How long have you been living in Dubai?
My husband and I arrived separately in Dubai in early 2010. We met through friends in May the same year and the rest as they say, is history.
Why do you think Dubai is good for families?
Although as expats we miss our family, there is so much to do that we really are spoilt for choice. The biggest bonus for me is the low crime rate and how safe we feel when out and about.
How long have you lived in Arabian Ranches?
We moved there in 2012, when it was just the two of us and it will always be special, as it happened to become our first family home.
Why did you choose to move to Arabian Ranches?
Our previous landlord negotiated us to move into the property so he could extend the current one we were renting from him in JVT. We’d always liked the Arabian Ranches area though and aspired to live there at some point. We like the Spanish-style architecture and we were won over by the beautiful bougainvillea, friendly atmosphere and great amenities.
Did you have Xander here?
I gave birth to Xander James in February 2014 at Al Zahra Private Hospital in Al Barsha. My birth didn’t go exactly to plan, but the midwives were great and so was Xander’s pediatrician. It was nice recovering in what was essentially a five-star hotel room.
Have you found it easy to meet other mums here?
When Xander was born, I met eight amazing new mummies when I joined the baby massage class run by Amy Vogelaar at Horizon Kids Nursery.
We all stayed in touch, meet up often and support each other as best we can. Many of my existing friends in Dubai had babies around the same time, which was nice.
I’ve also made a number of friends at the local park in the Ranches and get on well with our next-door neighbours who are from Manchester and have a five-year-old daughter.
Last but not least, I’ve also been lucky enough to meet and have regular contact with a number of inspirational mums I met through my blog.
What family-friendly activities are nearby?
Dubai Miracle Garden is just down the road and is near the Greenheart Organic Store where we can stock up on fresh fruit and veg. Extreme Fun in Motor City is a popular soft play spot and Dubai Polo Equestrian Club has family film nights at the pool area when the weather allows. When we need a change of scenery, Bab Al Shams is just a short drive away.
Are you planning to stay put in Arabian Ranches?
Unfortunately, we are getting evicted in November and haven’t yet decided where we will move to, although Arabian Ranches, Victory Heights and Mudon are on the list.
What do you do in your free time away from the kids?
I don’t enjoy much free time, as Xander is still so young. My husband and I have only managed one date night since our son was born – we went to see Michael Bublé at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in March and it was a great night out! If I leave Xander with Jim for the evening or a couple of hours at the weekend, I like to go to a coffee shop to read (I’ve got a thing for Russian novels), have a massage or get my nails done.
If I can get away in the evenings I’ll meet friends for drinks or to attend a fashion event such as My Ex Wardrobe.
I am working my way up to having a full day ‘off’ to go to the ‘Mas Mas Maya’ brunch at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa with my friends. I went there just before I got pregnant and it was great.
Mother-child activity in Dubai
We love having play dates and during the hot weather Dubai’s soft play areas are our go-to venues. apple seeds Dubai is our favourite. We also like doing crafty things together such as painting, playing ball, looking after the cats (we have two – Smudge and Marble), playing with water and spending as much time outdoors as possible.
Family hang outs in Dubai
We’re not really beach people, but we do enjoy going to Splash Pad at The Beach on JBR – Xander loves it! At the weekends, we often pop to Maison Mathis in Arabian Ranches Golf Club or Dubai Polo Equestrian Club where we got married for a spot of lunch or coffee with friends. Other favourites include Ripe Food & Craft Market.
We love the south of France; Cannes, Nice, St. Tropez and Grimaud are hard to beat. I hired a villa in Grimaud for my 30th birthday for six friends and myself and it was the best holiday ever. I also like Singapore and used to visit annually. We have our sights set on a villa in Tuscany for our next vacation but, of course, you can’t beat a trip to the UK!