Helen Farmer

In Conversation With Dubai Eye’s Helen Farmer (aka The Mothership)

An inside look at one working woman’s approach to work, style and e-learning

Helen Farmer is host of the popular Arabian Radio Network’s (ARN) Dubai Eye 103.8FM show, Afternoons with Helen Farmer; an editor and BBC-trained broadcast journalist; founder of the parenting blog The Mothership and mum to two active girls.  Helen is a woman of many talents, juggling career, personal interests, and motherhood. 

Having lived in the Middle East for over 10 years, Helen has worked on books, magazines, broadcasting, and uncovering the ups and downs of life, work, and motherhood in the UAE. Through her daily afternoon radio show, Helen helps listeners navigate the uniqueness of UAE life, sharing advice, opinion, and anecdotes that get to the heart of what life in the UAE is all about.

If ever there was a realist, it’s Helen.  A firm believer that motherhood is not “all unicorns, candy floss and rose petals”, Helen’s take on motherhood via her blog, The Mothership, puts a refreshing lense on a world where it seems women try so hard to keep up the ideal ‘Stepford Wives’ façade when really the struggle of being mother, wife and individual is very, very real and difficult. The endearing thing about Helen is that she tells you right as it is…no filter on her take on living, working and parenting. 

I have been following Helen on her Instagram page, @themothershipdxb, for some time now and admire the rawness of her posts. And, when the opportunity to interview her popped up, I thought it would be a great feature to share with The Gaggler community and shed some light on who Helen is and what makes her tick. 

Conversation With Dubai Eye’s Helen Farmer

Being Helen…

Monica: What is the biggest challenge you face as a female entrepreneur?

Helen: Where to start? As a mum of two, lack of time is a big one. Not only to get everything done (huge thanks to Loreta our nanny for the endless help), but also being able to take a step back and reflect on the bigger picture and put goals in place.

Monica: What do you feel is the most important lesson you’ve learnt as a working mum during the lockdown?

Helen: That my relationship with my kids is more important than phonics! I know lots of working parents have felt a huge amount of pressure when it comes to distance learning, but when it became a source of stress and tension between my daughter and I (she started hiding when the school iPad came out) I knew I had to let it go, and enjoy time together.

Monica: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Helen: Done is better than perfect.

Monica: Which female entrepreneur do you admire the most?

Helen: Many of the women who inspire me aren’t necessarily businesswomen, but those who do what they love (writing, social research, music) and just happen to make money from it. Brene Brown is a great example of this; she speaks about her passion, and it has led to a career I’m sure she could never have imagined.

Monica: What’s inspiring you in life right now?

Helen: Amid the chaos of the pandemic it has been great to take some time to get back to quieter pursuits. I’m listening to a lot of music (Laura Marling’s new album has been my lockdown soundtrack) and podcasts. The honesty of Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail is so refreshing – she interviews people about where they ‘failed’ and what it taught them. I really recommend the recent episodes with COVID-19 in mind.

Monica: How would you define yourself in three words?

Helen: Always pretty tired.

Monica: What’s something you have always wanted to try but have not mustered up the courage to do so yet?

Helen: I’d like to try improv, but public speaking that I haven’t prepared for makes me want to vomit…

woman entrepreneurs

Your Style & Beauty Picks

Monica: How would you describe your style in three words?

Helen: Hopefully it’s clean.

Monica: Who inspires you most when it comes to fashion? When it comes to beauty?

Helen: I’m really pretty boring! Breton tees, jeans, flats, though I can’t resist a floral dress. I don’t wear much makeup but I’m a bit of a skincare junkie, so rely on the advice of a great dermatologist. I wish I could steal the wardrobe of Erica Davies (@ericadavies) – she has a sense of fun and loves prints, without looking like she has run through a charity shop covered in glue.

Monica: What’s a style trend you would like to see disappear forever?

Helen: Those clear plastic bra straps.

Monica: Besides phone, wallet or car keys, what are 3 must-have items in your purse?

Helen: Powder to combat the shine, some kind of snack, and earphones.

Monica: What is your go-to outfit you always feel [Strong/Confident/Good/Invincible] in?

Helen: Don’t laugh, but I feel great in gym gear! Lorna Jane leggings are amazing.

woman entrepreneur Helen Farmer

Your Self-Care Tips

Monica: How do you start your day?

