Your week ahead (31 March – 6 April)

Sorry about the delay – I’ve had a heavy weekend! Interesting that all four 7s are present this week – I’m sure it must mean something…

Have a great week, everyone!

Aries

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

Taurus

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

Gemini

Wands 2

2 of Wands – having personal power – commanding attention and respect, holding the world in your hands, having authority; being bold – daring to do what you want, speaking your mind, seizing the day; showing originality – taking a different approach, doing what no one else has done, marching to a different drummer

Cancer

13 Death

Death – ending – closing one door to open another, putting the past behind you; going through transition – changing status, being in the middle; eliminating excess – concentrating on essentials, shedding old attitudes; experiencing inexorable forces – going through what cannot be avoided, riding your fate

Leo

cups_king-scaled5001

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

Virgo

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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

Libra

3 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

Scorpio

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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

Sagittarius

Pentacles 2

2 of Pentacles – juggling – coping with demands, having a lot of irons in the fire, keeping everything in balance; being flexible – going with the flow, seeing the possibilities, handling challenges; having fun – taking time to play, feeling in high spirits, seeing the humour in the situation

Capricorn

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

Aquarius

Pentacles Ace

Ace of Pentacles – using material force – working with the physical, improving the body/health, focusing on concrete results; prospering – having the means to reach a goal, seeing efforts rewarded, increasing assets; being practical – using common sense, being realistic, accepting the tools at hand; proceeding with trust – feeling safe and protected, having a support system, believing in the good faith of others

Pisces

Swords 7

7 of Swords – running away – shirking responsibility, sneaking off, leaving; being a lone wolf – wanting independence, staying aloof, preferring solitude; choosing hidden dishonour – covering your tracks, lying or stealing, avoiding a shameful secret

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

Dubai 2013: Week 11

Another unexpectedly busy week in Dubai…

I had my usual session with Randy on Sunday morning and then did some work the rest of the day. That night I went to Sho Cho for dinner with my cousin and some of our Lagos friends. Being a Sunday night I thought it would be quiet, but I was completely wrong! Every table was full and by the time we left even the bar area was packed. I had no idea Sunday was ‘retro night’. I’ll definitely be doing that again! I had two ginger martinis (or was it three?) and the food was really good too.

On Monday evening I went to the Shangri-La to sort out my birthday party. I’ve been so unexcited about it, if I’m honest. If I didn’t have friends flying in from other places I would actually cancel the whole thing. After that I went to Art Night at DIFC – I wasn’t with anyone, but I just wanted to get out of the house. It was crowded, more crowded than the one in February (I thought) and I didn’t stay too long. I walked around a couple of galleries, bumped into a couple of friends, and was home for dinner. I did see this lovely tree made of books:

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I had coffee with my cousin in DIFC on Tuesday and while we were walking around I saw this beautiful photograph.

Isn't this beautiful?

Isn’t this beautiful?

I had a piano lesson that afternoon which was great. I’m still working on all the same things as the week before, and finally started working on: Amelie’s Waltz.

There was another InterNations event on Wednesday evening so a friend and I went together. It was at Seville’s in Wafi, in their outdoor area. We’d been looking forward to it as we’d had such a great time two weeks before, but this was disappointing. Neither of us was feeling particularly social to start with, and we would have been happy to just talk to each other as we hadn’t seen each other in two weeks. The staff at the restaurant were absolutely clueless about everything. It took us almost 30 minutes to order a bottle of wine, and that was after a lot of going back and forth because they didn’t have certain wines on the list. It was just irritating. When we’d finished our wine we decided we’d leave and go elsewhere to catch up.

We walked over to Carter’s and ordered our drinks at the bar. We were then approached by an Indian guy who insisted on buying us champagne which we politely declined. I could sense him looking at me so I continued staring in the opposite direction while my friend told him we weren’t interested. We got our drinks and found a table outside. Twenty minutes later the guy showed up outside and said he wanted to buy us a drink. We told him we still weren’t interested. ‘Are you Indian?’ he asked me. ‘No, I’m Spanish,’ I replied. ‘But I mean, where are you from originally?’ ‘Spain,’ I replied. He didn’t believe me so I started speaking Spanish.

