Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2015: Week 46

I woke up on Sunday feeling awful. I’d been out the night before and had way too much champagne! Any plans I’d had of going to the gym in the morning (or even getting ready) went out the window as I got out of bed at 1pm. I spent the day in my pajamas. It took me all day to edit one paper which would have normally taken me an hour. I just couldn’t focus on anything.

Monday was a bit better. I had a session with Pete, sorted out some paperwork at the du shop and then had my piano lesson. I came home after that and worked the rest of the evening.

After the gym on Tuesday, I went to the monthly lunch of the IBWG (International Business Women’s Group) at the Trade Centre Club. On the way there, I realised that I was in one of those moods where I didn’t feel like speaking to anybody. Networking was not going to be easy that day! I got there, picked a number out of the bowl (which indicates which table you sit at) and found my name tag. I said hello to a couple of people I’d met before and had a quick chat, but a few minutes later I found my table and sat down. There were two other people already sitting there so I guess they didn’t feel like networking either! Our lunch was served – I opted for the braised lamb with vegetables.

The talk that day was really interesting. It was all about posture and ergonomic work spaces. Er – if the presenter could see how I worked, she’d have been furious. I work on my bed with my back against the headrest and my legs either straight in front of me or cross-legged. I suppose it’s good that I’m not hunched over my laptop though! She went through consequences of bad posture and some exercises (which I either do as stretches with Pete or in yoga). She was an interesting lady though – and I enjoyed the talk.

After lunch I went to Mercato to pick up some Patchi chocolates and other things that my mum needed in Bombay. My dad was leaving over the weekend and she had a list of things to buy.

I came home after that and did some more work. I’d been swamped for the last two weeks or so, which is great!

It was Diwali on Wednesday, but honestly it felt like any other day. I had a session with Pete which pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the day. I was exhausted. After lunch, I worked until the early evening, fighting off the urge to have a nap. At about 6pm, Dad and I did our Diwali puja – which took about fifteen minutes – and that was that. I’d been invited to a friend’s place for the evening but Dad didn’t want to go anywhere so I stayed in with him.

The weather was horrible on Thursday morning. Five minutes of rain in Dubai means five hours of traffic. The whole city comes to a standstill – and apparently so do I. I took one look out the window and decided to stay in and do some work.

2015-11-12 10.11.49

Of course, it had cleared up by the afternoon.

2015-11-12 17.23.48

That evening I met a friend for dinner at Segreto in Madinat Jumeirah. I had initially thought I’d eat something healthy, like grilled fish, but when we got there they had a special truffle menu which included pasta with truffles. We both took one look at that and ordered it. We shared a crab/prawn starter – it wasn’t what we expected but it was OK. The pasta with truffles was delicious. We also had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, which was lovely. For dessert, we shared a cheese platter. I really think Segreto is one of the best Italian restaurants in Dubai – the food and service have always been excellent whenever I’ve been there.

After dinner we went to The Agency for a drink and then went to meet some friends at Cave at the Conrad. We had some more wine and at 1am, decided to head home. On the way home one of our friends decided he was hungry and wanted to stop at Burger Fuel. I hadn’t been there in ages and was also feeling a little peckish (our dinner was early – 7.30pm). I ordered a hamburgini with jalapenos – there was no way I could eat a regular burger so the mini one was just fine. I walked home after that and got into bed.

On Friday, I went to the gym in the morning. As I was walking to the Shangri-La at about 11am, I noticed how much cooler the temperature was – that rain the day before really cleared out the last of the humidity. That afternoon Dad and I went to Sakura at the Crowne Plaza for lunch with my uncle, aunt and the kids. The food was good, as usual, but it’s scary the amount of butter they put on the teppan when they’re preparing the food! I went home after lunch and did some work.

On Friday evening, I went to a friend’s birthday drinks at his place in Executive Towers. I didn’t know anybody there but him, but I’d already RSVP’d ‘yes’ and didn’t want to flake. I hate it when people do that to me, so I know how it feels! I stayed for over an hour, met some of his friends and then went to meet some other friends who were at Roberto’s in DIFC. I don’t know what it is about Roberto’s but every time I go there I just want to go to sleep. I start yawning and feel bored in general – it doesn’t matter who I’m with. Even though the bar area was crowded, it had such low energy that we had to leave after one drink.

As soon as we left – literally, as soon as we walked out of the restaurant – we were all in a much better mood! We went to La Cantine at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel and were dancing until 2am. When we left we decided to go to Zaatar w Zeit for some food. I hadn’t eaten dinner and was famished! After eating, I got home at around 3am.

I was home for most of Saturday. Dad left for Bombay and I did a bit of work. There was a gorgeous sunset that evening. I had been invited to Maya at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort for a friend’s engagement drinks. I got there at around 6pm and stayed for a couple of hours. A friend and I decided to have dinner after drinks instead of staying on there and went to Jones the Grocer. I hadn’t been there in ages. I had the pasta with chilli and prawns – which was OK. I thought it would be better. I was home by 10pm.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

Dubai 2015: Week 2

After the craziness of the week before, this week was quite the opposite.

I woke up on Sunday with a scratchy throat. I knew I was going to get sick soon. I left home at about 1pm to deposit a cheque at the new bank where we have our business account. We used to be with Standard Chartered but they closed our account in November last year (but that’s a whole other story). I wasn’t sure how long it would take, and the queue was horrendous when I got there. The waiting area reminded me of an airport lounge – some people looked like they’d been there for hours. Fortunately, the lady at reception told me there was a separate desk for cheque deposits and I was at the bank for all of 5 minutes.

I was meeting my cousin for lunch at Jones the Grocer and I was about 30 minutes early. He was just visiting on his way back to New York and wanted to have a late lunch. I got a table, ordered a fresh orange juice and made myself comfortable with my book. When he arrived, we ordered our food – I had the Jones wagyu burger with truffle mayo (they’d run out of truffle-infused brie) and some fries. He ordered the chargrilled harissa chicken. I also ordered a flat white coffee when we’d finished. After lunch he came over for a while to meet my parents and then went back to his hotel.

