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For those of you who have moved to Dubai, who are thinking about moving over here, or who are just interested in learning about the city of sun, sand and supercars, you can subscribe to this series to hear about my journey and the things I am learning along the way! Many of us at Betterhomes understand the ups and downs involved with creating a new home in Dubai and if you are doing the same, it can help to hear about it from somebody else in a similar position. I’ll be sharing my honest advice, knowledge and struggles here as a young Brit living abroad for the first time, to hopefully entertain and inform you with my experiences as I start my new life in the desert.

Over 80% of people living in Dubai are expats and now I have joined them, too. I have recently moved out here, like so many others, to develop myself both professionally and personally, experience a new culture and enjoy the sunny weather all year round. I am originally from Epsom Downs in Surrey, which has been home for my entire life, until I made the big move to the Middle East! Although there are so many expats here from all over the world, I have found that many of the ideas people outside of the UAE tend to have about life here are based on misconceptions! So, behind Britain’s wild and sensationalised news coverage of the Middle East and all of those ‘living the dream’ Instagram posts, where does the reality really lie?


It’s a strange and difficult time right now, and the most important thing is to stay safe and protect the health of yourself and others. But, while staying home more to practice social distancing, there are only so many series you can watch and video games you can play before your brain turns to mush! Here are some ideas of ways to use your time differently and avoid cabin fever.


Dubai is a modern city that is progressing very quickly and adapting to the needs of the hundreds of nationalities of its residents. However, the many myths and stories you sometimes hear about the UAE can make it difficult to imagine life here as a woman. I hope to clear some of these up to provide a realistic idea of your time here as an expat woman and the differences you may experience.


I think it’s important not to forget that beyond the skyscrapers, shopping malls and pool parties we are actually in an extraordinary natural environment that you won’t be able to enjoy in many other parts of the world. It would be silly to miss out on the opportunity to spend some time exploring the dunes whilst you’re here! Here are my top recommendations for how to make the most of living in the desert.


I’m all for being in the moment and taking in your real life surroundings, particularly when you are in a new environment and somewhere as exciting as Dubai. However, it has to be said that apps are excellent for giving you a helping hand, saving you time and effort and providing entertainment and information. The UAE has a huge range of ways to make your life easier / more luxurious / more lazy whilst you’re here, and many of these friendly helping hands come in the form of apps. So, which ones are at the top of my list?


I have been here for 4 months now, and my first post in the series describes what it’s like to spend Christmas abroad for the first time in the UAE. For many, the season is synonymous with snowy scenes, time off work and Christianity, so it can be difficult to imagine how expats celebrate here. It is different, but perhaps not in the ways you might expect! So, what is it really like to spend Christmas in the UAE?


Crystal Vera McClelland

Social Media & Marketing Executive




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