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So, you would of seen from my insta and fb recently that we were over in Dubai last week for a few days.
If you've followed me for a while you'd know that we lived in the UAE for five years and we left the UAE to go back to Spain (with a short stint in the UK too) three years ago. Which is crazy. I can't believe it's been that long. It's literally gone by in a flick of an eye.
It was a well overdue visit.
Mark was out there for work so naturally I had to tag along!
Mark treated me to Business Class on Emirates, which I loved! I mean who doesn't! There's just something about sipping champagne at 30,000ft...
So after a 6 hour flight from Charles De Gaulle we arrived in Dubai.
Everything was so familiar. It literally felt like we had arrived home.
At the hotel we were upgraded to an Executive Suite. It all sounds very glam doesn't it! (tip - stick to the same hotel groups and make sure you sign up to their rewards club. We do this and Marks now at 'Spire' level with IHG, so he gets automatic room upgrades and a free drinks voucher too).
Marks company booked us into the Crowne Plaza in Deira. When we lived in Dubai we didn't really venture over to Deira much, as it was the 'older' part of town and so extremely busy.
The area is still really busy and not glamorous unlike many other parts of Dubai. The hotel was lovely though. They have a good breakfast buffet and the hotel also has a pool and a gym. It's good for the airport and there's a metro station close by as well.
As Mark was there for work he was busy in the day so I was left to my own devices. I ended up going shopping for my two free days! I hopped in a cab and stayed close by and went to Deira City Centre shopping mall.
Again, when we lived there we never went to Deira City Centre, we'd tend to go to the City Centre mall in Mirdiff. In the beginning we'd go to The Dubai Mall, but after a while that became too much, as it's always so busy.
I was really impressed with the Deira City Centre. Clean, good size and with a good selection of shops. One thing I do like about the shopping in Dubai is that you've got a mix of the popular Spanish, French, American and UK stores. Probably every shop you can imagine is somewhere in Dubai!
I didn't really do the Spanish shops as we have them where we live in Spain, funny enough. I did enjoy having a look in the American and UK chains. Of course I spent ages in Bath and Body Works trying to decide which shower gels I'd buy in bulk. Then headed over to get depressed when nothing fitted in Hollister!
I was in fact really successful in one of the shops. It's called MAX Fashion, which is a brand from the UAE. Too be honest it's cheap as chips, a bit like Primark I guess. I'd always love browsing in there when we lived in Dubai. I always loved the winter clothes, jumpers, coats and woolly hats. At the time I obviously couldn't justify buying them when the temperatures we're still in the high twenties in the winter!
I was quite excited I could now take advantages of the bargain winter clothes they had in store.
My basket was piled high for the fitting room. In the end I think I ended up with 2 jumpers, a furry gilet, leg warmers (I'm not sure why, but I was a bit hot and giddy at that point!) a denim skirt for the summer that was on sale and a dress too.
The day before I picked up a jumper in the sale from Superdry, which I've pretty much been living in since! (I'll try to get some of these up on the blog soon, so you can let me know what you think).
We managed to get a couple of hours by the pool and relaxed in our beautiful room. Must add I relaxed, Mark still had to work when back at the hotel bless him.
We caught up with friends for dinner one night which was fabulous. It felt like we had only seen them last week and I'm already looking forward to seeing them so much next time. We met them at a gorgeous restaurant called Weslodge at the JW Marriott Marquis in Business Bay. It has the most amazing views of the city, the ultimate wow factor. Definitely worth a visit if you're ever in Dubai.
The following night we stayed low key and went to The Dubai Mall. It had been a long time since we'd been. When you live there, after a while it get's a bit much because it is a tourist trap. But I love watching The Dubai Fountains, so off we went. They were spectacular. I got a few pics, but to be honest I just wanted to enjoy the moment with Mark - cheesy I know.
Mark treated me to a cute little notebook from Bloomingdales. He said I needed a note book for my handbag to jot down ideas for the blog as and when I get them. I also treated myself to a Bloomingdales make up bag. Gold and glitzy just like Dubai.
Oh and they have a Magnolia Bakery in there too. I didn't get a cupcake this time, but we did get a vanilla cheesecake to take back to the hotel. Blimin' delicious!
We grabbed some food from Red Lobster which turned out to be a little disappointing. We love it in the States, but it wasn't the same. They came out with the starter and main all at once, so we had to send it back. The main was a creamy pasta which they left under the heat lamp, so it was all dry and congealed when they served it! They did get us a fresh one after we complained. Always a bit annoying because those restaurants should be so easy and simple. Never mind!
We fought the crowds and ended up going to the top floor in search of Cold Stone Creamery - another one of our faves. The top floor was the children's clothes level and it was lovely and quiet. We found Cold Stone and ordered ourselves some very calorific, but extremely delicious milkshakes. We took a pew to savour the taste of the magical creation before we dragged our tired selves back to the hotel.
On our last evening Mark had a business dinner which I was invited too. We were taken to Gaucho in Gate Village DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre).
OMG! The coolest place I've literally ever been. Very glam, very glitzy and just fabulous! We had the best Argentine steak and I sipped on my Sauvignon Blanc feeling very blessed. O.M.G. #takemeback
Our trip to Dubai probably wasn't the typical 'tourist' trip. But it was never going to be. It was work for Mark and catching up with the bits we loved from when we lived there.
Dubai has changed since we left 3 years ago. Lot's of new buildings have popped up and still construction for more going on. There's millions of new restaurants, shops, bars and more. But the essence is the same. There really is something special about Dubai.
I think we lost the love for a while because of one thing and another, but this trip really has settled some ghosts and has truly rekindled our love for the UAE. So many special memories have come flooding back.
Till next time Dubai...