That night my mum wanted the three of us to go out for dinner so we went to Madeleine Cafe at the Dubai Mall. As usual, there were several sports cars parked outside the main entrance.

2015-01-04 20.36.31

And once inside the main entrance, there was a Breitling promotion in the atrium.

2015-01-04 20.38.32

Only in Dubai!

I’d never eaten at Madeleine Cafe but my parents wanted us to go somewhere different instead of the usual Wafi Gourmet and PF Chang. I had the goat’s cheese salad to start with, Mum had the escargots and Dad ordered a French onion soup. For my main course I ordered the tagliatelle with salmon, Dad ordered the vegetarian pasta and Mum wanted the quiche Lorraine. While we were waiting for the main course, the Burj Khalifa LED show started. It was the same as the show on New Year’s Eve, but without the fireworks.

2015-01-04 21.47.18 2015-01-04 21.47.34 2015-01-04 21.48.08 2015-01-04 21.48.17 2015-01-04 21.49.14

Our main course arrived, but they’d forgotten my mum’s quiche. We were eventually told that they’d run out of quiche and had forgotten to tell us. Mum was actually relieved as the escargots had been quite filling. She had a bit of pasta from me and some from Dad. They also wanted dessert and ordered the Fraise Melba – vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce and whipped cream. I was so full I couldn’t even bear to look at it. We walked around for a while after dinner, trying to digest our food.

I had another friend in town from London. She was staying with other friends but we’d arranged to have a spa day together on Monday. I’d found an Entertainer 2-for-1 voucher for the spa at the Oberoi in Business Bay and booked two 1-hour massages for 4pm. I wasn’t feeling great – my throat still felt scratchy but I didn’t want to cancel. We met at 1pm at the hotel and went to the poolside. It wasn’t too busy and we were shown to two sunbeds. The weather was lovely and the pool area basked in the sunlight for the whole afternoon.

2015-01-05 15.45.56

After we sat down, the pool attendant came over to us with two bottles of complimentary water, two complimentary Evian facial sprays and even complimentary sunscreen (but we’d brought out own). We ordered some lunch. We decided to share the chicken wrap and the cold mezze platter.

2015-01-05 14.35.11

The food was delicious. After a while, the pool attendant offered us and the other sunbathers frozen fruit pieces served in large martini glasses – also complimentary. We went in for our massages – I opted for the Balinese massage and my massage therapist Ina was actually from Bali. I think she was surprised when I spoke to her in Indonesian… The massage was excellent and Ina gave me some ginger tea with honey for my throat when I was finished. I didn’t want to leave.

But I had to. I got home and got into my pajamas.

I woke up on Tuesday with a cough. I woke up on Wednesday with full-on flu. And I didn’t leave the house the rest of the week. I’d had lunch and dinner plans on Friday which I cancelled, and dinner plans on Saturday which I also cancelled. What a waste of a week! I’m just grateful I work from home and didn’t have to call in sick every day!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

5 Comments »

Dubai 2013: Week 26

I woke up on Sunday feeling ill again. I felt a little feverish and I’d been up half the night coughing. I apologised to Randy and told him I wouldn’t be able to have my session with him.

I felt OK to go to Sumo Sushi for lunch – it was just my dad, my uncle, my nephew and me. I came home after lunch and got into my pajamas. I thought about having a nap because I was struggling to stay awake, but then I thought I might not be able to sleep in the night. I stayed awake but had an early night in the end.

I woke up on Monday, still coughing. I went to my Arabic class. We covered:

  • Telling time – revison
  • Verbs – to do/make, to write, to read, to finish, to return, to start
  • Random vocabulary – restaurant, homework
  • Sun and moon letters
  • Nunation – double strokes (I still need to get my head around this)

That afternoon I met up with a friend at the Westin Hotel in Marina. We’d booked a couple of massages and I didn’t want to cancel our appointments. I thought it might make me feel better. And it did for a little while. The massage was good, but I think Spa Zen at the Radisson Royal is better. After our massages we went to Oeno, the wine bar at the hotel, for a drink. It was almost 6pm and the place was quite empty. We had some wine and then headed home.

I went to see the doctor on Tuesday. She took my blood pressure (slightly high), temperature (normal), and listened to my breathing. She came to the conclusion that I had mild bronchitis and put me on a 3-day course of antibiotics. She also thought I might have allergies (I don’t know where she got this from) and told me to take Zyrtek at night. And she also prescribed a different cough syrup. I didn’t agree with her diagnoses of bronchitis or allergies, but she’s the doctor, I suppose.

I had my last Arabic class of the term on Wednesday. We covered:

  • Revision of most things we had learned and any questions we had
  • Random vocabulary – birthday, Christmas

We also had to give a short presentation using all the vocabulary we had learned: my name is ______. I am from ______. I’ve been in Dubai for ______. I am a ______ and I work in ______. I am married/not married. I live in Dubai with my husband/children/parents.

You get the idea.

After my class I met a friend for lunch at the Dubai Mall. We went to Cafe Bateel, next to the Waterfall. I’d never been there before. I had the pasta with smoked salmon but thought the food was better at Vapiano.

That evening I went to run some errands with my dad. We ended up at the Jumeirah Centre and I was starting to feel peckish. We saw a new(ish) place called Russo’s where they sell pizza by the slice and decided to try it. I thought it was OK – I didn’t like the way they put the toppings on but it hit the spot. The slice we ordered was big enough for both of us to share too.

2013-07-03 19.41.18

I met up with NP for lunch on Thursday. We went to our usual Jones the Grocer and we both ordered the Wagyu burger. We both wanted the truffle-infused brie but the waiter said he’d have to check whether they had any. And then he just stood there, waiting for us to change our minds. ‘OK, go check and let us know,’ we said (not in unison). He came back a few minutes later to say that they were out of truffle-infused brie. Could we have the truffle mayo instead then? ‘So now you want the truffle mayo?’ Good grief – what was his problem? Maybe he was trying to tell us (and by that I mean me) that we could do without truffle mayo. Our burgers arrived with truffle mayo and they were so good.

