Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai: Week 30

What a busy week!

Sunday began with my usual session with Rama. It was tough – and it’s only going to get tougher if I’m going to finish that vertical marathon in 6 months!

Dad was out for lunch so Mum and I decided to try the Cheesecake Factory at the Dubai Mall. It opened while we were in Bali and I’d been wanting to try it for the last couple of weeks. It’s right opposite the Aquarium and is always crowded. I thought if we went on a Sunday it wouldn’t be so bad. We got there at about 1.45pm and still had to wait 10 minutes for a table. We eventually sat down and looked through the menu. There is so much to choose from – and the portions looked huge. So Mum and I shared the spinach and cheese dip to start with.


Then Mum had the pepperoni pizza and I had the herb-crusted salmon with asparagus and mash. It was really good – and I left most of the mash.


And then we shared an Oreo cheesecake for dessert. We were both full, but we couldn’t not have cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. We couldn’t eat half the slice between us.

After that we wandered around for a bit, Dad joined us and we had coffee at Tim Horton’s.

That evening I’d booked a massage at the Emirates Grand Hotel. It was an online deal for a full body massage and pedicure – I’d bought it before my holiday and it was expiring in a few days. The spa at the hotel is on the 45th floor. My therapist, Preeya, was running late so I waited in the lounge for a while, flicking through magazines. She eventually took me through to the therapy room (we walked past dozens of rooms!) and told me to get changed. Each room has its own ensuite bathroom and I was given a gown and slippers.

Preeya hadn’t asked me what kind of massage I’d like so I just left her to do whatever she wanted. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. At one point, her knees were on the backs of my thighs and her hands were on my shoulder blades. She spent a lot of time on the knots in my shoulders. It was excellent. I asked her afterwards what kind of massage it was and she said it was a Hawaiian lomi lomi massage. I would go back for that. She then took me to another area for my pedicure (the pedicure was just average, but I didn’t care). I went home, had some dinner and went to bed happy.

On Monday morning I had a yoga class at home and then decided to go for a swim. I was at the pool for just half an hour as it was so hot! I worked all afternoon (I had the place to myself) and then went to Sukh Sagar for dinner with my parents (I had my usual palak dosa).

On Tuesday I went to the gym and worked all afternoon. That night I met a friend for drinks and dinner. We met at Aquara at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club. I’d never been there before and it was a fun place. The music was very 80s and 90s, reminding me of Lagos. We had a couple of drinks there and then went to Chinese Village (also in Marina) for dinner. The food was good (spring rolls, stir-fried chicken and lamb with black pepper sauce). After dinner we ended up at Embassy at Grosvenor House. Three new places in one night! We had a couple more drinks, bumped into some friends (I was told I resembled the Argentinian tennis player Gabriela Sabatini – that’s a first!) and eventually called it a night. I was home at about 1.30am.

My session with Rama on Wednesday morning was quite painful after my night out. I got home and was ready to spend the rest of the day working, but at about 12.30pm my dad started complaining about chest pains. He said he’d had them since about 10am – my mum gave him some Gaviscon but the pain persisted. My uncle came over a while later and we eventually decided to call an ambulance. I was so impressed – the paramedics were at our door in under 5 minutes. I didn’t think Dad was having a heart attack – he had no other symptoms (sweating, nausea, vomiting, upper body pain). I also think a part of me has been mentally prepared for this for a while now: all those years of unhealthy living are bound to catch up with you eventually. Anyway, the paramedics did an ECG and decided that as it was the first time Dad was experiencing this to take him to hospital to be checked out properly. My uncle went in the ambulance with Dad, and Mum and I followed in the car.

We went to Rashid Hospital – Kaleem took us to the A&E section (which also has valet parking, by the way) and we met Dad and my uncle there. They did another ECG and we waited for the doctor to show up. Dad stayed in his cubicle while the three of us went to have a coffee and a bite to eat. I had the chicken pasta salad – it didn’t look very appealing in the plastic container but after it was heated up and put on a plate it was surprisingly good.

