C25k – stage two

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Yesterday Nat and I headed off to the gym again.  Now Nat is particularly impressive here because the little pool champ only made it home at 2am and so was not feeling her most spritely!  Anyway she was not one to wuss out and so we meandered over to the gym, donned our gym kit and got started.  Rather nicely the regulars were VERY encouraging that we had come back.

4754fe710cfdefe202370ca75b586147We commenced on the bike which we both quite enjoy, we did ten minutes and burned 60 calories doing the ‘fat burn’ workout that changes resistance as you go.  Then on to the main event…Week one day two of the C25K!  It’s the same routine, 5 minutes walking, then alternating 1 minute running and 90 seconds walking for 20 minutes before cooling off with a five minute walk.  Mid way through we both felt beyond hot, far worse than the previous time.  Inititally we put this down to the fact we had been drinking the night before but then thankfully our colleagues informed us that in fact we weren’t to be blamed…the a/c had broken!!!  Anyway we powered through sweating in a most unladylike manner, though again our colleague made us feel better by saying ‘sweat is just fat crying’ which made us really want to keep going.  We completed it and felt really good for not giving up inspite of the heat.  We then did a five minute stretch with Sworkit, though I am sure I did a few wrong.  I have such poor co-ordination I always seemed to be the wrong way round!  Anyway I don’t feel stiff today so it must have worked.

Next week we shall see how we go, but the good thing is we both want to continue.  It has to be a first for both of us to be so keen…my friend in London genuinely thinks I have lost the plot!  As yet I don’t think I have lost any weight but I feel a bit fitter and it has already had an impact on my energy levels!

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Not one to only have one new adventure a day it was time to tame Rex again as he needed some food.  Off to the Petrol station we went…and from there on it was a comedy of errors. First of all I parked the wrong side for the petrol pump and about a metre away from the side.  Luckily the lovely Daprindra took pity on me and recruited a friend to help me get to where I needed to be and somehow managed to reach the side of Rex with the pump so that I didn’t have to manoeuvre too much.  Amazingly it only cost 85 AED to fill him up which is cheaper than Percy!!  I imagine his fuel consumption is far less efficient though, he strikes me as a greedy Gus.  Thanks to Daprindra (who I tipped handsomely) Nat and I sailed out with a satiated Gus and made it home in one piece, where on leaping out of the beast in my gym kit I felt like a real ‘Jumeirah Jane’. This was to the great amusement of my friends!

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Fun and facing fears

ncs_modified20151027123217maxw640imageversiondefaultar-131219434Last night the three Musketeers rode again!  It has been a while since we all went out for a ladies night and last night we made up for lost time.  We met at O’Cacti the Mexican place in Pier 7.  We were able to get a table outside on the terrace and were rapidly brought ‘Blueberry Lemonade’s’ which sound far more benign than they were!!  We decided to sample some of the food and the chicken tenders turned out to be rather yummy and helped line our stomachs.  Once we had had our freebies at O’Cacti we made a move to Atelier M to partake of their offers.  Atelier M is a three level venue, there is a fine dining restaurant, the next level is an indoor bar and lounge with pool tables and then there is a rooftop bar.  We spent a little time on the rooftop bar  before deciding it was time to challenge ourselves with some pool in the lounge.

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While none of us are going to become champions any time soon we had a lot of fun messing about making the odd shot!  I was pretty awe struck by one of the girls managing to pot two balls with one hit though!!  Very impressive indeed, especially considering there may have been a few drinks taken…We had a lot of laughs and I can’t wait to go back again, perhaps this time I will play a bit better.

