Candice is one of our Sassiest Mamas 2016…
You may remember Kite Beach when it was nothing but sand. Well mamas, thanks to the hard work and dedication of uber Sassy mama Candice (Candy), Kite Beach is now a buzzing beach destination that offers everything from fitness options to foodie outlets – and a whole heap of fun for families. Candy’s own childhood in South Africa inspired her to design and create The Journey, one of our absolute favourite places to play in Dubai – a green haven where kids can get their dose of nature and green (read our review here). With 3 almost grown-up kiddos (Jax, aged 24, J.J, aged 23 and Georgia, aged 14), this super-mama instructs kids in surf-rescue on the beach, oversees all operations at The Journey and works 7 days a week. Candy, we salute you.
Tell us about your business/businesses and why you started them.
I was offered a job at Kite beach 5 years ago when there was nothing other then a porta cabin and some umbrellas, slowly but surely I convinced the boss to allow me to plant some grass and get some greenery in the area and upgrade everything, I wanted to create an area where people could come and relax with their families. I was privileged enough to grow up in a game reserve where I was surrounded by nature at its best. One thing led to the next and kite Beach has grown into one of Dubai’s best beaches, we still working on the sports side but you will see some amazing things happening soon. I started Pirates Surf Rescue Team five years ago a club for children 8 – 18 years where they get exposed to every water sports Dubai has to offer as well as Sea Rescue training, first aid, ocean conservation, self defense, fitness, nutrition, open water swimming, beach sprints, flags, diving, water ski ing, fly boarding and jet ski ing, once they turn 16 they then do their Beach Life Guard certification. We will be touring this year and hosting the first International surf life saving championship with Junior teams coming form all over the world to compete.
The Journey was my greatest project, creating a natural play area where children can play again without an I pad, play station or T.V, where they can bond with nature.
What kind of cake would you order for your birthday?
Vanilla cake with loads of icing and filled with hundreds and thousands
If we handed you a concert ticket, who would you wish it was for?
What colour do you wear the most?
When did you last cry?
2 days ago, I very rarely cry.
What’s the best thing you can cook?
Lasagna but we all on a Joe Wicks health Kick at the moment so learning to eat completely different now
Where do you get your hair done?
What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
Making a dream become a reality. I always knew I was so privileged growing up in the most beautiful game reserve in South Africa, everyday I gave thanks and knew how lucky I was, watching the sunset and listening to the cries of the wild animals at night, this was something I never took for granted. I knew that one day I would want other children to experience what I had. Twenty years later The Journey was created.
Building up Kite beach is also something I take pride in having built it up from a small porta cabin to what it is today is special. I wanted to create the Worlds best sporting beach and a place for families to just come relax and spend quality time together.
My Personal achievement I have a few but being told I would never run again 5 years ago after spinal fixation and 8 months after that I represented the UAE in rugby at The Asian Championships playing on the Wing just showed me how powerful the mind actually is and we can overcome anything.
I look at my children each and everyday in awe thinking I must have done something right to deserve all three of them, we have been through terrible hardships and they have stood by side standing strong.
As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
A pilot and Marine Biologist I started flying helicopters at the age of 16 where I was going to be part of the Game Capture team with my dad when I was 16 years old , we captured wild life and bred them for conservation purposes, he sadly passed away and we had to leave the farm and that’s when I started flying aircraft.
If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
Happiness, health and success for my children, no more financial worries and just a peaceful and happy future.
What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
It means that no matter where you from, where you are, who you are, how much money you have the best thing any woman could do is be a kind, caring and loving mama that makes her children smile and be proud of themselves.
Tell us about a typical day?
Wake up at 5am have my cup of coffee, sit outside in the garden for 10 minutes to say my prayers and then go wake up Georgia for school. Some days we will go for a run before school depending how we feel in the morning, then I drop her off at the bus and I head to work, I open up The Journey, get it ready for business then head to the beach where we clean up, water the grass, make sure all is operational, start building or doing what needs to be done, then start my meetings or prepare The Journey for the Schools where we run the Urban forest program or start the event planning, everyday offers something special and new.
At 4pm I go fetch Georgia from the bus stop take her home have lunch with her and head back to the beach. Work continues till anytime. Tuesdays and Thursdays I instruct the children’s program called Pirates Surf Rescue Team I close up the park and go home to meet Georgia ready for our exercise or we will do some Yoga with my eldest daughter Jax who is a Yoga Instructor and fitness trainer. After that we have our shower and sit down to dinner and by 9pm I am fast asleep.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
Nothing is impossible never give up. My dad taught me one lesson I remember each and everyday, “ don’t ask your staff to do something you cannot do, give them water before you drink and food before you eat”. There are days where we have dug holes for the lights for the volley ball courts that have taken us 10 hours of hard physical work in the baking heat I made sure I was the first to arrive and the last to leave. We have developed a special bond with all the staff and make a great team. My children I try teach them no matter what job you have always do it to the best of your ability feel proud about what you have done.
What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
Just going to watch the sunset on the beach.
What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, or something fellow mamas should know about?
I have to be biased and say The Journey, it terrifies me how technology has taken over our children’s mind and how they have lost the ability to Play. We don’t have a lot of natural play areas like The Journey my philosophy is, let the children play. Get them out in nature there is truly no better classroom.
If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
A tool box, I love Carpentry, a camera and paper and pencil.
Describe your style? I’m a farm girl nice and simple however when I go to meetings I like to be smart yet sophisticated Ive tried wearing dresses but I look like a mushroom.
Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done?
When we went on holiday they played ching chong cha who was going to babysit me as my sense of direction is so bad every time I left the hotel I got lost so one of them had to come with me, I had no idea they were doing this till we got on the plane to come home.
How do you juggle work and family?
Its hard work no maybes, one never feels that you have given enough no matter what age they are. I always feel guilty.
I work 7 days a week so free time is precious and rare.
My children know that if I don’t work we don’t eat so its tough but all I want is for them to have an education and the best start in life.
A huge thank you to Monica Chindalia for the beautiful pictures of Candy and her family.
To book a photoshoot visit facebook/monicachindaliaphotography