Tag Archives: Seashellsonthepalm.com

My favourite artwork for 2016 | Arkham Creative | Tariq Sharif

Quote ‘Seashellsonthepalm’ to get your discount.

37 year-old Artist Tariq Sharif was born in Bahrain, but grew up in the UK, and he is creator and owner of Arkham Creative, who was previously a marketing manager for a telecom company in Bahrain.  Tariq recently moved to Abu Dhabi and discovered his creative talent to essentially make portraits from ‘shredded paper’.  We talk to him about his newfound talent that has been very popular with family portraits.  They make beautiful gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, and even a perfect present for grandparents.

What inspired you to start the first piece of your incredible art work?

It all started from a printing problem I had back in 2013, there was a certain color I wanted for a print but couldn’t get match I was looking for, so I took the colored paper that I wanted and decided to cut out what I wanted with blades and to my surprise, it turned out better than I thought, then I was rushed to the hospital because I have cut myself a couple of times and had some blood loss, blades are very sharp by the way.

Can you share with us if you could pick 5 celebrities in the world to create your paper art on?

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Michael Jordan, Robin Williams, Emma Watson & Femka Jensen

Name three of your favourite artists?

Gary Larsen (comic artest), Todd McFarlen (Spiderman & Spawn Comics) Jim Lee & Frank Miller ( comic book artists)

You also do children’s portraits, how long is the process if a mum is interested in ordering one?

The process begins with the mum selecting her favorite picture of her child, I will revert back with a demo of what the image will look like, after that it will take about 2-3 days, the time lapse video will also be sent at the same time

What is the best way to get in touch with you if potential clients are interested in the art?

Potiential clients can contact me direct on my Instagram channel @arkhamcreative or they can email me direct Arkhamcreative@gmail.com but if you really want to get a discount contact me through Seashells on the Palm to take advantage on getting your hands pieces of art that a truly personal.

Watch Tariq’s creative art from The Links on Youtube

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.

Five Luxury Holidays for Families over the UAE National Day Holidays | Lightfoot Travel Dubai

For families looking to travel during the upcoming UAE National Day Holidays, our friends at tailor-made travel company, Lightfoot Travel, have picked their top five luxury destinations that are fantastic for families and parents alike!


The Maldives is best known for its crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and plethora of luxury hotels – each on its own private island no less (the best ones anyway)! There are activities for kids of all ages available from the moment you step out of your beach or overwater villa – snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, dolphin cruises and fishing, and many properties have their own diving schools for older kids who want to learn to scuba dive. Maldives hotels are also known for their phenomenal Kid’s Clubs, with many having specific facilities for both younger children and teens.

Where to stay: One&Only Reethi Rah

A property with some of the most beautiful villas in the Maldives, One&Only Reethi Rah is also known for its family friendliness. There’s a dedicated KidsOnly Club (ages 4 and up) with its own pool, clubhouse and plenty of outdoor activities such as treasure hunts and sports. Older kids can keep busy with a separate roster of activities such as tennis and swimming lessons, sushi-making classes and lifeguarding lessons. Reethi Rah is also a large hotel, giving families ample dining choices and plenty of space to explore, with none of that stuck-on-an-island feeling.

#Sri Lanka

For such a little country, the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka sure packs a big punch when it comes to diversity – from the ancient cities of the Cultural Triangle and wildlife-rich safari parks, to colonial hill stations and golden beaches. Properties range from big brand hotels and beachfront resorts to private luxury villas and charming boutique accommodation – there is something to fit everyone! Travelling within Sri Lanka is safe and convenient, there are none of the food safety scares that are widespread in neighbouring India, and Sri Lankans are exceptionally warm, welcoming and love children.

