Your week ahead (29 March – 4 April 2015)

Have a wonderful week!

Aries

Wands 7

7 of Wands – being aggressive – going after what you want, taking the offensive, making your point forcefully; being defiant – holding out against pressure, combating criticism, resisting authority; showing conviction – demonstrating strong character, knowing you are right, being firm

Taurus

Swords Ace

Ace of Swords – using mental force – being objective, finding out the facts, analysing the situation; having fortitude – facing problems, finding the strength to overcome; seeking justice – righting a wrong, accepting responsibility, establishing the truth; proceeding with truth – cutting through confusion, being honest, having clear understanding

Gemini

Wands King

King of Wands – being creative – having natural artistic ability, being original and inventive; being inspiring – setting an example others want to follow; being forceful – carrying authority naturally; being charismatic – magnetically attracting others, naturally becoming the focus of attention; being bold – being intrepid, daring to stand and be different

Cancer

16 The Tower

The Tower – going through sudden change – experiencing upheaval, being in chaos; releasing – exploding, erupting in anger; falling down – suffering a blow to the ego, experiencing a crash; having a revelation – exposing what was hidden, seeing everything in a flash

Leo

Cups 7

7 of Cups – indulging in wishful thinking – creating fantasies, building castles in the air, lacking focus and commitment; having many options – looking at a wide open field, getting to pick and choose, being offered many alternatives; falling into dissipation – letting everything go, being lazy, procrastinating, eating/drinking/partying to excess

Virgo

Pentacles 3

3 of Pentacles – working as a team – finding all the needed elements, functioning as a team, cooperating; planning – organising resources, reviewing beforehand, being prepared; being competent – getting the job done, meeting your goals, being up to the job

Libra

Pentacles Queen

Queen of Pentacles – being nurturing – giving love and support, making people feel better; being big-hearted – giving freely and abundantly; being down-to-earth – handling problems matter-of-factly, taking a simple and sensible approach; being resourceful – making a little go a long way, being handy and versatile; being trustworthy – being loyal and steadfast, keeping confidences and secrets

Scorpio

Wands 9

9 of Wands – defending yourself – being paranoid, protecting others, feeling wary and guarded; persevering – trying repeatedly, keeping your resolve, refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer; showing stamina – holding fast, keeping up the pace, continuing despite fatigue

Sagittarius

Cups Prince

Prince of Cups – finding a balance between being romantic/over-emotional – remembering special occasions/blowing hot and cold in affections; being imaginative/fanciful – spinning marvelous tales/having an overactive imagination; being sensitive/temperamental – responding deeply to life/getting melancholy and depressed; being refined/over-refined – being suave and gracious/getting overwhelmed by pressure; being introspective/introverted – seeking below the surface/being unable to relax around others

Capricorn

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

Aquarius

Cups 3

3 of Cups – feeling exuberant – bursting with energy, being in the flow, dancing and singing; enjoying friendship – getting together with people you like, sharing, finding companions; valuing community – taking part in a support group, working together, discovering a common goal

Pisces

Cups 6

6 of Cups – experiencing good will – doing a good turn for another, receiving a gift, feeling blessed; enjoying innocence – being acquitted, having a clear conscience, feeling simple contentment; focusing on childhood – feeling carefree, being taken care of, indulging in play

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Dubai 2015: Week 12

I had a busy week with work and most of my plans to attend Art Dubai went out the window.

I had a session with Trevor on Sunday and then decided I was going to finally open my new laptop! Later that day I went to Spa Zen at the Radisson Royal for a massage. I wanted to use my Entertainer voucher before it expired at the end of March – they give a gift voucher which you can use for the second massage. The week before I’d been to the Oberoi and they told me I’d have to take the second massage before the end of March as that’s when the Entertainer voucher expired. I was prepared for the same thing to happen at the Oberoi, but instead they gave me a voucher valid for six months! Awesome – so I didn’t have to rush to use it (although I was fully prepared to squeeze in another massage before the end of the month).

I worked all day on Monday. I’d wanted to go to Art Night at DIFC but had too much work to do. I still had work to do on Tuesday but some friends of ours were in town so my dad and I took them out for lunch. We went to Don Alfonso – I’d been raving about it so much that Dad wanted to try it. We got there a little after 1.30 without a reservation and were shown to a table. I have to say it’s much more crowded at lunch than it was the last Thursday evening. They had a set menu for lunch.

