18 Dubai life hacks by the women who know it best

Whether you're a fresh-off-the-boat newbie or been here a few years now, these amazing women have a tip or two up their stylish sleeves for making life in the sandpit even more brilliant than it already is...
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18 Dubai life hacks by the women who know it best

Omaira Farooq Al Olama, Managing Director at ALF Administration

Time in Dubai: 19 years

"The one thing I learnt when I moved back to the UAE was that the friendlier you are to your local grocer, the more attentive they are to you. I used to love this particular brand from the US and realised they only used to sell it in Kuwait. Turns out my grocer was related to the grocer in Kuwait and would ship it over for me."

Ruth Bradley, Founder and Managing Director at Ruth Bradley Consulting

Time in Dubai: 15 years

Narayan at Dreamgirl Tailors in Satwa is my go-to guy for absolutely anything tailoring or corrections-wise when it comes to clothes. From resizing to having new pieces made (check out Deepak’s on Plant Street for fabric) he can turn things around in next to no time at all. You can show him a photo of pretty much anything in a magazine and he will recreate it with your chosen fabric or even copy your old favourites in your wardrobe that are on their way out.”

Don’t buy your plants from anywhere in central Dubai, as they are at least three to four times more expensive than the plant markets just outside of town. We regularly make trips to Al Awir past Dragon Mart to visit Al Warsan plant souk. You’ll find many, many plant nurseries there with everything from fruit trees to bog-standard house plants. Our favourite guys are Zabeel Nursery right in the middle. And they even deliver!”

“Two or three times a year we get out of town and spend 48 hours aboard a dhow in the Musandam Peninsula in Oman with friends, family and kids. It’s only a few hours away by car, completely breathtaking and you’re surrounded by dolphins. You can only reach the fjords by boat, so there’s barely anyone else around and the views that you wake up to at sunrise will leave you speechless. Everyone who lives here should try and add it to their bucket list to do at least once.”

Rosemin Manji, Presenter and Brand Ambassador

Time in Dubai: 11 years

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"I gave up my car about four years ago when I realised I was getting so stressed being in traffic and finding parking, and I discovered that using Careem was a life-saver because I don’t like wasting time. So usually when I’m in the back of a Careem, I’m answering calls and reading e-mails... I’m rarely ever just sitting in the back of a car, I really use my time efficiently during the day. They’re also great to deal with; if there’s ever an issue, there’s a phone number with a live person that answers the call. And when I’m having a night with my girlfriends, you can call them in advance and they send you however many cars you need for everyone."

"I think hair is half the battle of having a good day, at least for me. And because I’m always going to or hosting events, I’m always rushing out of the house. When my hair is done I just feel so much more confident. I use Blow Out and Go so much that I don’t even use their app, I just have them on WhatsApp. They are super-accommodating to me, the price is amazing an their team is so professional. It's so convenient having someone come to your house to do your blow-dry."

Fay Afghahi, Co-founder at KeraHealth

Time in Dubai: 15 years

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"Shop at Dragon Mart for all things decoration from candle holders, votives, hurricane lamps to glass and tableware. You often find the same things that are available in the malls for a fraction of the price."

"I buy a lot of produce from the fruit and vegetable market in Al Aweer but you have to give yourself some time to discover the market and find vendors that know the produce you like."

"Since launching a company with my husband we've opened offices in JLT's Indigo Tower and I have discovered the blow dry to end all blow drys in the building at Juan Salon for Dhs50! Its a bona fide blow dry that lasts for days!"

"The best place to shop for designer clothes at great prices is at Priceless on Maktoum Street and at the Outlet Mall."

"The best Mexican restaurant in Dubai - and perhaps the entire Middle East - is Chalcos Mexican Grill in JLT. It's authentic Mexican with a Californian twist."

"The best answer to the hair-loss issue some people face from the water change when they move is KeraHealth."

Teresa Karpinska, Fashion Stylist

Time in Dubai: 14 years

"Head down to Global Village when it’s in season. You can get the equivalent of designer interiors for a fraction of the price. I get Afghan rugs from there, Yemeni honey, turquoise statement jewellery, Moroccan woven slippers, large basket bags and basket storage solutions for the home; all very current items with this provincial “I live in a tiny village in south of France” gypsette trend that’s here at the moment. Again, all costing 20 per cent of what they do in the city."

Eileen Wallis, Managing Partner at Wallis PR

Time in Dubai: 20 years

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"One of my favourite activities while travelling in major cities, encouraged by a vintage-obsessed teenage daughter, is to visit second-hand clothing stores to scout for one-off designer pieces. Happily, Dubai has now developed a few of these homegrown dépôt-ventes I have scored some amazing finds at Garderobe on the Beach Road and Reem’s Closet in the Mazaya Center. Clothes, shoes and bags tend to be in excellent condition at a significant discount off the initial retail price, it’s a more sustainable or ‘green’ way to shop, and you’re less likely to be wearing the same dress as several other people."

Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, Founder and Managing Director of TishTash PR

Time in Dubai: 8 years

"Pharmacies deliver 24-hours a day, so if you wake up with a headache, the flu strikes out of nowhere or you need anything random like plasters, vitamins or even a deodorant, you can get them whenever you need. I remember being at home in the UK one summer and very upset at 6am with no Panadol in sight and no way to get any until the shops opened at 10am! #firstworldproblems."

"I now order my weekly grocery shop on Kibsons.com. It used to be mainly fruit and veg, but now they have a bakery (there's great oat bread!), daily items (they also have my favourite soya milk and all the nut milks) and other bits too. I order at 8pm on a Thursday night and they deliver by 10am the next day. Better still, it's far cheaper than all the supermarkets. Think strawberries for Dhs10, and the fruit and vegetables have taste!"

"On the topic of food, I also love the Organic Supermarket. On the last Saturday of every month they do 20 per cent off everything. It can be busy, but I run in and stock up once a month on all the bits I like from them."

"I'm so time-poor so I can't live without desk and home visits from The Nail Pavilion. They appear at my office desk and can fix my hair in 20 minutes while I sit at my laptop and work and also come to my house and do my mani/pedi while I lie on the sofa and watch TV."

Photos: iStock, supplied and Instagram