2013-07-04 12.50.40

That night I met up with a friend for Dupper at the Fairmont. It’s supposed to be like brunch – unlimited food and drinks from 8-11pm (‘dupper’ is a portmanteau of ‘dinner’ and supper’ but I think it sounds rather dumb). We got there at 7.30pm and were treated to a mixology class by the head bartender. The first drink was gin-based and the second was rum-based, neither of which I would drink over an extended period of time. So I switched to white wine. They had a good selection of food – a huge sushi section, an Asian section (Chinese and Thai), an Indian section and of course an Arabic section. They also had a separate dessert area where they were making fresh crepes. By the bar area they had a separate chilled room full of cheese. I ate mostly sushi and dim sum. For dessert I had a variety of cheeses and then unnecessarily had a Nutella crepe. I was so full after that! The service was excellent. Once Dupper was over we went to the bar and had a drink or two. It wasn’t a late night – I was home by midnight.

I spent the rest of the weekend at home. My brother had introduced me to ‘House of Cards’ and I ended up watching the entire season 1 over the weekend!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

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.

1 Comment »

Dubai 2013: Week 15

Wow, I’m so behind with my writing!

So, after my exhausting weekend when I got locked out, I met my friends from London for lunch at Jones the Grocer. I had the rocket and feta salad with grilled chicken. I was tempted by the burger but decided on the healthy option (for once!).

IMG-20130414-00222

After lunch I dropped them back at their hotel and went home. A little while later I started feeling a bit queasy and fluish but hoped it was just temporary.

I woke up on Monday feeling even worse. I took some Lemsip and spent much of the day in bed. I felt much better on Tuesday after resting.

I had a piano lesson on Tuesday afternoon. I left my flat and waited for the lift. I got into it, and just as the doors closed I heard a loud rumbling noise. I thought there might be workmen moving furniture in one of the other lifts. By the time I got to the ground floor it had stopped. My mum called to ask if I was OK? Erm, yes – I only just left home. ‘There’s been another earthquake,’ she said. She and my dad were terrified on the 23rd floor – she said the whole flat was shaking. I was glad I hadn’t been there but I don’t think the lift is a safe place to be at all! As we drove to my lesson, there were hundreds of people all leaving their buildings on Sheikh Zayed Road. I started to wonder about that – if there’s a serious earthquake, wouldn’t you be safer indoors under a desk rather than outside surrounded by tall buildings, most of them made of glass?

On Wednesday evening I started my meditation course at the Osteopathic Health Centre. One of my friends had done the course in January and February and I was keen to do it too. Meditation is something that I’ve been interested in but have never actually done. In February 2012 I bought a book called The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg. I’m embarrassed to say it’s still sitting on my desk, unopened. I’m hoping that once I finish the 7-week course I’ll get round to reading it.

So, in my first meditation class we introduced ourselves. There were four new people and one person who had done the course already (once you’ve done the course the first time you can attend as many future courses/classes as you like). We talked about why we wanted to learn about meditation – one of the women said her brain was like ‘a pinball machine’ – I thought that was such a great analogy! We talked about what we thought meditation is (and isn’t). We talked about where in our homes we would have our meditation space – would it be light or dark? Would you have music or not? Would you light a candle? When would be the best time for each of us? How would we be able to time ourselves?

Our teacher then taught us a cooling breath: sitting in a cross-legged position, make an ‘O’ shape with your mouth and as you breathe in imagine you’re sucking on a straw; put your chin on your chest and count to seven; look up and exhale slowly through your nose; do this seven times in total and then breathe normally again. We all went at our own pace and when we had finished she asked us how we felt. I said I felt refreshed, someone else said she felt a bit light-headed, everyone had a different reaction.

We then learnt a simple walking meditation: begin by stepping forward with the right foot by placing the heel then the toes slowly on the floor and lifting the back heel; move your weight forward to the right foot; rock your weight back into the heel by lifting the toes of the right foot; move the weight forward again onto the right foot and lift the back heel at the same time balancing and stepping the left foot slowly through the air; place the left heel first then the toes onto the floor and lift the back heel; continue for 10 minutes. We were told to move as slowly as possible and focus all our attention on the rocking movement. Our teacher told us to let any thoughts just come and go.

We then did a seated meditation where we had to imagine our mind was like the inside of a cinema and that there was a screen inside the mind behind the centre of our eyebrows. We had to imagine that we were sitting inside our minds on a chair just watching as thoughts came and went, without trying to fix or change any thoughts. If we got distracted we were told to focus on our breathing and the cinema screen.

Our homework was to practise the three techniques for 20 minutes each day – it was up to us to decide how we spent the 20 minutes. That evening I downloaded an Android app called ‘Meditation Helper’. I set it to chime at 20 minutes, with a chime halfway through as well. It’s a very unobtrusive noise, just a single chime. What I like about the app is that it keeps a log of your meditation sessions and even sends a reminder if you haven’t meditated (of course you can always change the settings so you don’t get any reminders). The other thing it does is it silences all the other sounds on your phone – you won’t get any other notifications.

After my class I met my parents at the Dubai Mall for a quick dinner in the food court followed by a movie. We went to see Oblivion, the new Tom Cruise movie. Oh. My. God. It was painful. Actually, the first half was OK, but once he met his clone I just switched off. It reminded me of Top Gun in a way – he flies a plane, he rides a motorbike, he wears sunglasses – but that’s where the similarity ended. I spent most of the second half of the movie chatting to a couple of friends on BBM.

Thursday was a busy day. I’d bought a copy of The Entertainer Body edition and wanted to take advantage of the deals they had. A friend and I decided to go for massages at the Armani Spa. We got there early and spent some time at the pool while we ordered some lunch (chicken shawarma wraps – disappointing, and tasted more like chicken tikka).

