Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Week 18 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


I eventually left for the airport with seven bags. 

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

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


Read more updates here.


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Week 17 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

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

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

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


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


It is just SO good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Read more updates here.


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Silent Sunday 28


Silent Sunday


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The Constant

The only constant in my week (that I look forward to) is brunch with the girls every Saturday. For the last four years or so we’ve been going to Raoul’s in Clifton Road. Before that we used to go to Patisserie Valerie in Marylebone High Street, and I can’t remember when or why we started going to Raoul’s, but it was a good call…

The menu is varied – they serve everything from a full English to sandwiches to pastas and more substantial main courses. For a long time, my standard meal was scrambled eggs and sausages (after all, there’s nothing like a big sausage on a Saturday) but after a while I needed to be more adventurous. The eggs are a specialty – they’re flown in from Italy and have the brightest yellow yolks I’ve ever seen. My most recent favourite dish is the Croque Madame – a toasted ham and Emmental sandwich with a fried egg on top:


The French toast is out of this world. I don’t know what they do to it, but it is a-ma-zing. On occasion we’ll order it as dessert and share it. I don’t know if it’s the bread they use, or the fact that it tastes so buttery, it’s divine. 

Just before Easter this year, Raoul’s was closed for two weeks for refurbishment – we didn’t know what to do with ourselves! One weekend we had brunch at Fego in St John’s Wood High Street – the menu looked good but the food was disappointing. Especially as many people I know go on about how good the food is. Our eggs were so rubbery, we could have bounced them off the floor. I’m not going back there any time soon.

Gosh, we were happy when the new Raoul’s re-opened:


It’s not usually that empty – it was a hot day and most people were sitting outside. We usually have to wait for a table on Saturdays – just because we go there every week doesn’t mean we get any special treatment. The only criticism I have is that the staff can be a moody lot – we’re lucky if some of them even acknowledge us as regulars… We’re not asking for much – a smile every now and then will do!
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