While I don't want to criticise local radio (and some of it, like Mirchi Bollywood Rocks, is quite excellent - see left), when you've been brought up in a family that force fed you the BBC's mostly excellent audio output each day, it's difficult to hear anything else without feeling your brain slowly turn to mush. Which is why I swear by an app called Tunein Radio (from the app store, free). With just a few quick taps, I've got BBC Radio 4 (for the heavy current affairs debate of The Today Show on weekday mornings), BBC Radio 5 (for more light-hearted news and sportiness later in the afternoon) and BBC Radio 6 (for music over the weekend). Of course, there are some 70,000 other internet radio stations to choose from via the app, but I'm a somewhat stubborn kind of guy. And the best thing is, while The Today Show's 6am start might be a bit much for UK residents, with the time difference, you're laughing (unless it's a really, really serious topical debate, in which case you're definitely not laughing).
* Alex Ritman
Hair done in 20 minutes
One of the advantages of living in the UAE is that everything works at such a relaxed pace. I prefer, on the whole, to move more slowly. But there are times when you need something done quickly and this is why I love the staff at the Robert Alexander Salon in the Media Rotana Hotel in Tecom, Dubai (04 439 3537). I went in the other day with precisely 30 minutes before I had to leave for an event. I knew it was a risk to contemplate getting it done within my set time frame but it was either that or turn up with a bird's nest on my head. They assured me it would take 20 minutes once my hair was washed and, although I didn't really believe them (I have been late countless times due to trusting such promises), I took the risk and was very impressed. They worked quickly and professionally while a steady stream of customers flowed through the door with similar demands. Thanks to a team of assistants and stylists ready to take up where another left off - or even work two-on-one - they got my hair looking amazing in the space of 20 minutes flat. And for less than Dh100, I left feeling like a princess.
* Anna Seaman
Knee-length compression socks
Sometimes the small and simple things in life make all the difference. This year, I've changed up my training plan to incorporate a lot more weightlifting and strength training. Little did I know that in addition to all the muscle I would gain, I would acquire some fairly unsightly shin bruises, much like the ones I had in my school days. Dead lifts, in addition to being great exercise, come at a price. While building a strong back, glutes and hamstrings, I've also managed to cause big bruises down the entirety of my shins. But no more. I've since discovered Reebok's CrossFit knee-length compression socks and, finally, my legs have protection. The fact that they come in pretty spotty designs as well as plain is an added bonus. They're honestly the best Dh40 this girl could spend. They're selling fast (I had to order mine) but are available at Reebok stores in the UAE.
* Melanie Swan
Every so often we stumble across an item that was so worth it, we want to tell everyone about it
Philips Air Fryer
A few months ago my father walked into the house with a giant box that contained a Philips Air Fryer - just another odd kitchen contraption to add to our collection. My mother huffed and puffed and complained about the sheer size of the thing, which was too big to fit into our cupboard of kitchen accessories. That all ended when she made her first batch of French fries. In just 15 minutes, using only a teaspoon of oil, the "fryer" produced crunchy, golden-brown and non-greasy chips. We were amazed. Next was moussaka made without oil (a rarity in any Egyptian household), crispy chicken strips and perfectly browned cauliflower to dip into tahini sauce. Oprah recently said that the Tefal Actifry (similar to the Philips version) "changed her life" and we couldn't agree more. The Philips Air Fryer sells for about Dh999 at hypermarkets across the UAE.
* Nadia El Dasher
For more of what we are loving go to www.thenational.ae/whatwereloving