A seasoned British Mum in Dubai visiting the UK always leaves room in her suitcase for the return leg. But what is on everyone’s shopping list? This pretty much covers it – so make sure you bookmark the page for your next trip to the homeland…
For the Kids
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.
Teething Salts – At some point during the early stages of teething with our babies, most of us have posted “HELP” on the British Mums in Dubai Facebook forum 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).
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.
Aquafresh toothpaste – You’ve probably noticed that most children’s toothpaste in Dubai’s sweet tasting; if your children prefer the minty taste, make sure to grab some Aquafresh toothpaste for kids. You can pick up the large tubes from Asda or Tesco’s at about a pound each – bargain!
Sugar Free Jelly – Kids love jelly – but let’s face it; a sugar rush before bedtime is about as appealing as having a husband away on business. So we stock up on sachets of the sugar-free variety when we’re in the UK and convince ourselves it’s healthy (well, they are fruit flavoured, after all).
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. And then we clear the shelf and fill an entire suitcase with their treasures (who needs clothes anyway?)
Costumes – Those of us with school age children understand how much a Dubai school likes a costume day, which inevitably involve us staying up until 3am trying to fashion an outfit from what we have lying about in the kitchen (tin man is an excellent choice, to be fair) or heading to a costume shop and spending 200 AED for the convenience. That’s why 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.
Kids party items – If you plan on having a party for your children in your home in Dubai, 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!
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 and skiing gear for your next winter holiday! Asda and Tesco again come out on top when it comes to finding a steal.
For the Adults
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.
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… 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.
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 (even if the husband does raise his eyebrows in annoyance when there’s no room in the suitcase for all his things).
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, dry shampoo, make up, perfume, sun cream, Nivea Sun cream (for children when they have buy 1 get 1 free) especially the pocket sized ones!
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.
Birthday Cards – If you feel your hackles rising every time you are asked to hand over 20 AED 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. Paperchase sell packs of 16 cards for just £6.50 by the way. 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.