2015-03-17 14.54.52

I thought that AED125 for two courses and dessert was very good value for money! I started with the seared tuna and capers (I love capers) – our friends ordered the buffalo mozzarella and tomato starter – the amount of mozzarella was huge – it was about the size of a tennis ball! For my main course I had the beef tagliata.

2015-03-17 14.31.52

It was excellent. I was full after that but as dessert was included we ordered a few things to share, including the almond lueco fagon – the waiter told me it was similar to cheesecake (it wasn’t, but it was still good).

2015-03-17 15.12.51

After lunch, I went to Holland & Barrett at Citywalk. I wanted to pick up some vitamins and the other things Dr Leila had mentioned in her talk the week before. I bought three things: a Holland & Barrett multivitamin for women, Omega 3 capsules and a probiotic. The total for those three things was AED360 – so expensive! I think I’ll have to stock up the next time I’m in London… After leaving there, I went to Boots next door and that’s when I discovered that instead of giving me AED140 in change, the shop assistant at Holland & Barrett had only given me AED90. So I went back, fully prepared for an argument. I told her what had happened and she just handed over the other AED50. Had she done it intentionally? I never check my change – perhaps I need to start!

It was almost 5pm by the time I got home and I finally settled down to do some work.

After my session with Trevor on Wednesday morning, I worked all day. And I mean all day. I cancelled my piano lesson that afternoon and knew I wasn’t going to make it to the opening night of Art Dubai which I’d been looking forward to. After last year, I somehow managed to make it on to the Collector’s Circle VIP list and wanted to make the most of all the talks they were holding! But work comes first.

I finally made it on Thursday. Some friends and I had decided we’d meet for a late dinner so we could have a look around Art Dubai beforehand. With various work commitments and traffic, it was almost 9pm by the time we got to Madinat Jumeirah and I noticed that they were closing at 9.30pm! I didn’t think we’d have enough time but in retrospect I think that’s the best time to go! By 9pm on Thursday, everyone was already at the bar and the halls weren’t crowded at all – we actually managed to walk around the exhibition in about 45 minutes. There were some stunning pieces of work – and there were some which made me wonder why they were there. I loved this person in prayer but I wish I’d taken it from different angles so that the letters were clearer.

2015-03-19 21.24.16

After walking around, my friend and I picked up a third friend from the Abraaj Lounge and walked over to MJ’s Steakhouse at Al Qasr where we were meeting our fourth for the evening.

We decided to skip the starters and go straight for the main course. I had the 200 g Wagyu steak and a side of macaroni and cheese (for the table – ahem). The food was delicious. We also had a couple of bottles of Shiraz – and it was a really lovely chilled evening.

It was only about 12.30 when we left Al Qasr and three of us decided to go to the Four Seasons for a drink. I hadn’t been there yet and had been wanting to see it. The hotel is stunning. We went up to Mercury Lounge, their rooftop bar. We were met with Randy Crawford’s ‘Street Life’ playing extremely loudly and one couple dancing furiously by themselves, between the bar and the lounge area. I thought they might be the ‘entertainment’ as they seemed to be very keen on the song!

After the chilled evening we’d had, none of us were in the mood for loud 80s music so we decided to try the bar in the lobby, Hendricks Bar. It was quiet and comfortable – just what we were looking for. We went through the wine list, thinking we’d share a bottle of rose but all they had was Whispering Angel (which the three of us had had before at La Serre) – either by the glass or a magnum. We certainly weren’t going to finish a magnum at that time of night between the three of us, so we ordered three glasses (at AED95 each – rip-off!). The waiter brought the magnum over with three glasses and poured it for me to try. It was nowhere near chilled and I told him so. ‘But it’s been in the fridge, madam,’ was his response. He was such a condescending shit I almost asked him whether the fridge was actually switched on. There was no doubt the glasses had been chilled, but the wine certainly wasn’t. At AED95 per glass, I expect chilled wine. We decided we’d all have a Belvedere and soda (my first vodka since 2nd January) and I asked for some fresh lime juice on the side. The lime juice never turned up and I just could not be bothered to ask for it again. We had one drink and left – it was after 2.30 by this time!

I met up with a friend for lunch on Friday. He had a friend staying with him so the three of us (and his puppy) went to Maison Bagatelle on the Boulevard for lunch. Even though it was cloudy, it was a surprisingly hot day but because we had the puppy with us we had to sit outside. I got there first and ordered a refreshing cucumber, apple, mint and ginger juice while I waited for the others to arrive. I ended up having the nicoise salad, my friend had the full English breakfast and his friend had the tapenade and a salad. We also ordered a truffle mac and cheese to share.

