This is the official blog of the Landmark Group with insights
and stories from the people behind our many brands.

Child Safety First: On the Road

As part of our Child Safety First campaign in cooperation with the Road Transport Authority of Dubai, Babyshop brings you this series of ABCs on how to help keep baby out of harm's way.

The road can be a tricky place for kids - and a source of genuine concern for parents. Thankfully, there are a host of things that can help make life safer for your child when you're out and about. We've compiled the best ones here.

Key safety checks on the road
crossing_road.png•Always slow down in advance at a traffic signal
•Check your speed regularly
•Always use a hands-free device if you must use a mobile phone while driving
•Use the child safety lock in cars when travelling with children
•Make sure that child seats are fitted correctly and used on every journey
•Children under the age of 11 shouldn't cycle in traffic
•Children should always wear helmets when riding bicycles
•Kids under 9 shouldn't cross roads on their own
When walking near a road, it's a good idea to:
  • Hold your child's hand - don't let them run ahead
  • Look out for and encourage your child to be aware of hidden entrances or driveways crossing the pavement. It can be hard for motorist to see small children especially when they are reversing, so take extra care.
  • Put reins on a younger child if they're not strapped in a stroller
  • Make sure your child walks on the side of the pavement away from traffic

Crossing the road
When the time comes to teach your child about crossing the road, remember:
  • Always set a good example by choosing a safe place to cross and explaining what you're doing
  • Let your child help you decide where and when it's safe to cross
  • Tell your child that it's safest to cross at a pedestrian crossing or a crossing patrol
  • Tell your child not to cross where they can't see far along the road
  • Explain that they should not try to cross a road between parked cars; drivers won't be able to see them very well and the cars might start moving
  • Use the Green Cross Code with your child: explain that you have to stop at the kerb, then look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing
  • When it's safe to cross, walk straight across the road and keep looking and listening out for traffic
  • Remind your child to concentrate - they may be easily distracted, forget what they've been taught and dash out into the road
  • Make sure that anyone else looking after your child follows the same road safety rules that you do

Pick up our handy ABC ("Always Be Careful") booklet at any Babyshop outlet or download it here as a useful reminder of how to make your child's life a little bit safer.

Are there other safety measures you use on the road with your child? Share them with us here!

Child Safety First: Around the House

As part of our Child Safety First campaign in cooperation with the Road Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA), Babyshop brings you this series of ABCs on how to help keep baby out of harm's way.

Life changes when there's a kid in the house. Everyday objects that are second nature for adults can be potential hazards for your child, and actions we might consider as common sense need to be reinforced explicitly to help keep your young one safe. 

At Babyshop, we understand the importance of safety from both the unassuming child's and the concerned parent's point of view. Here are some smart tips to help make your home a safe haven for your little one.

1. Get rid of the danger
  • Throw away leftover chemicals, expired medications, etc. to reduce the possibility of an accident.

2. Change the hazard so it's not dangerous
  • Lots of children get hurt falling from bunk beds. Put the top-level bed down on the floor so you have two safe, low beds instead.
  • Designate your child's play area a long way from the driveway or road.

3. Block access to the danger
  • Keep medicines and cleaning chemicals out of reach of children.
  • Always take the keys out of the car.

4. Change your child's habits to lower risk
  • Make sure your child wears a helmet when riding a bicycle, or wrist and knee protectors when skating.
  • Have your child wear sun-protecting clothing and sunscreen when outdoors.

5. Set examples by following rules yourself
  • Children learn from what you do. If you're careful at home, they will be, too.

6. If they're doing something you think is dangerous, stop it
  • Pick the child up instantly
  • If you're far away from them, should something simple, very loudly, like "STOP!" Don't use more words - that'll just confuse your child, and you need them to concentrate on stopping.

Key Safety Checks at Home

Pick up our handy ABC ("Always Be Careful") booklet at any Babyshop outlet or download it here as a useful reminder of how to make your child's life a little bit safer.

Are there other safety measures you use around the house for your child? Share them with us here...

A Fine Balance

As you sow, so shall you reap - and you are what you eat. At the recently-opened Balancecafé, we put these sage aphorisms into practice - and make sure the results are as delicious as they are healthy.

Balancecafé is the first of an integrated concept we call "Balance," a wellness club focused on restoring internal rhythms through holistic lifestyle guidance, therapies and food. At Balancecafé, we've combined ancient Ayurvedic concepts, yogic know-how and macrobiotic cuisine with modern-day spa-oriented nutrition to create a dining experience that'll leave you feeling good inside and out.

