Dubai Marina for families

Originally hailing from the UK, Louise Sleightholme lives in Dubai Marina with her husband Charlie and son Stanley, one


Originally hailing from the UK, Louise Sleightholme lives in Dubai Marina with her husband Charlie and son Stanley, one. She is a freelance journalist and beauty blogger.

How long have you lived in Dubai Marina?
We’ve been in Dubai for three years. We originally started in the Marina, before moving to Jumeirah 1 for a year, and now have returned to the Marina again, which is definitely our favourite part of town.

Why did you choose this neighbourhood?
I don’t drive in Dubai at the moment, so I love the fact I can walk to places with my son Stanley. There are lots of baby classes here, plenty of coffee shops and lunch places to meet friends, and the walks alongside the water are great for kids – they can ride on their bikes, play in fountains, and there are new play parks under each bridge. I work from home and there are lots of cafes with wireless for me to escape to for peace and quiet. And from a beauty blogger’s point of view, the choice of spas, salons, and nails spas is seemingly endless.

Did you have your baby in Dubai?
Yes Stanley was born in April 2012 in American Hospital. He has just turned one. I’m one of those strange women who actually enjoyed giving birth. The hospital, my obstetrician (Dr Nasreen) and the midwives were absolutely amazing. I did my antenatal classes at Healthbay Polyclinic and have been back ever since for Baby Clinic with the brilliant Dawn.

Have you found it easy to meet other mums here?
I was quite lonely in Dubai before I was pregnant and flew back to the UK a lot, but it was only when I started to meet other mums-to-be that I built a really good friendship group and started to feel a lot more settled. Joining coffee mornings for pregnant ladies and mums is a great way to do it, as are antenatal classes - and once they are born, join as many baby classes as you can to get into a weekly routine and find mums with similarly aged babies. Quite a lot of classes now run on a Friday, so working mums don’t have to miss out.

What family friendly facilities are nearby?
I love Favourite Things at Marina Mall for its baby-friendly coffee shop. I spent hours in there with friends when our babies were newborns – the babies would take it in turn to scream and nobody would bat an eyelid! It ended up being one of the only places we could really relax. Now the kids are older they can play in the soft play area, which is aimed at young children and has every toy under the sun.

Are you planning to stay put in Dubai Marina?
There may come a time when we want some outside space, but for now we’re very happy. We’ll be staying in the Marina for another couple of years at least.

How do you find working from home?
It’s a challenge with a one-year-old, but I have a great nanny who helps me out three afternoons a week. I work around his naps and in the evenings. I can’t complain, as I get to spend all my time with my son, but still have a career.

Why did you decide to start a beauty blog?
I have an online beauty magazine in the UK that is still going strong, but now that I live in Dubai I wanted to create something for beauty lovers here too. I have a real weakness for spas and treatments, so I regularly review them on, alongside new product launches, events, and sneak previews of new beauty collections before they hit the shelves. It’s a lighthearted and fun read that people can delve into whenever they have a spare moment.

Their favourite...

Mother-child activity
Baby Sensory has been my favourite. We started going when Stanley was very young and now he is moving up to Toddler Sense for 13-20 months.

Family hang-outs

Little More Café at Marina Mall for relaxed lunches, Safa Park for picnics, The Lakes Club for swimming and relaxing, and Baker and Spice below Marina Promenade for late breakfasts overlooking the Yacht Club.

I’m a foodie, but a terrible cook, so I’m lucky that my husband indulges me by cooking amazing dinners. For alone time, I love heading to a nail spa for an indulgent hour or meeting friends for a natter over cocktails.

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