Dubai 2013: Week 22

I had another busy week, but thankfully it was nowhere near as busy as the week before or the week before that!

My Sunday was relaxing. After my session with Randy I decided to do some work and then went to the pool with my book in the afternoon.

Monday was a busy day. I had my Arabic class at lunchtime. We learned:

  • How to ask what the date is – and how to respond
  • How to ask how many/how much – and how to respond
  • Two new letters
  • Random vocabulary – appointment, colleague, manager, husband, friend, teacher, lesson

I feel like I’m learning a lot but my writing is no better than a 3-year-old’s!

That afternoon I went to see a friend who had a baby recently. I hadn’t seen her since our lunch at Okku in March and it was nice to see her kids and catch up.

I left her place and went to a concert at The Fridge in Al Serkal Avenue – piano (Viktoriya Zaharieva) and violin (Nadine Artuhanava). These two women were young – and they were amazing. Not all the pieces they played were duets – sometimes it was just piano or just violin. They played the following:

  • Bach – Adagio and Fugue from Sonata in G minor (first two movements)
  • Chopin – Ballade no. 1 in G minor, op. 23 (I absolutely love Chopin)
  • Grieg – Sonata no. 3 in C minor, op. 45
  • Sarasate – Andalusian Romance for violin and piano, op. 22/1
  • Stoyan Stoyanov – Scherzo – picture (this composer currently lives in Dubai and was in the audience)
  • Bartok – Romanian Folk Dances

Whoever complains about there being no culture in Dubai clearly isn’t looking very hard.

My Tuesday was quiet. I didn’t have a piano lesson so I was home working most of the day.

I had another session with Randy on Wednesday followed by an Arabic class. We covered:

  • Some verbs – I am, you are, and so on
  • Four new letters
  • Random vocabulary – big, small, middle, chair (kursi), welcome (i.e. make yourself at home), thirsty

It doesn’t sound like much, but we’ve started putting sentences together: After Arabic class I have a meeting, or I’ve been in Dubai for 1.5 years and I’m happy, or I want tea with milk and sugar. As our teacher would say, ‘Shway shway‘ (slowly).

I started a creative writing course on Wednesday evening. I’d heard about it through Time Out a few weeks before and emailed the lady who runs the course. It was just 4 weeks in June – on Wednesday evenings – at The Pavilion Downtown. There were about seven or eight of us – we went round the table and introduced ourselves.

The first writing exercise we did was to write something (anything) for 30 seconds, just to get us warmed up. The next exercise we did was taking the letters of our name and then revealing something about ourselves beginning with that letter. For example, with ‘E’ I wrote ‘Ex-Londoner now living in Dubai’. It was harder than it sounds!

We talked about creativity and generating ideas. We each had to write three random words on three little pieces of paper (I wrote ‘desk’, ‘mobile’, ‘cigarettes’), fold them up and put them in the middle. We then had to pick three of these pieces of paper and write something which included all three words. The three words I ended up with were: tea, community, cigarettes. I wrote about someone who’s caught smoking by a senior member of her community while she’d popped out of the office for a cup of tea.

We got some useful tips: always use a clear and readable font, break up long paragraphs with dialogue, avoid using too many adjectives, avoid abbreviations and txt spk! We also got a list of writing prompts which might come in handy if I ever decide to write something and don’t know where to start – an example is: ‘He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. To his horror, he saw…’

It was an interesting evening – and it gave me a few things to think about.

I was home most of Thursday – either working or at the pool. I met a friend for dinner at Loca. We had been there in September and I loved the barbecued lamb wrap they did. I also had some Entertainer vouchers so we only paid for one of our two main courses. Halfway through dinner I started feeling a bit sick and I felt a headache coming on. When my friend suggested we go somewhere else I told her I had to go home – it was only 10pm. Normally I would have loved to go out (as you have probably figured out by now) but that night I just couldn’t do it.

I was home all of Friday, catching up on work – and I still wasn’t feeling 100%. I was home most of Saturday too. It was a quiet weekend.

I love my life.

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Dubai 2013: Week 21

Another busy week!

After my Sunday morning session with Randy, Dad and I went to Outback Steakhouse at the Dubai Mall for lunch. I love the mall on Sundays – because it’s so empty! After lunch we went to see The Fast and the Furious 6 (Dad’s choice, of course). I thought it was an average movie but that the last 20 minutes were totally unnecessary. Anyway, these days I tend to go to the cinema just for the popcorn (salty)!

