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Dubai

Time to talk about the bubble that is Dubai. A place that is flashy & fast-paced. A place of glamour, wealth and opportunities. It is a place where many people put more importance on what you earn than what kind of person you are. A place where women walk ahead of their nannies with their hands hanging whilst the nanny carries their kids and their shopping. It is a place that makes you feel as if you are on a different planet. A place where the richest and the poorest of people live. A place where the buildings are made of gold. A place where you spend a painful amount of money each week on your grocery shopping. A place where setting up your basic household bills requires selling a kidney. A place where you can get a carton of milk hand-delivered to your door but where it is almost impossible to get your huge rental deposit back. A place where the people that take care of your children and look after your home won’t ever call you by your first name. It is a place that made me feel terribly uncomfortable. It is a place that gave us incredible memories. It is a place that introduced us to life-long friends. It is a place that made us stronger. It is a place that made me weaker. It is a place that made us more aware of what we wanted for ourselves. A place that made us appreciate what we had at home. A place that made us angry. It is the place where Emie-Rose became a little girl. It is a place where we laughed and we cried. It is a place where we sweated profusely. It is a place that is hot as f**k. It is a place that has non-stop sunshine. It is a place where Emie-Rose needed to use inhalers. It is a place where people skip queues a lot. It is a place where you do not have to fill your own petrol. It is a place where you can believe anything is possible. It is a place of beauty. It is the place where Emie-Rose learned how to swim. It is a place where we opened our minds. It is a place where I felt like I never belonged. It is just that… a place. We are home now. Will we stay at home? Who knows… but for now, we are home & we are happy. We are all over the place but we are home. We have lots to do to get ourselves set up again. For once, I’m not stressed that everything isn’t perfect. It is far from perfect but it works for us right now. Somehow.

Nessa Hurley DubaiFamily CoffeeEmie Rose Tribe DubaiNessa & EmieRoseBaby Girl CoffeeBoston Lane DubaiBaby GirlBoston Lane CoffeeWater BabyTribe DubaiGirl OutdoorsGirly Coffee DateBack from Dubai

Do I have regrets? Yes & No. We both needed to do it. We needed to try something different. It has complicated things but it was a great adventure. We decided that there was no point in staying any longer than we did. It was not making us happy. It felt good to come home.

Do what you have to do for you. Do what makes you happy. If you have to go, just go. If you have to come home, then come home. Wherever “home” is for you…

We all have a place that feels like home,

Nessa xoxo

If you are in Ireland, please please please check the register and have your say on 25th May….

Images by Augustine – Come in Waves

Places | Tribe DubaiBoston Lane

Lifestyle Mamahood

Two

EmieRose 2nd Birthday

From the day that you were born, life changed. I changed. I discovered that sometimes our lives need to be completely shaken-up and changed for us to find out where we are truly meant to be. Life is about change. Sometimes it is scary, sometimes it is beautiful, but most of the time it is both.

I don’t remember you being born as I was unconscious. After waking up from my general anaesthetic, you were placed in my arms and I cried and shouted hysterically that you were not my baby. Once the effects of the drugs wore off, I was terrified. The most scared I had felt in my life until that point I think. Two days after you came into my world, on Christmas Eve, you almost left my world. I will never ever forget that day. That was a whole new level of fear. It also opened up my eyes to just how incredibly precious you are. Leaving the hospital with you for the first time was not what I imagined it to be. I refused to have any photos taken of us together and your Dada had to carry you and all of our bags. I just shuffled along and cried. I wanted to get out of that hospital so bad because hospitals are the scariest place for me to be but I was also so scared leaving the safe haven of that maternity ward where they could fix you if anything bad was to happen you again. The outfits I had meticulously planned for us to wear going home were vastly different from the ones we both actually wore. I certainly didn’t expect to be wearing an adult nappy or flip flops in December and you were smaller than anticipated so all the things we had for you were too big. Once I got home to my own bed with you, things started to feel better and for the first time I was able to enjoy being your Mama but I was just so worried about you all the time. I would not leave you out of my sight. I started to learn what other women were talking about when they said you feel a crazy kind of love for your children. I felt crazy and I was in love.

