Boasting stunning markets, fascinating galleries, superb international restaurants, luxurious desert safaris, first class hotels and the world’s biggest shopping mall- it’s no wonder Dubai has become such a popular holiday destination.
This diverse and unique Middle Eastern city has so much to offer and today we are excited to chat with the gorgeous Laura (one half) from the amazing blog Mums the World- who has been calling Dubai home for the last nine years.
Laura and Jenny are the two lovely ladies behind Mums the World and are on a mission to bring their loyal readers and followers all the latest features, tips and inspiration for travelling the globe in style- with (and without) children.
Having worked as Cabin Crew for years, both girls are expert jetsetters and are now very passionate about sharing their experiences and journeys with other mums.
Laura is kind enough to not only reveal her favourite spots and places around her current hometown, which will definitely make your stay in Dubai a spectacular one- she also gives us some great tips on travelling with children and her current favourite family destinations.
ML&S: How long have you been living in Dubai?
Laura: I have been living in Dubai for almost nine years. My husband was offered a job here in 2006 and we landed with two suitcases to our name! Over the course of the nine years, we have lived in different neighbourhoods including the Palm Jumeirah and Downtown. We are now happily settled in a villa with our two boys Finlay- 6 and Elliott- 3, who were both born here.
ML&S: How would you describe your life in Dubai?
Laura: It’s a busy old life but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Weekdays are Sunday to Thursday and after dropping Finlay to school and Elliott to nursery I try and squeeze an hour at the gym, which doesn’t happen as regular as I’d like. After which I work part time as a booking manager for an artist agency as well as running Mums the World- alongside my partner in crime Jenny.
I work from home and my job is very flexible, which allows me to pick up the boys and take them to after school activities and playdates. We are fortunate to have help at home, which allows me to focus on family and work and it’s certainly not something I take for granted. My husband works long hours as a Director of an Architects practice so weekends are all about spending quality time together as a family.
ML&S: Can you tell us about your lovely blog Mums the World?
Laura: Mums the World was launched in May 2014 when Jenny and I visited Nepal on a trekking adventure. Whilst sitting in a tea house up in the Himalayas discussing the meaning of life, we decided to create a blog about one of our true loves – travel. We are a modern travel movement designed to inspire stylish, adventure-led families to journey well with and without their children.
ML&S: What do you love most about your current work?
Laura: Jenny and I both love writing and travelling, so it made perfect sense for us to write about our experiences. The blog enables us to have a creative platform to share travel stories with other like minded parents and our social media is a great outlet for us to connect with our readers and source our inspirational guest writers, as well as focus on photography, which is something we both love. Seeing Mums the World grow and evolve since we launched has been a wonderful journey and long may it continue!
ML&S: What are your top kids stores in Dubai?
Laura: Cos, Zara Kids, Gap, M&S, H&M and Ralph Lauren. I also shop online at Next and Alex&Alexa, who deliver the next day.
ML&S: Where do you like to shop for yourself?
Laura: I’m currently obsessed with Cos for the whole family, I can’t go in without spotting at least three things I ‘need’. I love Zara and Topshop too for everyday wear. For more special pieces I love Sandro and Boutique One has a great selection of designers. We also have some great independent stores that stock local designers such as Sauce and O’de Rose. If all else fails you’d be hard pushed to not find something in Bloomingdales, Galleries Lafayette and Harvey Nichols. Level Shoe District has every shoe under the sun too- Dubai is a shoppers paradise.
ML&S: Best place to grab a coffee?
Laura: Spill the Bean is a cool little spot for breakfast in Sunset Mall and Tom & Serge never fails on the good coffee front. BoxPark is a cool new area with plenty of cafes. We like Marimekko there and finally The Farm deserves a mention for it’s stunning setting.
ML&S: What do you enjoy doing most with your family on weekends?
