Stuck indoors for the summer. Make the most of it with these fun ideas
It’s Ramadan, which means the clubs are closed, our DJs have skipped off on summer holidays, and while most of the bars still open in the evening, they won’t do so until later than usual. But the Holy Month is also a time for people to get together and visit those they love, whether for a five-star iftar or a more intimate soirée at home. But just because music isn’t allowed by law to be above background level during Ramadan doesn’t mean the fun has to stop – it’s time to re-engage your creative side and show off your hosting skills with our pick of this summer’s home-fun trends.
1 Do ‘dinema’ This is short for ‘dinner and cinema’, though during Ramadan, you can set it all up at home. Katie Harvey, party planner at Dubai Party Queen (www.dubaipartyqueen.com), recommends borrowing or investing in a projector for a real movie experience. Projectors cost from Dhs1,999 at Jumbo Electronics, various locations (800 58626).
2 Have an at-home brunch We’ve tried it and found it’s better than a brunch out: it’s cheaper and the conversation tends to flow easier in a home environment. Assemble 10 friends at yours for 12pm, and have each bring something for a mixed drink and a homemade dish. Harvey’s advice? ‘Co-ordinate dishes beforehand, otherwise you may have a table of cupcakes and little else.’
3 Console tournaments Change things up with the new Mario Sports Mix for Wii (Dhs183) and compete in basketball, volleyball, dodgeball or hockey as different Mario characters. If you’re an Xbox Kinect owner, try PowerUp Heroes (Dhs183), in which you can use your entire body to launch strikes. Both available from www.amazon.com.
4 Get swishing Remember that great outfit you spent a fortune on at Vivienne Westwood last year yet have only worn once? Get your friends to come round with a great outfit, bag or pair of shoes in similarly mint condition and have a swapping party. The term derives from the dictionary definition of ‘to rustle, as silk’, which, in 2000, PR guru Lucy Shea decided meant ‘to rustle from (or swap with) friends’.
5 Put on a pudding party Ditch the diet for a day (that’s if you’re not fasting!) and have everyone bring round a dessert. Everyone can bring their favourite, or, if you don’t want to run the risk of having six carrot cakes, give each person a theme – whether it’s fruit-based, chocolate or a collection of treats from around the world.
6 Set up a film-of-the-book club Watch films of the books you’ve all read and spend hours afterwards debating whether they’re good adaptations. We’re watching The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Adjustment Bureau and The Time Traveller’s Wife.
7 Throw a paint party Instead of spending a fortune on pictures, head over to Carrefour and pick up a few cheap canvases and boxes of paint. Invite creative pals round and spend an evening painting your own, one-off pieces – it’s also a great stress-reliever.
8 Have a professional facial at home Forget impossible-to-chisel-off supermarket-bought masks, get the professionals round and enjoy a real facial without having to get out of your pyjamas (because who wants to when it’s 50°C outside?). Invite friends round in their PJs and make a day of it. Chez Toi (04 339 7117).
9 Throw a pet grooming party You’ll need your own dog for this one – or at least a friend’s: invite pooch-lovers round for a canine social so you and your pup can make friends while getting him or her groomed. From Dhs200 per dog. Tail-Waggin’ (050 366 6622).
10 Host a Jaipur night As well as traditional cards, try addictive new card game Jaipur. The game sees two players go head-to-head to rule the stock market in Rajasthan, trading camels, shares and more. Get more people round and you can have yourself a league. Dhs77 from www.amazon.com.
11 Put on a Zumba party It’s the latest exercise craze to hit Dubai, so gather some friends and head over to the living room of whoever among you has the biggest apartment for an at-home session. Professional instructor Saskia West will do private classes for Dhs30 per person for 15 or more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
12 Throw a murder mystery night Liven up dinner with a murder and have your five guests spend the next two hours flinging accusations at one another. Use Lou Harry’s The Murder Mystery Party Kit, and assign each role before the party – costumes are optional, but are certainly more fun. Dhs73 from www.amazon.com.
13 Get a chef round for a cookery class Get an education as well as a feed. The gang at Dubai Party Queen have chefs on hand for at-home lessons, but if you’re lazy there is an option to have them cook for you. Prices start from Dhs2,000 for a three-course meal/lesson. www.dubaipartyqueen.com.
14 Experiment with A crochet club Many Kiwi skiers and snowboarders spend their evenings crocheting everything from scarves to iPod holders when it’s too cold to hit the après ski. We may be at the opposite end of the thermometer, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. See ‘How to crochet: lesson 1’ on YouTube.
15 Throw a kid’s party without the kids Whatever your excuse – early Halloween, a friend’s birthday – throw a fancy dress party (either an all-out fright-fest or simply have everyone wear comedy noses) and lay on classic party games such as piñata and pinning the tail on whatever your adult sense of humour fancies.