Whenever you are visiting the UK or have friends or family flying in for a visit, we all know that bringing our British favourites is essential! British Mums has put together this handy list for anything and everything you need to stock up on whenever you have the chance to fly over some goodies from back home!
For the kids
Costumes – Whether it’s for International Day, Book Day, Halloween or any other fancy-dress party, we love buying costumes from UK supermarkets to plan for the year ahead – and then patting ourselves on the back for being so organised in the months that follow.
School essentials – Stock up on anything and everything for school; school bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, stationary, Tupperware, name labels and school shoes. You’ll thank us later!
Clothing – Children grow so quickly, and we know how expensive clothes are here in the desert! Make sure you get clothing for the kids in the next size up, and don’t forget the shoes from Clarks! Stock up at H&M, Primark, Debenhams, Next, Matalan and M&S but don’t forget about the fab clothes in Asda and Tesco too!
Kids party items – If you have younger children that are obsessed with Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and PJ Masks, make sure you bring back enough kids’ party items in the theme they want. Invitations, decorations, wrapping paper, paper cups and paper plates; the lot!
Kid-appropriate cutlery – Whether you’re starting your little one on solids or you need child size metal cutlery, it works out loads cheaper to buy these items in the UK.
Sun cream – For obvious reasons sun cream is a must. They’re always on special offer in Boots so stock up for the year!
Books – From reading books to colouring books and stickers books, we all know books are ideal for the plane journeys and dining out.
Vitamins – Keep your children healthy with vitamins and supplements at great prices.
Calpol – British Mums in Dubai all know the panic of reaching for the last bottle of Calpol and realising there is only one dose left. And yes, we know that Dubai pharmacies sell Panadol, but our kids only have to sniff the stuff to know it’s different – and that is quite frankly terrifying.
Toiletries – You can find Childs Farm toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, bubbles, toothpaste and toothbrushes in the majority of major supermarkets in the UK, including Tesco and Asda, as well as pharmacies such as Boots.
For the babies
Nappies and wipes – Buy top brand nappies, wipes and more at any supermarket (our favourite is ALDI) at a fraction of the cost. With an average of 8 a day or 240 per month for a 12 month old baby, you need to make sure nappies are top of the list!
Swim Nappies – If you want to take your baby to the swimming pool then a swim nappy is a must. Even at the beach, a swim nappy prevents your baby from leaving an unpleasant reminder in the sand or seawater. Get yours at Tesco or Boots.
Formula – Shop the complete selection of baby milk and baby formula brands a British mum knows and loves! Similac, HiPP, Aptamil and SMA prove most popular with our mums.
Ella’s Kitchen – Mothers of weaning babies only need to take a few steps down the baby aisle of their local UK supermarket to feel their heart beating faster as they spot the selection of ready-to- feed Ella’s Kitchen pouches.
Infacol – Infacol helps relieve colic in babies by acting on the air trapped in the stomach, making it easier to pass, which helps relieve the discomfort caused by the trapped wind. Infacol is a perfectly safe to use with babies and young children and you can get this at any pharmacy, as well as at Boots.
Nappy Bags – Praise be for 300 nappy sacks for just 30p at Tesco! We only need a few packets to see ourselves through an entire year of changing nappies – so we usually buy at least four (you can never be too prepared, after all.)
Metanium Cream – Talking of nappy changes, British Mums swear by the power of Metanium Cream for clearing up nappy rashes. We buy a tube or two whenever we are home and feel especially smug whenever we peer inside our medicine cabinet.
Ashton & Parsons Teething granules – At some point during the early stages of teething with our babies, most of us have posted “HELP” on the British Mums Dubai Facebook group and been told to get our hands on sachets of teething salts pronto. And once we’ve discovered the power of pouring those magic homeopathic granules into their mouths, they become a permanent fixture on our UK shopping list (until that last molar appears, at least).
For us mums
Wardrobe essentials – We all have basic wardrobe items which are not bound to specific occasions. Get everything from underwear, summer dresses, t-shirts, swimwear, jeans, comfy sweats, PJ’s and trainers.
Painkillers – As a mum we all now headaches are unavoidable (teething baby, anyone?). So, make sure you grab some painkillers like Ibuprofen gel capsules (which they don’t sell here) for yourself when you drop by the Pound shop.
Tampax – Without wanting to get too intimate (ah-hem), if you like using a certain type of Tampax, it is better to stock up on UK visits. Not only will you have a stockpile for every month ongoing, but you’ll save money in the long run too.
Make-up and beauty products – You’re going to need a bag just for toiletries so go prepared! British mums usually stock up on shampoo, conditioner, hair colour (for yourself, if you need), toothbrushes, bubble bath, Lush products, dry shampoo, make-up, perfume and sun cream.
