Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Your month ahead (December 2013)

Wow! We’re in December already… Wishing you all happy holidays!

2013-11-30 19.10.21

Aries

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

Taurus

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

Gemini

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

2013-11-30 19.10.47

Cancer

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

Leo

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

Virgo

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

2013-11-30 19.11.14

Libra

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

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

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

2013-11-30 19.11.39

Capricorn

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

Aquarius

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

Pisces

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

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Your week ahead (1-7 December)

I can’t believe we’re in December already… and on Christmas Day I’ll have been living in Dubai for two years! It has flown by…

2013-11-30 18.53.10

Aries

Judgement – making a judgement – having a day of reckoning, taking a stand, getting off the fence; feeling reborn – awakening to possibilities, making a fresh start, discovering joy; hearing a call – feeling drawn to a new direction, answering a need, recognising your true vocation; finding absolution – feeling cleansed and refreshed, atoning for past mistakes, feeling sins washed away

Taurus

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

Gemini

The Emperor – fathering – protecting and defending, bringing security and comfort; emphasising structure – creating order out of chaos, being organised; exercising authority – taking a leadership role, representing the establishment; regulating – establishing law and order, setting standards of behaviour

2013-11-30 18.53.43

Cancer

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

Leo

Princess 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

Virgo

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

2013-11-30 18.54.08

Libra

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

Scorpio

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

Sagittarius

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

2013-11-30 18.54.30

Capricorn

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

Aquarius

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

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

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The final few

I’ve had a terrible couple of weeks at the gym. I’ve put on more weight in the 4 weeks I’ve been back from London than I did the whole time I was away. Looking at my weight loss app (Libra on my Samsung), I’ve put on about 5 kg from this time last year. You would think that would motivate me to do something about it, but I feel just the opposite.

I had only one session with Randy the week before last – that was on Sunday morning. After my 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer I did the following circuit three times:

  • Sit-ups with a 10-lb weight x 20
  • Plank with single arm extensions x 30 seconds
  • Lunges x 12 on each side

I still couldn’t do full sit-ups because of my tailbone but it was much better than the week before. I did 3 more minutes on the cross-trainer and then had a rest. The next circuit consisted of:

  • Shoulder press (3-kg weights) x 15
  • Leg extensions (machine) x 15
  • Abdominal leg raises x 15/15/20
  • Ladder (stepping in/out) x 8 lengths

I did that circuit three times and then Randy stretched me.

And that’s all I did that week. I kept telling myself I’d go back to the gym on my own, but it never happened. I’m supposed to be doing a 10 km race in exactly 2 months but right now I just can’t see it happening! I even cancelled yoga as I was going to a party the night before and knew it would be a late night.

The following week I had my usual session with Randy on Sunday morning. After a 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer I did the following circuit:

I did that three times with a break in between each set. I did another 3 minutes on the cross-trainer and then did the following set:

  • Combined abdominal leg raises/scissors x15
  • Plank x 45 s/45 s/60 s
  • Backward lunges x 10 on each side

Randy then stretched me out and I was done.

Again, I did nothing until my next session with Randy on Thursday. I did the usual warm-up on the cross-trainer and then did this circuit:

  • Seated chest press (10-lb/15-lb/15-lb weights) x 15
  • Step-ups x 10 on each side
  • Mountain-climbers x 12

I did that three times. The 15-lb weights are actually too heavy for me and for the last five reps, Randy had to guide my arms because they were all over the place! I then did another 3 minutes on the cross-trainer and had a break. The second circuit consisted of:

  • Lateral pulldowns x 15
  • Combined sumo squats/upright row x 12
  • Full sit-ups x 20

I did that circuit three times and then Randy stretched me.

Low point of the two weeks? Feeling unmotivated and just blah in general. I’ve definitely lost my mojo – how do I get it back??

High point of the two weeks? Being able to do squats, lunges, step-ups after ages – we’d kept away from these because of the problems I was having with my knees. Also, my tailbone seems to have healed and I could do a full sit-up without any issues.

Weight loss? None! I’ve put on about 2 kg in November and I feel like a moose.

Channing

Read more updates here.

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Silent Sunday

IMG_2976_cropped

Silent Sunday

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Your week ahead (24-30 November)

Have a great week, everyone!

