Last minute weekend fun at Kiddie Ville Al Barsha Mall

We all love our weekends. Whether we decide to chill at home, go out shopping or indulge in a ‘stay-cation’ at a fancy resort, weekends are our chance to blow off some steam. My little one already has his share of fun and games at the nursery, but Fridays and Saturdays are our chance to do things together as a family. But with my poor husband down with the flu, battling a migrane,  a tooth cavity and a root canal, it was up to me to take the little one out for some weekend fun. But the thought of going to a mall on a weekend and having to deal with the nightmare of finding a parking spot with a super fussy kid in the car was just too painful. Then I remembered that Al Barsha Mall has this childrens play area that my Yehia always cries and nags to go to whenever we go grocery shopping. We drove over and we were there in ten minutes. On the first floor right after the co-op is Kiddie Ville. It’s not your typical children’s entertainment zone. It has a number of rides (carresole, flying airplanes,  a mini ferris wheel, go karts and the usual race car games) that you pay for by card. The area also includes a number of places to eat. So you can sit and enjoy a quick meal while watching your little ones play. The rides are also priced 11AED each, unlike many other play areas around. At the very end is a soft play area, priced at 25 AED per hour) Overall, its good value for money and for those living in TECOM/Al Barsha areas – this is a great place to check out if you run out of ideas a need a quick place to go to with your little one for some fun and games.

My pick for the week: Gulf News: Egyptian woman who lived as man for 40 years to support daughter wins award from president

Just another day at work; skimming through countless news portals to identify potential topics, media engagement opportunities and understand industry trends for my clients and I come across this article. My heart filled up with warmth and couldn’t help the cheesy grin stapled across my face, but most of all, feeling proud and thankful to have such a considerate ruler/president for a change.

I have all the respect in this world for this woman, who would go to such measures in order to care for and provide for her family. “Limits exist only in the mind.”

This article was published on Gulf News. Click here to view the article:

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Image Credit: AFP

Sisa Abu Daooh receives the motherhood award from Egypt’s president, Abdul Fattah Al Sissi.

Cairo: Sisa Abu Daooh is Egypt’s matriarch of the moment, after being named by officials in her home town of Luxor as the city’s most supportive mother. Which may come as a surprise: for she is Luxor’s “best mum” by virtue of having worked and dressed for more than 40 years as a man.

Abu Daooh, 65, met Egypt’s president, Abdul Fattah Al Sissi , on Sunday to receive an award. She said she was not going to stop living as a man.“I have decided to die in these clothes. I’ve got used to it. It’s my whole life and I can’t leave it now.”It was a life she began in the 1970s when her husband died. She was six months pregnant with their first child. These days, at least one in seven Egyptian breadwinners is a woman, but 40 years ago, her conservative family did not consider it appropriate for her to work.“My brothers wanted me to get married again,” she says. “All the time they kept bringing new grooms to me.” The suitors weren’t for her. But according to her siblings, neither was a working life: labouring jobs were closed to women, and she lacked the education for an office job.So to the fury of her family, Abu Daooh chose another way of finding employment: she took on a male identity. She shaved her head, wore loose-fitting male robes and made bricks and harvested wheat. Initially as “strong as 10 men”, by her account, she later took to shoe-shining once her strength began to fade.“When a woman lets go of her femininity, it’s hard,” she said. “But I would do anything for my daughter. It was the only way to make money.

What else could I do? I can’t read or write, my family didn’t send me to school, so this was the only way.”She grew to enjoy working as a man, she said. It allowed her to go about her business without threat of rampant sexual harassment, and to perform roles that were previously off limits. “I was happy,” she said. “I was able to work men’s work, and all the people around me were happy with it. When men looked at me they looked at me as a man.”All this meant she could also socialise as man, noted Mena Melad, the editor-owner of the Luxor Times.

“She’d sit in the coffee shop with the men, and passers-by wouldn’t notice. She was one of them.” Many people realized she was female, calling her Umm Hoda, or Hoda’s mum – a common form of address in the Middle East.“I never hid it,” she remembers. “I wasn’t trying to keep it a secret.” Gradually her renown grew, to the extent that she now claims “the whole city of Luxor knows I’m a woman, from the smallest kid to the biggest man”.

Eventually, this fame paid dividends. This year, the local government in Luxor named her the city’s most devoted mum – documented on a certificate she cannot read – and gave her a kiosk to help support her income.Even now she has a family to support; her daughter’s husband cannot work through illness, so she helps put food on the table for the grandchildren. As gruelling as this makes her life, she would not want to see Hoda make the same sacrifice she did more than four decades ago. “Of course not,” says Abu Daooh. “She has a husband and kids.”