20130418_131219

We then had our 80-minute massages. My therapist was called Titi and she was Indonesian. She was fantastic. We relaxed in the post-treatment room and then decided it was time to head home.

I could have done with a nap after the massage but I had to get ready for wine club! It was at the Radisson Royal and I found most of the wines disappointing:

  • Valdo Prosecco Edizione Oro: Glera (formerly Prosecco) is the name approved by the European Union (EU) for the green-skinned Prosecco grape of north-eastern Italy. The name change occurred in 2009, when the Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region was promoted to DOCG status and the Italian authorities decided that Prosecco should only be used as a geographical indication. Glera, an old synonym of the Prosecco grape, was chosen to avoid confusion between the Prosecco region and grape variety. The grape’s origins are debated between Friuli and Veneto, but it seems plausible that the variety is named after the town of Prosecco on the Italian border with Slovenia. As far as the Italians (and the EU) are concerned, Prosecco may only be produced in the Prosecco DOC region and two Prosecco DOCGs (Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Asolo Prosecco-Colli Asolani). Anything else made from the same variety must be referred to as Glera. Italian wine produced from Glera is almost always either slightly fizzy or sparkling (in Italian, frizzante and spumante, respectively). A few still wines are also made from Glera, but on nowhere near the same scale as the sparkling wines that are so exported around the globe. The worldwide thirst for Prosecco has resulted in many imitations of the style. In the vineyard, Glera is a highly productive grape that ripens late in the season. It has high acidity and a fairly neutral palate, making it ideal for sparkling wine production. Glera’s aromatic profile is characterized by white peaches, with an occasional soapy note. The wine is light-bodied and low in alcohol (8.5% is the minimum permitted alcohol level for Prosecco), well-suited to drinking in the summer months or as an aperitif. Outside Italy, Glera is grown in Slovenia and Australia, in particular the King Valley.
  • Producteurs Plaimont 2011 Colombelle L’Original Blanc White: A blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc, this is crisp and lively. It has a wonderfully fruity tang, and is packed with flavors of citrus fruit and green apple juice. The blend here is 80% Colombard and 20% Sauvignon Blanc and Ugni Blanc and the SRP is $10. In the glass, the wine was a pale silvery lemon color. The nose was very aromatic with white grapefruit and grapefruit peel with a bit of pear fruit as well. On the palate, the wine was light bodied with high acidity. There were flavors of tart lemon, white grapefruit and sour pineapple. The grassy herbaceous character extended through the palate as well. The wine was clean and very refreshing with a stony minerality to the finish. This wine would be a great stand-in for those looking for a substitute for Sauvignon Blanc or anyone looking for a tart, high acid aperitif. For $10, this is an outstanding wine that would be great with shellfish or light chicken dishes.
  • 2011 Laroche Rose de la Chevaliere, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France – Languedoc-Roussillon wine region. ‘De La Chevalière’, or ‘of the knight’s lady’, is a reference to ‘Mas La Chevalière’ which is literally the ‘farmhouse of the knight’s lady’, the Laroche winery in southern France where this wine is produced. Sourced from across the Languedoc region: Syrah from the Cévennes; Grenache from Béziers and the Cévennes. The Cévennes is a maze of deep valleys with winding rivers of clear waters, steep slopes covered in forests and jagged rock cliffs and ledges. More than a mountain chain, the Cévennes are in fact a multitude of many-sided open spaces which form the southern part of the Central Massif as it veers towards the Languedoc. Maritime and mountain influences provide cooler night-time temperatures. Vineyard orientation is south and east; the soil is varied, with limestone, slate, marl and schist predominant. An excellent vintage in the South of France. Very complex aromatics.
  • Producteurs Plaimont 2011 Colombelle L’Original Rose: A deliciously fruity rosé, brimming with smiling red-berry flavors and enhanced by a lime-like tang. It is just what a light summer rosé should be.
  • Producteurs Plaimont 2011 Colombelle L’Original Rouge/Red: With its black currant intensity and a soft, slightly stalky texture, this fruity red is for summer drinking. 60% Tannat, 20% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon with an SRP of $10. Tannat is usually a very fierce grape in its youth, so to soften it, the winemakers used a technique known as micro-oxygenation, which is essentially like sticking an aquarium bubbler into the wine as it is fermenting to introduce a lot of oxygen very quickly which reduces the tannic bite of a wine and makes it more approachable in its youth. The technique is not without controversy, but you can go watch Mondovino or read any number of other writers if you’re interested. In the glass, this wine was a medium purple ruby color which wasn’t all that deep, but which was very intense. The nose was nicely aromatic with black cherry and dark plummy fruit with a noticeable bell pepper edge to it. On the palate, the wine was medium bodied with fairly high acidity and low tannins. There was juicy cherryish fruit with some bell pepper herbaceousness and some dark, earthy undertones to balance it out.
  • 2011 Rigal The Original Malbec, Vin de Pays du Lot, France: Vin de Pays du Lot (renamed Cotes du Lot in 2011) is the Vin de Pays (VDP) title for the Lot administrative department in south-western France. It covers every vineyard in the department, irrespective of terroir. Long before Argentina brought Malbec to the masses, Cahors in the South West of France was the home of Malbec. This grape variety expresses itself on its own terroir of Origin in its finest and fruitiest characteristics through an intense black colour and an exceptional aromatic complexity at a fraction of the alcohol levels produced in the New World. Aromas of blackberries, cherries, plums and spices, and well-balanced with supple tannins, a touch of vanilla and a clean, long finish.

After we were finished several of us went up to Icho, on the 50th floor of the hotel, and stayed there until closing. We had more wine, there was dancing, it was a fun night!

And as usual I woke up feeling like rubbish the next day. I stayed in my pajamas all day!

