Week 14 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

After the disappointment of having lost *no* weight last week, I met someone on Monday evening who said ‘What happened? You were looking so good the last time I saw you but I think you’ve put on weight again.’ So I punched her in the face. OK, no, I didn’t. But I wanted to. Instead I told her to get her eyes checked. I was already irritated about not losing any weight and she wasn’t helping. I’ve been snappish since then. Isn’t it incredible that sometimes all it takes is one (irrelevant) person to bring you down?

On Tuesday I told Gus I hadn’t lost any weight since the last time I weighed myself a few weeks ago. He said I was losing fat, not weight, and that I shouldn’t worry about it. That made me feel a bit calmer, because I have been working my ass off. Literally. He asked me to keep another food diary for the week. Oh good, I’m in Paris for the weekend too. I haven’t had bread since 1st October – but I intend to have a croissant while I’m there!

I decided that because I was away on Friday, I’d do my cardio on Wednesday and Thursday instead of my usual Thursday and Friday. I don’t know what happened to me on Thursday but I had a ‘blonde’ moment. I got to the gym, sat at the bike, adjusted the seat, put my headphones on and pressed the ‘Quick Start’ button. Nothing happened. Weird. I tried again but nothing happened. I leaned over and pressed the same button on the next bike. Again, nothing. It was like the situation with my dryer all over again. I looked around, went over to one of the trainers and asked him whether the bikes were working? He said that they wouldn’t work until you started pedalling. Doh! How could I not have known that after all these weeks?? I felt *so* stupid.

On Friday morning the girls and I left home at 7am and headed to St Pancras for our 8am train to Paris. I took a banana and some almonds for the journey as I didn’t want to eat rubbish on the train – I was saving myself for Paris! Considering how much temptation there is in that city, I think I did pretty well with the food – I ordered a pastry (millefeuille au chocolat) at Ladurée (but couldn’t finish the whole thing), I had a couple of French fries on Friday night at dinner and a croissant on Saturday morning, but the rest of the time I stuck to a decent diet.

On the alcohol side – well… I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years and we caught up over a few beers, reminiscing about the summer of 1996 in Myrtle Beach (where all we did was drink beer). I had a glass of red wine with my dinner on Friday night too. On Saturday night back in London I had dinner with my cousin at Bincho – we polished off two flasks of hot sake – and we went on to a bar where I had one vodka soda…  

But you know what? I don’t think it matters. It’s one weekend out of many and they’re meant to be enjoyed. N’est-ce pas?


Read more updates here.



We’ll always have Paris…

‘A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.’
~~Thomas Jefferson

One of the items on my list of things I’m going to miss when I move to Dubai later this year is that I really haven’t made the most of having Europe on my doorstep. I went to Barcelona for a friend’s 40th birthday earlier this year – my first trip to Spain since 2003. After visiting Rome for the first time in 2008 I told myself I would go back every year – I haven’t been once. I hadn’t been to Paris since Christmas 2003 either, so the girls and I decided we’d have to ditch Raoul’s for a weekend and go to Paris. 

We took the 8am train on Friday morning which arrived at 11.15. We checked in to the Aparthotel Adagio Paris Haussmann, freshened up and walked over to the Galeries Lafayette. Just in time for lunch. The food hall at the department store had been recommended to us as a good place to have lunch, but when we got there nothing really appealed to us. We found another restaurant in the store but that didn’t seem particularly appetising either so we ventured out. We ended up sitting in the back of a little cafe across the road from the Galeries Lafayette – the three of us ordered the ham and cheese omelette and were pleasantly surprised when they came. The bread on the table looked really good too – but I didn’t have any! After lunch we headed back to the shops – it was very crowded and we decided we’d be better off heading to Pierre Hermé on rue Cambon for dessert and coffee.

On our way there we passed the Pierre Marcolini store on rue Scribe and went in to work up our appetites! One of the girls picked up a tray of chocolates and some Cœurs Framboise (raspberry hearts) for us to try. We carried on walking, trying to find rue Cambon. 

