Dubai 2016: Week 5

After the gym on Sunday morning, I went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch with my parents and some friends who were visiting from out of town. After lunch I went to Go Sports to get a yoga strap – and I also ended up picking up a new zip-up top from Nike and a t-shirt from Under Armour. Mum wanted to go to Kinokuniya (honestly, it wasn’t my idea) to look around (and I ended up buying a book).

On Monday I had my piano lesson in the afternoon and finished recording a piece called ‘Elements’ by Ludovico Einaudi.

I also had my Arabic class that evening.

On Tuesday I went to the gym and then took my parents to Jean-Georges at the Four Seasons. It was my mum’s birthday and neither of them had been there. The weather was lovely so we had a table outside, in the shade. We each ordered a glass of Prosecco and shared a few starters: truffle pizza, hamachi, crispy sushi, warm prawn salad.

2016-02-02 14.03.33

We ordered our own main courses: I had the ‘simply prepared’ grilled sea bass, my mum had the lamb chops and my dad had the roast sea bass. For dessert I ordered the cheesecake for all of us to share, but they also brought out a little chocolate mousse cake with a candle for my mum (I’d called the day before to see if they could organise something).

After lunch we went to the Virgin Megastore at the Dubai Mall as Dad wanted to get a new printer. I ended up getting some new headphones (Yurbuds) for my iPod, for the gym. That evening Mum and I went to see Sisters at Mercato (Dad went to play poker) – it was a funny movie if you’re in the mood for a chick flick. We had planned to grab a bite at Mercato after the movie but we were still so full from lunch so we came home and had some soup instead.

I had a session with Pete on Wednesday morning and my Arabic class in the evening.

On Thursday evening I went to the Capital Club for a friend’s birthday. I got there at about 7.30pm and met a few of her friends. I’d met a couple of them before, but it was mostly a new crowd. They were a fun group and there was a lot of vodka. I left at around 2.15am (several of them were still there) and it was only when I got home that I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch – apart from some peanuts at the bar…

On Friday afternoon, I went to Spa Zen for a massage with my friend who had celebrated her birthday the night before. Our massages were at 4.15pm but we met at 3.30pm and chatted in the relaxation room until our appointments began. Luckily there was nobody else in the room! After our massages, we carried on talking until 7pm before deciding it was time to get ready and go home. I got home, ordered some sushi and got into my pajamas.

I was home on Saturday, doing some work and generally lazing around. In the evening, my friend picked me up for our usual walk on the beach. We got there a bit later than usual but still managed to catch a gorgeous sunset! I was home by 7.15pm and had a relaxing evening at home.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then moved over to the treadmill. I did Week 5 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 6 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.5 km/h. I can run for 6 minutes at a stretch! I had intended to do the Great Butt and Great Abs apps but was running late for lunch. I thought I’d do it at home later in the day and totally forgot.

I took the day off on Monday. Pete was still away and I thought about going to a yoga class but when I checked the schedule the only class I could do was being taught by the annoying teacher I’d had a few weeks before.

On Tuesday morning, I went back to the gym. I started with 5 minutes on the cross-trainer and then did Week 5 Day 2 of the 10k running app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I have to admit I panicked a little when I saw the 8 minutes! I thought it would be more like 6 or 7 minutes, but 8 minutes! But I managed to do it. It was a slow speed of 7.2 km/h but I did it. I don’t think I’ve ever run for 8 consecutive minutes in my life. I even managed to switch off and think about other things so that it didn’t feel too much like torture. I think I need to focus on my breathing more too. I was actually amazed when I got to the end of the last 5-minute run. I’d managed to do the whole thing. And again, I intended to do the Great Butt and Great Abs apps but I totally forgot.

I had a session with Pete on Wednesday morning – he got back the day before and told me I looked like I’d lost weight while he was away. Perhaps I’m looking more toned – because the scales are moving in the wrong direction this week!

I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 30 s, walk x 30 s (x 4 min)
  • Run x 3 min

After some thorough stretching, I did the following exercises:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 30 (10-lb weights)
  • Pushups x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 500 m
  • Combined squat/upright row x 30 (10-lb weights)
  • Bicep curls x 30 (10-lb weights for the first 10 reps, 3-kg weights for the next 20 reps)
  • Cross-trainer x 500 m
  • Combined squat/side leg raise x 30 (no weights)
  • Lateral pulldown x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 500 m

I was supposed to do all that without a break, but clearly that didn’t happen. After each cross-trainer set I’d have some water. The first set of squats were the hardest and by the end of all that, I’d done 90 squats and could really feel it in my legs. I told Pete that he’d just ruined my weekend! But I wasn’t finished. After a longer water break, I did the following abs exercises:

  • Hip raises (similar to reverse crunch) x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Russian twists x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • T-raises x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Glute bridges x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Double crunches x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Back extensions x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 30 s
  • Rest

I did a few stretches after that and was done for the day. Hurrah!

