Tag Archives: Best mummy blog Dubai

My top 10 European retail websites for Mums and kids to try

On my recent trip to London, friends tried to encourage me to shop for myself but these days I prefer to buy for my babies. Before I left for London, I had already spent a great deal of time on Amazon.co.uk buying books, toys, and gifts for my children and my friend’s children, and whenever I am in London, I love my usual trawl through Peter Jones, Waterstones and Waitrose looking for much of the same.

However, I wanted something different this time.  As always, I always get inspired when I travel, and this trip back to London after 3 years was no different. It was fun seeing new trends in baby gear and wear from just walking down the Kings Road – the SW3 trendy mums were not buying on the high street but they were buying from new trendy online stores because online delivery in the UK is so much more sophisticated and advanced. Please note I haven’t purchased anything yet from these websites but I fell in love with these products and websites (they will have to go on next month’s credit card bill). All I can say is thank goodness for shop and ship.

#1 www.wonder.casatto.com
These prams have been created in true British design with thought and elegance.  The limited edition prams have three main design themes with the Hepburn being my favourite.  The designs are inspired by other top historical designs and celebrities; the Hepburn is based on the Leica camera design with a touch of Audrey Hepburn. It is sad that I discovered them now as my children no longer require them, nor can I really justify the expense. I have been until now very faithful to my Bug-a-boo but you mummies who have a pram addiction (yes, you know who you are), these prams are the Rolls Royce of prams.

#2 www.smallable.com
This gorgeous luxurious online shop in Paris has 450 brands for all things baby, children and teens has also opened a store in the heart of Paris. I shall certainly be making purchases from this store – not your typical high street fashion but more traditional styles evoking memories of an era gone by. French chic to the core – just fingers crossed that my daughter will wear the clothes that I buy for her.

#3 www.lullabuy.co.uk
If you love gorgeous wooden toys and furniture, this is that well-thought out designed store that can help you decorate that nursery for the first time. I love the Retro Ride on Speedster Car in red for my boys. I am just making sure that I am not overloading the playroom with yet more stuff!

#4 www.Fancykids.com
I am overwhelmed by the types of products and clothes in this store. Everything has been so well thought out. Top favourites have to be the natural rubber bathtoys as I try to avoid plastic toys in the bath. Genius. Their luxurious clothing line include Marie-Chantal, Go Baby Go and Manoko which is a great moveaway from your typical fashion designers. I truly believe that children should wear children clothes for as long as possible.

#5 www.letoyvan.com
These are great wooden toys with quality paints designed in the UK, and they are ethically made in Indonesia. They make children’s play kitchens, castles, playmates, motor planes & garages and so much more.

#6 www.gltc.co.uk
This is better known as the General Little Trading Company, and I know that friends from Dubai have often ordered from the online website, winner as Best Children’s Retailer 2015. It is amazing to trawl through its super well-planned site, easy to navigate, and a brilliant amount of things to buy at affordable prices.

#7 www.toyjeanius.co.uk
This is a website for smart kids. This suits tiger mums like myself looking for alternative pre-school toys to expose our kids to. They are not your conventional toys, and the colours are bright and eye-catching and perfect for memory games, puzzles, matching toys and much more.

#8 www.mercimamanboutique.com
If you are trying like me to get away from mass production gifts, the web today offers an opportunity to find sweet well-thought out gifts. Such a gem of a website with beautifully designed jewellery that you can engrave for mum or a new born.

#9 www.my1styears.com
Another website to purchase personalized keepsake gifts from christening photo albums to dressing gowns. These are the gifts that will be treasured for years to come.

#10 www.partypieces.co.uk

Owned by the Duchess of Cambridge’s mother, Carole Middleton, the West Berkshire party business. The successful party business is still run from the family’s barn, and you can purchase all your child’s party theme from the website.  Classic favourites like Peter Rabbit for first birthday parties can be found on there plus more modern Disney Princesses too.

Travel | Extra ideas to pack away to entertain the children for those rainy afternoons abroad

We are heading East this summer (we are saving our location as a surprise), and there are high chances of monsoon so what to do with the children when it rains?  Whether you are heading East or facing rainy days in the UK, you will probably find it worth packing a few extra activities in your suitcase.  Also, for those travelling back to Europe or the US to catch up with friends, it will keep the kids entertained whilst you are catching up with old friends and family.

#Caterpillar Colour palettes

The compact art set has 87 pieces including colouring pencils, paint set with brush and much more and it only retails at AED70 for the set.  With the 4 children I can only imagine that we will be using this everyday of the holiday.

#A juggling set

I am trying to teach my 6 year old son how to juggle.  It is small, light and compact – for child size hands.  It will help with motor skills and can replace the need for kicking a ball indoors.  Also, my 4-year girl is learning to catch, and my 2-year old is very enthusiastically trying to copy his older sibling.  This little juggling set can really target those motor skills, and a great item for dad to show off his ‘amazing’ juggling skills.

#Travel Games

It’s a great way to have a laugh with the family, to chit chat, argue, fight, and to expand your children’s vocabulary to play traditional travel games.   We love our little playing card games sets that comes with dice.  It really helps the children visualise numbers, with their counting and co-ordination.  We have also included family favourites like snap, snakes and ladders and connect 4.