Where to stay: Taylors Hill and Last House

Taylors Hill is a lovely five-room boutique hotel in Sri Lanka’s tea region. Two of the rooms can accommodate extra beds for families with young children, and the chef will happily adapt meals for young palates. There’s an infinity-edge swimming pool with views over the hills, tennis and badminton courts, croquet lawn and a children’s playroom. Sister property, Last House, is a six-bedroom seaside escape set on two acres of grassy lawn that is perfect for picnics and games. The Cinnamon Suite is particularly well suited for families with a large double bedroom upstairs, and two twin bedrooms downstairs for the little ones. Lightfoot Travel has a special Family Offer for combined stays at these two properties during the National Day break. This includes Stay 3 Pay 2 at Taylors Hill with a family lunch on the house, followed by a complimentary cooking class or head massage with three nights spent at The Last House.


With majestic animals, sweeping grasslands, vibrant culture and first-rate lodges and camps, Kenya gives you a safari experience like nowhere else. Cap off your time spent in the bush with a few days on the beach, and you’ve got yourself the perfect combination of safari and sea for the National Day holidays. For something that the children will never forget, an overnight in Nairobi at the beginning or end of the itinerary could mean a stay at the legendary Giraffe Manor, where these peaceful, iconic animals will join you for breakfast!

Where to stay: Sala’s Camp

Sala’s Camp is one of the few places in Africa where children of all ages are welcome. Special safari programs see spotters teaching young guests the secrets of the bush, and children are able to join game drives with their parents and see the animals up close. Parents will enjoy sundowners overlooking the incredible natural scenery that unfolds over the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and dinners served outdoors under the brightly starlit Kenyan skies.

#Phuket, Thailand

While no stranger to tourism, Phuket still tops our list of favourite family beach destinations due to its incredible mix of properties, clear and calm beaches, impeccable service and simple convenience – once you arrive you can literally kick back and not have to lift a finger until you leave. With direct flights from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this is the ultimate in easy “fly-and-flop” relaxation.

Where to stay: Trisara Phuket

Trisara’s kid’s club, located in a dedicated pavilion for those between the ages of 4 and 16, and is supervised by qualified child minders. Outdoor activities include sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and island hopping cruises. Meanwhile, parents can indulge in a couple’s spa treatment, play a round of golf at a nearby course, or head into town for a parent’s night out. The infinity pool villas are also some of the best we’ve seen on the entire island!


Beyond the glitz and glamour of the resorts in the Seychelles, this island nation is an eco-tourism paradise with lush jungle trails, countless native bird species and world-class diving amongst rainbow-coloured reefs full of marine life. Properties are often situated on larger islands than in the Maldives, which bring added opportunities for hiking amidst the forested interiors. Additionally, being just a 4.5-hour flight from Dubai, it’s incredibly easy for families with even very young children to make the flight over.

Where to stay: Desroches Island Resort

One of the most spectacular properties in the Seychelles, Desroches Island Resort is also one of the best for families. Its Kid’s Haven provides educational activities in a wonderful outdoor setting, and encourages parents to get involved as well. The island is incredibly safe, and parents can rest assured that it is malaria-free, which means no vaccines necessary. There are no dangerous animals, insects or snakes; and you don’t have to worry about cars as there are no tar roads. The whole island is essentially a parent’s dream when it comes to providing a safe and fun-filled environment for kids of all ages. Plus – it is home to an impressive number of giant tortoises, a Seychelles speciality that will enchant children and adults alike!

Lightfoot Travel is a Dubai-based luxury tour operator specialising in tailor-made family holidays, honeymoons, private villas and corporate travel to countries spanning seven continents. Visit lightfoottravel.com or call +971 4 455 8788 for further details.

How much is too much? | Do we go crazy with after-school activities in Dubai?

I am not judging anyone here as I don’t think I have found the right answer to my own question.  I think after-school activities are great, and in Dubai there has been a boom over the last 2 years of acting classes, children’s gyms, dancing classes, and other sports activities and the quality can compete with some of the offerings available in London and other major cities, but often with choice can come confusion too and it can be overwhelming at times for parents. A typical 4 year-old kid in Dubai can have swimming lessons, gymnastics, ballet, Maths lessons, violin lessons, in a week.  Is that right or wrong?  Everyone will tell you a very different opinion.

