A mini guide to what’s hot and what’s new in Dubai this month
Hello, April! And hello heat! There’s no doubt that summer is definitely on its way and with one term of school left before the summer holidays, this year is flying by already. This month is all about seeking out the last of the outdoors before it really gets too sweaty out there. It’s about spending time as a family every weekend – especially if, like me, you don’t get to see the other half much during the week. And it’s about cooling off when you do get a bit hot and bothered in a few of the best family friendly eateries and family-friendly cafés around. I’m also really excited to share news of some fab new brands that have made their way to Dubai and that are bound to become mama faves. Here are a few of the things and places I’m loving this month. ENJOY!
A whimsical, magical outdoor space that provides the perfect place to make the most of the cooler mornings and balmy evenings, Al Barari Nature Escapes have been created to allow families and friends to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature and soak up plenty of green! I love the beautifully themed picnic areas complete with fairy lights, gorgeous décor and a touch of Bohemia. Buy a picnic basket full of treats (there are breakfast, lunch and dinner options) then recline, relax and enjoy the sounds of birds singing and your kids playing blissfully among the greenery – there’s a playground too and weekend activities from yoga to arts & crafts. I just hope the heat stays away long enough to be able to enjoy this very special place more!
Sometimes you find a little gem that just makes your heart sing and Al Noor Island is definitely one of them! Sharjah often gets forgotten about when we’re thinking of fun things to do as a fam but there are SO many reasons to visit – particularly now that we’ve discovered Al Noor Island, the newest family destination in Sharjah that’s all about sensory journeys in a Utopian landscape. From a beautiful butterfly house to artistic sculptures, maze gardens, magical illuminations and literary treasures plus so much more, the island is all about fun and learning as a family. There’s also an outdoor playground with plenty of open space, trees to hide behind and a natural landscape that mirrors that childhood idyll of roaming free – heavenly! Oh and the Al Noor Café, inside the Butterfly House, is the perfect place to sip on a latte in a lush green space that’s home to 500 exotic butterflies.
For those days when you just want to chuck your computer out of the window, stamp on your phone and generally smash things around (we’ve all been there..), The Smash Room is a genius new space were you can do exactly that (kind of) but in a safe, controlled way. Shatter, break, stomp, tear, yell and embrace that animalistic release that you usually have to control at home – in an environment that’s been put together with recycled objects including old furniture, glassware and much more. Book in for a little sesh and you’ll feel SO much better afterwards – of perhaps get your hubby in for a bit of smashing if he’s had a tough week at work. And then go back to being all zen and lovely at home. Yay!
After making waves around the world, this wonderful multi sensory Van Gogh exhibition has come to Dubai and it’s so worth a visit, mamas! Located at the Dubai Design District (so worth a visit anyway, there are some lovely foodie spots and plenty of photo opps too!), Van Gogh Alive – The Experience showcases work by the Dutch painter in a way that the whole family will love – displayed on the walls, the ceiling, and even the floor, with high-definition projectors (if you fancy standing under his famous Starry Sky then this is where to do it!).
And there’s also a specially curated classical music soundtrack to enjoy as you wander around (seriously good chill out vibes – perfect for relaxing the kids!).
Another must do in Dubai’s Design District, ING’s Creative Festival from 11 – 13 April will gather together designers, artists and creative types from all over the world with a series of talks, exhibitions and workshops for all ages. From Disney animators to National Geographic photographers to inspire you to learning the art of Japanese calligraphy or screen printing plus the chance to shop at a Creative Market, with more than 50 artists exhibiting their work from all over the world, this is going to be so much fun! There’ll also be live music and food options galore. Sound good? Stick it in your diary, mama!
Fancy brunch with a difference? Well on Thursday, 19 April it’s time to gather your pals and head to an amazing gourmet experience at Atlantis, The Palm where a dine around night brunch will bring together the very best of the best. Not only will you be able to walk freely from one restaurant to another in The Avenues (sushi by Nobu anyone? followed by homemade pasta by Locatelli and sticky toffee pudding Gordon Ramsay style?) but also be fully immersed in an exciting circus environment complete with street performers, jugglers, acrobats and entertainers. Woohoo!
And if you want the party to continue then head to The Lost Chambers Aquarium for desserts before getting your dancing shoes on for the electric after-party at YUAN.
Thursday 19 April from 7pm – 11pm
Early-bird: AED 495 per person including free-flowing bubbly and house beverage
General admission: AED 535 per person with free-flowing bubbly and house beverages
For more information contact: +971 4 426 2626
Tickets are available on platinumlist.net
A cafe where you can sit and enjoy avo on toast and a seriously good latte while the kids run around in a beautiful garden space? YES PLEASE! The new Park House Cafe at XPark Jr is the perfect spot for a family friendly brekkie (or lunch – they regularly host yummy bbq’s so keep an eye out on their Facebook page for details). Set in a gorgeous barn style building with a thatched roof – you can eat inside or out on a terrace overlooked by trees. Heaven.
As much as I’d love to be one of those women who can run around in heels effortlessly – I just can’t do it! The school run, meetings, groceries and a million things in between require something comfortable which is why the House of Ballerinas range of beautiful ballet pumps is just perfect. The staple of every Parisian girls’ wardrobe, the House of Ballerinas range of colours, textures and details means you can choose everything from glitter to sparkles, bright pops of fuchsia to electric blue, leopard to snake prints. Wear with skinny jeans or a little black dress and you’ll be looking and feeling tres chic instantly.