I had another piano lesson on Saturday to make up for one I’d missed earlier in the month. That evening I went to my writing group at The Pavilion. We did four exercises of 15 minutes each. In the first one we had to write about a person who had no sense of smell. I started writing about a chef but then remembered a funny story about someone I knew in London whose mother had no sense of smell – they got away with so much! The next writing exercise had to begin with the sentence: ‘The garden was overgrown now.’ I wrote about a person going back to their childhood home after 20 years. The third exercise had to be a dialogue between two or more characters where they’re trying to find something that is buried. I wrote about someone who had written a postcard to PostSecret but hadn’t yet sent it and couldn’t find it anywhere. The fourth exercise was writing about a fashion model who refuses to have pictures in her house. I really couldn’t think of much for that one – I just thought photos bring back memories which make you realise that time is passing and and that you’re getting old(er). It was pretty dull, if I’m honest.

And that was my week!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

2 Comments »

Dubai 2013: Week 12

This was a crazy busy week!

On Sunday, my cousin and a friend were hosting a lunch at Roberto’s to celebrate my 40th birthday. When they told me they wanted to have a lunch, I told them it really wasn’t necessary but they insisted. And the invite they sent out really made me laugh. It said:

Oh no, say it isn’t so…
Amreeta is going to be the big 4-0!
She said, ‘A lunch? No way!’
But we decided to have one anyway!

I was up early on the Sunday. I thought I’d be able to go to the gym before lunch, but lunch was at 12.30 and I had to get my hair done before that too. I was tempted to show up in jeans but actually made a bit of an effort and wore a dress. Apart from the hosts, I was the first one to show up at lunch. By 1.15 most people had shown up and were seated at one of the two tables. There was wine at my table (naturally). It was a lovely lunch actually. They’d even had menus printed especially for us.

And I got lots of lovely presents! Champagne, perfume, jewellery, shawls, a Harvey Nichols gift voucher. My parents were shocked when I went home with all the gifts.

I met a friend for lunch at Jones the Grocer on Monday. I’d been craving the Wagyu burger and insisted we meet there! It was a grey day and it was raining by the time we left the restaurant.

20130325_152430

That evening I went to iKandy to sort out the alcohol and food for Friday night. I asked the manager what we would do if it rained on Friday? ‘Postpone it,’ she said. That really didn’t help my anxiety about the rain. It was something I hadn’t even considered until that day!

I tried to do as much work as possible on Tuesday because I knew that once my sister and friends arrived I wouldn’t get anything done. My piano teacher cancelled our lesson as well, and I didn’t mind as I hadn’t practised much that week.

A friend of mine from Hong Kong was supposed to arrive on Wednesday evening but just as I got to the gym for my session with Randy she called to say she couldn’t make it due to a family emergency. I was so disappointed – I don’t even remember the last time we met and had been looking forward to her trip. Much later that night, my sister and nephew arrived from Lagos and it was 5am by the time we went to sleep.

One of my friends arrived from London on Thursday morning. I laughed when I got a text from him saying ‘Fancy a pint at 5?’ – that was our standard Friday morning conversation when I lived in London. I met him at The Fairmont sports bar shortly after 5pm.

20130328_180247

While we were there another friend invited us over to his place for a drink so we went to see him at 7pm. My friend had an early dinner to go to but said he would join my sister and me at Caramel when he was done. Our table was booked for 10pm and he joined us by 10.15! We had two bottles of wine, some cocktails and some B52 shots.

I woke up on Friday morning not sure I’d even make it to 40. I didn’t know what day it was to start with. My cousin had arrived from London that morning and was staying at the Shangri-La Hotel so we decided to meet for lunch with a friend who had flown in from Lagos that morning too. We hadn’t booked anywhere but thought we’d try our luck at Zuma. We were there shortly after 12.30.

I spoke to the cow at the front desk:

Me: Do you by any chance have a table for three for lunch today?
Her: We don’t do lunch on Friday, it’s brunch.
Me: Do you have a table for brunch then?
Her: No. People usually book 2 weeks in advance.

She went back to texting on her mobile. I wanted to punch her in the face.

We walked around DIFC and thought we’d try at La Petite Maison. They had a table outdoors and would need it back by 3pm. It was only 1pm and that was perfect.

20130329_131214

All I wanted was the burrata but of course I ate whatever was put on our table! We also had a bottle of wine to go with our food.

That night I had my birthday party at iKandy at the Shangri-La. I’d invited about 25 friends – I wanted to keep it small – but was worried that because my friends are so random, people would find it hard to mingle and have a good time. Most people showed up (including three more friends from London who had arrived that morning and evening). My parents came for a drink in the first hour and then I packed them off to dinner. It was quite a civilised evening – until about 11pm when my brother-in-law bought a bottle of Patron XO Cafe (a tequila-coffee blend) and started handing out shots. It gets hazy after that – I’d started on vodka, had a shot of Patron and switched to champagne a little before midnight. I remember cutting the cake. I vaguely remember what I said in my speech. I don’t remember having many photos taken but there are loads. I don’t remember paying the bill at the end of the night. I remember walking home (just about).

Considering it was after 4am when I went to bed, I was up quite early on Saturday. My phone had been ringing since 10am and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I opened the presents I’d received the night before: books, wine, champagne, Scotch, an encyclopaedia of wine, shawls, a tapas cookbook (clearly someone who doesn’t know me at all), a ‘tree’ pendant, a necklace with my name written in Arabic on the pendant (which I wore to lunch).

I had lunch at Royal China with the family. I was tired but I knew the only way to get through the day would be to have a drink so I ordered a glass of Prosecco. And a Coke. And some water.

20130330_141514

The Chinese food really hit the spot. After lunch I got back into bed, just to chill for a while, and I had the place to myself.

That night, after I cut the cake at home with the family, eight of us went to Sho Cho for dinner. It was mostly my friends who had flown in from abroad and it was a relaxing evening. We had sushi and sake while we tried to piece together the events of the night before!

It was a fantastic birthday – and I was so touched that family and friends flew to Dubai to celebrate with me! I feel so blessed to have them in my life.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

2 Comments »

Dubai: Week 44

Another hectic week!

