Top ten (Non) essential baby things

These are ‘non-essential’ baby items as to be honest your baby doesn’t really need much besides you (cheesy but true) and there is soooooo much stuff out there that is unnecessary. So I have listed what I consider to be my top ten items, things I actually used a lot and would buy again, in no particular order.

1. Baby sense pads


By far my best purchase. I bought this as a bundle along with a Motorola video monitor. They are movement sensors which you put under the baby’s mattress and they set off an alarm if they don’t detect movement, e.g breathing for twenty seconds. A few different brands make these and ‘Baby sense’ as well as ‘Angelcare’ always had the best reviews. I bought the Baby sense ones and we’ve been very pleased as we have never had a false alarm. The only time the alarm has gone off is when we have forgotten to switch it off before taking him out the cot – easily done on little sleep.

They have allowed me to relax a bit once the little man is tucked up in his bed. It just gives me that extra piece of mind. They are unquestionably OTT, but if you are a worrier then they are amazing. Not sure what else I can say about them. The only downside is I am not sure whether I will be able to wean myself off them (they have two in a pack so you can even use them once they start crawling) which will probably mean that I will make my son have these under his mattress until he goes to university.

2. Bogey extractor


Unsurprisingly this is not it’s official name, it’s a nasal aspirator, I believe. A friend introduced me to this invaluable bit of kit. It is disgusting and satisfying in equal measures. Babies get colds and they get all snotty and can’t clear their noses themselves. This means giant bogeys can make their lives pretty miserable. Cue the nasal aspirator, a little device which allows you to suck the snot out for them. Yes, I told you it’s disgusting. But god, it is satisfying!



3. Coffee

If you don’t drink coffee then you will need to start or at least find a substitute. For me, there is no substitute and I went from an occasional latte drinker to a hardcore coffee drinker of at least 3 a day. I bought a new coffee machine, a coffee holder for the pram, a reusable coffee mug and am now on first name terms with most of the staff in my local Costa and Starbucks. Yes, I am now addicted and I feel the effects if I haven’t had my usual dose of coffee. My friend who has two kids recently made me a coffee and I was shaking for the rest of the afternoon it was so strong. Clearly mums with two kids are in a totally different league to me and I am not yet at their coffee drinking level!

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4. Baby carrier

I was given a Stokke MyCarrier Cool as a maternity present from work (they are available in Dubai at a few places, including Just Kidding) and I thought it was great as it uses breathable fabric which is important when you live somewhere that resembles an oven for a decent chunk of the year. I have used it for travelling a lot and it is great at the airport as we check our pram in as hold luggage. Also, as my son is super inquisitive (a.k.a nosey) he absolutely loves it. If he gets a bit grumpy I stick him in it and walk around for a bit and he just loves it as he smiles at everyone we pass.


5. Dummy

Ok, so lots of people have different views on this. My sister suggested a dummy when the little man was about 5 weeks old and honestly I’ve never looked back. Yes, I will have to get it back off him one day but it has helped us out on numerous occasions. When I flew with him at 5 weeks I was so grateful for the dummy as I was so concerned about his ears and had been told to feed him on the way up and down. Well, planning feeds like this isn’t that easy, the poor thing kept falling asleep and I’d wake him when I thought we were about to take off so that I could force feed him, only to find we were still taxing etc. In the end I shoved in the dummy and the sucking seemed to help.


6. Feeding cover

My mum suggested I got one of these when I had the little man buut I didn’t fancy one. I should have listened to my mother! In the early days I just used a muslin to cover up when feeding the little chap but as he got bigger he often tried to get me arrested by making me show more flesh in public than is deemed acceptable. So at around 6 months I bought one of these feeding covers with the stiff top bit so you can easily see them as you’re feeding. If you have a fussy feeder like mine who likes to thrash around, these are fab. They are also great as a kind of black out blind for their pram as you can drape it over whilst still being able to see them. Also, I found it brilliant on a day flight as a cover over the sky cot when he needed to sleep but was way too ‘inquisitive’ to do so.