My quads were really sore on Thursday morning. In fact, both my upper legs were sore all over – hamstrings, inner thighs, quads. Those squats really affected me! I went back to the gym though – and did Week 5 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And I actually did it. I walked at 6 km/h and ran at 7.2 km/h. During the second run I reduced the speed to 7 km/h towards the end, but just for 1 minute, and then I put it back up to 7.2 km/h for the final minute. If someone had told me in December that I’d be able to run for 8 minutes I’d have laughed. But I did it… Twice! I peeked ahead to what was in store for me the following week and immediately wished I hadn’t!

My legs felt even worse on Friday and I was really looking forward to my massage that afternoon.

On Saturday evening a friend and I went to Jumeirah Public Beach for our walk. We went a bit later than usual – we started walking at about 6pm and did 6 km again – this time in 58:16. I was hoping we’d beat our time from the previous week but we were 30 seconds slower. We still saw a lovely sunset though…

Total distance covered this week?

2016-02-06 15.43.58

Low point of the week? I was out for lunch on Sunday and Tuesday, and was also out at a friend’s birthday on Thursday evening and had a lot of vodka (but no dinner). I also didn’t make it to yoga this week…

High point of the week? I did five workouts this week, including the 1-hour walk on the beach. Also, four people told me I’d lost weight this week! My mum, Pete, my friend whose birthday it was and the massage therapist (‘You’re getting thinner and thinner!)…

Weight loss? Not a great week for weight loss – but more people have noticed I’ve lost weight. According to my Libra weight-tracking app I won’t hit my goal weight of 65 kg until 2049! Hopefully next week will be better.

2016-02-06 15.43.18

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (7-13 February 2016)

Have a great week :)

Aries

Swords 5

5 of Swords (Really? Again??) – acting in your own self-interest – thinking of your own needs, going for the win-lose result, gloating; experiencing discord – choosing to battle, creating ill will, feeling people are set against each other; witnessing open dishonour – losing your moral compass, sacrificing integrity, knowing of criminal activity

Taurus

Cups 5

5 of Cups – suffering a loss – letting go of a hope, being defeated, saying goodbye; feeling bereft – breaking up a relationship, longing to be reunited, feeling sorrow; feeling regret – being disappointed by events, wanting to turn back the clock, believing you made the wrong choice, wishing for what might have been

Gemini

09 The Hermit

The Hermit – being introspective – thinking things over, looking for answers within, needing to understand; searching – wanting the truth at all costs, desiring a new direction, needing more; receiving/giving guidance – going to or being a mentor, turning to or being a trusted teacher; seeking solitude – needing to be alone, desiring stillness, experiencing seclusion

Cancer

11 Justice

Justice – respecting justice – seeking equality, trying to do what is right, insisting on fairness; assuming responsibility – settling old accounts and debts, admitting involvement, doing what has to be done; preparing for a decision – weighing all sides of an issue, setting a course for the future, balancing all factors; understanding cause and effect – seeing how you chose your situation, accepting the results you created, recognising the action of karma, knowing that what is makes sense

Leo

03 The Empress

The Empress – mothering – giving birth, nourishing life, expressing tenderness; welcoming abundance – luxuriating in plenty, having more than enough, feeling rich; experiencing the senses – giving and receiving pleasure, focusing on the body, doing physical activity; responding to Nature – embracing the natural, feeling connected to the Earth, going outdoors

Virgo

Wands 4

4 of Wands – celebrating – rejoicing over an event, observing an anniversary or milestone or special time, enjoying well-deserved rewards; seeking freedom – breaking free of bonds, cutting loose, letting go of limitations; feeling excited – bubbling over with delight, feeling jubilant, being surprised

Libra

Swords 8

8 of Swords – feeling restricted – feeling trapped by circumstances, experiencing few options, being fenced in by obstacles; feeling confused – being unsure which way to turn, not understanding what is happening, needing guidance and clarity; feeling powerless – doubting anything you do will help, looking for a white knight, avoiding responsibility

