Toy Mysteries


Although recently I’ve tried really hard, I’ve still not found the answers to the following toy mysteries:

1. Why is another child’s toy always more attractive?

Time spent purchasing the perfect toy for my little one is usually rewarded when I see the joy and happiness the carefully selected item brings. Un-boxed, batteries inserted and blaring out a cheery song about the alphabet, the said item might even (for around seven minutes) become her favourite toy ever.

That is, until little friend Johnny turns up for a play date.

Little friend Johnny (please note: can be substituted with any other child) takes off his socks. These socks (not even a toy!!) suddenly become the best toy ever. An epic battle of wills begins.

The expensive and carefully chosen toy from earlier is discarded and tossed to the ground in similar style to the home cooked food served at lunch time. Little Johnny’s socks are now the most fun thing ever and must be stolen from his grip, twirled around and generally enjoyed, leaving poor Johnny screaming and wishing he’d never removed them from his now-freezing feet. Darn air conditioning.

Peace resumes as my little one is distracted by a toy aeroplane. Oh no, wait a minute, Little Johnny has now picked up an old teddy bear, lame-looking and with one eye missing. This precious item which my child couldn’t have cared less about 5 minutes ago is definitely now worth fighting for….

And so on. Sigh.


2. Why do we need three people, a pair of shears and a degree in physics to get the toy out of the box?

Self-explanatory, really.


3. Where do all the small parts disappear to?

I’m convinced there is a toy paradise where the phone handset from the V-tech walker, the xylophone stick from the ELC wooden activity cube and approximately thirty-seven Megabloks are all partying hard and laughing about how they escaped the clutches of my toddler.

Missing: one telephone

Missing: one telephone handset


We have wooden bits missing from a ‘hit the wooden pegs’ toy.

Passengers missing from a toy bus.

Pages missing from various noisy books.

When I’m waving my child off to university one day, these small toy artefacts are going to come out of hiding and make me cry, I just know it.


4. Why are the ‘proper’ toys ignored?

Remote controls, telephones, laptops, plug sockets, stroller wheels, toilet seats, stale food from under the sofa: what do they all have in common?

These are, in fact, the best toys ever.


The plug-socket is the most exciting thing in this picture

The plug-socket is the most exciting thing in this picture


5. How is it humanly possible to maintain a toy-free living environment?

My living room looks like a low-rent soft play area, minus the padded flooring. When I visit the homes of (some) mum-friends I’m often left wondering how on earth they manage to avoid having a massive pile of brightly coloured toys in the middle of the living room/dining room/kitchen…in fact in ALL rooms?! If you are one of those people, do us all a favour and please, please shed some light on this. Maybe your little one’s toys ran away to join the V tech telephone handset in toy paradise?


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Nursery Rhyme Nightmares

Like many fellow parents of little ones, I spend a large percentage of my time singing nursery rhymes.

In my younger, hipper, cooler days the soundtrack to my life may have been some 90’s R&B (Brandy and Monica, anyone?), Noughties dance music and a bit of early 21st century Brit-pop, but these days I’m more likely to be grooving to ‘Three Blind Mice’.

For me, nursery rhymes are nostalgic and the words trip off the tongue automatically after many, many years of hearing them throughout my childhood.

When trying to calm my little one, I generally accompany my nursery rhyme singing (or cat-yowling-type-noises loosely disguised as singing) with a crazed grin. Lucky child, I hear you say.

However, a few days ago, in conversation with some mum friends, the topic of nursery rhymes came up and made me think twice about the scary tales we sing to our little ones.

Seriously, let’s just take a moment to consider the nightmarish tales we tell:

The injury-filled legend of Jack and Jill does not end well.

Sing a Song of Sixpence culminates in a maid having her nose pecked off by a blackbird.

London Bridge fell down.

Doctor Foster got stuck in a puddle right up to his middle, poor fellow.

Humpty Dumpty was simply un-fixable.

Pouring rain caused an old man to bump his head, and judging on his inability to get out of bed the next day, he may well have suffered serious concussion.

