With UAE hotel rates dropping as the temperature soars, it's a great time of year to find a five-star bargain. My favourite website for hotel bookings is www.lastminute.com, and its Top Secret Hotels offer is particularly fun. It works on the premise that the rates are so low, hotels don't want to associate their names with the prices, but are trying to fill up rooms during low season. You are given basic information about location and facilities, then once you have made your purchase, the hotel name is revealed. Sometimes a bit of knowledge and research means you have a pretty good idea of which hotel it is in advance (I mean, how many hotels on the Palm have their own waterpark?) and I have been pretty much happy with the result every time. The one time the hotel revealed was a particularly dingy, notorious place on the Sheikh Zayed Road, I contacted lastminute and the hotel agreed to a refund. This weekend, I played the top secret game again and was delighted to end up with a booking at my favourite hotel in Dubai, Grosvenor House, for only Dh660 including taxes. A relaxing night of room service and movies and an unbelievably comfortable bed is just what I need.
* Sarah Ferguson
Mini spa treatments
If you are in need of some last-minute preening before you jet off for your summer holiday this month, swing by The Cure in Dubai's Media City. The beauty salon has come up with a clever concept called the Up, Up and Away pamper box containing a host of mini spa treatments to get you travel-ready including an express facial, mani-pedi, foot polish, hand treatment and eyebrow threading. You'll also receive a relaxation CD, chocolates and essential oil - all for Dh300. Just in case you're feeling generous, the products come ready gift-wrapped in a beautiful bow-embellished box. Personally, I love giving it out as a gift. Call 04 391 6485 or visit www.thecure.ae
* Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane
We get told time and time again that it's unhealthy to wash our hair too much. Not only does it dry hair out, it can also be a major cause of split ends and limpness. But in this heat, it's really difficult not to wash your hair every day. Or it was, until I discovered dry shampoo. Shake the can well and spritz it on to hair before you style. Any oiliness or grease in the hair just miraculously disappears. I use Boots' own brand.
* Felicity Campbell
Earl Grey Tea
Having been born into a long line of professional tea drinkers, it was inevitable that the warm, amber nectar was going to play a sizeable role in my life. And it has, to the tune of at least six cups a day. But what wasn't anticipated, perhaps, was that my preferred leaves-and-hot-water combo of choice would be one infused with bergamot oil. Earl Grey is, quite simply, my favourite drink in the whole world. But, while traditionalists might spit on the floor in disgust, I only ever drink mine with a splash of milk rather than the classic slice-of-lemon method. As it turns out, one of my favourite authors of all time also preferred this approach to Earl Grey: the late, great Douglas Adams. And he was right about pretty much everything.
* Alex Ritman
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.
Lately I'm addicted to the Pure Planet Tart Cherry Concentrate I bought from Organic Foods & Cafe in The Dubai Mall a couple of weeks ago. The concentrate is made with what must be hundreds of Montmorency cherries and, to my delight, it tastes just like the real thing. I have been putting it in smoothies and mixing it with either still or sparkling water for a sweet, healthy treat. The concentrate is a real find, as cherry juice is hard to come by in the UAE. It's not just a delicious treat either, with new research showing that tart cherry juice acts as an anti-inflammatory, can reduce the risk of heart disease and ease pain. (The American health guru Dr Mehmet Oz has even called tart cherry juice the "ultimate" antioxidant.) Even better, it also contains melatonin, which helps naturally balance circadian rhythms for better sleep. It's not cheap - the bottle was Dh127, slightly higher than the price I found at Pure Planet's online shop - but because it's a concentrate, it lasts, as you only need a little pour each time.
* Ann Marie McQueen