Ten Pool Days in Dubai to Try with Privilee

The summer heat is just about upon us, so splash into summer and take a dip in one of
these ten fabulous swimming pools that you can benefit from with your Privilee Membership!
One of my favourite things about Privilee is that even on those super hot days, you can head
to a hotel for just a few hours in the morning to enjoy some time in the pool and leave before
lunchtime when the real heat sets in, and you never feel as though you’ve wasted any
money on a full day pool pass!

1. Palazzo Versace Hotel

Sipping on an Aperol Spritz whilst laying around the Capri Pool at the Palazzo
Versace Hotel, it’s easy to forget that you’re lounging by the Dubai Creek Harbour,
and not in the Italian Amalfi Coast. I absolutely love spending the day at the Palazzo Versace as it caters to the whole family. It has three beautiful swimming pools, La Piscina, Portofino and Capri as well as seven restaurants and bars (within which
Privilee Members receive a 25% discount!)

2. The Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah

The Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah has a Main Pool that the whole
family can enjoy, especially Mums and Dads with the swim-up pool bar! The hotel
also has a shaded kid’s pool surrounded by additional sun loungers so that parents
can lay back and watch the children play.

3. Cove Beach Dubai

A slice of adult-only heaven has arrived on Privilee! Cove Beach Dubai can be found
on Bluewaters Island and has three swimming pools available for Privilee Members
to enjoy every day of the week. Cove Beach hosts a range of events each day so you
can choose to party the day away, or relax and unwind, it’s totally up to you!

4. InterContinental Dubai Marina

Hidden amongst the concrete jungle with stunning views of the Dubai Marina, the
InterContinental Dubai Marina offers chilled vibes, cocktails and the comfiest
sunbeds – I don’t know what more you could want from a pool day! The pool is open
daily from 8am to 8pm and has a gym on the same floor, just in case you wanted to
have a quick workout before cooling off in the rooftop pool.

5. Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

Another family friendly pool day is the Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort. This Thai-
inspired hotel has a stunning 50 metre infinity pool with ample sun loungers
surrounding it. But the highlight of the hotel for me has to be the beautiful lagoon
winding throughout the resort.

The lagoon has a shallow sand bank which is the perfect place for little ones to sit
and play before diving into the lagoon for a swim. One of the best parts is a little
wooden boat that passes through the lagoon every few hours selling drinks – I like to
treat myself to a fresh coconut – but if you’re lucky, your little one may even be able
to have ride on it!

6. Melia Desert Palm

Melia Desert Palm is an oasis located a short drive out into the Dubai Desert. The
hotel has a beautiful infinity pool, with views spanning over the connected polo club. If you’re heading out that way you should definitely make sure to pop into the
Samana Spa for a massage before driving back to reality!

7. Fluid Beach Dubai

Fluid Beach Club can be found at Th8 Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah. It’s the perfect
place to chill with friends from day into night. This adult-only venue offers Privilee
Members and up to four guests 25% discount off F&B so you can soak in the sun, sip
champagne and stay for sunset all whilst saving money!

8. Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk 

Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk is another great venue to visit as a family. The stunning
Soleil swimming pool has a great shaded kid’s pool attached with a splash pad for
them to enjoy. The pool can be accessed from the hotel’s sixth floor and offers a
great view of the Dubai Skyline.

9. Hyde Hotel Dubai

The rooftop pool at Hyde Hotel Dubai has views of the Dubai Skyline that are hard to
beat. This adult-only venue has super-chic décor, Burj Khalifa views and (I must say)
some of the comfiest sun beds I have experienced. The hotel has complimentary
valet parking and offers 20% discount off food, beverage and brunches across all

10. Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Last, but by no means least, is the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. This hotel
is one of my absolute favourites when I’m in need of some downtime. As soon as you
pull up to the front of the hotel and are greeted by the friendly valet team, you feel at
home. The hotel provides the feeling of both luxury and comfort with its five star
service and super comfy beach sun loungers.

The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah has a fabulous infinity pool that all of the
family can enjoy. Also, tucked around to the righthand side of the resort, hidden
amongst the palm trees, is an adult-only pool where you can really switch off and
enjoy the peace and quiet.

Living in Dubai we are so lucky to have so many beautiful hotels and resorts right
here on our doorstep. That’s why I am so thankful to have my Privilee Membership
which allows me to make the most of all they have to offer!

Privilee’ing throughout Eid as a family? Here’s what to do and where to go!

As the month of Ramadan draws to an end, we have the lovely long Eid weekend approaching, and what better way to spend it than to enjoy one, two or maybe three Privilee venues over the holiday.

