baby arrives. And as for the holiday, when we booked it we thought if it gets stressful we can put the girls in the kids club for a few hours a day but we never did. Not once. I can truly say it was relaxing – I think they are both at the age where its sort of easy. Mila is very independent and although we play with her most of the time, she is also happy to sit for a little in the sand and play alone. And Anoushka has always been quite chilled. But I do think the destination plays an important role in this – there was just so much to do in Dubai especially for Mila’s age and up so for the next few years I think we will keep going back to easy places such as Dubai. But who knows after three children – maybe we will change our mind and decide we would like to travel with a nanny again…
We went to Dubai with Mila when she was around 8 months old – just before I found out I was pregnant with Anoushka. We had a great time but somehow this time we enjoyed it much more. Last time we stayed at The One&Only Palm (I also liked this hotel) but this time we decided to try something different and stayed at The Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach. Definitely one of the most child friendly hotels I have stayed in – just little touches which you really notice. Personalised toys for the girls. Get well messages for Anoushka when she got her ear infection. I love that the hotel has 4 restaurants but that it is also next to Scalini & Coya (as in you literally walk out of one door of the hotel and they are right there) because even if the food is amazing at your hotel you do get bored after a while eating at the same places every night. The food was decent – I am quite picky and I wouldn’t say it was mindblowing but it was good. And they always made such an effort with the girls and preparing food for them. The One&Only is lovely but I didn’t love the location because its all the way at the end of The Palm and so took forever to get anywhere.
Another question I got asked a lot whilst we were away was how do I get my girls to fall asleep in their prams (and stay asleep!) I honestly don’t have an answer – all babies are so different so what works for us might not work for another baby. All I can say is that my girls have the exact same routine every single day – lunch nap from 1-3 and bedtime at 7pm. I have taken both out alot since they were babies – I always stuck to the routine but to me it never mattered where the naps took place. Of course they slept in their own rooms alot but they also napped in prams, in cars, in my bed. And maybe because of that they aren’t fussed. Anoushka is out like a light at 7pm sometimes even 6:30 and Mila sometimes takes a bit longer but I am happy to stroll with her until she falls asleep, which luckily doesn’t often take very long. I usually do the exact same bedtime routine but instead of putting them to bed in their cots I put them to sleep in their pram. And then when we come back I just move them very quietly back into the cot. I have always preferred to have them with us and up until this trip we never used a babysitter. But we decided to try this time for a few evenings – there is something a bit different about going out for dinner just the two of you and really relaxing. The Four Seasons uses a specific company and I have to say the nannies were absolutely amazing.
And now onto all our favourite things in Dubai. I have listed them below to make it easier!
Restaurants – there are so many to choose from but here are a few that
- Flamingo Room
- Il Borro (we didn’t actually go here as we didn’t have time but I heard from sooooo many people that its amazing so next time for sure!!)
- La Petite Maison
Fun things for children – I was amazed at how much there was for children to do! Of course we had days of being by the pool or beach but we are quite active with my husband and love to get out and explore so we tried lots of places that were recommended to us. Below is a list and all of these were great!
- OliOli – an interactive play museum
- Citywalk – this is where Playtown is located but the rest of it was fun too!
- La Mer – an outside shopping area but it also has a small water park, an outdoor trampoline park Mila loved called Hawa Hawa (although I would say go on a cloudy day which is what we did – in the sun I think its way too hot!) and lots of other attractions.
- The Aquarium at The Dubai Mall
- The Dubai Mall in general was amazing. As a side note if you love shopping like me the new Fashion Avenue part is so stunning (and quiet!!) and I am always a fan of Bloomingdales so was thrilled to see they had one. Apparently Kidzania is also amazing but Mila & Anoushka were too young. You can also watch the fountains in the evening which can be quite magical.
- Miracle Garden – this was recommended to us by someone but we went last time and perhaps it was just an off day but personally I found it such a disappointment.
- Museum of Illusions Dubai – apparently amazing but we didn’t get a chance to go.
Getting Around – We got the Four Seasons to arrange their own cars with car seats for us whenever we went out but there is also an app apparently called Karim which is like Uber but with a car seat included! Another option is to rent a car but depends how much you plan on venturing out.
I think October was a lovely time to go – it was hot but not unbearable and it was really warm in the evenings. I wore lots of long sleeves in the evening mainly because it gets so cold inside with the air conditioning but if you are sitting outside you can of course wear less.
Oh and for anyone thinking of staying at The Four Seasons, they have plenty of other great amenities such as a hair salon. I really am awful at curling my own hair and after a few days of beach frizz its a nice treat to get your hair sorted out! They also have a spa which looked amazing but I don’t like going to the spa when pregnant mainly because I love a proper firm massage and so it always seems pointless getting one because no one wants to do that on a pregnant woman!
That’s it really – I am still planning on doing a separate travel post at some point focusing on travelling alone with children because I did that a few times in the summer but if anyone has any specific questions then let me know! But something that has been amazing to travel with are the Keep Em Quiet packs – I try to avoid iPad’s at all costs so these are a great way to keep Mila entertained! I truly recommend Dubai as a holiday destination if you want a really relaxing time. And I promise some fashion edits coming up soon xxxx