Jack Sprat’s food choices were rather limited.

Little Bo Peep’s sheep are still nowhere to be found.

Little Miss Muffet was terrorised by a large spider as she was trying to eat her lunch.

The stuff of nightmares...

The stuff of nightmares…


Old Mother Hubbard can’t eat lunch as the cupboards are bare.

The Weasel gets popped.

A Knave stole the Queen of Heart’s tarts.

Ring a Ring O’Roses – well, frankly that’s just plain morbid.

Rock a bye baby falls out of a tree, cradle and all.

Solomon Grundy only lived for a week.

The old woman living in a shoe arguably had quite a tough life with so many children to care for.

On the plus side….

Baa baa black sheep made plenty of wool and shared it out equally.

Old Macdonald’s animals are happily making a variety of noises and

Incey Wincey spider to this day continues to try to get to the top of that Everest-like spout. Sustained by the curds and whey consumed after scaring Little Miss Muffet away, obviously.



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Beach Time with a Toddler: The Reality


I am very lucky to live next to a wonderful beach. A few years ago, if I’d known I would be living in this wonderful place, I’d have imagined making full use of the amazing facilities.

Cue visions of morning jogs along the sand, daytime paddles and sunset swims. Laughing with Little O as we’d build huge, architecturally stunning sandcastles and then take a break for a dainty picnic containing healthy homemade delicacies.

Whole days spent at the beach, basking in the freedom of being outdoors and inhaling the evocative scent of sunscreen and salty air. A bit like a TV advert for fabric conditioner, you know the type of thing.

The reality is really quite different. The morning jogs haven’t happened, but we won’t go into that. Rather, lets focus on the challenges of taking a terrific toddler to the hallowed sands. Such adventures require keen mental preparation and a day to recover afterwards.

It usually goes like this:

The Packing

Why we need five bags I’ll never quite understand. It certainly takes a while to pack our beach paraphernalia and to haul it down to the sea shore. An array of buckets and spades in different sizes, a few sand rakes and other mysterious implements. Sun screen, hats, towels, beach mats, changing bag in case of an alfresco code brown situation. Water, snacks and a purse to purchase the inevitable ice cream. Insect repellent, a magazine (just for the fun of not reading it) and mobile phone. It’s like packing for a holiday, just without the passports and pyjamas.

The Playing

The vast collection of beach entertainment in the form of the aforementioned buckets, spades and other sand related tools are just for show, really. I live in hope that one day Little O might be interested in shovelling sand into a bucket and gazing in wonder at the fabulous sandcastles we could make. For now, she is quite content to crawl about, intermittently stopping to guzzle down a handful of sand. She makes fun in her own way and I observe in wonder, my heart bursting at the simple pleasure she takes in watching the planes overhead, watching other children run around and of course, eating even more sand.

No elaborate games needed. Trying to ensure Little O’s sunhat remains in place for more than three and a half seconds is all the fun I need.

Beach Baby

Beach Baby


The Swimming

The best part of being at the beach is having a paddle. I’m more of an ankle-paddler than a full on sea swimmer, so Little O gets to swim with Mr O. She delights in splashing and squealing and wriggling about like a frenzied otter, whilst I look on from a safe distance.

After swimming the re-application of sunscreen to sandy toddler limbs is a bit like a rather rough exfoliation treatment for the palms. Who needs a spa when we have the beach?

The Eating

Mainly sand. See above.

I’d love to say we have homemade healthy meals served on fabulous picnicware, on a gingham rug. But I struggle enough to cook decent meals to eat indoors so  the beach doesn’t have a chance!

On a good day there may be rice cakes, sandwiches and fruit. All with a light dusting of sand to make the beach culinary experience all the more authentic.

The Clean Up

Oh, the clean up. It is an epic task. Sand in every crevice, nook and cranny and in places nobody knew existed. We brush off as much sand as possible before leaving the beach. Somehow we remain 50% encrusted, top to toe. On entry to our abode, flip flops are discarded and a trail of sand is scattered all the way through to the bathroom. After showers all round, sand is re-picked-up on the soles of the feet and crawling toddler knees and trodden around a bit until it becomes so familiar we forget it’s there. Until bed time. Sand in bed is a lot worse than toast crumbs, I tell thee.

