Where have I been?!

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Some of you may have noticed that my little blog has been REALLY quiet the past couple (probably more like few!) months. It’s been such a crazy few months since Oscar started school and I have been really struggling to keep on top of all the things I love doing and also the necessary day to day jobs like housework.

Not long after Oscar started KG I also started my home business, Kids Craft Kuwait which has been even bigger success than I ever thought and its been so much fun making lots of new products for it and hearing and seeing some great play activities happening from lots of people here in Kuwait – we even had two orders go international just before Christmas as gifts for family members! We also managed to take part in 3 Christmas/Winter Bazaars which were amazing to see lots of people who have been following our journey on Instagram since the beginning and meet them in person. Its been lots of fun so far but also, obviously its kept me incredibly busy and meant lots of very late nights and early mornings finishing orders. Unfortunately, Expat Family Q8 ended up suffering and I haven’t had the chance or the energy to update much at all. But this past long weekend I have been reading some of my favourite blogs and also found a few new ones and I realised how much I miss writing my blog! Even my Instagram has gone from posting 3 or 4 pictures a day to maybe one or 2 photos a week?! I have decided today that I am back on this!! I enjoy my blog far too much to just let it not exist anymore! I will make time during the day (or night!) to blog about our lives in Kuwait.

So, here I am….back again! 🙂

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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So, we have been a bit absent AGAIN! The past few weeks have been crazy. There has been a bit of a play dough factory going on in our apartment with Kids Craft Kuwait orders plus we took part in the The English School (TES) Winter Wonderland bazaar a couple of weekends ago. We have also been dealing with two bouts of chicken pox! Oscar first caught it a couple of weeks ago from school. Luckily he had it very mild and didn’t suffer much at all. The only thing was, he had to stay off school for 10 days until they cleared. And as he didn’t feel sick in himself, those 10 days were hard for us both! He was bored and I forgot how hard it was having both of them at home all day! It was lovely having the extra time with him but also at the same time his behaviour was rather off from being bored, i’m guessing so it was tiring! He went back into school last week and then Millie came up with spots! Sadly, she has had a bad case of it with lots of vomiting, upset tummy and lots and lots of spots! She barely slept for 4 days and was off her food and milk for 5 days! She seems to be on the mend now and is much more herself but i’ll be glad to see the back of this chicken pox!!

Oscar and my husband had a long weekend from school this weekend but with Millie having the chicken pox and feeling poorly we didn’t get up to much. We headed to the US Embassy Yard Sale and picked up a few books and toys for the kids and we also bought a car! It was a really good deal (I hope!) and i’m hoping once I get confident with Kuwait roads and with driving itself, then it will give me a bit more freedom and means I don’t have to rely on my husband or taxis to get me to places! I probably won’t be driving until the new year as i’ve got to get my licence sorted but i’ll probably need that time to pluck up the courage and confidence to drive here! I’m hoping by in the new year it means the school runs are easier, and I can get out to parks or to the Hilton with Millie in the mornings whilst Oscar is in school and we can go for playdates in the afternoons when Oscar finishes school. Watch this space…eek!

During the long weekend we headed out to Lulu in Qurain to do our weekly food shop and to my excitement (sad I know!) most of the Christmas food goodies are in! They have all the delicious UK chocolates like Thorntons, tins of Roses, Quality Street, Miniature Heroes etc, selection boxes, advent calendars, tubes of kids chocolates, candy canes and lots of yummy biscuits! Some of the prices aren’t too bad but some of course are complete robbery compared to what you would pay in the UK! But, needs must for some things! They also had Coles Christmas Puddings and Chocolate Puddings near the bakery section but for 4-6KD per pudding, I think i’ll be giving that one a miss! Upstairs they also have all their usual decorations, wrapping paper and lights….but also this year this have CRACKERS!! Crackers that are actually a decent price compared to some shops in Kuwait! I remember last year one shop selling crackers for 25KD?! Who would pay that, seriously?! Anyway, the ones in Lulu were around 4KD a box, some a little higher. They also had single pet crackers for those dog and cat lovers out there! We bought some Christmas goodies but not as much as we normally do as we won’t be in Kuwait on Christmas but we want the goodies for the lead up to Christmas and of course over New Year.

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A bit absent!