W Dubai The Palm

W Dubai The Palm is a stunning, modern hotel which welcomes you with complimentary valet parking – which is always a bonus when traveling with children. As you make your way through the gorgeous lobby, the Privilee check-in desk is conveniently located before the walkway down to the pool and beach.

The hotel really caters for people and families of all ages with its adult only WET Deck; at least ten WET Pools with complimentary sun loungers; and a separate kids pool that is well shaded and has an on-site life guard present. The hotel also offers complimentary access for two children (aged between four and twelve) at its supervised kids club for Privilee Members.
During our recent visit to the W Dubai The Palm we spent most of our time at the sun loungers on the beach and were just a short walk away from one of the many WET Pools.

After a lot of splashing around in the sea and the pool, Arlo fell asleep which gave us the perfect opportunity to order some lunch to our sun loungers from the Pool Bar and Restaurant. The food was delicious, I opted for the Chicken Burger whilst Ryan went for the healthier option of the Chicken Caesar Salad.

Before heading home for the day, we stopped in the lobby café for a coffee and a cookie – the décor is fabulous by the way – and availed a 25% discount on our drinks.

DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island

Why not set off on a Daycation and visit the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. The hotel has not one, but five hotels to offer, all of which have complimentary towels and sun loungers for Privilee Members.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can head down to the 650m long private beach and dive into the ocean from the Jungle Float, a playground on water which features trampolines, slides and much more!

Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island

Just five minutes down the road from the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island you will find another Privilee venue – the Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island. Here you will find the stunning Ula Pool which provides complimentary water, sun loungers and towels and 20% discount off the total bill for up to four guests! The Kids Pool is well sheltered from the sun and surrounded by sun loungers so you can relax and watch your little ones play.
At 5pm you can head up to the only rooftop bar in Rask Al Khaimah, Neo Sky Bar, to watch a gorgeous sunset whilst taking in the 360-degree views and enjoy 20% discount off the bill whilst you’re up there.

Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

A newbie to Privilee is the Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, located along the vibrant Palm West Beach. One of the benefits Privilee Member’s can access at the Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah is The Pirates Kid’s Club, located to the left of the Kid’s Pool. You can make the most of three hours complimentary access to the supervised Kid’s Club each day for children aged four to twelve. Or, if like us, your little one falls into the infant bracket, you can still head down there, just be sure to have a parent or nanny with them at all times.

We love spending time at the Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, the beach provides a breath-taking view of the Marina skyline and is the perfect place to watch the sunset.

Fairmont The Palm

Another Palm favourite of ours is the Fairmont The Palm. This hotel really is perfect for a visit with the whole family. Fairmont The Palm provides some excellent dining options, Seagrill Bistro is the perfect spot for lunch during a busy day of sunbathing. My favourite dish is the lobster roll and it tastes even better when you receive 25% discount from the total bill as a benefit with Privilee.

Fairmont The Palm also provides complimentary access to its Falcons Kids Club from 10.30am-7pm daily. The hotel offers a good amount of shaded area – which is perfect when attending with children.


Ryan and I decided we weren’t going to be doing Christmas presents last year so I was very surprised on Christmas Day when I opened a large box containing two tickets to see Chris Brown! An actual life long dream (well, a dream since 2008). I then realised that the concert was in Germany. My first response was, “Amazing… what about Arlo” and we thought we had enough time to figure it out. Roll on March and, not only did Arlo come with us to Munich, we also flew out Ryan’s Mum and Grandma to meet us! It’s times like this when we realise the difficulties of living abroad and living away from our families. We can’t just pop away for a long weekend now that we have a baby. So, we thought it would be a great idea for them to meet us in Munich, as it’s only a short 2 hour flight from London. That way, they would get to spend a lovely weekend with us and Arlo, and we would have trusted babysitters for the night of the gig – win win!

Traveling light with an 11 month old is almost impossible, but we were adamant that for two nights we didn’t need to check in a case. So poor Ryan basically had one outfit for the whole weekend to save space for me and Arlo in the hand luggage case! Now that Arlo is eating three solid meals a day, I took eight of my trusted Ella’s Kitchen pouches as a back up and also measured three small pots of 30g porridge for Arlo to have for breakfasts so I knew we would be covered in case we weren’t able to order anything suitable whilst we were there.

We arranged our airport transfers via Booking.com as it was significantly cheaper than many other taxi quotes we received. We could also amend our booking to include an infant car seat which was very efficient.

Day One

We had an early start as we left home at 5am, arrived at the airport for 5.30am and were in the Emirates Lounge by 6am. Our flight departed Dubai at 8am. We were traveling with our friends Emily & James from Dubai and it was a huge help having those extra pairs of hands for the flight. Upon check in, the staff were extremely helpful and moved us so we were sat in a row of four with extra leg room. We blocked off either end of the row and let Arlo sit / walk / crawl on the floor for the most part of the flight which was great as he was able to move much more freely and he tends to get a bit sassy if he feels too restricted.