2013-11-23 12.13.27

Aries

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

Taurus

Princess of Pentacles – having an effect – making plans real, using your body, acting on your dreams; being practical – taking a realistic approach, using common sense, finding a solution that works; being prosperous – increasing your means, enriching yourself, becoming secure; being trusting/trustworthy – having faith in others, keeping your word, establishing credibility

Gemini

Princess of Cups – being emotional – being moved or touched, letting your feelings show, being sentimental or romantic; being intuitive – acting on a hunch, trusting your gut reaction, having a psychic experience; being intimate – starting or renewing a love affair, getting closer to someone, solidifying a friendship; being loving – forgiving yourself, forgiving someone who has hurt you, mending a broken relationship

2013-11-23 12.13.53

Cancer

8 of Wands – taking quick action – making your move, putting plans into action, rushing into a new area; coming to a conclusion – closing out an activity, completing unfinished business, having all elements come together; receiving news – getting an important message, finding the missing puzzle piece, having a meaningful conversation

Leo

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

Virgo

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

2013-11-23 12.14.19

Libra

Princess 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

Scorpio

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

Sagittarius

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

2013-11-23 12.14.46

Capricorn

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

Aquarius

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

Pisces

3 of Swords – feeling heartbreak – having your feelings hurt, getting some unsettling news, being disappointed; feeling lonely – feeling lost, being separated, wandering far from home; experiencing betrayal – being let down, breaking your word, finding your trust misplaced

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Your week ahead (17-23 November)

Have a great week, everyone!

2013-11-16 10.59.49

Aries

The Emperor – fathering – protecting and defending, bringing security and comfort; emphasising structure – creating order out of chaos, being organised; exercising authority – taking a leadership role, representing the establishment; regulating – establishing law and order, setting standards of behaviour

Taurus

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

Gemini

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

2013-11-16 11.00.20

Cancer

9 of Swords – worrying – doubting all will go well, going over and over an issue, getting worked up; feeling guilty – wanting to turn back the clock, being hard on yourself, getting overwhelmed by remorse; suffering anguish – feeling you’ve reached your limits, having sleepless nights, wanting to cry

Leo

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

Virgo

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

2013-11-16 11.00.45

Libra

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

Scorpio

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

Sagittarius

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

2013-11-16 11.01.13

Capricorn

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

Aquarius

Princess of Pentacles – having an effect – making plans real, using your body, acting on your dreams; being practical – taking a realistic approach, using common sense, finding a solution that works; being prosperous – increasing your means, enriching yourself, becoming secure; being trusting/trustworthy – having faith in others, keeping your word, establishing credibility

Pisces

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

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The final few

While I was in London I didn’t do much exercise. The first few days I was there I did a lot of walking, but once my parents arrived there was just no time – it was a chaotic trip.

I got back after almost 4 weeks but for the first week I was exhausted. It was also a long weekend and Diwali so I had a few more late nights here. I thought I’d ease myself in gently, starting with a yoga class on Tuesday. Minor setback though – I’d been at a party the Saturday before and when I left, I slipped and fell flat on my ass. Yes, it sounds funny – and I thought it was at the time – but I bruised my tailbone. Not so funny. Moving from a sitting to standing position and vice versa was painful. Apart from that, I was fine.

My yoga class was fine – we didn’t do the shoulder stand, but the rest of it was OK.

On Thursday I had my first session with Randy after a month. I had to switch to Thursday as my Arabic class has started again. I told him I’d bruised my tailbone so he went a bit easier on me. I did my 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer and then began the first circuit:

  • Fly chest press (3-lb weights) x 10
  • Shoulder press (3-lb weights) x 10
  • Tricep dips x 12
  • Abdominal toe reaches x 20
  • Plank x 45 seconds

I did that circuit three times. Randy had asked me to do full sit-ups instead of the toe reaches but my range of motion was quite limited due to my tailbone so we switched to the toe reaches. After the third set, I did 3 minutes on the cross-trainer and had a break.

The second circuit consisted of:

  • Back fly press (3-lb weights) x 12
  • Squats x 12
  • Side plank lowering and raising x 10 on each side

I did that three times with a break in between each set. Randy stretched me out and I was done.

I was supposed to do some cardio over the weekend but that didn’t happen!

Low point of the week? Injuring my tailbone.

High point of the week? Getting back to the gym!

Weight loss? None! I put on 2 kg while I was on holiday and trying hard to get rid of it now!

Progress

Read more updates here.

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Silent Sunday

2013-11-10 13.47.12

Silent Sunday

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London: October 2013 (Part 1)

I left Dubai on Friday, 4th October and was going to be away for almost four weeks. As I was packing I just didn’t feel like travelling – four weeks is a long time to be away from home! I was also dreading the weather. As we touched down at Heathrow, the captain announced that it was 21C outside and it was expected to stay that way for a few days. I was going to boil! I’d packed jumpers and had my coat with me.