We went back to see Dad – he’d been told that he would need a chest X-ray and a blood test and they would determine a course of action once they had the results. Dad was in less pain at this point and his blood pressure was normal. My uncle and I went home intending to go back later in the evening.

The blood test results showed that his cardiac enzyme levels were elevated so they wanted to re-do the blood test a couple of hours later. My uncle and I went back to the hospital at about 8.30pm and the doctor told us the second blood test results were normal. The problem wasn’t heart-related and he could be discharged. He told my dad that he should avoid spicy food and take it easy for a day or two. We were home a little after 9pm.

Will this episode have scared my dad into taking better care of himself? Unlikely.

On Thursday afternoon I went to get my hair coloured – it really needed to be done. After I was finished I decided that I needed to find a better hairdresser. Each time I’ve been to the same guy at the Fairmont I’ve been disappointed. I’m ready to try somewhere else!

That night I went to wine club at the Radisson Blu in Media City. I went with a friend and we met some other friends there. We had a good table – I ended up sitting next to a couple from London and we had a good laugh together. There was one white wine (Sauvignon Blanc), two roses, two reds and a sparkling wine (I don’t have the tasting notes yet!). There wasn’t as much mingling afterwards as at previous events but we were still there till 1am.

Friday was a write-off. I was in my pajamas all day, did some work and watched ‘Suits’. I was supposed to meet a friend and one of her friends for a drink that night but wasn’t feeling up to it.

Saturday was busy – I was at the gym in the morning, and my parents had organised a lunch for some of their banker friends and their husbands/wives so I went with them. We had lunch at Dynasty, the Chinese restaurant at the Ramada in Bur Dubai. There were 10 of us at the table – and there was far too much food: spring rolls, steamed dim sum, and a fried mushroom appetiser to start with; crispy aromatic d
uck followed; then we had chicken in black bean sauce, fish in ginger and spring onion, and sizzling lamb for our main course. There were also some veggies and noodles. Dessert was red bean pancakes and a fruit platter.

Straight after lunch I rushed to book club – but I didn’t rush enough and was 10 minutes late. I’d forgotten how long it took to get to there. We were six women, each talking about the books they’d read over the summer. I headed home after that.

One of my parents’ friends came over for a while that evening and once she’d left I got into my pajamas and watched more of ‘Suits’.

I love my life.

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Week 18 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

So this week… I carried on eating and drinking my way through London in between packing suitcases, finishing off my errands, and waking up at 4.30 every morning. Yup – another write-off.

After my heavy night out with the boys, Monday did not go exactly as planned. Instead of being up and about early and going to the gym, it was ‘tortura’ (sorry, I just had to). I woke up with a headache and could barely move. Thank God I’d taken the morning off. I had a dentist appointment at 11.30 and got there just in time. After an hour of teeth cleaning (during which time I imagined throttling my dentist), I was told I couldn’t eat or drink anything for 30 minutes. All I wanted at that time was a can of Coke.

Instead I headed over to John Lewis. I’d realised over the last couple of weeks that my bras just weren’t fitting me and I decided to get myself measured properly before I moved to Dubai. I added my name to the list to get measured (there’s a list – who knew?) and waited about 10 minutes for the woman to come and get me. She led me to a cubicle, told me to undress to the waist but to leave my bra on. When she came back two minutes later she said ‘My goodness, you’ve lost some weight!’ I was wearing my black jeans which are held up by a belt, and which are now too big for me around the waist by several inches. Actually, they’re too big for me all over, but especially around the waist. She measured me and, sure enough, the bras I’ve been wearing are now too big for me around my rib cage. She brought in a couple of styles in the right size and the difference in how they look and feel (the bras, that is) is astonishing. She told me that if I continued to lose weight I should get measured again in about six months because I could be even smaller around the back. I don’t think I’ve been that small since I was about 13, but we’ll see in a few months. I spent 20 minutes in the queue and then spent close to £200 on bras. I then thought that if my bras don’t fit me any more, none of the clothes I bought over the summer for Dubai are going to fit me either. But I suppose it’s easier to alter clothes…

