Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Carrot Cake with a Mascarpone and Walnut Topping

Carrot Cake with a Mascarpone and Walnut Topping







I recently got asked for a last minute addition to a charity cake sale to raise money for a women charity and as I'm getting right into this nesting business I was happy to bake even if I was tired after a busy day at work and use it as an excuse to try out my carrot cake recipe below. An all in one method that was quick and easy to bake and decorate too making it the perfect charity bake sale cake to make in an evening.




Ingredients


Cake

165g Light Brown Sugar
225g Self- Raising Flour - Sifted
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
40g Walnut Pieces - Chopped
150ml Vegetable/Sunflower Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
135g Carrots - Grated
30g Raisins
2 Bananas - Ripe and Mashed
2 Eggs


Topping

250g Mascarpone Cheese
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Icing Sugar
Walnut Pieces to decorate 

Equipment
Stand Mixer/Electric Mixer 
20cm x 20cm Baking Tray
Whisk 
Spatula

Method
1)Pre heat oven to 180C/160CFan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line baking tray with greaseproof paper
2)In a stand mixer add all the ingredients above and mix for around 2-3 minutes until fully combined


3)Place into baking tray and bake for around 25 minutes until skewer comes out clean


4)Around to cool in tray for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely

5)Whisk together mascarpone, vanilla and icing sugar before spreading over the top of the cake and topping with walnut pieces - either whole or crushed


6)Cut into cubes and enjoy







Friday, 14 July 2017

My Baby Essentials Shopping List

Key Essentials To Buy for Baby



When expecting a baby, aside from the fact there is a tiny human growing inside you the other overwhelming task is getting yourselves prepared and ready for this new chapter in your lives.

Towards the end of the pregnancy a lot of mums to be experience nesting feelings, wanting to create a  safe, welcoming and organised home. This normally results in a lot of cleaning, tidying up and baking at least that's what I did last time around. This time around lets see what happens ..... think cleaning up after a toddler each day is enough 'nesting'.

I have put together the list below that we used when we were expecting Bubs, there is a lot on it and how essential it is depends on your budget and how much space you have. One thing you will quickly discover is how much space such a small person needs, especially when you start receiving the giant delivery boxes containing it all.

In terms of shopping for it we went with the John Lewis Nursery service which I found amazing and always recommend it to parents to be. We spent the afternoon in their Oxford Street branch with a very knowledgeable sales person who helped compile a list of all the items we needed. What I liked most was being able to see the products and test them, they have a large selection so it is also easy to compare them all with each other. The best bit being after you finish they give you free tea and cake.

I was then able to choose a delivery date close to be due date for all the items to arrive, in terms of pricing they also automatically price match, even against on line retailers such as amazon however the customer service and after care is great. For example Bubs moses stand arrived chipped so I called them to request a replacement which they were happy too and told me to keep the original chipped one also free of charge rather than returning it back to the courier. This worked out great as we had a stand both upstairs and downstairs.

From personal experience with purchasing the below and using them my opinions are:

- Pram
Probably one of the biggest purchases you make, we went for the Silver Cross Surf along with the matching car seat and moses basket attachment so the whole package. Bubs used the moses basket mainly during my brothers wedding where he was only around 2/3 months old and it was great he could sleep completely flat for the wedding events but after this only used it for the few odd walks. We mainly used the Pram with the car seat attached, this was the most convenient when he was younger and would often fall asleep even in short car journeys. The actual seat attachment he did not use very much as he much preferred his cheaper foldable buggy we brought when he was 8 months old. It was good pram and we will use it with Bubs v2.0 too but it is very big, bulky and heavy. Not the easiest to get in and out of a boot on your own.

- Buggy
I did not add this to my list as most parents do not buy this until their baby is older and they are off on holiday, however they are great and a lot can be used from birth, if you short on space or do not want to spend so much I think they do a great job when out and about. We again went for the Silver Cross Zest which is slightly more expensive than other pushchairs but I managed to get mine half price just shopping around and spending the extra money has worked out worthwhile as its still going strong after doing around 20 flights. You are able to get newborn inserts to make them more comfortable for younger babies.

- Car Seat
I think the most important thing with car seats is more the Isofix base, makes it so much easier for putting them in and out of the car. I actually really liked the Silver Cross Car seat as it came with a footmuff and solid canopy too, meaning when it was attached to the pushchair during winter especially he was nice and cosy.