After my training session with Randy on Sunday, my sister, Vinay and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. We didn’t get there until 3pm and were told we’d have to wait an hour for a table. We decided to finish our errands and then go back for our table. It was 4pm by the time we sat down and I was famished.

We ordered the spinach dip and I had the herb-crusted salmon (as usual). My sister had a cheeseburger and Vinay had the kid-size portion of chicken nuggets and fries. We were too full for cheesecake. I think we’ll have to go back just for cheesecake one of these days.

On Monday I went to meet some friends at the Dubai Mall who were in town from New York on their way to Bombay. We met at Fauchon Cafe and caught up over coffee – with their two kids. It was good to see them. One good thing about Dubai is that people are always passing through here! After we were finished my sister and Vinay came to the mall so we walked around for a while and I bought another dress. That makes five dresses in 1 week. I think I’m done for a while now!

It was my first anniversary in Dubai on Christmas Day! I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by. It feels more like 3 months rather than a whole year. Christmas Day is a regular working day here in Dubai but that didn’t really affect any of us. We opened our presents before lunch (Samsung Galaxy phones all round) and then went to Shang Palace at the Shangri-La next door for lunch. It was just the six of us and one of Dad’s banker friends. The food was good – but the service was a bit slow.

After lunch Dad and I went to sort out our micro SIM cards for our new phones. We went to Du at Jumeirah Centre on Jumeirah Beach Road. In the past we’ve always been to Du at The Dubai Mall and have always had to wait in line. This store was empty and we got served immediately. We sorted out our phones – I decided to get a pay-as-you-go SIM for my BlackBerry, just for BBM, as I’m not sure I can quit that just yet! And for AED 1.5 per day I can afford to keep both lines! We stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee and then went home. I spent the rest of the evening playing with my new phone.

On Wednesday afternoon, my sister, her husband, Vinay and I went to Jones the Grocer for lunch. My sister and I had the Wagyu beef burger, her husband had the prawn linguine (which looked very good), Vinay had some French fries, and we ordered a portion of the truffle parmesan fries as well (I know, that’s a lot of fries). Service was slow, but the food was good. After lunch we went to MoE to have a look round. I tried on a few things but didn’t buy anything. Trying on clothes after lunch isn’t a good idea!

That evening one of my cousins came over for dinner. Our parents were out so we hung out at home, opened a bottle of wine and relaxed.

The flat was very quiet on Thursday as Vinay and his parents went to the zoo at Al Ain. I would have loved to stay home but had a busy afternoon! I went to my piano lesson – we worked mainly on ‘As Time Goes By’ and chords. We also did some work on Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ and modulation – where you change keys in the middle of a song. My piano teacher told me that if you can play a song in any key you can do anything you want. I think that if I’d had a teacher like him as a child I’d be a completely different musician now. One of the main differences I’ve noticed is that if I’m sight-reading I’ll hesitate if I can’t find the notes I’m looking for. His opinion is that you should play anything, even if it’s wrong – hesitation is one of the worst things a musician can do. I didn’t tell him that with my old piano teacher I’d be too scared to make a mistake because she would start shouting at me! I need to find my old music theory books and go through them, just to remind myself of a few things.

After my lesson, I rushed to Pastels in Jumeirah – I had an appointment for a colour and blowdry. The salon recently moved and the new one is lovely – bright and airy. The garden is full of beautiful flowers too – I might take my camera the next time I go! I sat down with my book, and was given a cup of tea and a mince pie. I’d forgotten all about mince pies and thoroughly enjoyed it!

I went home after that – it was almost 6pm by then – and stayed home that evening.

We’d been undecided about what to do for New Year’s Eve as my sister is nanny-less this holiday and wasn’t even sure they’d go out at all. We’d heard about a party on the Palm but it wasn’t my first choice at all. It would be a trek to get there and back and it just didn’t appeal to me. I tried to get a ticket for my brother-in-law as he had some friends going but the organisers were being difficult about giving a ticket to one person (rather than a couple – even though they were selling single tickets) and we decided it wasn’t worth it. I found out a few days later that the two organisers had fallen out and that the party had been divided into two. What did this mean for ticket-holders? Basically, if you bought your ticket from one organiser and your friends had bought them from another, you’d be at two separate venues. Good grief. What a disaster! I was so glad we decided against that.

I then got an email from Okku about their New Year’s programme so I spoke to them about booking a table. They had availability but I still wasn’t sure about it. And then on Thursday morning I was going through the paper and iKandy was listed as one of the places to be on New Year’s Eve. It was perfect – we’d be able to walk there and back, sit outdoors, and watch the fireworks at the Burj Khalifa at midnight.

My brother-in-law and I took Vinay to the Shangri-La that evening to find out about their deal. We ended up booking three tickets. I told a friend of mine what our plan was and she subsequently decided to join us and booked her ticket too. It would be a chilled New Year’s Eve – I don’t think any of us were up for anything too crazy.

I was home all day on Friday. That night one of my cousins and I decided to go to Zuma for some drinks and dinner. It wasn’t as crowded as it usually is on a Friday and we got a table in the bar area and started on the martinis – I had the raspberry and passion fruit. Amazing. We ordered some food and more drinks. My brother-in-law joined us. We ordered some more food and drinks. And the green tea and banana cake. Another cousin joined us. We ordered another round of drinks. It was an expensive night.

I didn’t want to wake up on Saturday but had been invited to a girls’ lunch at Royal China. I didn’t know half the people there but sat at one end of the table with my cousin and some friends from Lagos and London. It was a fun afternoon and lunch didn’t finish until almost 4.30pm. I went home to change and then headed to the Fairmont for a much-needed manicure and pedicure. I decided to get my hair done while I was there too! It’s a hard life.

