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At The Top


The Burj KhalifaCurrently the world's tallest building at over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories. It is the tallest free-standing structure in the world and has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world on the 124th floor. Tickets to visit need booking days if not weeks before - and hubby got us some for Mother's Day weekend. 

The queue was organised and acceptable, staff friendly and helpful. Buggies aren't allowed up but there is secure parking available. The elevator was an experience in itself. We had the children doing their "sip-stop" routine with their water bottles to make sure their ears didn't hurt them - 124 floors in 60 seconds is quite something! 

Once up there, it wasn't crowded. The outdoor deck was pretty amazing but sweltering hot! (Quite a bit closer to the sun up there!) There aren't many toilets available, be warned, so if you are going up with a young child, get them to go before you make it all the way up. Trust me on this one, I (almost) learnt the hard way. 

The view is impressive, to say the least - but there was never any doubt that it would be. And I'm not one to be scared of heights, but I couldn't quite look straight down. It was just too much. Though I didn't need to... there's enough to take in everywhere else. Such an impressive city. 

Nothing is done shoddily in Dubai - that black screen on the right is
a partition covering up a section that was under refurbishment. 





Broken

Adam has always loved bath time. He loves splashing and LOVES it when I turn on the showerhead, giggling uncontrollably, because - presumably - it tickles him when I shower him.

Then, last weekend we went to Ras al Khaimah for the long weekend and on the first day, we let the kids play on the sandy beach. We knew it would be a horrendous mess afterwards but we also knew they'd love it.



They did. Emily went about collecting shells and making sandcastles, Adam crawled around in the sand and threw it everywhere. When he started getting tired, he began rubbing it into his eyes and hair and it was time to head back to our hotel room.

And then showers. We had to get that sand out somehow. It was anything but easy. It meant holding the showerhead over their heads in an attempt to get as much of the sand out of their hair as was possible. Emily was fine - she obviously knows what "look up" means and will cooperate.

Adam was another story. There was none of the usual giggling. He cried so much I was practically in tears too by the end of the ordeal.

So the next day, as much as they had enjoyed the sand, we stuck to the pool.

And when bathtime came, it happened again. I turned on the water and Adam was in tears, desperately trying to scramble away from the running water.

The next day, the same. And the days after that too. Today will be the fifth day and i know there'll be more crying. I've broken my little boy so he is scared of the sound of water. I am so angry with myself and so unbelievably frustrated with the situation.

Sand! I hate the blasted stuff even more now.

Pink Strawberry Cupcakes

When David's parents visited last week, Emily discovered a game on her grandmother's ipad called Strawberry Shortcake Bake Shop. She loved it. It's a free app, though the game tries to make you pay over £10 to open up locked sections, which is most of it, but we resisted so she has baked the same cake over and over (and over and over) again.

Naturally, it got us talking about doing some baking together, and a couple of days later, out of the blue, Adam had a morning nap.

So instead of watching Frozen (AGAIN!!!), I suggested some baking.

She literally jumped at the idea.

We decided we'd make cupcakes. And they'd be pink. And they'd have jam and strawberries in them. It was the product of three separate recipes put together. It could have been disastrous... but it wasn't.


And she was thrilled to be actually baking. In truth, she mixed the batter for three seconds before proclaiming she was too tired to continue. She pushed two strawberries into two cupcakes before again informing me I'd better do the rest as she was too tired.

She was perfectly fine licking batter and jam off the spoon though - her first time, and if her reaction was anything to go by, not her last.


It was a regular cupcake batter, with pink gel colouring. We then poured some batter into the cupcake tin, added a teaspoonful of strawberry jam onto that. We then topped up with more batter, and popped half a strawberry on the top of each cupcake.

Bake. Cool. Eat.


They were very tasty.

Add One Wheel

Adam loves baths. He loves watching, and catching, the water pouring into the bath. He loves being showered. He loves splashing.

Adam hates the pool.

o_O

So for a while now, trips to the pool have been annoying, to say the least. Emily loves being in the water, Adam will refuse to get in. How do I tear myself apart to be close to both of them, for safety reasons? It usually results in me dragging Adam in and having to endure however long of him moaning and screaming and trying to climb out.

But as we walked along the isles in Ace Hardware the other day, we spotted the holy grail of swimming gadgets. A baby swim seat... with a steering wheel.

I knew this was going to work.



He wouldn't come out of the water.

I have found the key to peaceful visits to the pool.

CAKE SMASH!!

They're here! I have the cake smash photos!

It was about a week after Adam's birthday that this went down in the little public garden round the back of our house. We had literally JUST moved into the house (about three days earlier), I threw a cake together and decorated it with things I had in the cupboard that might be suitably tempting to make Adam dig his hands into said cake (namely biscuits and raisins).

Natalie came over, and it was the first time we met. She was lovely and so friendly and she made the photo shoot comfortable, like I was hanging out with a friend. The kids also loved her, though with three of her own, she's well trained so this wasn't surprising!