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Good evening all! I’m sorry there hasn’t been a post of a couple of weeks over here. Things have been a little bit busy! If you follow us on Instagram then you may have noticed that I have recently started a little home business making homemade play dough, slime and other children’s craft and sensory play materials. It’s something I have been thinking about doing for a while now and I have finally pushed myself to do it. Not only is it something I love making and feel very passionate about, I also really think there is a market for it in Kuwait. So, if you would like, please follow Kids Craft Kuwait on Instagram to see our latest makes and we also have a website!

http://www.kidscraftkuwait.com

We also have all battled a cold over the past couple of weeks, thankfully all well now apart from a cough that Millie has that seems to be lingering. I also recently started doing some tuition of an evening. It’s really nice to be able to plan activities and be a ‘teacher’ again but also still have the days at home with Oscar and Millie.

And not forgetting, we had my parents visiting us last week. We had such a great week and Oscar and Millie loved all the extra attention and having fun with Nanny and Pops. I also loved having my mum here to help me out with some household chores too! We had some great days out;

Johnny Rockets 

Anytime mine or my husband’s  parents come to Kuwait and visit, we have a tradition of going for breakfast somewhere on Marina Cresent the morning after they have arrived. This time we visited Johnny Rockets and enjoyed a delicious but HUGE breakfast! We then headed into Marina Mall for a bit before relaxing at home for the rest of the day.

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The Hilton

You may have read on a previous post that we decided to get a Hilton membership this year. We had a Holiday Inn membership before the kids were born but decided this year to go all out and get a membership for somewhere ‘nice’. We decided on the Hilton due to the fact all the different children’s activities that are available and the huge (and beautiful!) beach. Its further away for us than the other hotels that provide beach club memberships but its the one we really liked. Our idea is to spend our weekends at the Hilton and maybe the odd afternoon after school. As the weather has been really hot lately, when we have visited the Hilton so far we have only stayed for a couple of hours in the mornings, when the temperature is at its coolest. But when my parents visited they got a couple of visitor passes for the day so we could spend the day at the pool and beach. It was a great day. The kids loved having Nanny and Pops in the pool with them and me and my husband loved having some time to relax in the pool or on the sun loungers for a bit without having to run around after the kids. We ended up staying there all day until about 4pm, it was really hot by the afternoon but we also wanted my mum and dad to get their money’s worth out of their day passes.

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Kidzania

Kidzania opened about 18 months ago but we’ve only actually been there twice. Mainly because Oscar has been too young until recently, and its a bit more expensive than other activities we can do. But after visiting this time during my parents visit, I feel like it was completely worth the money! When we visited Kidzania in May for Oscar’s 3rd birthday and although it was a great day, there was only a few activities or ‘jobs’ that Oscar was able to take part in as he was under 4. However when we visited last week they have now opened a lot more ‘jobs’ to children under 4, such as Pizza Express, Asnan Tower Dentist, the Sultan Center (as a shopper), Aquafina and lots more! I was really pleased that Oscar would be able to do loads more whilst we were there. He obviously needed a little bit more help with some activities than some of the older children but the staff were amazing – so caring and friendly. And lots of them took a shine to Oscar! I have to say my eyes filled up quite a few times watching Oscar be so independent but also seeing how happy and excited he was. Millie loved visiting Urbano’s House where they have a kitchen with play food, a living room with puppets and soft toys, a water bed and a bath with lots of balls in! If you haven’t visited Kidzania already, definitely give it a go! Its so impressive and the kids have a great time! Make your trip early in the morning though as by late afternoon the place is crazy busy and the queues for the different ‘jobs’ can take a while. It was definitely my favourite day of our Eid holidays, and i’m sure we will go again, maybe over the Christmas holidays.

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Funcity at The Gate Mall

The Gate Mall has been on my ‘to visit’ list since it opened but with it being in Egaila, and not that close to our apartment we have only just got round to visiting it this week. The mall itself is quiet impressive – it looks lovely and is really light and clean. The parking situation (which you may have read on a few other blogs) is a nightmare! Its like they built this massive 5-floor mall and forgot about the parking! The parking as far as I am aware is just some outdoor empty space that is shared with about 6 other ‘malls’ or shopping centres nearby! It wasn’t really much of a problem when we first got there (other than thinking how hot the car is going to be when we leave!) but by the time we were leaving mid-afternoon it was crazy! There were cars parked here, there and everywhere and of course blocking a load of cars in!