I had my last session with Gus on Tuesday morning. I eventually had to do some lunges and he said my lunges were so much better than they used to be. I laughed and asked him if he remembered our first session? My back knee was nowhere near the floor in those first few sessions. I remember the pain in the early days after each session with him – and I never want to experience that again! He said he’d send me a programme to follow until I find a new trainer. I managed to catch my last London sunrise on Tuesday morning:


Tuesday was supposed to be a full day at the office, but I got there late, had a long lunch (with wine) with my team and boss at All Bar One on Regent Street, and then left before 5pm to meet one of the boys for a couple of martinis. Why, yes, I do have my priorities right. We went to our usual bar in St James’ – I love that place. It used to be a quiet bar but earlier this year it was listed in the Evening Standard Magazine as one of London’s top 100 ‘sexy’ places and is now always crowded. Even at 5pm on a weekday! Two martinis later we parted ways and I had dinner (and a glass of wine) with my mum and cousin at Raoul’s. I’m pretty sure the staff there think I have no life. Or that I own the place.

On Wednesday I went to LA Fitness for the last time. I never thought I’d be sad to not work out! I did my cardio session, gave Gus his Christmas/thank you present and said goodbye… I went to work in the afternoon to do some last minute things and say goodbye to whoever was left. Even then it didn’t hit me that I was leaving for good. Isn’t it weird? One of my editors took me out for a long overdue drink at The Wimpole which was actually quite nice – and my boss joined us for a quick drink as well. I had dinner with friends (with cava and wine – my poor liver) at Fino in Charlotte Street. I hadn’t been there in years. The ham croquetas are better there than they are in Spain and the rest of the food is really good! For dessert, we had the doughnuts (yay – deep-fried carbs!)… We had hoped they would be churros, but the waitress said they really were just doughnuts.

On Thursday I had my hair straightened, ran some errands with my mum and then thought we’d stop at Royal China on Baker Street for a late lunch. We got there at 2.45 and were told they were closed. Disappointed and hungry, we walked over to Bright Courtyard which is across the road. I’d never been there before and had heard mixed reviews. We had hot and sour soup, spring rolls, tofu and Singapore noodles, and Chinese tea to drink. Our bill was £52 – which I thought was expensive for what we’d just eaten!

I went over to say goodbye to friends that evening and had dinner (with wine) at my last stop. In recent weeks I think there’s only been one day a week (if that) where I haven’t had anything to drink. And I’ve been feeling like a blimp.

On Friday my cousin took me to Royal China Club on Baker Street for a quick lunch between my errands. I need to say that, at this point, I still had two more suitcases to pack and just kept putting it off. I went home after lunch, packed a few things, headed back into town for a farewell pint (or two) at The Champion (it had to be done), headed back home, packed a few more things and then headed back into town for some friends’ Christmas drinks. It was a lovely champagne-fuelled evening and it was nice to see so many people before I left. I did get a bit cranky a couple of times, but that was bound to happen. I got home at 3am and packed a few things!

I said goodbye to the girls at Raoul’s on Saturday. Thank God they managed to hold it together – had one of them started crying that would have set me off too. I headed home after lunch and packed. And packed. And packed. I had to go to Edgware Road twice to get more bags! I’m glad I did go the second time because I caught this sunset on my way home:


I eventually left for the airport with seven bags. 

I got to Dubai on Sunday morning and passed out until 3pm. When I woke up, my parents, sister and brother-in-law were all having shawarma sandwiches. I thought to myself that if I had a shawarma sandwich now, I’d give in all the time – and I didn’t want all my hard work of the last three months to end that way. I opted for the shish taouk (no bread), houmous and tabbouleh. 

I was aiming to lose 10 kilos by Christmas but that didn’t happen. Especially with the way things were the last three weeks! I haven’t weighed myself in over a month but judging from the fit of m
y clothes (my old jeans fit!) and the compliments I’ve received, I feel like I’ve lost about 15 lbs (6.8 kg). More importantly: I had a goal, I was dedicated, and I’m going to continue trying to reach that goal! I wonder whether I can lose 10 kilos by Easter? Can anyone recommend a good trainer in Dubai? Preferably with a sense of humour? He/she will need it.