We found a relatively well-shaded spot, and laid out the blanket Natalie had brought and popped on the cake. All that was left was Adam, but of course he wasn't interested. Now he will usually eat anything. Food, insects, anything. But he wouldn't touch the cake. I know he doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, but a cake sitting there begging to be smashed How could anyone refuse?! Even Emily was dying to have a go.

But he did poke at it eventually, he even nibbled at a small piece, and Natalie got some good photos of the process, and eventually we let Emily join in too.

It was fun, if slightly frustrating, but the photos are great, and it's a funny story to accompany some great pictures of my hard-headed little boy aged one.

(For the record, it wasn't Natalie's fault the photos took so long to get to me. She was on holiday in April, which I knew about when I booked the photo shoot and didn't mind waiting!)

Natalie's website is here: Natalie Robinson Photography









Clean Paint Toy

This thing I am about to tell you about... I have no idea what it is called, but we made one.


It was originally a plastic folder, into which I dropped a little bit of red, yellow and green paint - and glitter, and then sealed with masking tape. I also stuck it to a small piece of cardboard to make it sturdier.

I made it for Adam, but made the stupid mistake of using Mickey Mouse branded paints. When he saw them, all he wanted was the paint bottles. He barely glanced at my creation. He moaned and moaned for the paint tubs, until I desperately popped them into a ziploc bag (he'd have worked out how to open them otherwise!) and handed them to him.



Emily on the other hand, loved my clean paint toy and has used it for several days running to draw things into. We've used fingers, rolling pins, cups, toys, hands, you name it, it's endured it.



The paint is very close to being one big squelch of brown now (I wonder, had I used blue paint instead of green, might I have prevented it?) but we don't care. It's glittery, it makes pictures, we love it.

There may be more of these in our future.

The Teddy Bear Diaries 2014

Every May, Horton the Bear gets his 15 minutes of fame in Emily and Adam's growing up pictures. Luckily, I remembered to bring him to Dubai with us and although his job every other day of the year is to adorn our spare bed, the kids have this time not let go of him. Every day since we took the photos, I put him back on the bed, and find him in the living room. How they do it is beyond me: he is huge and heavy, but they're obviously determined. He may not look as well-kept in next year's photos!



Emily


Not as big a difference as between 2012 and 2013 but you can tell she's older. Her face is more mature, there is more wisdom in her eyes. She is, although it isn't very obvious, much taller than she was last year. We keep saying that we need to keep track of her height, and we keep forgetting to do so. But when she wakes up one day and informs you that she no longer needs a stool to get onto the toilet (and proves it), well, that extra height had to come from somewhere. 


Adam


Impressive difference (then again, he was barely two months old in last year's photo). And I can't get over the obvious upper body strength he now has. Don't be fooled, however. He may look like a well-behaved angel in this year's picture, but the reality is it was a lucky catch in a series of photos which I had no option but to take if I was ever going to get a decent shot. This picture was taken somewhere between him trying to jump off the armchair and pulling Horton down onto him. 


I'm so glad I stumbled into this series from the very beginning of both their lives.

If You Say So

Emily and I were talking about cousins the other day.

She asked me whether and why she has cousins
and I explained that since her Auntie Denise and I are sisters,
Denise's children are Emily and Adam's cousins - and vice versa.

"No, I'm not a cousin."

"Yes, you're Bekah, Gabby and Edward's cousin."

(dismissive tone) "If you say so, Mum."


"If you say so..."!!!!! 

And yes, she calls me "Mum" now.

I keep saying this, and I'll say it again: what's she going to be like as a teenager?!?


Have a good weekend!

Not My Year Off

It's a Jungle Out There

We have lived in so many places over the last couple of years, and I've redesigned things so many times, there is always a part of me that tries to carry a certain memory from one place to another. I've always been a very sentimental person, and this is the way it translates to home decor I suppose. We saw it happen with Emily's birdy room (oh how I miss that perfect little room!) and we are about to see it happen with Adam's nautical room, although that is more because there was simply nothing else that seems to work so well for him right now than anything else.

I had some stickers from Emily's first room still lying around. No, not the bird room, her previous room!


I knew they'd come in handy someday, and lo and behold, I was setting up the play room last week (we've divided the huge living room into two parts - living room and play area), and it occurred to me that they might just be perfect for the job.

Take some boring old IKEA Trofast storage...


...and add colourful jungle wall stickers...!



And I think I was right.

The kids adore them, and every time I look at them, I remember setting up that first nursery, heavily pregnant and clueless. It feels like a metaphorical nod to 2010.


(Despite the huge amount of IKEA-bought toys in the pictures, this post is not sponsored by IKEA. They're just great toys!)

Finger Paints and Play Doh

I am still not driving here in Dubai (patience is wearing thin...) so some days, we have no choice but to entertain ourselves at home. In fairness, there is PLENTY for the kids to do. We have kitted out an entire playground for them in the garden - only problem now being that it is already too hot by 10am to really spend much time outdoors. 

So Emily asked for some Play Doh and I thought I might give Adam another go with finger paints. 

This was the result...


More paint inside his mouth than on the paper and he really wasn't impressed by any of it, so that ended rather quickly. He then spent twenty minutes playing with the tubs of paint. Fair play.




Meanwhile, Emily made little Play Doh cakes.