the dubai debrief


We've been home from our holiday in Dubai for over a month now, and I feel like it's taken me that long to come down from the holiday high and be able to put the whole thing down in words. It was just such an adventure for us, and such a fantastic experience, that I'm conscious of wanting to do the whole thing justice.


In fact for a while I did consider whether I'd share anything much about it at all. At the end of the day it was our family holiday; it was special for us, but who honestly wants to look through someone else's holiday snaps? This wasn't a work trip, or a review trip; this was a paid up like a proper tourist trip. But I've had so many people ask me about it since, that I decided I would share a post, and share our holiday videos over on Youtube. So I'm officially calling this Dubai week, and each day this week I'll be sharing a new video from our trip over on our channel. And then I promise I'll stop talking about Dubai, okay...?


To set the scene a little; our reasons for going to Dubai were to visit my brother (and his lovely other half) who was turning 30, and who has lived out there for coming up for two years. It's been about a year in the planning, but we really wanted to surprise Matt, so I kept radio silent on the fact we were going anywhere, which is sooo hard when you're a blogger. The urge to ask twitter for all the recommendations was real! But we were basically looking forward to some family time, some sunshine, and a little bit of exploring, and just a bit of break from normal life. 


I'll confess that before we went I did have some preconceived ideas about Dubai; it seemed like a bustling city, full of malls and eateries. A new city, a glitzy city. A bit of a grown up playground in the middle of the desert. I knew that it had some amazing theme parks, water parks and experiences, but I think I had some Vegas type thoughts about the place. And as much as I was excited to go; I did suspect that it would possibly be more interesting to Rich and I than to the kids, and was possibly a destination more suited to families with older children, or to couples. It would be worth the trip for us to see family and enjoy some warmth, but I didn't have many ideas beyond that. 

Let me just say... I was wrong.


In my life, I have NEVER been somewhere where EVERYONE is so welcoming, accommodating and just plain kind to families with small children. People rushed to give up their seats on the metro for the children, and then proceeded to chat to them; asking questions, pointing things out to them out the window. Older children would stroke their hair and clothes and smile at them in elevators. People would go out of their way come and ruffle their three blonde head. When we went for dinner high chairs arrived by magic before we asked, and the crayons and colouring were handed out before the menus. It blew me away just how kind everyone was... which is sad really, that we live in a world where I don't expect people to be so nice! My biggest two kids think the whole world is full of friends they haven't met yet, and while I know that's very innocent and naive, it's lovely too; and in Dubai their outlook proved true, because they made friends everywhere they went. 


It's very much a city with two sides as far as holiday destinations are concerned. It's sunny, it's hot, it's at the coast, so it is obviously popular from a beach/swim/sunshine holiday perspective. And I know that a lot of people go for that alone. But it is also a cosmopolitan city, with beautiful architecture, stunning marinas, parks, souks, shopping, culture... all the things you'd expect of a city break, plus you're a short drive away from the desert... actual desert! And as much as I love the sunshine and to relax on the beach, I was really conscious of wanting to experience both sides of what Dubai has to offer. We were certainly helped by having "people on the ground" who live there, and know the area, and the slightly off the beaten track gems. But we also made like tourists and went up the tallest building in the world, and went to the beach, and enjoyed the fountains at Dubai Mall like every tourist should.


I honestly do feel like you're doing Dubai a disservice if you don't visit those tourist bits, but know that there is so much more to this city than sunshine and shopping and a man made palm shape island. I won't pretend for a second that we did anything more than simply scratch the surface of what Dubai has to offer, and we already have a long list of thing we want to do on our next trip... because there will definitely be a next trip. We've fallen pretty hard for Dubai.


This is our Day 1 video... and if you aren't already subscribed to our YouTube channel then now would be a really good time to start, so that you don't miss our other Dubai videos coming up this week.

4 comments

  1. I love going off the beaten track a bit on holiday and when we went to France because Eddy was working it felt like those hidden gems were really special in the know knowledge. It looks like an amazing trip and if I didn't want to go already (I totally did) I want to go even more now x

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  2. Oh I love reading about your Dubai adventures. We are all going there year after next for Paul's 40th birthday and you just got me so excited. Loving the pineapple floaty too babes too cute. We have the donut one for America this summer. What a magical surprise for your brother. Almost brought me to tears when I saw your photo you posted that day. Bittersweet he won't forget that. Great you could all be there together.

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  3. AHhhhh! All the cries at surprising your brother - how lovely was that!? Dylan is the image of your brother! x

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  4. I have always wanted to go to Dubai but I had the same thoughts as you, that it wouldn't make a great family holiday but it's lovely to see that you were all so welcomed!

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