I had my Arabic class on Monday. We learned:

  • Days of the week
  • How to use numbers with nouns – one boy, two boys, and so on (it’s not as simple as you would think!)
  • More random vocabulary – tired, busy, hungry, holiday, yesterday, please (when offering something)

A friend of mine from Lagos (GRH) arrived in Dubai that morning for a few days so we had dinner at La Petite Maison in DIFC. As soon as we sat down I ordered a portion of burrata. There was no way I was going to miss out on it again! My friend is vegetarian so when we go out everything we order is vegetarian but I also choose one non-vegetarian dish (of course I would love more than one but then I either overeat or half of it goes to waste). I ordered the crab and lobster salad. He then got a phone call and told me a friend of his was going to join us (he wasn’t vegetarian – hurrah!). So his friend and I shared the turbot – and my goodness, I love their dauphinoise potatoes! After dinner we walked over to Zuma and had a few more drinks. It was a really fun evening…

I woke up a little ‘dehydrated’ on Tuesday – so when GRH suggested going to Wafi Gourmet for lunch I jumped at the chance. I think hummus has become my favourite hangover food. We ordered a few things to share and then I had to head off to my piano lesson.

That night I went to see Amjad Ali Khan at the Madinat Theatre with a friend. We met a bit earlier and had a few drinks at The Agency and then went to the concert. I’d seen Amjad Ali Khan and his two sons in concert in London many years ago. In fact, they were the first classical Indian musicians I’d seen perform live. My grandfather was so excited when I told him I’d been to the concert – until that point I could never understand why he loved classical Indian music so much. He started making CDs of his favourite musicians – I still have them. However, listening to a CD is nowhere near as exciting as seeing a live performance and I don’t really listen to them much…

We had great seats. It was just Amjad Ali Khan in the first segment.

2013-05-28 20.05.45

He explained that the sarod isn’t just played with the fingertips, it’s played with the actual edge of the nails. He even filed his nails between compositions. He explained that there is rarely a programme for classical Indian music as the musicians themselves don’t know what they’re going to be playing – it depends on their mood and sometimes they even compose pieces of music while they’re on stage.

In the second segment, it was just his two sons – Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan. And then the three of them were together:

There’s a far better review here. I even spotted myself in the photo of the intermission crowd! And I’ve only just realised that Amjad Ali Khan changed while he was off-stage – perhaps he was wearing one of his son’s kurtas by mistake?

After my Wednesday session with Randy, I had another Arabic class on Wednesday afternoon. We did:

  • A new function word – to have (I have, you have, etc.)
  • More reading and writing practice with the letters we’d learned so far
  • More vocabulary – tomorrow, after, before, sorry, school, meeting

That evening GRH and I went to see Iron Man 3. I hadn’t seen the first or second movies but really enjoyed this one. After the movie we walked to Calabar at The Address Downtown for a drink and something to eat. It wasn’t a late night.

I had lunch with NP at Jones the Grocer on Thursday – I’ve resigned myself to the fact that even though I look at the entire menu I know I’m going to have the Wagyu burger and fries. That evening GRH and another friend of ours had dinner at Bice Mare in Souk al Bahar. We shared a couple of starters and then I had the baked turbot with artichokes and black truffles for my main course. After dinner GRH and I went to Zuma to meet up with some other friends. It wasn’t a late night but it was fun.

I had Friday brunch at The Ivy with some girlfriends to celebrate one of their birthdays. As I intended to get some work done after brunch I opted for brunch without alcohol (shocking, isn’t it?). There are two brunch options – you can either have the eight-course tasting brunch or the three-course a la carte brunch. The eight-course menu looked fantastic but I thought it would be far too much food, so I went for the three-course brunch. For starters I ordered the French toast with berries. It was good, but I still think the French toast at Raoul’s in Maida Vale is better! I couldn’t decide what to eat for my main course and eventually ordered the fish and chips. The portion was huge (a pleasant surprise compared to the tiny sea bass I’d had the week before).

2013-05-31 13.45.22

I ate only half of it.

For dessert I had the red velvet coupe.

2013-05-31 15.34.22

And of course I had to have some cheese too. I don’t know why I had it because I was already full but I couldn’t resist it.

Also, there was a live singer at The Ivy (I believe he’s there every Friday for the brunch crowd) – and he was amazing. I couldn’t see him from where I was sitting and when he started singing I thought they were playing a Michael Bublé CD!

I went home, did some work and then went to Siddharta Lounge at Grosvenor House for another friend’s birthday. It was a nice evening – I knew a few people there but met some new interesting people. I hadn’t been to Siddharta Lounge since last May and had never sat outside before. It was a lovely evening but quite warm!

2013-06-01 01.57.59

I ended up staying later than I expected (to the end, basically!) and my hosts gave me a ride home. It was a lovely evening.

