Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

London: February 2013 (Part 2)

After the first four exhausting days in London, it really didn’t get any better.

On Tuesday I was invited to Hakkasan Mayfair for a boozy boys’ lunch to celebrate one of their big birthdays. Yes, I know I’m not a boy but they’ve always considered me one of the boys. At least they used to until I lost a lot of weight! The four of us met at the restaurant at 1pm and had a drink at the bar first: two of us had a cocktail (I had the Thea Martini) and the other two started on the first bottle of red wine. After our first drink we moved to a table by the window and ordered our food. We ordered a huge selection of dim sum. And by the time the food came we had started on the second bottle of wine. To cut a long story short – we ordered main courses (prawns, beef, fish) and even dessert (two chocolate desserts and a rhubarb something or other):

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But when the boys say ‘boozy lunch’, this is what they mean. We had:

  • A cocktail
  • Four bottles of red wine
  • Dudu shots
  • Dessert wine
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I knew it was going to be heavy. I’d been telling myself since Friday that I wasn’t going to get too drunk at lunch as I had things to do afterwards (shopping at John Lewis and dinner at Arirang). My cousins had their doubts. I was determined to be ‘fine’.

After lunch we thought it would be a good idea to go to Mews of Mayfair for another couple of drinks. It was almost 5pm by this point. We got a comfortable table with some sofas and settled in. We had:

  • A bottle of champagne
  • Two espresso martinis
  • A glass of red wine (totally unnecessary)

A little after 6pm we decided it was time to head home (or run errands in my case). The boys staggered home and I walked to John Lewis. I picked up what I needed (bras) and walked to Arirang where I met my cousins.

Dinner was good, but as you can imagine most of it was a blur! We had the usual kim chees, chicken, beef bulgogi, sizzling pork belly in sake sauce and the barbecued bacon too.

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There was a lot of food. No wonder I put on weight in London!

We were home by 10pm and I was in bed soon after.

I had lunch with one of the girls and another friend on Wednesday. We went to Raoul’s (yes, again!). I’d never had the crab and avocado salad there – but it is amazing! I’d have happily eaten just that for my starters, main and dessert. But I didn’t – I had the ham and cheese omelette instead.

That night was my other friend’s 40th birthday. He was having a dinner in the wine cellars of the Stafford Hotel in St James’s. The wine cellars double as bomb shelters during World War II and a part of the wine cellar still displays World War II memorabilia:

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Before dinner there was a wine tasting contest (I got four out of six correct) and then we sat down to eat. We had crab and avocado salad to start, the main courses were either grilled fish or Beef Wellington, and there were loads of chocolate desserts. I had a slice of the birthday cake (a Chelsea T-shirt) but left the rest. The wine was flowing, there were speeches, there was singing and dancing (a singer/guitarist and saxophonist were playing), and we eventually left at 1.30am. It was a wonderful evening…

On Thursday I went over to my cousin’s place for lunch to hang out with her and her twin girls. We ordered pizzas from Le Cochonnet and played with the 5-month-old girls (so adorable).

That evening I’d arranged to meet my old work friends at a pub near the office (not that any of them work there any more). I’d also told a few people in the IT department to join us – we used to spend (too) many hours at The Wimpole after work together! It was great to see them all – and I was so relieved to hear that those who wanted new jobs had found them (and better jobs, in some cases). We were at the pub till they closed and stopped for a shawarma on the way home.

On Friday I had to go to Old Street. I had a meeting with the publisher who had bought the journals from RSM Press. When I decided to go to London I told them I’d be in town and thought it would be a good idea to meet them as I now do some freelance work for them. I’d had a couple of conference calls with them before and am in touch with one or two of them almost every day so it was nice to actually meet in person. I had a meeting at their office for about 45 minutes and then three of us walked to a pub close by called The Princess of Shoreditch. Everything on the menu looked really good – and I eventually chose the steak and Stilton pie (and so did the other two). If I’d had room for dessert I’d have had the rhubarb and apple crumble!