ER TwoEmie Rose Turns Two2nd Birthday GirlER 2

Spontiphoria Birthday Cake2nd Birthday CelebrationsER Birthday GirlBirthday Celebrations

People say that motherhood is hard. People also tell you that motherhood is one of the best things that you can experience. It is the most intensely terrifyingly beautiful thing that has happened in my life. I literally cannot do anything without thinking about you, worrying about you, wondering about you. I love you more than you will ever know. The same way I now understand that my mother loves me. In fact, I love you so much that I cannot sleep. I haven’t slept soundly since the day that you were born. It is not because you are awake at night. You love to nap and you love to sleep all night. I just cannot sleep soundly because my mind never stops thinking about you, worrying about you, wondering about you. Some days I am so tired and so worn out that people ask me if I was out partying the night before. I dream about running away to sleep for days… but if I ever get the chance to go away and ‘catch up on sleep’ – I just want to be right back with you… listening to your big belly laugh and feeling your soft baby skin. When you were a younger baby I didn’t feel this way quite so strongly but it gets more intense the older you get and the longer I have spent with you. Yes, I am tired all the time and spending my days with you makes me even more tired because you have so much energy and we spend a lot of time running after you and alongside of you. You hate to sit still and you absolutely love to run. You almost ran before you walked. You love for us to ‘have a cosy’ together. Your little warm body pressed against me with your little hand wrapped up in mine. You spent the first year of your life in Ireland and the second year of your life in Dubai. You have experienced so much in your short life so far and I hope that we have so many more years together.

If I had to choose one person to be with forever, it would be you. You are my little pal… my sidekick. We go most places together. You are hilarious. You have the strongest character. Everyone tells me that you are wild. Some say it as if it’s a bad thing. You are wild – wild and free. People often think that you are older than you are and you get treated a bit unfairly because you look older than you are. My baby girl. Just two years old. You are the boss of our home. You are just incredible. You are the one that has made me softer, kinder and more loving towards everyone. I am not the same person that gave birth to you. I am a better person because of you. I hope that you always know that you have made so many people happy by just being in their presence. You make strangers smile. I would love you to grow up to be kind yet strong, with a heart full of love but a mind of your own.

Roses

2nd Birthday PartyER Details2nd Birthday

Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for being mine and for making me this person that I am today as I write this for you.

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet little rose,

Mama

xxx

Images by Sarah Sargent

Tutu by Fable Heart

Cake by Spontiphoria

Mamahood Places

Home for the Holidays

Dreaming Always Home

“and then she knew… that you could become homesick for people too…”

Emie-Rose & I are home from the desert for a few weeks and this cool fresh air sure feels good. If you happen to follow our Instagram Stories you might have noticed that I sweat a great deal and I don’t cope very well in hot climates… and I chose to live in the desert. You cannot deny that I love a good challenge, eh?

Reconnecting with family and friends has been incredible. It is like we never left. We haven’t been away that long but it has been so nice to catch up with people who I have really missed. There are certain relationships that will never be affected by time and distance. It has been so lovely to be back with Leona and to see our kids actually playing with each other now. The difference a few months makes is just insane. Emie-Rose has actually fallen in love with Archie. It melts my heart to see them all together.

Little FriendsAlways TogetherDreaming Always MabelMama and BabaArchie DreamingDA Emie-RoseMabel and Leona ER & Nessa

Now that I have stopped sweating and obsessing over the chronic heat, I have been able to take a moment to think about life in the Middle East. Everybody I have met since returning home has asked me if I am loving life in Dubai and if I have settled in. At least once a week since I moved I also get an email or a message from someone who is considering a move to Dubai. As you may have noticed by now I am very honest and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am also very realistic and I would never sell something to anyone that I didn’t have 100% belief in myself so I have been honest with people along the way.

Do I love life in Dubai?

I do not love living there yet and yes, I have experienced several moments of “what the f**k are we doing here?!” but as I said before it is not forever. We are on an adventure which has provided us with some of the most absurd moments of our lives to date but my family and I are on this crazy adventure together and we are creating some of the most amazing memories.

I was pretty miserable (and a major pain in my husband’s ass!) before I came home two weeks ago. It was just way too hot to entertain a toddler. I never thought I would miss the wet grey country I could not wait to leave behind so much. When you live away from home you actually miss the most simple of things most. As a mama to a very busy and very determined toddler I really miss the safety net of family to help me out. I miss being able to call on my mother or father or brother or sister to get me out of a sticky situation. I miss the familiarity. I promise you that living in Dubai is not all glamour, Friday brunches and huge savings. Saying that, I am sure if it was my pre-baby days I would happily spend all of my free time doing all of the glamorous things that Dubai has to offer. I would be much more carefree and much less anxious about every little thing. Since coming home to Ireland I have noticed something… I am still anxious and worry about every little thing. I don’t need to be living away from home to be stressed. This revelation has been a eye-opener for me. My plan now is to go back after a very memorable summer in Ireland with a much more open mind and a lot less heavy heart.

Dreaming Always NHOur Little GangDreaming Always VansLittle BabesOur little onesOur GangThe Girls in Cork CityStyle DetailsDreaming Always PlacesOur Mabel B

We get asked a lot about the future of Dreaming Always. We also get asked a lot how we are surviving being apart. That question always makes us laugh. We definitely work best when we are together but we both adore Dreaming Always and all that it stands for and plan to keep going with this little love of ours. We are currently in the midst of planning two Mama-Meet-Ups whilst I am home in Ireland and one in Dubai on my return. It is going to be a busy but fun few weeks which are just going to fly by…

It is true that you have to go on adventures to find out where you really belong,

Nx

 

Images by Brid O’Donovan

Emie-Rose – Jacket | Shorts | Runners

Nessa – Shirt Dress | Shoes

Leona (and Archie) – Shoes | Similar Skirt here & here

Mabel – Shoes

*Leona discovered this little hidden gem for coffee in Cork City where we had these photos taken called The Garden Cafe.

