1. She scrolls on her phone, tablet or laptop, before furiously clicking away – and when you enquire what she’s doing, she replies simply ‘British Mums’ and you know there’s no point trying to make conversation.
2. She announces on the last day of visits back to the UK that she’s going shopping – but what she doesn’t mention is that she’s planning to fill an entire suitcase with the likes of salad cream, teabags, and snacks for kids in every flavour, colour, and variety imaginable. And when you get back to Dubai with the treasures, it’ll only be a matter of weeks before she informs you that the supply has run out again – and you aren’t remotely surprised.
3. Tuesday night is off limits for late nights at work, football matches, or beers with mates – and you’re not ashamed to admit that you are jealous of her social life.
4. You can’t request the bill at a restaurant without her shouting ‘Wait! Have you checked if there’s a 2-for-1 voucher? And if she discovers one, you can see a sense of achievement spread across her face.
5. You’re used to the doorbell ringing and sales of various unwanted belongings being made on the doorstep. And you’re no longer surprised when a new piece of furniture appears in your house. In fact, you don’t even have to ask where it came from.
6. You’re used to going on weekend staycations that involve just a 5-minute car journey down the road – but you’re still amazed by how much luggage / bags of beach toys / inflatables for the pool etc. that you manage to drag along with you for a one-night stay.
7. You rarely see her more excited than the moment she steps foot into a Marks & Spencer Food Hall – and each time it happened, you steel yourself for the battering to the bank balance.
8. Despite having an enviable winter wardrobe when she lived back in Blighty, your wife now arrives on UK soils in December in flip-flops – and then spends the entire Christmas trip home shivering, while moaning about the dip in temperatures. You, on the other hand, own one slightly bobbly jumper that you occasionally wear in December or January – and that does the job perfectly on frosty days at home.
9. You develop a sudden interest in the price of flights back to Blighty, keeping an eye on airline sales and asking colleagues questions like ‘what’s it like Pavlodar, Kazakhstan?’ when eyeing up cheaper routes with stopovers. But despite all the research, you still want to weep whenever you punch in your credit card details and press ‘Book’ (especially when you realise your youngest is now 2 and needs their own seat).
10. When you have a debate at home, at a dinner party, or amongst friends in the park, your wife’s answer is always ‘I’ll just check on British Mums!’ – and within minutes, the debate is solved. In fact, she’s become a bit of a walking Dubai encyclopaedia – and it’s thanks to British Mums in Dubai.