Fabulous Fitbit

So a week ago I got my new fitbit flex and so far I am loving it!  At the end of week one I was really hoping to hit 80,000 so that I would have exceeded my weekly goal by 10,000 steps!  Well I am happy to report that i managed it – I got 84, 938 steps which made my daily average 12,134.  If i can keep this up I feel certain I will see real changes soon.

It’s been a great way of forcing myself to take the longer route home and to hit the stairs as and where I can.  I have been very lucky that P has joined me on two walks to get the steps up and was willing to babysit my stuff so I could go and do some serious walking along the beach.

I have participated and won some competitions which has been very motivating and I also got a marathon badge.

Seriously I couldn’t recommend the fitbit more and I really loathe exercise.  It’s even made me wonder how much I could rack up on a treadmill…

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Wow that weekend went by too fast!

After our fantastic evening with our friend we decided that Friday would be a beach day. We had a relatively chilled morning, well I did…P went for a long run!  Then we headed down to the beach and lazed about for a bit.  I took a walk and enjoyed the fresh air and the view.  Plus I always get pleasure seeing people enjoy themselves and the kids on the beach were so happy it was adorable!  Soon though we had to accept that it was a bit chilly and so we decided to get a bite to eat…

P decided that he HAD to have pancakes or waffles so we headed to the Cheesecake Factory, however on seeing the queue he decided that maybe somewhere else would do but he did want to try somewhere new.  This meant we had to pass up on Eggspectation and so we ended up at Le Pain Quotidien where of course after all that he had eggs!!

However his quest for pancakes did mean we ended up somewhere new and it really was a fantastic experience from start to finish – the staff were charming and helpful and the food was DELICIOUS!  I had a great eggs benedict and P had some sort of scrambled eggs with peppers that he said was too good to let me try so you’ll have to take his word for it.

I would definitely recommend it if you want a nice simple meal that is actually organic!! Not something I have found easy to come across out here.

If you really LOVE eggs though then definitely check out Eggspectation on the walk, it is excellent.  They have a huge variety and great quirky takes on your well known breakfast specials…next on my list is Lobster eggs benedict!!

eggspectation

The rest of the weekend was spent at the mall doing some VITAL shopping of course before dinner at The counter. This is another excellent find which I thoroughly recommend.  They do great healthy chicken and veggie burgers as well as excellent beef.  There is a wide variety of toppings you can have as well as salads that you can ‘build’.  It’s been a great addition as I love their chicken so find it easy to pass up red meat in a bid to be healthier.  Even the dips are yummy and the location is perfect for a pre-cinema meal.

Sofitel so good!

Thursday night we met a friend of ours for drinks and dinner, having not seen each other before Christmas break it was lovely to catch up and hear each others news.  Though in the end it ended up being far more political debate than idle chat – interesting all round for sure!

Anyway we decided that we definitely wanted a beverage and so headed onto the walk and decided to try the Sofitel Hotel JBR, it’s just a short stroll and really is lovely.  Our friend said that it’s totally different to the one in Downtown Dubai.  I am always pleased when a chain hotel manages to be unique depending on your location.

The Infiniti bar we went to overlooks a fantastic infinity pool with a great view over the walk.  We all agreed a pool day should in our future plans.  I was quite tempted to try it out there and then it looked so appealing!

sofitel pool lounge

The food was really excellent, we all went for the steak frites which was cooked to perfection and was delivered in a timely manner once we had finished our cocktails  The raspberry cosmo I had was delicious but dangerously large!  After one I switched to Vodka Tonic else I may really have jumped into the pool…

Having had a really lovely time at the Sofitel we decided to move on when they closed so that we could have a nightcap.

Naturally we ended up at the Bice Sky Bar at the Hilton, it’s one of mine and P’s favourites as it has a great view and is very glamorously decorated but has a nice relaxed vibe.  They often have excellent live music too though not on this occasion.

Bice

All in all it was a great night, a good catch up with a friend and a new haunt to hang out at right on our doorstep!

It’s on Fitbit Flex

This years New Years Resolution was to move more.  I really wanted to become a ‘gym bunny’ when we moved here, we have a free gym after all; this hasn’t really happened.  With last years resolution being ‘know yourself and tailor life to meet it without seeing everything as a failure’ I decided I needed to be a realist about my desire to ‘move more’.  There was no point saying I was going to go to the gym every day when I know I won’t.