Once we arrived in Munich we were through immigration relatively promptly and were straight through as we didn’t need to wait for any checked in bags. Our driver collected us and we had a thirty minute journey to the hotel. We booked the Aparthotel Adagio access München City Olympiapark due to it’s proximity to the Olympiahall where the concert was. The rooms were relatively basic but clean and came with a kitchenette cooker, fridge, sink and kettle. We informed the staff that we would be traveling with Arlo ahead of time and they had already arranged an infant cot for our room.

It was lovely to meet up with Ryan’s Mum and Grandma at the hotel and then the seven of us headed over to the Olympic Tower in the Olympic Park. There is a fine dining restaurant, Restaurant 181, located at the top of the tower but we didn’t arrive with enough time for lunch and they do not allow children under the age of six for the evening. You can go up to the viewing platform at the Olympic Tower for (e)13 per person and it provides 360degree views of Munich as it towers over the surrounding buildings.

We stopped for a bite to eat and a few cocktails in Restaurant Olympiasee which was at the base of the Olympic Tower. The restaurant was very casual but had a real buzz about it with many people seeming to be in the area to watch an ice-hockey event. We had currywurst sausages, cocktails and beer and it was a lovely way to spend the rest of the afternoon.

We headed up to our rooms relatively early as we were all ready to crash after a long day of traveling.

Day Two

The seven of us met in the hotel lobby for a 9.30am start and we took the subway into the main town centre, Marienplatz. We were fortunate that the subway stop was less than a five minute walk from our hotel and had a direct line for 20 minutes to reach Marienplatz. One of the only restaurant resrvations I made for the trip was for breakfast at a cute cafe called Cotidiano which was around a 15 minute walk from Marienplatz subway stop. However, when we arrived we were informed that the cafe didn’t take reservations, so had quite a lengthy wait outside in the cold! Once we sat down we knew that the breakfast was going to be worth the wait. The cafe was packed to the brim with people enjoying beers, prosecco and wine with their brunch. We were also joined by James’ cousin, Adam, and wife, Faye, and we all spent a good few hours chatting, eating and drinking. We all ordered a variety of eggs, avo, and sweet and salty pancakes. Everything tasted delicious, especially the (e)4 prosecco!

After brunch, we walked back to the Centre of Marienplatz and found a rooftop bar overlooking the markets. It had outdoor seating and it was only 1 degree so we warmed ourselves up with pints of Aperol Spritz!

We walked through the market and headed to a nearby beer hall which was packed to the brim! The guys had their steins of beer and Arlo slept the whole time!

That evening we had the concert so headed back to the hotel for a quick change then all went for dinner at Bavarie Brasserie in the BMW museum. Ryan’s mum and grandma then took Arlo back to the hotel and the six of us walked five minutes to the Olympiahalle to see Chris Brown!! The gig was absolutely amazing and so worth all of the travel to see him.

Day Three

Ryan’s Mum and Grandma were being collected from the hotel at 12pm for their flight home. So we decided to go for a walk to a nearby shopping centre they had visited on their first day. When we arrived, we were surprised to find that the shopping centre, and every shop nearby was closed! We didn’t realised that, by law, shops in Germany are only allowed to open on four Sundays throughout the entire year, and this wasn’t one of them! So we headed over the road and enjoyed a trusty McDonalds before walking back to our hotel.

After saying our goodbyes, me, Ryan and Arlo took the subway back into Marienplatz to meet Em and James (who were also devastated by the fact that there was to be no shopping for the day)! It appeared that the only thing to do was to head to one of the famous beer halls so we walked around twenty minutes to Augustiner-Keller which had been recomended by a few friends. We entered the hall and felt like we were walking into the Hogwarts dining hall. It was very large with grand lights and a stage at the front. It was absolutely packed and clearly the place to be on a Sunday afternoon in Munich.

We had a night flight back to Dubai which departed Munich at 9.30pm. Arlo was such an Angel as he fell asleep at take off and we woke him up at landing. We got back to Dubai around 6am and were home around 7.30am. I was not jealous of Ryan, Em and James going into work that day.. although I had a full day of looking after Mr Arlo!

Maximise your time during Ramadan

With Ramadan fast approaching, and due to commence on Thursday 23 March, you can be sure to make the most of those shorter working days by taking full advantage of your Privilee access.


If you have the opportunity to work reduced hours during Ramadan, then it could be the perfect opportunity to start your fitness journey and keep active during your free time.

You can choose from boxing, core training, ladies only fitness classes, CrossFit and many other classes from the Privilee App. I love the classes at FitRepublik as they offer such a wide variety. They also have various locations throughout Dubai for you to choose from and you can make use of two classes a week with your Privilee membership.

