Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

A new chapter…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything apart from the weekly and monthly tarot forecasts! I’m still training with Pete but haven’t posted anything about those sessions either, but here’s a quick update with what’s been going on…

Four weeks ago today I moved into my own place. For the very first time. I know – it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally done it! Why?

Earlier this year, my parents started toying with the idea of moving to India… and there was absolutely no way I was going with them. They tried very hard to get me to change my mind (guilt, emotional blackmail and so on) but I wasn’t having any of it. There were a couple of times where I thought it would be the easier thing to do, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I imagined myself living in Business Bay (I don’t know why) with a balcony where I could have my tea and read/write every day, but… back in August, a friend of mine and I came to see a couple of flats in a quiet neighbourhood behind the Trade Centre Roundabout and I fell in love with the building. The flats I saw were nice – one was a duplex with an amazing walk-in wardrobe and the other was a single-level flat, which was a bit bigger and brighter. I spend a lot of time at home and wanted somewhere which would feel spacious. Anyway, saw the flats, liked them, but I wasn’t sure about the neighbourhood and getting around (I don’t drive) and I also felt August was a bit too soon to start paying rent as my parents wouldn’t be leaving until December.

Fast forward to October. I’d seen a few flats, nothing I particularly liked – including one in the building where I used to live. I emailed the property manager to see if there were any apartments going in the building I’d been to in August. There were two. On Diwali, Mum and I went to see them and I just fell in love with the flat. It was different from the one I’d seen in August – it was bigger – and I immediately knew where all my (parents’) furniture would slot in and I imagined wall-to-wall books on one side. A week later I’d signed the contract and moved in a couple of weeks after that!

After getting quotes from a few moving companies, I decided to go with Emovers. I’d heard horror stories about moving companies here and how you have to watch them carefully and make sure they handle things properly. But I was so impressed with them. They were on time, polite, efficient, careful and quick. For example, my bookcase is an IKEA one, made of up 25 squares. When they were packing the books, they labelled the boxes A1, A2, B3, etc so that they would know in which square to slot the books in when they were unpacking! I’d highly recommend them – and even emailed them the following day to tell them how happy I was.

A week before I moved, my parents had some friends over for dinner. ‘What are you most looking forward to when you move?’ one of them asked me. ‘Peace and quiet,’ I replied, without even thinking about it. ‘Yes, but you know, sometimes that just bites you on the ass,’ she said. Excuse me? Talk about raining on my parade! I didn’t really know what to say to that so I didn’t say anything. Of course, the perfect response came to me three days later (as usual). ‘Oh, but I quite like that,’ is what I should have said.

My parents asked how I’d manage for food (I can’t cook to save my life) – I told them I’d learn off YouTube! And probably lose a bit of weight in the process (not a bad thing). I joked with a friend a couple of days ago that I’d have to attend networking events where they served canapes and attend parties I wouldn’t have considered in the past, just for the food! Oh, how we laughed.

I’ve been spoilt living in Dubai – living at home, with a car and driver, with live-in help and having all my meals cooked, laundry done, bed made (!) and so on. I’m now dealing with cleaners who say they’re coming on a certain day and then don’t show up or answer their phone (FFS) – which is just frustrating. I don’t miss the live-in help. I love waking up and pottering around in my pajamas without having to put on a dressing gown, I love the peace and quiet (I chose not to have a TV), I’m even enjoying the birds that sit on my balcony every afternoon (and crap everywhere). The bamboo, orchid and basil plant are all thriving – which is surprising considering my office/house in London used to be the place where plants went to die.

My parents leave on Tuesday and I’ve been going home for most meals – my fridge is pretty bare at the moment. So it’s been a lot of back and forth. I haven’t put up my mirrors and paintings yet and there are still a few things to sort out, but once they’ve gone and I can spend more time at home, I’ll be able to do that.

So this is my new chapter… wish me luck!

A.

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Dubai: Day 4

On the morning of Day 4 (Wednesday) my BB data still hadn’t been activated and when I mentioned it to my dad again he told me I needed to top up the balance. Er – couldn’t he have told me that the night before? I installed the credit vouchers he’d bought and sent a text to the number he gave me. Sure enough, I got a text back immediately saying they would initiate the service as soon as possible. Within the hour my phone started beeping and pinging and all my emails and messages started coming through. Hurrah!

Later that day we took Vinay to the Dubai Mall. We had a coffee at Dome, overlooking the ice rink. It was quite crowded when we walked past it, but by the time we sat down at the coffee shop the rink had closed:

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After our coffee we walked around and came across Hamleys. I didn’t want to go in so hung around outside and people-watched. I spotted a Paul bakery on the ground floor – with Accessorize on one side and Karen Millen on the other:

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I could have been at Westfield!

I then met my cousin at Bloomingdale’s for a cupcake (which she ate) and some mint tea (which I drank). Yes, there’s a Bloomingdales here. There’s also a Galeries Lafayette – and every brand you could possibly think of has a store at the mall.

