Notes by Nectar

Ex-Londoner now living in Dubai - lover of words, music, food, Alex O'Loughlin, mojitos, tarot, photography and yoga - not always in that order

Life after Joy

You may remember our crazy housekeeper, Joy

We sent Joy back to the Philippines a few days before I left for London. My grandmother was still with us in Dubai and she had her helper with her so I don’t think we really noticed Joy’s absence all that much. 

It was when I got back from London that I really felt the difference. I never thought I’d say it but I missed the moody cow. Not her specifically, but all the things she did around the house. It’s amazing how spoilt one can get after just 5 months.

I had to unpack my own suitcases to start with. Anyone who knows me will know that I hate packing and unpacking so this was a harsh welcome back to reality. 

Cleaning: There are several cleaning agencies in Dubai so we call for a cleaner a few times a week to do the sweeping, mopping, bathrooms, and so on. These days I make my bed, I make my tea, I load the dishwasher, I change my sheets. These are all the things I wanted to get away from in London - now I feel if I’m doing it here, I may as well be doing it back there!

Cooking: We have a man who comes every afternoon to cook. He makes dinner for that evening and lunch for the following day. He cleans the kitchen and he leaves. He only cooks Indian food and I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter what he makes, it all tastes the same (and this is after 1 month of it). He also comes right in the middle of the afternoon so one of us has to be around while he’s here.

Laundry: Our clothes are still washed at home but most of our laundry is sent out for ironing while Mum does the rest.  

I’m not sure what the plan is. I think once we get back after the summer we’ll have to find a more permanent solution. At least I hope that’s what’s going to happen!

To read more about Joy, click here.

Dubai: A proofreader’s paradise

The summer holidays must be here because the editors clearly aren’t! I spotted loads of mistakes this week. Can you find them?


It should say ‘Less than two weeks earlier…

Typo: regimes
It should be Médecins Sans Frontières. Perhaps they haven’t got the hang of accents?
So which is it? Wood.
I think these may be the wrong way round:
To see more mistakes, click here.


Dubai: Week 26

Sunday was a busy day. I had a session with Rama in the morning which made me want to get back into bed (but I didn’t).

My parents and I went to Texas Roadhouse at the Dubai Mall for lunch. I had the 6-ounce filet steak with a baked potato and house salad. It sounds small but with the two sides it’s the perfect size. And, yes, I forgot to take photos again. I then stopped off at Tim Horton’s to get a French vanilla cappuccino.

I did some work that afternoon and then went to see my cousin who was in town for the day. I hadn’t seen him since February so it was nice to sit down and have a drink together. He left for the airport at about 8pm and I went over to a friend’s place. She’d just moved into a building close by so I went to see her flat. The building is gorgeous - very modern - and the view from the 45th floor is quite something. 

She had invited me to watch the Euro 2012 final with a couple of friends (two Egyptian guys) at Nasimi Beach at the Atlantis so we took a cab to one of their houses near the Mall of the Emirates. Just as we got there, one of the guys got a call to say that we’d lost our table to someone in the royal family. I suppose that’s how things work here! After a few calls we eventually ended up at The Golden Foot Mega Tent in Marina. When someone says ‘tent’ to me, I assume canvas - maybe a marquee. This two-storey air-conditioned ‘tent’ was nothing like I expected. On the outside it looked like a warehouse. And actually on the inside it looked like a warehouse too, but a nice one (even the portaloos outside had marble floors). It was huge. There were three huge screens - so wherever you were sitting you could see one of them. Once the game started, the lights were dimmed but as soon as Spain scored (again and again and again), strobe lights were flashing, whistles were blown - the atmosphere was great because there were so many Spanish supporters:

When Juan Mata came on, I told the others we were going to see one more goal that night. They were doubtful but a minute later there it was!

Once the game was over, Sasha Lopez came on so we stayed on for some dancing. It was about 2am by the time I got home… 

I had yoga on Monday morning and worked for the rest of the day. 

On Tuesday I went to the gym and then met a friend for lunch at Social House at the Dubai Mall. I worked the rest of the afternoon and then had dinner with two of my cousins at Royal China. When we got there, the air-conditioning didn’t seem to be working very well and the music was far too loud. They told us that they’d called the maintenance people to sort out the temperature and that the music was at its ‘normal’ level. I’m pretty sure they lied about both things. Our waiter kept trying to push the cocktails but we ordered a bottle of wine instead. He also kept hovering over us and I was getting quite annoyed! We ordered some crispy duck to start with, and for mains we had the szechuan prawns and lamb with cumin. I wouldn’t order the lamb again - it was good, but we didn’t realise it was fried without any sauce. Again, I forgot to take photos! 