- Moses Basket
Again nice to have when they are young, especially for day time naps as you know they are safe. I went for Moses Basket which as it is made out plastic is slightly larger than most wicker ones and lasted Bubs for around 3 months, you can now get Snoozebaby and other sleeping devices which could be used as an alternative to the basket. I am still undecided on buying one or seeing how Bubs V2.0 does in the basket first.
I would say you need a safe, flat place for your baby to spend the many hours of sleeping they do in those first few months so one of the above options would be an essential.

- Changing Station
I think this is another one of my essentials, you change far too many nappies to bend over a bed or on the floor to not have one. I had mine custom made with storage underneath for nappies, wipes, creams etc but any changing station would do, especially if you have a C-section.
For a changing mat I went for Wedge Changing Mat which was great once Bubs got older and started to roll around as the wedge prevented him from getting too far away.

- Bouncer
Again a great item to buy, especially when you are alone at home as it just gives you a few minutes to place your baby somewhere safe when you need to do something such as showering. Again lots on the market at different price points - we went for Tiny Love Gemini Bouncer which I loved especially as it was slighter longer and Bubs used it a lot even when he was around 8- 9 months old.
Another item not on the list but worth getting or borrowing is the Bumbo Floor Seat, as the baby starts to sit up it just gives them a better view of the world and also doubles up as a high chair in the early days.

- High Chair
Not something you need to buy at the outset, unless you are us. Bubs is currently using the Stokke Tripp Trapp which is amazing and comes with a from birth attachment so we will buying this for Bubs v2.0 meaning she can join us at the table for meals. Not essential but for our family life I think this will be really beneficial, otherwise I find the second baby ends up in the bouncer looking up whilst everyone else eats.

-Baby Carrier
I think these are quite baby dependent, some kids love them and others hate them. Bubs loved his and it was often a life saver, he used his a lot for the first year of his life and we could not have done without it.

-In -ear thermometer
You never know when they will get their first illness and this is perfect to get an accurate temperature reading before seeking professional medical help.

-Feeding Pillow
One of the most used items I brought, beginning with whilst you are pregnant, to be in labour and then after to actually feed the baby, great for raising them up and putting less pressure on your stomach and back. I got one which came with two washable covers, which was perfect for all the milk spill ups.

- Feeding equipment
I would hold off buying pumps, sterilisers, lots of bottles etc until the baby arrives and you know which method you will be using to feed them. Some for example do not take to breastfeeding and others do not take to bottles. Most items are available either on the high street, supermarkets or same day/next day delivery so you can always make these decisions after.

In summary, you can have a huge shopping spree but try and stick to the essentials, talk to other parents for valued opinions but remember each baby is different and their needs will change as they grow. Have fun shopping :)








Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Preparing for Baby Number Two


Preparing Bubs for Bubs v2 

Bubs was actually the first person we told we were expecting, only a few minutes after Mr S found out; looking back that may not have been the best idea but he is far too much a part of our lives to not involve him from the outset.
This has meant we have had the last eight months to help prep him for the idea of having a sibling and the list below highlights some of the ways we have done this.

Obviously the age of the child will influence how you are able to communicate these with them. Those with children very close together may not be able to convey the concept until the baby is actually born and those with older children may have much more complicated questions to answer about babies, pregnancy and childbirth.

Bubs was just over two when we discovered we were pregnant and will be turning three shortly after she arrives, this seems to be a popular age gap with several of his similar aged friends also going through the same situation which in itself has helped. Not only to provide a great support network for me but also to give Bubs an idea of what is to come and it seems a hot topic of conversation in the nursery playground.
  • Initial News
One of the problems we had with telling Bubs straightaway was that he was so excited by the fact their was a baby in his mummies tummy he proceeded to also tell everyone else, meaning waiting until the twelve week scan ended up going out of the window. 
Nine months is also a long time for a toddler to wait to actually get to meet this baby, we have tried to address this by teaching him the months of the year and using key activities each month as a guidance. E.g in April it is easter, May is Dubai, June is the Baby Shower, July is playdates, August is Paw Patrol and then the Baby will arrive. 
Another reason parents may decide to wait also is the increased chase of miscarriage in the first three months and having to explain the idea of loss to a toddler, we told Bubs as an instant reaction but looking back it, we would still do the same as he is a huge member of our family to share both good and bad news with. 
  • Baby Tiger
Quite early on in the pregnancy Bubs named the little one Baby Tiger, something which he came up with on his own and has stuck through it all. I think this little gesture has helped him bond with her and given her a personality already. Often when he is giving her cuddles he will say Baby Tiger is laughing, or crying or most of the time - doing a poo poo.
  • Reading Books
Bubs loves reading and is at an age where he understands storylines so this was an obvious way to help him understand what would be happening during the pregnancy and also after the baby is born. 
Some of our favourite books have been: 

Great for during pregnancy and explaining the side effects mummy might be feeling.