And then my friend said: ‘That’s a lovely wedding ring you’re wearing.’

I hadn’t even noticed. His persistence suddenly turned into sheepishness. He mumbled something about it being a ‘separation’ ring and he left us alone. Jesus, what a tool.

I woke up with a slight headache on Thursday. I was home all day but had wine club that evening. It was supposed to be held at the the new JW Marriot Marquis at their poolside but because the weather had been terrible all day (grey and windy) they moved it indoors. It was  a good venue but there really wasn’t enough food (in my opinion). The wines we had were:

  • Villa Maria Private Bin 2011 Sauvignon Blanc: Strong citrus grassy notes on nose and palate. Race acidity that pairs well with vegetables, seafood and lighter dishes. Excellent with asparagus. Typical New Zealand style from the South Island. This was my second favourite.
  • Villa Maria Private Bin 2011 Chardonnay: Mineral, citrus, and very clean aroma. In the mouth, good acidity, grapefruit, and clean long finish with a hint of spice. I hated this.
  • Cusumano Chardonnay: Grown and produced in Sicily, taking advantage of the island’s rich history in wine-making and full sunny days for optimal ripeness and full-flavoured wines. I hated this too.
  • Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling: A pure and delicate bouquet of ripe citrus-lime and spring blossom aromas. The palate is beautifully balanced with intense flavours, lovely juicy length and a zest lime finish. Great on its own or with light fresh food.
  • Villa Maria Gewurztraminer: Gewurztraminer is an aromatic wine grape variety. The name literally means ‘Spice Traminer’. The grape has a pink to red skin colour, and is high in natural sugar. The resulting wine is white and usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees. Its aromatic flavours make Gewurztraminer an ideal companion for mild curries and chillies, Thai and Japanese cuisine, pork and ham, and spiced apple desserts. This was my favourite.
  • Cusamano Cabernet Sauvignon: Loaded with rich berry fruit and substantial tannins. Best to let set out for a while before drinking to soften when young. Excellent with hearty dishes and red meats.

I was sitting with a friend on one table but had a few friends on another table so we all met up afterwards and went to Vault, the wine bar on the 70th floor. We had more wine (South African Chenin Blanc) and were there until they closed at 3am.

I felt like shit the next day. I eventually got out of bed at 1pm, took some Nurofen and had some lunch. My entire day was going to waste until I asked a friend if she wanted to go to Art Dubai. She said yes, and that she’d drive as she had to drop her daughter off at JBR. Great! I was ready by 5pm, she picked me up, we went to pick up her daughter but she wasn’t ready so we hung out in the kitchen for a while. Then her daughter said she wasn’t meeting her friends until later, so we waited a bit more. We left her place at 6pm, encountered terrible traffic to and from JBR (which is an everyday occurrence, apparently) and spent half an hour stuck in the parking lot at the Madinat. It did not bode well. We eventually parked 10 minutes away, walked back to the Madinat and got there at 7.30pm. We asked for two tickets and the man said they had just closed. WTF?? It was 7.30pm on Friday. I thought it would have been open until at least 9.30, but neither of us had even thought to check. I was gutted. I missed it last year, and I missed it this year (I wasn’t able to go on the Saturday). Third time lucky?

We decided we’d get some food at the Madinat as we were both famished and hungover. We went to Japengo – I really fancied some Iranian kebabs and some houmous but when we sat down the waitress told us that they didn’t have any Lebanese or Iranian food. I could have wept. We ordered some spicy tuna rolls and some French fries (which appeased me a little). I was home by 10pm.