We looked around a few of the shops, but not many of them were shops I would normally shop in and a lot of them I hadn’t heard of! I was excited about the Holland & Barratt that I spotted near the food court, but it was a huge disappointment. I was hoping for lots of health style foods like what is sold in the UK but actually all it was was a few protein style shakes and tablets/vitamins (I think?!). And the shop itself was so depressing!! About 3 of each product on the shelf, lots of empty shelves elsewhere and no signs, posters or advertisements!

Near the food court in The Gate Mall they have children’s play place called Funcity. There are lots of arcade style games (similar to Future Kid or Magic Planet) and then right at the back there is a soft play area. I will be doing a separate post about the play area itself shortly.

The Gate Mall is not somewhere I would make the trip to visit again for the shops but I would probably go back to Funcity for a different soft play place to visit occasionally. Maybe if I lived nearer to it I would visit more often, but for now i’ll stick to the Avenues or Marina Mall I think!

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The Aquarium at The Scientific Center

As Thursday rolled around we visited an old favourite – the aquarium! Oscar wanted to go and see some animals and as its still a little too warm for the zoo, we decided to go to the Aquarium instead. Of course Oscar had a great time seeing all the animals and we took a little trip to the gift shop and bought him an Ant Farm (much to my disgust – eek!) and we had to get Millie a little something so Oscar chose a small monkey teddy for her. We also headed to one of our favourite parks; Rawda Park but after feeling the slides it was just still too hot for a park at the moment. Maybe in a couple of weeks! Instead, we kicked a ball around on the grass and got an ice cream from McDonalds.

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PLAY at Discovery Mall

Again, another favourite of ours! We have posted about Play in more detail before and you can read it here. Play is definitely one of my favourite indoor places for kids in Kuwait and if you go of a morning you can often have the place practically to yourself! The price of 5KD too isn’t too bad considering you can have some lunch at the food court and then pop back in again. We are really excited to here that there are two new Play branches opening soon; one at Boulevard in Salmiya and one at The Promendade in Hawally – so close to where we live!

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We had a great week with my parents, but as always it flew by too quickly! Now it will be 10 weeks until we see them at Christmas. I’m sure it will go by quickly though, as all the other weeks seem to be doing so lately!

What did you get up to during the Eid holidays?

The Little Things : Week Two

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I’m a little late posting our ‘The Little Things’ post but better late than never! This week has been a bit crazy again – I am still trying to get Millie into a routine with being up early in the mornings and leaving the apartment to pick Oscar up from school, at a time that she getting ready to nap. She is usually ridiculously overtired by the time we are home from the school pick-up mixed in with Oscar who obviously wants my attention after not seeing me all morning. The days are a bit crazy still with the addition of school prep each evening – clothes, packing the school bag and lunchbox. It’s a shame that the Eid/Half Term holiday is falling in a couple of weeks, as it will probably take us until then to get sorted! But other than that, Oscar is loving school (even if he doesn’t tell me much about his day!) which is making me feel much better about him being there, and although Millie is enjoying having me to herself all morning, she is missing Oscar massively and is always in his room looking for him! Our weekend was a busy day on Friday buying Millie’s birthday presents at the Avenues and quite a lazy Saturday; food shopping and lots of quality family time at home.

So onto our second week of posting ‘The Little Things’ that have made up our week. Don’t forgot to check out the other great bloggers who link up each week on But Why Mummy Why?

Read:

I have to admit I am not a big book reader. I buy lots of books but I never actually get round to reading them. I just don’t have the time to sit down with a book, and the odd time I do have free time I would much rather read the latest posts on my favourite blogs, read the news on Daily Mail or more often than not pinning on Pinterest

I have been keeping up with my favourite blogs this week though and a couple of posts I am loving at the moment are;

Leandra from Larabee‘s post on her Ocean Small World Sensory Play that she made for her son, T. I just love sensory play anyway but this ocean tray looks so inviting and fun!