It can take days for our home to become a sand-free zone. After which, the beach starts to look quite attractive again and beckons us back to paddle in the azure sea. The happy squeals of a sand-munching toddler make it worth it.


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5 Quirks of Being a Tall Mother

I’m pretty tall, as it goes.

Once, when working at my Saturday job on a UK Pharmacy counter as a hapless 16 year old, an elderly lady looked up at me, over 6 feet tall in my totally-unsuitable-for-standing-all-day high heels and asked ‘is it cold up there?’. Happy memories…

Anyway, one might think that height has no bearing on parenthood but I have found the following:

1. Maternity clothing is nigh on impossible to find

There’s a picture of me at 8 months pregnant on a beach here in Abu Dhabi. It is a lovely picture in many ways. When looking at this photograph, in addition to thinking I look like a ship in full sail, I can’t help wishing the dress I was wearing was a little longer. Pregnant ladies bemoan the hardships involved in finding clothing that doesn’t look frumpy and doesn’t cost a month’s salary for one outfit. Add extra height into the mix and it becomes a recipe for awkwardly exposed wrists, knees and ankles, waistlines partying around the chest area and trousers at half mast. Finding ‘tall’ maternity clothing is like searching for rockinghorse food.

If I had a whiff of entrepreneurialism about me, I’d start my own clothing line for this very niche market. But for the moment, I’ll just giggle nostalgically at my pregnancy photographs.

2. Big feet

Having ‘canoe-shoes’ -as my family like to refer to me- is part and parcel of being blessed with extra inches in the height department. There’s an old wives tale (or maybe there’s medical fact behind it, I don’t know)… that big feet means an easy labour as the hips and birth canal would be in proportion to the size of the feet. I can categorically, one thousand percent confirm that my gigantic feet (and hips for that matter) did not make that process any easier….

3. It’s a long way down

When, a few hours into my labour, the Midwife brought me a birthing ball the size of a beach ball I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The chances of me squatting to the height of that ball were slim to none. Unfortunately due to the unforeseen way Little O’s arrival into the world commenced, my extra large birthing ball did not accompany me to the hospital.

It didn’t stop at labour. Being a parent involves a lot of bending to the floor action. I estimate I pick up Little O from the floor at least a zillion times each day. When you’re a bit Giraffe-like, it’s a longer way down. My poor, poor back.


4. Baby Equipment is Made for Short(er) People

Baby changing tables – check

Strollers – check

Push-along ride on toys – check

Just a few examples of items made to torture the spines of tall parents and turn us into the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

5. Tall baby

Having tall parents generally means a fairly tall baby. Little O is obviously (as we all believe about our own children) the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. She is tall and gets through clothing sizes every few weeks. She grew out of her Jumperoo quickly, even on the highest setting. She stands taller than all of her baby friends. We are super lucky as there’s more of her to love!



I’m going to add a sixth point: actually it doesnt really matter….

Yes, sometimes being tall makes things a bit more tricky. But, when I outstretch my arms to say I love you this much, on the basis that arm span mirrors height, that’s a whole lot of love to go around. When Little O gets to the playground stage of ‘my dad is bigger than your dad’ she’ll be able to say that about mummy, too. I can happily reach toys from the top shelves stacked floor-to-ceiling in all the best toy stores. When carrying Little O on my shoulders she’ll have a fabulous birds’ eye view of her surroundings.

Tall or small, Hunchback or not, the beauty of parenting is that whatever our shapes and sizes, our little ones will always think we rock!


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Stopping at two
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First Words

The title of this post implies it might be a brag about Little O finding her vocabulary at 14 months old and maybe even quoting a few lines from Shakespeare. But no.

The ‘first words’ I’m referring to are the opening lines of each day, the first words spoken between parents in households all over the world, including mine.

Have you ever thought about your first words each morning?