I left the girls a bit early because I was conscious that the next day I was going to face a challenge.  My little Peugeot decided that it’s gearbox wasn’t working any more and so the gentleman I lease from said he would take it and get it sorted but that the only car he had was a beast.  Since learning to drive I have only driven little cars and I have developed a bit of a fear of driving a big car.  As I have no need of a big car anyway I haven’t really been bothered about this fear but you can imagine it became quite a cause of concern when I saw this…

Look how big it is!!  Apparently I can comfortably fit 7 people in it though I do not know when I would ever have cause to do so…For those of you thinking ‘gosh that’s a lovely looking car, I often need to transport 7 people’ I am reliably informed that this is a Ssanyong Rexton and it’s Indian.  I have to say now that I have sort of tamed it it’s quite a nice car.  I feel like a teeny tiny midget in it though and to my friends amusement I did have to lower the steering wheel to really be comfortable!  When it came to reversing out of the parking space I did enlist some help of a very sweet German who chose not to laugh at me which was very kind!  Anyway I have made it to the office and Nat is quite looking forward to a ride home in Rex (not  a very original name I know but I don’t want to get too attached).  Percy will come home soon and I will be happy to have him back – he’s far speedier than Rex and nippier too, turns out bigger is not always better!

 

Friends old and new

On Monday I drove all the way to Abu Dhabi (without getting lost – a miracle!!) to see my best friend and have a sleep over.  It actually is the most boring drive ever because it’s just a straight road that I thought would NEVER end…the only upside to this is I could sing to my tunes as I wasn’t worried about getting lost!  On the way I decided to stop at Yas Mall to kill time before meeting T as she was still working – the whole not getting lost thing left me an hour to get stuff done…

Yas Mall is gorgeous, I absolutely love it there.  It’s a surprisingly tranquil and peaceful place considering it’s a shopping haven.  The mall opened only a few months ago and it still feels lovely and new.  In fact the mall is so divine that even the hypermarket Geant is nice…and for me to say that is HUGE because I really do not like Geant at all!  While perusing the mall I decided that the girls and I need to do a shopping trip up there asap…though I suspect the bank would prefer me not to!

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Isn’t he gorgeous?

On the way there I had thought about one special purchase and whether or not to make it.  My lovely friend T has had the same teddy bear her whole life and sadly it was thrown away by the hotel she stayed it. She was gutted about it.  I realised that nothing would ever replace her beloved bear but I thought maybe a new friend to take on her adventures would help a bit.  I took a gamble that she would take it in the spirit it was meant and she did – she was thrilled with her Hamley’s bear!  Best money I have spent in a while that’s for sure, it was great to see her smiling and happy. We had a really lovely evening together, gossiping and watching junk TV and just enjoying the fact we now live within driving distance again!

Having managed to drive back to Dubai with minimum drama I survived a day at work before heading home to hang with my friends. The girls decided to come to mine after work for a chilled evening in so naturally I had to go and get nibbles.  Imagine my horror on making a wrong turn out of Geant at Ibn Battuta (curse the horrid place) and ending up miles from where I needed to be…then the GPS directed me to a truck stop to turn around which was terrifying!  In the end I pulled over at a metro station near my friends house and she rescued me!  Luckily we were all able to laugh about it and I realised how lucky I have been to find two girlfriends I feel totally comfortable with, even if I will never live this down!

How stunning is this? I found it on Google and it appears to be by DeniseAWells.

Not many people are so lucky to find new and lovely friends and have their best mate living up the road!  She is the ying to my yang and now with her and my new mates I really feel I have a crew here that I can rely on.  This is especially vital as Bond is travelling a lot for business!  If I have a guardian angel he is really bringing his A-game at the moment that is for sure!

Chauffeur Service

Chanel obviously understand the needs of the glamorous chauffeur…

On Friday I drove to collect Bond from the airport after his business trip.  This was my first journey to the aiport and so of course I got lost and even though I left plenty of time my misstep meant I got there late.  Anyway Bond was a good sport about it and his mother said I must be the most glamorous chauffeur in Dubai which was rather nice of her!

