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Travel Safe

I am writing this post slightly shaky and completely confused at the lack of respect people have for their own children. Harsh words for a Monday morning? Yes. Let me tell you why…

This morning I witnessed an incident I never want to witness again… A car crash.


Ok, so in Dubai we seem to come across them all the time. From small ‘tips’ to slightly bigger and then to horrific crashes that you hear people giving out that they have to sit in their cars for hours on the highway but yet they zoom passed the incident for fear they catch a glimpse. Yes it really is awful that these accidents occur however the lack of seat belt awareness in the UAE really upsets me and I really do feel more needs to be done to raise awareness.


On a daily basis I could count on two hands how many cars I pass with kids walking, standing up, hanging out the sun roof or a window, sitting in the front passenger seat and don’t get me started on the “having a turn driving”. What makes this acceptable? How could we consciously put on our own seat belts and then leave our Littleloves at risk?

For a while I wondered was it cultural. We have just arrived back from a holiday in Bali, Indonesia and witnessed families of five on a moped. Yes, you heard that right! Five people on a moped and it seemed so natural to them. They put their fate in Gods hands so to speak and where comfortable with their lifestyle. I’m not saying I agreed with it but I could appreciate this was the way they lived.

It may sound so hypocritical but I just can’t appreciate this for the UAE. We live in Dubai where life is so fast paced and the cars are just as fast to match this lifestyle. Why are we not buckling up? Mylittleloves are 1, 6 and 10 and myself and my husband do not have the answers to parenting by any means. We find parenting tough, just like everyone else. However one thing we 100% agree on is that their safety must always come first. We both believe that it takes less then a minute to buckle up and neither of us would ever want to put our Littleloves at risk.

Hopefully soon the UAE will have proper enforcement of the law for wearing seat belt’s and introduce the seatbelt law for anyone travelling in the back of a vehicle. Until then PARENTS it really is up to YOU. Take that extra few minutes. Come up with a new routine for your family. If running late is the problem – get up earlier and make the time. Say no to Littleloves who ‘want a turn driving’ – perhaps bring them on a go cart!

If the issue is that you are not aware of what car seat to get for your child, their is a team of support at Just Kidding who are always willing to help. They will show you different seats and fit them into your car. The process really is that simple.

YOU buckle up so remember to buckle up your precious cargo too!

Helly O’Brien

How I weaned my kids on to solids?

Weaning to solids is one of the most exciting milestones that your baby can reach, however it can also come with a lot of apprehension, especially if it’s your first time. The key thing here is to ensure your baby is ready for solids, physically. Your child should be able to support themselves and sit up on their own. Once they start showing you cues of their readiness, for example snatching food from your hands, you know it is time to make the introduction to solid food. But where do you begin?

There are two methods. The first being Purée food and the second is Baby Led Weaning. I did a combination of both with my two boys.

When to wean? (

As soon as they were showing signs of readiness at the age of 6 months, I began by making purees of single vegetables and fruits at a time. Beginning with one meal time per day for a week and increasing this as you go on. The time you choose is also crucial, as they should be hungry. Therefore not straight after a milk feed, but alert enough, so not right before a nap.

There were definitely some flavours of first tastes that my children preferred over others but don’t worry, simply try that flavour again after some time. Kids have to taste a new flavour at least 10 times before they decide they like it, so don’t feel like your efforts are in vain.

Best First Food Purée Suggestions:

Carrot, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Apple, Pear, Banana, Papaya, Peach, Mango, Avocado.

At the same time as introducing purees, I also began BLW by placing food morsels in front of my kids for them to explore. Be warned, it is a messy process and it may seem like your child isn’t actually swallowing any of it. But it is crucial in ensuring your child begins to have a good relationship with food, and encouraging them to experience new tastes and textures to play with.

Best First Food BLW Suggestions:

Soft ripe fruits like peach, pear, mango and banana, steamed vegetables like carrot sticks and broccoli florets, toast sticks, cooked pasta, fish.