I have also been spending lots of time on one of my favourite kids food blogs; Super Glue Mom. I have noted down a few recipes that I want to make for Oscar’s lunchbox and a few for Millie to try too. But I also really want to make this homemade real strawberry milk for me!

Watched:

Again this week we have been watching True Blood once Oscar and Millie have gone to bed (we also managed to sneak in an episode during their nap this weekend!). We have just got onto the third series and I have to say I am enjoying more than I was this time last week. A few bits are a bit out there but otherwise I am enjoying it.

Of course I have also been watching X Factor (a day later than everyone in the UK)! I loved Lola Sauders and Jake Quickenden’s auditions and looking forward to seeing their arena performances!

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Wore:

I won’t be posting anything that I wear in this section as I am always the one behind the camera. Plus Oscar and Millie’s clothes are FAR nicer than mine anyway!

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This is Oscar just before we headed to the Avenues on Friday. The picture is a bit blurry but I love his cheesy grin on it! His blue shirt is from Tesco (a summer bargain!) and his white shorts are from Mothercare. I do love a pair of white shorts to wear in the summer months (or most of the year here in Kuwait!).

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My little Mills is wearing an off white dress from Zara and a floral headband from Next. I picked both of these up over the summer, back in the UK.

Heard:

Does anybody remember a band called Next of Kin? They had some fame in the UK when they were a lot younger but they also auditioned for last years X Factor. They only made it through to the live arena stages but they have been releasing a few videos on You Tube since then and are trying to make it big again. I love these guys voices and hope they get a break soon!

Their single that they also wrote ‘Cant find Me’ is definitely a favourite of mine. But I also really like their cover’s of Stay with Me and Not a Bad Thing. They are definitely worth a listen!

Made:

Our crafty days are quite quiet at the moment whilst I try and get us into some kind of routine but hoping this week or next we will be sorted!

I have made a few snacks for the kids this week though. Our delicious Pretzel Bites were initially made for Oscar to take to school in his lunchbox but Millie was a big fan of them too and enjoyed eating them with a homemade berry yoghurt dip. During one of Millie’s naps one morning I also made some Banana and Raisin Muffins for her to snack on.  I had been looking for simple snacks that could be made quite quickly during nap time and that were snacks that could be eaten on the go for times when we are out. I have found quite a few recipes and will be posting them over the next few weeks.

I also made Millie some Refrigerator Oatmeal with Mashed Banana and Chia Seeds. It was so quick to prepare one evening after the kids had gone to bed and also makes the mornings easier on us!

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My hubby also made this delicious Corned Beef Hash last night for us all. I haven’t had Corned Beef Hash in years and oh my goodness this one was divine! He did his own recipe and it had loads of flavour and was so cheesy! Yum!

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And lastly…

This week seems like it will be another busy one. I have a curriculum meeting at Oscar’s school tomorrow afternoon which could be fun as Millie is usually cranky around this time, as she is ready for a nap! Also on Thursday it is our beautiful baby girls 1st birthday!! We bought her presents over the weekend and they are ready to be wrapped. I am unsure of what we are going to do on the day as Oscar will be in school in the morning and my husband will be working. Maybe a little tea party? or a family meal out? Looking forward to filling everyone in next week!

 

 

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The Little Things : Week One

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Over the summer whilst reading my favourite mummy blog; A Little Londoner I noticed each Friday she does a post called ‘The Little Things’, which is a link hosted by Morgana at But why mummy why?, another fantastic mummy blog! The Little Things link up is where a lot of bloggers write a feature post of the little things that have made up their week. They write about what they have watched, wore, read, made etc and I just love it! This is my first week joining in and I will usually be posting our post on ‘The Little Things’ of our week each Friday, so keep an eye out for the weekly post! Also, don’t forget to check out the other fantastic bloggers who link up each Friday! 🙂

Read:

This week I have been trying to catch up with all my favourite blogs after struggling to keep up over the summer. 

I loved 3Princesses1Dude post on her daughter Elsie’s Autumn/Winter wardrobe. Elsie is just a bit younger than Millie and Becky is HUGE Next fan like myself so I just loved seeing all the pretty clothes she has laid out for Elsie when the weather gets a bit colder in the UK. It’s made me want to go shopping though!