We eventually did get there, only to find that the Pierre Hermé boutique is just that: a boutique. You can’t sit down and have a coffee with your macaron or pastry so we decided to head to Ladurée on rue Royale. We had to queue for about 10 minutes and were eventually shown to a table upstairs. There was so much to choose from, I couldn’t decide. I told the girls to order whatever they wanted and I’d just have a bite of theirs rather than order my own pastry. They weren’t having any of it. In the end I ordered a millefeuille au chocolat and a café au lait


I couldn’t finish my pastry (on the left in the photo) and the coffee was terrible. I’m not much of a coffee drinker but even I can tell the difference between good and bad coffee. The three pastries and three coffees cost us 44 Euros. And I thought London was expensive! 

After dessert we went to a couple of Chanel stores and the Hermès store – but didn’t buy anything. I left the girls in another Chanel store as I was meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years. 

Fred and I met in the summer of 1996 – we were both working at Family Kingdom, an amusement park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (more about that later) and we somehow managed to stay in touch for all this time. I’d been to Paris a few times since then but we never managed to meet. As I was walking to our arranged meeting point on the rue St Honoré I wondered what on earth we’d talk about – 15 years is a long time! But when we met, it was fine. We walked back to the rue Cambon and ended up in a little bar called Le Relais Cambon. We ordered a couple of beers for old time’s sake and sat down. Then the weirdest thing happened – the songs playing on the music channel in the bar were from 1996 and brought back so many memories. Three hours – and three beers – later I had to rush off as it was already 8pm and I was having dinner with the girls. I don’t know where the time went… 

After Fred and I parted ways, I started walking towards the hotel. Or so I thought. I usually have a good sense of direction, but I ended up walking in a huge circle and twenty minutes later ended up back at the bar we were at. Crap. I looked for a cab – which took ten minutes to find – there were none! The driver was quite chatty and I was pleasantly surprised to find I could still hold a decent conversation in French. Until he asked me to go dancing later that evening and to give him my email address. I told him I didn’t have email (clutching my BlackBerry) – he clearly didn’t believe me because he stopped talking after that. But he did get me back to the hotel in one piece.  

We had dinner at Café de la Paix – what a beautiful restaurant! The girls ordered their starters – foie gras and lobster raviole – as I was still full from the pastry. Or maybe it was the beer. One of the girls had the Sole Meunière, and two of us shared the côte de bœuf. The portions were huge – three people could have eaten the beef – and we couldn’t finish it. 


After dinner we decided to head back to the hotel – it had been a long day and we were exhausted. I’d forgotten all about the Pierre Marcolini chocolates that were bought earlier – the Cœurs Framboise was amazing – like a little drop of heaven. I went to sleep a happy woman. 

The next morning we left the hotel and headed to Eric Kayser on boulevard Malesherbes for breakfast. Just a few doors down from the hotel was a florist called Shivani – with beautiful flowers on display outside…


We made it to Eric Kayser – I was unfeasibly excited about having a croissant. It would be my first real bread in almost two months. I ordered a croissant, scrambled eggs and a café au lait. The croissant was delicious. I ate the croissant before I’d thought about taking a photo – but then everyone knows what croissants look like, don’ they? The scrambled eggs were good, but not as good as they are at Raoul’s. 


For some reason, the eggs came with a green leaf salad – and I thought the salad was better than the eggs. And the coffee was fantastic. I had to take a photo of the pastries on display:


We headed over to avenue Montaigne after breakfast, went to another Chanel store, the Dior store, and then it was time for lunch.

I’d booked a table at Chez Clément on the Champs Elysées. I was still quite full from breakfast so I ordered a seafood salad – which was very good. The girls ordered the roast chicken and the grilled seafood platter – both of which came with amazing mash…

We split up after lunch – the girls wanted to go to the Louis Vuitton store and I couldn’t face looking at another handbag. I walked down the Champs Elysées for a while, popped in to Sephora and then met up with them at Plaza Athénée, back on avenue Montaigne.


We had coffee in La Galerie des Gobelins.


When we sat down, the waitress brought over little stools for our handbags! It was by far the best (and most expensive) café au lait I’ve ever had. After lingering and people-watching for a while, we had to head back to the hotel, pick up our bags and catch the train back to London.

I don’t know why I haven’t done this every few months – it’s so easy on the train! Ah well, perhaps when I’m back in London next year…


Your week ahead (28 November – 4 December)

Hope you all have a great week!