7. Jumperoo

My sister bought us this as a Christmas present and it is truly amazing. It has come into its own since the little man turned 4 months as I needed something to contain him as he started to roll around. The jumperoo is great for knowing he can’t escape! My parents even bought one when we went home for two weeks after they saw how much he loved it (my dad had images of having to bounce him on his knee for hours otherwise!). Please be warned though, the song will drive you totally insane…yes there is just ONE song and it goes off every time they jump, which obviously happens a lot since that is the whole point of it. I have caught my dad and my father in law humming this tune when out and about when the little man is not even around. It is also huge and plastic and bright and will take over your living room. But it is great. Get it.


8. Muslins

People will buy you these, you will buy them for yourself and you will think that you have way too many. You do not. You can never have too many of these wonderful things. They are brilliant as sheets, swaddles, comforters, breast feeding covers, sick mopper-upers, dribble mopper-upers, milk mopper-uppers get the gist. You will have to wash them constantly (they are always white?!) and so more is definitely more. Aden and Anais are the posh ones (Prince George was wrapped in one when he left hospital and my lovely friend bought me the same one for my George). They are really great and available in  Dubai at Db babies. I bought some cheap ones and they didn’t even come close to comparing to the A&A ones.


9. Long sleeve bibs

This is more of an older baby item. I searched high and low for the perfect bib. Yes, I am that much of a loser. I wanted an adjustable back, elasticated wrists, long sleeves, machine washable, stain resistant and a decent pattern. This meant paying to get some Bumkins bibs from the US as I couldn’t find them elsewhere. Luckily I love them and they were worth the money and wait. I would actually prefer a full snow suit style approach as baby food seems to get everywhere and is ALWAYS orange, no matter what food it is, it will be orange.

baby sensory

10. ‘Say Hello to the Sun’ song

If you go to baby sensory (we go to the one at the Change Initiative in Dubai) then you will know this song as well as the accompanying sign language. Baby sensory always begins with this song and the babies seem to love it. If the little man is ever having a meltdown we sing the song and he immediately stops. Honestly, it is unbelievable! In our household there have been many middle of the night renditions of this song (usually with the incorrect words). Its a bit random, as most baby rhymes are, but it’s less violent than most nursery rhymes (I’m thinking of Humptey Dumptey, Rock a Bye Baby, Three Blind Mice, etc. etc.) and addictive for both you and baby. Learn the words, learn the signing, you won’t regret it!

Miss (ing) Independence

I am now 32.5 weeks pregnant. It’s very surreal. Even though when bubs is finally here I am very aware that life will be very different for us in so many ways, I am very much looking forward to being a bit normal and more than anything I am looking forward to having my independence back. I am usually a very independent person. Before I was pregnant I didn’t rely on anyone day to day, I made my own plans, got myself to where I needed to go under my own steam and earned my own money. I’ve had to be so restricted during this pregnancy and I miss being able to do normal things that I would usually take for granted, like having a bath (I can’t have these due to the risk of infection), going for a walk, popping to the mall, driving myself around, working and exercising and being able to act more like a 31 year old rather than a fragile 81 year old!

Not being able to be independent is hard. But I remind myself that this is temporary and so I am actually extremely lucky. For many people, for lots of different reasons, not having their independence is permanent and that must be incredibly tough.  I certainly will do my best to appreciate my independence once I am fully mobile again. I’m also extremely lucky as I have a fab hubby who pushes me around the mall in my wheelchair after he’s been at work all day, drives me around, cooks for me and makes me lots of cups of tea!

Take away pancake breakfast and flowers from the husband

Take away pancake breakfast and flowers from the husband

Even though I am now 32.5 weeks pregnant, I still don’t feel ‘that’ pregnant even though physically I am feeling the effects…I am looking more whale like each day and my fingers, ankles and knees are double their usual size! Pregnancy is soooooo sexy!

Everything still feels very unreal to me. I still check my bump is there every morning in a panic. Then I check my baby app on my phone to check I am indeed as pregnant as I think I am and it wasn’t a dream and then I spend a lot of my day panicking if he stays still for too long and I don’t feel him kicking. So in order to try to enjoy at least some of this pregnancy I’ve pushed myself to do things to make it all seem a little more real.

My husband and I recently braved an IKEA trip for some nursery furniture (the key to getting around IKEA without risking divorce is to feed said husband at the beginning and promise him a hot dog at the end if he gets round without moaning!). We also had a delivery from and as a result we are now the proud owners of a cot as well as a pram and car seat and numerous other smaller bits (many of which I have no doubt I won’t end up needing!). I found the whole buying process quite confusing, there is just so much on offer so I might do a future post reviewing the main items we bought in case that helps anyone who reads this blog.