I spent most of Saturday by the pool with a book.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Your week ahead (30 June – 6 July)

Have a great week!

Aries

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

Taurus

10 Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune – feeling a sense of destiny – using what chance offers, finding opportunity in accident, altering the present course; being at a turning point – reversing, having a change in fortune, being surprised at a turn of events; feeling movement – being swept up in new developments, getting involved, experiencing change; having a personal vision – seeing how everything connects, becoming more aware, expanding your outlook

Gemini

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

Cancer

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

Leo

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

Virgo

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

Libra

Swords 2

2 of Swords – blocking emotions – denying true feelings, hiding distress, maintaining your cool; avoiding the truth – refusing to look at facts, choosing not to know, ignoring the warning signs; being at a stalemate – staying stuck, refusing to decide, being unwilling to rock the boat

Scorpio

Wands 3

3 of Wands – exploring the unknown – expanding horizons, leaving the secure behind; having foresight – getting a premonition, being visionary; demonstrating leadership – assuming a responsible position, showing others the way

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

2_high_priestess-scaled5001

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

Aquarius

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

Pisces

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

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Dubai 2013: Week 20

Another busy week, but nowhere near as busy as the week before.

I had my usual Sunday session with Randy. That afternoon I had a follow-up appointment with Dr Sharbek for my eye. She said it looked fine and I could stop using the eye cream in another week. It looks so much better than before.

I had my second Arabic lesson on Monday afternoon. We learned how to say:

  • Good morning/good evening
  • What’s your news?
  • How’s work?
  • Pronouns
  • Some other basic vocabulary – happy, present (as in ‘here’), absent
  • Two new letters (in addition to the first six in the first lesson)

That evening was the final Islamic Art talk at Art Sawa. It focused on modern art in the Islamic World (modern art starting before the end of the Ottoman period [1880-1960s]) and contemporary art. We covered:

The speaker said she had many photographs of nudes but wasn’t allowed to show them in her Art History classes!

I had a piano lesson on Tuesday – I’m still struggling with Michael Bublé’s ‘Just Haven’t Met You Yet’. I always feel happy after my piano lessons. I think it’s because I focus on just one thing for that 1 hour – it’s almost like meditation – and it clears my mind of everything else. I need to practise more.

Wednesday was busy as usual. I had a session with Randy followed by my Arabic class. In our third session we learned:

  • Adjectives and how they need to be masculine/feminine/plural according to the noun they’re describing
  • Possessive pronouns
  • How to ask (and respond to): What country are you from?
  • Numbers and how to ask ‘What’s your phone number?’
  • More random vocabulary – tomorrow, book, late, busy, boy, girl, car

I think having learnt French and Spanish is definitely helping, especially when it comes to following grammatical rules.

That evening I had my last meditation class. We went over some meditation techniques and talked about whether meditation had helped us at all, and so on. I’m glad I did the course but I haven’t done as much practice as I’d like since then.

I was working all of Thursday and had dinner at The Ivy that night. It was Jumeirah Restaurant Week and several restaurants were offering special deals. We had a three-course meal: I opted for the lobster bisque to start with, the sea bass as my main course, and the cheese for dessert. Everything was delicious but my main course was tiny. Of course we also had wine with our dinner and then hung out at the bar for a few more drinks after dinner.

I was home all day on Friday and most of Saturday. On Saturday evening I went to a seminar called ‘Phone-ography 101’ at Gulf Photo Plus in Al Serkal Avenue. It was all about taking photos with your phone and I was amazed at all the things you can do with it! I thought it would be about how to get good shots, but it was a lot more technical than that. There was a panel of three photographers who take most of their photos with their phones. They talked about apps, postprocessing and gave us some good tips. Did you know that you could:

  • Swipe the camera from the lock screen for easy access?
  • Release the shutter with the volume buttons on your earphones?
  • Lock exposure and focus by touching the screen?

Useful tips!

For panorama shots there’s an app called ‘360’ – it lets you create 360-degree images – and it’s free.

To get the effect of streaked backgrounds (panning) – tap the screen where your moving subject is and hold your finger on the screen as you move your phone along with it. The subject stays in focus while the background turns into streaming colours. Genius!

