When you decide that the swimsuit you wore to the beach during the day ☀️ would make a great top for your OOTN✨! #arabfashionweek
When I heard that a beach club nearby was opening its doors to the public on weekdays to come, kick-back and read, I jumped at the occasion to enjoy the setting, catch-up on some of my reading list, and mostly to reinforce my kids’ perception of reading as a fun activity.
Many places in the United Arab Emirates are likely to make reading related events this year as 2016 was declared the Year of Reading! As for my London friends, keep an eye out for events around the end of this week, as March 3rd is World Book Day in the UK.
My New Home (by Marta Altes) and Petit Noun (by Géraldine Elschner) were the choices for my 4year old daughter. The first deals with the tribulations and excitements of changing homes and was a great way to get my daughter and I to have a conversation about how she has experienced our various moves in the past few years. I do know (and she reminded me that day again) that she misses her friends back in London a lot but just like in the book (and I reminded her of that AGAIN) she is making new friends and learning how to adapt to novelty and difference. As for Petit Noun, it’s an amazing metaphorical adventure about a blue hippopotamus in ancient Egypt… this book transports both parent and child, at different levels, to a world of reflection, colors, history and mystery.
As for my 18months old tot, I enlisted l’âne Trotro (and his sister ZaZa) to help me introduce her to potty training (wish me luck, that’s gonna take a while…) and then we read about good old Sophie La Giraffe’s busy daily schedule in Sophie’s Busy Day (…and I thought I was busy! 😉)
I find that anticipating a book a long while before it’s released or you get your hands on it makes the eventual read even more enjoyable… I’m therefore disclosing two books I’m eagerly awaiting below (and feel free to add in the comments any recommended upcoming books):
- The Importance of Being Little – What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups (by Erika Christakis): a reevaluation of traditional teaching and parenting techniques, this book promises to propose an alternative approach which promotes a better learning environment by listening more closely to the needs of children and how they experience their surrounding and the teaching/parenting itself)
- I Love You Madly – Marie-Antoinette and Count Fersen: The Secret Letters (by Evelyn Farr): it’s about newly discovered letters that promise to shed more light and confirm the much rumored loved-affair the Queen had with Count Fersen
We’re constantly being rushed by modern life’s tempo & our ambitions, to lead hectic lives filled with jam-packed schedules of to-dos & self-challenges, and in the midst of this race we lose track of ourselves, each other and what truly matters. Therefore, we owe ourselves frequent escapes to see our lives in perspective and evaluate what we should be running towards and whether we should be still running at all ! While you can escape by yourself at the gym, a late night run or a stroll with a coffee, it’s also important to escape with your partner to tune into sides of each of you that you lose sight of in the hussle and busstle of the routine. So no matter how cynical you may be about Valentine’s Day, remember that it’s a much needed reminder & opportunity for couples to do that much needed escape together as well. This year we got lucky as we didn’t have to get very creative for our escape as it turned out (much to my surprise) that there’s an isolated tiny island with a picturesque resort surrounded by turquoise just next door (10min boat ride from our home island Saadiyat). Wish you all a very happy Valentine’s…escape!
Celebrating 6 months in the East and for that I’m sporting my Taj Mahal slippers
#myorientalfantasy 👳🏻 🌴🍍☀️🌙
Sometimes you have to look back to realize how far or where you’ve come and today when I accidentally scrolled up too far in the sent photos section of WhatsApp while chatting on a family group, I landed on some old pics of my daughters and realized how much they’ve changed (mostly how my eldest has transitioned from chubby baby to opinionated little girl!) in what felt like a time and space I missed – even though I’m certain I was there pretty much all the time!
It’s in moments like this that I’m forced to have a bit of an out-of-body experience and reflect on the fact that my kids are growing up much faster than I’m able to catch-up and it’s then that I start questioning whether caught in the day-to-day grind trying to satisfy their (and my) ever morphing needs (and thank you move for making this even more intractable) I’m perhaps losing perspective and losing the delicate balance between my needs and my family’s. Despite my best efforts, it seems that every time I go through that mentally tortuous exercise (which often starts through an old cute picture!) I end up thinking the balance is tilting one way or the other more than it should and I start micro-planning solutions around this… those solutions often involve planning and slicing my time into more pieces to address all the things I and they want to do… the problem is both those lists keep on growing and I keep on thinking one of them is going to shrink to give way to the other! + hey sorry to break-it to all the second-time-around moms, the synergies of having gone through it once do have serious limits, as the second kid can be very different then the first and you may have some completely new experiences / challenges with them (for instance I never had to deal with unruly curly hair with my eldest!) Of course, despite my best planning, it seems that with so many things, not everything gets done exactly as I saw it in my planner…
Perhaps nowhere is this tension between their needs, my husband’s and mine more apparent then during the weekend, when we’ve resolved that it’s important for us to recharge both separately and together. All it takes sometimes, is one incident that creates a domino effect on all the rest of the carefully planned day and there goes the whole balance… For example, we plan a day carefully designed around a nice car ride with music, lovely brunch with friends, stroll in the park and an afternoon relaxing on the beach / going for a run… this can turn out to become a shouting fest by fussy toddler in the car seat from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (bye bye Seascrest top 40), an ‘à table’ juice fight between my usually white but then turned orange daughters at the bewildered sight of our single friends (who are likely to stay single for a while after this!), and a miracle tantrum at Dubai’s Miracle Gardens by my eldest over not finding the perfect lollipop! So much time gets wasted of course dealing with those unexpected events and even more time when we try to stick to principles. I mean obviously if I settle to their every demand (and my husband often voices the let’s save the rest of the day argument) or don’t hold them accountable to their actions, things would go faster but am I not hurting my future self there too? That day I didn’t give in and hey I missed the beach and my husband missed his run… oh well not sure I made the right choice there 😜
Of course (and perhaps that’s a blessing somehow) those self-assessment episodes only last for so long (because I only have so long before I’m interrupted by either a cute moment: “Maman regarde cette coquine dit “Tigre”; ENG: “Mom look this naughty one says “Tiger”! or a disaster “Maman cette coquine descent les escaliers toute seule! Regarde elle peut! Je lui ai ouvert la barrière! Laisse-la!; ENG: “Mom, look this naughty one is going down the stairs! Look she’s doing it by herself! I opened the gate for her! Let her do it!”… Moi 😱
I’m not sure if I’m balancing right but surprisingly as time passes I’m becoming less vulnerable to realizations that I’m actually not always balancing perfectly… it’s a sort of a gradual peace-making with my limitations or realization that my trying to control everything ultimately circles back to create even more frustrations that I lack control over. So perhaps the best balance one can achieve is to accept without frustration or too much resistance that “something’s gotta give” and that from time to time the coloring is going to go outside the lines… but that despite that your life can still be beautiful.
This is the season to escape the malls & get eclectic with your outfits with the ever changing (although generally warm) weather! Because of the occasional desert wind that makes its way here to remind us that it’s winter after all, a jacket can come in handy and you can satisfy that secret desire of yours to put on some of your favorite winter pieces – all while still sporting your mini shorts! Or if you’re at the beach (yes that’s a winter activity here) and that breeze gets too strong then it’s time to cover up with your carefully selected kaftan for that oriental beach look!