The final few

Five workouts done this week!

I had my usual session with Trevor on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the bike and then did the following weights circuit before beginning the abs challenge:

  • Combined deadlift/shoulder press x 10 (body bar)
  • Bent-over row x 10 (15-lb weights)
  • Sumo squats x 10 (20-lb weight)
  • Dumbbell jabs x 10 (3-kg weights)
  • Abductor machine x 10 (47 kg)
  • Lateral pulldown x 10
  • Repeat

In the second set I increased the reps to 15 for each exercise. I also increased the weights for the abductor machine to 54 kg. After that I did 15 minutes on the treadmill – alternating between walking and running each minute (1.6 km). And then I did an abs circuit:

  • Feet elevated crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Breakdance leg sweeps x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Knee to elbow twists x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Plank walkers x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Rest x 1 min
  • Repeat three more times

The hardest of those exercises were the breakdance sweeps (again). And the plank walkers were hard on my shoulders and back. After the first two sets I had to rest on my knees to do them!

After that I thought I was done for the day but Trevor put me back on the treadmill for 3 minutes at a speed of 6 km/h with an incline of 6%. And then I was done for the day.

On Monday I went back to the gym and did 5 minutes on the bike as a warmup. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill (2.27 km), alternating between walking and running. Then I did an abs circuit:

  • Bicycle crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Reach through crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • A-frame twists x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Toe touch leg drops x 40 s
  • Rest x 1 min 20 s
  • Repeat three more times

I did the 50-rep finisher and did a few stretches after that and called it a day.

I had my usual yoga class on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday night Trevor cancelled our Wednesday morning session. I went to the gym anyway. I was tired though and after my 5-minute warmup on the bike I decided to just walk for 20 minutes (2:07 km). I then did the abs challenge for that day:

  • Situps x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Spiderman crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • V ups x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Hip rolls x 40 s
  • Rest x 1 min 20 s

I still found the hip rolls really difficult – the Spiderman crunches were getting slightly easier. I did that circuit four times and finished off with the 50-rep finisher and was done for the day.

On Thursday, I decided to do the 20 minutes of cardio on the bike instead of the treadmill. I thought it might be easier but it really wasn’t! I kept alternating between level 5 and level 10 and would also pick up speed when I was on level 10. After the cardio I did the following circuit:

  • Lying leg raises x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Lying hip thrusts x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Scissor kicks x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 1 min 20 s

That circuit was actually for Saturdays but as I never make it to the gym over the weekend I thought I’d give it a go. I ended with the 50-rep finisher.

I didn’t work out over the weekend.

Low point of the week? Again, I was out a lot this week – lunch on Sunday and Wednesday; dinner on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and a friend’s champagne breakfast on Friday (I had a croissant – the first one I’ve had in ages)! I also drank a little on Sunday and Wednesday; and a lot on Thursday and Friday. Oh, but it was so much fun!

High point of the week? Working out five times this week again. I’ve been consistent for six weeks now, but I still feel the only place I’ve really lost weight is my face.

Weight loss? Still up and down – meh.

Sweat

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (19-25 April 2015)

Have a wonderful week!

Aries

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

Taurus

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

Gemini

12 The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man – letting go – accepting what is, ending the struggle, giving up control; reversing – turning the world around, seeing from a new angle, overturning old priorities; suspending action – giving up urgency, living in the moment, pausing to reflect; sacrificing – putting self-interest aside, putting others first, giving up for a higher cause

Cancer

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

Leo

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

Virgo

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

Libra

02 The High Priestess

The High Priestess – staying non-active – withdrawing from involvement, being receptive to influence, waiting patiently; accessing the unconscious – using your intuition, trusting your inner voice, being aware of a larger reality; seeing the potential – allowing development, opening to what could be; sensing the mystery – opening to the unknown, seeking what is concealed, looking beyond the obvious

Scorpio

Cups 10

10 of Cups – feeling joy – radiating love, delighting in good fortune, counting your blessings; enjoying peace – doing away with hostilities, reducing stress and tension, calling a truce; looking to the family – working for peace in the home, supporting a relative in need, reaffirming a family commitment

Sagittarius

08 Strength

Strength – showing strength – having stamina, being a rock; being patient – refusing to get angry, taking time, maintaining composure; being compassionate – understanding what others are feeling, giving others lots of space, being kind; achieving soft control – guiding indirectly, being able to influence, demonstrating the strength of love

