| Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Meet Lucy McMurray and family

Time Out Kids heads to the Arabian Ranches to meet Lucy McMurray, her husband Mohammad El-Zobeidi, and their gorgeous twins, Layla and Faris

© ITP Images

They say that Dubai is a melting pot, and some of the families we meet at Time Out Kids seem to perfectly epitomize the mix of different cultures that you’ll find here. ‘Mohammad is Palestinian, born in Abu Dhabi, and I was born in England to an Armenian mother and an English father,’ explains Lucy, a graphic designer and busy mum of two. ‘I grew up in Cyprus which is where my mother was born (her parents were Armenian refugees), and my twins were born here in Dubai.’ Phew! We caught up with them to find out more.

Why did you choose to live in the Arabian Ranches?
It’s a family-friendly area and a well finished community. Our villa is right at the end of Al Reem 1 and so is very private and peaceful. In the winter, before the kids arrived, I would sit outside every morning and just listen to the birds. It really is very relaxing. There are also good amenities here and nearby in Motor City, such as shops and restaurants. It’s not as central as other areas but we’re not too far away, either.

What was it like to have your babies here in Dubai?
We had our twins here, at the City Hospital. It was a very calm experience considering I had an emergency C-section in the middle of the night! I was even texting my clients after the procedure to tell them I would be temporarily unavailable! Of course, that was before the painkillers wore off. There are a lot of resources here for new mums and for families in general. We had midwife Cecile de Scally visit us for advice and support after the delivery and I have to say, as a first-time mum, that was invaluable.

What is it like raising a family in Dubai?

It is stressful being away from my family, but a big help that my in-laws live here. They have been fantastic. It can be hard when my husband has to work long hours but being here has made it possible for us to hire a nanny, which is a lifesaver when you have twins.

Have you found it easy to meet other mums here?
Yes, you meet other mums wherever you go and most are away from their families so are happy to meet new people too. There are also lots of mother-baby groups to join.

How have you put your own stamp on your home here?
I think the twins have done that for us. Everywhere you look there is something out of place, or something that has been moved so they can’t get at it. Faris’ current fascination is with flip flops, so we have to keep them out of reach!

Where do you hang out near your home? Is it very kid-friendly?
There are a few parks in our neighbourhood, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the house. Every couple of days we go to the park and sit on the lawn and let the twins play with the other children or ‘walk’ on the grass. Faris loves to watch other little boys playing football and Layla loves to run after dogs.

Their favourite...

Mother-baby activities
We love to take the kids to the beach, park or community swimming pool. At the moment, we don’t really go to playgroups or anything as I think the babies get more stimulation at this age from playing outdoors. We like open, grassy spaces such as Safa Park.

Family hang outs
It has to be my in-laws’ villa in Abu Dhabi. There are always lots of people around to entertain them and the family atmosphere is really great. We feel it’s important for the twins to learn to be social and not just be constantly attached to the people they are used to.

Family meals out
With the twins, food courts are still the best idea at the moment. Eat as quickly as possible and get out! On our own, we really enjoy Bento-ya on Sheikh Zayed Road and we also love to go to the Green Community in the winter and eat in one of the restaurants there.

By Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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