Niceties such as ‘hello’ and ‘good morning’ aside, I’ve recently been observing our half-awake conversations in the Mum’s Hideout household and discovered the dawn of a new day could be welcomed by Mr O and I in any one of the following ways:

After an uncharacteristically quiet night (i.e. less than 3 wakings from Little O): ‘what on earth is going on?’

‘I heard mooing noises in the middle of the night’ (turns out it was coming from the activity table)

‘Do you remember what it was like to sleep a full night?’

‘I had a weird dream about Iggle Piggle’

‘I wish it was the weekend’ (most weekdays)

‘I’ve got a piece of Lego embedded in my foot’

‘Tea? Yes please’

‘I can’t see anything out of the window’ (fog)

‘I can’t see anything out of the window’ (sand storm)

‘I was going to go running but…’ (insert any one of a thousand reasons)

‘Why is the cereal box in the fridge?’

Cold cereal....

Cold cereal….


‘I think she’s filled her nappy’.

My personal favourite: ‘why is there a giraffe down the toilet?’

I’m pretty sure we can’t be the only ones to indulge in such random and sometimes surreal morning chatter.

I’m going to make a conscious effort from now on to make my first words more positive, life-affirming and constructive. If I get more than 6 hours of sleep, that is. Until then, I’ll continue to stumble on with my hair sticking out at 90 degrees and be thankful my husband is as random as I am.

How do you start your day?

Friday Frolics
A Cornish Mum

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How to Waste an Hour: A Mother’s Guide


By a strange twist of fate and a rare alignment of the sun and stars on the unicorn new year, I have an hour to myself.

I regularly dream of this moment.

In the small hours of the morning when I’m rocking Little O back to sleep after a random spell of night-waking, I imagine the many wondrous things I could achieve with just a small amount of time to myself.

How productive could I be, how groomed might I look if I just had some free time?

When this extraordinary occasion arises, the reality doesn’t necessarily always match the hype.

Here’s how it actually goes:


A little voice in my head screams ‘sleep woman, sleep!’. However I generally conclude that an hour is not enough time to wind down, read a few pages of my boring send-me-to-sleep novel and have enough time to get through a full sleep cycle. I would need to set an alarm and I can’t bear that. I rely on Little O to wake me each morning, the sound of babbling is actually quite nice compared to the alternative of my nerve-jangling ‘laser’ sound effect iphone alarm.

I waste a good 10 minutes of my hour of freedom deciding not to sleep.


I constantly glance around my living room and wish I had time to tidy up the piles of tat that accumulate everywhere and to put away the small plastic toys that seem to attract the soles of my feet.

But, why would I want to spend ‘me’ time on chores? I could spend the time tidying, only for Little O to commando-crawl through the living room afterwards, dragging everything she can find along with her. It’s a futile exercise. It’s fine that I’ve lost one flip-flop and keep finding plastic ball-pool balls in inappropriate places. I’m ok with shape sorter bricks scattered on the sofa, it adds a dash of colour to the room.

I waste a further 10 minutes staring at the aforementioned messy living room from the comfort of the sofa and decide not to do any chores.


I’m so far out of touch with today’s TV that I don’t know where to begin with selecting suitable daytime viewing material. If it’s not ‘In the Night Garden’ or ‘Postman Pat’ then it’s basically alien to me.

Of course, one-hour episodes of decent dramas are reserved for evening viewing with Mr O. Thats how we roll these days.

After flicking through hundreds of channels, none grab my attention and I’ve allowed another 10 minutes to slip through my fingers.


Well, DIY grooming always seems a great idea but when it comes to it… ah no.

There’s an excellent salon near to where I live, with very reasonable prices. My own manicuring skills leave me looking like I’ve been finger-painting therefore it would be easier and safer all round not to spend my precious hour making myself look worse.

No appointments available at short notice, but I have a nice chat on the telephone with the receptionist. It’s nice to have an adult conversation.

There’s nothing left to do except….


Spending precious time looking at photos of people I don’t know, who people I’ve not seen for 15 years have ‘liked’. Yes.