It is lovely having Bond back in the U.A.E and we even managed a beach trip together in spite of the mad temperatures!  It was fun until the walk back where I got a bit too hot and bothered and nearly had a strop…naturally this was a charming sort of strop because I am ALWAYS a delight (Bond is clearly laughing as he reads this!)  We stopped off at Leopold’s for a bite to eat.  I am so keen on their quinoa salad with beetroot and feta cheese, it’s to die for.  They also do killer quiche which we both enjoy!  I recently discovered their mini flourless chocolate cakes which are delicious and presumably guilt free as they have no flour…right?

The rest of the weekend Bond came to mine and I got him addicted to Castle which is brilliant!  If you haven’t seen this show you are missing out.  Richard Castle is a murder mystery writer who is shadowing Kate Beckett a NYPD detective.  Along with Esposito and Ryan the two junior detectives and Laney the M.E they solve the most amazing and bizarre crimes.  I defy you not to want to be Kate (who is so gorgeous my friend and I both attempt to copy her make up to look like her) and if you don’t fall a bit in love with Castle then I will be most surprised.  Honestly Castle is a legend, witty, charming, talented and successful. He lives with his mother who is wonderfully eccentric and his daughter Alexus who is bright and diligent – she’s sort of the well behaved version of Castle who is a lovable rogue.

Now back to work, hopefully for a quiet week!

Feeling zen at Xenia

Yesterday at work I got a message on our in-house messaging system from what of my favourite girlfriends out here.  She suggested we head for a bite together and a catch up and I was very happy to accept.  It has been way too long since we had a good catch up as she has been away for what feels like a lifetime but is in fact only two weeks!

We drove over to Ibn Battuta which is a nearby mall with a pretty decent load of restaurants.  We agreed to meet at Xenia so we could gorge ourselves on Lebanese food which I love!

Getting to Ibn Battuta was fine…parking however was a nightmare, there were no places that I could easily get into and I rapidly gave up and decided to give it to the valet to deal with.  I know that sounds ridiculously decadent but it actually cost 3 pounds which I figured was cheaper than my potentially destroying a luxury car which seemed highly likely.  I felt far better about my cowardly parking ways when my friend turned up and admitted she had done the same thing!

We both decided we were intrigued by sushi style vine leaves so had that and fatoush salad to share.  Then we both had kebabs, mine was shish taouk and hers was a different type of shish kebab with cheese and it looked delicious.  Unfortunately we were chatting and just gobbled everything up without taking pictures!  Oops!

Xenia is a lovely place with nice decoration, even a few trees inside which I always get a kick out of and some fun colourful chandeliers.  The staff were lovely and very helpful, we wanted to move table so my friend could have shisha and they quickly sorted us a new table.  The food was absolutely yummy and the menu was vast so I am keen to go back and try some other things!

The only downside to the evening was my friend announcing that she is moving jobs which means I will see less of her.  However it’s a great move for her and I am sure we will keep in touch!

Success at the Supermarket and Fun Films!

On Thursday I had to go to the supermarket to get some basic supplies for the weekend.  Now I thought this would be a simple mission as I didn’t have much to get.  Anyway I turned up and realised as I can’t park I would have to find a space that I could get into…naturally said space was miles away from the entrance!  Also once I got in I realised that I had parked badly and had to re-do it.  Honestly at one point I nearly drove over to the valet service and just made it their problem!  Then I decided I am supposedly a grown up and that I must learn to fend for myself…so eventually I found a space with no other cars near it and decided it would have to do, even though it was in fact miles away from the mall entrance!

Once I had braved what felt like an epic hike through the carpark in 40 degree heat (it was two minutes in reality) I finally made it to Geant.  Whoever chose said name obviously knew what they were up to, as it is a Giant store of French origin.  It is also built like a maze and I spent a lot of time getting lost.  Eventually I managed to get all the bits I needed (including Grazia which is obviously vital!) and it was time to head home.  I did vaguely consider just abandoning the car, or coralling someone to move it for me but then decided I had managed to park and that I would have to be just as grown up and get back out of the space and so off I headed back to said automobile. Imagine my look of delight when I realised that no one had parked in front of me so I was able to just drive straight out!  Please keep your fingers crossed that this always happens for me!