On Saturday night I went to a party at a friend’s place in JBR. Their flat is on the 38th floor and the party was on the terrace. It was a really nice evening – there was a clear sky and I could see so many stars and an almost full moon. It was nice to meet friends from London and Lagos who are in town for the holidays too. At about 1am a few of us decided to go to Boudoir. Unfortunately by the time we got there our table had been given away! We waited outside for about 20 minutes but I decided I’d had enough and my bed was sounding more and more appealing. I think what killed everyone’s mood was the long drive back from JBR! My brother-in-law and I decided we’d go to McDonald’s on the way home. We sat at a table and he realised he knew the people on the next table from Lagos. A few minutes later a couple of friends who had been trying to get into Boudoir with us walked in! I suppose McDonald’s is the place to be at 2.30 on a Saturday night!

We got home at 3am and went straight to bed.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

Dubai: Week 39

It started off as a quiet week but soon changed!

I had a session with Randy on Sunday morning and then decided that as I’d spent most of the weekend working I wasn’t going to do any work that day. I sat by the pool for a while, I got into bed and read my book. I did check my work email once but didn’t reply to any messages or do anything else work-related.

On Monday night I went out with a friend and a few of her friends. I’d met two of them before, at the end of September when we went to Karma Kafe, but the other two were new to me. Six of us met at La Petite Maison. We had a drink at the bar and then moved to our table. There was lots of burrata. We also ordered a bottle of rosé. The waiter came back to say that they didn’t have the regular size available but would we like the magnum? Why, yes. Yes, we would. The guy sitting on my right was concerned that it might be too much wine, but we finished the wine before we even finished our main course. We then decided to switch to Tomatinis (tomato martinis). I’d never tried one, but the girl on my left let me try hers before I ordered mine. Wow. No wonder she didn’t want any wine! It’s like a chilled gazpacho sprinkled with black pepper. I had two. After dinner we decided we’d order dessert at the bar. We switched to vodkas with soda. I had two. It was a fun evening. It was just what I needed. It was also the most expensive meal I have ever had in my life!

I woke up on Tuesday with a headache. I got out of bed to make some tea but got back in for the rest of the morning. I had a conference call with the new publishers that afternoon – the three women I spoke to seemed pleasant and professional. When I asked them how long they thought they would need me, they said it would be about 4 to 6 months – which is better than what I’d imagined.

That night my cousin and I went to The Meat Co at Madinat Jumeirah for dinner. We both had steaks – I had mine with a jacket potato, she had the mashed potatoes. I hadn’t planned on drinking alcohol but ended up having some red wine with dinner. It was a nice evening – and we saved 100 dirhams each as I had an Entertainer voucher for the restaurant.

On Wednesday I had a meeting with a potential piano teacher. I finally got round to calling him on Monday and he suggested I meet him for a chat and he could explain his teaching method. My appointment was supposed to be at noon. I was walking towards the car when I got a text from him asking if we could postpone to either later on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday afternoon. I called him and said I couldn’t do either of those times. We eventually agreed to meet at 12.30 – in the meantime I went to the supermarket, dropped my groceries off at home and then went to meet the teacher. His studio is in Saeed Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road – very convenient for me! I got there a bit early but he hadn’t arrived yet so I waited in the corridor. He was 10 minutes late.

Anyway, we sat down and he explained that he didn’t have a conservative method of teaching music. He said that as adults, people expect to progress faster and he had a method which would get people playing immediately. I was a classically trained pianist (even though I haven’t played properly in 20 years) and my old piano teacher would probably be turning in her grave if she heard what he said! I spent hours practising scales – major, minor, chromatic, a third apart; arpeggios; tearing pieces of music apart bar by bar – hands separately, then together. Hours. He told me he didn’t teach that way but he did say that his method would have may playing all my old clasical pieces on my own quickly. Of course I want to play all the George Michael and Prince in the world, but I still love Chopin and Schubert and would like to get back to that level at some point.

He made me sit at the piano – he asked me to play something I could remember, just so he could see how my hands moved. I couldn’t remember much but played a few bars of a Chopin waltz. He then played some chords and asked me to sing the notes back to him. He then asked me to play a Mozart piece that was open on the stand in front of me. He said I would progress quickly and that daily practice would be important. I wasn’t sure how his method of teaching would work for me but I decided there was only one way to find out. I’m scheduled for lessons every Tuesday afternoon from now until the end of the year. I may even upload some recordings later on… You have been warned.

I met NP for lunch on Thursday. I’d been craving Jones the Grocer so we went there. It was good to see her and catch up – I hadn’t seen her since our dinner at Zuma soon after I got back from Bali. I couldn’t decide what to have but each time I’ve been there I’ve told myself that next time I’ll have the Wagyu burger. We both ended up having that – it was fantastic. I don’t think I’d have it every time I went there, but I’m glad I finally tried it.

That night was wine club. This month it was held at Origami at the Radisson Royal on Sheikh Zayed Road – convenient for me! The venue was nice – a big room, round tables, and it was for wine club members only. The wines were average – there weren’t any that I particularly loved, and there were a couple that I really didn’t like (but still drank, of course). The wines were:

  • Veuve de Vernay Brut Sparkling Wine-NV: Pale straw in colour, fresh, fruity and floral on the nose. The palate is full with delicate apple and pear fruit flavours complimented by smooth velvety bubbles. This wine is perfect served as an aperitif or with salads, fish, white meats and fruit desserts. Colombard 40%, Sauvignon Blanc 40%, Chardonnay 20%
  • Lamberti Pinot Grigio: Very crisp, a little light, citric, bright and clear, if somewhat short in the finish. Pair with light foods or as an aperitif
  • Robert Mondavi Private Chardonnay: These Central Coast of California Chardonnay grapes enjoyed an extended period maturing on the vine, resulting in fruit with impressively concentrated flavours and richness. Serve with light meats or cheese dishes (Chardonnay? Enough said)
  • Sidi Brahim Rose: Made in North Africa, bottled in France. Second most popular selling imported brand of wine in France as of 2005 (I can’t think why). Made in a New World fruity style. Consists of 40% Cinsault grapes and 60% Grenache Gris
  • Robert Mondavi Private Pinot Noir: On the nose, lovely rose petal, violet, and red cherry aromas mingle with complementary scents of smoky vanilla and nutmeg. Very soft and round with good length and richness on the palate, the wine displays supple, silky berry and cherry jam flavours
  • Antares Merlot: From Chile’s Valle Central, a major grape-growing and wine-making region of central Chile. ‘Lovely, sweet and complex cassis fruit. Delicious follow-through – a perfect glass for uncomplicated pleasure’ (Lies)

As usual there was some mingling at the end, and I ended up going to Icho, the bar at the top of the hotel, with a couple of people where we had even more wine…

I spent all of Friday in my pajamas. It was awesome.

