When your best friend has a baby and you live in a different country

I’ve been musing a lot on expat friendship recently, for a couple of reasons really.  First up it was my husbands birthday.  His oldest, and best, friend came over from the UK to celebrate for the weekend where we were then joined at brunch by 10 other people.  People who we didn’t even know existed this time last year as, quite frankly, Qatar wasn’t even on the agenda.

Secondly, one of my very first expat friends who upped and left to head home to Englands green and pleasant lands nearly two years ago, happened to go and have a baby last week.  Her third little girl.

Baby Shower afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton Dubai
Us together at her sons baby shower at the Ritz Carlton, Dubai

We first met when I moved to Dubai, via a baby forum, where I basically said the line “I have a baby the same age as you will you be my friend?” and she said yes.

And that was that.

A friendship formed from a mutual name, babies the same age and a similar extroverted personality.  We spent days putting the world to rights while the little ones slept (ha) or as they got older, played nicely with each other.  Then got home and continued to put the world to rights via Facebook.

New babies

I was one of the first to find out when that pregnancy test turned positive for her second child, she was one of the first to find out when my pregnancy test turned positive.  We were there for each other all through those second pregnancies, taking the older ones off each others hands for a rest, feeding lots (and lots) of cake, helping out with doctors appointments – or at least trying to, as I sped down to the hospital to pick up her eldest as she waited for a scan the Dubai roads and my terrible sense of direction thwarted me and I drove around in circles for an hour not actually making it down to her – and for me the biggest thing was she took my biggest while I went to have the baby.

This time round, I’ve not been able to do any of that for her.  I wasn’t able to make the baby shower or take anyone off her hands for a break.  This pregnancy I was only home for the first few weeks where I managed a very quick meet up for an orange juice in Birmingham on her lunch break.  Yes, I’ve been around on Facebook still, but it just isn’t the same which is why when little miss finally arrived I wanted to do something special.

The Ultimate Baby Hamper

I did as all good expats do and I turned online to find what I could send that would make the difference.  That would let her know that I was thinking of her, and give something special for the newest arrival in their family.

Enter Apples & Pips, a new small business ran by the lovely Hannah over at Budding Smiles.  I adore shopping small, I love the philosophy that any money spent is money going to them directly, to piano lessons, to meals, to family life.  So it was a no brainer for me when Hannah told me she was launching a new range of baby hampers.


Cue endless frantic messages from me to Hannah saying that it HAD to be special.  It HAD to be perfect.  This was MY BEST FRIEND we were talking about.  I may have made her a little bit nervous with all of my demands but she definitely got it right.  First time.

A few days after my demands requests were sent through to Hannah, the final items were in and the colour choices confirmed, off it went.  With a (very, very) long rambling but personal message from me that Hannah had transcribed into a beautiful card.  Which was the perfect personal touch.

She was thrilled, I was over the moon that I was able to get something so personal so quickly over to her.

But what did we get?!

That is the big question – just what arrived in her special hamper?

First up is a voucher for the amazing Apples & Pips – I have so much love for all of the products on site that this was a no brainer to include, plus of course, what I like she may not.  For all that we are similar we are very different in some respects!

Kokoso Baby premium organic coconut oil*

Billed to be “magic in a tub” I don’t think this will disappoint my not that crunchy but a little bit crunchy mama friend.  Coconut oil is an all natural alternative to some of the other products available today with a range of uses from baby bum to moisturiser.

kokoso coconut oil

Caption: Kokoso Baby premium organic coconut oil

*It was a choice between coconut oil or a teething ring, and I went with the oil 🙂

‘Laura” Teething Bangles

Definitely appropriate given the sharing of the name!  Jewellery and a teething toy?  Yes please…

Laura Teething Bangles

Caption: Laura Teething Bangles 

Lil Cubs Giant Muslins

Because they are so versatile.  And you always need them, to mop up sick, to throw over your shoulder, as a blanket, a sunshade, for your other children to mess with….

lil cubs muslin blanket

Caption: Swaddle Muslins 

And the rest…

Everything above is also available to buy separately in Apples & Pips, but Hannah didn’t stop there with the gift box.  Oh no.

Not forgetting about new mum, also included are chocolates, a beautiful notebook and a candle to help keep the new mum calm.

Apples and Pips Gift Box

All in all the perfect treat for me to send, like being there when in fact I am nearly 4,500 miles away here in Doha.

To order your own hamper go to head over to Apples and Pips – you won’t be disappointed.

please note I received the hamper at cost price to send for the purpose of this review all opinions are my own.

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