More for Bubs to understand what will happen after the baby comes homes to be a part of our family



One of Bubs favourite and one of his favourite new lines to show how grown up he is. 




These books have been great talking points to give him an idea of what will happen when I come back from hospital, such as not being able to pick him up, feeding the baby and all of his new responsibilities such as not letting his little sister eat his toys. 
  • Friends and Family 
Lots of friends and family have either recently had a new baby or are currently pregnant with the second, I think it has really helped him understand the concept of having a younger brother or sister seeing his friends and cousins already experience this. He has always been great with younger children and loves visiting newborns so I hope this continues when he is living with one too. 

It has also helped having everyone talk about the new baby with him, for example when we go to hospital he already knows he is going to go for a sleepover at my parents house and trying to make those few days as exciting for him as possible too. 
  • Gender Reveal
We were always planning on finding out the gender of the baby as I like to be prepared as possible and have as much information as I can and we wanted to share this news with our friends and family too, similarly to how we did when expecting Bubs. However this time we did not make the mistake of telling Mr Big Mouth before everyone else, thankfully when he did he gender reveal photo over easter time he just thought it was part of playing with some new plastic eggs.

I also baked a small cake to cut through to reveal the news, by knowing he has a little sister coming instead of just referring to it as a baby it just helps make the bond stronger and give her more identifiable features for him to grasp.


I think the key to all of this is to keep them as involved as possible, give them as much information as you can and encourage them to bond. 
  • Heartbeat and Kicking
Bubs is at a very affectionate age and especially with me loves cuddles so has really enjoyed feeling Baby Tiger kicking and also listening to heartbeat through our home doppler kit. 
  • Baby Shower
For Bubs we had a huge baby shower, with lots of friends, family, food and presents the whole galore which was a wonderful way to celebrate his birth however the idea of having another one at that scale scared me slightly. Mainly as I would not know what to do with some many gifts this time around so instead I had a very small afternoon tea hosted by Bubs Masi (Auntie) which was a perfect way to celebrate our princess and indulge in an afternoon of floral pinks, cakes and prosseco.





Bubs loves afternoon tea, especially when his Masi makes scones so he could not wait to come along and although he got lots of presents himself at the event it was the first time he complained. My dad arrived at the end of the shower and he told him that only Baby Tiger had got new clothes and he did not get any. Which firstly was not quite true as he did get a new Paw Patrol t-shirt and secondly he does not really count new clothes as anything fun. It did show however the first signs of the green eyed monster appearing.



  •  Shopping
Bubs has really enjoyed buying new clothes and a few toys for his baby sister, however he has suddenly developed a massive coloured biased with girls only being allowed to wear pink and boys blue. Making it very difficult to buy her much that is not pink. Again just another way to keep him involved and the build the excitement of a new baby up. 
  • TV- Shows
Bubs has to take credit for finding this one all on his own, a favourite episode he has requested on repeat since finding out about his new baby. 


  • Photo Albums
I love printing out actual photos and have around 10 huge albums full of photos from 2014 when I was pregnant with Bubs up until today, going through these to let him see when he was in my tummy, to when he was born and who visited him as a newborn has really helped him understand what is going on this time around too, and like all toddlers he just loves hearing about how cute he is in the old photos. 
  • Breastfeeding 
This was a great tip I picked up from some of the mums at nursery, that I will do once I start maternity leave.

Nursing Box - a box full of activities, play ideas and snacks to keep Bubs entertained whilst feeding a newborn. 
- Puzzles
- Books
- Colouring 
- Sticker Books
- Playdoh (dangerous) 
- Raisins/Biscuits/Ricecakes
- Mainly things he is able to do independently 
- Keep this box accessible so he is able to get it himself but make it a special item that comes out when the baby is feeding, to help Bubs feel like he has a special role to during this time. 
  • Gifts
We are currently in the middle of having a loft extension done meaning all the random stuff I have been storing up there for the last 6 years has now made its way into the main house. This means a huge clear out and we started with Bubs toys, he has been very spoilt over the last few years and received lots of lovey presents but we had to streamline and give a lot away to charity. 