Capricorn

05 The Hierophant

The Hierophant – getting an education – pursuing knowledge, seeking a deeper meaning; having a belief system – identifying a world view, knowing where to put your faith; conforming – fitting in, doing what’s expected; identifying with a group – devoting energy to a group, feeling loyal to others

Aquarius

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

Pisces

Swords 6

6 of Swords – feeling the blues – just keeping your head above water, working to get through the day, feeling somewhat depressed; recovering – dealing with the effects of a trauma, beginning to get your health back, heading toward a more positive place; travelling – changing location, taking a trip, going on a journey, entering into a new frame of mind

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

Dubai: A proofreader’s paradise

It’s been a while and there are quite a few mistakes here!

This was at Selfridges in London! (Restaurant)

This was at Selfridges in London! (Restaurant)

I'm pretty sure the BBQ pig at Phoenix Palace doesn't 'suck'!

I’m pretty sure the BBQ pig at Phoenix Palace doesn’t ‘suck’!

S-olution!

S-olution!

'According TO Bobbit...'

‘According TO Bobbit…’

In Dubai's largest bookstore!

In Dubai’s largest bookstore!

This is an official visa application form. 'Kwolegde' means what??

This is an official visa application form. ‘Kwolegde’ means what??

This was just too annoying

This was just too annoying

I can't believe the last line of the grid was cut off

I can’t believe the last line of the grid was cut off

To see more mistakes, click here.

Dubai 2015: Week 15

What a busy week!

I had a session with Trevor on Sunday morning. I still had a headache from my birthday drinks two days before! I was home in the afternoon and managed to get some work done – my mum and sister took the kids to Mirdif City Centre. That evening I went to a barbecue with some friends in JBR. It took forever to get there. The traffic is a nightmare and if I lived in that area, I would move! It was a really nice evening on their balcony – champagne, barbecued meats, what more does a person want? It wasn’t too late a night – I was home by 11pm.

On Monday I did some work and that afternoon my dad and I went to see Fast and Furious 7 at Mercato Mall.

2015-04-06 16.54.17

Everyone in Dubai loves these movies – even the cinema at Mercato was half full which must be a record for them! I thought it was OK, the action is entertaining but it was far too long and the acting was terrible. I did like the tribute to Paul Walker at the end though.

While we were at the movie, my mum, sister and kids had come to Mercato as well so we met up with them for dinner afterwards. Mum was halfway through her pizza, my sister and V1 had finished their McDonald’s and Dad and I ordered from Noon-o-Kabab. As the driver would have to make two trips to get us all back home, the others left while Dad and I finished our dinner.

On Tuesday I told V1 that I would take him to the Aquarium at the Dubai Mall. We got there at around noon and walked through the tunnel. I love seeing the sharks close up. I tried to take some photos but they were moving too fast! After going through the tunnel we went to the Underwater Zoo upstairs. I could have spent much longer at each exhibit but V1 kept dragging me off to see something else. He wouldn’t even let me look at the piranhas! It was my first time seeing ‘King Croc’. I’m pretty sure the life-size replica they have at the Aquarium entrance on the ground level is much smaller than the crocodile in the exhibit upstairs. This crocodile is massive, weighing in at 750 kg and measuring 5 metres in length! You can view it from the level above and stand directly over it, and you can also see it as a regular exhibit, through the glass. There was a short video playing – a documentary about how they got him to Dubai. I’m sure they must have paid a fortune for him.

After we were finished at the Underwater Zoo, we met up with my sister and a couple of her friends for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. It was full of families, children, noisy (fake) animals. My sister and I both ordered the steak (nothing special). She also said the bathroom was really awful – just one stall and really dirty. After we’d ordered our food, the waitress came back with a plastic cup with flashing lights and asked V1 if he’d like to have his milkshake in that. Of course he said yes. The waitress then turned to my sister and said ‘It’s AED 35 and you can take it home with you.’ Cheeky! I think now that we’ve been there, there’s no need to go back. Ever.

The Rainforest Cafe is a restaurant I associate with families, kids, noise. So imagine my surprise when, on our way out, I spot three men in business suits having lunch there. How random!