Enter the café (located on the 3rd floor of Oasis Centre, Dubai) and you'll already get a sense of what we're up to. The airy 6,000-square-foot space is free of clutter and chaos; minimalist design touches balanced with warm orange interiors create a cosy feeling while giving you plenty of room to relax. After all, eating is a sensory experience that begins with the eyes.

Balancecafe salad
The holistic approach extends to the menu design, which is organized by mood, body type and the five elements (space, air, fire, earth and water). Our cooking technique - using water, milk, broth, citrus juices, versatile oils, varieties of cereals, grains, lentils and natural sweeteners - achieves a fine balance between flavours and rejuvenating nourishment, so you get great-tasting food that's guilt-free, too. 

My personal favourites include Gluten-free Squash Cannelloni, Organic Barley and Mushroom Soup, Kaffir Lime and Soy Beef Burger, Teriyaki Glazed Tofu and good ol' Dhal Makhani. A special kids' menu keeps the little ones happily (and healthily) satisfied.

Everything's made fresh to order, so while you wait for your meal you can browse through our library of books on Ancient Wisdom, Yoga, Meditation, Life Sciences, Enlightenment, Self-Healing and Healthy Cooking.

At Balancecafé, we practice what we preach - so breathe in, breathe out, and bon appétit!

Child Safety First

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Anyone who's a parent - or about to become one - would agree that their child's safety is of supreme and unquestionable importance. And yet infant mortality due to traffic or household accidents in the UAE is three times the global average - even though it could be managed to a great extent with some simple precautions and a bit of knowledge.

We want the best for our children at Babyshop. To help spread awareness about child safety, we launched our seventh annual 'Child Safety First' campaign last month, an initiative which continues to be endorsed by the Road Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai. We've been fortunate to share knowledge with parents, teachers and children themselves about how to create safer environments for kids at home, in the car and outdoors.

We kicked off the initiative with educational road shows across schools in the UAE, as well as with workshops at schools including the Rashid School for Boys and Latifa School for Girls in Dubai, and the Government School in Nad Al Hammar.

Many of our own employees who have toddlers, children or teens at home have learned a great deal through this campaign - which helps them be more informed guides to our customers looking for products designed with a child's safety in mind. Here at Babyshop, we're happy to be doing our part to help make every child's day a little safer.

What do you do to make your child's environment more secure? Share your tips with us here!

Home Centre Makeover 5: The Little Princess

Home Centre turned 15 this year, and as part of our birthday celebrations we gave away complete room makeovers worth AED 10,000 each to 15 lucky winners. In this series, we share five before-and-after experiences.

Yavnish family.jpg

A cramped, drab studio apartment is no place for a princess. Yavnish Adlakha's 3-year-old daughter is the apple of his eye, but with rising costs he's hard-pressed to give her the kind of royal treatment he'd like. The family sleeps uncomfortably each night on a small double bed in their sparse one-room flat, with no funds to create a homey atmosphere or provide a play-and-study area for a growing girl. Yavnish's touching request to Home Centre moved us into action.

This was one of the most challenging room makeovers yet: to transform a tiny, bare room into a practical, welcoming one in which the whole family could dine, lounge, sleep and relax. The daughter needed her own bed, and the new couple, theirs. Although the room was small, it was light and airy, so we decided to put that to good use.

We chose a cheery, calming pistachio green for the walls, which really helped set the mood of the makeover. A compact girly bed and study desk transformed one corner into the daughter's very own "room"; another study desk for the family PC and practical TV unit took care of clutter.

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Our magic wand produced bed set furniture that perfectly matched the existing wardrobes, and we threw in a comfortable sofa for the family to lounge on. Overall storage was better, all the family's needs were taken care of, and Yavnish's little princess was so thrilled she couldn't stop leaping for joy. Talk about a fairytale finish!

This wraps up Home Centre's five spotlight room makeovers, but transformations keep happening every day. Do you have a favourite Home Centre product that's changed your space? Share your story with us here!

As Golf, So Life

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Golf runs deep in my family's blood. My grandfather started playing the game when he worked with the Government of India under British rule; then my father and uncles took it up and passed the passion on to the third generation: my brother, cousins and me.

I'd accompany my father to his club every weekend to play until I was old enough to commute there by bus on my own. I must've been just 12 or 13 years old when I got hooked - while other boys my age preferred rowdier games, I was drawn to this sport of keen focus and quiet concentration.