Another fun way of keeping active this Ramadan is by spending the afternoon paddleboarding – and what better way to do it than at the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, in the calm water with a stunning backdrop of the Dubai Marina skyline. What’s more, Privilee Members can save up to 20% on water sport activities here!


Why not catch up with friends at any of the pools and beachesthat Privilee has to offer and with the added benefit of nothaving to worry about the cost of a full day pass! I absolutely love the Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort as it not only has a large, kid-friendly hotel pool, it also has the beautiful lagoon that you can swim and relax in. 

The hotel welcomes families and, sometimes even offers ‘boat rides’ in the pool for you little ones – how adorable!


Privilee has 41 venues which provide complimentary access for up to three children when attending with an accompanying adult, so why not squeeze in some afternoon playdates. One of my favorite venues for this is the Fairmont The Palm. The hotel has easy, sheltered self-parking which is complimentary (just make sure you get your ticket stamped on the way out). The hotel also provides complimentary access to its Falcons Kids Club from 10.30am-7pm daily. The hotel offers a good amount of shaded area – which is perfect when attending with small children. My ideal day would be lounging in one of the cabanas with an iced coffee whilst the babies sleep after tiring themselves out on the splash pad!

Beach walks and play time on the sand during the time of year when the weather is just perfect

You could always spend the afternoon playing tennis at one of Privilee’s venues. …. If you’re a beginner, like me, you can even avail 25% discount of tennis lessons at the Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection.


Enjoy those longer afternoons and early evenings as a family and enjoy dining at one of Privilee’s restaurants in which you can redeem discount. One of our favorite restaurants for a lazy afternoon lunch is the Beach House at the Anantara The Palm Dubai. The restaurant gives Mediterranean vibes whilst offering a great view of the Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis hotels. Treat yourself to the grilled seabass and a glass of rose before the summer heat sets in!


One of the things I absolutely love about living in Dubai is that any hour of the day, on any day of the week, you can pop along to one of the stunning five-star hotels and make use of the facilities as if you were a hotel guest checking in to start their holiday. So with these extra few hours of freedom a day, you may be looking to relax and unwind, and what better way to do that than at one of the adult only venues that Privilee has to offer. 

Terra Solis Dubai offers just that. A tranquil oasis located in Jebel Ali which provides an adult only escape, with complimentary pool access and 10% discount off food and beverages. Terra Solis Dubai will also be hosting an Iftar feast, offering an unforgettable Ramadan experience. 

If you would love to make the most of all of these activitiesand more, just like I have, then you can sign up to Privilee at www.privilee.ae to enjoy all of these benefits, and more.

Five brilliant things to do during Ramadan with Privilee

The Holy month of Ramadan will soon be upon us, so I have compiled a list of some of my favourite things to do during Ramadan. From dining to relaxing, Ramadan is the perfect time to slow down, reflect and unwind.

1. High Tea at the Palazzo Versace Hotel

The Palazzo Versace High Tea can be enjoyed in the breath-taking Mosaico lounge, which is situated in the grand lobby of the Palazzo Versace Hotel, every day from 10.30am to 7pm. The High Tea includes an assortment of finger sandwichesand scones (accompanied by homemade jams, clotted cream and lemon curd) as well as a selection of pastries and a choice of tea.

High Tea is one of my favourite treats, but it always starts the scone debate: “what goes first, cream or jam?” For me, it has to be jam first then cream! What about you?

Privilee Members can avail a discount of 25% off the price of the High Tea at the Palazzo Versace Hotel – now that is sweet.Whilst at the hotel, I love to make the most of the complimentary access to the hotel’s other facilities, such as relaxing in one of three swimming pools available; or making the most of the supervised Palazzo Versace Kids Club.

2. Unwind at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Take the time to really relax and unwind by treating yourself to a massage at the stunning spa located at the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah. When booking any treatment, guestsreceive full access to the spa facilities which include 12 treatment rooms, whirlpool hot tubs, herbal steam rooms and more. Privilee Members are also eligible for 20% discount on any spa treatments. 

As a new mum, I jumped at the opportunity to have some quiet time at the spa with my friend. I opted for the 75 minuteSignature Massage followed by some well-needed R&R in the sauna and steam room. After the massage, we were brought some complimentary ginger tea and snacks and relaxed in the spa slippers and gowns.

We made the most of our child-free-time and headed upstairs to Peacock Alley, which is located on the entrance level of the Waldorf Astoria for some lunch (and cocktails). Privilee Members can also receive 20% discount at this outlet, and others throughout the Waldorf Astoria.

