Immune Boosting Power Foods


As we welcome winter, it comes accompanied by the uninvited guest, ‘ the nasty Influenza virus’. Children are more prone to its attack than adults. Preventive measure such as washings hands and avoiding contact with the virus is certainly a good idea, however the key to a healthy child is a healthy immune system.


Reem Abdallah, Dietician, Health Factory, offers my readers  tips to promote healthy eating at home which in turn promotes positive immune function. Reem advises parents to visit the local grocery store and choose a variety of ingredients that aids in keeping your child’s immune system running strong. Of these the main ingredients are:





Children’s Day with Petie Bateau @ NO COST!


Celebrate International Children’s Day on 20th November at any Petit Bateau store in the UAE, indulging in family-friendly activities including sand art, t-shirt painting and a chance to win prizes. All activities are free of cost!!

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Children are a source of warmth, love and joy to every household. Celebrating every child is meaningful. Do we need to have a special day set aside to celebrate children? Why not! It gives organisations and governments, the opportunity to talk about and prove protection and respect for children and enables communities to intervene and impact children’s welfare. It’s another day and another opportunity to create fond memories and to bring families closer.

In honor of celebrating children’s rights around the world, Petit Bateau stores hosts a day of fun and festivities for families to enjoy special moments with their little wonders. Be sure to visit one of the Petit Bateau store’s @ The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates or Yas Mall and enjoy with your little sparks!!

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Stop feeding your feelings

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Kung Fu Panda turns to food in response to a negative stimuli which is triggered by the fact that he is not living his dream. Bridget Jones comfort eats in response to emotions such as anger, despair and loneliness. How many of us stuff our faces in the hope of eating our angst away? sometimes unexpected things happens and life throws you a curve ball which comes attached with stress, grief and despondency. These are the moments when one often turns to food-usually the unhealthy, high-sugar bites as a coping mechanism. This phenomenon is widely termed as emotional eating. However, eating in response to emotions and not hunger can result in overeating, unwanted weight gain and even greater stress. 

Farah Chabib, clinical Dietician, Medi Weight loss, contributes for my readers some useful tips to avoid emotional eating.

1. Avoid “trigger foods”

These are the foods you crave when you’re upset. That doesn’t mean we can’t have these foods, but when they’re in the house, access is too easy and we tend to turn to them quickly before dealing with our emotions. If you reach for the potato chips bag every time you feel frustrated, it may be a good idea to leave them out of your house and thus out of your cart on your next trip to the grocery store.

2. Plan your counter-attack

Put a list of the foods that trigger emotions in you. For instance if you notice that when you’re at work you behave very well towards food, but once you’re back home the fiasco starts, then try to find a way to release the stress before coming back home. For instance, get into your comfortable shoes and walk back home if possible or hit the gym after the office!

3. Plan your meals and snacks

If you wait until you are starved, you’re more likely to reach for the wrong foods and to overeat. You may also find yourself nibbling all the way through meal preparation.

4. Make your refrigerator a healthy one

One of the easiest ways to ensure healthier eating is to leave you no choice but healthy food! Fill that refrigerator up with healthy nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt and milk.

5. Reward yourself when you eat in a healthy way

Rewarding yourself will increase the likelihood that you will maintain your new healthy habits.

6. Get more sleep

Ghrelin, a hormone that signals hunger, rises if you don’t rest enough; a less obvious cause of emotional eating is lack of sleep. At the same time, leptin, the hormone that signals fullness, decreases. This could lead to overeating. Plus, being tired could increase irritability and cravings for comfort food. Make sure you`re getting your 7-8 hours of sleep daily.


The Language of ‘Saving’ and No Wastage’

The World Food day was celebrated on the 16th of October.  On this account as i was approached to raise awareness on ‘Saving and to avert food wastage’ i was pleased to adopt this cause and spread the word. This post is dedicated to my husband who is a propagator of no wastage and a person who dreams to see in his lifetime fairer distribution of wealth around the world. Where we live in the UAE, we do not see the depressing sight of the homeless and the struggle of the hungry, as we see in other parts of the world. The fact however remains one in 9 people around the globe live daily facing the demon of devastating hunger and more than 5 million children under the age of 5 die every year as they suffer malnutrition.