Every time I go to London I end up coming home absolutely exhausted. I hoped this time would be different because surely four weeks is enough time to catch up with everyone? Apparently not…

I was spending the first ten days at my cousin’s place in Kensington and then moving to St John’s Wood after that. I got home at about 6pm and needed to sort out a few things including my new SIM card. My cousin had informed me she had a work thing on that evening and wouldn’t be home so I made plans of my own. I met up with a friend at his place in Park Lane and had a drink with him and another friend. They asked me what I fancied eating – I don’t know why but travelling always makes me ravenous! I told them at that point I’d settle for a pack of ham from Marks and Spencer. We walked to Pizza Express in Bruton Place, off Berkeley Square. It was just what I was in the mood for – a drink and an American Hot pizza with jalapenos. Every time I go back to London I’m shocked at how cheap alcohol is and how expensive cigarettes are!

After dinner we went to the bar at Claridge’s for dessert and a couple more drinks. We ordered three desserts but I found them disappointing. Surprisingly the best one was the ice cream! After another vodka we walked back to Park Lane and I got a cab home. I was exhausted.

The following morning I went to see my cousin in Maida Vale and her twin girls who had just turned a year old in September. I spent about an hour with them and then went to meet one of the girls for brunch at Raoul’s (the other was away for the weekend). We shared the crab and avocado salad to start with and then I had scrambled eggs and sausages. Wow – I’d missed that! I didn’t go totally overboard and have French toast for dessert because I had four Saturdays to enjoy with them…

That night a friend was having her 40th birthday at the Haymarket Hotel. She had a sit-down dinner for 60 people – we started with drinks in the Library and then moved into the Shooting Gallery for dinner. The food and service were excellent – and it was nice to see so many people in one go! After dinner there was a live band and some dancing, and then a few of us went to Morton’s in Berkeley Square for a few more drinks. It was a heavy night and I got home after 3am.

Sunday was a crazy busy day! A friend was running the Royal Parks Half Marathon and I’d told his wife I’d meet her for breakfast while he was running. For some reason my phone wasn’t working so I didn’t get any of her messages and was running very late! We met at the Sheraton Park Tower in Knightsbridge where they have a breakfast buffet. When I got back to the table she looked at my plate and then looked at me: ‘You have got to be kidding.’ Nope, no joke: sausages, salami, mortadella, Parma ham and a ham and cheese omelette. I guess I really missed pork! The breakfast is fantastic – I’d recommend it. Our waiter also told us that the table we were sitting at was his favourite. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because George Clooney and Leonardo di Caprio sat there! Wow – I started wondering how I could walk out with one of their chairs…

Once I’d finished eating we walked back to Hyde Park hoping to catch her husband at the finish line. The weather was amazing and I wished I’d taken my camera with me. We saw him running in at 2 hours and 14 minutes – amazing! And he didn’t even look like he’d broken a sweat. When we caught up with him, and he’d caught his breath, we asked him what he wanted to do. ‘I want a pint,’ was his reply. So we crossed the road and went to The Paxton’s Head on Knightsbridge. I was feeling a bit rough from the night before and asked for a half pint – of course, nobody listened to me and I was handed a whole one. The pub was full of other people who had completed the half marathon. We had our drinks and left (I really couldn’t finish mine). We went back to their house and relaxed for a while.

At about 3pm I thought I’d leave them to nap and walk around for a while. I walked up to Selfridges and just as I was thinking about going home my cousin called suggesting we meet at Yauatcha for a late lunch. So I started walking back towards Oxford Circus. By the time we sat down to eat it was about 4pm. I didn’t think I could eat anything after my breakfast, but clearly I was wrong! The food at Yauatcha is excellent – but I thought the service was terrible. Aside from all the usual dim sum, we had a bottle of wine to go with our meal. Yes, drinking again! We’d finished by 6pm, my cousin was heading out elsewhere and I decided to walk for a while – it’s one of the things I miss about London when I’m in Dubai. The sun was setting at the other end of Oxford Street and I managed to take this photo. I took a bus to Kensington and got home at 7pm.

At this point my feet felt like they were on fire. I wasn’t used to walking, and certainly not in heels or my regular day shoes. A friend told me he’d pick me up for dinner at about 8pm and I was so relieved because I thought he’d bring his car and we’d go out for dinner. At 8pm he called me asking me to meet him at the end of the street – he’d walked and wasn’t driving! I met him and we hadn’t really decided where to go – we were just walking around trying to find somewhere. We eventually decided to walk to The Churchill Arms in Kensington Church Street. Even though it was a long walk, and I felt like I was walking on hot coals, it was a nice evening and we talked all the way there and back. I was most surprised that we didn’t even have to wait for a table. I know you’re wondering how I could have possibly eaten any more that day but we only ordered one portion of spring rolls as starters, one green curry with prawns and one pad thai – to share between us. And all the walking I did helped! I was home by 10pm and had an early night. I was exhausted!

