There are some people whom I know, who never get very excited about presents, gifts or surprises. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to them and they cannot understand what all the fuss is about. I, on the other hand, am thrilled to get gifts. I mean, seriously what is not to love about getting presents?! I enjoy giving gifts as well but getting presents makes me happy. In fact I have been considering signing up for a Glam Box subscription here in Dubai. Similar to its counterparts in other areas of the globe, the Glam Box is a monthly assortment of lovely beauty products that are delivered to your doorstep, nicely packaged. It is like getting a gift every month and what’s more it doesn’t even have to be your birthday!
According to me, gifts can go a long way in brightening my mood and I look forward to special occasions just because I can expect to get a gift or two. There are some things which perhaps you could buy it for yourself but still it is nice when someone gives it as a present. And then there are some things which you might really like but won’t buy it for yourself since you are hesitant to splurge- these things will surely delight you if they come by as gifts instead because they are exactly what you coveted!
So what are the things that I would be really excited to get as gifts?
- Spa vouchers: Who wouldn’t like to be presented with a trip to the spa? A spa day means lots of pampering and it would be great to relax and unwind – for free!
- Jewellery: is really easy to buy over here, either in fashion stores or, if you are looking for something that would impress me more, check out unique fashion jewelry online. You can find some really beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings online in Dubai.
- Travel packages: It has been so long since I went away on a trip and it would be wonderful to lay my hands on travel packages to some of the places on my wishlist, like Turkey, Indonesia, Mauritius, Italy… of the list is simply endless!
- Things that smell good: Too many random things to list separately, but scented candles, body lotions and perfumes all fall into this category – you get the picture, right? Lush, Bath & Body Works and The Body Shop are some of my favourite brands for these items.
- Things that make my life easy: Nifty kitchen gadgets or which make cooking a breeze or useful household appliances or even the paid services of a house maid who can look after the cleaning of my home would be so perfect!
The Artisans of the Emirates (ARTE) is a group of artists and crafters who work towards promoting locally produced handmade products in the UAE. ARTE was founded by Paul Townsend and Miriam Walsh, back in 2005. 8 years down the line, the ARTE community has become a strong and sustainable network of a variety of artists from various nationalities and cultural backgrounds in the UAE. Therefore, the products that are available through ARTE are also varied and diverse. There are a lot of places in the UAE where you can bag bargains but the ARTE fairs stand out in their spirit of creativity.
Every month, ARTE holds a fair for local artisans to exhibit and sell their wares. The products available include handmade accessories, cosmetics such as perfumes and soaps, attractive jewelry, toys, paintings, food, beautiful souvenirs and pretty artifacts among other things. All the products are made in the UAE and care is taken to ensure that there are no imported items on sale. The prices are fair, the wares are of good quality, the people are lovely and walking around the stalls makes for a great day out. You will definitely be tempted to pick up a few things for yourself and your friends!
Demand has gradually grown over time and the ARTE community has shown steady growth over the years and with more than 3000 artisans in their network today, the ARTE fair is a must for anyone who supports the cause of independent and indigenous artisans. If you are sick and tired of mass produced products and are always on the hunt for one-of-a-kind products, check out an ARTE fair and you won’t regret it. Go ahead! Afterall the money you spend is going towards encouraging people who are passionate about what they do. Even if you can’t make it to the ARTE fair, you could still check out their website where you can buy a limited amount of products from their online store as well. Perhaps once you try their products you will be tempted to drop into their next fair! Alternatively, if you are an artisan based out of the UAE and are looking to reach a larger customer base and for more exposure, then you could consider becoming a member of ARTE. A number of ARTE customers have eventually gone one to set up their own boutiques and indeed, your association with ARTE might pave the way for better growth for you and your art.
It is a known fact that Dubai is a shopping paradise and is home to a number of swanky malls. Some of the most popular malls are the Dubai Mall, Mall Of The Emirates, Marina Mall, Ibn Battuta and Burjuman. While these malls offer a superior shopping experience and often have some interesting events and attractive promotions going on, sometimes one tends to be interested in some bargain shopping. If you are looking for some budget shopping, then the Dragon Mart is a good place to check out.
