It’s the weekend! Yay! that means market days! Mooching around markets is one of my favourite ways to pass time. I love browsing stalls of home made goodies, unusual objects and unique finds and meeting the creative or entrepreneurial vendors behind them.
Last weekend I had a blessed couple of hours to myself and headed straight down to Times Square Centre where both Ripe Fresh and Baby Bazaar markets were on. I did a fair bit of browsing and quite a bit of shopping so I thought I would share what tempted me and introduce you to some lovely local businesses in case you haven’t already come across them.
1. Arts & Crafts: Desert Patch
Do you decoupage? If not, you should! Decoupage is the art of decorating objects with paper cut-outs. It is fun and easy and great to do with kids. I met the lovely Jo of local business Desert Patch at the Ripe market and she told me all about their products and services. Desert Patch makes decoupage super easy with their ready to go Decopatch kits that include everything you need to complete your own little project. With a wide variety of animals in a range of sizes there is sure to be something that takes your fancy. I’m loving the camels and the elephants in particular but there are even Decopatch letters which would make a great addition to any kids room. The kits would make great presents for anyone who enjoys crafts or complete the project yourself to gift the finished item as a wonderful handmade gift. You can even book Desert Patch for your kids party, that would take care of both the craft activity and the party favour as each child would take their completed project home, such a great idea – I’m definitely going to give that a try in the future when my munchkins are a little older. I think I’ll also be adding a few of these kits to my Christmas shopping list, I know a few kiddos who would love to get a favourite animal to decorate! If you want a little expert guidance while you complete your project then head on over to the Dubai Garden Centre where Desert Patch runs Decopatch workshops every Friday and Saturday from 10am – 5pm, a great indoor activity for the kids and it just so happens there is also a fab little cafe at the garden centre which mummies can enjoy while the kids craft! Head over to Desert Patch’s Facebook page for more info.
2. Greeting Cards: Arkadieva
So often I hear people complaining about the lack of decent greeting cards available in Dubai. Admittedly the ones in the shops are either really expensive for what they are or just plain terrible. However, I have always said that if you want a unique greeting card you should either make it yourself (or get the kids to make it!) or head down to a local market or craft fair. Every time I visit a market I come across at least one stall selling beautiful greeting cards and on this particular trip I discovered Arkadieva who sell amazing 3D pop-up cards made with the Japenese art of kirigami. I’ve not seen anything like these before and I had to pick up a couple for some special events I know I have coming up. Check out Arkadieva’s Facebook page for more info.
3. Photography: Aleksandra Mandic Photography
Coming across Aleksandra’s stall at the market made me come over all broody, I wanted another baby just so I could have her take some newborn shots with all the amazing photo props she has. Aleksandra’s stunning newborn photos feature beautiful crocheted accessories handmade by her mother and amazing wooden props crafted by her husband, truly a talented family. I am totally in love with the wooden propellor plane paired with the crocheted aviator cap and goggles. The gorgeous little wooden sailboat would make for a great beach shoot and the crocheted dragon tail outfit is just too cute. I wish Aleksandra had been doing this when Monkey was newborn, I would have loved this kind of shoot for him. Head over to www.aleksandramandic.com for examples of Aleksandra’s work and more information and contact details.
*Please ignore the poor quality of my smartphone photos above, they don’t do justice to either the beauty of the props or the quality of Aleksandra’s photos, but hopefully they give you enough of a flavour to encourage you to head over to her page to see how they turn out in her professional photos.
4. Kids: 3madmums
In the Baby Bazaar section of the market I found 3madmums and their stall of handmade baby products including car seat canopies, breast feeding covers, PP pads, dummy clips, taggy blankets and much more. I really wanted a car seat canopy for Missy when she was a baby but she grew out of her infant capsule so quickly that I didn’t get a chance to make one, but now I see that 3madmums have started making stroller canopies as well as their much loved car seat canopies – perfect for protecting your little ones from the sun, wind and sand or just the mall lights and air-conditioning, and hopefully letting them get their much needed sleep. As well as being good looking in a selection of bright, fun fabrics, the products are practical and address mums’ and babies’ every day needs, as you would expect from a group of mums who have been there and know what we need! I wanted one of everything but settled for a wet bag, you can never have enough of those, especially as we head into swim season. Take a look at the 3madmums Facebook page for more info and details on their next market.
5. Kids: Harmony House Toys
I’m not sure about any one else but our playroom is full of far more plastic than I would like. I would much prefer for it to be filled with beautiful wooden toys like those sold by Harmony House Toys. Harmony House Toys sells a wide range of traditional wooden toys, handmade in Lithuania to EU standards from the highest quality birch wood from sustainable forests.
“Birch is natural wood which is the most suitable for children’s wooden toys production, as it is hard, doesn’t have resin and it is naturally white! So our toys are NOT bleached or treated with any other synthetic chemicals. And just like other wooden toys it has much lower level of spreading bacteria than the plastic toys do.” The toys are also made “using safe, non-toxic, water based and organic dyes only so they completely safe for your child and the environment“.
You will find Harmony House Toys at the Ripe Market every Saturday as well as various other markets around town, check out their Facebook page for more information. Toys are also available on their website www.harmonyhousetoys.com. However, these great letter jigsaw toys are not available on the website so you will need to go market mooching for them. I couldn’t resist getting one for Monkey to help him learn to spell his name and I’m pretty sure I will have to go back and get one for Missy too, they will make a lovely room decoration until she is ready to learn spelling. There are so many beautiful toys I may have to pick up some for birthday and Christmas presents too, the pull along camel and push along duck are adorable!
What’s your favourite market or place to go shopping? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you!