Getting distracted by photos of other people’s weddings, babies and exotic holidays. Yes.

Accidentally buying more baby tat for Little O, to add to the mess in our living room? Of course! We have to keep up with the Next Big Thing

After 55 minutes, I realize I have yet again frittered away a free hour. I spend the final few minutes messaging my mum-friends to arrange a play date and a coffee, safe in the knowledge that it’s always more fun frittering time away together.

Next time I have a spare hour, I’ll definitely be more productive. I might even track down that missing flip-flop.

Stopping at two
A Cornish Mum


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3 Reasons to Love September

‘There are many reasons to love September. Especially when we are in it’ – Willie Stargell.

Here are my top 3 reasons to find it fabulous:

The Weather
The humidity condensing on my skin may still bestow the appearance of sweaty forearms but that’s ok because soon we will enter the most glorious few months of Abu Dhabi weather.

Yes, we have a few weeks to wait, but we all know it is coming. Long, lazy weekends enjoying beaches, parks and making the most of all those restaurants with amazing outside seating areas.

There will be challenges, the main one for me being how to stop Little O eating sand, but I am ready to rise to it.

My Little Sand-Eater

My Little Sand-Eater


I am desperately looking forward to being able to spend more than a few seconds outside and I’m dreaming of the first evening where I feel slightly chilly and need to wear a light cardigan. Bliss.

And no, I will not miss the moist forearms.



The ‘Back to School’ Feeling
Deeply ingrained since the new school terms of childhood, the month of September brings a feeling of new beginnings. Young and old, children or no children, the rhythm of the year seems to begin here.

Once upon a time, I would polish my Forever Friends pencil tin, cover my exercise books with pages from Smash Hits magazine and spend an unfeasibly long time colour-coding my school timetable using satisfyingly crisp new fluorescent highlighter pens.



As an adult (aside from the raging sandstorm currently blowing) the air seems full of potential. Life moves up a gear and normal service doesn’t just resume, it revs up. Personally, I’m getting ready to return to work and also planning plenty of time to escape into my little hideout, writing this blog.



Clearly I need material to write about, so the ‘term’ ahead brings beach play-dates, brunches, festivals, concerts, holidays and reunions of friends separated by the long summer holidays. Which brings me nicely to…


The Return of the Mums

Huge numbers of expat mums travel ‘home’ for extended periods during the summer. The coffee mornings stop, the soft play venues are quiet and facebook feeds are filled with pictures of cuddly new babies meeting family for the first time, toddlers running around on grass and the classic shot: child-in-an-aeroplane-seat (additional expat cachet for business class).

For those who’ve been there and done that, you’ll know these long summer trips are brilliant, fun filled, but non-stop and actually quite exhausting.

From mid-August onwards, the trickle of returning mums slowly gathers pace and becomes a veritable stampede of frazzled mothers very, very ready to return to our wonderful desert home. Or maybe that was just me!

Anyhow, I’m looking forward to sharing the year ahead with my mum-friends and blog followers. As always…. bring on the tea and cake!






Mami 2 Five

10 Types of Mum-Friend

Being a new mum is an exciting but scary thing. Being an expatriate new mum brings a whole heap of additional challenges. Imagine being in a place where you don’t know many people, don’t have close family and friends nearby and the healthcare system is very different to home. This is where the Mum-Friends come in.

Athough a natural introvert, I’ve forced myself to get out and join a multitude of mum and baby groups. Heck, I even started one of my own. The friendships I’ve formed, some shallow and fleeting, some deep and long-lasting, have so far been a safety net through the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

When thrown together, clueless about our new roles as mothers, there’s always enough common ground to share tea and cake and have a good chit-chat. The beauty of parenthood is there’s always something to talk about.

