Tag Archives: Ripe Market

2nd December 2014

Dubai for Kids – My Top 10 Picks

IMG_6922As it’s National Day in the UAE today, I thought a post about my hood was appropriate.

Since moving to Dubai, one thing that friends and family back in the UK seem surprised about is that the city is great for kids. There is this perception that living in a desert climate and Muslim culture wouldn’t be compatible with family life. Of all the misconceptions that people overseas have about Dubai, this is the one that really winds me up. Because this city is absolutely focused around family life and I think (and hope) that my boys have a very happy life here.

As well as being a mum with two little boys to entertain, I visit and review a lot of places in the city for the various publications I work for, so I like to think I have pretty good insider knowledge of where is good to head. So to celebrate National Day, here are top 10 places in Dubai to hang out with kids…

1 – The Beach at JBR

www.thebeach.ae

Location for taxi driver: JBR at Dubai Marina

Public Transport: JLT Metro Station (and walk over the bridge towards sea).

I’m probably a bit biased about this one, as I can see it from my bedroom window – but this area of Dubai, running in front of JBR complex, just keeps getting better. Not only is there a stretch of soft white sand for kids to play on and splash in the shore, but there are a plethora of kid-friendly restaurants, a splash zone attraction for toddlers, and now an inflatable play area in the sea for older kids (and adventurous adults).

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2 – Kids Connection at WAFI

www.wafi.com

Location for taxi driver: WAFI Mall (and follow signs in mall for Café Court)

Public Transport: Al Jadaf Metro Station

I’m not usually a fan of indoor play areas (although we don’t have much choice in the summer months) but I do love Kids Connection. Not many people seem to know about this quiet play area, where they have recreated an outdoor play area on the inside, complete with countryside murals on the wall and a range of traditional wooden play things, including climbing frames, seesaws and swings.

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3 – The Lost Chambers at Atlantis

www.atlantisthepalm.com

Location for taxi driver: Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah

Public Transport: Monorail from terminal next to One & Only Royal Mirage

We love this day out. Park the car (or catch a cab) to the monorail terminal next to One & Only Royal Mirage, jump on the monorail that runs up the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, and you will arrive at disney-esque hotel Atlantis The Palm. Inside you will find amazing aquarium The Lost Chambers at Atlantis, which will keep even the youngest toddlers entertained. There are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat afterwards – we usually head to Cold Stone Creamery for delicious ice cream concoctions.

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4 – JLT Park

www.jltcommunity.com

Location for taxi driver: JLT Cluster P (behind Armada Tower 2)

Public Transport: JLT Metro Station and walk around the lake

Another hidden gem, this park is one of my favourite green spaces in Dubai. There’s free parking, a great kids play area (a very safe distance from the road), and 55,000 square metres of grass for kicking ball around or laying out a picnic blanket.

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5 – RIPE Market

www.ripeme.com

Location for taxi driver: Zabeel Park, Gate 1

Public Transport: Al Jafiliya Metro Station

This is my favourite thing to do at the weekends at the moment. RIPE Market is on every Friday morning between 9am and 2pm at Zabeel Park. I can’t fully describe how lovely this event is, with foodie, craft and gift stalls along palm-tree lined paths and a petting zoo and pony ride area for kids. We head over shortly after opening for the boys to play, crawl and eat pancakes, my husband to swig strong coffee, and me to sip from a fresh coconut whilst browsing the stalls. If you haven’t been there yet, you must go!

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6 – Marina Promenade

Location for taxi driver: Marina Promenade, opposite JBR Amwaj

Public Transport: JBR 2 Tram Station (you can connect onto tram at JLT Metro Station)

I should probably keep quiet about this one, as we love how peaceful it is on Marina Promenade, which is right underneath where we live. Unlike Marina Walk (the other side of the Marina), it is rarely busy – so there’s lots of room for kids to zoom past the boats and water on their scooters. There’s also numerous family-friendly cafes along the promenade and a kids play area under the bridge.

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7 – Markette Restaurant and Creperie, Dubai Mall

www.thedubaimall.com

Location for taxi driver: Main entrance, Dubai Mall

Public Transport: Dubai Mall Metro Station

There are a gazillion places I could recommend to eat with kids in Dubai, but one that I really enjoy is Markette at Dubai Mall. It is located right opposite Dubai Aquarium, so you can sit and eat crepes while watching sharks swim around – which is guaranteed to impress even the hardest to impress kids. I recommend heading there early to avoid the crowds.

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8 – Kiddies Café

www.kiddiescafe.com

Location for taxi driver: Lake Shore Tower, Cluster Y

Public Transport: JLT Metro Station and walk around the lake

We haven’t been to this café and play area since the weather got cooler, but it was a lifesaver in the summer months – and also when I first had Wilfred and needed to get Stanley out the house. You can have a cup of coffee in front of the big glass windows, whilst watching your children have fun in the giant play area, jungle gym, ball pit, and craft room.

