Monday, 31 December 2018

Why Dubai is our top destination to travel to with a toddler.

Like many other millennials, Gurpreet and I are very fond of traveling. Jumping on a plane and embarking on an adventure of the unknown is one of our absolute favourite things to do. Now that we have Kai in the mix (our 15 month old son) being so spontaneous hasn’t been as easy as before. None the less it didn’t dampen our need to chase warmer sunsets and we have managed to take him on a couple of holidays this year. Dubai being our favourite for numerous reasons and here’s why;

The overall cleanliness of the city / No need for vaccinations
Many parents go above and beyond to keep everything sanitary for their little ones and for all good reasons too; their under developed immune systems cannot handle a wave of foreign germs at home or abroad.
This is why we favour Dubai, there is no need to have any vaccinations / immunisations specifically to visit the UAE.
It’s also good to know, bottled water is widely available in supermarkets and most hotels leave your room stocked up so there’s no need to venture out to buy any.
The cleanliness of the city is unmatched to any other place we’ve been. Communal areas are relentlessly cleaned and are left gleaming. Every public baby changing / feeding room we have used has felt like an emperors suite; beautifully presented, doesn’t smell to the high heavens of poo and have always been so spacious I could rave it out in there if I wanted to!

Level of service has been impeccable
From guidance out the airport, hotel staff and general service in the malls and public areas, we have been helped so much. Travelling without Kai was so different, we could afford to be so carefree and nonchalant but now my mummy radar is on 24/7 and I’m all eyes and ears over; ‘where are the baby changing rooms?’ ‘where can I warm my milk?’ ‘is the air conditioning going to be on/off?’ ‘will it be noisy?’ ‘is there space for a pushchair?’ ‘do they make baby food?’
You get the drift, the bottom line is, mummies to do not switch off. This is why it’s a little more reassuring to vacay in Dubai. Everyone was so accommodating to our queries (they all spoke English fyi) and were happy to lend a helping hand when we were in need; which takes the nervous jitters you may experience travelling with a baby, down a notch or two!

High level of security
Travelling to a Muslim country, I’ve know some to question if it is safe for women. They hear all these stories on strict rules, what you can and cannot wear, how you have to act in public etc. I’ve visited 9 times in total, even travelled there solo and I can wholeheartedly say it’s safe. Be mindful of their culture, dress respectfully and compose yourself with dignity in public (which is how 99.9% of people conduct themselves anyway) then you’ll be just fine!
I think the media have unfortunately cast a shadow on travelling to Muslim countries therefor warping our perception of what it really is like. Put aside the assumptions and give it a try!
Aside from the safety for women aspect, it’s been perfect for Kai, we didn’t experience any odd encounters with anyone in any public areas and we were happy to let him play solo in the playgrounds.
Also when playing with Kai there was no fear of our belongings being stolen, anyone caught steeling or attempting to, can face imprisonment starting at a minimum of 6 months. So its safe to say, if you get carried away multitasking over your little one and forget to close your handbag its one less thing to worry about in Dubai!

Food is fresh
I’ve been a hands on mama since the second Kai popped out. I very rarely let others take over and share responsibility. So when it came to weaning him I made everything he ate at home. This has been one of my biggest struggles on holiday, because if I’m not in an self-catering apartment then I’m relying on the restaurants to cook food for him (which I get very sceptical about and paranoid over the ingredients) on our visits this year with Kai we stayed in Fairmont, Sofitel and Atlantis all situated on the palm island. The hotels were happy to make food for Kai even if they had a buffeting system. His puree’s and meals would be made specifically for him. This took a massive weight off my shoulders because Kai was a hungry baby and organising his food was always my biggest worry!

Time difference works like a dream for babies (from the UK)
Dubai is 4 hours ahead of the UK which meant Kai’s 7pm bedtime could be stretched out till 10:30ish in Dubai and his wake up time of 7am turned into 10:30am and in my books that’s a holiday lie in!
Not to mention on our return to the UK, he was out like a light by 6:30/7pm every night. The forward time difference has just worked a charm for us.

Endless activities
With Kai being our number one priority it was essential we found things that could tickle his imagination and excite his mischievous character. Dubai doesn’t disappoint from that department, from beaches, waterparks and splash pool areas the outdoor entertainment is exhilarating for the best of us. If the heat is too much for you to take and you would prefer an indoor retreat there are plenty of soft play centres and activity rooms, we were spoilt for choice. If your hotel doesn’t offer any baby/ toddler activities then there are plenty to choose from in the public areas. I’ll list them all our in a separate blog post for those that are interested.

So as a brief roundup, we loved it before Kai and we love it even more now that we have him as our travel buddy and would thoroughly recommend it, if you were considering to visit!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Pregnancy anxiety

It’s safe to say pregnancy brings on a bucketful of emotions, good and bad. Although my pregnancy journey was a positive one I couldn’t help but experience bouts of anxiety.
I don’t feel like anxiety attacks are fully understood, I came across this statement online which explained it perfectly;
Anxiety attacks don’t have to be hyperventilating and rocking back and forth, they can also be categorised by but not limited to;

- random burst of irritability
- obsessive behaviour and nit picking
- hypersensitivity
- pacing
- silence
- zoning out

It’s a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Which now looking back on, I’m sure every pregnant woman for the first time experiences.

For me, it was dealing with all these self proclaimed doctors / advice givers.
I had ‘advice’ (a term I will loosely use) flying at me from all directions. Everyone I came across had an opinion or piece of information to give me, whether or not I asked for it.

Don’t eat this – eat that
Don’t exercise so much
Wear these clothes instead of those
Name the baby this
Follow this piece of religious text
Make sure you read this to the baby every day
You’re not eating enough
Listen to this music- it's good for the baby

I can laugh at it now, but during my pregnancy I was so sensitive to everyone's opinions. My biggest hurdle was battling this picture I had painted in my head of what I thought the journey would be, but my pregnancy was far from glowing / nervous giggles and joyful planning ahead.
I was highly irritable 99% of the time, had a difficult time adjusting to the physical and would be so bad tempered when others tried to tell me how to act / what to do.
I guess the introvert in me wanted to be left alone, left alone to manage what I knew I could handle from the start.
I wanted to be left alone to enjoy the process by myself, that’s how I conduct myself most the time anyway; I’m the girl that favours a quiet night in 99% of the time.

I guess the point of this post is to remind ourselves of the comments we make daily.
There is a difference between constructive criticism, criticism, advice and opinions.
It’s insensitive to throw out information based on personal opinions and expect someone else to follow suit; It’s controlling and unfair.
I know so many other young mummies whom like myself have had to deal with the annoying ‘advice’ It’s rather insulting to think that people accuse you of not acting accordingly or saying your lifestyle choices are jeopardising the babies’ health.
I was extremely grateful to be in the position to grow a little human I would never have done anything to cause harm or risk the baby’s health. So it threw me countless times when I was critiqued on my diet / exercise / lifestyle.
I always encourage health, after all the better your physiology the better your psychology.
So unless you have advice that will actively help someone instead of hinder their personal progress; keep it hush hush.

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