My sister, brother-in-law and I had planned on seeing a movie that night, but by the time I got home I couldn’t bear going back to the mall (everything is at the mall) and just wanted to get into my pajamas. After they left for the movie, I had a preview of what my life could be like after they’ve gone back to Lagos. I went to my room after dinner and was online. Eventually Mum said ‘EastEnders is on. Come and watch.’ ‘Seen it,’ I replied (Dubai is a few weeks behind). ‘Just come and sit with us then.’ ‘Coming.’ (No intention of doing so.) 

I still feel like I’m on holiday – it hasn’t sunk in that I live here now. I. Live. In. Dubai

Nope. Still not real.

See more Dubai updates here.

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Dubai: Day 2

Day 1 (Christmas Day) was spent at home – lazing, eating, playing with my nephew. It doesn’t make for interesting reading.

On Day 2 we went to the Dubai Mall after lunch.

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I needed to get a local mobile number and spent about 45 minutes in the Etisalat store waiting for my number to be called. As I’m not a proper resident yet, my dad had to register the number for me. All the tariffs they offered us are double the price I would expect to pay in London. We told them we’d think about the various options and bought a pay-as-you-go chip. Dad later said it would be better if I got a contract with du, another mobile service provider which he and my mum use, but to use the Etisalat SIM card in the meantime. I asked him if that meant I’d have to get a new number when I switch to du? Probably, he replied. In that case I’d rather get a du pay-as-you-go chip, switch it to a contract next month, and keep the same number. Doesn’t that make more sense?

After having coffee at the Dubai Mall, my parents and I went to the Oasis Centre, a smaller mall, to look at furniture. Apart from my bed which was shipped from London and fitted wardrobes, my bedroom is bare. I need bedside tables and lamps, a couple of bookcases, a desk, a mirror. We went to two furniture shops in the mall and one across the road. I saw a desk I liked but thought I’d look at a few other places as well. What if something better comes along? Yes, I have commitment issues. We walked back to the Oasis Centre and went to the electronics store.

I need a new laptop – I’ve had my Sony Vaio for 2.5 years and for the last 1.5 years it’s been making a rattling/tapping noise every time I use it. I went into Emax a few minutes before my dad and one of the shop assistants started following me around. ‘Do you need anything?’ ‘Just looking – and waiting for someone.’ I thought he’d stop following me, but no. It was annoying. Eventually Dad showed up, we walked over to another display, and I managed to lose my stalker. The second guy who offered to help us was impossible to understand. Have you ever heard members of the Indian cricket team being interviewed on TV? This guy sounded just like that. No pauses, no punctuation, no breaths – he talked and talked and talked. I had to leave because he was giving me a headache. ‘I’ll think about it.’

A quick trip to Carrefour and we were all set to go home. All I’d bought on my first day out was a dustbin and some bananas. I still had no local mobile number. This wasn’t going to plan. 

See more Dubai updates here.

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Moving…

Moving house is a pain in the ass. Moving countries, however, is a bloody nightmare. Over the summer I decided to move to Dubai. I had various things going on in London, including a friend’s wedding and tickets to George Michael (which didn’t happen), until mid-December, so I decided Christmas Eve would be a good time to leave. I would get to Dubai on Christmas morning – a present to myself.

I had six months to sort out my (mostly junk) possessions, and much of my stuff (mostly books) was shipped back in November, but I was still running around like a headless chicken until Christmas Eve.

I woke up on the Saturday thinking that I needed to buy another suitcase and would do that after lunch with the girls. I went to Edgware Road, found the shop my mum had been talking about (Mindels), bought a large bag and came home. I started packing everything that was left, but the bag was filled in under 15 minutes and it weighed 30 kilos. Shit. That’s the problem with big bags – the bigger the bag, the more crap you’ll put in it. For a while we debated what to do, whether we could leave anything behind, but then decided to buy another bag.

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I went back to the luggage shop and asked the guy for a similar bag which was slightly smaller. After I’d paid for it, he said ‘I’m open for another hour if you need anything else. Otherwise I’m closed until the 27th.’ I told him I was leaving that evening so the 27th was no good to me. Thankfully we managed to fit everything into our luggage. Mum and I left for the airport with seven bags. SEVEN. It would have been eight bags but friends of ours offered to take a suitcase for me earlier in the week. I had no idea I had that much stuff.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel leaving London. The last three weeks had been such a blur that I hadn’t had time to think about it properly (or soberly). I knew I wanted to sit by the window. I knew I didn’t want my mother to talk to me as we took off or ask me how I was feeling. We got on the plane, I took the window seat and Mum dozed off before we took off. I looked out the window and saw… the wing of the plane. Dammit! The window behind me wasn’t obstructed by the wing so I looked through that as we took off. A minute after taking off we flew into a cloud and I couldn’t see anything. Dammit! Perhaps it was for the best.

The flight was uneventful and we landed in Dubai at 8.30am on Christmas morning. Instead of going straight to immigration, we had to collect our visas from the visa counter. They were waiting for us and it was pretty straightforward. We then had to get our eyes scanned at the next counter.