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Week 17 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

I think I’m going to have to write off this week as well. At least when it comes to alcohol. 

My sister was in London – so that involved lots of eating out (or taking away).

One place we always go when she’s here is Arirang – a Korean restaurant in Poland Street. We’ve been going there for years and it’s one of our favourite places. When I asked her if she wanted to go on Tuesday or Wednesday, she replied ‘Why can’t we go twice?’ So we did. And we always order the same food, too. My favourite things are the vegetarian pah jeon (a spring onion pancake):


And the sizzling pork belly in spicy sake sauce (a fairly recent discovery):


It is just SO good.

As I said, we went twice in a row, but I drew the line at going again for lunch on Saturday!

On Thursday I had my office Christmas party at the Grange Hotel in Holborn – there was lots of red wine involved. I got home close to 1am, and had the day off on Friday. Considering I felt a bit ‘dehydrated’, I managed to get a lot done: I went to the gym, went to Raoul’s for lunch, had my hair done, and packed a suitcase.

On Friday night I’d organised drinks at The Warrington, my local pub, for some friends. I’d specified that I didn’t want any gifts, speeches or tears, but none of my requests were taken any notice of. Again, lots of red wine was involved, and then there was champagne and even some shots. I ended up at Beirut Express with the girls and one of their husbands. I can barely remember what I ate (shish taouk, I think?) but I definitely remembering having some arayes! 

Saturday was another productive day, in spite of a heavy night. I had lunch at Raoul’s (yes, again), started packing another suitcase, updated my CV, and went over to one of the girls’ places for dinner. I didn’t say very much at dinner – I was so tired from the night before – but it was just nice to be with them. One of the girls gave me a present – a framed photo of us taken in Paris a few weeks ago. 

I had my last yoga class on Sunday morning and then my sister and I decided to head to Phoenix Palace for lunch. I hadn’t been there since my parents left in November – and the food was so good. After lunch, I met one of the girls at Raoul’s for a coffee and then went home. My mum arrived from Dubai, my sister left for Lagos, and I went out for dinner with the boys.

I met the boys (two of them) at Nobu on Park Lane – because we were meeting at 7.30, I thought I’d be home by 11, go to the gym in the morning, then the dentist, then to the office. But the evening turned out to be, quite simply, carnage. The food was excellent as usual: tuna sashimi salad, artichoke salad with prawns, black cod, and the chocolate bento box for dessert. I’m going to pretend we didn’t order the ‘Fuji Apple Crumble’. And the alcohol. OMG. There was one bamboo sake flask after the other – I couldn’t remember how many we polished off but I’ve been told we had TEN). We drank until the restaurant closed and we were the last people sitting there. The boys were so lovely – they took me out for dinner and halfway through the evening the waiter brought over a Tiffany’s bag and the boys gave me my leaving present. It was so unexpected – I was speechless. It’s a gorgeous compact mirror for my handbag. At some point in the evening we decided it would be a good idea to spend a New Year’s holiday in Las Vegas. The three of us. In one room. We’re re-thinking that now though. 

After dinner, we ended up at Trader Vic’s, having another drink. It really was the last thing any of us needed. There were tears. Far too many tears. And not all mine. Getting home is a hazy memory – but it was a brilliant evening and I will miss those two very much… 

So that was my weekly alcohol update. Apart from drinking too much, I’ve been sleeping too little. I’ve been waking up between 4 and 4.30 all week, remembering things that I need to do. A part of me can’t wait to get on the plane because then my list will have been done!

The working out part was fine this week – I did one session with Gus and three on my own. I seem to have twisted or done something to my left knee though, but it’s getting better with time. As for weight loss, I think that’s a little ambitious, don’t you? I’d consider myself lucky if my weight was the same as the last time I weighed myself! 