Tip: Put a washable table cloth below the highchair so that any mess can be scooped up in a jiffy. Use bibs with catcher compartments or bibs with full sleeves. Better yet, if it’s Spaghetti Bolognese on the menu, have them only in their nappies and there will be much less washing up to do!  

Safety Measures:

During meal times, regardless of whether it is BLW or puree, adult supervision at all times is crucial. Your full attention needs to be on that child and it is good to read up on first aid infographics, especially for choking, so you are confident in yourself and know how to act in the case of any such emergency. There are also some potentially high-risk foods that you may want to take extra caution when introducing it to your child in case of allergies or family history; such as milk and dairy products, eggs, peanuts and other tree nuts.

Also, make sure to have a sippy cup with water at hand and keep offering it to them between bites. This will reduce the chances of constipation as their stomachs get used to solid food for the first couple of weeks.

After First Tastes:

Once your child is confident with the initial tastes and smooth textures, mix up a combination of fruits and veg and increase the size of lumps in their food gradually. From there, you can begin to start offering smaller portions or more child-friendly options of your own adult meals for them to enjoy alongside with you. If possible, do try to have at least one meal in a day where you eat together as a family, as this will encourage your child to eat more and taste new flavours in because they are seeing you do the same.

I hope this was a comprehensive and helpful introduction to how to wean your child onto solids, and has given you the confidence to begin this exciting journey with your child as they discover new flavours. Do share if you have any tips that you’d like to give or you feel I have missed out that may be beneficial to other Mamas going through this stage.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion is advised when following the above depending on your child and please consult a doctor or a paediatric dietician for any medical support.

Author: Zeyna Sanjania

6 Ways to educate your children about Ramadan


Making Ramadan fun for kids is not as hard as you might think it is. Here are six ways to celebrate Ramadan with your children.

1.Read with your childrenbooks, which cover Ramadan so they understand the principles and the history of the Holy month for Islam.

2.Decorate your home for Ramadan with stars and crescent moons. Besides a freshly decorated home, your children will understand that the holiday is for as long as the decorations are there, you can even create a countdown to make Ramadan even more exciting.

3.During Ramadan greet each other with ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ or ‘Ramadan Kareem’ meaning ‘blessed Ramadan’. It’s just a way of welcoming friends and passerby’s alike during this holy time.

4.Involve your children during all the preparations for the holiday: they will understand and remember the month better if they’re doing something for it. For example if you are not fasting yourself, but are attending Iftar’s with friends or colleagues take your children along, so they can witness and participate in the event, and understand the concept of not eating until Iftar.

5.Doing something for Ramadan could also mean making Ramadan related crafts. You can find some great crafts on the internet, we’ve created a pinterest board especially for Ramadan.

6.And last, but definitely not least: enjoy a festive Eid Al-Fitr, if you have been fasting, you’ve earned it.

Understanding Ramadan as a Child


We spoke to our team member Radwa Ali to discover her experiences growing up and learning about Ramadan.

When did you first start to understand Ramadan?

Growing up Radwa saw her parents fasting every Ramadan. Around the age of 8 I started imitating them when they were praying, even if I didn’t understand what they were doing. The same with fasting: I saw my parents not eating during the day, so I tried not to eat for as long as possible either. It started like that and from there on it became little habits.

What was Ramadan like as a kid?

Ramadan was really fun as a kid, it was such an experience. Growing up as a girl especially, I helped my mom a lot. She would start her day by thinking what she would make for Iftar that evening and spend the whole day preparing. During preparation of Iftar I learned how to cook certain dishes. I always liked spending time with my mom during Ramadan food shopping, cooking and preparing for Iftar

At Iftar we always had a lot of visitors: friends, family or colleagues of my dad that maybe didn’t have wives living with them to cook. The spirit of Ramadan for me is bringing people together and that is what makes Ramadan so beautiful. In high school my whole class would raise money to buy food to give to those in need. Coming together and doing so much good is just something you don’t see enough of outside of Ramadan.

What’s your childhood memory of Ramadan?

My childhood memory of Ramadan is hearing the Adhan, because the prayer is so much louder and all the mosques go at the exact same time, which is so beautiful. Our whole home was always decorated with stars and the moon, you would see them everywhere.

