So after much ado and extensive redevelopment, the Mushrif Central Park has finally reopened. Mother’s Day (here in the UAE anyway), Saturday 21st March marked the second day of their opening and the inaugural evening Ripe Market so I went along with high hopes, to check it out…
I’ve been so excited about the market coming to this location in Abu Dhabi as it’s far more central than the Saturday morning one over at The Collection, St. Regis Saadiyat, and is certainly much more convenient for me to get to. It also gave me a good excuse to have a nosy about and to get out of the house with Baby Arabian Notes for a short time.
As to be expected, the park and the market was pretty busy since this was opening weekend so there were crowds of people and queues to get in, although everything was very well organised with plenty of tickets sellers on hand so there wasn’t much waiting at all and we managed to get in pretty fast.
The park is impressive from the outset – and so it should be, given how long it’s taken to reopen!
I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed… and I can only hope that the market does well and the vendors that were there will continue to come back – and bring with them more of the same please! There were some beautiful things on display, and I did part with some cash, but do plan to be back again another day to part with some more! Here are some of the things that stood out for me:
After the Ripe Organic fruits and veggies which are always great to see (fabulous kale and passionfruit amongst other things!), one of the first things that really caught my eye was the Twins shoes stall… I’ve long since been on the lookout for the perfect pair of sandals that didn’t cost the earth and Mathilde had a lovely wide range of different colours and styles. I was initially drawn to some sparkly ones, but after contemplation over several pairs, I finally decided to go with some gorgeous Champagne coloured ones to start off with..!
Friends and regular readers will know that I am an absolute sucker for scarves, so of course I was immediately drawn to the Silk Route Scarves stand – beautiful brightly coloured silk and cotton scarves. Unfortunately I got too excited over the scarves and forgot to take a picture but Abby is also based in Abu Dhabi so hopefully we’ll see her again at the market.
Social media is a funny thing these days, and one of the things I like about it so much is that you really do make friends in surprising places! I find that there are a number of people that I interact with regularly on Facebook / Twitter and Instagram so it’s always nice when you get the opportunity to meet these people in person! One of my ‘twitter friends’ is Ingrid, from Nostrum Italian Street food, and as they had a stand at the market, I made a point of popping along to say hello in person and sample a couple of their delicious Italian foccacias. They have a small branch at the Mushrif Mall but their main branch specialises in delivery all over Abu Dhabi, so if it’s an Italian street food fix you’re after, give them a call on 02 666 2855.
Another social media chum is Tonya Berrington of Impress Me Jewellery. I hadn’t actually connected the name with the business but I know the name well from my blog Facebook page, and have had my eye on her Impress Me Facebook page too for some time since I’ve had it in mind that their silver jewellery designs would make a lovely keepsake once Baby Arabian Notes arrived, which of course he now has! Anyway, it was lovely to meet Tonya and to see some of her gorgeous designs up close. If you have kids, it really is a lovely idea to have their hand and foot prints immortalised in your choice of silver jewellery. I plan on catching up with her soon to get mine 🙂
There were loads of eye-catching stands with gorgeous goods on sale like these beautiful appliqué and patchwork bags and artworks…
These super cute all leather baby shoes…
And I loved the designs and feel of the Indian block print textiles linens at this stall…
I also loved the art works in the image above but I got distracted by Baby Arabian Notes for a minute and forgot to take their business card so alas, I don’t know their name. Please let me know in the comments if you do! I hope I’ll see them again next time!
UPDATE: I’m happy to report that the company responsible for the fabulous art works in the image above contacted me – they are called Peas in a Pod and I am looking forward to having another closer look at the next market!
One other stand I didn’t get a photo of but that had some fabulous leather bags in all sorts of gorgeous colours was LokaLoka boutique… I loved their bright totes and their phone wallets (these look like they would be great to take out when you only have a few small things to carry, perhaps on a night out…). I can only hope we will be seeing them again in Abu Dhabi very soon so I can closer peruse their wares! 😉 (A girl can never have too many bags after all..!)
As well as shopping it was also great to see a good range of food options along with places to sit, and some light musical accompaniment too which added to the festive mood.
And the kids aren’t forgotten either, as well as the park play areas, the market also comes well equipped with lots of activities under shade to keep the little ones entertained.
Overall, the park is a really great addition to Abu Dhabi – even without the market it’s a great place to hang out with loads of features on offer for all the family with an animal barn, children’s garden, amphitheatre, lawns, fountains and much more.
I can’t wait to spend some more time soon exploring the park further with Baby Arabian Notes, and of course I really hope the Ripe Market continues with as many interesting stalls and continues to grow and attract lots more!