Although the Dragon Mart is located a good half hour’s drive away from downtown Dubai, it is easily accessible by the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed road (formerly Emirates road). It is a huge and sprawling shopping venue spread out over 150,000 square meters. The dragon-shaped structure houses more than 3000 shops offering a wide variety of clothes, toys, furniture, jewelry, accessories, cosmetics, perfumes, house ware, food products and furnishings, among others.
Whether you are redecorating your house, leaving to your home country on a vacation and need some low cost gifts or revamping your wardrobe, you are sure to find goods of interest at the Dragon Mart. As everyone is aware, Chinese goods are good attractive and sometimes, even quirky. Of course, at times, the quality of these mass produced items might not satisfy everyone. However, to most expats who plan to be in the UAE only for a few years, Dragon Mart serves the purpose.
If you want to explore the entire mart, plan to spend an entire day over there. There are eateries inside the mart where you can enjoy some yum food as well. Do remember to bargain with the salespersons – as usually they reduce the prices after a bit of haggling. If you are a shopaholic, the Dragon Mart is a good place to hang out! But be prepared – you will end up with a lighter wallet by the end of the day!
As a parent, you only want the best for your child. Be it food, clothes, toys, education or healthcare, we try our best to provide the best. However, due to our busy and fast-paced lives these days, we seldom have the time to rely on age-old practices and traditions. Cloth diapers and homemade baby food are losing favour gradually, because they involve more time and effort. Instead, we tend to rely on commercially available diapers and bottled baby food for convenience. But there is always a nagging worry at the back of our minds and all the horror stories that one hears about adulterated baby food and the use of artificial and harsh dyes in baby clothes, makes us wonder if such products are safe to use with our children.
Realising that parents are not willing to compromise on the well-being of their children, many retailers have begun promoting organic baby products. Organic products such as baby food, toys and baby clothes are usually a little more expensive than normal ones; however, the peace of mind that you get knowing your child is not coming in contact with harmful chemicals or preservatives is priceless indeed. This is the main reason why an increasing number of parents are embracing organic living today.
Nowadays, organic products for babies are not too difficult to find. In fact, it is quite a challenge to stop yourself from splurging when you enter a baby shop! Dubai has a number of well-stocked baby shops where you can find reliable organic baby products. “Organic” may seem to be the latest buzzword now and a few might think that this phase would soon fade away. However, not only are organic products safe for your baby, they also promote sustainable living since they come with an added advantage of being environment friendly as well. Organic products also tend to be fresher since they do not have any artificial additives in them. The downside to this is that typically organic products have a shorter shelf life when compared to non-organic products.
Even if you are not a parent, you could always pick up a few interesting and useful things such as organic baby bath products or organic cotton towels the next time you are invited to a baby shower or birthday party, instead of your standard choices. It would be a great opportunity for the parents to give organic baby products a shot and to try it out before deciding to invest in them.
Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) is one of the two major shopping festivals held annually in Dubai. It runs from June until July each year. It was established in 1998 to encourage visitors to come to Dubai during the off season for tourism. Hotel rates are at their lowest during the summer when temperatures are very high. This gives visitors who want to visit Dubai during DSS a chance to stay in luxury hotels at bargain prices and shop at luxury retail stores at deep discounts.
All of the major malls and most of the large retailers in Dubai take part in DSS offering discounts and activities to celebrate DSS. The malls have many family oriented activities, raffles, etc. The city of Dubai provides and encourages entertainment with street side entertainers, fireworks, and many types of fun for families. It is a great time to live in Dubai and a great time to visit Dubai.
There are great discounts available all throughout DSS. For new offers, check the website each day. There are new offers and new businesses opening in Dubai that will be announced on the DSS website each day. If you live in Dubai, bring come and bring the family for all the fun. If you plan to visit Dubai, enjoy your stay and take home some real bargains.