On Tuesday night, we were out for dinner at Royal China with some friends. I’d just been there the week before but really didn’t mind going back – the food is so good. There were eight of us at the table, and the restaurant was quite crowded for a weeknight. We wanted to order some crispy duck but they’d run out (annoying). We ordered some soup, crispy asparagus and a couple of other things to start with. For our main course we had the chicken in black bean sauce, beef with ginger and spring onions, and Szechuan prawns. Yummy.

I had a gym session with Trevor on Wednesday and a piano lesson in the evening. I finished my recording of Le Onde (by Ludovico Einaudi). It’s a bit long but I quite like it.

My sister and I went to Jumeirah Town Centre for a wander before dinner that evening. We went into a children’s clothing store and I spotted some hair products on a shelf. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m always looking for some miracle straightening, defrizzing hair product (no luck yet). I used to be able to manage my curls, but now that most of it is grey (and coloured) the texture is very different. It’s coarser and frizzier and nothing seems to work on it except a Brazilian keratin treatment and that just makes my hair fall out. I’d rather have frizzy hair than no hair! Anyway, I found a product called Natural Curl Calmer by a company called Organic Sprout.

2015-04-14 15.00.46

It’s 100% vegan and completely organic. I’ve used it twice since I bought it – I’ve noticed that my hair is definitely softer after I’ve used it and let it dry naturally. It’s not cheap though – it was AED 80 for the tube!

On Thursday evening I met up with a couple of friends at Calabar. I had some alcohol left over from my birthday drinks the week before and had two weeks to finish it. There was half a bottle of Belvedere, two bottles of Merlot and one bottle of Pinot Grigio. It was just three of us and we managed to polish off the vodka and the red wine. I’d have to go back for the Pinot Grigio soon! It was a really fun evening and we were out later than we intended (considering we met at 7pm)…

I was home all day on Friday. That evening, my sister, her husband and I went to La Petite Maison for dinner. As usual, the food was excellent. To start with we had: burrata (of course), beef carpaccio, lentil salad and crab and lobster salad. For the main course we had the salt-baked sea bass and the beef entrecote. We also had a lovely bottle of white wine. We shared the cheesecake for dessert and finished with a cocktail. Lovely evening…

On Saturday afternoon, my sister, V1 and I went to the Dubai Mall to do some shopping. We stopped at Tim Horton’s to pick up a coffee to walk around with and went straight to the Shoe District. My sister bought a pair of shoes and we went on to Sephora. I bought a mascara and eye liner from BeneFit (which I didn’t need). We stopped at Mothercare and Waitrose as well. I took V1 home while my sister had a mani/pedi at the mall. I was home that evening – the mall is quite tiring!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

Another good week at the gym!

I had my usual session with Trevor on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the bike and then did the following weights circuit before beginning day 5 of his abs challenge:

  • Lateral pulldown x 10 (wide grip)
  • Squats x 15
  • Lateral pulldown x 10 (regular grip)
  • Squats x 15
  • Lateral pulldown x 10 (underhand grip)
  • Squats x 15
  • Tricep extensions x 10
  • Deadlifts x 10 (15-lb weights)
  • Tricep extensions x 10
  • Deadlifts x 10 (15-lb weights)
  • Tricep extensions x 10
  • Deadlifts x 10 (15-lb weights)

I did 15 minutes on the treadmill – alternating between walking and running each minute (1.6 km). And then did the abs circuit:

  • Bicycle crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Russian twists x 40 s (3-kg weight)
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Flutter kicks x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Double crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Rest x 1 min 20 s
  • Repeat three more times

The hardest of those four exercises were the flutter kicks. And I think they were hardest on my back than anywhere else. I did some stretching after that circuit and was done for the day.

On Monday I went back to the gym and did 5 minutes on the bike as a warmup. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill (2.25 km), alternating between walking and running. Then I did the abs circuit:

  • 1-2-3 mountain climber get-ups x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Reach through crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • A-frame twists x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Toe touch leg drops x 40 s
  • Rest x 1 min 20 s
  • Repeat three more times

The 1-2-3 mountain climber get-ups were the worst of those four – it’s exactly as it sounds: three mountain climbers and then get up, then get down and do it over and over again. It was almost like burpees. Each session has been tough but I have to say that the 20 minutes does actually go pretty quickly.

