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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

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,



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.


Collaborations Lifestyle Mamahood Style

Mabel Turns One

Even though I am unsure about most things in life, I am certain I love you and will continue to love you forever…

Who else is guilty of binging on Pinterest the week before their kids birthday? Well that was me last week. Our baby girl Mabel turned one and we decided to celebrate it at home with her brother, grandparents and cousins. After posting some images on our Instagram stories, we received lots of messages asking where all the bits were from so we thought a post outlining where to get them would be helpful.

It started with a dress… I spotted this absolutely gorgeous linen dress on our friend Lyndsey’s online store – Nouvella Baba – and although pricey I felt Mabel would get loads of wear out of it over the next few months… so it was worth it. Seriously, Lyndsey has an amazing eye for brands and pieces and has curated a selection of stunning children’s wear brands. She runs this business while also taking care of her three children – legend! Mabel’s rose gold t-bar shoes are from Hubble and Duke – an Australian brand and arrived just in time.

My styling experience has taught me that all beautiful styled events start with choosing a colour which sets the tone for everything else. As much as it surprised me that colour turned out to be pink! I’ve never been a huge fan of pink and when I found out I was a having a girl I was excited to dress her in all the earthy and grey tones I was seeing everywhere. However, slowly but surely the pink creeps in and now I find myself drawn to it… so pink was the colour of the day with hints of gold and green.

It was a small gathering so I decided to focus the styling around a retro bar cart that was left in our house after we bought it. The cake, cake pops and mini cupcakes were all made by the insanely talented Ramune from Ms Cupcake Cork.We are huge fans of Ramune work and her Instagram.You might remember the beautiful cake she did for Emie Rose’s first birthday. You’d be hard pushed to find more beautifully designed & delicious cakes than the ones Ramune makes. The detail she goes into is very impressive and her creations are real show stoppers.  I chose a lemon and blueberry flavour & it was so good we even had it for breakfast the following day.

As if we didn’t have enough sugar to keep us suitably high Huckleberry Doughnuts kindly gifted us some mouth-watering doughnuts for the party. Each one was nicer than the next and I should know… I tasted most of them! They’ve recently opened in Cork City with people queuing around the block to get their hands on some of their tasty doughnuts.

After searching Etsy and Instagram for a cake topper I came across a cute party website called Project Party and was delighted to see that firstly it was Irish and secondly it is owned by Alana who is a mama to three gorgeous girls.

Seriously all these amazing mamas with the most beautiful online stores is so inspiring to see… there is a whole online world of them out there. Alana hooked me up with the perfect gold glittery cake topper, candle and the cutest party hat for Mabel which I couldn’t believe she left on!

 As for all the other little details I visited some of the go to party/craft stores on the high street in the weeks before like Tiger (the paper fans on the wall were from here) TK Maxx (balloons) and our new obsession Sostrene Grene (happy birthday banner, napkins, straws, balloons all from here)

We had the loveliest day… & the only things missing were our besties, Nessa & Emie Rose. Hopefully the gang will all be back together for her 2nd birthday party.

*Not pictured – the absolute state of the place afterwards, not very Pinterest worthy…


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Images by Brid O’Donovan




Him & I


 The days are long but the years are short…

Has there ever been such a bitter sweet statement for us mamas? No one ever told us that the biggest heartbreak of being a parent was that your kids would grow up and leave you. I mean we are a good few years off that stage yet but still… Archie says he wants to marry me when he grows up – I wonder how long that will last! The thought of them leaving to fend for themselves is pretty hard to fathom seeing as at the moment they don’t allow me any personal space and they need their bums & noses wiped pretty much on the hour, every hour. It does seem like light years away… those college years, but everyone I know with grown up children tells me it’s gone like a flash. One minute you are bringing them home from hospital… the next you are helping them choose college courses.