I thought I’d venture out on Saturday so I went to the Dubai Mall. I had lunch at Vapiano and then browsed in Kinokuniya (the book store) for ages. I walked from one end to the other, just checking out what they had: a ridiculous amount of books on how to have a healthy relationship or a ‘happy’ divorce, business books (How to Make Partner and Still Have a Life – I’m serious), the usual fiction (including the 50 Shades trilogy which I thought was banned here), and I was surprised to see they even had a small Tarot section (but I have most of those already).

After that I went over to a friend’s place for a cup of tea and then headed home. I was supposed to be out for dinner but that was cancelled at the last minute – which was annoying, but c’est la vie.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

Silent Sunday

2012

Silent Sunday mocha beanie mummy

1 Comment »

Dubai: Week 26

Sunday was a busy day. I had a session with Rama in the morning which made me want to get back into bed (but I didn’t).

My parents and I went to Texas Roadhouse at the Dubai Mall for lunch. I had the 6-ounce filet steak with a baked potato and house salad. It sounds small but with the two sides it’s the perfect size. And, yes, I forgot to take photos again. I then stopped off at Tim Horton’s to get a French vanilla cappuccino.

I did some work that afternoon and then went to see my cousin who was in town for the day. I hadn’t seen him since February so it was nice to sit down and have a drink together. He left for the airport at about 8pm and I went over to a friend’s place. She’d just moved into a building close by so I went to see her flat. The building is gorgeous – very modern – and the view from the 45th floor is quite something. 

She had invited me to watch the Euro 2012 final with a couple of friends (two Egyptian guys) at Nasimi Beach at the Atlantis so we took a cab to one of their houses near the Mall of the Emirates. Just as we got there, one of the guys got a call to say that we’d lost our table to someone in the royal family. I suppose that’s how things work here! After a few calls we eventually ended up at The Golden Foot Mega Tent in Marina. When someone says ‘tent’ to me, I assume canvas – maybe a marquee. This two-storey air-conditioned ‘tent’ was nothing like I expected. On the outside it looked like a warehouse. And actually on the inside it looked like a warehouse too, but a nice one (even the portaloos outside had marble floors). It was huge. There were three huge screens – so wherever you were sitting you could see one of them. Once the game started, the lights were dimmed but as soon as Spain scored (again and again and again), strobe lights were flashing, whistles were blown – the atmosphere was great because there were so many Spanish supporters:

2012

When Juan Mata came on, I told the others we were going to see one more goal that night. They were doubtful but a minute later there it was!

Once the game was over, Sasha Lopez came on so we stayed on for some dancing. It was about 2am by the time I got home… 

I had yoga on Monday morning and worked for the rest of the day. 

On Tuesday I went to the gym and then met a friend for lunch at Social House at the Dubai Mall. I worked the rest of the afternoon and then had dinner with two of my cousins at Royal China. When we got there, the air-conditioning didn’t seem to be working very well and the music was far too loud. They told us that they’d called the maintenance people to sort out the temperature and that the music was at its ‘normal’ level. I’m pretty sure they lied about both things. Our waiter kept trying to push the cocktails but we ordered a bottle of wine instead. He also kept hovering over us and I was getting quite annoyed! We ordered some crispy duck to start with, and for mains we had the szechuan prawns and lamb with cumin. I wouldn’t order the lamb again – it was good, but we didn’t realise it was fried without any sauce. Again, I forgot to take photos! 

I had my second session with Rama on Wednesday and worked for the rest of the day. I came across this article on a friend’s Facebook page and just had to post it on my own! The article led to me watching this video:

I couldn’t stop laughing while watching it because it is so true! And then I remembered a conversation I had with my mum the day before. She asked me to ‘order’ a maid from the agency for Wednesday afternoon. ‘And make sure you ask for a Filipina,’ she said. Erm, can you say things like that? I asked. ‘Of course you can,’ she replied. Wow. Only in Dubai!

On Wednesday I had another session with Rama and then settled down to do some work. I didn’t do much apart from the gym and work on Thursday too. 

The weekend was quite uneventful. I went to the gym on Friday and then had lunch with my parents at Jones the Grocer. I’d been wanting to try this place for a while and we finally made it there. We started with some olives – one bowl had olives stuffed with blue cheese and the other had olives stuffed with chillis. 

2012

I loved the olives with blue cheese. I just love blue cheese.

For main course, Dad and I both ordered the grilled salmon and Mum ordered the halloumi baguette.

2012

After I’d ordered the salmon I saw a waiter walk past with a wagyu beef burger – it looked bloody amazing. I’m definitely having that next time – without the bread. We also ordered a green salad and some olive oil French fries. For dessert my parents shared a strawberry tart (I had two bites) and I ordered a flat white.

2012

I would definitely go back.

The rest of the weekend was quiet. I watched the Wimbledon men’s semi-finals after lunch, and after my parents went out for dinner I played the piano for a while. Twenty years after passing my Grade VIII and the only things I can play decently are ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Separate Lives’. I’m surprised the neighbours didn’t complain – I was playing till after midnight. They must be away! 

Saturday was quite uneventful. I went down to the pool in the morning, had lunch at home, did some work, and sat at the piano once my parents went out. I went through some old sheet music, trying to figure out what I could remember. I didn’t go near any classical music – I thought it would scare me. Or depress me. I’ve been given the number of a piano teacher so when I get back in September I’ll give him a call.

Quite a quiet week in the end, but next week will be busier. There’s lots to do before I head off for the summer
!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

 

Leave a comment »