After lunch I realised I had nothing to do until dinner. I took the tube to Bond Street and went shopping. I browsed in Debenhams and tried on seven dresses. I ended up buying six of them! I also bought a pair of nude peep-toe heels from Russell & Bromley which I’d had my eye on since Christmas. A very productive afternoon!

I met my cousin at Sotheby’s (where she works) at 5pm and we took the bus home together.

That evening I met a couple of friends at Princess Garden for dinner. It wasn’t a heavy night or a late one – it was just nice to sit and talk and have a glass of wine. The food at Princess Garden is really good – I can’t think why I never went there more often when I lived in London.

I was home and in bed by 11.30pm.

I love my life.

To read more about London, click here.

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Week 3 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

Not a good week, to be honest.

I tried to eat sensibly, I logged everything I ate and drank, I wore my HotPants, I walked home through the park once (where I managed to take my Silent Sunday photo), and I had yoga on Sunday morning.

However the eating out over the weekend really took its toll. On Thursday (which we all know is the new Friday), my ex-trainer from the gym was in town and had organised drinks at the Refuel Bar at the Soho Hotel. I used to see her once a week when I was a member of LA Fitness but I moved out of the area and she moved back to Australia a couple of years ago. I told her I was going to re-join the gym and she recommended a trainer who was there for drinks as well. But by the time I finished catching up with her and looked around for him, he’d gone.

Friday night I was out with friends at Sumosan, I had the usual lunch with the girls on Saturday, and I was out at Arirang on Saturday night. I didn’t think I’d done too badly, but then…

It was Dad’s birthday on Sunday and four of us (my parents, sister-in-law and me) went to Hakkasan Mayfair for lunch. We were seated downstairs, which was a shame as it was such a nice day – it’s quite dark downstairs. The food was excellent. For starters we ordered the steamed dim sum platter, crispy duck salad, prawn toast with foie gras, and salt and pepper squid. As we’d had so many starters, I ordered two main courses and a green vegetable: black pepper beef with Merlot, spicy prawns and gai lan in garlic sauce. All of it was so tasty – and I think their portions are quite generous. For dessert, I’d brought along a small strawberry and vanilla cake I’d picked up from Maison Blanc in the High Street. The waiter brought it out with a candle and told Dad to make a wish. ‘I wish I didn’t have to pay the bill,’ he joked. Unfortunately that wish didn’t come true – they do say you’re not supposed to tell anyone what you wish for! Dad asked the waiter to cut the cake into small slices. I think the waiter must have heard ‘four’ slices because five minutes later he came back with four plates, each containing a quarter of the cake. No, don’t panic – we didn’t finish it!

We got home after lunch and we all passed out. We were full and sleepy. I’d have happily stayed home that evening but my uncle had invited us for dinner to Singapore Garden in Fairfax Road. We were all still full from lunch – and I didn’t eat as much as I normally would have at dinner. And there was another cake for Dad to cut, so I had a little piece of that too (a sliver compared to the wedge from that afternoon). Definitely not a good day!

On Monday, I joined LA Fitness in Marylebone. I called them up to make an appointment for my induction – which is this evening. The man on the phone told me I’d need to bring my gym kit as they do a fitness test (or unfitness test in my case!) and measure your BMI, etc. I’m not looking forward to it at all! 

While wearing my HotPants last week, I had one scary moment when I was in the ladies’ room at work and couldn’t get them back on. I had initially been told it was easier to pull them on and off instead of using the zip – so that’s what I’d been doing. On this one occasion, I couldn’t pull them back on again. I had images of Ross and his leather trousers – and then I started giggling. I did eventually get them back on (using the zip) but I was worried for a few seconds!

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(OK, it wasn’t as bad as that – but now you know how I felt!)

And then, the moment of truth… I stepped on the scales and was surprised! I’ve lost 0.2 kgs (0.44 lbs) this week – in spite of all of the above! That’s a total of 2.3 kgs (5.06 lbs). Hopefully I’ll have lost even more by next week!

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Read more updates here.

 

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