I also really enjoyed reading Jen from Mama Papa Bubba’s post on Gracen’s 4th Birthday at Play. We were lucky enough to celebrate with Gracen so it was lovely reading all about Miss G’s birthday and of course seeing some photos from the day itself!

Over the summer I also picked up a few books for Oscar and Millie. We had to leave a few behind in the UK still as we bought SO much stuff but this week we have been reading lots of new, but old favourites before bed.

Watched:

It was a big week for us this week as we ‘watched’ Oscar start school! He has started KG at the same school his daddy teaches at. I have been an emotional wreck the few days before it but doing much better this week after seeing how much he is enjoying himself.

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As for TV, we have looking for a new series to watch whilst we wait for the new series of Homeland and The Walking Dead to start next month. This week we jumped onto the True Blood bandwagon. We have just started the second series this weekend, and although it doesn’t grip me like Homeland does, its nice easy watching after the kids have gone to bed. I also caught up with the first weekend of the new X Factor series, which I am loving so far, but I am missing Gary Barlow being on the judging panel!

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Wore:

This week we joined the Hilton so we can use the swimming pool and relax of a weekend. Although its still really hot in Kuwait at the moment we spent our first weekend there last weekend so we wore our swim suits! 

Millie’s pink and white flamingo swimming costume is from Debenhams and was a bargain at 1.500KD (about £3!) and her white summer hat (that she won’t wear of course!) is from Boots.

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Oscar’s bright orange swimming shorts (making him look like a lifeguard!) are from Next.

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Heard:

I am not usually one for keeping up with new songs that are out in the charts but over the summer there were so many great songs I heard on the radio that I said that I am going to start listening to a UK radio station whilst in Kuwait, if it will work over the internet! A few of my favourites from over the summer were:

John Legend – All of Me

Magic – Rude

George Ezra – Budapest

Sam Smith – Stay with Me

Made:

This week has been a bit manic with starting school and running out to buy last minute bits. We had a PF Changs on the eve of Oscar’s first day of school and we treated him to a McDonalds on the evening of his first day of school. Meals this week have been simple whilst trying to adjust to a new routine. We did have a Lebanese takeaway on Thursday night and my husband made pizzas on Friday night for us and a couple of our friends.

I got my bake on making Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies for Oscar to take to school….I may of eaten quite a few too many myself. The easy and delicious recipe was from Momables – one of my favourite kids food and lunchbox recipe sites!

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And lastly…

With Oscar’s first full week of school underway I am looking forward to getting us all in a routine (finally!) after a long summer of late nights and busy days. We will be getting crafty again, making lots of things in the kitchen and trying to eat well. I am excited to have quality time in the mornings with Millie and the same with Oscar in the afternoons when Millie naps. The blog is back up and running after a bit of break over the summer. 

 

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Oscar’s First Day of School

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Today has been a BIG day in our house. Today was Oscar’s first day of school. He has started KG (Kindergarten) at the school his daddy works at.

Up until yesterday I had been feeling completely fine about Oscar starting school. I know he is ready for it and wants other children his own age to play with. I also know that he is going to love all the different things he will be doing throughout each day and week. But yesterday after putting him down for his afternoon nap I suddenly felt SO sad. Like, ridiculously sobbing my heart out sad. I looked at a few of Millie’s things like her chair and activity play bouncer in the living room and all I could picture was Oscar being in them when he was her age. It dawned on me how quickly that time has just zoomed past and from now on he was going to need and want me less and less. That makes me sad.

I pulled myself together in the end and snapped out of it. Oscar being at school (only until just after noon!) means I get quality time with Millie in the mornings and it means lots of fun in the afternoon with Oscar when Millie naps. Now both of them get a less stressed and less busy version of me for a bit of each day! Good quality time. Thats a good thing, a positive thing.

Oscar was fantastic today on his first day. No tears, no sadness. He actually wasn’t fazed by leaving me! Whether thats a good thing or a bad thing I don’t know but I sure felt a lot better today knowing he wasn’t upset or sad when I left him. I could’t relax once me and Millie got home and kept clock watching waiting to pick him and see how his day had been and what he had been up to. Apparently Oscar said he played with toys and made some friends. That’s all I got out of him after much pushing and questioning! But he was happy, he enjoyed himself and is excited to go again tomorrow. That’s all I can wish for.

