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10 things happening in the UAE this week

Every Sunday, we give you a to-do list of where to go and what to eat for the entire week

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Catch the meteor showers this Thursday

Astronomy fans can look forward to this weekend’s spectacular meteor shower, as organisers assure that at its peak, as many as 120 meteors per hour will stream across the sky.

The Dubai Astronomy Group will be holding a stargazing camp at Al Qudra on Thursday December 14, where space enthusiasts can catch the Geminid meteor shower from 10pm to 4am.

Art: SYFY street art

NBCUniversal International Networks and OSN are collaborating with  SYFY and  graffiti artist INSA, to commission a unique piece of street art that comes alive with augmented reality. The pop-art pioneer, known internationally for his trademark stop-motion animated graffiti, or as he calls it “GIF-iti”, will debut this unique piece of street art outside Green Planet at City Walk in Jumeirah on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 December.  Armed with cans of spray paint and two specially commissioned stacked shipping containers as his canvas, the notoriously secretive artist – who prefers to keep this anonymity for artistic reasons – will start work on Monday 11th December, to create his interpretation of the SYFY brand.

Location City Walk, Near Green Planet Cost Free Timings Friday December 15 and Saturday 16 

Kick off the festive season: Christmas tree lightening ceremonies

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This year, more and more venues are celebrating the start to festive season with Christmas tree lighting ceremonies all over Dubai. They are free of cost, super fun and a great opportunity to enjoy mince pies, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and festive beverages.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out any tree lighting ceremonies last week, check out the Double Tree by Hilton’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.  Get into the festive spirit and spend a fabulous afternoon at the Double Tree. Join the Christmas Tree Lighting celebration with Christmas carols, Santa Claus and complimentary beverages.

Location JBR  Cost Free Timings Thursday, December 14 at 6.30pm Contact 04 5671100

Food: Celebrate Christmas early, with Jumeirah

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Running until Sunday December 17, 35 of Jumeirah’s restaurants will offer 35 festive themed menus, each with its own distinctive twist and inspired by traditions from around the world. There is a menu for all tastes and budgets, starting from Dh130 to Dh180 or Dh230 if you’re looking to splurge. So prepare to fill yourself up with a festive feast from your favourite Jumeirah restaurants during ’12 Days of Christmas’.

Some of the highlights include: Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s D&A that is preparing a quirky twist on the classic turkey dinner with a Turkey Wellington main course served with Truffle mash for Dh130, while Naya has created something completely different with a Masala Aloo Kheema - an Indian twist on the British favourite Shepherd’s Pie. If turkey really isn’t your thing, Al Hambra at Jumeirah Al Qasr will be offering a Spanish twist with a hot selection of tapas and a lamb shank main course option, while Khaymat Al Bahar will be bringing a Lebanese twist to Christmas with their Grilled Sultan Brahim Fish and traditional Umm Ali dessert.

So get your friends together and plan your alternative feast where you can sit outdoors, enjoy some festive food and beverages, and celebrate the great (and warm) Dubai winter.

Location Jumeirah Restaurants Cost Dh130, Dh180 and Dh320 Timings Running until Sunday December 17 

DIFF: Check out Whispering Sands (PG)

Location Souk Madinat Theatre Cost Timings Sunday December 10 from 6.45pm to 10.20pm  

Go Camping in the Ras Al Khaimah desert

RAK Desert_camp

Getting there: Head towards Ras Al Khaimah on Mohammad Bin Zayed Road.

What to expect: You could either camp near the farms or explore the stunning dunes of Ras Al Khaimah. A great incentive of camping overnight is the region’s flora and fauna. Besides banyan, palm and ghaf trees lining up the desert, you won’t struggle to spot native animals like the Arabian oryx. Many wild birds, some migrating from cooler regions this time of the year, are a regular feature. However do take note that it’s seriously off-road and in the middle of nowhere and ample food and drink along with other essentials is a must for overnighters.