Saturday was a long day. I was up at 6am as I was volunteering at the Jack Canfield 1-day workshop (Living the Success Principles) at the Meydan Hotel. I had wanted to go but I felt 2000 dirhams was a lot of money to spend, especially as I haven’t had any income since November (long story). Luckily for me, my parents know the organisers who told me that if I came as a volunteer I could help out before and after the event, and in the breaks, and attend for free. Amazing! I left home at 7am, helped with registration (handing out name badges), put flyers on the tables in the breaks, put inserts into leaflets for about 10 minutes during the afternoon session, and sold some books at the end. It was totally worth it. And I felt the workshop was just what I needed to set some goals – personal and professional – for the year ahead.

2013.03.23 Jack Canfield

It also gave me an insight into what it would be like working in event management. I’ve realised I would loathe it. I like to get on with things in peace and quiet rather than be bothered by people asking me questions all day!

Anyway, I was home by 7.30pm and in bed by 9pm.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I had my usual Sunday morning session with Randy. I started with my 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer while he set up the equipment. The first circuit consisted of:

  • Step-ups on a bench combined with a shoulder press (3-kg weights) x 10 on each side
  • Push-ups x 12
  • Plank x 40 seconds (50 seconds in the second set, 60 seconds in the third set)
  • Running on the spot x 30 seconds

Step-ups are hard enough without adding a shoulder press to them. I really notice how much weaker my left leg is when I do these. My terrible balance and fear of falling don’t help either!

I did 3 minutes on the cross-trainer and then did the next circuit:

  • Squat x 20 seconds (held)
  • Rest x 10 seconds
  • Squats x 20 seconds
  • Ladder x 2 (stepping in and out, no jumping this time)
  • Sit-ups x 20 (holding a 10-lb weight above my head)

Randy thinks the regular sit-ups are too easy for me and is making them harder. The 10-lb weight also worked my arms a bit more!

I did another 3 minutes on the cross-trainer and then Randy stretched me. It was a good session – and nowhere near as tough as the two sessions I had the week before.

I woke up on Monday with sore shoulders and glutes. I was also tired from a night out on Sunday. I had my usual yoga class on Monday morning – our teacher introduced another new pose (the heron or krounchasana) which of course I can’t do!

On Tuesday my glutes were even sorer than they were on Monday. I went to the gym for a quick workout as I was meeting my cousin at noon. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and two sets of sit-ups. Better than nothing, isn’t it?

I was still sore on Wednesday morning but had another tough session with Randy. I started with 5 minutes on the cross-trainer and then we went outside.

My first two exercises consisted of:

  • Plank x 30 seconds
  • Running up the length of the pool and back x 20 seconds
  • Repeat x 4

I did that circuit twice. If I finished the running there and back in under 20 seconds I could rest for whatever was left of the 20 seconds (that only happened the first two times I did it and it was for 5 and 3 seconds).

We went back inside after that and did three 2-minute rounds of boxing. Each 2-minute round consisted of:

  • 10 alternating punches
  • Duck (i.e. squat)
  • 20 alternating punches
  • Duck
  • 30 alternating punches
  • Duck
  • 40 alternating punches
  • Duck
  • 50 alternating punches
  • Duck

If the 2 minutes wasn’t up by the end of the 50 punches, we started again at 10 punches and carried on until the time ran out. In the second and third rounds, Randy kept raising his arms so I had to punch higher and higher. I couldn’t wait for it to be over!

I then did 3 minutes on the cross-trainer and began the next circuit:

  • Jumping jacks x 45 seconds
  • Rest x 10 seconds
  • Deadlift/upright row (3-kg weights) x 45 seconds
  • Rest x 10 seconds
  • Burpees x 45 seconds
  • Rest x 10 seconds
  • Stair-climbers x 45 seconds
  • Rest x 10 seconds
  • Alternating backward lunges x 45 seconds
  • Rest

Luckily I only had to do that circuit twice. I got back on the cross-trainer for a 3-minute cooldown and then Randy stretched me. Done for the day!

I didn’t work out again the rest of the week – I was a bit hungover on Thursday and really hungover on Friday, and on Saturday I was out of the house from 7am to 7pm!

Low point of the week? I don’t think there was one – apart from the two hangovers.

High point of the week? Deciding that spending even 15-20 minutes on the treadmill on Tuesday was better than nothing.