I had yoga on Tuesday morning. Again, it was just me as my cousin was away. It was a good class though. Before she left, for some reason we started talking about botox and other ‘rejuvenating’ treatments and I told her that I’d never tried any of it but that if I looked my age I might reconsider. She asked me how old I was and was shocked when I told her I was 42 last week. ‘I really thought you were about 30,’ she said. I knew there was a reason I liked her…

On Wednesday I had an early session with Trevor. I warmed up on the bike and then did 20 minutes on the treadmill (2:17 km; walking and running). I then did his abs challenge for day 8. It was the same as day 1 so I knew what I was doing:

  • Mountain climbers x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Side plank x 40 s (changing sides halfway through)
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Abdominal in and out x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Abdominal toe touches x 40 s
  • Rest x 1 min 20 s

I was supposed to do the circuit four times. In the last round, Trevor suggested I change the exercises to the ones he’d posted on Instagram the day before. I hadn’t done them before as I’d had yoga and was quite keen to try something different:

  • Feet elevated crunches x 40 s (with my feet on a bench)
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Breakdance leg sweeps x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Knee to elbow twists x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Plank walkers x 40 s
  • Rest

In his video, Trevor made the breakdance leg sweeps look so easy (I’ve tried to find a video of this, but no such luck). From a standing position, you lean down so that your hands are on the floor (almost like downward dog but with knees slightly bent). You then sweep the left leg forward and to the right, twisting your oblique muscles, and then back again. Repeat on the left. It was hard. Keeping my leg off the floor when it was extended was impossible! I have to admit I felt like a bit of a loser after that round! The knee to elbow twists were similar to Russian twists but with your arms folded at your chest (like a Cossack dancer) and your elbows touching the opposite knee and then the same on the other side.

We still had a few minutes left after that fourth (disastrous) round so Trevor introduced me to the 50-rep finisher:

  • Bicep curls x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Shoulder press x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Dumbbell tricep extension x 10 (10-lb weight)
  • Tricep dips x 10
  • Push-ups x 10

I decided it was something I should add to the end of all my workouts!

On Thursday I went back to the gym. I did my warmup on the bike and 20 minutes on the treadmill (2.25 km). I then did the abs challenge for that day:

  • Situps x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Spiderman crunches x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • V ups x 40 s
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Hip rolls x 40 s
  • Rest x 1 min 20 s

It was still hard, but I did find it more doable than the week before! In the last set I swapped the hip rolls for Russian twists. The week before, I did Russian twists in the last two sets.

I didn’t work out over the weekend.

Low point of the week? I was out a lot this week – dinner on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I also drank on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Oh, I also had some bread – I had three bites of my mum’s pizza on Monday.

High point of the week? Working out five times this week. My yoga teacher thinking I was 30 years old!

Weight loss? Still up and down – but I’m not going to focus on that at the moment.

2015-04-05 08.14.21

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (12-18 April 2015)

Have a wonderful week!

Aries

Swords Princess

Princess of Swords (again!) – using your mind – analysing the problem, using logic and reason; being truthful – acting honestly, exposing what is hidden; being just – acting ethically, righting a wrong; having fortitude – facing problems squarely, keeping a firm resolve

Taurus

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

Gemini

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

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

Swords Prince

Prince of Swords – finding a balance between being direct/blunt – being frank and outspoken/tactless and rude; being authoritative/overbearing – commanding with attention/forcing a position on others; being incisive/cutting – being sharp and alert/having a barbed wit; being knowledgeable/opinionated – having well-reasoned opinions/being arrogant; being logical/unfeeling – reasoning clearly/undervaluing intuition

Virgo

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

Libra

05 The Hierophant

The Hierophant – getting an education – pursuing knowledge, seeking a deeper meaning; having a belief system – identifying a world view, knowing where to put your faith; conforming – fitting in, doing what’s expected; identifying with a group – devoting energy to a group, feeling loyal to others

Scorpio

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

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

12 The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man – letting go – accepting what is, ending the struggle, giving up control; reversing – turning the world around, seeing from a new angle, overturning old priorities; suspending action – giving up urgency, living in the moment, pausing to reflect; sacrificing – putting self-interest aside, putting others first, giving up for a higher cause

Aquarius

Cups 9

9 of Cups – having your wish fulfilled – obtaining your goal, having your dream come true; feeling satisfied – feeling pleased as punch, indulging in a little smugness; enjoying sensual pleasure – relaxing, making love, appreciating the arts

Pisces

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

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.