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9 – Reform at The Lakes

www.reformsocialgrill.ae

Location for taxi driver: The Lakes Club, The Lakes

Public Transport: None close by

Another great food spot with an outdoor play area – but this time, you can get gigantic plates of breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner while the little ones play. It’s not the cheapest venue (we usually keep costs down by going for breakfast) but it’s well worth it if you need some time to yourself while the kids are entertained. It has a pork license too – and I can’t recommend the pancakes, crispy bacon, and maple syrup highly enough (my mouth is watering just thinking about it).

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10 – Starbucks, Al Mehemal Street

http://mena.starbucks.com/

Location for taxi driver: Drive to end of Mehemal Street in Jumeirah 2 and you will find it on the corner of 24B street.

Public Transport: None close by

Why would I recommend Starbucks? Well this is probably the best coffee shop for kids in the city – as when you open the door to the garden, a totally secure play area awaits, complete with climbing frame, slides, and swings. So you can sip you latte, while the kids are entertained. Head over on weekdays and you will probably have the garden to yourself.

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24th October 2014

Current Favourites

Want to know what I’ve been loving recently? I’m kicking off a monthly post where I share my favourites – so here goes…

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1 – Blog

I have been reading Natasha’s blog The Milk Stand for a while now. The blog is addictive, mixing posts about everyday life with toddler Max with shopping inspiration, recipes, and reviews. She’s ridiculously cool and stylish (I want her home and wardrobe), but so genuine and honest in her musings. She also has a YouTube channel, which I dip into when I have time too. If you like Mum of Boys, you will like The Milk Stand, so make sure you check it out!

2 – Shop

Next has just launched its festive collections and I would like to buy the whole lot for my boys, especially this cool Fairisle Pattern Jumper, Navy Gilet, and Quilted Joggers – but as we are in Dubai in the sunshine, this cool T-Shirt will be added to my online basket. Definitely worth an online browse if you need new autumn/winter clothes for your boys.

3 – Book

I have fallen head over heels in love with Julia Donaldson’s Night Monkey, Day Monkey
book. The story is the perfect way to help active little boys wind down before bedtime, with beautiful words and even more beautiful illustrations. My sister bought this book for Wilfred, but Stanley is completely obsessed with it and asks for it every bedtime – that is fine by me, as it’s a real joy to read.

4 – Film

On the subject of Julia Donaldson – and very apt too, with Halloween around the corner – we have been watching the short animated film Room On The Broom quite a lot recently. There are some things that Stanley likes to watch on the television that really grate my nerves, but this is not one of them and I am always happy to put it on when the boys fancy a bit of screen time. It is quite literally a work of art, with beautiful animation and soothing music. You can buy it as a DVD at Amazon.co.uk or on iTunes to play on the iPad.

5 – UK Discovery

Toddler boys in leggings? Oh yes, it is very cool and very cute – and I will be buying my boys these adorable creations from brand tobias and the bear to wear with their T-shirts and Toms shoes. I’ve just discovered the brand and can’t wait to see the boys rocking them – but first, I have to decide between Ned The Elephant, Brown Bear Brown Bear, or Storm Boy (£15 each).

6 – Dubai Discovery

My friend Simone and I took our boys and husbands to Ripe Market this morning, in its new location of Zabeel Park. I didn’t think I could like the market any more than when it was based in Safa Park before the summer, but seriously, it’s even better. It’s closer to the car park, located on paths shaded by palm trees, with even more stalls. For kids, there’s a great play park alongside, animals to pet and ponies to ride from Tamini Stables, sand art to get creative, and pancakes that look like Mickey Mouse. And for adults, there is amazing coffee from Raw, endless food stalls to enjoy, and beautiful gift, clothing, and craft stalls to browse and buy. It’s on every Friday morning between 9am and 2pm – and believe me, it’s the perfect start to the weekend.

7 – On my wish list

I know I’m in Dubai, but I still want this cosy Grey Blanket from Not on the Highstreet and I think it’ll end up on my Christmas list to throw over the sofa. The weather in Dubai is starting to cool now and I’d love a pair of jeweled sandals to wear with summer dresses, like these Light Pink Gem Stone Sandals from River Island (we still want to wear pretty shoes as mums of boys, right?) And finally, I am desperate to get out on a date night with the husband to watch Gone Girl – hopefully we will manage it this week. Has anyone seen it yet?

8 – Dreaming of…

I’ve been researching a blog post about perfect holidays for families this week (to be revealed soon!) and the Sani Resort in Greece is somewhere a lot of you recommended. We can’t get there from Dubai as there are no direct flights – but if you are based in the UK and are looking for a family-friendly resort, this should seriously be top of your wish list. The resort is exceptionally kid-friendly, making it possible for adults to enjoy the holiday as much as their little companions. We will definitely get there one day…