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Keeping Up With Kaya: December

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A mini guide to what’s hot and what’s new in & around Dubai this month

December’s here (seriously, how did that happen!?) which means more gorgeous weather, Christmas, family, shopping and planning for those 3 weeks of school hols! I’m writing this from my desk with the windows and doors wide open and plenty of fresh air flooding in – heavenly! These winter months see Dubai at its very best. I’m on deadline at the moment – both in terms of work but also for getting my home sorted before the influx of visitors. The walls in the living room have been painted a gorgeous caramel colour (Jotun’s Macchiato) and I’m looking forward to decorating the house with fairy lights. This is the month for indulging in delicious food, for getting together with friends, for reflecting on the past year and looking forward to 2017. From new family activities to hotel news and treats, here are a few of the things I’m loving in December. Have a great month, mamas – and Happy Christmas (only 19 more sleeps to go…..)

clas ohlson lights dubai


Outdoor string lights and home accessories from Clas Ohlson which has just opened its doors in Mercato Mall, Jumeirah! (there’s also a big one in City Centre Mirdif). If you’re as obsessed with Ikea as I am then you’re going to love this Swedish store that stocks everything from hardware to toys, kitchen appliances to home accessories – it’s like the modern version of the old-fashioned corner store that I used to visit with my grandma when I was little – a treasure trove of everything! Their bulb lights are the perfect thing for sprucing up any outdoor space and there are star lanterns and other really festive bits and bobs too.

little explorer


The kids at the brand new Little Explorers, Dubai Marina Mall. Now if you’ve been to Little Explorers in City Centre Mirdif then you’ll know how absolutely fabulous it is for curious little people. A play zone with a difference (this isn’t about soft play, neon lighting and pumping music), Little Explorers combines a touch of science and discovery with engineering, physical activity, creativity and exploration – allowing the kids to get stuck into activities that are divided into various zones in a really safe and lovely space. Oh and they do a ‘shop and drop’ package meaning that you can hit up the mall while the kids are having a ball. Perfect.

lucky voice dubai


My heart out at Lucky Voice, Dubai’s newest Karaoke joint! I was a regular at the London location and am SO happy that this uber cool venue has now come to the desert. With private karaoke pods for you and your group to book up, this is all about letting your hair down with your gal pals, or husbands  – but not if they’re as tone deaf as mine (sorry darling), having a few drinks and letting your inhibitions go as you don a few accessories and get on that mic! That’s the next ladies night sorted!



A wellness retreat at the soon-to-open Alma Retreat in RAK, a tented bedouin camp dedicated to all things health and wellbeing – body, mind and heart. After the forecast excesses of Christmas (am a mince pie addict), a weekend retreat here will be just the thing to get 2017 off to the best possible start. The Alma Retreat is the first of its kind in the Middle East and is all about switching the mobile phone off for 2 days (this is a personal goal of mine for next year – less time on the iPhone!), getting back to nature and reprioritising. Accommodation is in tented camps, comfortable but deliberately simple to contrast the bubble of UAE lavish living – and the attention to detail and quality are the best, from the service to organic food . The detail and quality is second-to-none, from the exceptional service and teachers to their partners (Greenheart Organic Farms are supplying all the yummy organic veg – hooray!). From daily meditation and yoga to exercise and creative workshops, I can’t wait to go!
psst.. book before the end of the year and you’ll get a 30% discount. Christmas pressie to yourself?

dinner in the sky


At ‘dinner in the sky‘, the most amazing (if not slightly terrifying) concept that involves you dining on a platform suspended from a crane, 50 metres above the ground at the Habtoor Grand Hotel, Habtoor City. I’m totally intrigued by this – imagine the views over the canal, the city skyscrapers and beyond while enjoying brunch, lunch or dinner. Definitely not for the faint-hearted (are hard hats included!?).

kenwood pure juice


My organic veggies with the new Kenwood Pure Juice, a slow-press juicer with a difference that locks in goodness, is super easy to clean (bonus) and even makes almond milk. It also comes with a nifty little recipe book for juices, ice-pops and delicious treats to make using the fruit and vegetable pulp that separates from the juice (beetroot brownies anyone!?).

shopping festival


Money by shopping at the Dubai Shopping Festival which runs across town from December 26th – January 28th and includes massive savings throughout all of the malls, fun activities and the chance to win some great prizes through raffles and competitions. Time for some VERY early Christmas shopping perhaps?!

tub of butter


With the fam at Tub of Butter, a new cafe and home-grown concept that sounds fabulous (maybe it’s the name, I’m a huge butter fan). Contrary to what you may think, dishes aren’t prepared with a tub of butter but are actually delicious and healthy – and the interiors light and airy. There’s a focus on local produce and products to buy and use in your own kitchen if you’re a keen cook.
Open daily 7am – 11pm, on SZR between Al Thanya and Al Manara

inn the park


To Inn The Park, the fabulous sounding new cafe by the lovely people behind Bystro (one of our favourite little resto/cafes in Dubai). Located in Al Khazzan Park opposite City Walk, Inn The Park promises lots of green open space for the kids to enjoy and the opportunity to sip a coffee under a tree. What could be better!? More park cafes please Dubai!

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