3. Breakfast by the Beach at Jones the Grocer

West Beach has fast become one of the most popular destinations on the Palm Jumeirah with an amazing variety of hotels, restaurants and bars. Jones the Grocer, part of the Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, provides beach front dining with a stunning view of the Dubai skyline. Jones the Grocer is the perfect family-friendly breakfast spot with a casual vibe, great food and you can take your furry friends along too. 

Jones the Grocer has recently revamped its menu and my go-to dish is the Persian feta omelette with smoked chicken and a side of avocado – yum!

Privilee Members can save 20% off the bill at Jones the Grocer – and don’t forget to validate your car parking with the staff at the front desk when you leave!

The Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah is actually one of Privilee’snewest venues and provides Members with access to it’s two pools and beach.

4. Release some Tension with a Boxing Class

Located in Umm Suqeim 3, 9Round Fitness offers a different style of fitness class. With no set class schedule, you can arrive at a time that suits you and simply jump into a workout whenever you feel like it. The full-body workout lasts for 30 minutes and as a Privilee Member you are entitled to access to two complimentary classes per week.  Just remember to bring your own boxing gloves and towel along with you.

5. Attend Iftar at the Palace Downtown

One of my favourite things to do during Ramadan is to attend an Iftar or Suhoor. There are some beautiful venues located throughout various hotels in Dubai, but my favourite is The Palace Downtown Dubai. From the moment you step foot into the hotel lobby, you are immersed in the traditional Oud scents and Arabic hotel décor.

The hotel also offers complimentary valet parking and Privilee Members receive 20% discount at the restaurants located throughout the Palace Downtown. Be sure to keep an eye out for exclusive Iftar discounts available at certain Privilee venues.

If any of these take your fancy, then head over to www.privilee.ae to sign up today to enjoy all of this and more.

FIFA World Cup 2022

What a bucket list experience!

In the summer, we were lucky enough to get hold of tickets to the England v USA world cup game in Qatar! I was in England at the time and managed to persuade my Dad to come along with us as well!

Roll on November and England beat Iran in their first game 6:2 and we were absolutely buzzing for our game the following week!

The Journey

We were traveling over to Qatar with friends so we went over to their hotel to meet for lunch and then took a minibus down to Dubai World Central Airport. The main airport in Dubai is DXB, but as Dubai were running several “shuttle flights” daily over to Doha, they made use of DWC airport for this purpose. We flew with Qatar Airways for the 40 minute flight over to Doha.

Our flight left Dubai at 5pm and arrived in Doha at 5pm local time (factoring in the one hour time difference). Doha Airport had such a buzz about it. People from all over the world were there, playing music, wearing flags, dancing. It was an incredible thing to experience. We saw a couple of Mexican fans with their flags and sombreros and I went over to say hi and have a photo with them.

900 Park Fan Zone

We took a local taxi to the 900 Park Fan Zone which was attached to the Intercontinental Hotel. The fan zone atmosphere was incredible, people were dancing on the tables, offering face paint – and you could buy as much alcohol as you wanted (unlike how the Daily Mail had been reporting!)

We stayed in the fan zone for a few hours and watched the Denmark game on the big screen before getting an Uber over to the Al Bayt stadium.

Al Bayt Stadium

The drive to the stadium was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Our taxi driver was amazing and connected our phones up so we could play all of the England songs. We were all singing along getting so excited for the game. The taxi driver then drove down a side street to a small café and brought us all a cup of tea. It was so kind of him.

The traffic to enter the stadium had really built up so our taxi driver pulled over on the side of the road and we ran across the motorway to cut the queue! As we entered the grounds of the stadium, people were chanting and there were bands playing music with dancers.

Entering the stadium itself was a feeling I think I will remember forever. By the time we had arrived, the majority of fans were already there so there was a great atmosphere. We headed down to our seats – Row B – and as we sat down the camera panned to us and we could see ourselves up on the big screen!

My Dad had a flag made with our home town, Lowestoft, and a Leeds United badge (his team) and he was so excited that it made it up onto the big screen as well!

England v USA

The game itself was probably the most disappointing part of the trip! The score was 0.0 and honestly, not a lot happened during the match. We were surprised that the fans were mixed so we were sat amongst both England and USA fans for the game.

The Journey Home

I have to admit, leaving the stadium was a bit of a nightmare. We followed the queues to the taxi, which took about 45 minutes to walk, and once we arrived, there wasn’t a single taxi, Uber or Careem in sight. Everyone was piled in this car park, confused and not sure what to do. We ended up knocking on car windows asking for a lift to the airport and paid a local guy QAR400 to drive us there. It should have only been a 45 minute journey but took almost 2 hours in traffic. We arrived at the airport as our gate opened – luckily we had been provided with our return boarding passes on the outward journey and had no luggage so were straight through and boarded within no time. By this point it was 4am and we were all exhausted. I slept the entire flight back to Dubai.