After lunch, we walked back to his place. The Classic Car Festival was on so we saw a few rare cars and then decided to walk through Burj Park. We opened a bottle of wine at his place, watching the activity on the Boulevard.

Mini Coopers on display

Mini Coopers on display

I went home after that. My mum arrived that evening so my parents and I stayed in for dinner and ordered some Chinese food.

I was home all day on Saturday. That evening, my mum’s cousins were having a housewarming at their new house in Emirates Hills. Mum was too tired to go so Dad and I went together. The dinner was outside in the garden – and it was such a lovely evening. I met some people I hadn’t seen in a while, had some dinner (catered by Royal Orchid) and was home by midnight. Perfect for a Saturday.

And that was my week!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I had another good week at the gym.

I had my usual Sunday morning session with Trevor. I got to the gym and one of the ladies in the building was there with her daughter. We started chatting about exercise and it turned out that she’s a client of the doctor who gave the talk at Fitness First the week before. What a small world!

I did a 5-minute warmup on the bike and then moved on to the treadmill for 22 minutes:

  • 1 min x 5 km/h
  • 2 min x 5 km/h (5% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (5.5% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (6% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (6.5% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (7% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (7.5% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (8% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (8.5% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (9% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (9.5% incline, 3-kg weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (no incline, no weights)
  • 1 min x 5 km/h (10% incline, 3-kg weights)

After that I did the following circuit twice:

  • Alternating clean and sweep x 10 on each side (15-lb weight)
  • Mountain climbers x 20 on each side
  • Wide sumo squats x 20 (20-lb weight)
  • Combined deadlifts/bent-over rows/kickbacks x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Treadmill x 2 min at 7.5 km/h
  • Rest x 1 minute

The first exercise, the alternating clean and sweep, involved placing a 15-lb weight on the floor. I had to squat to pick it up with my right hand, ‘clean’ and then ‘press’, and then squat to put it back on the floor. I’d stand upright, squat to pick it up with my left hand and do the same thing. It was not easy.

After that circuit I did some stretching and was done for the day.

I woke up really sore on Monday – my deltoid muscles, my inner thighs, my quads. Everything seemed to hurt. My knees were aching too so when I went to the gym I decided I’d just walk for 30 minutes instead of alternating it with jogging. I started at 6 km/h and every 5 minutes I’d increase the speed by 0.1 km/h. So in the last 5 minutes I was walking at a pace of 6.5 km/h. I managed to do 3.11 km. After that I did two sets of lower body exercises and some sit-ups and that was it.

I had yoga at home on Tuesday morning and was still sore – I felt even more stiff than the day before, especially around my thighs. My upper body seemed to have recovered.

Trevor asked me if we could meet at 8am on Wednesday instead of 8.30. I agreed because I want to make the most of this motivated phase I seemed to be going through! I did my 5 minutes on the bike and then spent 10 minutes on the treadmill:

  • 1 min x 5 km/h
  • 2 min x 7.5 km/h
  • 1 min x 5 km/h
  • 2 min x 7.5 km/h
  • 1 min x 5 km/h
  • 2 min x 7.5 km/h
  • 1 min x 5 km/h

Trevor told me that I was going to do a series of six exercises – but… I would do the first exercise and then do a 100 m jog on the treadmill. I would then do the first and second exercises and do a 100 m jog on the treadmill. And so on. It went like this:

  • Good mornings x 10, treadmill x 100 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Good mornings x 10, combined squat/press x 10 (10-lb weights), treadmill x 100 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Good mornings x 10, combined squat/press x 10 (10-lb weights), mountain climbers x 10 on each side, treadmill x 100 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Good mornings x 10, combined squat/press x 10 (10-lb weights), mountain climbers x 10 on each side, tricep kickbacks x 10 (15-lb weights), treadmill x 100 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Good mornings x 10, combined squat/press x 10 (10-lb weights), mountain climbers x 10 on each side, tricep kickbacks x 10 (15-lb weights), leg press x 10, treadmill x 100 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Good mornings x 10, combined squat/press x 10 (10-lb weights), mountain climbers x 10 on each side, tricep kickbacks x 10 (15-lb weights), leg press x 10, lateral pulldown x 10, treadmill x 100 m at 7.5 km/h

My legs felt like jelly after I’d done all that. I think I only stopped for water once and that was on my way to the leg press machine in round five. Out of all of them, I think the combined squat/press was the hardest for me. And by the end of those six rounds, I’d done 50 of them!

