Legoland Water park!

The heat is rising here quite rapidly, so to finish off our spring break holiday we made the most of the coolish temperatures and headed to Legoland Water park. We’ve already experienced Legoland and you can catch up with that adventure here.  With Dubai parks offering free parking and 30% off to all UAE residents it was a no brainer really. The cost came down from 295AED to 160AED and we saved ourselves 85AED in parking fees. Everything always feels better when you have a discount. With all of us having fair skin, we left it until after lunch and toward the end of the midday sun to go. Being Easter/spring break the park wasn’t that busy and the queues we practically non-existent. The children had a blast and especially loved the joker soaker and build a raft lazy river. We settled the kids into the joker soaker and were watching them on the slides when literally the joke was on us and the huge bucket of water tipped, emptying gallons and gallons on unsuspecting parents like ourselves. I know it was a children’s water park but I wasn’t going to be responsible for the language that left my mouth. It was freezing!!

Anyhoo it gave us all a laugh and we went off exploring, where we found the build a raft lazy river. As you go round there are big Lego brick floating in the water which you can attach to your raft. Being the competitive family we are it immediately turned in to who can sabotage each other raft the quickest.

We made a trip to wave pool, floatation jackets were available for wee Miss C and she really enjoyed it. The children found the build and race your own miniature boat area and enjoyed building with Lego in the water!!

It was time for an ice cream before we explored some more, 20AED each for ice cream wasn’t too bad, considering we’ve just come back from Disney it was a welcomed price! EPD and LPV went on few other rides that Miss C wasn’t tall enough for, so we had a mini melt down.  Then she was happy as Larry in the Duplo area with side and animals she could sit on!

At this point it was starting to cool and their poor little teeth were starting to chatter. We got dressed and headed to the new Irish Village in Riverland. It was beautiful and reminded me of the town out of Beauty and the beast. We had a yummy dinner and listened to the various live music that was on offer with stages dotted around all around Riverland. The children really enjoyed The Micheal Jackson tribute singing, I knew they had good taste in music.

With everyone tired and pooped out we caught the shuttle bus back to the car park and headed home. A great day had by all and sincerely recommend a visit before we all start melting!!

 

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Frugal is the new fabulous

Well it is in our house anyway, due to unforeseen circumstances at the beginning of the year I lost my job. To be honest the wages never really made a huge difference in our lifestyle I wasn’t dripping diamonds and driving a porche but they did allow for financial back up, less worry and extra treats, thank god I brought my Micheal Buble tickets first. However, It was more that it was mine, I earned them.

It’s just crap as now I’m having to rely solely on expat daddy to support me again. No biggy, we’re a team we’ve always shared everything we had from the get go but I hate that feeling “oh dear can I have your credit card so I can buy you a birthday present, and you’ll know exactly what it is as you’ll see the bill before your birthday”

Everyone has pre conceived ideas about what my life is like out here, they think I wake up in the morning, the birds and butterflies puts on my slippers for me……………..

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Image taken from google

Caviar for breakfast then I dump miss C head to the gym for hours stopping off to get my nails done before playing the doting mammy role on the school run only to dump my children in a play space or activity. The actually reality is I hit the snooze button too many times, wake up looking like this

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Shout far too much whilst getting ready for the school run, usher the boys out the door, wrestle with the wee girl to stop her going out the door, then I eat and drink my breakfast on the go whilst getting ready. Go about my day just like you, food shopping, errands, doctors appointments etc I look forward to picking up LPV and most of the time we have fun at home or with friends.

My life is the same as yours but just with sunshine, Ok so I don’t work now and luckily we are in a slightly better position out here than we would be if I was a SAHM in the UK or Ireland to deal with this. The fact is I would work full or part-time but the nursery fee’s out here are the equivalent to a private school at home, so when you ask when I’m going back to work the answer is when I can afford too.

Dubai attracted so many expats to come and live the tax-free dream and it still does and if you to get an awesome package then you will live the dream. However for most expats now, gone are the days of saving copious amount of tax-free earnings, the rising in rents, school fees, cost of living are far over taking the amount of money that’s being saved. If you want a decent house not in the middle of nowhere then you have to pay decent house money, if you want some anchor butter on your toast you’re going to have to pay 59dhs (11quid) for it. People stay here, us included for a better quality of life, the sunshine, the beach.

All this is made me think about money a lot, I am very aware that we are very blessed not to be living on or anywhere near the poverty line and NO I am not in any way comparing my life to anyones. However I think its disgusting in this generation there are still so many families struggling to make end meets, in what parallel universe is it ok to pay bonuses to VP’s CEO’s of companies and corporations when its employee’s are being laid off or being paid way below what they are qualified for or deserve?

So with thinking about money a lot I wanted to make some changes in our lives, I am AWESOME at spending money so it’s mainly me that has to change. I have started keeping track of everything I spend during the week, going to the shop for milk and coming out with a 100 pounds worth of other shopping isn’t going to happen anymore. I’m meal planning so each week we will buy only the stuff we need for meals, a major money saver is bringing expat daddy food shopping, he’s a stickler for the list where I like a kid in a sweat shop. This week we managed to cut our groceries from 1550dhs (300quid) to 900dhs (just under 200). We swapped supermarkets to the less high-profile ones and I’ve learnt to say No.

