In a country where a quick jaunt on the open seas can be prohibitively expensive, I think I've found the best-valued boat trip in town.
Conveniently located in the Dubai Marina is Captain Jack's dhow, which takes you on a leisurely hour's cruise around the coast of the Palm, JBR and back through the heart of the marina. Don't let the name put you off; there are no parrots or eye-patches in sight and the experience is most definitely not just targeted at young families. Au contraire, singles, groups of adults and tourists all sit comfortably on enormous bean bags atop the deck of the beautifully varnished vessel and are served a selection of cold beverages throughout the trip. For those more susceptible to the cold night air, there were also complimentary blankets available.
Leaving every hour on the hour from 11am to 11pm, the sunset cruise around 6pm proved the perfect pre-dinner activity for me and my guests. And for those wanting to picnic and sightsee during the day, Marina Walk has a vast selection of food outlets, from Bateel to Starbucks, to choose from.
When you compare the price tag of Dh60 for adults and Dh30 for children to the eye-watering Dh600 cost of taking a 20 minute trip in the brightly coloured F1 speedboats that also bob in the marina's berths, Captain Jack really can't be beaten. For more information, call 0504581844.
* Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane
An app that influences your dreams
The Dream:ON app follows in the wake of a trend of new sleep-related apps designed to harness the potential of snuggling up next to your smartphone. Created by professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, the programme seeks to influence your dreams and shape them according to your own desires. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is thought to be the stage of sleep where we dream the most. It's also the time that we wriggle about during rest. The phone monitors this, waiting for the most night-time movement before quietly playing a soundscape of patchworked noises to nudge our dreams in the direction we please. Testimonials are looking positive, and 160,000 users downloaded the app in the first 72 hours of its availability. Freebie dreams include a peaceful garden, and there are options to purchase more including, oddly, "A Trip to Tokyo" for as little as Dh10.
* Christopher Lord
Saudi Kitchen, Gava Hotel
Whenever we're after the polar opposite of a dainty portion of salad, we head to this traditional eatery at the Gava Hotel. It specialises in enormous plates full of rice and meat - either chicken or lamb - that have been pressure cooked to melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. While there are some tables where you can eat with a knife and fork, we recommend doing it the local way and taking a seat around one of the carpets before digging in with your hands. Only a rare few can actually finish a meal of such gargantuan proportions in one sitting. Located on Najda Road, near the intersection with Defence Street (Street 11). (02-6416744)
* Hugo Berger
Bought it, love it, can't live without it
Every so often we stumble across an item that was so worth it, we want to tell everyone about it.
The collapsible car bin
I may not be the most environmentally conscious girl in town, and I don't think I'd remember to recycle even if my life depended on it, but littering is a misdemeanour that can really fire me up. There's nothing worse than the sight of rubbish being unceremoniously dumped out of a car window, turning a previously spotless road into a pile of rubbish.
I was in Lakeland the other day - the "home of creative kitchenware" located on the second floor of Mushrif Mall in Abu Dhabi - and noticed a basket of items near the checkout counter. In that basket are small, foldable rubbish pails for use inside the car. They are black, compact, waterproof, made of a wipeable plastic-like material and sport a stretchable handle that allows you to hang the basket anywhere you deem most practical in the confines of your vehicle; from a headrest even. It's light and almost inconspicuous in my car. It collapses and becomes completely flat if you want to store it, and it's a perfect solution for a crumpled tissue, a discarded chocolate wrap, or an empty juice bottle.
Buy it (it's no more than Dh30), use it and don't litter.
* Hala Khalaf