Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai: Week 29

After a tough session with Rama on Sunday morning, my parents and I went out for lunch. We went to a place called Gypsy Chinese at the Dhow Palace Hotel in Bur Dubai. Dad had been to another restaurant in the hotel the day before and wanted to try this Bombay Chinese place.

It’s a small restaurant, and there was only one other table occupied that afternoon. We looked through the menu and I started ordering – soup, spring rolls and dynamite chicken for starters. And then I started ordering the main course. ‘Could we have the sizzling lamb in black bean sauce?’ I began. ‘And some crispy noodles…’ The Indian waiter interrupted and asked what we were going to eat the lamb with? Well, rice obviously, I thought to myself. ‘Why don’t you try the other lamb?’ Because I want the one I’ve bloody ordered. He was starting to irritate me. We eventually ordered the lamb he suggested and rice. We had wanted noodles but decided to see if we were still hungry after the lamb (we weren’t – and even if we were I’m not sure we’d have been allowed to order anything!). The food was good but I don’t think I’d go back in a rush.

After lunch we wandered around Burjuman for a while and had a coffee at Gloria Jean’s. We decided we’d go to a movie that evening and settled on ‘The Bourne Legacy’ at Mercato. I had no idea what was going on in the first 20 minutes but it eventually all came together. I actually only went for the popcorn, and although my mum and I both ordered the small size, mine was much smaller than hers!

I had yoga on Monday morning and then went to Dreamworks Spa for a massage. I’d bought a voucher before my holiday and it was expiring soon. I worked for the rest of the afternoon and evening – I still had a lot to catch up on from the last couple of weeks in Bali, but I was getting there slowly. On Tuesday I went to the gym and worked all day.

On Wednesday I had another session with Rama and then went to Baker & Spice at Souk Al Bahar with some friends. I hadn’t been there yet – and was pleasantly surprised. We shared some salads to start with, and then shared some roast chicken, red snapper, gnocchi and pasta with prawns (which I didn’t have). For dessert we had the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. It was out of this world.

I worked all afternoon – my parents went out to a movie – and then I joined them for dinner at PF Chang at the Dubai Mall. All I wanted was soup and the steamed salmon, but as usual ended up over-eating.

I ended up staying home all of Thursday too (apart from the gym). I’d been in work mode most of the week and just wanted to get things done.

On Friday I went to a friend’s birthday brunch at the Grand Grill at the Habtoor Grand. It was a fun afternoon – the food was good and the booze was flowing. That night I met up with a friend at Vintage in Wafi – they still had their two-for-one offer on bottles of wine and we were there for quite a while.

I felt awful on Saturday. I hadn’t slept well the night before and had a headache. I lazed around at home for most of the day and in the evening went to the mall with my parents. My phone needed sorting out at Du, we went for coffee, and then had dinner at Lafayette Gourmet. We like going there because it means we don’t have to agree on what cuisine we want – Dad had ┬áThai curry, Mum had a Caesar’s salad, and I had hot and sour soup and sushi. Perfect. On our way out we noticed there was a new churros place that had opened.


Oh good. Just what the mall needs… more deep-fried crap. Of course we bought some. We were home by 10pm and I finished watching Season 5 of ‘Mad Men’.

I love my life.

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Dubai: Week 15

What a busy week!

I had my usual session with Rama on Sunday morning. That afternoon I went for a Dermalogica deep cleansing facial at Spaces Spa at the Oasis Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road. I hadn’t had a facial in about a year and was in dire need of one. It was perfect – my skin felt like it could breathe again after it was over. There was a promotion on so I got a 25% discount and was told that if I booked a facial on any Monday in April and May I’d get 50% off. I must remember to make the most of that.

That night some of my neighbours (who I knew before I moved to Dubai) invited me over for dinner and a game of Monopoly Deal. Her original plan was to order pizza but I told her I didn’t eat bread so we got a takeaway from Lemongrass instead. I’d never played Monopoly Deal – it’s basically like Monopoly but without the board. Instead you have a deck of cards telling you what to do in each turn. It’s like a cross between Monopoly and Uno. 