4 of Pentacles – wanting to possess – keeping what you have, hanging on to someone, being greedy, saving; maintaining control – wanting to be in charge, insisting on your own way, setting limits and rules; blocking change – maintaining the status quo, wanting everything to stay the same, obstructing new developments



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



2 of Pentacles – juggling – keeping everything in balance, having a lot of irons in the fire, getting people to work together; being flexible – feeling free to try new approaches, seeing the possibilities, changing directions easily; having fun – taking time to play, seeing the humour in the situation, feeling in high spirits



8 of Pentacles – showing diligence – making an effort, applying yourself totally, producing steady results; increasing knowledge – taking a course, receiving training, finding out the facts; paying attention to detail – getting down to the nitty-gritty, checking and rechecking, approaching a task methodically



2 of Swords – blocking emotions – denying true feelings, hiding distress, being defensive; avoiding the truth – pretending everything’s fine, closing your eyes to what’s going on, choosing not to know; being at a stalemate – being unwilling to rock the boat, staying stuck, refusing to decide



3 of Swords – feeling heartbreak – hurting inside, getting some unsettling news, receiving little solace; feeling lonely – being separated, being spurned or rejected, being deserted in time of need; experiencing betrayal – getting stabbed in the back, letting someone down, finding your trust misplaced



5 of Swords – acting in your own self-interest – setting aside the concerns of others, thinking of your own needs, knowing you must concentrate on yourself; 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



9 of Wands – defending yourself – expecting the worst, being paranoid, remembering past attacks; persevering – refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer, getting knocked down then standing up, trying repeatedly; showing stamina – continuing despite fatigue, holding together through force of will, demonstrating physical strength



Knight of Pentacles – unwavering/stubborn – not quitting/digging into a position, staying fixed to a chosen course/refusing to listen to reason; cautious/unadventurous – being prudent and careful/being afraid of taking risks; thorough/obsessive – being meticulous/being too picky; realistic/pessimistic – facing the truth/thinking others are dreamers; hard-working/grinding – being tireless and unflagging/forgetting that life should be fun



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



The World – integrating – experiencing wholness, 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



The High Priestess – staying non-active – allowing events to proceed without intervention, being receptive to influence, being passive; accessing the unconscious – seeking guidance from within, opening to dreams and the imagination, trusting your inner voice; seeing the potential – understanding the possibilities, seeing your hidden talents, letting what is there flower; sensing the mystery – opening to the unknown, seeking what is concealed, looking beyond the obvious

For previous readings, see Notes by Nectar.

My Gloomy Place…

Warning: This is a rant.


Roo: Don’t you ever get sick of your house falling down all the time, Eeyore?
Eeyore: Nope. Suppose it’s just what houses do.

Eeyore has few expectations. I, on the other hand, have had enough of my flat.

I’ve lived here for 2.5 years and in that time I’ve had more problems at home than I care to remember:

1. Leaks in the bathrooms – all three of them, one after the other. 

2. A leak in the ceiling in the middle of the living room – one very rainy Sunday afternoon in November 2009, I was watching TV when I heard this intermittent tapping noise. For about ten minutes I couldn’t figure out what it was and eventually realised the ceiling was leaking. I complained to the porters, the building management ‘fixed’ it. The following week it rained heavily again. The ceiling leaked again. I complained again. The building management ‘fixed’ it again. See where I’m going with this?

By December 2009 it looked like this:


Today, two years later, it looks like this:


The crack is wider and the ceiling has more of a ‘dip’ in it. I cringe every time it rains. I’m just waiting for the whole thing to come crashing down in the middle of my yoga class.  

3. A mouse in the kitchen – I didn’t see it, but I did see the loaf of seeded bread after the mouse had worked its way through it. The funny part is that we all thought Dad had made himself a sandwich in the middle of the night and just left the crumbs all over the counter. He wasn’t amused (but he does do that).

4. No heating or hot water for days at a time – I came home on Friday evening to a notice in the lift that said ‘Due to the one and only boiler breaking down, there is no heating or hot water until further notice’. That was 5 days ago. Fortunately I shower at the gym anyway, but how long can this go on for? I complained to someone a couple of days ago that I hadn’t slept well over the last few days and now realise I keep waking up because I’m cold.