I’ve been on the Abu Dhabi Mum-Friend ‘circuit’ for a while now. I estimate I’ve met a couple of hundred new mums over the last year or so. I’ve observed certain repeated characteristics. Here’s my run down of the top ten types of Mum-Friend I’ve encountered:

1. The Knowledgeable One

Who needs Dr. Google when this friend is around? Whether its feeding, weaning or sleeping, this friend has pearls of wisdom to share far and wide. This friend has their finger on the pulse of the Next Big Thing and is happy to share the intel. When it comes to your latest baby equipment purchase, one can bypass searching around review sites; this friend has already been there, done that and even has a plethora of discount codes to share.

Need one of these? The Knowledgeable One knows where to find it, at half the price.

Need one of these? The Knowledgeable One knows where to find it, at half the price.


2. The Flake

Agrees to every mummy meet-up invite only to cancel last-minute on the strength of a creative story involving keys, animals or household maintenance issues. A sick baby would be much too predictable. Thoroughly lovely but your chances of actually getting to spend time with this friend are sporadic and require persistence.

3. The Laid-Back One

When your shoulders are hunched up by your ears after the latest hellish night of teething horrors, go spend some time with the laid-back friend. This is the friend who actually oozes sunshine. To this friend, the world is a beautiful place and babies are to be taken in their stride. Their baby obviously smiles, coos and stays in one place. They stroll through life in an instagram-haze. The relaxing ambience and Jo-Malone scented bliss will rub off onto you and your little one. When visiting this friend, you may outstay your welcome as you don’t want to leave their blissful, Cath-Kidston decorated bubble.

4. The High-Achieving One

This friend manages to go to work, spend time with their baby, cook, do crafts, exercise, plan holidays, attend educational baby-classes, do charity work, read for pleasure, and renovate their home. Just thinking about what they cram into 24 hours is exhausting. Quite frankly, this friend is Wonder Woman. If we could all be half as organised as this friend we’d be grateful.


Here she is...the High Achiever

Here she is…the High Achiever


5. The Butterfly

A member of 7000 different baby groups and social networks, this friend knows everyone and is actually off to meet more people this afternoon. Unable to stay in one place for longer than approximately 15 minutes, the elusive butterfly straps their baby into a carrier and flutters off to the next gathering pretty sharpish, phone in hand.

6. The Cool One

No scraped back greasy hair, straight-legged pale mum-jeans or baby sick-patches here. This fashionista exudes confidence and has refused to leave behind the days of making an effort. You have no idea how this friend manages to perpetually look like they’ve just left a very cool magazine photo shoot and you are too in awe to ask. This friend is the friend you are aspiring to be when you’ve lost that final 10 pounds of mum-tum and have time to buy clothing that actually fits. No dieting pitfalls here. This friend is your hope at the end of the tunnel.

7. The Boaster

Your baby slept through the night? Mine has been doing that since they were 1 day old.

You struggled with breastfeeding? I didn’t even have to think about it.

Your baby has just learned to crawl? My baby has already been signed up for the Olympic figure-skating team.

Yes, we all know one of these. This friend is actually in the ‘departure lounge’ area of your friends list.

8. The Matronly One

A throwback to the days of a stiff upper lip, nerves of steel and firm parenting principles, the Matronly friend is a reassuring presence in times of uncertainty. Don’t expect tea and sympathy or a warm hug. The name of the game here is straight-talking, wise advice and a bit of a kick in the right direction. The Matronly friend is reliable, steady and likely to double up as the Knowledgeable One.

9. The Sorry One

This friend has the sorriest of sorry tales at all times. Makes your life seem like a walk in the park. Their baby is cute but ever so troublesome. This is the friend who needs to spend a lot of time in the company of The Laid-Back One. Join them and take plenty of cake. You’ll all leave this gathering feeling much better.

This will help The Sorry One feel better.

This will help The Sorry One feel better.


10. The Best One

The one you feel like you’ve known forever. A kindred spirit with whom you can totally be yourself, feel comfortable to discuss the good times and the worst times and not be embarrassed to turn up with dry-shampooed hair and patches of concrete Weetabix on your shoulder. They are likely to have Weetabix patches too. No front, no pretence, no need to be something you are not. This friend knows instinctively when to send a message telling you it will get better. This friend brings along the bubbly and cheers you on when you’ve survived the latest challenge. We all need at least one of these in our lives.

