Sorry our blog has been quiet for the last few weeks. We took some much needed time out for a family trip to Dubai. Our sister and brother in law live out there, so we had a huge family holiday (20 of us), before they move back to the UK in the summer.
We had the best time, so thought we’d share what we got up to with the kids for anyone thinking of visiting soon.
We flew from Newcastle with Emirates and were so excited for the flight as we’d travelled Emirates before and they were fantastic however, they were pretty rubbish this time. It was a 7 hour flight, no trolley service other than once for food and even then they refused to give us any food for our almost 2 year old. She was booked as an infant on my knee, therefore had to share my food, how ridiculous! My TV didn’t work going out and the sound didn’t work coming back, the staff were pretty miserable too and they deleted our pre-booked seats twice before our journey even started. Not good service for the price you pay for an Emirates flight. A few people have said they think they’ve gone downhill recently, so my only tip would be fly with a different airline, if possible! Moan over though, as that was the only negative part of the trip. The girls were so good on the flight too which really helped, we brought plenty entertainment but tbh they were more than happy just watching movies and wandering about. Our eldest was a fantastic bar runner when there was no trolley service haha!
I dressed both Kids in Esmé Lauren and had planned a full airport photo shoot, turns out our youngest had other plans. So after a three hour tantrum all I got was a shoe pic which I had to crop because she was screaming whilst I was taking it!! She did however get 3 new teeth about a day later, so I let her off.
Our apartment was beautiful, we booked a large suite in what was the tallest residential building in the world (they’ve built taller now, naturally!) in between the Marina and Dubai Media City. It was the perfect location for everything, we were close to the Malls, the Palm, JBR… and taxis are so cheap it was pennies to travel everywhere we needed to go.
On the first day, we had a chilled one on Jumeirah Beach and went to P.F. Chang’s for dinner in the evening. They do the most unreal dynamite shrimp, the food was absolutely beautiful and there is a little fair just outside the restaurant in the courtyard which kept the kids entertained.
My sister has the entertainer app, where you can get 241 meals and other offers which we used quite a lot throughout the holiday. You have to buy the app but it’s definitely worth getting. Especially when a bottle of wine is £50 in most restaurants. The money you save on food, helps pay for the wine, haha!
We relaxed by the pool on the second day and went to the Observatory for dinner in the evening. It’s a restaurant 52 floors up in the Marriot Hotel, with breathtaking views of Dubai, especially the Marina. They also do the best steak you’ll ever taste in your life. My Dad had given everyone a tip for the Grand National that day, which won, so everyone was buzzing, the champagne was flowing and we had such a lovely night. My sister had pre-booked the restaurant as there was 20 of us eating out every night, and this just made everything flow so easily and the staff looked after us so well.
We took the older kids to Ski Dubai in the Emirates Mall on the third day. It’s quite expensive for what it is, but the kids loved it. There was a ski lift to a really high toboggan style ride which shot them down the slope at 45 kmh, that went down well. There was also a bobsleigh and tubing ride. It was great fun. We went into the huge toy shops in the Mall after and the kids picked some toys each, the toy shops in the Malls are amazing so the kids were in their element. The adults then had a mandatory trip to Cinnabon (OMG!!!).
Day 4, we went back down to JBR beach and the kids went on the giant sea inflatable. It’s about £20 per person but you get a wrist band and can go back on as much as you want all day. It’s a bit like a wipeout set up so it’s more for kids about 6 and up. It tired them out and the adults, so after much needed nap, we headed out for a night at the Dubai Mall to see the Light/Fountain show in front of the Burj Khalifa and had dinner round by the water. It was so beautiful. The Burj is insane, you look up and you can’t see the top, so you look up again and nope, after about 3 attempts you can see the top and it’s honestly the most incredible building. We went for the 8pm light and fountain show and hit lucky with a baby shark themed show! Then we walked round to the Meat & Co restaurant and had dinner with the Burj in the background, the light and fountain shows continue throughout the evening, so they were in the background all throughout dinner and it was just the prettiest setting. We then had a walk through the Mall on the way home to let the kids stop and check out the Aquarium. The Aquarium is the height of the mall (which is 3 floors I think) and you can pay to go through or pay to swim with the sharks etc. It’s brilliant.
Day 5, my sister booked us a trip to Abu Dhabi. We visited the Heritage village, where we looked at the history in the Museum and visited the traditional shops. The scenery was beautiful.