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Week 16 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

What can I tell you about this week? As it’s my third last week in London, there was much socialising, much drinking and much eating. By Thursday I realised I was going to have to write off this week in terms of alcohol consumption. I was out for dinner every night apart from Monday, and drank at least one glass of red wine every night apart from Monday and Tuesday. I also had my work leaving drinks on Thursday (more about that later) and a friend’s wedding on Saturday so I knew the week was pretty much doomed from the beginning…

On Tuesday night I met up with one of the girls – the new Everyman Cinema is finally open in Maida Vale and I wanted to go before I left. It’s a three-minute walk from my flat and I wish they’d opened a year ago! We had dinner at Raoul’s and then went to see Hugo at the cinema. I’d only ever had dinner at Raoul’s once before and that was a while ago. I ordered the Shish Raoul’s (without the bread) and it was actually very good. The new cinema is lovely – there was a nice bar area/foyer and the plush red sofas were really comfortable. The only downside was that the sofas were so comfortable it was hard to motivate ourselves to get up and back out in the cold again!

On Wednesday I had dinner with a couple of friends at The Harwood Arms, the only pub in London to be awarded a Michelin star. We shared a couple of starters from the Bar Menu – the venison Scotch egg and the cod croquettes – and then two of us ordered the Berkshire roe deer, and the third ordered the aged English beef. We each had a glass of wine. After dinner, the two of them shared the lemon curd doughnuts for dessert.


The food was excellent – I’d definitely go back if I was in London for a longer time.

I had my work leaving drinks on Thursday – it was a brilliant evening. There was prosecco, red wine (lots of it), champagne, and red velvet cupcakes (made by Laura – and delicious). I decided to choose red wine over white as I drink it slower – and I thought that would be a good idea for the evening as I wanted to pace myself! A few of us ended up at Maroush afterwards – we ordered food and more wine… and I got home at around 2.30. Thank goodness I’d taken the day off on Friday!

On Friday night I met up with a couple of friends and we went to Demartino in Great Portland Street for dinner. I’d been there before, a few weeks ago, but I wanted to go back. I had the Jerusalem artichoke to start followed by the grilled swordfish with olive oil, lemon and pine nuts. And then I had three bites (or was it four?) of the hot chocolate fudge cake. And some red wine. 

Saturday was a long day. I was invited to a wedding at Hampton Court Palace and had to be there by 2.30 for the civil wedding. I was up early, had a banana, got ready, and went over to a friend’s place – a few of us were going together and he was driving – and then realised I’d forgotten my camera (doh!). We got to the Garden Room just before 3pm only to find that they were running late and nothing had started. After the civil wedding there was a tea/coffee break while the bride and groom got ready for the Indian ceremony – which went on until 5.15.


After that we walked from the Garden Room to the main building where the reception was being held. The venue was fantastic – champagne and canapes were served in the Gallery. Dinner (platters of Indian food) was held in the Great Hall, followed by dancing in another room downstairs…


Again there was lots of red wine – but it was partly to stay warm!

I met up with a friend for brunch on Sunday morning. I usually have yoga on Sunday mornings (but not this week) so rarely leave the house before 1pm – I had no idea Raoul’s would be so crowded at 11.30 on a Sunday! I had an omelette but made him order the French toast – because it really is out of this world. I’m definitely going to have some before I leave…

In spite of the heavy social schedule, I still had my usual session with Gus on Tuesday. We did some boxing this week – and thankfully I didn’t have to drag him around the gym! I asked him if he planned what each weekly session would entail rather than what he felt in the mood for at the time. He looked amused and said of course he did. ‘It doesn’t just happen by accident.’ I made it to the gym three more times for my cardio sessions. I told him that I felt no different from how I looked/felt 2-3 weeks ago and he suggested upping my cardio sessions to four each week. I have no idea how I’m going to fit that in over the next three weeks and do all the things I need to – it would mean going every morning before work – and I’ll be exhausted by 8pm every evening… Let’s see how it goes.

I caught one beautiful sunrise on Monday morning:


And that was my eating, drinking and working out this week! That is a LOT of eating out (and drinking), even for me. And next week isn’t looking much better… I think I need to resign myself to the fact that the next couple of weeks are going to be hectic and that if I get my workouts done I’m doing really well and just not stress about the rest of it… 


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Week 15 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

As you know, last weekend the girls and I ate our way through Paris. I came back exhausted and when my alarm went off on Monday morning for the gym, it was the first time in the last few weeks that I thought, ‘No, I need to sleep.’ So I re-set the alarm for a couple of hours later and passed out again. I needed that sleep. For some reason, I’m finding it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. I keep waking up every few hours thinking of all the things I need to do before I go… At least the heating‘s back though!