This has meant I am now slightly scared to buy him anymore new toys but I still want to get him something very special from his new sister for when he comes to visit her for the first time. Some of the ideas I am thinking about are:
- a Baby Born Boy doll and pushchair

- a Special Teddy - he loves cuddly toys but has so many now its hard finding an animal he does not own

- Lego - always a favourite and great way to spend hours playing after we get home

- Playmobile - he does not yet own any of these but it looks really fun :)

  • Fingers Crossed 
Previous experience teaches me however much you prepare there is no way to predict how either babies, toddlers or children will behave. Therefore as great as it has been using all of the above methods to help Bubs the only thing we can really do is cross our fingers and hope he does not hate her when she arrives :) 

Monday, 3 July 2017

My Hospital Bag Essentials Packing List - For Mummy, Papa and Baby


Now that I am in my final trimester, it has become a lot more real that a little newborn will be joining our family in a few weeks. Along with being very excited I also feel slightly unprepared this time.

Having your second is very different to your first. By this stage last time I was pregnant I had everything washed and ironed placed neatly in the nursery. Currently I am just trying to workout how Bubs is going to share his wardrobe with his sisters ever growing collection of clothes, let alone washing them and because we know we have all the essentials apart from buying pretty bows, dolly shoes and frilly knickers there has not been any need to go shopping. 

In true chaos life fashion we are also about to start a loft extension meaning all the baby stuff I was hoping to leave hidden away until the end will soon be in my living room. On the upside the quicker the loft starts the quicker it finishes and hopefully before this baby arrives. :)

On the topic of preparation, one thing I did find very helpful last time was having a hospital packing list, with my great love for lists this is not surprising.

I ended up spending nearly a week in hospital last time, therefore I have edited this to only include what is really useful. In the UK you often stay on shared wards rather than in private rooms meaning there is not much space to move around so taking only what you need is a great idea.  Hopefully you will have lots of visitors so they will be able to bring you anything you need to.

Bubs ended up being really tiny so my mum had to go out the morning he was born and buy lots of tiny baby babygros that actually fit him rather than the newborn or 1m size I had packed. 

The most useful thing I found for myself during my stay was my flip-flops and a feeding pillow, for the baby they just need essentials - nappies, cotton wool, babygros and blankets. For Papa especially with the first baby probably a phone charger is most useful item :)

When it comes to actually packing all the items I would use a trolley hand luggage suitcase to hold all  of mums items and a separate duffle bag for the babies items. Papas stuff should fit into a rucksack, this means he should be able to manage carry it all from the car by himself leaving you hands free to rub your belly through the contractions. I also found we ended up moving around quite a bit when we were admitted to hospital so maybe best to just take your notes in with you initially then return back for all the other items.

The car seat can stay in the car until you are discharged from the hospital, along with in this case a wrapped up present for Bubs from his little sister. I really want to get him a doll and pushchair but having just had a huge toy clear out I am now too scared to buy anything that takes up any space in our house.

Please print off and keep this list handy when out buying new items and packing. Anything that can make things easier in the lead up to the big arrival is worth it. 



Mummascribbles

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Morrocan Chickpea Buddha Beauty Bowls



Moroccan Buddha Beauty Bowl



This makes a great tasty quick lunch, full of goodness, nutrition, vegetables and best of all its tasty.


Serves 2,

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Couscous
1 Garlic Clove finely chopped
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
1 Chickpea tin
150g Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Courgette
1/2 Aubergine
10 Black Olives
2 Gherkins finely sliced
2 Turkish Chillies finely sliced
1/4 Pomegranate deseeded
50g Feta cubed
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Tumeric Powder
2 tsp Sumac
1/2 Lemon

Method:

1. In a pan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil, add in garlic and tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are soften slightly
2. In the same pan add another tsp of olive oil, after a few mins add in the cumin seeds, followed by couscous, chickpeas, turmeric powder, seasoning, stock cube and top with hot boiling water, cook for around 5-7 minutes
3. Slice up aubergine and courgette and brush with remaining olive oil and sumac before grilling for a few minutes each side on a preheated griddle pan
4. Fluff up couscous once removed from heat with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh black pepper
5. In a bowl arrange couscous followed by grilled vegetables, tomatoes, olives, chillies, gherkins and feta
6. Top with pomegranate seeds and serve

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Friday, 16 June 2017

Spiced Chicken, Lentil and a Herby Yoghurt Dressing Summer Salad

Spiced Chicken, Lentil and a Herby Yoghurt Dressing Summer Salad



This is a recipe is originally based on a Jamie Oliver meal in 30 minutes recipe which I have adapted to make to make it faster for me. Mr S is currently on a big healthy eating lifestyle which loosely translates to no or low carbs. Me and Bubs are not following any sort of ridiculous ideas and continue to consume carbs in high quantities. 