Weight loss? I’ve been either 68 or 69 kg all week! Let’s hope this continues…

Sexy

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (24-30 March)

Have a great week!

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Aries

7 of Swords – running away – shirking responsibility, sneaking off, leaving; being a lone wolf – wanting independence, staying aloof, preferring solitude; choosing hidden dishonour – covering your tracks, lying or stealing, avoiding a shameful secret

Taurus

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

Gemini

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

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Cancer

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

Leo

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

Virgo

Temperance – being temperate – finding the middle ground, reaching a compromise; maintaining balance – recognising all sides, feeling centred and secure; experiencing health – renewing energy and vigour, flourishing; combining forces – joining with others, finding the right mix

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Libra

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

Scorpio

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

Sagittarius

Queen of Cups – being loving – dispelling anger and hate, having infinite patience; being tenderhearted – being kind and gentle with all creatures, feeling what others are feeling; being intuitive – being guided by the heart; being psychic – having a well-developed sixth sense; being spiritual – having reverance for all life, appreciating the deeper meanings of life

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Capricorn

Death – ending – closing one door to open another, putting the past behind you; going through transition – changing status, being in the middle; eliminating excess – concentrating on essentials, shedding old attitudes; experiencing inexorable forces – going through what cannot be avoided, riding your fate

Aquarius

Page 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

Pisces

Page of Swords – 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

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

Dubai 2013: Week 10

This week was much quieter compared to last week and the week before that. I had my usual gym session on Sunday and then had lunch with my parents at Vapiano.

On Monday evening I went to see Tarek Yamani. He’s a self-taught jazz pianist and he was amazing. I got to The Fridge when the doors open because I like to sit where I can see the keyboard. There’s a really good review of the evening here. He played some Brazilian and Lebanese songs. He did a great version of ‘Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime’ by The Korgis, too. I’d definitely see him perform again.

I had a piano lesson on Tuesday. I’m still working on ‘Solfegietto’ and ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First’ but I think they’re both coming along nicely. We did some work on the Mozart sonata too. My teacher gave me a new piece to work on – ‘Amelie’s Waltz’ – which should be fun.

I met a friend for lunch on Wednesday. We went to Okku – they have a set menu for lunch which is excellent value. They have three options – we went for the middle one – which was 89 dirhams. You get a miso soup, one starter and one main course.

I chose the yellowtail as my starter (my friend chose the calamari) and we both had the black cod as our main course.

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We ordered a few things off the ‘à la carte’ menu as well so our bill was much higher than it would have been had we just stuck to the set menu! But it was still good value for money. I was shocked at how empty the restaurant was – I thought it would have been crowded but there were only three other occupied tables that afternoon. As I was playing with my wooden chopsticks, I got a splinter! I thought I’d managed to remove it but it was only when I got home and was doing some work that I realised the splinter was still in my finger. I managed to remove it but it took almost half an hour to get it out!

I had a quiet weekend. I was home on Thursday but met up with a friend on Friday night for dinner. We went to Karma Kafe in Souk al Bahar for dinner. It was quite chilled – we had some rock shrimp tempura to start with and then shared a black cod and lamb main course. We also had a bottle of rosé wine. I had some Entertainer vouchers and we saved 160 dirhams off our total bill – nice! I was home a little after midnight.

I spent all of Saturday at home in my pajamas. I decided I wasn’t going to do any work or even check my work email. I read my book, practised the piano and caught up on some TV. Perfect!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Dubai 2013: Week 9

The beginning of the week was fairly quiet – apart from my usual gym and yoga sessions I didn’t do much apart from work.

On Tuesday afternoon I decided I would spend the afternoon at the pool with my book. I didn’t feel like working at all! I was barely there for an hour but had to come back in as it was just too hot.