I bought a really quirky incense burner and there were the most beautiful glass perfume bottles I’ve ever seen (I’m so annoyed at myself for not buying one). There was also handmade wine glasses, glass teapots, candle holders, all so intricately designed and crafted. I will definitely go back and buy one of everything! Then we visited the Great Mosque. WOW! I honestly have no words. I’ve never been anywhere so magnificent in my whole life, Everything is so elegant, unique and I’m going to guess, incredibly expensive! I don’t think ‘amazing’ comes close to describing it. The ornate and intricate decor, vast swathes of polished marble, the serene calmness... honestly, there aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe it. Being a sacred place of worship the expectations for showing deference is naturally high, however it turns out my parenting fails are transferable skills… My hair was accidentally exposed for a few seconds when the wind blew down the hood of my abaya and I was instantly told to put it back up before I even had chance to realise it had blown down. I also posed for a quick picture with my hands in the air rather than them by my side and the pictures were swiftly deleted by hubby under the strict instruction of the attendants. I hadn’t intentionally meant to be rude in any way and quickly apologised, twice!!!. I really appreciated the respect given to this beautiful Mosque and it’s only right visitors respect the culture, values and traditions of the country they are being hosted in. Although the recently deleted items in my phone still tempt me haha! All in all it was a fantastic day, an amazing experience and a memory I’ll always treasure.
Day 6, we rented a Yacht. A yacht!!! I know that sounds really extravagant but it wasn’t at all. It worked out about £30 per adult with the kids going free. We went through the Marina, out to the Atlantis and then back into JBR where we anchored for a bit so we could have some fun jumping off the yacht and playing with the kids in the sea. That night we went down to Barasti (a restaurant/bar/nightclub on the beach). The food here is amazing so we had a late night eating and drinking as the grandparents kindly took the kids home early!
Day 7, we had a much needed chilled out day by the pool and on the evening went to the Asian District at the Pointe on the Palm. The food here was unreal. They offer food from a selection of Asian countries. We paid £30 and could order anything from the menu and as much as we wanted. The poor restaurant hadn’t realised what they were letting themselves in for, between us we probably packed away about two weeks worth of stock… oops!! We’re good eaters haha. It was also Ladies night which meant us ‘ladies’ drank free all night. The views are incredible too and the restaurant has beautiful oriental décor.
On day 8 we went to Mina A’Salam for brunch. It’s right next to the Burj al-Arab so the views again were amazing. Tbh, I don’t think there’s many places in Dubai that don’t have amazing views. I’ve only ever been to Asia Asia for brunch before, but OMG, this place blew that right out of the water. It was insane. Unlimited food and alcohol for £80 per adult (kids were free). There a station for all types of cuisines, my favourite had to be the seafood station, and I definitely got my money’s worth in shrimps, lobsters and oysters alone. There was so much choice, Greek, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, American, different Caribbean cuisines, you name it, they had it. So there was plenty choice for the kids too. We had unlimited prosecco, so every time we took a sip it was topped up and the staff were so hot at keeping your glass filled to the brim. There was a gin, rum, vodka, but more importantly Jaeger stations too! There was a small play area for the kids, a face painter and the staff made them fancy non-alcoholic cocktails. At the end of brunch we took a cute gondola ride along the river to a bar round the corner. We had to leave early though as our youngest sprinted off and ran into the corner of a table. She really hurt her eye and wouldn’t let anyone put ice on it, so the next day she woke up with a very sore looking, swollen, black eye. It’s only just about gone 3 weeks later. She also decided that now would be the perfect timing to start her latest terrible ‘two’s’ trick, she’s not two until the summer but she’s well versed in terrible two’s already. Whenever I asked her to do anything she didn’t want to do, she would try to run away or escape me whilst shouting “Help me! Help me” at the top of her voice, I had to reassure passers by that the baby I was forcing into the car seat, with a black eye, shouting for help, was perfectly fine, very much loved and not in need of “help”. What a nightmare!!! This also made it impossible to get any cute pics of her in her Esmé Lauren outfits for the rest of the holiday or when we got home.
On the 9th day we had another relaxing pool day and a lovely dinner at Bombay Bungalow, JBR. It absolutely poured it down that night and we were all sitting in the restaurant soaking wet just from walking from the taxi to the front door. The kids thought it was great and got to sit at dinner wrapped in beautiful scarfs all snug and warm. The drenched adults didn’t enjoy it as much!
On our last day, we booked a desert safari. We were picked up from the apartment and taken to a camp in the desert. We then went in a 4x4 which drove us roller-coaster style across the sand dunes, which was great fun. We had a little camel ride, sand boarded, then went into camp for some traditional food, shows and henna tattoo’s. It was great last day and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it, even the scary dune driving!
Dubai is one of the best place I’ve ever visited, I absolutely love it there. I love how safe you feel, how beautiful it is, the atmosphere/vibe, the different/unique activities to do and also the fact there is so much to do you could never get bored. It’s as cheap or expensive as you want it to be and there is so much stuff for the kids to do. It’s not a typical relaxing beach holiday, but I’d honestly recommend a visit if you’ve never been. I’m just gutted it’s all over. Major holiday blues. So if anyone has any good holiday recommendations for our next one, please let us know!!!
Lots of Love