However with it being summer and having been lucky enough to have a few warm evenings it is lovely to have a light dinner on these occasions and this salad fits the bill of being healthy, filling and delicious. 

Hope you all enjoy this as much as we did. 

Ingredients:


2 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
500g Chicken Breasts
1 packet Baby Chestnut Mushrooms
2 Green Chilli
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 inch Ginger
1 Tsp. Tikka Paste
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
3 Spring Onions
1 Large Tomato
1 ready to eat tin of Green Lentils
1 tsp red/white wine vinegar
Handful of Green coriander
5/6 Mint Stalks
1 Lemon
2 tbsp Natural Yoghurt
1 tbsp Cashew Nuts
1 tbsp Mango Chutney 
1/2 tsp Dried Mango Powder
1 bag of pre washed Salad Leaves
2 Carrots
1/2 Cucumber
1 red Chilli deseeded
50g Feta Cheese

Method: 


Chicken and Mushroom


1. Chop up chicken into 2 inch pieces, finely chop 1 green chilli, 1 garlic clove and grate ginger
2. Combine 1 tbsp oil, chicken, mushrooms, green chilli, garlic, ginger, tikka pasta, paprika, 1 tsp coriander powder and salt and pepper in a bowl and leave in the fridge for a few hours


3. To cook, heat a griddle pan until very hot and grill chicken until done around 10 minutes.

Lentils


4. Heat remaining oil in a pan, add in cumin seeds
5. Finely chop spring onion and tomatoes 


6. Once cumin seeds have began to let off their aroma add in spring onions and tomatoes


7. Add in a whole tin including water of green lentils along with vinegar and salt and pepper 



8. Cook down for around 10-15 minutes.


Dressing


9. In a food processor whiz together - 1 green chilli, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp coriander powder, coriander - stalks and leaves, mint leaves, juice of lemon, yoghurt, cashews, mango chutney, dried mango power and seasoning.


Salad


10. Top mixed salad leaves with finely peeled strips of carrot, cucumber and red chilli


11. Top salad with chicken, feta and drizzle over dressing.



Hijacked By Twins
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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Dubai - Our Family BabyMoon to JA Palm Tree Court




One of the first thing's we did last year when we discovered we were expecting again was book a baby moon. The destination was restricted to a Zika free area and it was a toss up between either Dubai (where we went when I was pregnant with Bubs) or Greece. Dubai narrowly got the nod due to easy access to first class medical facilities - just in case.

Having visited the UAE on several occasions previously we have done all the sights and experiences and we simply wanted a few days to relax in luxury and for that reason we chose a resort slightly out of Dubai in Jebel Ali, JA Palm Tree Court.  A sprawling complex with numerous pools, a private beach, golf course and also one of the few all inclusive resorts in Dubai. 

Day One


As per usual we flew with BA overnight and Bubs by now already a seasoned traveller slept the majority of the flight and we arrived into Dubai on a Friday morning to 34c sunshine. It was a 45 minute private transfer to the resort and we were lucky enough to be able to check in early. We also received a room upgrade to a sea facing room in a block much closer to the main facilities. After a quick shower, we unpacked all our clothes into the huge closets and headed down for an early lunch.  

Beach view Junior Suite

Bathroom 
Our first lunch in the now scorching 38 degree sun was in the Anchor Restaurant located overlooking the beach. Bubs had a hot dog from the children’s menu followed by an ice cream (the first of many). I enjoyed the burrata and watermelon salad whilst Mr S opted for a perfectly cooked piece of salmon - the food was off to a great start. Having said that it was a slightly stressful experience due to the pesky crows which linger around waiting to steal your unguarded chips or bread but Bubs had fun shooing them away.

Although we were all inclusive you still presented with an itemised bill and the total for lunch was a eye watering £150, so the all inclusive package is worth is weight in gold.

