Since becoming a mum, leisure shopping (as opposed to necessity shopping, i.e. Supermarket!) has become a thing of the past. But there is one thing I indulge in on a monthly basis: the Marina Souq. They have recently moved to the Fishing Harbour behind the DOSC on Jumeirah Road so parking is always easy although it can be a short walk away (there is your bit of exercise for that morning) as it does get very busy early in the morning which is when I go, after school drop-off! Bonus is that after your girlie shopping, you can stop at the fish market and get the freshest for your dinner.
Most of the vendors are regulars at the RIPE or ArtE markets too, and some have their products for sale at places like The Change Initiative. But I love that once a month (normally a Wednesday) you can find them all under one roof - quite literally: one large marquee that gets buzzing with ladies and their bubbas or BFFs, doing what we know how to do best!
The brands change slightly from month to month but here are some (I repeat: SOME - too many to list all of them on here) of my favourites:
Chic beachwear in all its forms, selected by 2 Australian birds, as the name rightly says: from floaty dresses and kaftans for that island holiday you can't wait till, to brightly coloured Turkish towels, and from beach jewellery to seriously handsome boho beach bags. This stand gets SO busy you need to get there early, otherwise it is almost impossible to get close enough to have a good look.
Clare Napper’s stand does not go unnoticed. When I walked past it, I had to look at the posters twice – they did make me chuckle! They are really quirky and hilarious vintage style travel posters that depict all the Dubai expat clichés, such as 'Friday Brunch', or 'Maids - how will we live without them?'. If you have a sense of humour, this could be a great addition to your walls. Clare keeps on adding new collections, so keep an eye out for the upcoming one too!
Kathrin, the clever mind behind Kariba Arts, loves all things recycled and upcycled. So she walks the beaches of the UAE collecting pieces of driftwood to later give them a new life with her beautiful organic, one-of-a-kind creations. From Christmas decorations (which looked divine) to funky signage for the house or candle holders. All that stuff you thought only belonged to beach houses on Pinterest!
Who does not know Shenouk? You may have seen her gorgeous Jaipur artisanal block printed fabrics at friends’ garden tables or benches. The lady behind these gorgeous table linens, cushions, bedquilts and blankets in the most delicate and intricate designs is Sherine Freeth. And you can find her at the Marina Souq every second Wednesday of the month with new goodies every time. I want them all, I want them now!
If you are interested in learning all about blockprinting, she is so passionate about them that explains it quite in detail in her website.
Think gorgeous crisp linen, hemstitch, tassels, or embroidery in motifs of-the-moment (flamingoes, pineapples), funny (camel) or even beachy (coral). Think beautiful tea towels, lavender sachets, or monogrammed napkins. Think bespoke. Think ultra elegant.
It is not for nothing that The Linen Souk is being used for VIP dinners at some of the most sophisticated hotels in Dubai. It also makes a lovely traditional and thoughtful wedding gift, or (why not?!?) a special treat for yourself and your guests at your dinner parties.
Tribe Dubai is one of those heavenly places where I could just spend hours, going ‘ohhh … ahhh … look at that …’.
Are you after the hippest items from the 60s and 70s that have made a come back? Do you want to recreate the calm look of a beachside boutique hotel? Or are you all for supporting fair trade? All of that is Tribe Dubai.
They describe themselves as ‘global-chic bohemian with an essence of coastal elegance’, and, as much as I tried, I simply could not find a way to put it better.
We adore the Malawi chair, the Armadillo & Co rugs, the Byron Bay hanging chair, and the Mud chandelier, all handcrafted by artisans.
If you miss the Marina Souq, they have a showroom with all their goodies on display on 4th street in Al Quoz, above the Lexus showroom next to the Dubai Garden Centre. They are open in the mornings but afternoon visits can be arranged by appointment.
OK, the last two for the kiddies.
Biddoo is an online store that has regular presence at the Marina Souq, and has become my new favourite stop for birthday gifts and travel toys.
They carry just 4 brands (Djeco, KEK Masterdam, seedling, and oskar & ellen), but the choice is enormous! With the never ending selection of educational and pretend play toys, all made of cardboard or wood, I know I will find something suitable for every occasion without having to go traipsing the malls or Amazon.
Check out the chalkboard wall stickers too!
It never struck me how short I am (!) until I met Maren Gerber, statuesque and elegant by nature. Her impeccable taste comes through in all of her carefully curated selection of 40 brands from Europe and Downunder that just ooze cool.
You name it, she has it (especially if you are looking at putting together one of those gorgeous monochromatic genre neutral rooms): books, bedding, lamps, rugs, wall stickers and decals, funky toys, wooden toys, cardboard toys, tableware, playhouses, tents and teepees, and the list goes on; but always high quality, stylish, organic and long lasting products.
We particularly love the 'Today I will be my own Superhero' quote decal by Wondermade, and the Jupiduu wooden kids slide that has got the seal of approval by none other than young Prince George, and ... can be gold plated on request (of course!).
Also available in Little Majlis
As I said, these are just a few, but you will find other fabulous brands like Alma Fenicia, Birdsn'Bees Fairy Lights, Caramel & Sun, Heidesign, Jules & Juliette, Keen Bags, La Plage Dubai, Pure Candles Dubai, Twins Dubai amongst many others. Oh, and Baker & Spice have a pop-up restaurant to keep the energy going - bonus!!!
If you have not been yet, try and make it one morning now that the weather is so perfect, or an after-work shopping treat. The next editions are on 10 February, 27 February (special Saturday edition from 9am to 3pm), 16 March, 20 April, 11 May, 1 June, 15 June, from 8am to 9pm in the marquee at the Fishing Harbour in Umm Suqeim 1. For directions, go to their Facebook page here.