Wrapping Paper – When you’ve got a stack of gifts to wrap, single sheets just won’t cut it – get your hands on some rolls of wrapping paper! Look out for gift wrapping paper that matches party or occasion themes.
Birthday Cards – If you feel your hackles rising every time you are asked to hand over at least AED 20 for the naffest birthday card ever designed (we’ve all been there), you need to stock up on multi-packs for whenever another birthday invite comes home in your child’s school bag. You’ll often find bulk buys in supermarkets and The Works sell 10 cards for just £1. You’re welcome.
Birthday gifts – And on that note, have you stocked up on birthday gifts before you fly back to the desert? Forget wincing at prices in the malls in the UAE – and instead, keep your eyes open for half-price sales on your trips back the UK. You’ll save a fortune and can guarantee the birthday girl or boy isn’t opening two of the same gift (oh, the horror). Time to give yourself another pat on the back.
For the house
Zoflora – Ever since Mrs Hinch shot to fame in 2018, Zoflora disinfectant has become something of a cult cleaning product. Find it at Morrisons supermarkets at just £1.48 a bottle. Otherwise try Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys.
Dishwasher tablets – Owning a dishwasher certainly makes doing the dishes a lot easier, but without a great dishwasher detergent, you may end up creating more work for yourself! No matter what your priorities, with so many brands out there from Fairy, Ecover or Finish to supermarket own brands like Tesco and Asda, you will be sure to find a product that suits all your needs.
Washing machine tablets – Where would we be without our washing machines? As anyone can tell you, the closer you creep towards middle age, the more your fantasies revolve around getting the right appliances – and looking after them. You can buy washing machine cleaner from most supermarkets.
Cleaning supplies – Wipes, surface cleaners, dusters, sponges and more. Restock your cleaning accessories at affordable prices at Pound Shop or supermarkets.
Pet supplies and treats – Cute as they may be, pets represent a major investment of time and money, with pet essentials being notoriously expensive in Dubai. Stock up on pet food, supplies, accessories, collars, leads, toys, treats, health products and more at places like PetPlanet and Petsmart.
For the fridge
Kids snacks – From the Organix Jammie Monster biscuits to out of this world cheese snacks – get the perfect organic snacks for children in the UK! Other healthy brands to look out for include Ella’s kitchen and babease.
Chocolate – If you consider Terry’s chocolate orange costs about £1 in the UK, which is about AED 4-5, while over here it’s closer to AED 16-18 … need we say more? Dairy Milk also tastes so much nicer from the UK than the ones you find here!
Oxo Cubes – Question: How do we cope without Oxo Cubes being readily available in Dubai? Answer: We don’t. We just squeeze as many into our suitcase as we can and hope they last until the next trip home.
Potato Scones – Tattie Scones are the pinnacle of the Scottish breakfast that set it apart from the rest! Every Scot knows and loves these, and we bring them back in bulk!
Condiments – Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Sweet Chilli sauce, Brown Sauce, Garlic Mayonnaise, Curry sauce, Vinegar, Mustard, Piri Piri, Burger Sauce, Mint Jelly – whatever you need to add flavour or texture to your home made dishes.
Twinings Tea – There’s nothing like a good cuppa to remind us of home – and Twinings Teabags are top of the UK shopping list for a lot of British Mums in Dubai. It’s not that you can’t buy Twinings in Dubai – it’s just that you can’t walk down a supermarket aisle, peruse 53 different varieties, notice that there’s a 2- for-1 offer on all varieties, and have to calm yourself before throwing at least 12 boxes into your trolley.
Cheese – Cheese is not only a great way to introduce your kids to different, more challenging foods – it’s also a way to sneak some extra nutrition into their diets. Get yourself a huge block at Cathedral City for just £1!
Warburtons Crumpets – While we’re on the subject of home comforts, Warbuton’s Giant Crumpets often crop up in British Mum wish lists – and rightly so, considering these giant, pillowy snacks aren’t available in the UAE and can be easily frozen to keep us in crumpet heaven for weeks.
Rowntree Fruit Pastilles – A flashback to childhood perhaps, but we British Mums definitely like stocking up on these forbidden fruits every trip home. And if you think we’re letting the kids dive into our stash, you are sorely mistaken…
Christmas essentials – Depending on the time of year you, you should just buy everything you need for Christmas in the UK! From the Pound Shop pack of Christmas cards to festive wrapping paper and all your presents to Advent Calendars and Christmas outfits – for the kids and for mum and dad!
Mulled Wine Sachets – Mulled wine sachets are perfect for sharing. Everyone loves a glass of mulled wine or apple juice for festive cheer. These spice bombs can be made well in advance and given as part of a hamper or with a bottle of your favourite red.