On Monday I had a couple of check-ups I wanted to get out of the way (mammogram, etc.) and everything was fine. As I was around the corner from a friend’s place I popped in for a casual lunch – we had soup and quiche. I then walked to John Lewis to meet a friend who was browsing there – I just wanted to say a quick hello. We walked around for about 15 minutes and then I went back to Kensington. I tried to do some work but just couldn’t stay awake so I had a nap!

That evening, my cousin and I went to XO in Belsize Park for dinner with a couple of friends. I hadn’t been there in years and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t too late a night and we were back home by 10.30.

On Tuesday morning I met a friend for coffee in Starbucks in Kensington High Street. I decided I couldn’t bear to wear my slip-on shoes any longer and wore my trainers instead. I also decided I’d go to Kensington Gardens after coffee and walk around and take some photos with my camera. I got to Starbucks and my friend asks, ‘Why do you look like a complete tourist?’ ‘Because I feel like one!’ I told her that in the 20 years I lived in London, I’d never really walked around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. I wanted to make the most of the weather too. Ever since I’d been in London I hadn’t needed my coat and in the evenings I’d only used a shawl – amazing for October! After coffee, I walked back towards the park and went in.

Walking around Hyde Park was almost like summertime, but without the hayfever.
Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

The Round Pond

The Round Pond

North Silver Thimble Shelter

North Silver Thimble Shelter

Autumn

Autumn

Speke Monument

Speke Monument

Two Bears Fountain

Two Bears Fountain

The Pump House in the Italian Gardens

The Pump House in the Italian Gardens

The Pump House

The Pump House

The Italian Gardens

The Italian Gardens

The Tazza Fountain

The Tazza Fountain

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Peter Pan Statue

Peter Pan Statue

Henry Moore's 'The Arch'

Henry Moore’s ‘The Arch’

Diana Memorial Fountain

Diana Memorial Fountain

America - The Albert Memorial

America – The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

I went home after my walk in the park and had some lunch. Once again I sat down to do some work but ended up having a nap!

That evening I had dinner with the girls at Michael Nadra in Primrose Hill. I’d heard mixed things about the restaurant but I thought the food was fantastic.

Whitebait tempura

Whitebait tempura

Scottish salmon ceviche with chilli, red onions, sweet potato puree and garden radishes

Scottish salmon ceviche with chilli, red onions, sweet potato puree and garden radishes

Scotch fillet steak with shitake puree, glazed onion, triple cooked chips, baby spinach and madeira jus

Scotch fillet steak with shitake puree, glazed onion, triple cooked chips, baby spinach and madeira jus

I had the cheese platter for dessert. Amazing. Again, it wasn’t a very late night and I was home by 11pm.

I love my life.

To read more about London, click here.

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Dubai 2013: Week 39

This week was crazy busy.

I started with my usual session with Randy on Sunday morning. I spent the rest of the afternoon working as I wanted to get as much done as possible.

Tarek Yamani was playing at The Fridge again on Monday evening and I went to see him with a couple of friends. I thought he was brilliant the last time I saw him. I was a bit disappointed this time round as most of the music he played was the same as his concert earlier in the year. What he did do which was different was that he asked four people in the audience to name a note and he would compose something right there incorporating all four notes in the order they were given to him. Genius. I wish I could do things like that!

On Tuesday I had a piano lesson in the afternoon. I also did all my Patchi shopping for my London trip – whenever I go to London, half my suitcase is filled with chocolate for friends!

That night I met up with some friends at Double Decker at the Al Murooj Rotana opposite the Dubai Mall. We had a few drinks there and ended up at Crystal at the Raffles Hotel. I didn’t want a very late night but ended up getting home after 3am! My session with Randy the following morning was painful, I can tell you.

I started packing on Wednesday and met up with a friend for dinner at Karma Kafe. I didn’t think we’d have a very late night – we met at 9pm for dinner, but went to the bar afterwards where we got to talking to a couple of people, and before we knew it, it was 2am!

I felt really awful on Thursday – I just can’t do two nights in a row any more! I spent most of Thursday preparing for my London trip (packing, waxing, mani/pedi, blowdry) and finishing off some work. I thought about going out for a drink that evening but was really too tired and had to be up early on Friday morning.

I left for the airport at 8am on Friday. Halfway there I realised I’d left my book at home. I was more than halfway through Jhumpa Lahiri’s new book The Lowland and couldn’t believe I’d left it behind. The other book I’d taken with me was packed in the middle of my suitcase so I really had nothing to read on the flight! I browsed in the book section at the airport but nothing really appealed to me. Oh well, c’est la vie. The flight was uneventful – the screen in front of me wasn’t working but I was too lazy to move to another seat (the flight was almost empty) so I just listened to my iPod until I fell asleep, just waiting to land in London!

I love my life.

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