My uncle Bilu Sethi was a big inspiration, being India's No.1 golfer in the 1960s and '70s and winning many prestigious international and national golf championships in his lifetime. Through dedication and practice I soon became quite good, and went on to win the All India Junior Amateur Golf Championship at the age of 19 in 1977.

Golf has always been a great way for me to de-stress. Even now, no matter how busy I get at work, I find four hours twice a week for a round of golf where I think of nothing else but hitting that little white ball as best I can. Not only has it helped me improve my personal best while feeding my competitive spirit (and allowing me some fresh air), but the sport has taught me loads about life: through golf, I've been able to closely observe human nature and character, to make reasoned decisions about whether to take a risk or play safe, to aim for the skies even though I might not always get there.

One of the most interesting things about golf is that its only real referee is your own conscience. My biggest life lesson from golf is to be honest to myself first in everything I do, and this has helped me grow both personally and professionally.

My craziest golfing experience was in Mumbai during the monsoons - the rain was pelting down so hard the course would normally have been closed, but the captain of the club, seeing what regular enthusiasts we were, allowed us to play soaking wet, fortified by the contents of a hip flask and our shared passion for this game.

GN_merchantscup_08.jpgI've managed to infect my wife with the golfing bug, and now she plays more often than I do. Although my two daughters haven't quite taken to the sport as their forefathers did, I'm always eager to share my inherited interest with anyone who'll listen. After all, on the golf course everyone feels like family.

Do you have a passionate interest that's positively impacted your life? Share it with us here...

Home Centre Makeover 4: Wish Upon A Star

Home Centre turned 15 this year, and as part of our birthday celebrations we gave away complete room makeovers worth AED 10,000 each to 15 lucky winners. In this series, we share five before-and-after experiences.

Hanan & Kids_cropped.jpg

"When you wish upon a star," sings Louis Armstrong,
"Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

If your heart is in your dreams
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do."

Hanan Mohd Anwar may not know the lyrics to that song, but she certainly captured our hearts when she wrote to us with her dream wish: "My four children mean the world to me. They share a single room with just enough space for four beds - there's no place for them to play or study, and the room looks noisy and unexciting. I hope Home Centre's expertise can help my children have the best possible environment to spend time in."

Sergio Bunk Bed.jpg

Hanan's three boys and one girl ranged in age from 5 to 15 years, so we needed to use age-appropriate furniture while creating a cohesive look that catered to their varying personalities and interests. The room in their Sharjah home was drab and cluttered, clearly in need of fun colours and storage solutions. As a regular Home Centre customer, Hanan had always had her eye on the Sergio Bunk Bed, so we used that as the central inspiration for the makeover.


Room Before.jpg Room After - Long.jpg The space-saving Sergio Bunk Bed comes with practical features like under-bed storage drawers, a built-in study desk and a wardrobe, instantly creating space in a small room. Building rules prevented us from painting the walls, so we chose a bright palette of yellow, blue and red for matching furniture and accessories from the Fun Collection - a range of children's furniture that's colourful, functional and safe for kids. Extra storage units, vibrant art and photos of the kids completed the spell.

With plenty of space, practical storage and a pop of colour, the children now have a clutter-free room in which to sleep, play, study and even invite friends over - which, Hanan reports happily, they're already doing with great enthusiasm. Who said we didn't believe in magic?

Closing act: A little princess finally gets the royal treatment

Home Centre Makeover 3: Hope for the Family

Home Centre turned 15 this year, and as part of our birthday celebrations we gave away complete room makeovers worth AED 10,000 each to 15 lucky winners. In this series, we share five before-and-after experiences.

Stockenstrom Family.jpg The recession hit hard the very month Kate and Karl Stockenstrom moved into the new Dubai home they'd saved for decades to buy. Their long-time dream faced a severe reality check: Karl found himself working very long hours just to make ends meet, and Kate, a full-time mother of two young children, had little left over after their rising apartment service fees and nursery fees were paid. Tired of raising her family in an uninviting flat furnished with bland second-hand furniture and worn-out hand-me-downs, Kate reached out to Home Centre for a splash of hope.

We wanted to give the Stockenstroms a practical, modern family space they could lounge, dine, entertain guests and relax in while the children played safely. Kate's love of blues, beiges and creams and Karl's Scandinavian roots inspired our makeover.


livingDining_before.jpg livingDining_after.jpg

The previous tenant was a smoker, so the bulky fabric sofa that was left behind was not only impractical for the family's needs, but smelled of stale smoke, too. All the furniture was mismatched, and although the room was light and airy with a beautiful view, it was a sun trap in the high summer months.