For shooting – there are so many apps available and most of them are free downloads:

  • ThirtySix – this takes 36 photos and then develops them as a contact sheet.
  • Pro Camera – can control white balance, ISO, focus and exposure.
  • Hipstamatic – I was fascinated by this. You can download it for free, but you can buy add-ons depending on what you want. You can buy different virtual lenses, virtual film – and the app will even show you what your image will look like depending on what you’ve selected. One warning though – we were told that it uses up battery life pretty quickly.
  • Gorilla Cam – this has a self-timer, can take up to 60 pictures in burst mode, and has a time-lapse function.
  • Camera + – you can light your scene using the camera flash light, has a self-timer and stabiliser
  • KitCam – similar to Hipstamatic for various lens simulations.
  • Fast Camera – similar to Gorilla Cam and good for discretion in street photography (it takes photos while your screen remains dark)!
  • Slow Shutter Cam – this also takes photos with the screen remaining dark and is good for night photography.

We were shown how to attach your phone to a tripod using a Glif, how you can buy actual lenses for your phone, and even underwater cases.

There are also several editing apps which we were introduced to:

  • VSCO Cam
  • Cross Process
  • Square Ready (free)
  • Hipstamatic (again)
  • AfterLight
  • FilterStorm – similar to Photoshop
  • Wood Camera
  • Krop Circle (free) – this enables you to crop photos into shapes
  • SnapSeed (free)
  • Instagram
  • Diptic
  • Pic Stitch
  • Image Blender
  • Average Camera Pro
  • Synth Cam (free) – useful for night photography

I was actually blown away by all the things you can do with just a phone. All three photographers worked with iPhones but many of these apps are available for Android phones too.

One of the most useful tips I got was that I could set up my phone to transfer my photos to Dropbox automatically. Now as soon as I’m connected to a wireless network, my Dropbox is updated with any photos I’d taken since the previous syncing. It’s always best to connect with wifi as files can be large and exceed data limits rather quickly! No more emailing photos to myself and saving them on my computer (or plugging in my phone to my laptop and transferring them).

There were no surprises with the sharing apps available:

  • Instagram
  • Flickr
  • Google+
  • tumblr

And where can you get these photos printed? Well…

  • Printstagr.am – based in California.
  • Blurb – to create books and albums.
  • InstaCanvas – to print on canvas (you think?).
  • Coastermatic – to print on coasters.
  • Hipstamatic

Some other general tips?

  • Take as many photos as you can but don’t share them all.
  • Experiment with apps.
  • Find your own style.
  • Follow photographers who inspire you.
  • Learn how to use light to your advantage.
  • Charge your phone on the go when using Hipstamatic.
  • Be ready!

I learned a lot in those 2 hours – things I never even knew existed!

I went home and had a relaxing evening…

For more updates, click here.

20 books in 2013

For the last 2 years I’ve aimed to read 20 books a year. I almost made it in 2011 (I got to 19). I thought that once I moved to Dubai I’d have more time to read but in 2012 I read only 11.5 books (that’s not even one a month – pathetic).

This year, however, I’m pleased to say I’m well ahead of target – I’ve finished 13 books this year, six of those in June!

Fall Giants

I started Fall of Giants by Ken Follett late last year and finished it in January. I’ve been recommending it to anyone who wants book recommendations (along with Pillars of the Earth and its sequel World Without End). This summer I’m going to read Winter of the World (once I finish my current book).

Brande

I then read Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer. I read this many years ago, but thought it was time to re-read it. I’ve decided this will be the first book I read every year (so from now on I don’t think I’ll include it in my ’20 books a year’ goal).

Tan Twan Eng

I wanted to read The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng before going to the Emirates Literature Festival. He has become one of my favourite writers and I’m waiting for his next book! It was fantastic to meet him and I got him to sign my copy of the book along with The Gift of Rain.

Understudy

My cousin in London lent me her copy of The Understudy by David Nicholls while I was there earlier this year. I laughed out loud a lot – and a good laugh was just what I needed at that time.

Circus

In March/April, I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I enjoyed reading it at the time but when I look back at it a couple of months later, I don’t really remember much about it. Yes, the circus comes to town, it pops out of nowhere, people never age, there’s a weird challenge between magicians…

Monk

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma was next. I’d heard about this book over the last few years and finally decided to read it. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. I thought the message Sharma was trying to convey was great, but I felt it could have been presented in a different manner. As a writer (almost) I struggle with dialogue. The thought of writing an entire book based on a conversation between two people over one night would fill me with dread. I’m glad I read it, but it was a little disappointing.

Wonderland

I got several books for my birthday. One of them was Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I started reading it, thinking it was set in the 2000s (if not later) and was surprised to find that it was originally published in 1985. The ideas in this man’s head astonish me. It’s a sci-fi mystery – with two stories being told at the same time in alternating chapters: a data processor recruited by a mad scientist who lives in a cave. The scientist and his granddaughter ask the man to help them avoid the end of the world. The other story is about a man arriving in a quiet village surrounded entirely by walls and fields where unicorns graze. This man is forced to leave his shadow outside the village walls where it will surely die on its own. Bizarre stuff but I loved reading it. I’m still not sure I get how the two stories are linked but I keep thinking about it.