I had my usual session with Gus on Tuesday morning – it was tough: squats and lunges with the ViPR – and a bigger ViPR (which apparently weighs 3 kilos but I’m sure it’s heavier than that). For one exercise I had to wear a belt which had straps behind me (which he was pulling on) and I had to drag him up and down the studio. ‘Run!’ he shouted. Run? I could barely walk. I suppose that’s one way of holding on to your clients – literally. That was my least favourite thing that day. 

Because I skipped the gym on Monday, I went on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to make up for it. By the time Friday came around, I was ready to hit snooze on the alarm again, but the sunrise got me out of bed:


I also had a pretty busy week socially. On Tuesday evening I was invited to a drinks reception by Thomson Reuters at the top of The Gherkin in the City.


Getting into the building was like going through airport security – I needed a form of ID, my bags had to go through an X-ray machine, and I had to walk through a metal detector. We were then instructed to take a lift to the 34th floor. When we got there we had to take another lift to the 39th floor. And when we got there, we had to walk up a spiral staircase to the 40th floor. Wine was flowing – I decided to go with red as I drink white wine way too fast – and (tiny) canapes were circulating.


The view from up there was spectacular. It was a clear night and you could see all across London in every direction. Unfortunately my camera wasn’t cooperating with the light inside and darkness outside but I got these photos from one of our hosts:


I think it was the perfect way to see London before I left. I had two glasses of red wine in about three hours, but still ended up with a splitting headache by the time I got home. 

I was also out for lunch on Tuesday (Trattoria Semplice), Thursday (the RSM Restaurant) and Saturday (Raouls’, of course), and out for dinner on Wednesday (Arirang), Friday (Osteria Basilico – and half a bottle of wine), Saturday (J Sheekey Oyster Bar – and prosecco, wine and dessert wine) and Sunday (a friend’s place). Quite exhausting! On Thursday I went to see my tarot reader – I wanted to have a reading before I left – and after my reading we ended up chatting about all sorts of things, especially synchronicity (but more about that later)…

How have I felt this week in general? Tired. Cranky. Emotional. Too much to sort out before I go – and when I do have the time to sort things out over the weekend, I can’t be bothered. The thought of sorting out my cupboards makes me want to get into bed and pull the duvet over my head. I think I’m in as much denial as my friends/colleagues! 

And how have I felt this week about my training/eating? I’ve struggled to get out of bed every morning this week and my attitude has varied from ‘bored’ to ‘kill me now’ (also how I’m feeling about work right now). But I’m still doing it – I think I’m just tired. Hopefully next week will be better!


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Week 14 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Week 13 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

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

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

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

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


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Week 12 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

A pretty shitty week, to be honest.

I woke up on Monday morning with a temperature and scratchy throat. It hurt when I swallowed and I felt like crap. I was so annoyed – it’s not like I have any time to waste being sick at the moment. I spent all of Monday and Tuesday at home, mostly in bed. I did learn that ‘Hawaii Five-0’ is on TV during the day and considered never going back to work!

I felt much better on Wednesday – I went to the gym and to work, and then over to a friend’s place. By the time I got home I was exhausted. I woke up on Thursday feeling even worse than I felt on Monday. I shouldn’t have done so much on Wednesday. All I wanted to do was stay in bed again, but had to go to work as I had someone coming to see me at 11.30. I decided I’d leave as soon as my meeting was over – but he didn’t show up until 12.30 and I didn’t leave the office until 3pm. I came home, got into bed and stayed there.