I did a few lower body stretches after that and was finished for the day.

I went back to the gym on Thursday and did a 5-minute warmup on the bike. I then did 3 km on the treadmill in 26:48 – already an improvement from the week before. I was quite thrilled about that. I did two sets of lower body exercises and went home.

I didn’t work out over the weekend.

Low point of the week? My knees are still aching a bit – both of them.

High point of the week? I worked out five times this week again! Apart from Tuesday, I didn’t eat too badly either – but I did have a few glasses of wine at the weekend.

Weight loss? Still up and down – just when I think I’m starting a downward trend it climbs back up again. Very frustrating!

IMG_20150316_120846

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (22-28 March 2015)

Have a wonderful week!

Aries

Swords 5

5 of Swords – 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

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

Gemini

Pentacles 5

5 of Pentacles – experiencing hard times – running into material troubles, feeling insecure, struggling to make ends meet; suffering ill health – feeling run down and tired, abusing your body, refusing to take care of yourself; being rejected – having the door slammed in your face, being ostracised, standing alone

Cancer

Pentacles 7

7 of Pentacles – assessing – evaluating the status, making sure you’re on course, finding out where you stand; reaping a reward – receiving payoffs, reaching a milestone, finally seeing some results; considering a direction change – pondering alternatives, thinking about change, standing at a crossroads

Leo

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

Virgo

Wands Prince

Prince of Wands – being creative – taking a novel approach, finding a new area of self-expression; being enthusiastic – getting excited, being passionate; being confident – stretching your envelope, moving beyond doubts; being courageous – taking assertive action, overcoming a fear

Libra

Cups King

King of Cups – being wise – giving good advice, understanding many levels of experience; being calm – keeping your head in a crisis, never seeming nervous or tense; being diplomatic – balancing the needs of many people, being able to diffuse a tense situation; being caring – feeling compassion for the less fortunate, doing volunteer and charity work; being tolerant – allowing others their freedom, being patient in trying circumstances

Scorpio

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

Sagittarius

Swords Queen

Queen of Swords – being honest – facing the truth, even if it’s unpleasant, playing by the rules, avoiding lies and deception; being astute – sizing up a situation quickly, being quick on the uptake; being forthright – getting to the heart of the matter, being candid when necessary; being witty – never taking anything too seriously; being experienced – having seen and done it all, having realistic expectations

Capricorn

Swords King

King of Swords – being intellectual – ably carrying out research, using thought creatively; being analytical – applying reason and logic, understanding a problem quickly; being articulate – being a lucid writer and speaker, being a stimulating conversationalist; being just – being impartial and objective, being concerned with truth and fairness; being ethical – encouraging high standards, living by your highest principles

Aquarius

Wands 9

9 of Wands – defending yourself – being paranoid, protecting others, feeling wary and guarded; persevering – trying repeatedly, keeping your resolve, refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer; showing stamina – holding fast, keeping up the pace, continuing despite fatigue

Pisces

21 The World

The World – integrating – experiencing wholeness, combining, working in unison; accomplishing – realising your goals, seeing dreams come true, finding a beautiful solution; becoming involved – rendering a service, using a gift or talent, sharing what you have; feeling fulfilled – savouring the present, taking pleasure in life, enjoying peace of mind, counting your blessings

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

Dubai 2015: Week 11

Compared to the previous week, this week was much busier, at least from Tuesday onwards.

I was home all of Sunday, apart from my session with Trevor.

On Monday afternoon I had a massage at the Oberoi. I’d have liked to go to the pool beforehand but it was a windy, sandy day. The last time I’d been there was in January and I asked to have the same therapist but she was away. Instead I had Hazel, who was also very good.

The spa at the Oberoi is different in that there’s no communal changing area with showers and lockers. Each therapy room is its own suite. So if you do use the pool before (or after) your treatment there’s nowhere to change into your swimsuit apart from the small toilet by the pool and there’s nowhere to leave your clothes and other items.

When I was paying for my treatment I decided I’d buy Trevor a gift voucher for a 90-minute massage. I still hadn’t bought him a Christmas present as I just didn’t know what to get! I figured you can’t really go wrong with a day at the pool and a massage. I enquired about couple massages – and the man at the desk told me they do them but it would be a woman giving the woman a massage and a man giving the man a massage. I thought that was weird. If I was having a couple’s massage I wouldn’t want some random guy in the room as well. Would you?? And doesn’t that contravene UAE laws about men/women being undressed in the same room??