UAE is a land known for the biggest, the best and the excess. Food waste is a growing problem in the UAE.  We love food, but for a nation of food lovers, the amount we waste each year is quite staggering, 350kg per person. It is the equivalent of each one of us throwing five bowls of rice in the bin, every day.  Each year AED 13 billion worth of food is wasted, the same as AED 1400 per person.

How can we revert these alarming statistics? While there is no single miracle formula, every drop saved counts and our home is a great place to start. I am learning this process and teaching my children a new language. I urge you to give thought to this and to teach your children the language of ‘Saving and No Wastage’.

Here is a list of some easy and useful tips to reduce food waste at home, provided by , the leading online-platform for home cleaners.  

1. Shop smart

Buy less food. Seems simple, but really, this is one of the most important things you can do. More often than not, some of the food we buy in the supermarket will spoil before it’s eaten and get thrown away. Buy a little less food each time you visit the supermarket, even if this means making more trips. 

2. Work with what you’ve got

Regularly check use-by dates and make meals using items that are reaching their expiry date. This will help reduce the amount of food you throw out. Get versatile with food and experiment with recipes to avoid chucking them to the bin.When you make a big meal, save any excess food. It can be your lunch for the following day, or simply a snack for when you get peckish. You can freeze most food in individual portions in freezer bags, too.

3. Store food properly

Proper storage of certain foods can drastically impact their longevity. Keep your fridge clean and hygienic and at the right temperature (ideally around 4 degrees Celsius) and your food will stay fresh for longer. Get into the habit of rotating your foods in the fridge each time you shop. 

4. Serve sensible portions

Avoid over-serving food when cooking for friends and family by serving smaller portions at first, then dishing out any more to those who are still hungry. You might also try serving food on smaller plates – the same amount of food on a smaller plate seems like more food, as it seems to be taking up more space on the plate.

5. Reuse, Recycle

Many items that you might just toss in the trash once you’ve used them still have life left in them. You can also use used tea leaves as manure for plants, old lemons to disinfect surfaces, or even clean the inside of your fridge.You could try composting. It’s nature’s way of recycling food waste. 

Teach you child a New language – The Language of ‘Saving’ and ‘No Wastage’



Let the giggles explode




Shake your sillies, play games, and indulge in funny movies with your kids.

A team of French scientists has discovered that using humor appears to help toddlers learn new tasks, reports a new study in the journal Cognition and Emotion. Building on the knowledge that making older children laugh can enhance many aspects of cognition, Rana Esseily and her colleagues designed an experiment to see whether using humor could also have an effect on the ability of infants to learn.

Each of the 18-month-olds selected to participate in the final part of the study observed an adult using a tool to grab an out-of-reach toy. In one group the adult simply played with the toy after retrieving it; but in the other group, the adult threw the toy immediately on the floor, which made half the children in that group laugh.

When Esseily and her colleagues studied their data, they found that the children who laughed at the antics of the adults were able to repeat the action themselves more successfully than those who didn’t laugh, as well as those who were included in the ‘humorless’ control group.

Parents such as myself, about to embark on the un-funny business of toilet training might want to keep laughing – no matter what!!


Tips for balanced snacking


I had the privileged to meet and interview, Barni Nutritionist Hala Barghout, at an event hosted by Barni early this year. Hala believes in committing to family meal times and making them enjoyable. As a parent one of the best gifts you can give your children is a strong nutritional start. With school season in full swing, every mothers biggest challenge is to put together a creative and healthy snack box amidst all the hustle and bustle prior to sending kids off to school. When kids are back from school, preparing a meal that they will actually eat is another mammoth task. As a mom of 3 boys( 2 in school), i keep my eyes open for any tips i can find to make meal times more enjoyable to prepare, and enjoyable for my picky-eaters to savor.


     Nutritionist Hala Barghout and i, at an event hosted by Barni Snacks, promoting healthy eating and balanced diet for kids.

Below are some child friendly pointers by Hala, for  ensuring a well-balanced diet for your child, thereby contributing to their overall growth.

  • Mix and match

Serve baby carrots, cucumber or other raw veggies with fat-free ranch dressing or hummus. Dip cracker sticks or fresh fruit pieces in labneh. Or, keep a portion of fruits in the mid meal snack daily with peanut butter to allure your child to eat fruits.

  • Broaden the menu

Offer out-of-the-usual fare, such as pineapples, cranberries, red or yellow peppers, or roasted peanuts, almonds or Mediterranean nuts that are freely available in the local supermarkets. Whole grain pretzels and tortillas provide energy and stamina for your little ones.