The Home Centre team began the transformation by painting opposite walls a Scandinavian-inspired Tiffany blue. Coffee and brown-coloured drapes were added to shade the sun and complement the new blue walls. We repositioned existing furniture more strategically, and replaced the old sofa with a new kid-friendly, wipe-clean, L-shaped sofa with matching cushions. A faux-leather storage box was added for easy stowing of the children's toys, and a new dining set completed the picture. We decorated the walls with Kate's favourite family and wedding photographs for a personal touch.

Kate and her family were overcome with emotion when they saw the new space. "This is amazing!" she exclaimed. "Every little spot has something new!" Karl, too, was thrilled with having a space that reflected their essence, one he would enjoy coming home to after a long day. "I didn't believe a room could change like this," he grinned. The kids have a safe, cool place to play, and Kate hasn't stopped inviting guests home since the makeover, including her family who visited from the U.K. How's that for a happy ending?

After this: A mother's wish for her four children

Home Centre Makeover 2: A Son's Gift

Home Centre turned 15 this year, and as part of our birthday celebrations we gave away complete room makeovers worth AED 10,000 each to 15 lucky winners. In this series, we share five before-and-after experiences.

Khaled Hezam Ali Othman.jpg

Khaled Hezam Ali Othman is a grateful son. In their family home in Corniche, Sharjah, his parents occupy a bedroom that is now 9 years old. They bought it used, so by now the furniture was in bad shape and the decor long outdated.

Khaled wrote to Home Centre with this request: "After all that our parents have done, are doing, and will continue to do for us, I think they deserve a surprise room makeover. Please help me to say 'Thank You' to them." How could we refuse?

The room was large enough, but presented several challenges: a curved wall, a cold white ceramic-tiled floor, and a limited budget within which to select an entire bedroom suite and accessories. Based on Khaled's input and an appraisal of the rest of the house, Vincent Subeldia, our Visual Merchandise Manager, decided to go with a look that was classic and elegant but not over the top.


Parents Room Before.jpg Parents Room After.jpg

To break the monochrome look, we started by painting the walls a deep rust colour. The Charleston Bedroom Set fit the furniture bill: a dark walnut king-sized bed complete with tufted headboard, two night stands, a dresser with mirror and a 6-door wardrobe. A red rug helped reduce the whiteness of the floor, and red cushions accented a bed cover in plain, dark beige with black trim (patterns would have overpowered the room). The window was dressed with a sheer inner curtain for privacy, and a silk outer one to block the light when needed. We even added a Louie Arm Chair for them to relax by the window.

Khaled's parents couldn't believe their eyes, and burst out into spontaneous applause. "This is a big surprise! Well done! It's really amazing!" Khaled, too, was bowled over: "We got everything we expected, and more!" And seeing this close-knit family so happy, so did we.

Coming soon: A splash of hope for a family hit hard by the recession

Beat Diabetes. Get Active.

Football-League-Poster.jpgWhen it comes to health, every child deserves to be a winner. That's why, as part of the Landmark Group's ongoing commitment towards diabetes awareness, we've tied up with the Princess Haya Initiative for the Development of Health, Physical Fitness and School Sports (which works closely with the Knowledge and Human Development Association (KHDA) of Dubai) to sponsor the Dubai School Football League.

Over 32 boys' schools and 16 girls' schools (including a mix of Arabic and international schools) are part of a football tournament being held this month. Football - a sport popular across the world with people of all ages - is the perfect opportunity for us to spread awareness about diabetes among children, parents and faculty through our initiative "Beat Diabetes. Get Active."

Along with our medical partner Zulekha Hospitals we'll conduct health checks, discussions & talks in participating schools. The Channel 4 Network (89.1 FM & Al Rabia) are promoting the event on-air. Renuka Jagtiani (Vice Chairperson, Landmark Group), who spearheads our Beat Diabetes initiatives, says: "Over the past few years, we've all become far more aware of the serious health risk that childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes pose. Through our Beat Diabetes campaign, we proactively seek opportunities to support credible public health initiatives. We respect the efforts made by the Princess Haya Initiative for School Sports and are proud to partner with them for the Dubai School Football League."

In addition, the Dubai School Football League also has outreach planned for an additional 75 schools in the UAE. This includes the distribution of informative bilingual Beat Diabetes brochures amongst all schools that fall under the KHDA umbrella.

To Get Active, check out more about the Dubai Schools League. Make your child a champion in health!

What other sports would you suggest to Get Active?