Venue Review: Fun City – Manar Mall in Ras Al Khaimah

Sometimes, when living in the big sparkly glamorous ‘City of Life’, you get caught up with the fast paced lifestyle, the lavish restaurants and extravagant malls. So on some weekends, my little fam and I hop in the car, get on the 311 and head down to Ras Al Khaimah – mostly to just relax, unwind and visit my parents so my little munchkin can spend some quality time with his grandparents.

To make the most out of Yehia’s weekend, I normally take him to a park, to the mall or even swimming. He has fun, but the one thing that puts a huge grin on my little one’s face and has him jumping up and down in the car with joy is our drive to Ras Al Khaimah’s Manar Mall; because he knows, its time for him to go down to Fun City.

Fun City is situated in various malls across Dubai and the rest of the UAE – their main play area in Ras Al Khaimah is at the Emirate’s most popular mall which is centered in the heart of the city. If you are driving down to RAK to burn off some steam and get away from all the craziness, I suggest you drop by with your little ones. It houses a mix of arcade games, play features and some little rides for younger children and tots. Some other games also award tickets, which you can collect in your play card. You can then redeem your points for a toy depending on the number of points you’ve acquired – which makes it suitable for children, toddlers and teens.

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My Yehia’s favorite part is the enclosed padded play area. It’s a multi-storey maze that has a ball pool and a big slide. To enter, you need to pay by swiping your card. There are instances where Yehia gets distracted or wants to wander off to other parts of Fun City, so the good thing is that even if you’ve swiped your card at the enclosed play area, you can still re-enter if your child wants to go back to climb around and play in the ball pool.

Another thing that I really love about this place is their closed nursery room. Located at the very end of Fun City, this is literally the cutest thing I’ve seen, especially in RAK. Designed for little toddlers and babies, the nursery has a little ball pool, a castle, a closet with costumes and a mini living room setup, which includes mini couches, miniature kitchen appliances and a number of ride on toy cars. The nursery also has a section just for little babies and infants to lay in with their parents or nannies and explore playing with some soft cubes and stuffed toys. So never think that you may not have a suitable place to go to for your baby to enjoy a change of scenery, this little nursery makes it possible.

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Closed Nursery at Fun City Manar Mall

One thing I am super picky about is the cleanliness of play areas. Because they have a strict no eating policy, the play area and enclosed padded area are always super clean and spotless.

Overall, this indoor play area is worth the visit; with guaranteed fun for you and your little ones.

Why you’re feeling blue when your baby is still brand new

Congratulations: After a long, exhilarating and exhausting childbirth, your nine months of baby making are finally over and your little one is finally here. When the doctor first pulled Yehia out and I heard him cry; I felt like my heart filled up with some kind of slimy love potion and I fell in love with him instantly. I was so happy and was exhibiting a mix of giggles, laughs and crying. When I was taken out of the OR and back into my room; Yehia was handed over to me. My little boy has arrived and from then on, I knew that that a new chapter in my life has already begun and I was not mentally ready for it yet. I am a mother now.

Having your baby brings so much joy, but it can also challenge you in ways you never expected. Soon after giving birth, you may find yourself crying for not being able to reach the remote control, or when you have to get up to charge your phone. Often enough, you can even get mad at your partner for watching TV or chewing too loud. You find yourself being bothered or weepy over things that would never usually bother you.

Top that with feeling exhausted and unable to sleep because your baby is up all night, pooping or nursing or worse, colicky. You start to feel anxious, tired and trapped. It’s 3:15AM and a realization suddenly dawns as you hold your baby in your arms: “Is this what my life will be like from now on? Am I ever going to get the hang of this? Am I going to be a good mother? This is harder than I thought it would be.” Yup – You’ve got the blues.

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What you’re feeling is completely normal. Up to 80% of new moms experience baby blues. After birth, your body goes through very rapid changes, your hormones fluctuate, you start lactating and your breasts are engorged (and there’s no way to sugar coat this ladies, but this HURTS!)  A saggy tummy and all the physical changes your body has endured also bring on the baby blues.

