My little black book of Dubai

October 15, 2015

After nearly nine years in Dubai (HOW?) I’ve tried and tested a lot of services from the good and bad to the very ugly – never forget my Alistair Darling eyebrows after a heavy-handed tint – and am often asked for recommendations. To save repetition, I thought it would be useful to share my little black book of the team I trust, from waxers to removal companies, which is kind of the same thing, when you think about it.



I’d rather go to the dentist than the hairdresser (and not just because Dr Karim is a stone cold fox – more on him later) and formerly had zero loyalty when it comes to my barnet. I’d merrily cut my fringe after a few drinks while getting ready to go out, and loathed paying more than Dhs200 for a cut and blow-dry, but after complimenting may colleagues on their new dos, I went to see Ali at SLAM  and really rate her. It’s a great little salon near Tom & Serg, they have a very cool following (I feel like a bit of a square there, but hey ho) and her cuts are amazing.


I’ve been seeing Lily at Sisters Village Mall for years. She’s business-like, and I really don’t know what else you want from a waxer. I’ll even forgive her for patting my pregnant tummy before our wedding and saying ‘You have a good party with your big belly’. She does great eyebrow threading and tinting too, if you’re short on time.


If you have the time (and can get an appointment), Chloe Walsh is your go-to girl for HD brows in the UAE. Contact her via her instagram.


I can’t be doing with manicures (they chip too quickly then I fixate on the chip and it gets me down – this is the reason I couldn’t get a tattoo), but for a great pedicure and Gelish I’m yet to find better than The Nail Spa. Mercato is my local branch and I’ve never had a bad experience. They get extra points for free jelly beans, great shoulder massages and bargain lash extensions, but lose points for showing Fashion TV on a loop. No-one needs to see models while eating jelly beans.


I started seeing Dr Karim at The Clinic in DIFC when I lived over the road. He’s super charming, has a wonderful accent and wears a grey linen smock with his jeans instead of starched white cotton. There’s art on the walls, jazz on the stereo and it’s all very chic. He’s also (of course) an excellent dentist who doesn’t push for perfection – ask him to teach you how to floss. You’ll swoon. I also recently had my teeth whitened by Dr Sofia at Rebecca Treston at Euromed Clinic and was really impressed. A great cosmetic dentist.

Personal trainer

I’m in the worst shape of my life, but making improvements thanks to Louise from Tu Vida. She specialises in women getting back into fitness, with expertise in injuries, which is great for my knackered knees. I highly recommend her if you’re looking for a lovely trainer who doesn’t intimidate, but will still get results.


For a gynaecologist I really rate Dr Anna at Dubai London Clinic. No nonsense but kind. Their drop-in GP service is fantastic too. She doesn’t deliver babies, however, so I when I got pregnant I went to Dr Jozsa at Health Bay PolyClinic, who my husband and I both really liked (the clinic is close by, and convenience is key). He’s very calm, pro-natural births, and was amazing on the day. Phoebe’s doctor is there too, to keep things simple, but we mainly take her to the midwives for vaccinations and check-ups.


Over the years I’ve been to see the wonderful Helen Williams at Lifeworks at key points in my life (when my dad wasn’t very well, when I got engaged and married in quick succession then freaked out, and when I became pregnant unexpectedly and really freaked out). She’s just amazing at getting to the root cause of your feelings in record time, and while it’s Dhs600 a session, I truly consider it well spent.


House painting

We had the nursery painted a lovely shade of grey by the team at Tip Top painters. It took a day and cost around Dhs400, with us providing the paint.

Moving house

There’s only one man for the job – Rick from Mac Pack. When we moved last year I got numerous quotes and not only was his the best, but he’s an awesome guy. His cheerful team dominated our villa and set us up perfectly at the other end, and didn’t stress me out at all (despite the fact I was 7 months pregnant). Just treat them well please eg feed them Cokes and doughnuts.

Home maintenance

I’ve always been impressed by the level of service from Jim Will Fix It – they’re organised, friendly and fast. While they’re not the cheapest, jobs get done right the first time.


If we ever need an extra pair of hands or cleaning while our nanny is away, SMS Maids have been great. We always struggled with cleaners who weren’t afraid of dogs, but it hasn’t been an issue with their team.


There’s no other word for it. We adore Rai at the oddly named Energetic Panacea near Safa Park, and followed him from his previous practice. He’s a wonderfully kind, funny Portuguese guy who my mum is rather fond of for non-professional purposes (I don’t think she cares about his neat stitches, just his cheeky smile). He has neutered both of our dogs and we trust him implicitly.

Dog boarding and grooming

We have always taken our spaniels to Shampooch in Al Quoz for boarding. While it’s not as good as it used to be, it’s convenient, a nice size and in The Entertainer (bonus). They also do a good cut, and we’ve used them for daycare too.


One for the chaps, my husband is basically putting the children of Santoba Tailors through college. He has been a loyal customer for years, getting work shirts and suits made, plus black tie for our wedding and casual blazers.

I hope that helps, but please don’t book them all so I can’t get appointments any more.

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