Having escaped Geant I met Bond to have take out and movie night.  We watched ‘Hot Pursuit’ which I definitely recommend.  It was really very funny and Sofia Vergera and Reese Witherspoon did a fantastic job!  I definitely empathised with Reese who is short as I am also vertically challenged.  If you want an easy watch then definitely do check this out!  I am really enjoying this new genre of films with women playing strong lead roles.  If you do watch and enjoy ‘Hot Pursuit’ then I definitely recommend ‘The Heat’ which is a similar style of film with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, both of whom excel as ever in their performances.  In fact watch anything with Melissa McCarthy, she is too funny!

Last night we went to dinner at the Counter where I was very virtuous and had the vegan veggie burger which was delicious! Bond of course had a beef burger and a milkshake.  He is quite the milkshake fiend since moving here! Then it was time to see Minions 3D, a film I have been keen to see since it came out.  I love those little creatures, they make me smile and laugh out loud.  Bond made me promise to see ‘Mission Impossible’ because Minions didn’t really appeal to him, but in the end he had to admit that he really enjoyed it.  The whole thing is totally ridiculous, it’s the story of how the Minions came to work for Gru (of Despicable me 1 and 2) and it’s not a straightforward path.  It seems that Minions like to work for Villains and so we watch as they attempt to find the perfect boss…I won’t tell you too much because it will spoil it but there is an attempted theft of the Queen’s crown which is hilarious!  If you’ve seen Despicable me 1 and 2 then this is good but not as good as those…but it’s still worth a watch if you fancy a good laugh.  In any case I hope it’s worth sitting through Mission Impossible for…

The rest of the weekend I really relaxed and caught up on some much needed sleep.  I also managed to skype my mother which was lovely.and also amusing as we were both knitting as we talked!  Genetics are a powerful thing!

I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday!

My new wheels!!

When I was 18 I remember all my friends getting their driving licence and then zooming about in their cars…and I didn’t envy them at all.  It all seemed a bit frightening and rather pointless as I was moving back to London and didn’t really see the need for driving.  They were all beyond excited about it though and I really didn’t get it!  To be honest for the last ten years it’s all panned our rather well not driving till now.  When there have been weekends away I have been a happy passenger and in some cases it’s gotten me out of going to places I didn’t especially fancy going to.

However as you all know that changed on moving to Dubai and if you have followed the driving saga you will know that the time has come for me to get a car!  So yesterday I met Bond and the car dealer at Motor City (so appropriate) to get my new wheels…

As I got behind the wheel I totally got why all my friends had been SO excited about their new car!  I already love my baby Peugeot 307!  My mother christened him ‘Victor’ because she hopes I am a Victorious driver.  He is a great car, the sports model with a Porsche gearbox….this is probably the closest I will be to a Porsche for quite some time!  He is black with a cream interior and nice wood detailing.  Plus a brand new very swishy sound system which I love and which was put in just for me the very day I got it.

Since beginning my relationship with Victor we have so far driven home at night following Bond which was quite the experience because I was certain I would lose him! It was my first time driving at night which was actually a bit frightening but I managed it! Luckily I didn’t lose him and it was pretty fun once I got to grips with the controls and the blind spots. Today I picked up a colleague who helped me navigate my way to the office.  He was a brilliant passenger and made me feel very at ease!  Plus he said I did a good job which was a much needed confidence boost.

Tonight is my first time driving totally alone with no one to guide me…I must admit to being a bit nervous of having to navigate and drive all at once.  I have my GPS charged up and set to talk to me and I am hoping for the best…

For those of you driving in Dubai please look out for a black Peugeot 307…now you can’t say you weren’t warned!