#Colouring placemats

I have found I can distract hungry children for 15 minutes with these colour placemats – they are great to bring to restaurants whilst waiting for your meals.  They are our alternative to IPADs.  There is a time and place for IPAD technology but we don’t ever believe in using them at the dining table – it’s important to teach your children ‘the art of conversation’.  Even if you have playdates with friends coming round it is really fantastic to keep them amused whilst dinner is still in the oven.

#Weekly Calendars

They are great for the holidays if you are not travelling.  You can plan out one or two activities chosen by the children, and some summer camps.  The Weekly Calendars come in an array of designs and perfect for super organised mums.

All these products are available at the following retailers.  Or please follow @pinakgeneraltradingdubai on Instagram.

Kinokuniya at Dubai Mall

Jashanmal at Mall of Emirates,

Favourite Things at Marina Mall,

Kids HQ at Barsha,

Caboodle at City Walk & Dubai Mall and Galleria Mall Abu Dhabi,

Choithrams (Umm Suqeim branch, Al Wasl branch, Marina branch, Green Community branch and DIFC)

Zoom (Hessa Street branch, South Barsha branch, Umm Ramool branch, Sheikh Zayed Road behind Rotana hotel, Tecom branch, Al Khail road towards Abu Dhbai, Nad Al Hammar, Mizhar branch, DAFZA, Burjuman metro station and the branch across the Latifa Hospital and both the branches at New bypass road (or the new Emirates road)).

Sharjah Ladies Club at The Collage Centre


A private tour guide for your visitors | UAE

Your private travel guide in and around the UAE who speaks English, Italian and French – great for your visiting family and friends.

We have been living in Dubai now for over 6 years, and we think we have seen everything until that is we speak to Victor Casse, the owner of Visiter Dubai, and our personal friend and favourite tour guide in the UAE.

These are our quick reasons to book your private guide

#If you need to entertain family and friends

#If there are language barriers French | Italian | English

#If you love history

#If you like something off the beaten track

#If you want to escape the hordes of tourists

#If you want to travel with ease and get someone else to organise your day

#If family and friends do repeat trips to the UAE

If you are nodding at some of the above then read on.

Since we had cost centre number 3 and number 4, the number of guests that we have had to stay has fallen dramatically but we don’t blame them.  It is not much of a holiday if you stay with us and our brood.  However, I do know many friends who have their endless visitors.

We all love our guests but whilst they are on holiday, we are still doing the school run or working.  It is hard to palm off the family to the mall on their own – I don’t know about you but I feel guilty.

Victor is that bridging solution to arrange the family to be entertained for the day but he isn’t your typical commercial company that you are lumping your parents or friends onto. Victor normally looks after VIPs as well as corporate executives companies like L’Oreal who require a French speaking guide and services, as well as accompanying some French speaking executives to meetings to help with translation and to bring them a very well documented insight on the UAE.

Who is Victor? 

Not only is Victor a qualified and professional translator but he is a historian buff having graduated from the University of Paris in History, and later studying International Affairs at the Sciencepo in Paris, and has a Master degree in History from La Sorbonne in Paris.  He has lived in Dubai for over 5 years with his wife and two sons.

How does it work?

Victor, himself, will pick up a party of up to 5 passengers (for larger families, he can arrange bespoke transportation, just ask him), and take them on a either a half or whole day trip and the price includes the transport, water, entrance and Victor as your personal guide.  Prices start around AED1,400

Where can you go?

The day can be a bespoke tour into Abu Dhabi to see historical sites or the different museum projects, or a Pear tour in Dubai, a full day in Al Ain to see the historical forts or jut a generic tour.

For more information on Victor and the types of tours you can expect please go to www.visiterdubai.fr/en/

The box that made me who I am | by Roos Kriek |

Moving: it’s such a hassle. The whole idea of going to a new place is exiting and finding a new home is as well. The packing and unpacking, however, is a nightmare. Yes, I did go through all my stuff before boxing it up and tried to throw out as much as possible. So why, when it comes to unpacking am I left wondering why on earth I’m still carrying around a box with old school notes?

It’s only when I sit down and start reading that I begin to understand. These were the notes that we passed around in class about 25 years ago (being able to write that makes me feel old!) – and they crack me up. Life was all about who you sit next to on the bus, who gets invited to the party of the popular boy and fights between girls because ‘she ignored her and then she thought that it was because of that and then she thought it was on purpose….’
How can I possibly get rid of these – this is my past. These totally irrelevant conversations written on various scraps of paper made me the person I am today. Not being asked to dance by the popular boy gave me the opportunity to find the one I am with today.

But hang on. Am I romanticizing this box of teenage angst? My kids (both boys) will probably not be interested in this very girl-related stuff anyway. So why do I keep it, moving the box around with me through all these years?

Maybe no reasons are required. And whatever the case, I can’t toss them out now. I will store the box at the back of a cupboard (again) and will go through it when organizing our next move (again). So, until that time and when I come across it (doubtless looking for something else at the back of the cupboard), I will simply think of it as ‘the box that made me who I am’.

Roos Kriek, dutch mum of two children, aged 2 years and 5 months, moved to Dubai two months ago and has been writing for her own blog magontheblog.com for 2 years now. She now contributes to seashellsonthepalm.com .