Time with my boy

I read an article before in which the author fondly remembered how his mother used to randomly surprise him and his siblings with little mini adventures. They would wake up get dressed for school, have their breakfast, brush their teeth and she would trundle them all into the car as if it was any normal run of the mill day. Once in the car she would shout “Mamas Holidays!!” and they would all squeal in delight. There would be no school or work and the day would be spent together eating ice cream or going to their favourite park/cafe. I absolutely loved the idea and it has stuck with me ever since.

Life gets so busy. We are all rushing heads down flying to work then leaving work in a panic to collect kids/babies and once home facing into the dinner bath/bed time routines. It is like we never stop.

What harm does it do every now and then just to stop and to not do what is expected of the day? None. It does no harm, so why don’t we do it more often? I’m not talking every week or even every month but now and then when it occurs to you to do it or when you just feel just need to stop.

outside the station

I knew I was in need of some alone time with Archie when he watched me intently one evening bathing his baby sister and afterwards as I wrapped her up tightly in a fluffy towel, he asked with a hint of sadness “remember when I was your first baby, mom?” Talk about a punch to my gut! Mom-guilt set in in a big way… was he feeling neglected? Was I too absorbed with the baby to even notice?

We were invited by our friends Sooby & Lili from Mutiny Kids to an event in Primark recently and I thought this is the perfect chance for us to do something fun and spontaneous together. It was in Dublin on a Monday in the middle of the day. Normally I would have declined as it would require too much re-organisation of our already busy week. I was also crazy in work and I’d have to rearrange the baby’s routine etc.

Lots of reasons to say no and one reason to say yes – time with my boy. TIME. Precious time. Days like these are important for both of us. He needs to feel like my baby and I need to focus solely on him even if it is just for a few hours.

I told him the night before that instead of going to Montessori in the morning we were catching a train to Dublin and we’d get a tram into the big city and the best bit for him… it was just going to be the two of us. Don’t get me wrong he adores his baby sister (we were only on the train to Dublin about 10 minutes when said he missed her) but the thought of it just being him and I on this adventure together for one day filled him with excitement.

Archie and LeonaLuas with Archie and Leona

In actual fact all we did was go from the station to the event and back again. The train journey was almost enough for him but it wasn’t really about what we did or where we went. What he (and I) loved were all the little moments. Like holding hands walking through a busy train station him wide eyed taking it all in, or buying our Luas ticket from the machine and holding on to it for dear life, or when we caught sight of the spire in the distance.

Time in DublinLeona and ArchieMama Boy AdventuresDublin TimeDreaming Always

All these small perfect innocent moments. I tried to soak them in, because he is not a baby anymore… he’s a little boy and soon he will be in school and then a teenager who won’t want to be seen dead with me. So I’m going to take these days with him while I can, holding hands just him and I… he was after all my first baby.


All images by Ivana Patarcic






Where Life Begins

dreaming always

Every family has a story to tell. Family is forever.

Leona had a family photo-shoot done to celebrate the arrival of her second baby, Mabel, with her husband and little boy Archie. We both just adore the photos shot by Naomi Kamat.

“The morning of the shoot I very nearly canceled. Mabel was 9 weeks old and the round the clock feeding and sleep deprivation had taken its toll, my incredibly camera shy husband didn’t want to be in any shots and Archie was hyper. Why did I draw this on myself? I dragged myself into the shower and before I knew it Naomi was at the door. I didn’t have time to put on a truck load of makeup or even dry my hair. I was worried we would look all over the place which was in all honesty the reality. I shouldn’t have worried because Naomi was amazing. She sat and drank tea with us, picking up her camera every now and then to take discreet shots. She made Archie feel at ease and caught the most precious candid moments between him and my husband that he just loves. It shows how much motherhood changes you when you look at a photo of yourself and instead of being critical of how you look you see beyond that and see you as you are in that moment exhausted but blissfully happy.”


dreaming alwaysdreaming alwaysdreaming alwaysdreaming alwaysdreaming alwaysdreaming alwaysdreaming alwaysdreaming alwaysdreaming always

Family isn’t an important thing. It’s everything.


Images | Naomi Kamat Photography