That night my parents and I went to Shang Thai on Sheikh Zayed Road for dinner. The restaurant has been open just over a year and my parents had been there the week before with their friends. There were quite a few tables occupied and the service was pretty good. We had soup to start with (I had the tom kha soup). The portions are too big though – I think at least two people could have shared my soup. We ordered a papaya salad to share. For our main course we had the green chicken curry (which was a bit bland) and the steamed fish with Thai chilli and lemon (which we sent back because it was cold). They reheated it and brought it back – it was much tastier than the chicken. It’s a good place if you want a quick casual meal without alcohol.

A friend and I went to an InterNations event on Wednesday night – the last time we’d been to an InterNations event was in October. It was at Clique at Jumeirah Emirates Towers. We got there quite early and found a table to stand at. We were joined by a Greek woman who introduced herself to us and the three of us started talking. We were joined by a French guy and one of his friends. We were then joined by even more people: English, Lebanese, Syrian, American. It was such an unexpectedly fun evening! At 11pm I had to go home. I didn’t want to… but I knew that if I had another glass of wine I’d be in trouble.

My headache the next morning made me thankful I’d gone home at 11pm. I had my piano lesson on Thursday afternoon – even though I felt like a zombie for most of it. I was still working on ‘Solfegietto’ and ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First’. My teacher gave me a new piece of music as well – the 2nd movement of Mozart’s sonata in C major (‘Sonata Semplice‘). I think this one will take a while to learn!

On Thursday night I met a friend for dinner at Caramel. It was a chilled evening with more wine (but not too much). I do like the food at Caramel, but as I’ve mentioned before it’s just too dark at night! You need a small torch just to read the menu. It wasn’t a late night because I had to be up early the next morning. I spent all of Friday at the Literature Festival – I was there from 9.45am to 8pm! It was fantastic.

That night I had dinner with a couple of friends and one of their friends at Rivington Grill in Souk Al Bahar. I hadn’t been there before but was pleasantly surprised. We shared a selection of starters (Welsh rarebit, Devonshire dressed crab, Eggs Benedict, warm smoked salmon salad). For our main course, two of us shared the beef Wellington, and the other two shared the Rivington burger and the seabass. For dessert we had the apple and blackberry crumble. It was a fun evening – we sat outside and had a great view of the Dubai Fountain. I know I’ve seen it many times, but I still think it’s spectacular.

On Saturday afternoon, my parents and I went to see the Classic Car Festival in Downtown. There were hundreds of cars on display – and some of them were incredible.

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Isn't this so 'Bonnie and Clyde'?

Isn’t this so ‘Bonnie and Clyde’?

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I didn’t get to see several cars as I had to rush off to my writing group at The Pavilion Downtown. There were about 10 of us that evening – and it was a fun group. The first exercise was to describe the room of one of the following characters (they cannot be in the room): a faded movie star who thinks she’s still famous, a student about to drop out of high school, a cashier who has just won the lottery, a paranoid schizophrenic. I chose the last one – everything in his room is covered in tin foil. I’m not very good with descriptions – I always want to go into the mind of the character and explain why things are that way rather than explaining how they look. I guess that’s something I’ll have to work on.

The second exercise consisted of writing a scene or story with three characters. The three characters had to be the personification of your heart, your brain and your soul. In my story, my heart was a voluptuous blonde, my brain was a male psychology professor, and my soul was a classroom adjudicator (silent, but observing everything). The blonde asks her psychology professor if he can explain what goes on in the male mind in 10 minutes, why they say one thing and do another, or why they say one thing and do nothing. We only had 15 minutes so I wasn’t able to write what the professor would have said to her. It’s probably just as well because I’m clueless when it comes to things like that!

For the third exercise we were given a sentence and had to continue the story. I love these – I think it’s the easiest way to start writing. The sentence we were given was: ‘Someone must have slandered Joseph, for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.’ I wrote about a white man living in a small Nigerian town where the locals don’t trust him. Interestingly, the woman sitting next to me was from South Africa, and her Joseph character was a black man in a predominantly white neighbourhood. It’s amazing what different stories you get from just one starter sentence.

I didn’t stay for the fourth exercise – I was feeling rather drained so I left. I was home by 8.30pm. I had dinner, got into bed and read my book.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.