5. As if the heating/hot water issue isn’t enough to contend with, the tumble dryer broke down on Saturday afternoon. I’d just done the sheets and put the duvet cover in and it wouldn’t start. I tried the plug in another socket – it didn’t work. I tried the kettle in the socket the dryer had originally been in – that worked. So it wasn’t the socket. I checked the fuse box. I emptied the water tray and cleaned the filter. Nothing. It’s hopefully being repaired next Monday… 

I recently made a list of all the things I’m going to miss when I move to Dubai. This flat isn’t one of them. 

Christopher Robin: [Looks at Owl’s demolished house] What a pity. Owl, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to fix it.
Eeyore: If you ask me, when a house looks like that, it’s time to find a new one.


Week 13 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

Not a very eventful week in terms of food and exercise (apart from the vodka consumed on Friday night and a Coke on Saturday to help with the after-effects of the aforementioned vodka). 

I felt miles better after being down with flu in week 12. I did my usual sessions at the gym during the week (my upper body strength is laughable) and had a great yoga class on Sunday morning after a two-week break. My yoga teacher was surprised when she saw me – she said I looked really toned. And she was seeing me after only two weeks. That felt so good!

On Sunday evening I was at a friend’s place and decided to weigh myself on her scales. After what my yoga teacher had said surely I must have lost a few more pounds since the last time I weighed myself in week 9. I stepped on the scales and… I really wish I hadn’t. I haven’t lost *any* weight since the last time a few weeks ago. In fact, I’ve put on 0.5 lbs. It’s not much, I know, and it’s probably muscle, but I’ve been irritated ever since. If this continues, I definitely won’t achieve my goal of 10 kilos by Christmas (just a month away now) – especially with a couple of days in Paris coming up soon… 

So there you go. Uneventful, unmotivating and now I just want to eat chocolate. Lots of it.


Read more updates here.


Your week ahead (21-27 November)

Have a great week!



The Magician – taking action – doing what needs to be done, using your talents; acting consciously – understanding your intentions, knowing what you are doing and why; concentrating – being totally committed, feeling centered; experiencing power – creating miracles, becoming energised



Page of Pentacles – have an effect – make your plans real, act on your dreams; be practical – take a realistic approach, stop daydreaming; be prosperous – increase your means, go out to meet success; be trusting/trustworthy – have faith in others, stick by your commitments



2 of Cups – making a connection – joining with another, establishing a partnership; calling a truce – declaring peace, forgiving and forgetting; acknowledging an attraction – letting yourself be drawn in, recognising a bond that is developing



The Tower – going through sudden change – experiencing upheaval, having plans disrupted; releasing – having an emotional outburst, breaking through pretense; falling down – being humbled, toppling from the heights; having a revelation – suddenly realising the truth, having a burst of insight



8 of Swords – feeling restricted – staying in a limited situation, being fenced in by obstacles; feeling confused – lacking direction, being unsure which way to turn; feeling powerless – waiting for outside rescue, avoiding responsibility, looking for a white knight



The Star – regaining hope – having faith in the future, thinking positively; being inspired – realising an inner strength, receiving the answer; being generous – wanting to give or share, letting love flow freely; feeling serene – relaxing, experiencing peace of mind



2 of Pentacles – juggling – keeping everything in balance, having a lot of irons in the fire; being flexible – adapting quickly, seeing the possibilities; having fun – doing something you enjoy, taking time to play, seeing the humour in the situation



King of Wands – being creative – opening up new areas of experience, having natural artistic ability; being inspiring – communicating enthusiasm, instilling confidence; being forceful – having a commanding presence; being charismatic – magnetically attracting others; being bold – daring to stand and be different



The Hanged Man – letting go – having an emotional release, ending the struggle; reversing – changing your mind, seeing from a new angle; suspending action – pausing to reflect, living in the moment; sacrificing – renouncing a claim, putting others first



2 of Swords – blocking emotions – denying true feelings, hiding distress; avoiding the truth – refusing to look at facts, choosing not to know; being at a stalemate – being afraid to act, being unwilling to rock the boat



4 of Cups – being self-absorbed – withholding affection, ignoring gifts and blessings; feeling apathetic – losing interest, finding life stale and flat; going within – meditating, withdrawing from involvement



Queen of Swords – being honest – facing the truth even if unpleasant, playing by the rules; being astute – being quick on the uptake; being forthright – being direct and open in all dealings; being witty – having a delightful sense of humour; being experienced – having realistic expectations

 For previous readings, see Notes by Nectar.