Which one is you?


Come join in the fun by liking the Mum’s Hideout Facebook page

This post is part of the following blog linkys:

The Little Life of Ickle Pickle
Mami 2 Five
Binky Linky
Confessions of a Ninja Mom
A Cornish Mum
My Random Musings

Let's Talk Mommy


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Smallprint Abu Dhabi

Before I begin, I’ll tell you this is not a sponsored post. The thoughts I’m going to jot down over the next few minutes are based on goods I purchased without obligation, and therefore I can speak freely and give my honest views. I’m sharing this as it may come in useful to others looking for unique gifts. 


I’m notoriously bad at buying gifts. Granted, I’m improving with time, but I still make the occasional dodgy purchase.

My fortunes recently took a turn for the better when I discovered Smallprint Abu Dhabi. I was in the throes of searching for a Father’s Day gift when I saw Smallprint advertised at a baby shopping event.

Smallprint is a company which makes personalised silver jewellery and keepsakes. Items can be imprinted with hand and foot prints, fingerprints, or even inscribed with a child’s handwriting. The company has the technology to copy prints onto the jewellery, albeit scaled down to fit.

I was looking for something personal and a bit different, and this seemed to fit the bill.


I made contact via facebook with Carol-Anne, the lovely lady running Smallprint Abu Dhabi. I originally planned to visit her, either at her base, or at one of the many markets she attends around the city. Then I was struck by the idea of finding out whether any of my mum-mates would be interested in buying something too.

A quick straw poll received a resounding ‘yes’. It seems we were all struggling for gifts for the men in our lives. I set about arranging a coffee morning and Carol-Anne confirmed she was happy to come along. One of my friends described it as ‘like a very cool tupperware party’.

Carol-Anne brought along many examples of the items she could make for us, including bracelets, necklaces, charms, cufflinks and keyrings. I selected a pair of cufflinks for my husband, with Little O’s hand and foot prints. I couldn’t resist getting something for myself too, so selected a bracelet with two charms, one hand and one foot print. On the back of each charm it was also possible to have an inscription so I chose to have Little O’s name and ‘9 months’ (as a record of her age at the time).


The process of taking the hand and foot prints was fairly quick and without drama. A ‘wet-wipe’ is applied to the hand / foot and then a print taken on special paper. Carol-Anne was very patient with all the mums and babies and happy to take repeated prints until we got prints we were happy with. Babies being babies, there was a lot of wriggling going on, which didn’t always make for the best prints first time around! This meant our coffee morning lasted a lot longer than I had booked Carol-Anne for, but she happily stayed to make sure we all had chance to get our prints.

On ordering, a deposit is paid, with the remainder to be paid on delivery. Obviously in the run-up to Father’s Day there was a high demand and Carol was very busy, however we all received our goods within 2 weeks, in good time before the big day. Everything was beautifully packaged and labelled and each item came with a care card explaining how best to care for our solid silver goods.

My husband is generally not the most ‘expressive’ soul but he seemed very happy with his gift! I love my bracelet too.

The feedback I received from friends who also ordered items from Smallprint has all been positive.

If you’d like to learn more visit the Smallprint Abu Dhabi Facebook Page


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Diary of a 10-Month Old: Part 1 – Marvellous Mornings

Babies, eh? A total mystery.

A lot of my time is spent trying to de-code the tone of Baby O’s crying / babbling / screeching to understand what is either being demanded or strongly declined.

As she gets older it becomes a bit easier, with the addition of hand movements and facial expressions. It’s hard to miss the signature withering expression meaning ‘get that homemade quinoa-cheesy-bite away from me and give me some Ella’s Kitchen fruit puree now‘. 

I think we are making progress in our two-way communication. With the benefit of having been able to study Little O for 10 months, I like to think I know what’s going on in her mind at least some of the time.

I imagine her morning goes something like this:

A Typical Morning:

7.00am – Come on lazy bones! I want to get up and play!