Since moving to Dubai I have definitely changed how much I moved and have gained weight as a result.  Plus all the yummy snacks my colleagues bring in isn’t helping – how does one say no to Mana’eesh?  Seriously any hints would be great as I find it totally irresistible!!

I mean look at it!! How can I say no??

I mean look at it!! How can I say no??

Where I used to walk at least 3 miles a day In London to get to work and back and then to meet friends etc I now take taxis or get driven everywhere!  I realised that I really had no idea how much I was moving about but it clearly wasn’t enough.

P suggested I decided to tap into my competitive side and bought a Fitbit flex. He is a genius – week one I have been averaging 11,000 steps a day even if this means going out of my way.  The daily recommended steps are 10,000, suffice to say previously I wasn’t doing close to that at all!!  On ‘fitbit’ day one I walked to the metro and back, and did my usual walks around the office to meetings etc and realised I was 4000 steps under! No wonder I was gaining weight.  Most days I wasn’t even doing the metro twice a day!!  Now the fitbit is forcing me to think twice and make better choices – so I take stairs where before I wouldn’t have bothered, I deliver documents myself instead of asking the office boys to do it and I try to go and see people where I would have called before.  Plus I never skip taking the metro as that walk constitutes my biggest step count and active minutes.  Even this morning with the deep fog over Dubai I got up and walked to the metro rather than taking a taxi.

Now I am getting fit and saving cab fares!  Hopefully I will keep it up!  I really enjoy the competitive aspect – you can challenge people to see who hits their target first and you can also see how much you do in a week vs other people.  If I hit 70,000 steps a week that will be excellent but I am hoping to do 80,000 which is totally plausible at the moment!  The active minutes function is also really interesting, they say you should do 30 minutes a day but I am aiming for 60 and so far have never done less than 45.  My view is that moving is great but to really see results you need to be moving actively and not just meandering about!

For anyone who simply wants to move more and monitor what they are doing I thoroughly recommend it.  There are a wide variety of options available from Fitbit as well so you’re bound to find one that fits your needs!  I am not sure how great it is on a treadmill etc though…that may be the next challenge!

Wish me luck please!

fitbit flex

Happy New Year!

Belated I know given it’s the 6th but having posted about Christmas and my trip home I thought I would wait a bit so I wasn’t bombarding people!

groove armada

I started my New Year celebrating at Zero Gravity which is a great bar near where I live, right by sky dive Dubai.  We were certain there would be a good view of the fireworks and Groove Armada were playing.  It wasn’t expensive and so we got a gang together and headed there!  P and I were typically early so decided to sample the food and indulged in a Wagyu burger which was SOOOOO delicious.  It was so good that later in the evening we were compelled to have another one.  Quite the decadent start to 2015.  The fireworks were amazing, but my pictures were terrible!  I really recommend looking them up on youtube for the best way of seeing it.  The light show at the Burj Khalifa was amazing!

We were really thrilled to spend our first NYE in Dubai together with good friends and to have a proper celebration! The venue was a great choice as we had a good view and were able to be outside to make the most of the great weather!  Groove Armada were good but disappointingly didn’t play any of the most famous tracks!

Going back to work was a bit of a shock to the system but I was happy to see all my colleagues and we were greeted back at work with gifts from the company so things could have been a lot worse!  My Ralph Lauren stationery and I are looking forward to a stylish 2015 that’s for sure.

I wish you all the best for the New Year!

Berlin knows where the party’s at!

berlin flag

The bear is the symbol of Berlin and the city is full of them!

My parents recently relocated to Berlin and having been there for a few months were absolutely full of talk of how great it is and how much I would like it!  They very kindly agreed to have P and his parents join us to celebrate Christmas so that we could all be together.

I flew out on the 20th to have a few days with my parents before P and his parents arrived.  My mother and I did some serious shopping which was great, the shops in Berlin are fantastic.  They have a wide range of quirky boutiques as well as the big brands.  Also the sales assistants are very helpful if a tad too honest!!  After all the shopping we also had an all important hair appointment, it’s vital to be properly groomed obviously! I was also able to see my best friend who lives there, she wasn’t in a great way after a horrible break up but i was glad to be there to support her and tell her I cared and to listen. Sometimes it’s better to be there for the bad times I think.