On Tuesday my cousin had her birthday lunch at Cascades at the Fairmont. It was mostly the same women who were at lunch the previous week and a couple of other women. The food was sushi, prawn tempura, salads and pizza (which I didn’t have). After lunch I went home and did some work.

Over the weekend I received an email from one of the publishers I freelance for asking if I had time to copyedit 10 papers which they needed urgently. I said I did – and then thought I’d better get on with them if I was going to send them all back before the weekend! 

On Wednesday I had another session with Rama and then met a friend for lunch at Social House at the Dubai Mall. I hadn’t had breakfast and I was starving. We both ordered the mie goreng, and I had the fresh carrot, beetroot and ginger juice. The food was excellent – it was just what I needed. It was very hot on Wednesday so when I got home I changed, took some proofs down to the pool and did some work there for a couple of hours. I’m pleased to say I no longer look anaemic. 

Thursday was a long day. Joy and I went to Lulu at 9.15am – she wanted to go early as it would be too hot later on in the day. We were home by 10.45 and I was at the gym by 11. After that I had lunch at Zuma with my Twitter friend on Thursday. We had the set lunch menu – we had miso soup, sashimi, maki rolls and then she had the rib eye and I had the black cod. We shared the green tea/banana cake for dessert – but we didn’t finish it. 

After lunch I went to the International Exhibition Centre as the Bride Show was on and a friend of mine was here from London exhibiting there. He’d been in town for a few days but we hadn’t managed to meet up so I thought I’d pop along to the stand and say hi as I was in the area. It was very quiet but I was sure it would pick up on Friday and Saturday. I was there for about an hour and then went home to do some work.

I stayed home on Thursday night – it had been a busy day and my cousin was arriving the next day from London and I knew the next few days would be busy.

On Friday morning I went to the gym, then Dad and I went to Lemongrass near Lamcy Plaza. We shared the tom yum soup with prawns to start, and then had the panaeng curry with prawns and steamed hammour with lime, ginger and chillies. The food there is very good. I also had a Time Out voucher giving us two main courses for the price of one. 

We went home after that and my cousin arrived just before 6pm. We relaxed and chatted for ages. I’d booked a table at Zuma for 10pm but we decided we’d get there earlier because: (a) we would get too lazy and not want to go out at all; and (b) we could have a drink at the bar before dinner. We got there at 9.30 and had a drink at the bar. It wasn’t too crowded at that time, but it was starting to fill up by the time our table was ready. We had the edamame, ohitashi, tuna tataki, rock shrimp tempura, chicken skewers and beef skewers. And a flask of hot sake.


The food was excellent, and the sake went down smoothly. So smoothly that we ended up ordering another flask. The waitress brought us the dessert menu but we decided to have some spicy tuna rolls first – and then ordered the green tea/banana cake. It was almost midnight by then but we were still talking and people watching, and fancied some more sake, so along came the third flask. We were the last people to leave the restaurant area, just after 1am. I should get loyalty points for Zuma – three times in one week must be a record.

On Saturday we lazed around at home for a while and then went to the Dubai Mall for lunch. My cousin who lives in Dubai joined us and we went to Lafayette Gourmet. I thought it would be a good choice as we could each order whatever cuisine we felt like – we all shared dim sum, sushi and mezze, and it was all very good. The service was better than usual too. We had coffee at Gloria Jean’s afterwards (yay!) and headed home. Our initial plan was to go to Desi Night at Boudoir that evening (I’m not sure why), but by the time evening came we weren’t really up for it so decided to see a movie instead. I booked tickets for the three of us to see ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ – I loved it. I’d been wanting to see it and I knew it wouldn’t be in the cinema for much longer, and I’m so glad we went… 

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