7.10am – That’s it, I give up, I’m getting out of here. If I can work out how to climb out of this wooden cot-prison. Hang on, change of plan, I’ll wait a bit longer as I want to spend some quality time gnawing on my crackly Lamaze doll.

7.20am – MUM! Don’t open the curtains, it’s too bright. Yes I’m bringing two dummies with me to the changing table, don’t even think about trying to make me leave one behind in my cot. Get a move on, I’m starving. Really, go ahead and change my nappy at a glacial pace, I’ll reward you with non-stop crying until I get my milk.

7.25am – Yum, Milk. Best thing ever. Except for chewing on remote controls.

Baby paradise

Baby paradise


7.45am – OK, now I’m fully charged and ready to practice standing up against the sofa. Pass me the remote control. No, really, pass it to me or I’ll scream.

7.46am – Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, it’s ok, I’ll play with this wooden spoon instead. I want to stand and sit at the same time, how is this not possible? Look, a plug socket, excellent. Lets commando-crawl towards it. Drat. Almost got there, but was lifted away when I was just a fingertip away. Most unfair. I was going to scream but will make do with watching a video clip of myself on mummy’s phone. Hmmm I feel a bit calmer now. Watching my own fabulous antics on film really cheers me up. I’m so funny.

8.15am – In baby jail playpen whilst mum eats some weetabix. It is totally unreasonable to expect me to wait for my weetabix so I’m going to whinge until she abandons her breakfast and gets on with making mine. Come on love, I’m starving.

The breakfast of champions

The breakfast of champions


8.30am – Mmmmmm weetabix.

8.31am – Actually, although I usually adore it, I’m going to keep mum guessing and only eat two spoonfuls today. No, stop trying to make me eat it. I want toast, not weetabix. No, don’t under any circumstances take the weetabix away.

9.00am – Don’t leave me mum! I don’t care that we are going out and you need to get changed out of your pyjamas and spray powdery stuff into your hair to make people think it has been washed. I don’t want you to move out of my sight for even one minute. Yes, bringing me with you into the bathroom is great. Oh look, a cupboard, what’s in here? Can I get this bottle open? Give it back! What, mum? Giving up on your shower? Good.

9.15am – I feel a bit tired now. Making a continuous groaning sound helps. Can we watch cartoons?

9.20am – I love cartoons. Iggle Piggle is the best. I want him to be my best friend. Where the hell is my mum? I think she’s gone to apply concealer to her eye bags. Clearly it makes no difference but I will remain quiet and allow her two minutes to indulge in her denial about how much the make up can actually improve her exhausted face. I think she’s lovely, anyway. Especially when she blows raspberries on my tummy.

Mum's try-to-look-human kit

Mum’s try-to-look-human kit


9.22am – Aaaaaaaarrrrrgh! What’s a baby gotta do to get some attention around here? Here she is, running around packing a large bag. I think it’s my stuff. I hope she’s bringing a spare outfit as I’m saving this nappy explosion until we’re in the shopping mall.

9.30am – Yesssssss I love the car seat. I’m pretty tired. Mmmmm I love watching the tops of the palm trees out of the car window…….

10.15am – Where am I? Oh, it’s the mall again. Joy. Why do we have to come here all the time? It was boiling hot outside but my feet are freezing in here. Oh, I feel much better now my tummy has emptied out. Why does my mum look so upset? It’s nice to change outfits a few times per day, yes? Milk please!

10.30am – I’m not in the mood for shopping today. If I have to spend more than a minute inside any shop I will make my feelings known in a very loud fashion.

11.30am – Soft play is the most fun ever. I’m staying here forever. That’s funny, mum seems to be gathering up our things, there’s no need to do that if we’re staying here. Whaaaaaat? Noooooo! Put me down. I’m not going anywhere! Never mind, I’ll watch myself on video again. Hello car seat. Good, that means we are heading home for lunch. I’m super hungry. I hope we have some quinoa-cheesy-bites for lunch. It’s so much fun watching them bounce off the floor.

Aftermath of lunch

Aftermath of lunch


I would like to think this is somewhere near accurate.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon……



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