  • Revisit breakfast

Serve breakfast foods — such as scrambled eggs and a whole-grain toast — as alternative snacks for kids in the afternoon.

  • Sweeten it up

Healthy snacks for children don’t have to be bland or tasteless. To satisfy your child’s sweet tooth, offer fat-free pudding, pancakes or frozen yogurt. Make smoothies with skimmed milk, yogurt, and fresh fruits.

  • Creativity is key

Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of cheese slices, whole-grain bread similar to the attractive shape of their endeared Barni Bear.  Make fruit kebabs or show your child how to eat diced fruit with chopsticks or toothpicks. Make a tower out of whole-grain crackers, spell words with pretzel sticks, or make funny faces on a plate using different types of fruits.

Hala says, “Above all, remember that food diversity and moderation are the keys to sensible and well balanced diet. Smart nutritional choices during childhood can reinforce lifelong healthy eating habits and it helps kids grow up to their full potential. So it’s important to start young to reap good results in the future.” A HEALTHY OUTSIDE STARTS FROM THE INSIDE.


Hello School



My little boy had spent the 3 years learning from me and our family values. The moment had arrived where he starts his school adventure in unchartered territory. We walked through the gates of his school as he gripped my pinky finger so tight, it could break off and as he clung to me like a leech, I could almost feel my blood sucked out. I leaned down to my 3-year-old as I swept his hair across his angel face, building his self-confidence as i set him up for a good start. It was a feeling of Deja Vous. I have been in this spot not too long ago with my oldest and learned that this journey has allowed him to grow wings, yet the jitters chased me. Whether a veteran or a rookie this is a difficult  and mixed emotion as a parent to get to grips with. But this time around I felt I was readier than my first experience, hence I was able to mentally prepare my little one in advance and limit his and my potential for tears. The first day went smooth and drama-free and was an enjoyable one.

A few things I did at home to prepare my child were:

  • I discussed my happy memories of school and got my oldest to discuss his and the exciting part of making new friends
  • I discussed his anxieties and encouraged him with stories of how his older brother overcame his challenges.
  • I read story books and enjoyed putting together board puzzles with my boy
  • I used pretend play by making school time look fun and exciting. The both of us took turns in being teacher and student.
  • I involved my boy in the shopping process of picking his school essentials and planning his snack.
  • Established a bedtime routine in advance so he would wake up fresh and well rested to meet his crucial day

The one thing I did not do(I wish I did) was check on my boy’s medical and dental records to make sure they were up to date, so I would be rest assured that he did not have concerns that we will have to treat in the busy academic period. As I waved a goodbye and flung a desperate flying kiss, I knew I had released him to grow some roots and sprout some wings.

When did your little bundle start school? Was the first day rough? How did you cope and how did you prepare them? I’d love to hear your experience and any advice that could be shared.





Review: Flavors of Brazil at SPIRITO

Walk through the doors of Spirito and find yourself transported to South America. It is a cheerful space with flamboyant interiors, exotic drinks and intoxicating sounds of Brazil. This new restaurant is the latest in the series of South American culinary invasion to hit Dubai.

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Service was excellent from the moment we stepped through the door. The servers were in their element: charismatic and witty with a personality, to influence.

Caipirinha, margarita–They’ve got all kinds of Latino beverages to keep you ticking. For our appetizers, we opted for the Spirito Picanha Sliders and Coxinha, which are traditional Brazilian croquettes. Small plates clearly did not mean small and was ample for sharing. A bite into the sliders revealed the aromatic flavors of caramelized onions and well cooked juicy beef–everything you expect a top quality slider to taste like.  The smoked Coxinha was a tear drop shaped bomb of flavors. All together this hit the spot and I deemed them worth 5 stars.

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For my entrée, I opted for Lobo, which is a Balck Angus Steak served with Polenta fries. On arrival, it did create an impression with its innovative presentation, on a wooden board. While I still enjoyed it, it just really didn’t stack up to my expectation. My husband picked the Cordeiro for his entrée. This is a two bone rack of lamb slathered shamelessly with chimichurri. It sure possessed a distinctive flavor and is ‘Interesting’ as my husband would describe it.