Although we didn’t get the score we had hoped for, and didn’t see any goals, being able to watch England play in a World Cup game with my Dad is a memory I will treasure forever.

Just as Heavenly as we Remembered

Ah, the Maldives. Was it actually a dream? I swear we waited almost two years for this holiday and it went by in a flash! 

Ryan and I visited Ozen Life Maadhoo in December 2020 and it was our first time visiting the Maldives. That Christmas, my lovely Mum got drunk and said she would take us all there on holiday to celebrate my dads 60th birthday in 2022. Full of regret the next day, she told us it wasn’t happening. But once Dad spent a bit of time thinking it over, they decided that we should all go. So I reached out to Ozen and we booked three of their Wind, overwater, villas. 

Roll on March 2022 and our little Arlo was born. We decided it would be best to change our room to an Earth Villa with a pool, which was located on the beach front, as this would be a better option with Arlo.

Mum, Dad, Katie and her fiancé Tom flew over to Dubai and spent the night at ours, this allowed them to break the journey up from the UK. We then all flew over to the Maldives together from Dubai.

The flight is only 3.5 hours and we booked the 2.30am flight which got us to the Maldives at 7am. It was the first night flight we’ve done with Arlo but he was such a trooper and slept for the majority of the flight – which meant Ryan and I were able to get a few hours in as well. When landing in the Maldives you’re required to fill out an entry form, which we had completed in advance and were provided with QR codes. Unfortunately, not everybody had completed this so the queues at immigration were quite lengthy. It also took a bit of time to collect our cases but once we were through to the other side and greeted by the Ozen staff, that’s when we knew our holiday could really start. 

We were taken to the Ozen private lounge in the airport and provided with water, tea and coffee before we were escorted to the Ozen speedboat to take us to the island. The trip is 45minutes from Male. One huge benefit about the Indulgence Package with Ozen is that it also includes transfers to and from the hotel. If you opt for a hotel that requires you to take the seaplane, this can incur charges of up to $500 per person, each way.

Blowing of the Conch

Of all the things my sister was excited for when arriving at Ozen, it was the greeting of the staff as we disembarked from the speedboat. Just as described on their website, the staff were ready and waiting to blow the conch and play the drums whilst greeting us onto the island. 

We were taken to the lobby for a glass of champagne and were introduced to our butler, Blue. Blue provided us with our itinerary which covered everything from our restaurant bookings, excursions and spa treatments. Blue then take us each to our rooms so we can unpack and get settled in before meeting up at the pool bar.


Ozen has a great selection of restaurants and bar options on the island. From authentic Chinese cuisine at Peking; traditional Maldivian dining at their beachfront restaurant, Lonu; to the incredible underwater dining experience at M6M, it really caters to everyone.

Each morning we would meet up at The Palms, the buffet-style restaurant where breakfast was served and would enjoy our breakfast with a Mimosa, or two. The pool bar, Joie de Vivre also has a daily snack menu whereby you can order pizzas, sandwiches, spring rolls etc. (all of which is also included in the all inclusive package).


When Blue provided us with our itinerary this included a selection of excursions which are complimentary as part of your stay. This included a snorkel trip (which I opted out of so I could stay with Arlo), but the rest of the family enjoyed this and even saw sharks on their trip!

One evening we had the sunset fishing trip. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I caught two fish! One was a grouper fish and the other was a red snapper. The Captain arranged for the snapper to be taken back to the hotel and we had this grilled for lunch the next day. It may be because I caught it myself, but I think it might have been the best fish I have ever eaten!

One of the other evening excursions available is the sunset cruise and we were lucky enough to see dolphins! It was so magical.

Ryan and I also decided to opt for one of the paid excursions and go swimming with sharks! The boat trip was approximately thirty minutes from Ozen to an area where nurse sharks gather. The experience was incredible, although I was quite nervous once I was actually in the water and they were nudging and bumping around us! It was definitely a bucket list moment.

We had the most incredible family holiday and created memories that will last a lifetime.

Bahrain – Short but Sweet

I’m slightly delayed with sharing this post but in September we had a lovely long weekend stay in Manama, Bahrain. We’ve lived in Dubai for almost eight years and Bahrain is only the second Gulf country we have visited outside of the UAE. It’s only a short 50 minute flight from Dubai, and so when we knew we had family staying in Bahrain from the UK, we thought this would be the perfect time to visit.

Hire Car

Travelling with a baby means there is a lot more to think about and one of our concerns was access to a taxi with an infant car seat. We contacted our hotel and they quoted us for a return journey to and from the airport with a private taxi and car seat, but this worked out to be more expensive than hiring our own car with an infant seat.