Mr S Salmon


Burrata Salad

The rest of the day was spent by the children’s splash pool which is all shaded, once Bubs fell asleep I had a craving for chips. Unfortunately none of the restaurants/bars near the pool or beach offer a takeaway or lounger service so Mr S thankfully offered to walk to the Sports cafe located near the marina to satisfy my crave. An offer I think he soon regretted after a sweaty 20 minute round trip in the sweltering heat! (We later realised that the resort has a fleet of golf buggy which are available to whisk you from your room to any of the restaurants.) The lack of snacks available during the day I felt was one of the downsides of the resort. 

For our evening meal we went to Captains restaurant a caribbean grill also located on the beach. We had the best table in the house and enjoyed sun downers before tucking into our delicious meal. I went for the prawn starter, lamb chop main and pineapple desert. Mr S had a refreshing scallop starter and melt in the mouth brisket for main while Bibs enjoyed a chicken and mushroom curry followed by delicious tropical fruits and ice-cream. I only just realised that I took no pictures of any desserts, probably because they were all so good I just couldn’t wait to dig in, either that or I was ready for my bed by that point. 


During the stay we found that all the staff were very friendly and attentive and always made a special effort to speak with Bubs.



Day Two


We all enjoyed an epic 12 hr sleep on an equally epic sized bed and so we got down to breakfast with 15 minutes to spare. The buffet spread was smaller than I had expected but still had plenty of options with fresh eggs and pancakes being made to order.


                                               


As it was the last weekend before Ramadan there was a weekend of sales on across all the malls and last time we where here we got Bubs some great clothes so I jumped at the chance to get more for the little princess growing away in my tummy. The great thing about Dubai malls is they stock american brands which you cannot get anywhere in Europe - Carters is a particular favourite of mine.

We got a taxi to the nearby Ibn Battuta Mall a world themed mall which had different areas which huge showpiece displays such as an Indian elephant or Chinese lanterns. Similar to Westfield London they had a whole strip of baby clothes shops, most of which had 50% discount, needless to say I bought a few items….



Baby Girl Shopping Haul

Back at the hotel we lunched at the sports cafe before spending the rest of the afternoon on the beautiful sandy beach.


Dinner that evening was onboard the resorts moored boat called Divaz, a restaurant dedicated to the freshest seafood. You literally choose the fish you want to eat from the display and tell your waiter how would like it cooked and it arrives at your table about 20mins later - my favourite was the tempura king prawns. The fish went straight through Bubs (Literally!) so I had to spend 20 minutes sorting him out in the bowels of the ship but capped the night off on a high with a lovely section of buffet desserts - the chocolate tart was divine. 





Day Three


We spent most of the day at the beach which was a lot quieter than the pool area. There were plenty of sunbeds and I preferred to chill on the grassy area in front of the beach as it is less messy than sitting directly in the sand - I hate the feeling of wet sand and Bubs tends to get covered from head to toe in the stuff. Luckily for me Mr S did most of the parenting on this holiday as not surprisingly Bubs does not understand the concept of relaxing on a sunbed for hours on end. 

                           
                 


Before we went I read the reviews which said each day there were camels on the beach, unfortunately though one of the camels died before we arrived so Bubs was unable to meet any in person and had to make do with the three camel cuddly toys he has. 
He absolutely loved the beach and despite the heat was constantly running up and down and splashing in the clear warm water with Mr S, when he did finally crash out he did it in style…

Multiuse Kaftans 

Dinner that evening was at the hotels Pan Asian Restaurant called white Orchid, for starters they offered a fabulous sushi, sashimi, tempura and dim sum buffet which are some of our favourite types of food so we made a few trips to sample all the delights. It was especially a hit with Mr S who normally hates buffets.

Bubs had a chicken pad thai which was delicious but he then only wanted to watch Peppa Pig on the iPhone and be rather unsocial but it did mean we got to enjoy our Black Cod and Smoked Duck mains in peace.

Bubs 'No Photos please'
Black Cod - served with a Miso Broth


Day Four



My birthday had arrived and following breakfast we setup camp on the beach again to enjoy a lovely day basking in the sunshine, eating ice cream, drinking sparkling water and watching BBC Iplayer - just my idea of perfection at the moment. We made full use of the beach bar and which stocked cold and hot drinks and a cooling selection of ice creams.



We bought this little foldable deck chair complete with a sun Parasol from B&M stores stores for a bargain price of £5.99 and Bubs loved it both on holiday and now we are back home, just the right size for him to sit back, chill and enjoy his favourite cornetto.