I had my second session with Rama on Wednesday and worked for the rest of the day. I came across this article on a friend’s Facebook page and just had to post it on my own! The article led to me watching this video:

I couldn’t stop laughing while watching it because it is so true! And then I remembered a conversation I had with my mum the day before. She asked me to ‘order’ a maid from the agency for Wednesday afternoon. ‘And make sure you ask for a Filipina,’ she said. Erm, can you say things like that? I asked. ‘Of course you can,’ she replied. Wow. Only in Dubai!

On Wednesday I had another session with Rama and then settled down to do some work. I didn’t do much apart from the gym and work on Thursday too. 

The weekend was quite uneventful. I went to the gym on Friday and then had lunch with my parents at Jones the Grocer. I’d been wanting to try this place for a while and we finally made it there. We started with some olives - one bowl had olives stuffed with blue cheese and the other had olives stuffed with chillis. 

I loved the olives with blue cheese. I just love blue cheese.

For main course, Dad and I both ordered the grilled salmon and Mum ordered the halloumi baguette.

After I’d ordered the salmon I saw a waiter walk past with a wagyu beef burger - it looked bloody amazing. I’m definitely having that next time - without the bread. We also ordered a green salad and some olive oil French fries. For dessert my parents shared a strawberry tart (I had two bites) and I ordered a flat white.

I would definitely go back.

The rest of the weekend was quiet. I watched the Wimbledon men’s semi-finals after lunch, and after my parents went out for dinner I played the piano for a while. Twenty years after passing my Grade VIII and the only things I can play decently are ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Separate Lives’. I’m surprised the neighbours didn’t complain - I was playing till after midnight. They must be away! 

Saturday was quite uneventful. I went down to the pool in the morning, had lunch at home, did some work, and sat at the piano once my parents went out. I went through some old sheet music, trying to figure out what I could remember. I didn’t go near any classical music - I thought it would scare me. Or depress me. I’ve been given the number of a piano teacher so when I get back in September I’ll give him a call.

Quite a quiet week in the end, but next week will be busier. There’s lots to do before I head off for the summer!

For more updates, click here.

The final few: Week 10

My body was in shock after my Sunday morning session with Rama. I did a 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer and we began one of his ‘Ramanova’ circuits. It consisted of three sets of the following:

  • Lateral pulldown x 15
  • Clean and press (with a weighted bar) x 15
  • Pelvic lifts x 15
  • Military press (with a weighted bar) x 15
  • Push-ups x 15
  • Bicep curls (with a weighted bar) x 15
  • Squat jumps (with a weighted bar on my shoulders) x 12
  • 500m on the cross-trainer (in the first set only) or 2 minutes of shuttle runs up and down the gym (in the second and third sets)
  • Rest x 3 minutes

It was hard!

In the first round, I tried to beat my best time on the cross-trainer (3:03) but only managed 3:11. In the second round, I did shuttle runs (29 shuttles = 203m. In the third round I had a choice of the cross-trainer or shuttle runs. I chose shuttle runs and did 30 (or 210m). 

In the third round, I did the pelvic lifts with my feet on a bench. It was much harder and I could feel my hamstrings burning. I also used the 3-kg weights for the bicep curls and squat jumps in the third round. 

I had a rest after that and then did several ab exercises (20 seconds on/10 seconds off): basic crunches, abs cycle, reverse crunches, scissor kicks, long lever crunches, forward plank, side plank, and the whole circuit again. 

I was done by the end of it!

I had yoga on Monday morning. My cousin couldn’t make it at the last minute so it was just me. While I was in the class I realised I was getting a bit bored of yoga - every class is the same, I know what the teacher’s going to say next, and I even know what tone he’s going to say it in. I suppose there’s just one more Monday before I head to Bali and then I can have a break from it. 

I need to get back to doing 5k on the treadmill. On Tuesday morning I did 3k again (27:19) and two sets of tricep dips. I probably could have done 5k but I was late getting to the gym and I didn’t want to be late for lunch with a friend.

My second session of the week with Rama was tough. I did a few minutes on the cross-trainer to warm up. He told me he was going to focus on my lower body and that I was going to do three 500m sprints on the cross-trainer - I was really not liking the sound of it. I mentioned to him that I wanted to start running and asked him what was the best way to go about it. He said that instead of doing three 500m sprints on the cross-trainer I would do them on the treadmill. Oh God, what had I done?? I wanted to start running but not right at that moment! No time like the present, I suppose??

I started with 500m on the treadmill. It took me 4 minutes and 7 seconds. I didn’t even know I could run (jog) for as long as that. Rama said I should eventually be running 500m in 2:30 to 2:45.

I then did three sets of 15 squats with a 30-second rest in between each set. After that I did three sets of 15 really low squats with a 30-second rest in between each set. After that I did three sets of 15 squats only using the middle range of the really low squats (with a 30-second rest in between each set) - it was like pulsing up and down and my thighs were burning by the end of it.