Dessert saw us sharing the Brazilian chocolate bonbon cake. This layered pie is amazingly decadent! It has a thin crust biscuit layer topped with rich custard, layered with chocolate ganache and topped with whipped meringue. I almost tasted a slice of heaven. I was won over.

The overall scene: As seems fitting for a cosmopolitan city, with swag careers, fine dining has taken an about turn towards the more eclectic and trendy. This spot is a reflection of this cultural shift. Spirito has made its way into town with its vibrant vibes providing a welcome flavor of Brazil and its ethos. It is a spot not to be missed!

Grab the deal: 50% off your total bill during the month of August

Where: Media One hotel

Contact: +971 4 421 2679


Price: Coxinah  AED 55

Cordeiro -Two bone rack of lamb, chimichurri AED 120

Brazilian chocolate bon-bon cake AED 50






Review: HOOKED to Crab Tavern

If you attempt to score a table at Crab Tavern, you will find a contemporary approach to classic American Fun, Fare, and Favor. As its name suggests, Crab Tavern’s menu boasts a myriad of crustacean dishes. It  focuses on reinventing the classic American food and drinks with a delicious and creative twist. The ambiance is upscale ‘Casual Chic’ with an inviting rustic charm, which includes; warm leather sofas, wide plank wood flooring, and brick walls…personally I love this style.I am a sucker for character and warmth.

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Our server Justin, who was knowledgeable, fun and witty  made great recommendations, and his service was stellar.

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We started by ordering a Strawberry Colada and a Crab Jar for drinks. I have an obsession for mason jars and classic milk bottles!! My poised and composed demeanor gave way to reveal a visibly excited and awed disposition when I witnessed our server present our drinks in mason jars and milk bottles. Not only were the drinks oozing an enticing appeal but also tasted equally good and were a refreshing start to our meal ahead.


IMG_6541For our starter, my husband and I shared a Seafood Arancini. It was my second rendezvous with Arancini and I must add that this particular one lacked the flavor to seduce my pallet and warm my soul. However, the presentation was immaculate with a generous serving of fresh salad greens paired with quail eggs.





I associate mussels with my very first trip to the French Riviera, where my eyes and taste buds discovered the irresistible flavor of this juicy meat with glistening black shells. I was pleased to note Crab Tavern’s selection of Mussels from the entrée menu brought back delicious memories of the fresh juicy gems of the French Riviera. It was served in a silver tavern accompanied by crispy fries and crusty bread, to soak up the sensational creamy white sauce. It’s everything you want it to be!

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My husband chose the much-recommended Singapore crab for his entrée.This was served in spicy chili-tomato gravy, which hooked him from the very first bite. Its appearance was tantalizing, served with crab cracking and scooping tools. My OCD husband overlooked the mess as he enjoyed the succulent flesh in a luscious spiced sauce. This dish lives up to its reputation and is a must try.


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For dessert, we opted to share a Pecan and Maple tart served with Bourbon ice cream. What I loved most about this pie is that It’s not cloyingly sweet and I did not have to battle cutting into the crust as it was just the perfect texture.

As the evening progressed the scene here was an upbeat frenzy. The servers were pacing about buzzing with life, clearly enjoying their trade.This kept us waiting a while after our dessert course, to grab the attention of a server (which was the only low point of our evening).




Crab Tavern is completely unique to the city of Dubai. This space has rightfully earned a bounty of buzz. Scoring a table on a weekend can be tricky, so I recommend making a reservation to ensure you can eat your way through their praise-worthy culinary goodness. The rustic décor, fashion-forward company, uplifting tunes and welcoming vibes make this a space worth trying! It’s stylish, urban, fun, impressive and oh! its just larger than life… it’s American for crying out loud!!


Where: Media One hotel

Contact: +971 4 420 7489



Price: The Crab Tavern Arancini / Scotch Egg AED 65

Singapore Crab – AED 85

Pecan & Maple Tart- AED 35

Strawberry Colada – AED 35







Cooking up Memories

It’s always worth it to create memories alongside teaching a new skill to your kids. This summer has been the most amazing bonding experience for me. I have discovered cooking and baking with kids is wonderfully rewarding. OK, it can be a grimy affair and a date with boisterous…but the joy of watching your kids take pride in what they made and to see them have fun while loving the art of whipping, mixing and decorating is a warm fuzzy mommy feeling. So let’s don on the aprons and cook up some memories.

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