Ladies Only

The dog days of a Dubai summer

This post was going to be about reaching THAT time of the school summer holiday, when you’re so over it and have become a twitchy, cranky mess, breaking out in zits and clawing at your skin because it’s been TEN weeks and the kids are STILL out of school.

You know how it is – they’re fighting and bored and so so loud – not to mention the fact they’ve been talking to you non-stop for ten weeks until it’s got to the point where you can see their mouths opening and closing but can’t really hear what they’re saying and you can do nothing but nod at whatever their moving lips are trying to assault you with.


And while I’m at it, I’m sure I’m not the only mum who has totally run out of things to do with them, having already ticked off two continents, nearly 40,000 kilometres of air travel and, as well as planes, taken them on a cruise ship, a boat, buses, scooters, bikes and trains.

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 22.31.27But … that might come across as whining when I am truly grateful to have had this time with my boys.

Instead, it occurred to me that there are a few factors that make these last couple of weeks before school starts again quite unique (read: challenging) in Dubai.

Let’s start with the heat. It’s still as hot as Hades out there. Much of the compound’s communal greenery has been singed to within an inch of being set alight under the hottest sun on earth; large areas of plant life have sadly died. Where there were green, bushy shrubs, there are now dried up, tangly bush-skeletons shedding brown, curled-up, dead leaves onto the dusty paths. On my dog walks past these summer casualties, it all feels very post-apocalyptic – the burnt-out fag-end of a Dubai summer.

Not only that, but while the buildings are still standing, it’s as though the people have all gone. Some of them are still there, of course. They’re just indoors as it’s too hot to come out. They won’t properly resurface until school starts. But many are still away, not wanting the holiday bubble to burst just yet.

Our compound feels like a ghost town. The children who are back from their hols are climbing the walls cooped up at home, and, up the road at the Premier Inn, there are still lots of single-for-the-summer dads staring into their pints, indulging in the restaurant’s 50% off meal deals.

But in just a few more days, a week at the most, all the wives and families will be back. I’ll no longer have to twitchily scour the compound looking for familiar faces, searching hopefully for friends for my bored sons to play with. The compound will be back in business, the hammering on doors non-stop again as the children call for each other.

And then school will start. Followed, a month or so later, by the halcyon days of cooler temperatures and some of the best weather in the world. Bring it on!

Hang in there peeps …

Ladies Only

Top 5 summer car maintenance tips from Careem


Careem, the Dubai-based private ride-hailing app, has always taken road safety very seriously, not just for their own Captains and customers but also for the other motorists throughout the UAE.

As part of its ongoing campaign to make the UAE’s roads a safer place, Careem’s care centre manager Hamid Moaref, who overlooks the maintenance of 300 of Careem’s fleet per month, reveals his top five tips to keep your car running safely in the intense summer heat.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 22.05.12

Don’t tire out your tyres
Tyre failure can occur when it is least expected. Tyres are the only part of the car in contact with the road, hence it is important to get them checked and replace them if necessary. All Careem vehicles are required to undergo a check-up every quarter and Careem recommends the same for your own vehicle. A good tip is to fill your tyres with nitrogen and not regular air. Nitrogen does not expand as the temperature rises inside your tyres, thus making them last longer.

Keep the battery alive and kicking
As cars will be working harder during the hot summer months, so will the car battery. Within the GCC region, car batteries typically work for up to two years only, mainly due to extensive use of the vehicle’s air conditioning and the greater degree of evaporation of the many fluids used throughout the mechanics of the vehicle. Careem advises all motorists to check their car battery at periodic intervals.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 22.07.58Stay cool
As your vehicle’s air conditioning system will be heavily used throughout the summer months, it is essential to make sure it is working at the optimum level. All the A/C filters need to be checked and replaced if dirty. Cleaning the filters makes a huge difference to the air circulating inside the vehicle, and reduces the chances of getting an air-borne infection. As an added extra, the Careem Care Centre recommends getting an A/C disinfectant job done as well.

Hydration
Your car’s fluid levels, from engine oil to coolant, should be checked regularly to prevent the engine from overheating and reduce the chances of a vehicle breakdown. Careem drivers are required to check coolant and oil levels at least once a month.

Shade is everything
The intense summer heat can play havoc with the internal compartments of a vehicle. Try to always park in a covered garage or in the shade, or purchase a sun shade. Reducing the impact of the sun’s rays not only lowers the chance of the engine overheating, but also prevents the interiors from fading and stops cracks developing on the dashboard.

Ladies Only

Summer is over: Time to remember the day of the week

The radio silence over the past week was because we were moving house. We couldn’t have picked a better time really – it’s as hot as Hades (see temperature, according to the car, below!) and as humid as a steam room. Needless to say, it was all rather fatiguing, and that was with packers who did an amazing job carting enormous pieces of furniture out of the house in the furnace-like heat.

Is it humid today?

The movers went by the name Delight – and, quite honestly, they lived up to it.

All my back-to-school chores were promptly forgotten during the chaos of moving, and so when we surfaced from the remaining boxes, it was with some trepidation that I turned my thoughts to the fact Son1 was starting a new school in three days’ time, and had NO UNIFORM whatsoever.

Cue: urgent dash to the Meydan Racecourse, where there was a pop-up shop selling the red-and-grey uniforms.

An odd place to sell such items, you might think. All the horses were gone (beating the heat in Europe), and the shop was located there as the under-construction school was still in a rather unfinished state with hoardings all around it and builders hammering away.

Dubai has a habit of pulling these things off, and today, the school opened! (Read: Thank God). Son1, who we’d pulled from a school he loved due to distance, had a great day, to my relief. And I finally got some peace, after two months of holiday.

I think maybe all boy mums will know what I mean when I say that after a prolonged period of noise so loud and jarring it could even rattle the pans on the shelf in the kitchen (think: stampeding around, crashing and yelling and fighting – not all the time, but enough of it to hurt my head!), it’s just so nice to have some space to think.

Enjoy the quiet mums!