Family life in The Springs

British parents Katie and Bryan James reflect on family life in Dubai


British mum Katie James moved to the Springs a year ago with her husband Bryan and two-year-old Heidi. They are expecting another baby in the summer.

How long have you been in Dubai?
We moved here in January 2014.

What’s the best thing about bringing up your children in Dubai?
I think it has to be spending so much time outdoors due to the very pleasant weather we get for most of the year! Being able to make the most of the garden, parks, pools and beaches is a real bonus with young children.

How long have you lived in Springs?
Just over a year.

Why did you choose this neighbourhood?
It’s a well-established community, we have a pool and a park two streets away from our villa so it’s ideal for me being a stay-at-home mum with Heidi. The lakes are also pleasant for walks and give the area a relaxed feel. The villa we have suits our needs perfectly and with it being close to amenities and not far from the busier parts of town it made sense for us to move here to Springs.

Did you have your kids in Dubai? If yes, where, and how was the experience?
No, Heidi was born in the UK but we are expecting another baby who will be born here so we are hopeful it will be a positive experience.

Where do your children go to school and why did you send them there?
Heidi goes to Jebel Ali Lakes Nursery two mornings a week. Some friends in the Springs recommended it and we are really glad we chose it. Heidi loves it and we are really happy with the care they provide for the children.

Have you found it easy to meet other mums here?
Yes, definitely. I’ve generally found the mums I’ve met to be friendly and open to making new friends. I found the expat woman playgroups great for meeting people when we initially moved and I’m lucky to have met some lovely mums in the Springs too. The Meadow, Lakes, Springs Facebook page is also useful for local information and tips on living in the area.

What family-friendly facilities are nearby?
The parks and pools in the Springs obviously, as well as other parks like Al Barsha Pond Park which are close by. The beach is only ten minutes away and some children’s playcentres including Kiddies Café, Cheeky Monkeys, Extreme Fun and Jebel Ali church playgroup are all within a 15 minute drive.

Are you planning to stay put in Springs?
Yes, hopefully. We feel settled and happy here so unless the rent prices go up dramatically then we plan to stay.

What do you do in your free time away from the kids?
I try and do regular exercise classes, currently with Urban Energy. I also enjoy peaceful coffees and proper conversations with friends in the numerous delightful cafés there are in Dubai, and ladies nights when I can too!

Favourite things

Mother-child activity in Dubai
To be honest, it’s a lot of fun just hanging out in the garden or local pool. Enjoying the simple pleasures of being outdoors together, singing songs, playing games and making a big splash!

Family hang-outs in Dubai
We really enjoy time spent together on the beach. Heidi is at a brilliant age for making the most of beach activities! We feel lucky to be so close to the beach, which means we can easily spend a few hours there every weekend.

I really enjoy Reformer Pilates and find it beneficial to my physical and mental well being so it’s been fab to continue this in Dubai. Until recently, I was enjoying classes at the Zen Yoga studio in Springs Town Centre.

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