Perhaps when Dubai was lacking I felt better not having to make that choice all the time.  Then again, the problem that I face here in Dubai would be no different to any other parent in other major cities. There are moments when I think my children are over-pressured, and there are other moments when I think they should be striving for more.  Or is it my personal FOMO – Fear of Missing Out?

David Beckham, The Williams Tennis Sisters, and Tiger Woods are products of their parents support – kudos to their devotion.  But I know that’s not what I want for my children either.

Most mums feels panicky after a coffee morning with other parents at their respective schools – yes, there is always that ‘mum’ who brings out your mummy insecurities who relishes in in telling you how much she is doing for her child.  I am always cautious about keeping a strong lid on the natural tiger mum in me when I get the ‘fear’ that my children are not doing enough.  (I am from Singapore after all and raised by my tiger mum to whom I am grateful for the values she instilled in me).

The question is do I just let my children chill out at home after-school or discipline them, mould them and stimulate them with tutors and after school clubs?

I often ask mums with older or adult children especially those in Far East Asia about finding that balance.  For them, they don’t see the harm in keeping the children busy with activities, sports and homework – I agree, it keeps my children away from iPads and iPhones.  The children from Singapore and Hong Kong have been doing this hardcore system for years – it has always been the Chinese way.  I know, because I was one of them till I was 10 years old – I was part of a newer generation of kids who were worked from morning until night to achieve – tutors were common back in the 1980s in the Far East.  There are pluses and minuses as an adult of that system, one of my major downsides is that I don’t know how to relax or I feel guilty so I relish in work.  However, it has instilled in me a good work ethic which I believe is crucial as an adult.

There are mums from the Eastern Europe who fight hard to ensure their children attend a wide variety of classes because their children have opportunities that they didn’t have – I can definitely understand their point.  They had tough upbringings and they want to ensure their children have the best education money can buy.

If you speak to mums from Europe, they are much more laid back, and may enrol their child in one or two activities in the week.  Their kids are equally bright and may be more balanced later in life whilst the Asian children grow up as workaholics.  Some mums from the UK tend to sway towards Tiger Mum status these days  also wanting the best for their children as competition for the top schools in the UK is now at an all time high.

I grew up in the fast academic lane in the UK, and noticed years later that although most of my Far Eastern peers had became extremely successful lawyers, doctors and accountants, one thing lacking was my generation’s creativity and initiative – if it wasn’t in a timetable or in a box, per se, there was panic amongst them and they struggled to think out of the box.  The arts were lost and it took the next generation to bring it back as the system learned to strike a better balance between the arts and sciences.

Boarding school saved me from a robotic and over pressurised  childhood in the Far East – I picked up a lot of interests and activities when I was 10 years old like the flute and piano, started drama at 13 years old and was on every sports team from the age of 10 years old but at my own pace.  I was probably more ready than to take on more being slightly older.  Free time was also locked in to allow us time to roam, muck around and think for ourselves which my Far Eastern peers may not have had.  They allowed us to debate, to think, and to give our opinion respectfully.  They listened and showed us that we could make a difference.  After 100 years of looking after students at my old school, they found a balance between free time, academics and activities.

I think as parents we should discipline ourselves to give our children some free time.  That is an underestimated activity in itself.  I need to remind myself of that – to block that time, to protect it like I do the other paid activities, to let my children discover, explore and create or just be a kid.  My eldest is only 6 years old – there is still time, and it is more important for them to be home with us as a family, and to interact together as a unit.  Do I really care if my son isn’t the next Mozart?  No, not really.  So what is important to you when your child is an adult and aged 30? Do I care if my children as adults respect and love time together as a family? Yes, more than anything.