Distance: 2hrs 40mins from Abu Dhabi Corniche; 1hr 10mins from Safa Park

 Check out 6 other places to go camping in the UAE 

New Menu: Try Simply Italian at Club Vista Mare

Simply Italian has recently launched a new menu that showcases dishes from the different regions of Italy. Located at the beautiful beachfront destination, Club Vista Mare on the Palm Jumeirah, the venue gives off a very romantic vibe. Candles were lit on every table and the wooden chairs and tables, gives Simply Italian a very rustic feel. We recommend the citrusy salmon tartare and the amazing homemade Raviolo stuffed with Burrata, zucchini and marjoram. It was creamy and delicious without being heavy at all.

Location Club Vista Mare Cost Approximately Dh300 per couple Timings Sunday to Wednesday from 12pm to 1am, Thursday to Saturday from 12pm to 2am Contact 04 5588354

Health: Mom and Me Yoga

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Restore your mind and the mother-child bond. This is a great way to nurture your relationship, balance your bodies and practice Yoga. These sessions are designed to foster mutual respect, positive communication and trust between moms (or any adult female role model) and little ones as you learn Yoga techniques and have a ton of fun! Activities will vary each session. They involve individual warm up, partner Yoga practices, breath work and other practical and peaceful ideas to practice at home!

No prior Yoga experience is necessary.

Location Body Language health club, Al Barari Cost Dh50 per person Timings Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 11.30am to 12.30pm

Relax: Extend your long weekend 

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Sundays are for the Ladies at Nasimi Beach! If you’ve decided to take the day off and spend some time relaxing in the city, check out the ultimate Ladies Day Package every Sunday from 12pm-4pm. For Dh99 ladies can enjoy unlimited house beverages, choice of a dish from the Ladies Day menu and beach access with use of sun loungers and sofas. Resident DJ’s Chris Wright and Drew Moorland will be playing back to back all day with beats including everything from classic R&B to deep, funky house music. Gents, can join the party for Dh150 entry, which is redeemable on food and beverages on the day. ​ 

Location Nasimi Beach, Atlantis Cost Dh99 for ladies and Dh150 for men Timings Sunday from 12pm to 4pm Contact 050 8829092

Staying in?

Not up to braving the crowds in Dubai? 

At Home: Try a festive recipe

Serves 8


5-6 kg free-range turkey

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tbs olive oil

600ml good quality chicken stock (low sodium store bought chicken stock can be used too)

Watercress to garnish


400g short-grain rice

1l good quality chicken stock

80g unsalted butter

1 large purple onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

100g pine nuts

2 tsp ground allspice

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup barberries

Sea salt

2 tbs lemon juice

1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

1/2 cup shredded flat-leaf parsley leaves


To make the stuffing, put the rice into a large bowl and rinse well under cold running water, working your fingers through it to loosen the starch. Drain off the milky water and repeat until the water runs clear. Cover the rice with cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse a final time, then drain again.

Bring the stock to the boil, then lower the heat and keep at a simmer.

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over a low–medium heat, stirring continuously, until the onion starts to soften. Add the pine nuts and spices, then increase the heat and sauté until the nuts start to colour. Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes. Add the barberries to the pan, followed by the simmering stock. Season with salt, then return to the boil, stir briefly, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes.

Tip the cooked rice onto a shallow tray and sprinkle on the lemon juice, pistachios and parsley. Use a fork to fluff up the grains and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Clean the turkey, removing any excess fat from around the cavity. Stand the turkey upright and season lightly inside with salt and pepper. Spoon about half the stuffing into the cavity, without overfilling it and secure the skin at the opening with a small skewer. Set the remaining rice aside. Season the turkey lightly with salt and pepper and rub with oil, then transfer it to a heavy-based baking tray. Pour in half the stock and roast for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 180C and roast for a further 40 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes to rest.

While the turkey is resting, reheat the remaining stock and rice in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Spoon out the stuffing from the turkey and add it to the pan. Mound the rice onto the centre of a warm serving platter. Cut the legs and pieces from around the bone. Cut thick slices from the breast, stack around the rice and serve garnished with watercress. Serve with a bowl of natural thick yoghurt and salad.

Note: You can find barberries at any Wafi gourmet shop, Lebanese or Iranian delicatessen. If not available use dried cranberries or cherries.