Helen: Cuddles with the kids, as much water as I can drink while I do a word puzzle, and some kind of stretching, even if it’s for literally 30 seconds.

Monica: What is your go-to self-care activity after a hard day?

Helen: There’s very little that a chat with my mum, a bowl of Heinz tomato soup, a strong drink and an early night can’t solve.

Monica: What is a practice you would encourage your younger 20-something self to do?



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Remote Work: Empowering UAE Women

Make this trend work for you.

Ladies, it’s time to say goodbye to stressful commutes to the office and hello to more flexible career options! The rise of remote work across geographies and occupations has been noted the world over. Initially a necessary product of the Covid-19 pandemic, the remote working trend is here to stay providing greater autonomy and, the bonus for women, an opportunity to balance work and life better. The result? A happier and more diverse workforce – basically, a game changer.

A Women’s Career Cycle

The traditional 9-to-5 grind simply didn’t work for working women with personal responsibilities such as family and children, creating a dynamic where 50% to 80% of women drop out of the workforce to have families, with only 20% ever returning back to work once their children are older. And, when women return to the workforce after a significant absence, they aren’t easily able to return to the same career level and face the reality of starting at a few pay grade levels lower than when they left. For women who do return to work, they often struggle to balance their careers with family life, social obligations, and personal interests. But with the rise of remote work, women now have more flexibility to work from the comfort of their own homes, on modified schedules, and without the stress and hassle of commuting to and from a physical office.

Benefits of Remote Working

Companies have recognised the benefits of having a remote workforce. Not only does it save on office space and overhead costs, but it also allows businesses to tap into a larger pool of talent, regardless of location. But it’s not just the employers who benefit from remote work.

Women, in particular, have found that it gives them the flexibility they need to manage their work and personal lives more effectively. A Harvard Business Review study found that women who remote work from home are often more productive and satisfied than those who work in an office. They also have more time to take care of their families, pursue hobbies, and engage in other activities that are important to them.

Of course, remote work isn’t without its challenges. Here, we share some easy-to-implement tips to make the remote working experience a more positive and fulfilling one for any woman.

Top Tips for Remote Work 

Set healthy boundaries: It’s important to have clear and healthy boundaries for yourself and others you work with, particularly in a remote working situation. Simple hacks like designating a workspace that’s just for work, communicating clear working hours to colleagues and family members and sticking to them, and establishing work routines at home that you’d typically observe at the office, are all ways to create a healthy remote working experience.

Connect with your team: Working remotely can be isolating and drastically reduce social interactions that come so easily in an office environment. Frequent communication via email, instant messaging or video conferencing is, therefore, quite important.

Take breaks: Take short, frequent breaks to stretch and recharge during the workday. Breaks help keep you motivated when working from home. And don’t forget to incorporate some self-care during breaks or after working hours!

Pursue hobbies: Remote work gives you back time that you’d otherwise spend commuting. Looked at from a different perspective, it also gives you the freedom to schedule new hobbies, pursue interests and explore passions with all that extra time saved, without sacrificing your career. This also creates that healthy separation between ‘work’ and ‘life’ even when the physical separation between the two no longer exists.

With these tips, you’ll save yourself from burnout!

The Fun in Remote Work

Set your space: Create a workspace that inspires creativity and productivity (hint: no, you can’t use your bed).

Tech like a boss: Invest in the best equipment and high-speed WiFi (no more video call freeze frames or angry laptops – or their owners – throwing a tantrum).

Move it, shake it: We’ve already emphasised the importance of taking breaks to shake off stagnant energy – dance breaks are highly encouraged (bonus points if you bust a move on a conference call).

Coffee, tea & me: If coffee isn’t your jam, keep your mug filled with our natural and organic teas. A sip here, a sip there and you are having the break we’ve already mentioned. Yes, it’s so important to take breaks that we’ve mentioned it 3 times!

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Remote Work Essentials


Energised Essential Oil

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Green Tea Energy Drink

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Rose Quartz Crystal Water Bottle

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The Good Mood Cookie

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The Energy Cookie

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The Brownie Bossbabe

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Lavender & Eucalyptus Candle

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Ylang Ylang Pure Essential Oil

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Aroma Diffuser

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So if you’re a woman who is looking to take control of your career and your life, consider exploring the world of remote work. Doing so may help add the flexibility, autonomy, and balance you’ve been craving for so long in your professional life. You might just find that it’s the perfect fit for you!

The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will, too.


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