And then came June. I’ve read a lot this month, partly because I’ve spent most of my weekends (and some weekdays!) by the pool with a book.

Gatsby

I was in two minds about seeing The Great Gatsby and knew I’d want to read it before I saw it. Can you imagine I’d never read it? After reading it I decided that I wouldn’t see the movie – some people have raved about it, some have said it has absolutely nothing to do with the book. Maybe I’ll watch it one day. ‘Gatsby’ fever has even hit my piano teacher – I’m learning ‘Young and Beautiful’ by Lana del Rey in my piano lessons!

Monkey Business

Another book I got for my birthday was Monkey Business by John Rolfe and Peter Troob. It’s not something I would have chosen to read but I think this friend wanted to introduce me to the world of finance (and then borrow the book!). I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. I read the book in 5 days – I didn’t want to put it down. It did make me wonder why anyone would want to work in banking. I laughed out loud in parts. My favourite paragraph was this:

As the crowd continued to pour a river of liquor down its collective throat, the dance floor began to fill up. The spectacle that ensued was solid evidence that if there’s one thing that money can’t buy, it’s rhythm. When it comes to pure foolishness, a room full of drunk investment bankers prancing around a dance floor pushes the limits of the imagination. To this day I pray that it’s a sign the civilized world will never be forced to witness.

Hilarious!

Gone Girl

I did a short creative writing course in June, and in the first session the woman conducting the course said she had finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and couldn’t put it down. I’d bought it when I was in London in February and started reading it that weekend. She was right – it was a gripping story. Basically, a man’s wife goes missing on their 5th anniversary, there are signs of a struggle at their home, all the evidence points to him, but is he really a killer? I won’t ruin it for readers who haven’t read it, but I thought the end was a little disappointing but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I read the next two books in the space of 3 days.

Headhunters

Headhunters by Jo Nesbo was an easy read. It’s about a man who’s Norway’s most successful headhunter but also an accomplished art thief. He’s introduced to a potential client who claims to own one of the most sought-after paintings in modern art history and he plans to steal it. I couldn’t put this down – I read it in 2 days. It’s very different from the Harry Hole series (The Snowman, The Leopard) but just as thrilling.

Dinner

I read The Dinner by Herman Koch in one afternoon by the pool. Two couples meet for dinner at a trendy Amsterdam restaurant to talk about their children. Each couple has a 15-year-old son – the two boys are united by a horrific act which was captured on camera, posted on YouTube, and has launched a police investigation. What starts out as a civilised evening soon disintegrates as each couple shows how far they’re willing to go to protect their children.

Hosseini

Two nights ago I finished reading And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I bought it in Kinokuniya a few weeks ago (with two other books – I really should not be allowed in there!). It begins in a small village in Afghanistan in the early 1950s. Abdullah and his sister Pari are children from their father’s first marriage and they have a very close bond. One day their father takes them to Kabul – they have no idea that their lives will be torn apart, never to be the same. The novel takes the readers through generations and continents – Kabul, Paris, San Francisco, the Greek island of Tinos – up to the present day. Family bonds, sacrifices, choices – it’s all here. It’s a great read, but I didn’t think it was as good as A Thousand Splendid Suns.

So, that’s where I am! I’ve just started reading Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I’m slowly working my way through my unread books…

I’m sure the website goodreads.com isn’t new to most of you – I’ve been using it for a few years. I recently downloaded their Android app though – and it’s fantastic. It has a barcode scanner so you can just scan the barcode of the book you’re reading (or want to read) and it brings up the details of the book. No more searching for authors/titles/editions!

Your week ahead (23-29 June)

Have a great week!

Aries

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

Taurus

2_high_priestess-scaled5001

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

Gemini

Wands 3

3 of Wands – exploring the unknown – expanding horizons, leaving the secure behind; having foresight – getting a premonition, being visionary; demonstrating leadership – assuming a responsible position, showing others the way

Cancer

Swords Knight

Knight 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

Leo

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

Virgo

hanged_man-scaled500

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

Libra

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

Scorpio

Wands 4

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

Sagittarius

Wands 5

5 of Wands – disagreeing – quibbling over details, quarreling, arguing and bickering; experiencing competition – rising to the challenge, trying to outdo yourself, looking for a fight; experiencing hassles – getting annoyed by demands, needing to take care of details, being bothered by trivialities

Capricorn

cups_4-scaled5001

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

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

Pisces

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

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