After moving from Indonesia to Dubai six years ago Anne Parvin and her family settled in a luxurious apartment in Bur Dubai. "There was a real holiday feel to living there; our daughters were young and I felt that apartment living equated to a very easy lifestyle." After moving away, the family returned to Dubai three years ago - to a spacious three-bedroom apartment in The Greens, very close to their children's school. "It was a lovely apartment and we were very contented with the space and facilities. The drawbacks became more evident as the children got older - constantly dragging bikes and bags of shopping up and down in the elevator. And parking for visitors was a nightmare."
Last term her daughters moved to schools in Jumeirah: "On the first day it took me an hour and half to get out of The Greens because of the traffic. That alone convinced me to move - although by then I had been yearning for my own front door." Anne found a four-bedroom villa in a gated compound in Al Safa with a gym and tennis courts - and a private pool in the back garden. "It just feels comfortable in a way the apartment never could. I feel much more relaxed and less transitory than I ever have as an expatriate. The garden and pool are a huge bonus - we're getting a big gas barbecue so we can entertain outdoors properly for the first time." A week after moving the family went to the UK for Christmas: "I'm always upset when we leave there as I regard our house in Stockton-on-Tees as our permanent home, but on my first day back in Dubai I realised that I wasn't homesick at all. Moving to a villa has made me feel we've created a proper family home."