Laura: A typical weekend for us would start with a long, lazy breakfast at Al Badia Golf Club whilst my eldest has his golf lesson (they do an awesome full English). The rest of the weekend, if we don’t have birthday parties to attend, would be spent at the beach or pool. There are some great family friendly beach clubs to choose from including Zero Gravity or ’The Beach’ at JBR and Kite Beach are two great public beaches. We also like to visit the Ripe Market, a lovely farmers market held in different locations around the city.
If we’re escaping the sun we’ll usually head to Dubai Mall where the boys can ice skate, visit the aquarium, cinema, Kidzania (their favourite) and Sega world. There is also Midriff City Centre mall, which has bowling, i-fly, Little Explorers and AquaPlay, or Adventure HQ in The Galleria Mall for their cool climbing walls – we are never stuck for things to do.
I should also probably mention the famous Friday Brunch, which is something of an institution amongst expat residents. Between 12:30pm and 4:00pm you can eat, drink and be merry in practically all of Dubai’s luxury hotels. Beachcombers at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Nine7One at The Oberoi and Al Bahou in Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate are especially good for families.
ML&S: What are some of your fave eateries?
Laura: There are so many new restaurants popping up over the city all the time that we are very spoilt for choice- it gets overwhelming at times trying to choose somewhere. For a date night we love La Serre or Pierchic. An old favourite for a great curry would be Asha’s and there are also an array of celeb chef restaurants to choose from for super special occasions.
We eat out regularly with the boys and they love it almost as much as we do. Their favourite is Asian so we tend to visit The Noodle House, P.F Changs and Wagamama for casual dining with them.
ML&S: You ladies have travelled so much, what are some of your favourite family destinations?
Singapore was an amazing family trip for us recently. We had a great balance of city sightseeing followed by a few days R&R on adjoining Sentosa Island and a trip to Universal Studios. It’s such a clean city, very green with friendly people and plenty to do to keep you occupied for a weeks holiday.
South Africa, Paris, London and Greece are also up there on our list of current faves.
ML&S: Your top tip for travelling with baby/kids?
Laura: Stay calm, breathe and organise your carry-on bag in advance. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Now the boys are that little bit older, I’m finding travelling with them is becoming a lot easier, dare I say even fun! With babies it can be a little different and my advice would be to take help when it is offered and also don’t be afraid to ask if you need some assistance. If all else fails, there’s always wine!
ML&S: You should never leave Dubai until you have?
Laura: Been on a desert safari, had Afternoon Tea inside the Burj Al Arab, gone to the top of the Burj Khalifa, watched the dancing fountains, taken an abra ride from one side of the creek to the other, had a mani/pedi and massage at one of the many nail bars, swam with dolphins at Atlantis, visited the Zabeel Saray Talise Spa – and so much more!
ML&S: What is your favourite season there?
Laura: We are blessed with all year round sunshine and to be honest it would be easier to answer which season we like least! The answer being the summer months where temperatures soar to 40+. There is usually a mass exodus come the end of the school term in June with families visiting their home countries for a few months to escape the heat. That said, we have stayed in Dubai over the summer months and lots of indoor activities are definitely the key to staying sane!
ML&S: Favourite hotel?
Laura: Our new favourite is The Oberoi with their exceptional service in a downtown location. For a luxury beachfront hotel it’s hard to beat The Four Seasons and for something a little more friendly on the purse strings, The Hilton Jumeirah is an oldie but goodie.
ML&S: What do you love most about living in Dubai?
Laura: It’s such a safe and child friendly place to live. The little ones are welcomed almost everywhere and there are always lots of things happening around the city to keep them (and us) entertained! It’s vibrant, busy and like most cities, never sleeps. There are lots of opportunities and we are surrounded by positive, ambitious people, which is inspiring. Obviously the great weather helps too and having a great support network of friends is incredibly important when you live abroad. Our friends have become more like family.
Dubai is truly multi cultural and I love that the boys are growing up with children of different nationalities and learning about their culture as well as their own.
Make sure you check out the fab Mums the World blog & follow Laura & Jenny on IG @mumstheworld_ FB @Mums the World