Anyone who knows me knows how passionate (read ‘fanatical’) I am about spelling and punctuation. Imagine my horror when I saw a sign that said: Ladie’s counter. I wanted to weep. When in doubt, leave the apostrophe out (I think). After holding my head in my hands for a few minutes, I started to take a photo of the sign but an airport employee told me I couldn’t. After that we went through immigration.

There’s a duty free shop before you get to baggage reclaim and Mum said we had to pick up some alcohol (hurrah!). You’re allowed to buy up to 4 litres per person so we had four bottles of champagne, two bottles of Australian red, and two bottles of Italian Gavi. Non-Muslim residents living in Dubai need an alcohol licence to purchase alcohol or store it in their homes. I need to get this sorted out as soon as possible!  

We collected our luggage, got into a cab and were home by 10am. My sister and her family had arrived earlier that morning and were still asleep so my parents and I chatted while our new housekeeper, Joy, made us some tea (I could get used to this). I admired the view from our 23rd floor flat. I have a corner room with floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls. I can see the Shangri-La Hotel (and their lovely pool) and Sheikh Zayed Road on one side:

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And the sea and our own pool on the other:

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After all the packing I did, I just couldn’t face unpacking all those bags so Joy did it all for me. How spoilt am I going to get??

 

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Leaving drinks…

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned my work leaving drinks…

From the time I told my friends at work I was moving to Dubai, Laura was determined I would have the best send-off EVER. ‘Where do you want to go?’ she kept asking. I didn’t mind anywhere, even The Wimpole, the pub across the road from the office. ‘We are NOT going there; we go there all the time; this has to be GOOD!’ was the response I got.

So she found a place called Amuse Bouche in Poland Street in Soho. The alcohol seemed reasonably priced and the manager was very helpful when it came to queries, reserving a space for 30 people and ordering platters of food. (We hadn’t given them any money yet.)

‘What leaving presents do you want?’ I was being asked. Hmm. Tricky. Most of my stuff had been shipped so I didn’t want anything too bulky or heavy. An arm band for my iPod… Mini tarot cards for my handbag… Someone asked me about a passport cover and I remembered the ones at Smythson which I love but would never buy for myself…

The weeks passed by quickly and before I knew it, it was the morning of the drinks. When I got to work and sat down. Laura came over to my desk and said ‘I can’t get on to the website for Amuse Bouche – wouldn’t it be funny if they’ve shut down!’ Er. No, actually – that wouldn’t be funny at all. And I didn’t think about that for the rest of the day until…

At about 3pm, Laura decided to ring them to make sure everything was in order and they were ready for us. We knew she was on the phone to them and could hear her conversation but everyone got on with their own work until we heard her say… ‘YOU ARE JOKING!’ Heads popped up above the desk dividers – everyone looked around at each other like meerkats. Waiting. She hung up.

‘They’ve been sold and the place has been gutted and we’re not going there this evening!’ Er. Didn’t they think to let us know? My drinks were supposed to start at 5pm and we had less than two hours to find a venue. In Oxford Circus. At Christmas time.

Two or three people started ringing some local pubs but venues had been booked months in advance (like Amuse Bouche – bastards). We almost ended up in the upstairs section at The Champion in Wells Street. Eventually one of my colleagues went over to The Wimpole to see if they could accommodate us. It turned out they could fit us in and they had a private room downstairs with its own bar which they opened for us…

It turned out to be a very fun evening and was quite fitting that we were at The Wimpole, having spent so much time there. There were lots of drinks, my boss and two ex-bosses said some lovely things about me, and I managed to get away without making a speech!

I got some amazing presents too…

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The first thing I opened was a pink iPad cover. And I already had the exact same cover in the same colour. Oops.

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The next thing I opened was the mini Tarot deck – I can’t wait to use it! I was told to leave the biggest present for the end so I opened the smaller box – which turned out to be a pink Smythson passport holder. 

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And there were cards…

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And a bottle of champagne and a bottle of red wine (which we drank)…

But by far the best and most unexpected present was a canvas bag with everyone’s self-portraits printed on it:

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The department drew their own self-portraits using Microsoft Paint. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. And I burst out laughing when I saw some of the self-portraits!

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It was just genius.

I was (and still am) so touched by the thought that went into those presents. Laura also gave me a separate card just from her – and she’d also created a few of her own Tarot cards as well. If you look closely in a couple of the photos above you can see them. We spent much of the night laughing about them!

After the pub closed (and we got thrown out) we ended up at Maroush in Vere Street, just around the corner. Food was very necessary at this p
oint, but I’m not so sure about the bottles of wine! 

I think everyone had a good time that night – I know it’s a night I won’t ever forget!

 

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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:

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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:

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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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Read more updates here.

 

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Silent Sunday 29

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Silent Sunday

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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):

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

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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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Read more updates here.

 

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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:

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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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Read more updates here.

 

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Silent Sunday 27

2011

Silent Sunday

 

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