I had a really busy Tuesday. I had my regular yoga class at home and then went to the World Trade Centre Club for a networking lunch. While I was at one of the sessions at the Literature Festival last week, I started chatting to the lady sitting next to me. It turned out that she knew a couple of people that I’d been doing some work for here in Dubai – and she told me that she was one of the founders of an organisation in Dubai called the International Business Women’s Group – and that they have a lunch every month for members and prospective members. She asked me to come along and thought I’d find it interesting.

I got there at around 12.15 and found my name tag. I paid for my ticket (AED 190 for non-members) and then had to pick a piece of paper with a number on it out of a glass bowl – that would be my table number. Everyone was very friendly and I met some really interesting women. One of the first women I met was a hypnotherapist – and this stunned me because just the day before I’d been thinking that I should see a hypnotherapist about my issues with stairs/descending. I’m not sure whether I’m over-reacting but I do think it’s getting worse – even stepping onto an empty descending escalator makes my pulse race. I told her what the problem was and she told me I’d need two or three sessions at the most and I’d be OK. Here’s hoping!

I also met a lawyer, a banker, an events coordinator, an explorer (!) and others. I even bumped into a friend of a friend. After about half an hour of mingling and canapes, we were asked to sit at our tables and our food would be brought over. When I reserved my seat for lunch I had to choose between the regular, vegetarian or healthy option meal. The regular option was grilled lamb chops with mint sauce, root vegetables and potatoes. The vegetarian option was open lasagna of Mediterranean vegetables. The healthy option (or Healthy Trendz, as they called it) was chicken breast stuffed with spinach. I went for the healthy choice and it was really delicious – much better than I thought it would be. After we’d finished eating, the guest speaker came on – that day it was Jane Drury, founder of expatwoman.com. She spoke for about 30 minutes – how and why she got started, and what’s in store for her company now. For dessert there was caramel fudge cheese cake and vanilla sauce. I had a few bites but didn’t finish it. I left at around 2.15pm – I was really glad I went and would consider joining the group as a full member.

That evening I met up with a friend for drinks at Calabar. We had a couple of bottles of wine and some food – it was a nice evening and I was home early(ish).

I had my regular session with Trevor on Wednesday and then settled down to do some work for a while. That afternoon I had a doctor’s appointment and then my piano lesson. After my piano lesson I went to Fitness First as one of Trevor’s clients was giving a talk about hormones and weight loss. I was there for about an hour – she talked about a lot of things and I think that if I don’t see results in a month or so, perhaps I should get a few things checked out.

On Thursday I had a friend in town from Mombasa. She was just here for a day in transit from Bombay on her way home. We met at the Dubai Mall for coffee. We ended up going to NOW Cafe on the Lower Ground Floor – she had a sandwich and we both had a cappuccino. Neither were particularly great and we ended up going Tim Horton’s where we shared a French vanilla cappuccino.

After that, my dad joined me at the mall. I’d asked him to come with me to look at laptops – I’d had mine for over three years and wanted to upgrade it. We went to Jacky’s but I didn’t really like anything there. I think the salesman was also a bit irritating which didn’t help. So we went to Jumbo Electronics and I settled on an HP Pavilion. As we stood in the queue to pay, my dad took out his wallet. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked him. ‘I thought you might need me to pay,’ he replied. I told him I was paying for my laptop myself. ‘If I’d known you were paying I’d have gotten something for myself too,’ he said. ‘What did you want?’ I asked. He said he wanted a new iPad – so I told him I’d buy him one. I think he was shocked. He decided on the iPad Air 2 and I paid for it. He was so happy! ‘Nobody buys me things,’ he said when we got home. And thinking about it, I suppose it’s true…

It was after 6pm by the time we got home and I was meeting a friend for sundowners and dinner at the Shangri-La. I freshened up and changed and went over to the Shangri-La. We had a couple of drinks at Ikandy to start with and then went to Don Alfonso for dinner. In Dubai, I usually find that restaurants serve great food but the service can be so terrible it sometimes ruins your meal altogether – but I have to say that at Don Alfonso both the food and service were excellent.

It wasn’t full at all when we got there – only two other tables were occupied. The manager helped us decide what to order as we just couldn’t choose from all the delicious things on there. (I have to admit I pointed out a couple of spelling mistakes to him I’d seen on the menu.) In the end, he suggested we share the lobster skewers for our starters and then each have our own main course. I ordered the John Dory ‘acqua pazza’ and my friend couldn’t decide between the gnocchi with mushrooms or the black squid ink and scallop risotto. She eventually decided on the latter and we also ordered a bottle of wine.

