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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

Mamahood Places Style

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Family Holiday

It was probably a good thing that I waited a few weeks since we got back from Sri Lanka before I wrote this post. I arrived back to Dubai from our week away exhausted and vowing I would never travel again! Yes I know…totally dramatic…. but I was a bit shook. Our journey to the airport involved a crash on the Sri Lankan highway that left us stranded at 6am at the side of the road with our toddler and no idea how we would get to the airport in time for our flight home. I have always said I would travel as much as I can with Emie-Rose but I have to say our trip to Sri Lanka made me a little more wary of the situations you can find yourself in when travelling. Whilst it is amazing to explore new places and to mix with different cultures, it can also be a little daunting to be away from home comforts, especially with kids. It’s nice to know where the nearest hospital is should you need it and it is comforting to know that you can ask someone for a bit of help and that they will understand you should you require it. Becoming a parent has made me very sensible. I have had my share of bad luck with travelling in the past and as a result I can be quite anxious. After calming down and almost forgetting about the lack of relaxation we had for the week there, I can say that I am really happy that we did experience the beauty of Sri Lanka.

Holiday in Sri LankaSri Lankan HotelTravels to Sri LankaSri Lanka BeachSri LankaArabella BreakfastBeach in GintotaGintota BeachSri Lanka InteriorsFather Daughter Sri LankaFort Printers Sri LankaSri Lanka Family Travel

Most people travel the length and breadth of Sri Lanka… we stayed around one tiny area of the country. We travelled for about 2 and a half hours down south once we landed into Colombo Airport. Our gorgeous hotel, Arabella on Boosa, was in Gintota which was about 15 minutes in the local transportation choice – a tuk tuk – from the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle Fort. We spent two days pottering around this pretty little town where the streets are lined with colonial villas and hotels. The weather was really bad when we were there – major rain showers – so we spent a lot of time ducking into boutiques and coffee shops. Everywhere in Galle Fort is really gorgeous. I was seriously impressed. We visited the most beautiful boutique hotel here – an 18th century mansion called The Fort Printers. In my pre-Emie-Rose life, it is where I would have dreamed of staying! We stayed for 6 nights in a beach-front hotel called Arabella on Boosa, which was incredibly Instagram-perfect – monochrome with splashes of green everywhere. We stayed in two different rooms – a garden view room and the suite. Obviously the suite was so much better with a toddler as we had way more space and it also had a couch so it meant we could actually chill out in privacy there during the witching hour/when the toddler tantrums reached a peak. The decor was just gorgeous and the staff were really friendly. The food at our hotel was so good – everything was so fresh and so tasty! I loved the Sri Lankan food in general. It is worth visiting for the food alone! There is such a relaxing boho vibe going on there… signs for yoga classes and small boutique guest houses and hotels with ‘secret gardens’ everywhere.

Hotel in Sri LankaWijaya BeachMelissa Odabash Mel Dress

We visited another gorgeous stretch of beach recommended by our hotel – Wijaya Beach in Dalawella for some wood oven pizzas on the beach. We really got to relax for a few hours here as the water was less choppy than by our own hotel. The beaches in Sri Lanka are beautiful but from what we experienced the water is pretty rough and dangerous, particularly for kids. It is also worth noting that everyone gets around Sri Lanka in tuk tuks – teeny little vans with no seat belts so if like me you are terrified of travelling with your child not in a car seat then it is probably worth renting your own car and bringing your own car seat. The roads are crazy there. Our hotel offered a car seat in their transfer van from the airport which was just so handy. These little things make travelling with kids that bit easier.

I didn’t really know what to pack to wear in Sri Lanka as I was told it would be really sticky and humid. Whilst it was definitely warm, we were totally not prepared for the rain we had there. I packed lots of light and airy maxi dresses which worked well there. It’s definitely not a place for high heels so make sure to bring lots of flats. I was totally chuffed to collaborate with Melissa Odabash for my trip to Sri Lanka and I was so happy to wear one of their new Apres Beach dresses, which you can see here. I loved the long sleeves and the best thing is it didn’t need to be ironed which is amazing when travelling. We haven’t done a giveaway on Dreaming Always yet but we will be doing a giveaway for one of these gorgeous Melissa Odabash dresses – their off the shoulder Faith dress which you can see here – over on our Instagram over the weekend.

Will I be travelling with my 2 year old again soon? I am already planning our next trip… in my head for now.

