Even though there is no doubt that going to one of the many big shopping malls in Abu Dhabi will see you sorted with everything you need, I think it is also good to support local shops – also because sometimes they hide more than a bargain and a few unique pieces.
I have already written about Abdul Karim, the wonderful shop inside Mina Centre.
Family Mart is similar, as it has a lot of the same tableware ranges, but I would classify it as a ‘superstore’ because it also sells a lot of other items, such as beauty products, make up, clothing, small furniture… you name it.
I could not find an official website for this store, but here is a map. In any case, it is easy to find as it stands right next to the big Toy’s R Us and Ace Hardware stores, sort-of in the same block as Royal Furniture, on Mina Port.
I bought several make up products here – you can get lovely nail polish which is of great quality and costs only a few AED, and of course many baking/cooking tools.
Something I particularly like of this shop is the extensive range of dinnerware and glassware. They also literally have everything you might need for your home, from barbecue tools to small appliances, plus disposable glasses and trays in all the shapes and sizes you can imagine – just perfect for a party. They also have a lot of Arabic coffee pots, traditional coffee sets and other local items. I just love this shop!
Where: Meena Mall, Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: Sat 9am-11pm, Sun-Wed 9am-1pm, 4.30pm-10.30 pm;
Thu 9am-1pm, 4.30pm-11 pm; Fri 4.30pm-11pm
Tel. No. +971 2 673-3999, Fax No.+971 2 673-3222
This bookstore, known to some as United Bookstores and to others as Jarir bookstore, is an Aladdin’s cave for all bookworms out there, and for the crafty ones, the pinterest-addicts, the artists, the DYI gifters and all those who might need stationery for all sort of purposes. The store also offers a good selection of electronic items and accessories.
This spacious shop has it all: books on all subjects you can think of – from cookery to international politics and architecture, both in English and Arabic, and all sorts of stationery for the office and arts and crafts supplies: you can even buy canvases and an easel for your next masterpiece, or ‘colour the dots’ books for your first steps into the world of art.
I personally love to go there to browse their sales tables (sometimes they sell books for just a few AED, and my amazing bread machine recipe book came from there) and to look for pretty wrapping paper.
The truth is that I am a sucker for anything stationery-related, and I could spend hours browsing pens and cute notepads, hence W always has a hard time dragging me away from here!
Showroom in Abu Dhabi:
location & opening times
After moving to the UAE we suddenly found ourselves with an entire flat to furnish.
I know what you are thinking: Ikea! And yes, that is definitely a good option.
But what if we want something a bit different, maybe with a bit of a local flavour?
Royal Furniture is in the Mina Port area.
When we turned at the roundabout to go to Mina Shopping Centre, we saw the huge glass showroom’s windows on our right and we decided to have a look.
The space is really big, and mostly sells sofas, dining sets and bedroom sets, as well as small items such as frames, vases, candles and so on.
The style of the furniture varies: some pieces are very classic, but they have many others which are very simple and modern.
They also have a range of fun children furniture, like beds in the shapes of race cars or with American football balls-shaped headboards.
The prices are affordable – and some items are really a bargain.
I personally like to go there to buy photo frames: usually they go for 5 or 10 AED each (which is less than 2 pounds) and they are really pretty: the ones we chose were in distressed black wood (think shabby-chic!) and they were perfect for the ‘antique’ prints we wanted to hang on our wall.
I like this showroom because it has a good range of furniture, both modern and classic, and their prices on things like vases, boxes, frames and general household décor are really good!
I know, I know: this is an awfully specific blog post!!
But I do love to cook whoopie pies, and I thought other people might do too!
I was slightly worried when I realised that buttermilk is not exactly a common item in the local supermarkets.
I had hoped that the many British chains that have stores over here would sell it, but for some reason I never managed to find it there.
Great news though: the LuLu hypermarket inside Khalidiyah Mall has saved me from trying to make my own buttermilk (which I am sure would have resulted in a zombie outbreak).
They always have a good stock, but once I bought the last two, so if you don’t see it there, probably it is my fault. Sorry. I am sure they will restock it soon!
A little while ago I wrote a post about Etsy and all the fantastic handcrafted and vintage items that I can buy from local sellers.
To my delight, I have been told there is another wonderful online platform for Middle East-based artisans, designers, vintage lovers and crafty people! I am so happy to have the chance to explore more of the local talent!
Little Majlis is a specialist online market for makers and merchants of art, edibles, crafts and design.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Majlis’ is an Arabic term meaning “a place of sitting”, used in the context of “council”, to describe various types of special gatherings among common interest groups. (Source)
Aside from the many items available for purchase, on this site there is also a very useful calendar listing festivals, fairs, markets, art exhibitions and workshops: so much to do and see!
I just discovered this site but I already love it. (Better ask W to hide my wallet for a while!)
Where in Abu Dhabi:
- Mushrif Mall – 2nd Level East Wing – +971 02 4914149 – opening times
- Al Whada Mall – 2nd Floor (extension) – +971 02 44 565 04 – opening times
The Great British Bake Off is back on TV (Tuesdays on BBC2) hence I imagine every British household is now going to eat cake whilst looking at people baking more cake, in a sort of delicious meta-gluttony. Or maybe it is just us.
So, where to get the supplies to fuel our baking frenzy?
In Abu Dhabi there are plenty of shops where to go, from local brands to international ones.
Lakeland is a well known and very much loved brand, back in the UK.
To me, just the fact that its founders come from the Lake District evokes memories of beautiful holidays, images of rolling green hills and the soothing sound of splashing water: just the atmosphere I need to start baking some cookies!
Since I discovered them, I learned to love the gazillion kitchen and baking gadgets that they have in stock, from micro-blinis moulds to ice cream makers, and most of all I found some of the best cleaning products I ever used: the Astonish paste is basically the Holy Grail of grease-fighting and I could not live without it.
Imagine my excitement when strolling around Al Whada mall I saw one of their stores just in front of me!
It is quite a big shop, and sells everything that is on the website. From lunch boxes to dinnerware, from baking and decoration supplies to outdoor cooking accessories, it is like a piece of home has landed at our doorstep, and I love it.