Once P and his parents arrived we did lots of really interesting tourist things.  We had an amazing private visit to the Reichstag, we were able to go right into the roof and see the views.  The architecture is incredible! Once we had completed our tour there my parents took us around in their cars to point things out to us. We got out at various spots around the city. We went to the Fuhrers bunker which is so eerie.  They have built a block of flats over where it was and if there wasn’t a plaque there you would never know it was the spot where Hitler died.  The Germans don’t want any place in Germany to become a shrine to him.  Worryingly there were flowers left by the placard…clearly people do admire him and his evil ways.  I can’t really imagine living there that’s for sure! We also went to the Topogrophy of Evil where we saw cells that were used by the Gestapo, the idea of what went on in those rooms is harrowing to be honest.  We also saw the Berlin wall, there are parts still left standing with grafitti on, and then there are cobble stones laid to show where it was.  Even seeing it it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to wake up and realise your life was irreversably different.  People had family the other side of the wall they could no longer see which is just so odd to contemplate.

It was fascinating to see so much history up front and I definitely want to learn more about what life was like when the wall was up.  I realised I was very ill-informed on the subject so will be looking out some good books to help me learn more.

Christmas day we skyped P’s sisters in Australia, it was lovely to see them and be able to wish them a merry Christmas though it would have been even more fun to have had them with us.  P’s niece gets cuter and cuter!  My mother made an amazing lunch of roast duck in a cherry sauce and lots of trimmings.  It was delicious!  Then in the afternoon we opened our Christmas presents!  I was thoroughly spoiled by everyone and felt very lucky to be given such lovely and thoughtful things.

I was very sad to have to leave Berlin to go to London for a few more days.  I had such a wonderful time with my parents and I miss them a lot.  Here’s hoping they come and visit soon!!

Even if you don’t have friends and family in Berlin I definitely recommend a visit.  Especially at Christmas time there seems to be some magic in the air there – the markets were beautiful and the lights twinkling everywhere really are magical!  I felt very festive even if it was a tad cold after 6 months in Dubai…

Back to Blighty

On the 19th December I headed back to London.  It felt like going on holiday and not at all like going home.  We rented our London home out when my parents moved to Germany and I began my Dubai adventure.  We now have a lovely family friend living there who kindly let me stay while he was in Sri Lanka for Christmas, this was very convenient but he has made the flat feel like his and I felt very much like a guest which was odd.

Anyway I got upgraded and enjoyed Virgin Upper Class which was lovely, there is a lot to be said for a flat bed that’s for sure.  I could have done without Horrid Henry the brat two seats away.  He was so misbehaved that the lady opposite me turned to his mother and said (picture the Dowager countess from Downton Abbey here please!!) ‘If your child can’t behave in upper class then he simply doesn’t belong here, please see to it that he improves his behaviour’.  I thought the parents were going to die on the spot, if voices could kill!!  A few glasses of champagne later everyone was in a good mood though and I managed to sleep too.

upper class

On arrival at Heathrow my best friend called to say there had been a flash mob in the arrivals lounge that I just missed.  She reckoned it was just to welcome me though!  It was so lovely to see her and to have a catch up, she was on good form and it was as though no time had passed at all.  She dropped me at home and we agreed she would come back at seven for a supper at mine and then head to the comedy club.  She had got me tickets for my Christmas present, we used to go all the time and so she thought it would be nostalgic.

The show was at 23.00 so after a long flight I was a bit tired but I was up for it.  We jumped in a cab and headed off to the venue.  Once at the bar some oddity decided to hit on us and I was not amused at all.  Coming from Dubai where touching my boyfriend in public is frowned upon to suddenly have a total stranger drape his arm over me was unnerving and annoying.  Thankfully A told him to get stuffed!  The show was average at best and the crowd were clearly VERY drunk which was a shame.  Still we had a good(ish) time before deciding to call it a night.  We had a sleepover at my place and it was so lovely just to spend time together!

The next day I had brunch with two of my guy friends, they were on top form and it was great to have banter with them after a few months apart.  Having put the worlds to rights M very sweetly drove me to the airport to save me a bajillion pounds in taxi fare!  Seriously I have been so spoiled by Dubai where cabs are so cheap!

I was so excited to get to Berlin, the flight went super quick while I watched Top Gear on my kindle.  The chap next to me was delighted and watched with me!  My parents were waiting at the airport to meet me and after a frustratingly long time my luggage came out and it was time to take on Berlin!

top gear