The Shoe Butler
The problem with having a favourite pair of shoes is that, all too quickly, they go from looking dapper to dilapidated in double-quick time. Often they reach a point of no return, when no amount of scrubbing and buffing seems able to restore a semblance former glory.
Step in The Shoe Butler, a handy and snappy to-your-door service that collects your clogs, cleans and treats them professionally, ready to be delivered back to you in 24 hours. The job is done by hand and the team have a wide variety of colours available for the clean-up (in case you have a pair of green shoes that are in need of a little love).
Tried and tested by us, The Shoe Butler's sphere of coverage extends from Jebel Ali to Umm Suqeim, and is able to collect within a couple of hours after your initial call. Only Dh35 for men's or women's shoes, and Dh45 for boots. For more info, and for their odd 'shoe psychology test' head to www.theshoebutler.com. Alternatively, call 04 884 0434.
* Christopher Lord
Lazy jazz lunch
It's not often that I meet those living in my vicinity, but I have been made to feel particularly welcome by one neighbour of late - the Media One Hotel in Dubai. It started two weeks ago when I came home to discover a flyer pushed under my door inviting myself and a guest to a rather fabulous "lazy jazz lunch" at the tower block, which stands just across the road from my own. The hospitality didn't end there, and upon departure, we were given goody bags containing a soulful CD and a discount card for all outlets. Dubai Marina residents lend me your ears: make your way to the chilled, marbled-floored MED restaurant and sample the fine fare on offer or watch the sun set from the hotel's spacious M-Dek. Be friendly and get to know your neighbours, because sometimes it really pays to be the girl next door.
* Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane
Shiro at Bonna Annee
Curries are often renowned for their kick, but if you want yours smooth as velvet, then make sure you try the Ethiopian curry Shiro. The dish is basically a stew made from the base ingredients of chick peas, onions, garlic and various mild spices. Served on top of injera - a traditional spongy tasting flat bread - it is a perfect entry point to the rich world of Ethiopian cuisine (and perfect for vegetarians). Shiro is relatively easy to make at home, but it's best to try it in an authentic Ethiopian restaurant. While Abu Dhabi is blessed with many Ethiopian eateries, I recommend trying Bonna Annee. Their Shiro is so smooth one is almost tempted to drink it; something I don't recommend courtesy of a case of morning after heartburn. Bonna Annee is located at The Tourist Club, Al Salam Street (behind the old blood bank). (02-4912128)
* Saeed Saeed
Spotted by Locals website
A travel website called Spotted by Locals offers tips on 41 European cities by people who actually live there and speak the language. Just click on the city you are interested in visiting and browse by writers or "spotters" who update posts as they stumble across various cool and quirky shops, restaurants, cafes and music venues or share their favourite places to go that are off the beaten track and do not always end up on glossy travel guides. Or, browse by subjects ranging from arts and culture, shopping, relaxing, bars and coffee & tea, for example. They also have an iPhone App that promises up to date tips and detailed maps. Check out www.spottedbylocals.com or follow them on Twitter @spottedbylocals.
* Maey El Shoush
Bought it, love it, can't live without it
Have you ever seen a head scratcher (usually sold by street vendors) and thought, "That looks like it might be nice, but weird?" That's exactly what happened to me at a Sunday market in Dublin, Ireland last year. So after years of thinking about it, I finally bought one. I can't remember how much it cost (there are versions online for sale for Dh55 and up) but it was entirely worth whatever I spent. I can't explain how relaxing and calming it is to have those tines whisked back and forth across your scalp a couple of times - like a mini scalp massage on-the-go. I also can't explain how it works, other than to say it must have something to do with the thousands of nerve endings and pressure points on the head and neck.
* Ann Marie McQueen