Of course I want to be shopping, getting my nails done, having the fancy car, who doesn’t? And I would love to start my own business and I’m hoping that these small changes will make that happen sooner but right now my children’s further is a lot more important.

Do you have any tips on money-saving? What works for you and your family?

Snooze Shade review

I love twitter, before Miss c was born I used to spend a lot of time on there tweeting and having long , hysterical conversations on there with other bloggers, I consider some of these people to be friends even though we’ve never met. One evening last year I got chatting to Cara Sayer the most fabulous and talented inventor of the Snooze shade. On finding out we were moving back to Dubai she offered me a chance to review here fabulous product. I accepted without a second thought, it was complete no brainer for me and a few days later I received it in the post. Now I can’t say I was as prompt with the review,  as  you may know from my posts last year the move didn’t go as straight forward as we planned. So finally, about 9 months later here is the review of Cara’s awesome product The Snooze Shade plus – Deluxe.

In her own words here’s what Cara says about her invention of the snooze shade and the reasoning behind it

My daughter Holly has needed her sleep ever since she was tiny.  I’d had a tough pregnancy and was in a wheelchair until she was three months old and so, once I was able to walk again, getting out into the fresh air was a priority. I also had a spell of post-natal depression and my doctor’s advice was “get out of the house, meet friends and take some exercise”.

When Holly was tiny, a walk to the shops in her buggy was easy as she slept deeply and often. As she got older and became more alert, it became harder for her to switch off and she’d fight her nap when we were out – the world was an exciting place and she didn’t want to miss a minute.

If I didn’t have something with me to help hide the world away like a blanket or coat, I ended up with a little girl who was not her smiling self, didn’t want her tea and woke up later in the night and everyone was tired.  I noticed other parents with blankets draped over their prams.

When I met friends for a coffee or a bite to eat we all ended up doing the same thing – we fed the babies and when a nap was due we tried to help them nod off by hanging muslins, blankets and cardigans over the front of the pram to help our babies switch off to go to sleep – with varying degrees of success.

Manoeuvring up and down kerbs could be treacherous too with things we’d positioned sliding off or blowing away (I lost count of the number of times I wheeled over my coat as it fell off in the road in front of me) – resulting in a wide-awake and grumpy baby.

To this day, I don’t really know when I decided to do something about this seemingly common parental problem.  A serious internet shopper, I started to hunt around to see if I could find a suitable product somewhere. Not a thing.  Mosquito, cat and insect nets let in too much light. Sun shades were too bulky to carry around and baby could still see out. There didn’t seem to be anything that blocked out the light, was portable and conveniently small enough to keep in the nappy bag, buggy basket or hang off the handles.

One day, I rather foolishly said to a few friends that someone should invent something – so they said ‘go on then’.

SnoozeShade Original launched in March 2010, since then parents have made asked for new versions and, in just three years, we have a range of products that help babies get the sleep they need wherever they need it.  There are now versions for prams, infant car seats and travel cots and my other baby (as I call SnoozeShade) is now on sale around the world helping parents from London to Sydney ensure they have a happy well rested baby.

So that’s how SnoozeShade was born.

I hope it helps make your life easier too.

Before Cara sent me the product I wasn’t a complete stranger to Snooze shade products, I had previously purchased the original classic from amazon and found it to be useful. However I did find LPV got very sweaty under the black cover. The plus deluxe is grey in colour so less attractive to the sun, as we all know black does attract the sun and here in Dubai there’s no getting away from it. What I liked about the plus deluxe is the mesh window that is still 80% UV protection but you can still see baby quite clearly and even if there awake the can still whats going on around them Miss C is very nosey so this is must for her. It also gives you easy access without taking the whole shade off the pram, which is especially good when you’re needed in a hurry!!!

The mesh window can be covered up if baby is sleeping, providing 97.5% UV protection and when not in use it has a wee little pocket to tuck it into or fill with crumbs and biscuits, if your buggy looks anything like mine. At the top of the shade there is a peekaboo window so you can check on sleeping baby without letting any sun in, my old classic only had this at the front and  as the light came in LPV was awake and perky bear!!

For storage it rolls up small and comes with a netted bag  so it can be slung in the basket under any buggy or carried in a nappy/diaper bag, it has velcro tags that can be attached to the buggy to stop it flying away, how many of have done the whole large muslin cloth with pegs trick????? It can fit under most of popular buggy brand rain covers so if you get caught short baby can still sleep, while you get soaked.

All for just 34.99

 

Image taken from snooze shade.com
Image taken from snooze shade.com

Negatives

I don’t think there really are any negatives to say about this product, I suppose if you don’t get a lot of sun then 34.99 may seem  a bit expensive but then there are cheaper options on their website

I guess the biggest negative for me is they’re not stocked here in the UAE but here is there international site if you live outside the UK, it is available on amazon but again amazon do not ship here for free or for a small fee so unless your making an order that will be worth the P&P its a problem.

However if you do live her win the UAE and want one do what I  do and send it to your parents house!!!! As I said it rolls up small so won’t take up too much room, so there plenty of room for the cadburys chocolate 😉

97% UV protection and she can still have a nose around
97.5% UV protection and she can still have a nose around
Peekaboo
Peekaboo