Our cot (IKEA Sundvik)

I must say were absolutely brilliant! They stopped their free shipping to Dubai a week before I ordered but as I had already enquired about their free delivery, they agreed to ship everything to us for free still. It’s such a shame they won’t continue with free shipping to Dubai as I think it would be hugely popular. I paid less (the tax was taken off) and even with the 5% customs charge it was a fair bit cheeper than buying in Dubai. Then to make me love them even more (no this is not a sponsored post!) they delivered the lot in about 5 days from the Netherlands by airmail when I was expecting it to take around 6 weeks. 

So as I said, we now have some baby bits and the baby’s nursery is starting to take shape. I have lots of craft projects on the go at the moment and I recently made some basket liners (yes, I continue to live life on the edge…).  I have also been doing some paper crafts, partly inspired by a very thoughtful care package I received from two lovely people which contained lots of craft materials to keep me busy during this next month or so. I will post the results of the craft projects when they are all finished.

Living life on the edge - making basket linings! How life has changed!

Living life on the edge – making basket linings! How life has changed!

We have also been attending antenatal classes at Healthbay Polyclinic and again, I would definitely recommend them. It was great to meet some other mums and dads to be and although this is our second baby I still learnt a fair bit, especially in the latter classes.

Our slightly scarily happy baby from our antenatal class!

Our slightly scarily happy baby from our antenatal class!


‘V’ day

I am now over 24 weeks pregnant. I have mixed feelings about getting to this ‘milestone’. In the pregnancy world, 24 weeks is considered to be ‘viability’, the stage at which if a woman was to go into labour doctors would be willing to intervene to keep the baby alive. However, it is still incredibly early and for me it doesn’t feel like much of a milestone given I had my son at 24 weeks and 5 days but still lost him. That said, every day bubs continues to cook has to be considered a success. I am more focussed on getting to 25 weeks as I am hoping if I get to that stage I may allow myself to have a little bit more trust in my cerclage and let myself believe that things are different this time around.

24 week bump

It’s strange though, as when I eventually hit a milestone, all I am thinking about is the next one and so each milestone never feels like a particularly big achievement. My main millstones are 25, 30, 34 and then 37 weeks. Still a long way to go but we are slowly inching forward. This week has been the slowest week ever though!

I have pretty much put myself on house arrest this last week but have ventured out in the car/a wheelchair for a coffee and a cake and also for some dinner. It’s nice to get out but I do find myself feeling anxious and concerned that I am sitting rather than lying down. It’s difficult being on modified bed rest as I am not ill. In fact, physically I am feeling pretty good. I am at the stage where I am not that big yet so I am not restricted movement wise and I actually have a fair bit of energy. Despite this energy, I do find it hard to stay on task and to achieve the things that I want to achieve. Most days I do some French, some sewing, some admin etc and feel a sense of achievement but at the moment I lack motivation. Because of the stage I am at right now, I have been taking it easy on myself and allowing myself to laze around the flat watching rubbish television and mopping around. I’ll be a little stricter with myself in the coming months and give myself more targets to achieve.

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The other week I did enjoy a trip out in my wheels to Craftland and Paper Lane in a lovely little mall, Town Centre, Jumeriah, just next to Mercato mall. I didn’t buy much but got some quilting batting, some more fat quarters (I’m slightly obsessed with them!) and some embellishments.  I will definitely be popping back in the future and I was pleased to find some decent craft stores in Dubai (even though they are expensive compared to those in the UK). Here are some of my current craft projects.


Do you know your BFPs from your DPOs and AF?

There is a whole wide online world out there of forums, threads and groups that you can be part of if you’re trying to conceive, are pregnant or are a new mum. This online world has its own language, of sorts….get to know the useful acronyms here so you don’t come across as an amateur if you decide to post!... I have also included details of the forums that I use the most


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Still cooking

So I am now almost 23 weeks pregnant. People keep telling me that the time has flown by, it hasn’t! That said, it hasn’t been too bad, I find the days go quickly but the weeks still seem to drag somehow. I always knew July would be one of the most difficult periods. I started off the month at 22 weeks and will hopefully finish it at 26 weeks. Those of you know about babies and viability etc. will know that it is a particularly key time in the baby’s development. 26 weeks is still extremely early but it will mean I have passed the time which I had my son which was just before 25 weeks.