Scorpio

Swords 4

4 of Swords – resting – taking a break, giving your body time to heal, taking life easy; contemplating – taking time alone to think, standing back from the situation, reviewing where you are; quietly preparing – making sure your base is secure, tying up loose ends, stabilising

Sagittarius

Cups 4

4 of Cups – being self-absorbed – concentrating on your own feelings, seeing only your point of view, ignoring gifts and blessings; feeling apathetic – losing interest, finding life stale and flat, lacking motivation; going within – meditating, dreaming, withdrawing from involvement

Capricorn

Cups 2

2 of Cups – making a connection – joining with another, celebrating a marriage or union, working together; calling a truce – bringing together opposites, letting bygones be bygones, forgiving and forgetting; acknowledging an attraction – recognising a bond that is developing, accepting your preferences, feeling a positive response

Aquarius

18 The Moon

The Moon – feeling fear – lacking courage, being overcome by anxieties, feeling a nameless apprehension; believing illusions – deceiving yourself, experiencing distortions, chasing after a fantasy; stimulating the imagination – opening to fantasy, having vivid dreams or visions, plumbing the unconscious; feeling bewildered – losing direction and purpose, being easily distracted, feeling disoriented

Pisces

Wands Queen

Queen of Wands – being attractive – being appealing and popular, making friends easily, having great sex appeal; being wholehearted – being loaded with enthusiasm, being open and sincere; being energetic – being vigorous and strong, being a natural athlete; being cheerful – having a warm and sunny disposition, having an encouraging word for all; being self-assured – having faith in your abilities, quietly demonstrating self-confidence

For your monthly readings, click here.

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For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

Dubai 2016: Week 4

I was at the gym on Sunday morning, even though I’d done eight workouts the week before. I worked the rest of the day.

On Monday I asked my piano teacher if I could postpone my lesson to later in the week. I was really up to my eyeballs in work and just didn’t have the time. He suggested Wednesday afternoon – and I agreed as I would have finished most of my work by then. I had a session with Pete on Monday morning and my Arabic class in the evening.

On Tuesday morning I went to the gym, came home, showered and got back into pajamas. I worked the rest of the day.

I went to a Hatha Yoga class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary on Wednesday morning as Pete was away. My piano teacher texted to say he had to cancel our class (thank goodness because I was still so busy). And I had another Arabic lesson that evening.

I went to the gym on Thursday morning and worked the rest of the day. That evening I went to see Simple Minds in concert at the Dubai Tennis Stadium next to Irish Village. Similar to the Spandau Ballet concert in September, I was one of the younger people in the audience! I also realised that apart from ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ and ‘Alive and Kicking’, I didn’t really know any of their songs. I thought they would play ‘Don’t You…’ right at the end as their encore – but they played it in the first hour of the show.

I love that song. It reminds me of London in the summer of 1985 when I went to see The Breakfast Club with my older cousins who were visiting from the USA – they had to plead with my mum to let me go because it was rated ’15’ and I was only 12 at the time. Of course, I loved the movie – and still do…

They also played ‘Promised You a Miracle’, which I had no idea that they sang. Their penultimate song was ‘Alive and Kicking’ and their final encore was a song I didn’t know. Even though I didn’t know much of their music, they had tremendous energy (they were on stage for 2 hours straight) – and some of the moves that Jim Kerr had made me convinced that he does yoga! The word ‘spry’ came to mind when he was on stage! I didn’t hang around for drinks after the concert and was home before midnight.

It was cloudy and grey on Friday.

2016-01-29 17.50.51

On Friday night I had my first real night out in ages. A friend had organised a surprise evening for her husband’s birthday and we were all to meet at 8.30pm at El Sur at the Westin Mina Seyahi. It was really cold and windy that evening – and by the time I’d walked to the car my hair looked like a nest and I’d also flashed the whole of Sheikh Zayed Road as a gust of wind blew my dress up around my waist! Not embarrassing at all…

So, we met at El Sur for a few drinks to begin with. I hadn’t seen quite a few of them since our Christmas dinner at The Scene, back in December before my trip to Bali, so it was really nice to catch up with everyone. A little before 10pm we walked over to China Grill because we had a table booked for their night brunch. For AED250, you get unlimited food and house beverages until 1.30am. The food was snacky stuff like dim sum, sushi, beef skewers, calamari – but you could order as much of it as you wanted until midnight. And house spirits and house wine were also unlimited. I stuck to vodka even though there were trays of tequila shots going around (also included in the price)! It was a really fun night – the music was great, everyone was dancing and I think everyone had a good time. I was home at around 2.30am.