What are your experiences of travelling with kids? Have you been to Sri Lanka?

It is good to be back posting on here,

Nessa x

Where we stayed: Arabella on Boosa

Who we flew with: Emirates

What I wore: Dresses from Zara & Melissa Odabash

 

 

 

Mamahood Places

Someday

Emie Rose Someday

One day you came into my life and everything changed. On that day you made me a different person. Some days I feel like I can not cope and other days I feel like I was put on this Earth just to be your Mama.

Someday I will tell you how much you changed my life. Someday you will understand just how much you mean to me. Some days I feel so out of my depth and other days I feel like I am doing perfectly ok. Some days I feel insanely lonely and other days I feel like all I need in the world is you.

Someday I will tell you stories about your life. The kind of childhood that you had. The summer days spent outside with great people. The days spent jumping in big puddles and you with your head back laughing. I will also tell you about the winter days spent curled up inside with those that love you so much. The days filled with laughter and hugs and me not wanting to ever let you go.

Someday you will grow up. One day you will not need me the way you need me now anymore and on that day I know I will shed a tear. Some days I wish for you to be more grown up and other days I want you to be my baby forever. Some days I worry because you do certain things and other days I just want you to be you. Wild & wonderful you.

Someday you might have children of your own and on that day you too will learn that us Mamas would do anything for our babies. Just about anything. I love you today and every day and I will love you even a bit more tomorrow.

Emie Rose Someday 2Dreaming AlwaysSomedayDreaming Always KidsEmie RoseAlfieEmie RoseDreaming Always Rachel and RoccoMama and Emie RoseDreaming Always KidsChildhood

Someday I hope that you will look back and remember the days spent playing in muddy puddles, wild and free, with me.

Mama x

 

Images by Gillian Horgan

Fota House & Gardens

 

 

Places

A long weekend in The Surrey Hills

The best thing about memories is making them…

“An area of outstanding natural beauty” – That is what the sign said as we drove into the Surrey Hills on a recent long weekend break. There was never a more apt description of a place – everywhere you turned was picture perfect. Gorgeous green landscapes, rolling hills, dreamy villages and best of all… no WiFi.

We had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. Life has been hectic lately and the idea of some quality time with family in a beautiful 19th century home with no TV, phones, iPad or any other digital distractions was just what we all needed.

This was our second time staying in a Landmark Trust property and as with our first experience in Scotland when we stayed in Gargunnock House, it didn’t disappoint. The name of the property we stayed in this time was Goddards and it was nothing short of stunning. It was built by architect Edwin Lutyens from 1898–1900 and is considered one of his most important early houses, designed in the traditional Surrey style and with a garden laid out in collaboration with the celebrated garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll. The house sleeps 12 people comfortably and like all Landmark trust properties it has been restored to the very highest standard.

The Landmark Trust are a charity that take on historic places  in danger and restore them beautifully making them available to rent to the general public for holidays. They are all well-equipped self-catering buildings and the idea is to encourage and foster quality time with friends and family away from everyday busy modern lives.  The Landmark Trust properties are quite different from the mainstream rentals – none of the properties have a television, radio or telephone and given their mainly remote locations, they rarely provide WiFi.

For someone who loves being online, this is actually a great thing in my eyes as it brings you back to having real connections with the people you are away with and forces you to open your eyes  and soak up all the lovely moments together. Instead of staring into a phone when you have some time to yourself, you are more inclined to run a bath or actually read the book you’ve been trying to finish for the last few months.

The list of types of properties you can rent on the Landmark Trust site include picturesque pavilions, medieval long-houses, artillery forts, Gothic follies, clan chiefs’ castles, cotton weavers’ cottages, the homes of great writers and the creations of great architects – seriously how cool to hide away in some remote location in one of these amazing proprieties full of history and character!? Goddards has a 1920’s style skittle alley!

 

It helped immensely that when we stepped off the plane from Ireland a blast of Mediterranean-esque heat hit us. London was experiencing a mini heat wave and that was OK by us.

Our kids and their cousins played until past 10pm every night in the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen and the adults sat around the table catching up and drinking tea and wine. It was all kinds of perfect. Something happens when you and your siblings have kids – you just want them to spend as much time as possible together creating memories and developing those special cousin bonds.

You want them to look back and have the kind of carefree memories you had yourself growing up surrounded by cousins… it is very special weekends like these that create those beautiful, lasting memories.

L x