On Friday I had a session with Gus – he went a bit easier on me (apart from ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ stretch) as I don’t think I’d have been able to cope with a regular session. I still felt a bit sniffly but decided that I’d had enough of feeling ill and had to get on with my life. I showed Gus my (rather dull) food diary for the week – I thought my Saturday ‘dinner’ would raise some eyebrows but it was all fine, if anything I’m not eating *enough* (and I don’t remember the last time that happened)… 

So I only had two sessions at the gym during the week. Disappointing, but there you go. And I have no idea what I weigh now. Is there any point in buying new scales just for the next five weeks?


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Week 11 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

Wow, time is flying! In under seven weeks I’ll be leaving for Dubai. The packers came this week – and most of my things have been shipped already. It’s taking a lot of self-restraint not to re-fill that bookcase!

But back to the update. I did my usual cardio sessions on Monday, Thursday and Friday, and had my usual Tuesday morning session with Gus. Once again, I was ready to go home after the warm-up on the bike, but stayed for the squats and lunges and weights. Yes, more lunges. He must hate me or something… Anyway, I’ve committed to five more sessions with Gus – so hopefully those lunges will get easier! He also asked me to keep a food diary for the week.

The food side has been dull this week – I had the same lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Nothing in the canteen appealed to me so I just popped over the road to EAT for a salad and a yoghurt each day. Nothing terribly exciting. I mentioned earlier that I’m allowed one cheat night – and cheat I did. My dinner on Saturday consisted of olives, nuts, a glass of champagne, three passion fruit martinis and a vodka soda. I must check whether the passion fruit counts towards my five a day. 

After that heavy Saturday, I had my yoga class on Sunday morning – thankfully it wasn’t until after 11am and it turned out to be a really good class. I was able to do more than I’ve done in the past – and was able to get into a shoulder stand quite easily. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

I’ve been feeling a bit ‘blah’ this week about the whole exercise/diet thing. I’m doing it (apart from Saturday night), but I’ve been feeling like I’m not really getting anywhere. And I know that’s not true – because I wore a pair of trousers to work on Thursday which I hadn’t worn in ages, and they were quite loose on me! But I still can’t shake that ‘blah’ feeling. I wanted to weigh myself on Friday but then realised the packers had taken the scales! I hadn’t counted on that. I’ll have to weigh myself somewhere else. You’d think they’d have scales in the changing room at the gym, right? I’m sure they used to when I joined when they first opened a few years ago… 

So that was my week – quite uneventful, I have to say.


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Week 10 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

A difficult week, I think – with Diwali on Wednesday and a friend’s 40th on Friday night.

I did my three cardio sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I didn’t have my usual Tuesday morning session with Gus as he was ill. When I got his text in the morning I thought ‘Hmm… shall I get back into bed for an hour?’ and then thought ‘You’re up. You’re READY. Just go anyway!’ So I did. I trained with Gus on Friday. It was relentless. I started off with a warm-up on the cross-trainer, doing intervals between levels 8 and 15. After 13 minutes of that I was ready to call it a day and go home. But I didn’t. There were lunges and squats and weights and stretches. It was hard. And I usually feel like this when each session is over:

And here’s one of the photos I took this week:


On Wednesday night we had our Diwali dinner at an Italian restaurant called DeMartinos in Great Portland Place. No, I know that’s not very traditional! Being a vegetarian day, there was no choice but pasta. We’d all shared salad, asparagus and melanzane for starters, but everyone ordered their own main course – I ordered the spaghetti with chilli and garlic in olive oil. It was excellent – and the portion was so big I couldn’t finish it. And I had a teaspoon of tiramisu… And a glass of red wine. Oh well, it was Diwali!

On Friday night I headed to Annabel’s for a friend’s 40th. We had a drinks reception in a small room behind the main bar and then headed to the private dining room for a sit-down dinner. The table looked stunning – candelabras, flowers, place cards… I did fine with the food, but it was the alcohol that got me. I haven’t had that much to drink in a long time. A glass of champagne at the beginning, a shot of vodka when we sat down to dinner, followed by red wine, followed by a couple of vodkas with soda after dinner when we were let loose on the dance floor. And I really felt it the next day. But it was a fantastic evening – and it’s not like I do that every weekend (any more)!

I haven’t weighed myself again – I fear the excesses of this week’s celebrations may have taken their toll! 


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