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Muna London Over The Ocean muse

Muna Arzouni

2 Children • London, Great Britain


Muna lives with her husband Rabih and their two daughters Shahad and Hind in London. In this portrait, she does not only give us a glimpse into their lovely decorated apartment but also takes us with her to her favorite spots in London and to the beautiful landscape of her motherland UAE. I was drawn to Muna’s creative and feminine style and the genuine love and sensitivity portrayed in her pictures and thoughts. She is a passionate mother who stands up for women's rights and says her job is to support her daughters and raise them to be fearless women of the future. 


London home Over The Ocean muse
Hi Muna, please tell us a little bit about your family.
Muna: I’m Muna. I’m married to Rabih and we have two lovely daughters. Shahad age 14 and Hind age 7. We live in West London. It’s extremely multi cultural! We love it here.
You are originally from the United Arab Emirates. What brought you to London?
Muna: Yes, I'm originally from UAE. As a child I visited London every summer. My family owned a holiday home here, so London was very a familiar place since childhood and always felt like a second home. I moved permanently when I met my husband Rabih. I've been living in London for 19 years now.
What is the story behind your home?
Muna: We live in a rented accommodation. It has two bedrooms, so the girls share a room. Getting on the property ladder has been challenging for us and many other families in our situation. The combination of soaring property prices in the city and high deposits required to get a mortgage means many families are pushed outside the city or end up renting like we do.

I love our flat! It’s our home. We get so much sunlight and it’s really cosy. However renting restricts what I can do in terms of decorating. Not everything in my flat reflects my style.

London apartment girls roomOTO muse Londonteen roomgirls roomgirls room
What do you love about raising children in London? What are some of the challenges?
Muna: I love that my children do not see the differences in people. They mix with people from all races and backgrounds. They respect, accept and make friends. I also love that they have the opportunities that this city offers from art exhibitions to theatre shows and workshops. At the same time London is too crowded, polluted and an expensive place to live, but we won’t change it for anything else.
Muna bedroom London
Where are your favorite places in London? With the kids and without?
Muna: We all love East London, It's a creative and unique part of the city. I love Chatsworth road, it has a great selection of shops, and a great market every Sunday.
Jim’s cafe is a cool and hip place to eat and the children love it too. We specially love the waffles. Best for a weekend brunch.
Jim's Café LondonJim's Café London

My friend owns a beautiful plant and homeware store on the same street called Botany. Whenever I'm stuck for a gift, I go there. They stock a beautiful selection of cards and unique handmade gifts. They also run a variety of creative workshops. The last one I did was the herbal tea making. It was both educational and fun!

Botany London Botany London

We also like Petersham nursery in West London, one of London's hidden gems in my opinion. It is actually a garden center with a beautiful café in a greenhouse!

London petersham nurseryPetersham nursery & café London

For Middle-Eastern food, I love to go to Morito, on Hackney Road. For brunch or coffee with my friends I like to go to my local café - No.197 Chiswick Fire Station. It has a relaxed atmosphere, great food and contemporary interior. The best thing about this place is the pretty garden at the back. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. My eldest daughter's favourite! 

no 197 chiswick fire stationLondon café

Below is Leila's Kitchen in East London. Delicious breakfast and a cosy atmosphere! Just five minutes walk to Columbia flower market.

Leila's Cafe London

We are huge fans of London parks, our favourites are Hyde and Holland park.

London girlsLondon

Would you tell us about an ideal day for you and the kids?
Muna: A long morning walk with my husband and girls in one of London’s parks followed by a brunch. We love making the most of living in the city,  so every weekend is a mini adventure! We wake up, put our clothes on and go! Staying at home is not an option!! 
I love the light and colors in your pictures from your visit in the UAE. Is there anything you miss from the country you were born?
Muna:UAE is my home. I am so connected with my motherland. I miss the hot air, the warm sea (all year around). The mountains of Ras Al Khaimah, that desert landscape that extends as far as your eyes can see, it's so good for the soul. The smell of the Arabian perfumes in my grandmothers clothes activating my senses. The coffee full of cardamon and spices always served with a piece of date!! The warm hearts that taught me kindness and love.  

UAE

Hind in Bobo ChosesUAE

You recently traveled to Barcelona? Tell us a little bit about your trip!

Muna: Barcelona was beautiful! We all fell in love with the city! The architecture, the good weather and all that Tapas. It was all great!! But the best thing about Barcelona was its people. They were warm and welcoming. We rented a little apartment in Gràcia through airbnb. It had so much character and Spanish charm. Visiting Bobo Choses was very inspiring. It was the highlight of the trip for us all.

Hind in Barcelona

Has motherhood changed you? If so, how?

Muna: In every way. I never imagined I can give endlessly and unconditionally the way I do. I am more patient and my children always come first. It also made me extremely grateful for everything my mother has done for me and still does.

You have studied business administration and psychology. Now you did some work for children fashion brands. How did this develop and what are your plans for the future?

Muna: I worked as a manager in one of London's department stores for years but started getting into children fashion when I had the girls. I've done some small projects for some brands and shops in the last year but my dream job will be children fashion editor or stylist.

What are some of your favorite children fashion brands?

Muna: My favorite brands for the girls are Bobo Choses, polder girl, Wolf & Rita, Les Coyotes de Paris and Child.ish. I also like Repose Ams from Amsterdam.

Hind in polder girlHind in Wolf & Rita 

Describe the evolution of your style. How has it changed over the years?

Muna: My style became simpler as I grew older. I love colour but I’m not always brave enough to wear it on a grey London day.

What are you passionate about?

Muna: My family, my community, human and women's rights. Art and design are also some of my passions.

Muna London OTO muse

What is your current state of mind?

Muna: I am grateful for what I have.

What do you look forward to most every day?

Muna: The cuddles I get from the girls after a long day at school!

Please share with us what you think are the most important lessons to teach your daughters? 

Muna: To be themselves and to be proud of who they are. 

Muna with Hind and Shahad, Over The Ocean muse London

Thank you very much Muna!
Photos by Muna Azouni. The photos with Muna on the picture were taken by her husband and the excerpt photo by Michelle Marshall.
Hind wears Repose Ams, polder girlWolf & RitaBobo Choses and others. 
Shahad wears Bobo Choses, Little Creative Factory, polder girl and others.