 

Mamahood Places

Mamas in Dubai

 

Dubai Mamas 1

Constantly challenge yourself. There lies a motto I have lived by for as long as I can remember. I have always been ridiculously determined, some would say stubborn. I challenge my capabilities constantly. Every now and then I surprise myself greatly. At other times, I have to accept defeat. One of the greatest challenges I have faced in my life has been moving my family abroad. It may not seem like a huge challenge to many of you. I know, people do it all the time. For me however, second to becoming a mother, it has been an enormous challenge. I only left Ireland 9 weeks ago. 9 short weeks ago. It feels like I haven’t been at home for way longer.

One thing that has resonated with me since we moved is that I have some really special friends at home. A small number of people that will be a huge part of my life forever regardless of what is happening in each of our lives. These kind of people are gold. I have also realized that moving abroad means finding a whole new gang of people to be a part of your life. People to call upon should you need help and people to share a coffee or a big gin with. As Leona mentioned in our last post, we have connected online with so many wonderful women. Women who stand up for what they believe in, who are passionate and who love to support other women. We have had lengthy conversations with them online. It went from liking each other’s pictures through to supporting them virtually when they have had bad days and they have done the same for us. Through social media, I met some really great women who have been so supportive long before I even landed in Dubai and some women who I just clicked with immediately upon meeting them in “real life!” Helen, Simone, Irene and Kaya are those kind of women that Leona and I just love to be around. Simone, Irene and Helen each have their own gorgeous lifestyle websites and Kaya is editor of one of my favourite websites, Sassy Mama Dubai.

Dubai MamasDubai SunsetSunset Drinks Mama Meet UpDubai MamasNessa DubaiGingham and SparkleDreaming Always DubaiClaire Stafford Photography

 

We enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon at The Jetty Lounge on the same day as our recent Mama Meet-Up in Cork, which you can see details of here. Whilst Leona and her crew filled up on fresh avocado toast and hot coffee, we gorged on mojitos, margaritas and chips & salsa. Another amazing mama who I met since moving to Dubai, Claire Stafford, took some shots of us before we melted in the crazy heat. It really was so lovely to be surrounded by such kind and supportive women so far away from home.

If there’s one lesson I can teach Emie-Rose in life, it’s to be kind and supportive. You just never ever know when you will need that extra bit of support yourself.

Cultivate Kindness,

Nx

 

Images by Claire Stafford

Mamahood Places

Uncertainty

Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.

I got pretty mixed reactions from people when I told them quite suddenly that we were moving to Dubai. Looking back I definitely got way more shocked and perplexed expressions than anything else. A few people said I was really brave, others said I was inspiring. I just thought it would be a new adventure for us as a trio. I don’t think I really ever let myself think too hard about the move. In the end it all happened really quickly and we found ourselves landing into Dubai Airport with our little girl homeless. I will never forget the stress of the last two weeks before we left Ireland. It was absolute chaos. Emie-Rose had just started walking. She was constantly hurting herself – falling, walking into walls, hitting her head off tables, falling down stairs – and she needed a crazy amount of attention. We left our packing too late. We had to organise so many things. In the midst of packing our house up and running after a hyperactive baby who had just found her feet, I dropped a glass container on my foot in the most awkward place possible and I was told I would have to keep my foot elevated for two weeks. Four days before we were due to fly to Dubai. Everything was just so chaotic and it hasn’t stopped being chaotic since we got here. Nobody said it was going to be easy but I never expected it to be this hard.

Dubai 1

I started working two weeks after we arrived. I have never felt so nervous starting a job. I was terrified. I was worried about working in a new market that I wasn’t familiar with. I was traumatised at the thought of leaving Emie-Rose all day. I was lucky enough to work my own hours in Ireland since she was born. I was totally in control of how I managed my day and how much time we spent together. You definitely don’t appreciate what you have until you face a new challenge. So many women all over the world have been through it but you always feel like you are the only person going through your own issues. Whilst I didn’t feel homesick, I felt lonely. I felt like no-one could possibly understand how I was feeling. I had a fair few of those awkward teary-eyed moments in public when you know people can see that you are randomly about to burst out crying and you pretend you have something in your eye. People have been so kind. When you’re feeling vulnerable, people being kind can make you even more emotional. We are so lucky to be staying with family whilst we find our feet and organize everything out here in the desert. We have been living out of suitcases for the last five weeks and we will be doing so for many more weeks to come. Are we settled? No. Do I dream of sitting in my favourite local cafe back in Cork chatting to my girls? Yes. Do I miss the cold weather? No. I definitely miss knitwear though.

