Both my parents and my sister have been in Dubai at various points in the last few weeks, so we have been very busy. This weekend was especially nice as their trips overlapped, meaning we were all together for a couple of days. On Friday morning, we started the day at the beach.
It’s getting hot now and I know our beach mornings will come to an end soon, so we are making the most of them by heading down at least a couple of times a week. We used to always head to Palace Beach in the car; a relatively quiet beach, with great views of Burj al Arab and Palm Jumeriah. But since THE BEACH complex, opposite JBR, has been completed, we head down there. It’s a 5-minute walk from our apartment and has great facilities; toilets, showers, sun lounger and umbrella rental, and an endless choice of places to pick up coffee and pastries so we can have a beach breakfast.
Both my boys adore the beach. Wilfred especially has no fear and crawls boldly into the sea without even flinching when the cold waves lap his tummy. We have to keep a careful eye on them, but I find the whole experience much more relaxing than going to the pool where I am constantly worried about them slipping and falling in. They’ve already started to play with each other too, building and knocking down sandcastles, filling up holes with water, and using the spades to draw on the sand – and I can see this will only get better as they grow up.
After showering off the sand, I headed off to Friday Brunch with my parents and sister at Mina al Salam, The Madinat. This is my very favourite brunch in Dubai.
For those of you that haven’t been to a brunch in Dubai, these are pretty grand affairs. Everyone gets dressed up and it’s treated like a special occasion. There is food from every cuisine imaginable, as far as the eye can see – and Mina al Salam spreads over three hotel restaurants, so it’s one of the biggest in Dubai. You have four hours to devour everything from sushi, to lobster, to shell fish, to cold meats and salads, to full-on roasts, to whole restaurants dedicated to Chinese, another dedicated to Mexican, stalls outside serving burgers and fish & chips, Arabic cuisine, a whole room dedicated to cheese, and a desert selection that will finish you off. Whether you fancy a glass or bubbles, cocktails, or want to stick to soft drinks, you won’t go thirsty either.
We had a great table overlooking Burj al Arab – and as The World Cup horse race was the next day, there were obviously a lot of pretty important people in town and helicopters landed on the helipad every five minutes throughout our brunch. I also love the fact that Mina al Salam has a turtle sanctuary, so I spent some time watching these amazing creatures swimming between courses. It was a really lovely afternoon and definitely reaffirmed my love for this city (maybe that had something to do with the kids being at home with their Dad so I got a much-needed break for a few hours). Either way, I really recommend this brunch. I’ve tried a lot across the city and this is still my favourite.
The next day, my parents went down to Abu Dhabi for a beach barbecue (a belated Mother’s Day treat), so we had a quiet day at home – and that meant it was the perfect opportunity to surprise Stanley with his early birthday present – a balance bike.
The surprise went down well and he spent the first 5 minutes cycling around our apartment with a massive smile on his face – but after a few near misses with a crawling baby (convinced at the age of 14 months that he should also get a go on the balance bike), we decided to head down to the promenade underneath our apartment. He found it very difficult and nearly gave up a few times, but with the help of his Dad, his confidence grew and he was soon pushing along himself. He needs a lot more practice, but I think he’ll get the hang of it soon.
We are off to the UK on Friday, so my next family update will be from home shores. Wish me luck on the flight – my husband is staying at home, so my sister and I will be juggling the two boys for 7.5 hours and the jetlag repercussions will be totally down to me. I already predict I will be relying quite heavily on my friend caffeine next week, so expect many coffee-relalated updates and perhaps some incoherent babbling…