As we are used to driving the roads of the UAE, we didn’t mind driving in Bahrain and found it to be very similar. Bahrain International Airport has several well known car hire companies on site and we opted with SIXT as they were the cheapest option. We were lucky enough to also get a free upgrade on collection!


My cousin was staying on Reef Island and so I searched for accommodation close by – although we soon found out that most places in Manama are only a short drive away. We decided on the Wyndham Grand Manama. The hotel had a rather corporate feel about it as it comprised of both business offices and also hotel rooms. The hotel was situated only a 15 minute drive from the airport, a 4 minute drive from the Four Seasons, and 10 minute drive from Reef Island. I also managed to make a great saving on our booking by reserving the hotel through my travel business, saving us 50% compared to Booking.com!

Upon arrival, we were given a complimentary upgrade to the Himalayan Salt Room which had an entire wall made from 800 million year old Himalayan salt! The room also had a lovely bath and waterfall shower; a desk (which was good for Ryan who ended up having to work a little bit) and a good sized wardrobe.

The Wyndham has an amazing spa facility which includes a snow therapy room! It also has a family pool and an adults only pool located on the 11th floor which provide great views of the bay. 

Things to Do 

Bahrain also has a Brunch Culture like Dubai so on Friday we headed over to the Four Seasons for their family brunch. It had an amazing selection of food and drinks as well as a kids area with activities.

We hadn’t really researched many things to do in Bahrain before traveling as mainly just wanted to spend time with our family. So we visited a few of the malls for a browse then spent the rest of the time around the pools at our hotels.

We really loved spending time with our family and it was a great excuse to visit Bahrain and see another country.

Family Time in England

Our 6 week holiday at home with Arlo required a lot of planning to ensure we were able to see as many family members as possible. Especially due to the fact that mine and Ryan’s home towns are several hours drive from one another.

We started our trip with a 10 night stay in Lowestoft with my family. My parents were still working so during the days we spent our time going for walks down to the park and walking round to see my Grandparents (and Arlo’s Great-Grandparents!) It was so lovely for us to just be able to spend some time outside with Arlo as we haven’t really had the chance to do that yet in Dubai as it has been too hot.

The second part of our trip was for seven nights in Kent. For this, we hired a little cottage called Sandhole Barn in Snodland which we chose as a base so we had a bit more space to spread out with all of Arlo’s things!

We had a lovely time in Kent with trips down to Herne Bay to see Ryan’s Grandparents (also Arlo’s Great-Grandparents – he’s such a lucky boy); a trip to Whitstable for Afternoon Tea in the castle; lovely walks around Leybourne Lakes and a BBQ with the Stansfield’s.

We then took the Eurostar over to Paris for a short city break which you can read all about here. When we returned to Kent we had another few nights staying with family. The evenings were very relaxing (I have to admit we got hooked on Love Island which was partnered with a take away most evenings). On the Sunday, my parents drove down to Kent and we went for a lovely meal with Ryan’s family before he had to fly back to Dubai for 2 weeks for work.

I was very apprehensive about how I would manage with just Arlo on my own during the night times, but at least I knew I had my Mum, Dad and Sister to help keep Arlo entertained in the day times.

The next two weeks in Lowestoft absolutely flew by. We missed Ryan so much but made sure to have lots of video calls. Arlo started to have disturbed sleep which wasn’t great for me. One morning at 6am I had to wake my Mum up and ask if she would sit down with Arlo as I had been up with him since 4am! Thankfully he seems to have moved out of that phase now. During this two weeks Arlo had lots of firsts. I took him swimming for the first time with his little cousin Maeve – he was so relaxed he fell asleep for a moment in his float!

We also took him to the zoo. He fell asleep within 15 minutes of arriving and woke up in the gift shop on the way out, I couldn’t believe it! So we had to quickly pop back through to show him the giraffes, zebras and flamingos!

We had family down to visit us in Lowestoft the weekend that Ryan was flying back to England and we went down to the local park for some games. I can’t actually believe it but I fell backwards when we were having a kick about and ended up having to head to A&E with Mum! I felt terrible, worrying that we were going to be sat there for hours. Thankfully, I was in and out within three hours but left with a fractured ankle and a support boot.

The final part of our trip was back in Kent and we had booked another lovely barn on the outskirts of Maidstone called Woolhouse Barn. Situated close by was a lovely country pub called the Horseshoes where we went for a Sunday Roast with Ryan’s family and, I have to say, it is one of the best roast dinners I think I’ve ever had – sorry Mum!

The following day, Arlo and I spent the day with Ryan’s Mum and her Partner and we went for a lovely breakfast followed by a day relaxing down the beach. It was 30 degrees, I couldn’t believe it!

