Kristina Rihanoff Kristina Rihanoff

Our first family holiday with Mila!

Hi everyone,

How are you all? Are you enjoying the lead-up to Christmas? It’s been a while since I last posted, so there’s a lot to update you on!

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We recently took out first family holiday to Dubai! It was the first time for Mila to be in a beautiful, very hot destination. Obviously I was a little bit worried about how Mila was going to handle the heat but she absolutely loved it! We stayed at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel which was fantastic and it was perfect for Mila, who is becoming a little water baby. We took her to the hot tub for a swim every day and she loved it! I kept her in the shade most of the time, but it was another new mum learning experience for me, packing for the trip. I bought very high SPF sun creams and made sure she was covered all the time, and never directly under the sun. I was a little bit worried about having a baby that small in a very hot destination, but actually I must say, our hotel was incredible. The staff were so, so good with us and extremely helpful and as a family-friendly hotel, I can’t recommend it enough! They helped us with Mila and we really had a blast – it was fantastic!

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Dubai is also really great for cultural experiences. It’s the Middle East, it’s very different, there’s so much to see. We had an amazing private visit to the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world. It was quite scary going so fast, 120 floors up in the escalator, in less than a minute or something crazy like that! My heart was in my throat! But it was a fantastic experience and I’d totally recommend it. We had an alfresco meal and watched the fountain show, then we also went on a safari and watched the sunset. We had experiences that we’d never have anywhere else, which is why I think Dubai is quite special and perfect for families. There’s so much to do for the kids. Ben’s girls, the twins, went to a water park which was a part of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and that’s what was so great about it. It was within the premises of the hotel so it was convenient, the girls absolutely loved it! I would totally recommend the hotel.

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And the variety of food in Dubai – you can literally have anything and everything and it’s such good quality food. I loved trying the Arabic food, like the meat, the hummus, the sweets. I really couldn’t say no to all of the sweets!

Mila really is now a world traveller. Literally after our trip to America we flew to Dubai. I was really worried about the flight but she’s such a good girl, she didn’t mind the flight and she behaved so well at takeoff and landing.

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Mila is trying new food!

Mila is now five months old (and a week!) and so of course the next stage is for her to have different types of food. She’s not content with just milk, she’s constantly hungry and her metabolism is quite fast. She’s also a tall baby for her age – I think she takes after Ben in that respect. We’ve started introducing porridge into her diet, so she has a couple of spoons a day. It was a big step for us! I obviously had to film the moment like a crazy mum, and sent a video of her eating to my mum back in Russia. Mila liked the porridge, she was really hungry and really going for it, she loved it!

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I’ve always been looking at all the crockery that’s suitable for babies. I found some great plates, bowls and cutlery on www.onco.co.uk. They have environmentally-friendly stuff made out of bamboo. The plates have a little suction pad on the bottom so they can stick to the table and it makes it a lot easier feeding Mila. Like every baby Mila tries to grab things and move things around, so this is perfect. We have a little fight every morning – Mila always wants to hold her own spoon, she’s quite strong now! The porridge goes everywhere but at least the bowl stays glued to the table!

I’m sure like other mums you always worry about the next stage. I’m thinking about what kind of food Mila will eat and think I have to get the best food, organic stuff. It’s a minefield – there’s so much on offer but we’re taking it slow. Ben and I don’t want to overwhelm her. For now it’s still porridge, I still half breastfeed and half bottle feed.

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One More Dance

Also this week we started rehearsals for One More Dance. It’s been absolutely incredible to put on my dancing shoes again! It was very hard for several days because I basically haven’t danced intensely for a year since Strictly. My core is not like it used to be, especially after pregnancy, but it’s still very exciting. Gleb is still in the US – he’s flying back this week. So far his wife Elena Samodanova and our choreographer Alex Balash, from Russia, have been doing a lot of ground work! We have a great group of dancers with us. I’m thinking about the choreography, I’m feeling very creative, and it’s so nice to be back with a group of dancers. That’s what I really missed about Strictly – the professional dancers and working hard with them.

You probably saw that we invited Megan McKenna from TOWIE to star in our show. I know it’s her big dream to perform on the West End and so I really hope this helps launch her career in singing. It’s wonderful to give other people opportunities. It wasn’t just my decision, it was everyone’s, but we wanted to give her a chance. She’s so popular and has a massive fan base. We wanted someone who appealed to the younger category to come to our show and we thought Megan was just ideal!

It’s a lot of work because this is the first time I’m working on the production of the show. It’s been a very big learning curve. You have to know everything about lighting design, music, costume – we’re doing everything from scratch. Honestly you should see my house! My lounge is covered with costumes ha ha! It looks like Strictly!

This is something I’ve always wanted to do post Strictly, and we’re hoping to get on the road next year. It’s a big production and there’s a certain pressure to deliver. We have one of the best venues on the West End – the Adelphi Theatre – right on the Strand, where all the theatre lovers go. What’s really incredible about our show is that we have every single style of dancing – it’s not just ballroom and Latin, like Strictly. We have hip hop, jazz, contemporary ballet, Argentine tango – you name it, we have it! That’s why I really hope audiences will love it because it’s something they’ll have never seen before. There’s so much variety and there are lots of surprises!

Here’s a teaser video…

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Reader’s questions

Thank you for your questions. Please tweet @hellomag and @KRihanoff with your questions using the hashtag #AskKristina and I’ll try and answer them in my next blog post! These are a couple I received from readers this week…

If you could dance in any building in the world, where would it be and what dance would you do?

The Burj Khalifa, following on from my trip to Dubai! I’ve been very fortunate in my career in that I’ve danced in some beautiful venues, like Blackpool Tower or the Royal Albert Hall, but to dance at the top of the Burj Khalifa would be very special! And I’d so something like a beautiful rumba with lots of lifts and tricks!

When you have a show concept, do you have an idea first and then choose the music, or do you choose the music first?

That’s a bit like the chicken and the egg, what comes first?! Well with One Last Dance we wanted to make it a family-friendly show, a show that all ages can enjoy, which is why we incorporated some hip hop and jazz into it. The idea was to create a Christmas show but we didn’t want to just have waltzes and foxtrots – far from it. It’s ballroom done in a new modern way and do you know what, the music has actually changed quite a few times since our original idea! As you create you find that actually this song would be better, or that song would be better. So I kind of have my concept first and then my music, but then I do find that my music changes as the creative process happens.

Would you and Ben consider doing TV work together?

Absolutely yes! We’ve had a lot of different ideas because we both have charities, and we’ve always wanted to do a big documentary. Ben works with the anti-bullying foundation while I have my Dot Com Charity. We want to help and educate children and boost their self-esteem. Our aims cross over between out charities and so we’ve always wanted to work together so hopefully we will do in the future! We’ll have to see!

Anyway that’s all from me for now. Hope you’re all well!

Speak soon.

All my love,
Kristina x

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