It is strange to think that just over a year ago we found out we were pregnant for the first time and at this stage of my pregnancy with my son I moved from the UK to Dubai. So much has happened and all of that feels like 10 years ago.

It has been a tough week or so mentally but I have managed to make the most of bed rest, I even managed an hour by the pool with my hubby one evening as it was a ‘cool’ 38 degrees.

Feet up whilst hubby goes for a swim!

Feet up whilst hubby goes for a swim!

June went fairly quickly and I celebrated the end of the month with my birthday. My husband thoroughly spoilt me, treating me to an amazing homemade brekkie (my favourite pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup), a pregnancy massage, afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab and he will also be helping me design a bespoke necklace as a present.

My favourite brekkie

My favourite brekkie

I had such a lovely day and other presents included an extremely long book to keep me occupied and some Neal’s Yard Tummy Butter to try to keep stretch marks at bay. Ultimately I couldn’t care less if I got stretch marks, it would mean that I managed to get big and keep this baby in and so that is fine by me. The evening of my birthday was quite amusing…we were both in a sugar coma from afternoon tea and decided to watch a ‘nice’ film. I mistakenly let my husband chose the film and he chose Kajaki. Oh. My. God. I love war films but jesus this film was so graphic and emotional! Brilliant film but not one to watch on your birthday! We both went to bed slightly traumatised!

Afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab.

Afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab.

I would love to report all the things I have been doing but I am struggling to remember what I have done! There have been days where even though I always get up before 10am, the day just passes me by as if I’m in a daze. Not a bad thing really. I’ve been doing lots of Skyping with friends and family which is great.

I have managed to establish a bit of a routine which involves getting myself up, reading at least 25 pages of my current book club book (Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm) and then I have some breakfast and do at least one hour of French.  By this time it is lunchtime, so I have some lunch (I’ve been told I am putting on too much weight! It seems doctors in Dubai are much more obsessed by weight than the UK and I exceeded my 1kg a month allowance…by quite a bit!). I have been doing various things in the afternoon including making some more…..yes you’ve guessed it…pillows! The afternoon tends to go fairly quickly and my hubby is usually home by 6ish at the moment as it is still Ramadan.

More cushions! I'm starting to run out of material now...

More cushions! I’m starting to run out of material now…

I will soon be entering week 23 and though I do very little at the moment and very rarely leave the house, for the next two weeks I will do even less. So I plan to lie in bed watching box sets and doing a bit of hand sewing. I’ll continue my French too though I am making very slow progress!!

Aurevoir x


It’s been a little while since I last did a weekly update. I’ve actually been busy! Well my new  version of busy. My house became a mini sweat shop last week when I decided to get on with making curtains and some more cushions. Also the full set of Harry Potter movies was on tele during the course of the week so obviously I watched them all and that killed a good few hours each day for almost a week!

I also find that the vortex of the internet often sucks me in and steals my time. I start off googling something (Dr Google is bad but addictive!) and it leads me to so many different articles etc. and before I know it 2-3 hours have passed. I did discover Mumsnet Classics the other day on my Mumsnet app and when insomnia struck and I spent a good hour or so reading over some of the posts. They’re worth a look and are so random but pretty funny.

So here are my sewing achievements for the week. I will put some tutorials on the sewing section of my website (if I manage to find the time in my super busy schedule!).




Pillows and matching bunting

Pillows and matching bunting



I have been trying to work on my website a bit more too and put together a list of 5 things to think about when having a baby in Dubai and I plan to do a post about 5 (or more) things to do whilst on bed rest.

We’ve also entered a Summer Come Dine With Me competition in Dubai and we had our first dinner the other night which was school dinner themed and it was scrummy and a lot of fun. Me and bump managed to stay up until almost 3am, very impressive (I did sleep most of the day in preparation though!). It will be our turn to host towards the end of July so I am thinking of theme ideas, I think we have one I just need to finalise the menu. My husband will be doing all of the cooking and leg work as I’ll  be 25 weeks by then and so will need to be taking it very easy and have my feet up.