Don’t get me wrong. Our move hasn’t been a totally negative experience. First world problems and all that. We chose to make the move. We were lucky enough to be able to up and leave with no ties. We craved a new kind of adventure. There are lots of amazing places to visit here and so many new things to discover. I love the huge diversity of cultures here. I find it so interesting learning about different ways of life. My eyes have already been opened to a whole new world of possibilities. I have had so many interesting conversations with new people since I got here. People really look out for you here. Dubai is the most child-friendly place I have ever been. Saying that perhaps it’s a little too child-friendly here at times with strangers asking me if they can take a picture with my baby girl or randomly picking her up without asking me first. We wake up to sunshine. We have spent more time at the beach in the last five weeks as we have all year at home. We are together.

We haven’t put a date on when we might return home. It might be tomorrow, it might be in six months, it might be in two years or even ten years. The two most important things in life for me are family and happiness.

If we aren’t happy, we fix it. If we need to be with our family, we go to where our family is.

Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later,

Nx

Images by Claire Stafford

Dress & Sandals | Zara Kids

Playsuit & Sandals | Zara

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Mamahood Places Style

Changes

DA Plans

You get a strange feeling when you are leaving a place. You will not only miss the people you love but you will miss the person you are at this very time and place because you know you will never be this way ever again.

You might have seen on Nessa’s Instagram that she is moving to Dubai with her little family. Yes… she is moving there in the next few weeks. We have been getting the sweetest messages from people asking us if this is the end for Dreaming Always and we can happily say that we really and truly think it is just the beginning.

Are you still going to continue with Dreaming Always when Nessa moves to Dubai?

Absolutely. Dreaming Always is going global! We will both be working on it from our own locations – Cork & Dubai. This means more diverse content, more travel and it offers our readers something a little unique. This platform we have created, both offline and online, is something that we are just so passionate about. We have created a place for sleep-deprived mamas to dream. Whether that mama is in Ireland or Dubai or somewhere in between, we want to help other mamas to realise that it is absolutely ok for them to feel overwhelmed and it is totally normal to want to run away and escape some days. We want to create a network of women who love being a mother but also love to be their own person too. As well as writing honest posts about motherhood and life in general and letting you know about our favourite (not always child-friendly!) places, we will continue to create beautiful photo stories for the website. Yes, a lot of them will now involve us posing alone and/or with the kids but as soon as we are on the same soil we will be doing them together.

2. Will you still host your Mama Meet-Ups?

Yes! We are already in the middle of planning some in both locations. We plan to host them regularly in Ireland and Dubai. Nessa visited Dubai recently and arranged to meet up with three gorgeous women who she met on Instagram – Helen, Irene, Simone and she just loved them. The power of social media is just incredible. Being able to host our Mama Meet-Ups in dual locations means that we can really reach out to a whole new network of amazing women. Of course Leona will have to go to Dubai for our first one out there.

3. What are your plans for 2017?

Nessa – To persuade Leona to move to Dubai…

Leona – To make Nessa stay in Ireland…

We cannot believe the support we have received since we started Dreaming Always last year. It has been so incredible to meet so many fantastic women and we want to meet so many more. We know it is going to be really tough for both of us over the next few months juggling everything but we are crazy excited for what is in store for us personally and for Dreaming Always. We are working on our own line of baby bonnets, Mabel Rose and we will be launching the first design soon. We have lots of travel planned starting with a trip to Dot to Dot London next weekend with two amazing mamas we have met since we launched Dreaming Always – Sarah & Sooby. We are also meeting with some of our favourite kids wear brands there. We are going to make it our mission to travel around Ireland also (and not just Cork & Dublin) to host our Mama Meet-Ups. We cannot actually believe it ourselves so we don’t mind if you don’t believe us either but we are now represented by an Irish agency. We are excited to bring things up another notch and to work with some great brands on collaborations. Phew, that sounds like a lot. Some days we can barely get ourselves out of bed and then other days we surprise ourselves with what we can achieve. We are going to take it all one day at a time but we really do hope that we get to do at least some of the things that we have planned. Nessa needs to leave the country first and at the rate she is packing and saying goodbye to all her beloved clothes she might never get out of here.

Coffee Date with Dreaming AlwaysDreaming Always in CorkDubai & Dreaming AlwaysDay Dreamers CorkNessa Hurley DreamerLeona DreamerDreaming Always of CoffeeDreaming Always Dubai and Cork

There are friendships imprinted in our hearts that will never be diminished by time and distance. Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things will always work out.

Time to turn the page,

L&Nx

Images by Brid O’Donovan

Place | Filter Coffee, Cork

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