I was home for most of Saturday and then met up with a friend for our Saturday walk along Jumeirah Beach. It had been overcast for most of the day but the sun started coming out at around 4pm and by the time we got to the beach we were treated to a glorious sunset.

2016-01-30 17.37.15

It was still cold though – and by the time I got home all I wanted was a hot shower, some hot food and my warm bed.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then moved over to the treadmill. I did Week 4 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Run x 4 min, walk x 3 min (x 2)
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.5 km/h. I can run for 4 minutes at a stretch! I struggled, but I did it. I did a few stretches after that and went home.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. He said the session would be mostly weights-based as I’d done a lot of cardio over the last few days. I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 30 s, walk x 30 s (x 4 min)
  • Run x 3 min

And then I did three sets of each of the following supersets with a rest in between each set:

  • Chest press x 14 (weights machine), bent over row x 14 (with 15-lb weights)
  • Lateral pulldown x 14 (weights machine), shoulder press x 14 (with 10-lb weights)
  • Leg extensions x 14 (weights machine), deadlifts x 14 (10-lb weights)

The weights were bloody heavy and I really struggled – especially with the machine exercises – and it seemed to take most of the session to get through them! I could feel my quads burning each time I did the leg extension exercise and knew I wouldn’t be able to walk the next morning. After that I did two sets of the following:

  • Russian twists x 20 (alternating 10 on each side)
  • Side hip raises x 10 on each side
  • Rolling plank x 20 (alternating 10 on each side)

I did some stretches after that and was done for the day. Pete told me he had to go back home to the Czech Republic on Wednesday so I wouldn’t have another session until the following Wednesday…

I was sore on Tuesday, but not as sore as I thought I’d be. I thought my quads would ache more, but my hamstrings were aching more. And my pecs were pretty sore. I thought I’d feel better after some cardio. I got to the gym and one of the Lebanese guys in the building was there. He’s often in there at the same time as me – we started chatting about work (he recently opened a sushi restaurant but his main business is perfume) and he asked me if I’d be interested in writing the content for his website! Gosh, you never know where work will come from, do you?

After he left, I did a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then did Week 4 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5
  • Run x  3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min, walk x 3 min (x2)
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And I actually managed to do it! I ran for 5 minutes. Twice! Admittedly, I went a bit slower than usual – I did the 5-min runs at 7.2 km/h and in the walks after the 5-min runs I did the first minute of the 3-min walk at 5.5 km/h to catch my breath before taking the speed back up to 6 km/h. But I think I did well on the whole! I’m still avoiding the Great Butt and Great Abs apps. I’ll start those again next week.

As Tuesday went on I could feel my hamstrings getting more and more sore. When I woke up on Wednesday I was really sore. As Pete was away I decided to go to a Hatha yoga class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. The class was at 10.30am and apart from me there was just one other person there. It was a really good class and I’d go back to that teacher again, but she teaches at 8.30am on Sundays and Tuesdays (really early!) and 6.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays (which clash with my Arabic class at the moment).

I woke up on Thursday and my glutes were really sore after the yoga class on Wednesday! I went to the gym and did a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer. After that I did Week 4 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min, walk x 2 min (x2)
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I managed to do it again! And I was so happy when it was over, but at the same time I was dreading Week 5 Day 1! I should probably mention that after the last walk, just as the ‘cool down’ begins, I press the ‘cool down’ button on the treadmill – which reduces the speed by 0.8 km/h per minute for 5 minutes, so it really is a cool down. Also, I don’t take those last 5 minutes into account when calculating the distance I’ve covered.

I decided to take the day off on Friday. I’d worked out for 12 consecutive days and thought I could do with a break.

On Saturday, a friend and I went to Jumeirah Public Beach for our Saturday evening walk. It had been cold and windy on Friday and on Saturday it was cloudy and grey to begin with. By 4pm the sun was struggling to make an appearance and by the time we got to the beach at 5pm, we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

2016-01-30 17.37.15

And again, we decided we’d improve on our time from the week before and aimed to walk 6 km. We managed to do it in 57 min and 38 s. I noticed that I wasn’t as out of breath as I had been when we first started walking together two weeks ago – and we were getting faster too. It was cold and windy though – and when I got home I wanted some comfort food so I had a big bowl of pasta in tomato sauce for dinner. Oh well.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-01-30 15.11.42

Low point of the week? I was out at a concert on Thursday and had two glasses of red wine, but that was mainly to keep warm! I did have my first big night out in ages on Friday and had a lot of vodka (I managed to avoid the tequila shots which were circulating and didn’t mix any drinks). I also had a huge bowl of pasta for dinner on Saturday with a slice of garlic bread.