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The rest of our UK Summer

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We arrived back in Kuwait 5 days ago after a fantastic summer. My plan was to update the blog weekly with what we had been up to that week but with limited internet and being out and about every day I just didn’t get chance. But now we are back I plan to get back to my regular blogging, I sure have missed it!

After our week away in Wales we had lots of fun filled days out in both Manchester and Liverpool before we headed back to Kuwait.

We spent a rainy day visiting Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and looked at lots of old types of transport, which Oscar loved but also wanted to sit inside them! We also took our pictures (me with Millie and my husband with Oscar) and they show up on a big screen for the day.

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We visited the amazing Maize Maze in Altrincham. The day was scorching hot and sunny – perfect for finding our way around the maze! It was such a good day and we spent hours there! There was the maze (obviously!), sandpits, tractor rides, wooden building blocks and numerous play areas/playgrounds. It cost us just over £20 for 3 adults and 2 children. Such good value for money considering the amount of activities that are included in the price. The cafe on site was busy but the food was delicious! Our Maize Maze day out was by far my favourite day out of our entire holiday! Well worth a visit!

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We also took a trip to Heaton Park which is fairly close my in-laws house. We read that there was going to be a fair and ‘beach’ at the park for the summer holidays and we got lucky with the weather again when we visited – so sunny and warm! The beach was fantastic – a pop-up beach in the middle of a huge green park! It was free and had plenty of deck chairs for parents to sit on as well as a big sand pit for the kids in play in. The fair was quite small but a decent size for a pop-up fair in a park but it was incredibly overpriced. It was one of those fairs where you purchase tokens to go on the rides. Each token cost £1 and some rides cost up to 4 tokens each! Oscar went on a couple of rides but thankfully was happy enough playing in the sand.

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 We enjoyed many sunny days in the gardens of both our parents houses; playing in the paddling pool, jumping on the trampoline and having fun on the slide and swing!

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We met up with an old friend from Kuwait who now lives in Indonesia. Oscar thought our friend, Karen was so much fun and she kept him entertained for hours!

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We met up with one of my friend’s that I went to high school, college and university with and her gorgeous brand new baby boy, Finley.

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We visited the super busy but still lots of fun, Eureka in Halifax. Oscar loved playing in the bank, post office, house and of course the Marks and Spencer. Millie loved playing in the baby sensory play area with another little baby. Eureka is a bit like Kidzania in Kuwait however a bit more science-y and museum like in some bits.

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We spent lots of time with Oscar’s cousin Issac and his Uncle Joe’s girlfriend’s son, Declan. Oscar loved having a couple of little boys to play with and run and be a typical boy with!

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We took a trip to Chill Factore in Manchester. It is an indoor ski/snow place where they have ski slopes and a snow park for young children. Its very much like Ski Dubai. We stayed in the Snow Park area with the kids which we had all to ourselves! Yay! The kids absolutely loved it! Neither of them had ever experienced snow before with living in the Middle East. Oscar was running around throwing snow balls and playing in the wendy house. Millie loved feeling the snow and of course had to crawl around in it a little too!

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Another of my favourite days of our summer holiday was our trip to the Trafford Centre to watch the In the Night Garden show! I had booked the tickets months earlier when they first came on sale and I was hoping Oscar would still like the characters and the show itself (you know how children have a different favourite each week!) but thankfully he did! The show itself was really well organised, the Showdome was clean and there were plenty of staff around to help and we managed to grab 2nd row seats so had a fantastic view for the show! We had pre booked a goody bag for Oscar too which was £24 (I think!) and it was really good value for money and had lots of exciting toys, dvds and books inside it. It was magical watching Oscar and Millie’s faces whilst watching the show – they adored it and were so happy! I would definitely go and watch another show next year!

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As Millie turns 1 in a couple of weeks and we will be in Kuwait for it, my husbands parents had a little party for her birthday with a few close relatives. We got to sing Happy Birthday to her and she had her first taste of both birthday cake and chocolate cake! And of course, she loved it!

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To end the post, a picture of my two sleepy babies at Dubai airport waiting for our flight to Kuwait. They were both amazing on the flights – Millie practically slept the entire time and Oscar had a couple of hours sleep but was content just watching the TV.

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Heres to another year in Kuwait….