When we returned back to our room in the early evening we were greeted by a chocolate birthday cake and a bottle of fizz to enjoy. Having spent around 9 of my last 10 birthdays abroad I have tasted my fair share of hotel cakes now and this one had to be one of the best - a light chocolate mousse cake which was hard to stop picking at before we headed out for dinner.



Just for nostalgia I wore the same dress I did three years ago when last in Dubai and felt the bump is much bigger this time round and so glad its a maternity dress!


My birthday meal was at Shooters which is located in a shooting range, around a 10min drive away from the resort. For starters Mr S had a delicately presented deconstructed tuna nicois salad which was in total contrast to the disappointing bloated seafood nachos I ordered - a very unappetising portion that I struggled to make a dent in. For mains however the tables were turned as Mr S was presented with raw short ribs which were promptly replaced with another set of equally undercooked ribs and so he went hungry or should I say hangry despite the profuse apologies from the manger. My steak on the other hand was cooked to medium perfection and has to be one of the best I have ever eaten even in comparison to some great steak places in London and our trip to Capetown last year.


I was looking forward to dessert as soon as I saw the word churros on the menu but after one bite I was done - they were dry and not sweet enough but luckily Bubs shared his rocky road brownie with us. To cap the night off we headed down to one of the buffet restaurants and indulged in some fresh mint tea and baklava to end my birthday on a sweeter note.


Day Five


The hotel grounds were beautiful and were home to around 4-5 peacocks which causally stroll around and treat the guests to displays of their extravagant feathers through the day.


For our last day we spent is much the same as the others splitting our time between the beach before lunch and naps and to the pool in the late afternnoon. Bubs loves the pool and never wants to leave so we tactically always went in the late afternoon as the pool closed around 6.30pm and so then we didn’t have to be the bad guys and tell him it was time to leave - the lifeguards on duty took the hit!

                                                

Our last dinner of the holiday was at La Traviata, an Italian restaurant and it turned out we left the best for last. Each of the three courses were well presented, well cooked and delicious.




Carpaccio

Arancini

Final Thoughts

Some of my favourite parts of the resort were the food; the huge rooms that were cleaned very efficiently twice a day and the peacefulness of it all. The resort is out of Dubai so it would not be suitable if you wanted to explore more of what Dubai has to offer and although I thought it was great for preschooler age children I feel those older would want more entertainment especially with the water parks and extreme sports that are on offer in other parts of Dubai. For Bubs age it was great with several pools, a huge beach and lots of rubber ducks, he collected four different ones during his stay. There is a kids club which for under 4s is chargeable and run by English staff however we did not use it as he was happiest being outdoors, 'just chilling' as he would say with us. 

From meeting other guests at the resort there were several who return year on year and know the long serving staff members very well which demonstrated to us how great the resort is. 

We normally go half board in Dubai and find the service to always be the one thing that makes us want to keep returning again and again. For example our last stay at the Fairmont they would come by the sunbeds and polish up your sunglasses for you. I felt travelling All Inclusive was fabuluous especially given the current rate of the pound as it does make Dubai a lot more expensive, however I do feel as a result although there was nothing to fault in the service it was not the above and beyond level we have been accosttmed to in five star Dubai. I am probably being a little harsh but its was something I picked up on during our stay, JA Palm Tree court still had great friendly and attentive service and our holiday did not lack anything but it was not the personalised effort we have experienced previously. This may on part also be due to it being a much larger resort than those on the Palm Jumeriah. 

Another great part of holidaying in Dubai is the safety aspect, you can go off for a walk on the beach or a swim in the pool and leave all your valuables on the sun loungers with no issue of anything going missing. Normally when we go abroad I always make sure I spread any cash out between myself, Mr S and the safe just in case, but here you can take all your millions with you and it will be fine. 

Dubai also uses normal 3 pin sockets as the UK so no need to take travel adapters unless you are coming in from other parts of the world. 



Overall if you want to recharge, have guaranteed sunshine, your pick of sunbeds and delicious food served with a smile throughout the day I would recommend this hotel. 

This was a wonderful familymoon/babymoon and was great to have the quality time with Bubs before his little sister arrives and rocks his world; he has been a great traveller with our return flight being his 20th. We really hope the new arrival shares our love for the world, travelling and food otherwise we may have to just leave her at home with the grandparents ;)




Wanderlust Kids
Mummascribbles