Welcome to the Neighbourhood – Umm Suqeim 1
UMM SUQEIM 1 BY KAYA SCOTT WHO LIVES IN THE EVER-FASHIONABLE AREA AND IS THE EDITOR OF SASSY MAMA DUBAI
Kaya: please tell us about your family?
I moved to Dubai almost 7 years ago, heavily pregnant with baby number 1 and with absolutely no clue what to expect. Needless to say, we made all sorts of mistakes and moved house 5 times in 5 years (no joke) before we found our current home in Umm Suqeim 1 which we absolutely love (although there are now rumours that the compound will be knocked down…so we may be looking at house move number 6 soon!). We now have 3 little ones aged 6, 4 and 3 and have become adopted parents to a big fat ginger cat and hopefully soon a dog. My husband Charlie works at Motivate Publishing and I’m Editor of online magazine sassymamadubai.com
You live in Umm Sequim 1 one of Dubai’s most popular places to live. What do you love about it?
I love the proximity to the beach (we can bike to Kite Beach and the beaches either side of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club super easily). I love the quirky streets the fact that nothing is far away – Downtown Dubai is a quick 15 minute drive, as is Dubai Marina and Dubai Sports City – it really is city living at its best as we have everything on our doorstep without feeling like we’re in a concrete jungle. There’s a lovely little fishing village at the end of Umm Al Sheif Street where you can watch the boats come in and buy fresh fish at a daily market (they also host regular arts and crafts markets). We have a fab Spinneys supermarket within walking distance and really useful shops including Early Learning Center(essential for last-minute kids gifts!) and Marina Home or Blanc D’Ivoire for satisfying my interiors obsession! There are also lots of really good schools and nurseries nearby.
The area is also well known for the number of play areas for kids, both in and outdoors, what are your picks for the warmer weather.
Fun Corner in the Spinneys Center is a good option – and the fairly hefty price tag means it’s usually not completely overrun! There’s a little water park calledSplash ‘n Party a few minutes away in Safa 2 which is fun occasionally – but my absolute favourite place to take the kids – even when it’s hot – is The Journey down by Kite Beach. If you go late in the afternoon then the temperature is bearable, there are water features to cool down in and it’s just lovely to be surrounded by all that green. Ditto with the beach – the best playground of all!
What are your favourite spots within walking distance? Cafes, restaurants etc.
I have a few! Maria Bonitas, a really fun relaxed Mexican with quirky interiors and good inexpensive food. Mozzo Centrale for setting up with my laptop over copious amounts of good coffee and delicious wood-fired pizzas. Hamptons Café for the most amazing coffee and homemade macarons, atmosphere, décor – everything (each time I go I want to redecorate my home in their style!). And finally the Seaview Restaurant in the Umm Suqeim fishing village for the freshest fish and seafood with a view of the harbor. Gorgeous.
You are the editor of Sassy Mama, the go-to guide and tonic for most mothers in Dubai – what’s your advice for beating the back to school blues!
For most mums I think back to school means the potential to grab a little ‘me time’ – we’ve put together a few roundups on the best places for a mani/pedi in Dubai or the best cafes for that post-drop off latte. And then there’s nothing like booking your next holiday for something to alleviate back to school blues and have something to look forward to – again we have some great staycation reviews or family friendly travel ideas on the site!
Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to rent in Dubai?
It’s tricky because I’d say you should take your time and not rush into something without being sure – but rentals can move fairly quickly here so that’s possibly not the best advice! I would definitely say that you should find out what the approximate DEWA bills are like each month (talking from experience after being completely shocked at how high they were at one of our homes) and whether the landlord takes maintenance seriously. Oh and talk to some of the neighbours/compound residents if you can and get the real story about the area/landlord etc. Finally – don’t do what we did and move 5 times in 6 years! And get a fabulous agent of course, like Harry 😉