The lobster skewers were amazing. I wish I’d taken a photo. And considering he’d split the portion between the two of us, there was still a good amount on each of our plates. After we’d finished, they cleared our plates and a few minutes later he brought us a portion of the gnocchi with mushrooms split into two bowls – on the house. That was excellent too. And after that we had our main course. I’m glad I had the fish as it wasn’t too heavy – and was so tasty.

It tasted better than it looks - and I didn't eat the bread

It tasted better than it looks – and I didn’t eat the bread

The risotto was presented very colourfully and my friend said it was delicious. I was really full after all that food but we ended up sharing a tiramisu and then the manager brought us a tray of complimentary bite-size desserts. At this rate I would have to be rolled home.

What I liked about the place was that the staff were friendly, we didn’t have to tell them to clear the table after every course (which happens a lot here – waiters will bring more and more stuff to your table without taking away the empties), they didn’t serve each course as soon as the previous one was done so they weren’t trying to rush us through our meal, and the restrooms were at the back of the restaurant (whereas with the other restaurants at the Shangri-La you have to go up or down a level to get to the restrooms).

Which made me wonder why the restaurant was so empty. While we were there, two or three other parties came in for dinner but still more than half the restaurant was empty.

When I asked for the bill, I told the manager that I had an Entertainer voucher. He told me to save the voucher but that they’d still give us one of the main courses on the house. So we had the gnocchi and one of the main courses free! What an unexpected surprise! The manager also brought me an Essence form to fill in – the Essence card gives you 20% off in all the restaurants and bars at the Shangri-La. So I’ll definitely be going back.

On Friday I went to Taste of Dubai with some friends. We decided we’d go during the day as we thought it would be less crowded than going in the evening. This year we bought the VIP tickets – which included access to the VIP bar and lounge, three dishes from any of the participating restaurants and two drinks from the VIP bar.

We got there at about 1.30 and walked around, checking out the restaurants.

2015-03-14 12.06.11

It was already crowded by this time. The selection of restaurants this year was disappointing, I have to say: PF Chang, Katsuya, The Cheesecake Factory, Noodle House, Shang Palace, The Act. I could have just gone to the Dubai Mall or the Shangri-La and eaten there! Where was Nobu? Where was Hakkasan? We had some dynamite shrimp at PF Chang and went to claim our free drinks.

The queue at the VIP bar was ridiculous and unmoving. We eventually realised it was because they weren’t serving alcohol between 12 and 2pm because of Friday prayers. When we were finally served, we each ordered a glass of wine only to be given a glass a little larger than a thimble. I felt like Gulliver in Lilliput. And the wine tasted like sh…ardonnay.

We went out to the VIP garden area trying to find somewhere to sit and ended up standing in the shade under a tree. It was really hot that day – the first hot day after the series of sandstorms we’d had. While standing there, sipping our awful wine we noticed that there was another VIP section right next to us, which was for ‘invitation only’ guests. And then… about 20 feet away from us, UB40 got onto a tiny stage and started performing. What??? I had no idea they were even going to be there. And I’m pretty sure that nobody else outside the VIP area knew they were there or could even hear them. I ran into them in Ibiza last summer while I was staying at The Hard Rock Hotel where they were performing so to see them again here in Dubai was just bizarre!

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They sang about six songs: Homely Girl, Kingston Town, a few I didn’t recognise, and of course Red Red Wine. I also bumped into some other friends of mine, so we hung out with them for a bit and had our second free drink. After we finished our drinks, we decided to try some other food. We got the spicy tuna with crispy rice and chicken salad from Katsuya and then walked around trying to decide what to have. We had some mini desserts from a new company called Savarin – they were yummy and so refreshing! Now the place was absolutely heaving and I would have been happy to leave.

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We had a couple of dishes from The Act – both of which were excellent: the beef anticucho and the ceviche. We even considered going there for dinner the following weekend. By this time it was 4.30pm, walking anywhere involved fighting your way through a crowd and I’d had enough. We went back to the VIP bar, found a table and had some Prosecco. At 5pm, we called it a day and headed home.

I went home and got into my pajamas. I didn’t realise how tired I was until it was 10pm and I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. I’d been working all evening and still hadn’t had a chance to open my new laptop!

I spent all of Saturday at home too – working mostly, eyeing my unopened laptop on my desk. It would just have to wait!

And that was my week!

I love my life.

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