I was raised in Saudi-Arabia, during Ramadan they would set up special souks there. These souks are different from the mall-like here in Dubai. There was one souk in particular that my family would visit during Ramadan. This souk sold all sorts of stuff, including Ramadan sweets and related stuff.

How did you experience Eid as a kid?

During the last 10 days of Ramadan, families start getting ready for Eid. My mother used to change the whole interior of our Saudi home, from furniture to curtains. Together with her friends my mother would make a lot of Eid cookies, my share of cookies was always gone fast because they were so delicious!

The morning of Eid we would wake up to the smell of oud, an Arabian perfume. My parents would come in and wish us a happy Eid. We would get up and get dressed for the occasion. Then my dad would come up to us and give us some money, which we call ‘Eideya”. He wouldn’t only give money to us, but to every family’s child we visited. It’s a part of the giving tradition; you can’t visit someone’s home empty-handed. The rest of Eid we would spend receiving guests and visiting friends and family’s homes ourselves. Sometimes we went to a theme park or some other fun activity to celebrate Eid.

The more you grow up the more you learn from your family and Ramadan becomes something that’s a spiritual journey.

Winter Feasts For Baby By Beaba Babycook

Step up your baby food making game with Beaba Babycook and create Insta-worthy baby meals in minutes!
Recipe Notes: Always, please check with your pediatrician before introducing new foods to your baby

Chicken, Leek & Rosemary Purée

Recipe adapted for Babycook from Little Foodies

1 1/2 cups chicken breast cubed
1/2 cup leek chopped
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Instructions 1. Put chicken, leeks and rosemary in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the chicken, leeks and rosemary are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add the olive oil and some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.



Baby’s Beef Stroganoff

Beaba Babycook Beef Stroganoff
Good to Know: Not only is beef an easy meat for tiny tummies to digest, but it is also an excellent source of iron, zinc and vitamins B12 

1 cup potato skin removed and cubed

1/4 cup carrot peeled and sliced
1/2 cup tomato cubed 1/4 cup white onion skin removed and cubed 3 ounces Beef cubed

1. Put the potato, carrot, tomato and onion in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the vegetables are cooked, put them in the blending bowl and pulse once.
5. Put the pulsed veggies in a separate bowl to the side.
6. Put the beef in the steamer basket.
7. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
8. Start the cooking process.
9. When the meat is cooked, put the meat and vegetables in the blending bowl.
10. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.




Baby’s Baba Ganoush


1 cup eggplant sliced
1/3 cup red pepper sliced
1/3 cup green pepper sliced
2 tablespoons basil chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil

1. Put the eggplant and the peppers in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the eggplant and peppers are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, discarding the cooking liquid.
5. Add the basil and olive oil to the blending bowl and pulse blend until smooth.
Recipe Notes As always, please check with your pediatrician before introducing new foods to your baby.



Chicken, Pepper & Corn Purée

1 ounce chicken cubed
1 cup corn
1 cup red bell pepper sliced

1. Put the chicken, corn and pepper in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the chicken, corn and pumpkin are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.



Turkey, Carrot and Parsnip Purée


1 1/2 cups carrots sliced
1 1/2 cups parsnip cubed
1 ounce turkey cubed
1 teaspoon Butter

1. Put the carrots, parsnip and turkey into the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the carrots, parsnip and turkey are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add the butter and some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency
and blend.



Sweet Potato Hummus

1 cup sweet potato cubed
1 8 ounce can chickpeas drained
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon agave (optional)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Put the sweet potatoes in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, put them in the blending bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
5. Blend until the consistency is smooth.
Recipe Notes Create this recipe as an adult or older child appetizer/snack by adding some pita chips!