High point of the week? Doing six workouts this week, including the 1-hour walk on the beach.

Weight loss? Down and then back up again! For some reason, my Libra weight-tracking app is now telling me I will hit my goal weight of 65 kg by the end of May this year. I really doubt that though!

2016-01-30 15.11.15

Read more updates here.

Your month ahead (February 2016)

Have a great February!

Aries

06 The Lovers

The Lovers – relating to others – feeling love, getting closer, making a connection; being sexual – making love, opening to another, feeling a physical attraction; establishing personal beliefs – figuring out where you stand, staying true to yourself, making up your own mind; determining values – facing an ethical or moral choice, finding out what you care about, struggling with temptation

Taurus

Swords 3

3 of Swords – feeling heartbreak – having your feelings hurt, getting some unsettling news, being disappointed; feeling lonely – feeling lost, being separated, wandering far from home; experiencing betrayal – being let down, breaking your word, finding your trust misplaced

Gemini

Cups 8

8 of Cups – seeking deeper meaning – leaving the rat race, finding out the facts, concentrating on what is important; moving on – abandoning a hopeless situation, starting on a trip of unknown length, finishing up and walking away; growing weary – dragging through the day, lacking energy, getting weighed down by worries

Cancer

0 The Fool

The Fool – beginning – entering a new phase, expanding horizons, beginning an adventure, heading into the unknown; being spontaneous – letting go of expectations, acting on impulse, surprising someone; having faith – staying open, feeling protected and loved, recapturing innocence; embracing folly – taking the ‘foolish’ path, being true to yourself, trusting your heart’s desire

Leo

Pentacles 4

4 of Pentacles – wanting to possess – acquiring material goods, keeping what you have, hanging on to someone; maintaining control – wanting to be in charge, insisting on your own way, setting limits and rules; blocking change – wanting everything to stay the same, stagnating, holding on to the present

Virgo

Pentacles Princess

Princess of Pentacles – having an effect – making plans real, using your body, acting on your dreams; being practical – taking a realistic approach, using common sense, finding a solution that works; being prosperous – increasing your means, enriching yourself, becoming secure; being trusting/trustworthy – having faith in others, keeping your word, establishing credibility

Libra

Wands 10

10 of Wands – over-extending – trying to do too much, refusing to say ‘no’, having to work overtime; feeling burdened – assuming responsibility, being left holding the bag, never having time to relax; struggling – doing everything the hard way, pushing against the current, having to work for every gain

Scorpio

Pentacles King

King of Pentacles – being enterprising – making any venture successful, attracting wealth, having the Midas touch; being adept – having quick reflexes, handling any situation competently, having a wide range of abilities; being reliable – being counted on in a crisis, assuming responsibility, meeting all commitments and promises; being supporting – encouraging the accomplishments of others, sponsoring worthwhile projects, readily jumping in to help; being steady – having a stabilising influence, maintaining a calm approach, avoiding mood and behaviour swings

Sagittarius

Pentacles 8

8 of Pentacles – showing diligence – making an effort, plugging away, producing steady results; increasing knowledge – taking a course, researching, increasing expertise; paying attention to detail – being painstaking, checking and re-checking, noticing the fine points

Capricorn

Swords 8

8 of Swords – feeling restricted – feeling trapped by circumstances, experiencing few options, being fenced in by obstacles; feeling confused – being unsure which way to turn, not understanding what is happening, needing guidance and clarity; feeling powerless – doubting anything you do will help, looking for a white knight, avoiding responsibility

Aquarius

07 The Chariot

The Chariot – achieving victory – reaching your goal, winning, beating the competition; using your will – rising above temptation, focusing your intent, concentrating your energies; asserting yourself – knowing who you are, feeling self-confident, having faith in yourself; achieving hard control – getting your way, maintaining discipline, curbing impulses

Pisces

19 The Sun

The Sun – becoming enlightened – finding the sense behind the chaos, getting to the heart of the matter; experiencing greatness – being singled out for notice, becoming the centre of attention; feeling vitality – experiencing joy, feeling invigorated; having assurance – knowing you can succeed, trusting your abilities

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