Katie Fielder, presenter of Emirates 24/7 on Dubai One lives on the Palm with her husband Tom and their son, Benjamin Bear Thomas, nine months.
How long have you been in Dubai?
I’m originally from Sydney, Australia and have lived in Dubai for close to six years.
What’s the best thing about bringing up your children in Dubai?
I love living in such a tight-knit community, where my closest friends and their children live within 100 metres of each other. We take the little ones swimming each day, have picnics in each other’s backyards and barbeques every week. I also love that Ben has the opportunity to meet and interact with so many different people from all walks of life. Dubai is such a multicultural city, and we’re so lucky that our son can meet people who can teach him about the many different languages, beliefs or foods that exist in our wide world today.
How long have you lived on the Palm?
We moved to The Palm when we first arrived in Dubai, at that time, there weren’t many shops around and you had to drive back to the mainland to run most errands. We moved back to The Palm a few years later and love it here. There are lots of small supermarkets, pharmacies, beauty spas, beachfront restaurants and parks, so everything is very accessible.
Why did you choose this neighbourhood?
Growing up in Australia has meant that I’ve always been a beach girl. I love being outdoors and by the water. We take our son Ben for lots of walks by the beach (although at just nine months old he doesn’t do a lot of walking just yet), or go kayaking around The Palm’s fronds. It’s so peaceful and a very secure neighbourhood, which is important when you have little people tearing about the place.
Did you have your kids in Dubai? If yes, how was the experience?
I had a wonderful doctor here in Dubai, and I also had my husband and Mum with me the entire time - so I had the full support team which was amazing.
Have you found it easy to meet other mums here?
I’m lucky that a lot of our friends already have children, so I’ve been given lots of tips and tricks! I work part-time, so it’s definitely a balancing act trying to juggle play dates around researching interviews and filming, but it’s so nice watching Ben babble away with other babies, and I think that kind of interaction is so important for them.
What family friendly facilities are nearby?
We love going to Safa Park, and we go to the beach a lot (eating sand is just as much fun as swimming in the water), so we try to do lots of outdoorsy activities while the weather is still great.
Are you planning to stay put on the Palm?
Yes, absolutely. It’s a great lifestyle, and works so well for us. Summer can be a bit more challenging, but this year we’re escaping the heat for a few weeks and taking advantage of the free babysitting service that grandparents provide back home.
What do you do in your free time away from the kids?
Free time – what’s that?! My husband travels a lot for work, so when we do have some down time together, it’s really precious. Since we’ve had Ben, we tend to do a lot of barbeques at home with friends. We often go for a run on the Palm’s running track together too. And we’re both into water sports, whether it’s sailing, water-skiing or kayaking.
Please list your favourite
Mother-child activity in Dubai:
I love taking Ben for his swimming lessons. We also spend a lot of time at home messing around with different sensory experiences – whether it’s playing with cooked spaghetti in a blow up swimming pool, finger painting or catching bubbles.
Family hangouts in Dubai:
We often go to Safa Park on Friday mornings for a walk around the markets, and a picnic on the grass. We also love going with friends and their bubs to Atlantis or Wild Wadi’s water parks, although I think the Dads have the most fun.
I play netball with girlfriends each week, and I try to hit the gym regularly. I also love to cook, which is why the gym is a necessity! We entertain a lot, so I enjoy trying out new recipes and cuisines. I also love skiing – water-skiing and snow-skiing.