Some mixed feelings can also overwhelm you. You may constantly feel anxious for your baby’s well-being. Is he nursing enough, why is he pooping so little? How will I know if something is wrong? Are all questions that cloud your mind, making you feel anxious about your transition to motherhood. All these new things that you are in charge of are starting to take a toll on you, making you lose concentration and focus. The good thing is that the baby blues aren’t an illness, and they will go away on their own once your hormones level out. But there are ways that you can make this transition and these feelings a little easier to cope with:

  • Talk to your partner/family: don’t bottle it all up and talk to your partner and family about how you feel. Having a baby and for the first time is an overwhelming experience. Sometimes speaking your mind out can lessen your feeling that you are in this alone.
  • Bond with your close friends: If you have friends who have gone through pregnancy and birth, speak to them. It’s always nice to hear how a close friend managed to cope with such a life changing experience and make it through.
  • Ask for help with the baby: If you have an opportunity to get an extra helping hand with the baby, USE it! Never shy away and make the most of this time to do something for yourself. You will be surprised how the little things like taking a shower, painting your nails or reading will make you feel much better.
  • Get out of the house: Some days, you will feel like you don’t have the energy to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom to pee. But you have no idea how helpful it is to just go out for a quick walk. Dress your little one up, put them in a stroller and go for a quick stroll, you will feel much better.
  • Take a nap: Once you have a baby, you will value and cherish your naps. While at first this could be difficult, especially with your baby’s random sleeping patterns, but my advice to you is nap whenever your baby sleeps. You will be able to do things better when you are not sleep deprived and cranky.
  • Eat healthy: Once you have a baby, you either eat too little, or forget to eat all-together. Make sure to make your eating a priority. You need to maintain your health. what you put in your body matters not only to you, but to your little one too (if you are breastfeeding). Make sure to eat three main balanced meals and two healthy snacks every day. Liquids and fibers should be big on your list to increase lactation. Lettuce is your new best friend.
  • Count your blessings: You have a healthy, beautiful baby. Sure your life is different now, but it’s a good different. Make the most if it and enjoy every minute as you watch your little one grow into the fabulous person they will be.

People often confuse the baby blues with postpartum depression (PPD)because they have common symptoms. How do you know what you are going through? If you’re in the first couple of postpartum weeks, expect some emotional upheaval. But if you continue to feel this way for more than three to four weeks after giving birth, reach out to a doctor or a health professional for medical support.

15 ways you know you have a boy

They say mothers of boys work from ‘son’ up till ‘son’ down. Well it’s true, and it comes with perks too. Here are 15 ways you know you are a mother to a little man.

  • You have endless drawers, boxes and bags of race cars, trucks, and more race cars.
  • You’ve become accustomed to stepping on Lego blocks and Spiderman action figures in the middle of the night.
  • There’s always a finger in your eye, ear, nose and mouth during cuddle time.
  • You have an obsessive, unhealthy knowledge of Pixar’s Cars di-casts.
  • You find yourself randomly running in shopping malls yelling things like: “No you can’t take off your pants here!”
  • You have a bag full of orphan socks.
  • There is no time for you to sit and watch a movie yourself and memorized lines and sequences from Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and Turbo.
  • The Barbie isle is the least of your concerns – you whizz through and spend a good 40 minutes deciding which car race track is more kick ass.
  • You don’t think bracelets, hairbands or skirts – it’s football jerseys, Nintendo’s, PSP’s and sports sneakers.
  • A separate budget for laundry detergent is a must to get rid of all these inexplicable stains.
  • Whether it’s a towel or a pillow-case, you can turn it into a cape and play superhero games.
  • You’re always prepared to catch a flying toddler boy as he jumps off the table or couch yelling: “catch meee” or “big hug”.
  • Your car always has socks, slippers, jumpers, sneakers and of course, toy cars.
  • You always talk about the day he turns into a rebellious teenager.
  • You’ve thought of ways to torture your son’s future gf/fiancee/wife if she upsets him.

..And still wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂
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2015 – Keep doing what you do best!

Oh God – looking at my last date post is a terrible thing – I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that so much time has passed and I’ve done so little on here. Yes – I feel guilty for not giving my blog some major TLC. I mean, it’s 2015 – the chance to start fresh, list down all these resolutions that I want to accomplish by this year, live the dream and get all psyched up about my new beginning. Hell – I didn’t even make the time to list them, so chances are I won’t even be able to achieve them.

My point is – and I think so many mothers and fathers out there will agree – we’re literally kicking butt by making it through every single day with all the other responsibilities that life throws our way. We should all give ourselves a huge pat on the back, maybe treat ourselves to some fatty Hershey Pie for making it this far, going through each day like a fighter and being amazing parents. So to all those who are in my shoes; who feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, from juggling a dzillion things from managing to make a career and a living, to changing diapers and folding through endless piles of laundry – you are doing an awesome job. WE are doing an awesome job. Lets keep doing it the way know best and don’t bother by anything or anyone else.

 

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