Freestyle Pizza

1 thin crust pizza dough ready-made or homemade dough
7 ounce can tomatoes crushed and strained
1/2 cup zucchini cubed
1/2 cup eggplant cubed
1/2 cup yellow pepper cubed
1/2 cup red pepper cubed
1/2 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch oregano
1 cup cheese shredded
1 packet mini mozzarella balls
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Put the vegetables in the steamer basket.
3. Pour water into the tank (level 2).
4. Start the cooking process.
5. When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the basket.
6. Heat the olive oil in a pan.
7. Add the steamed vegetables with a pinch of oregano and saute for 2 minutes.
8. Unroll the pizza dough and cut into desired shapes: you should be able to make 8 mini pies. Place a small amount of strained tomato, vegetables and shredded cheese on each. Decorate with 1/2 a ball of mozzarella cheese. Add salt and pepper.
9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and dough is crispy.



Baby’s Potato Gratin French Style

1/2 cup potato cubed
1 tablespoon onion cubed
2 tablespoons roquefort or gorgonzola cheese crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put the potato and onion in the steamer basket.
3. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
4. Start the cooking process.
5. Mix the onions with the cheese.
6. Layer potatoes in the bottom of an oven-safe ramekin and coat them with the onion-cheese mixture.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown.



Winter Fruit Compote


1 cup apples cubed
2 tablespoons dates sliced
1/4 cup raisins Instructions
1. Put the apples, dates and raisins in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 2).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the apples, dates and raisins are cooked put them in the mixing bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend


Pumpkin Pie Baby Purée

3 cups apples cubed
Approx. 1 cup banana sliced  
1 cup sugar pumpkin cubed Instructions

1. Put the apples, banana and sugar pumpkin in steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the apples, banana and sugar pumpkin are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.



Ginger Cookies

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup Butter
2 Eggs
1/2 tablespoon créme fraiche
1 tablespoon flour sifted
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Put the flour, sugar, and butter in the blending bowl. Pulse twice.
2. Add the creme, spices, and eggs and pulse twice more.
3. Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
4. Let the dough rest for about 3 hours in the refrigerator.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Roll the dough out so that it’s 1/8 – 1/4 of an inch thick.
7. Cut the dough with cookie cutters and place the cookies on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
8. Bake for approximately 15 minutes

brain boosting activities for kids

Brain-boosting activities for toddlers

Ever wondered what’s going on in your toddler’s head? A lot, is the simple answer. According to infant-development experts the first years of a child’s life is when they are primed to learn. From colours, sounds, smells, movements and touch, they are literally soaking up the richness of their environment like little sponges. As parents it’s our job to enhance their experience and knowledge. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about square-root lullabies or the three Rs. Instead, it’s much more important for bub to learn through play. Here are five fun brain-boosting activities for toddlers.

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back to work after a career break

Back to work after a career break: 7 tips to help you succeed

Remember your first day at senior school? Multiply those fears by 10,000 and you’re half way there. Whether your hiatus is down to travel, relocation or maternity leave, returning to work after a career break is a scary business. Fear not though because we sat down with the guys at Hopscotch, a company that helps professional women find flexible working options, to get their top tips on how to get you back into the work place after a career break. Here’s what they had to say.

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reasons to hire a doula

Questions to ask before hiring a doula

Giving birth can be a beautiful experience, but it can also be tiring, overwhelming and the one time in your life when the extra support of others goes a long way. That’s where doulas come in. Doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth and unlike midwives, whose role is to physically deliver babies, doulas are there to provide emotional and physical support to expectant mums before, during and shortly after birth. If you’re considering hiring a doula you’re probably wondering how it works and what to expect. To answer your questions I caught up with antenatal/postnatal doula and breastfeeding counsellor Andrea Allen of The Doting Doulas. Here’s what she had to say…

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Things they never tell you about becoming a parent

12 Things They Never Tell You About Being a Mum

Despite what they promise, all the parenting books and prenatal classes in the world can’t prepare you for what it takes to be a parent. Likewise, ask any mother about pregnancy, childbirth or parenting and you’ll probably get the standard stories about difficult third trimesters, the magical moment when you set eyes on your baby for the first time, and the challenges of the terrible twos. But what don’t they tell you? We asked JustKidding mothers what surprised them the most about motherhood. Read on for their stories. Continue reading