We had our 20 week morphology scan the other day and it all went well which was a big relief. It’s been a fairly drama free couple of weeks and we’re hoping that continues as we get further into the second trimester.  I’ve never wished away time as much as I have been doing recently but I am trying to continue to be positive and to keep my mind busy. I still need to start my online French course and its getting embarrassing now as people keep asking me how its going – I will make it my mission to get myself signed up before my next blog!


Keeping busy

I’m now almost 18 weeks and it’s been a pretty good week. Nothing particularly exciting has happened but my happy sunny outlook is continuing with only the occasional blip. I’ve continued to take things very easy and the week has actually flown by. I hope that continues over the next 20ish weeks, particularly as I expect to be under even more restrictions as my pregnancy progresses.

Yesterday I did a very very boring job, a job I’ve been meaning to do for years…..I cleared out my hotmail account (I did warn you I hadn’t done anything particularly exciting this week!). I am now down from 35,000 emails to 8,000. Quite an achievement.

As well as my amazing email clean out, I had another achievement, I finished off the bunting I was making and am very pleased with the finished product. When I get a moment I will put a tutorial on the sewing section of my website. My next sewing projects include making some curtains (maybe a little ambitious!) and a patchwork cushion. So watch this space.



I had a lovely girly evening with two friends last week which involved my favourite things, chatting, pizza and chocolate. I really love evenings like that, I am officially getting old.

Notwithstanding (such a lawyer word!) what I have just said, I am on a bit of a health kick at the moment and am trying to increase the amount of fruit I eat. So I’m very into smoothies and fruit, granola, yoghurt and honey brekkies. I’m also enjoying the occasional cheeky de-caf latte! Yummy.

Catching up with some reading ahead of book club

Catching up with some reading ahead of book club

A pretty healthy brekkie

A pretty healthy brekkie



I’m trying to think back to what else I’ve been up to this last week. I started the week by tracking two friends online as they did the opposite to me, they got off their bottoms and ran a really really long way, uphill! They did the Comrades marathon. Amazing. If you’ve not heard of the Comrades marathon, its an 89km race, mainly uphill in South Africa. Oh and you have to do it in under 12 hours or you don’t even get a medal. Craziness. They both did amazingly and I enjoyed tracking them as I sat on my bottom, catching up on Britain’s Got Talent whilst drinking many, many cups of tea. Lets hope the uneventful weeks continue.

Incompetent me

All in all, last week was not a great week. It was pretty emotional for a number of reasons, not least because I started having random shooting pains around my cervix. It has got better in the last few days but after a mildly panicked call to my doctor I decided to bring forward my next scan so I didn’t have to endure a further week of stress. My doctor will be pleased to know I have already compiled a lengthy list of questions to ask him next week! I am hoping the pains are due to the fact that I have started to ‘pop’. I therefore now have a little tiny bump which is lovely.

Oh and my insomnia is back, yey (it was 1.45am when I originally drafted this post on my phone). Despite being shattered my brain has decided that bed time is the best time to think about absolutely everything and to obsess about everything that can go wrong with this pregnancy. Fun times. Thank God I can nap during the day. I am going to buy some Lavender for my new diffuser (an early birthday present) to see if that helps at all.

Well I’m now a few days into  week 16 and I’m determined to have a positive sunny outlook this week (hmmm we’ll se how long that lasts). I have quite a few things going on this week. And when I say quite a few things I mean about 4 things (wow life has changed!) but I only need one thing happening during the day to help make that day go faster. Then it’ll be Friday and I can tick another week off the calendar which is all that matters.

Thank God I had all those horrifically boring jobs (packing first aid kits, packing raw pork and other fun factory work) during university summers to ensure that I am well practised in day dreaming my day away.

A hubby made brekkie

A hubby made brekkie

To lighten up the end of this blog post, I should say I did have some great times this weekend. Ahead of celebrating our two year wedding anniversary on Monday I received some lovely flowers, had two tasty brekkies cooked for me, got all dressed up for a trip out to a restaurant on the beach with a stunning view and had a fabulous facial. So the weekend has certainly made up for the proceeding week and explains my positive sunny outlook right now.

A nice view at dinner

A nice view at dinner