Woolhouse Barn was based in a very rural area and, the intention was, for me to get insured on our hire car so I could get out and about in the mornings for my breakfast dates whilst Ryan worked. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to drive and we decided to cut our trip short and fly back to Dubai so I could seek proper medical advice about my foot. I felt so sad that our trip ended like this but, we were so lucky to have spent such a long time at home in the first place. So we flew back to Dubai a few days early with cases full of nappies and wet wipes to keep us going until Christmas!

Our First Time Traveling with a Baby

Since before Arlo was born, we were already dreaming of, and planning all the amazing places that we could take him. Travelling and creating memories is something that Ryan and I love doing, it only seemed right that Arlo would just slot into that lifestyle and come on all of these adventures with us.

Of course, the most special first adventure we could take him on would be travelling to England to introduce him to all of his family.

Maternity leave in the UAE isn’t great so we wanted to be sure to make the most of the time we had off. We planned a six week itinerary in England with a short 3 night stay in Paris built in – you can read more about that trip here.


We booked our flights direct with Emirates before Arlo was born. Then, once we received his passport we contacted the airline to have him added on to my ticket. With most airlines, infants travel for free up to the age of two. We had a small supplement to pay as we requested the bassinet seat for Arlo which meant we needed to pay for the seats with extra leg room.

I was very nervous at the thought of flying with a three month old baby, I was worried he wouldn’t be comfortable, that he would be out of his routine and he would disturb the other passengers. But, Arlo was brilliant. Annoyingly, we were sat on the tarmac on the plane for over an hour which wasn’t ideal. I had read that when flying with infants you should feed at take off to prevent their ears from popping, so I prepared a bottle of expressed milk and fed Arlo at that time. As he was finishing his bottle we heard the poo explosion that he had clearly been saving for us a for a few days. Thankfully, Ryan offered to take the lead on that one!

Arlo didn’t sleep for very long on the flight, considering we were on the plane for around 8 hours in total, he slept for maybe an hour and a half. The rest of the time he was just happy to lay and chill in the bassinet or sit on our laps looking around.

Travel Essentials

I packed a backpack which was dedicated to Arlo for the flight which contained all of his essentials. That way, we knew we only needed to search in one bag, rather than across all three of our hand-luggage bags, if we needed something for Arlo.

I packed several travel pouches which were each dedicated to: changing, feeding and toys. This worked really well for us as when we needed to change Arlo we just picked up one pouch which contained nappies, cream, wet wipes, disposable changing mats, plastic bags and a change of clothes.

I also panicked about breastfeeding Arlo whilst traveling and was worried about taking liquids through the airport. In Dubai Airport they were absolutely fine and there were no additional checks on the milk. However, when leaving Gatwick we were required to take out Arlo’s milk so it could be run through a separate scanner. When flying home to England, I packed 4 portions of breastmilk in a cooler bag which had been defrosted the day before so they were good for 24 hours. I also packed 4 bottles of the Aptamil 1 Ready to Drink Milk (at this point, we hadn’t given Arlo formula but I wanted to have it with me as a back up). I also packed my portable Elvie breast pump which worked extremely well for us during the flight. Ryan would give Arlo a bottle of expressed milk and, at the same time, I pumped using the Elvie to prepare for the next bottle.

When we were deciding on a stroller we knew a travel stroller would be essential for us so we opted for the Leclerc Magicfold which self-folds down to fit in the overhead baggage area on the plane. At the time of flying home, Arlo was still only 3 months old so we decided to take the bassinet attachment with us but we checked this in along with our cases. Getting through the airport, I carried Arlo in a baby carrier so he was close to my chest and we placed out hand-luggage in the stroller which Ryan pushed through the airport. This worked really well for us as Arlo loves being carried and often falls asleep!

*You can purchase any of the items linked above on Mumzworld.com using my code LOU10 for discount.

The Flight Home

Unfortunately, we had to cut our trip home short as I fractured my ankle with just over a week of the trip left. I was wearing a boot and didn’t have a lot of mobility to begin with and I found it hard getting up and down the stairs in the cottage. It also meant that I wasn’t able to drive and was completely reliant on Ryan.

So, we made the decision to fly back on the Wednesday, instead of the Sunday but there were no bassinet seats left. The thought of flying with Arlo and my foot in a boot in a window and an aisle seat really made us anxious so, we decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to Business Class – and it was the best thing we could have done. I was able to lay out with my foot elevated which really helped with the swelling on the flight. It also meant that Ryan and I could take turns with laying Arlo down on the mattress. Arlo ended up sleeping for 5 hours on the flight back which was brilliant. But I think we may have built a rod for our own backs with the flying experience with Arlo now!