After that I did another 500m on the treadmill. This time it took me 4 minutes and 3 seconds. My legs were already tired after all those squats but I just carried on. 

The second round of lower body exercises consisted of a static lunge/heel kickback combination. I did two sets of 12 on each side. After that I did a balancing exercise - the single leg squat with toe touch (12 on each side). Then there was the deadlift/bent over row combination - again two sets of 12 using two 10-lbs weights. 

And then came the last 500m on the treadmill. This time Rama varied the speed from 6.5 km/h to 9 km/h. It took me 3 minutes and 54 seconds and my legs were like jelly at the end of it. He said I should eventually aim for 2:30 to 2:45. He said when I do my 3k or 5k on my own, to run for 250m and walk for 250m and then gradually build it up. It seems do-able.

I lay on my mat, eyes closed, having a rest and preparing myself for the abs exercises that were still to come. He said that things like running and stairs were good for the legs and also a good cardio workout. ‘And you’ve got stairs today,’ I heard him say. My eyes snapped open. ‘What??' I asked. 'Today??' Thankfully, he was just joking. Yes, very funny. 

I did two sets of five different abs exercises (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off): basic crunches, abs cycle, toe reaches, scissor kicks and reverse crunches. And then I was finished for the day. After sitting at my desk for the rest of the day I knew I was going to be in trouble the next day as my legs were already sore.

I texted Rama on Thursday morning to say my legs were on fire - and not in a good way! He told me to stretch and get on the treadmill for a walk. I took some Nurofen (yes, I was in that much pain) and went to the gym. I stretched, did 3k and stretched again. I did feel better for it.

I woke up on Friday feeling just as sore as I had the day before. I took more Nurofen and decided to get back on the treadmill. Rama had told me that if I was going to run on my own, I should alternate jogging and walking every 250 metres - so I did that. I did 3k in 25:45. And my legs didn’t feel too bad afterwards.  

I woke up on Saturday not wanting to get on the treadmill but wanting to do some light exercise. I’d worked out every day so I decided to go to the pool. I did a few lengths, just to get my legs moving, but I mostly lay in the sun reading.

Low points of the week? Getting bored with yoga. Ending my affair with the mini Galaxy bars. And by that I mean finishing them. Still not doing 5k on the treadmill. 

High points of the week? Finding out I can run (jog) for 4 minutes continuously. I think I may have been 9 years old the last time I was able to do that.

Weight loss? None. I put on 1 kg this week. Damn you, mini Galaxy bars. We. Are. So. Over.

Read more updates here.


Your week ahead (8-14 July)

Have a wonderful week!


The High Priestess - staying non-active - withdrawing from involvement, being receptive to influence, waiting patiently; accessing the unconscious - using your intuition, trusting your inner voice, being aware of a larger reality; seeing the potential - allowing development, opening to what could be; sensing the mystery - opening to the unknown, seeking what is concealed, looking beyond the obvious


6 of Swords - feeling the blues - just keeping your head above water, working to get through the day, feeling somewhat depressed; recovering - dealing with the effects of a trauma, beginning to get your health back, heading toward a more positive place; travelling - changing location, taking a trip, going on a journey, entering into a new frame of mind


3 of Cups - feeling exuberant - bursting with energy, being in the flow, dancing and singing; enjoying friendship - getting together with people you like, sharing, finding companions; valuing community - taking part in a support group, working together, discovering a common goal


4 of Cups - being self-absorbed - concentrating on your own feelings, seeing only your point of view, ignoring gifts and blessings; feeling apathetic - losing interest, finding life stale and flat, lacking motivation; going within - meditating, dreaming, withdrawing from involvement


4 of Swords - resting - taking a break, giving your body time to heal, taking life easy; contemplating - taking time alone to think, standing back from the situation, reviewing where you are; quietly preparing - making sure your base is secure, tying up loose ends, stabilising


The Sun - becoming enlightened - finding the sense behind the chaos, getting to the heart of the matter; experiencing greatness - being singled out for notice, becoming the centre of attention; feeling vitality - experiencing joy, feeling invigorated; having assurance - knowing you can succeed, trusting your abilities


8 of Swords - feeling restricted - feeling trapped by circumstances, experiencing few options, being fenced in by obstacles; feeling confused - being unsure which way to turn, not understanding what is happening, needing guidance and clarity; feeling powerless - doubting anything you do will help, looking for a white knight, avoiding responsibility


9 of Cups - having your wish fulfilled - obtaining your goal, having your dream come true; feeling satisfied - feeling pleased as punch, indulging in a little smugness; enjoying sensual pleasure - relaxing, making love, appreciating the arts


Death - ending - closing one door to open another, putting the past behind you; going through transition - changing status, being in the middle; eliminating excess - concentrating on essentials, shedding old attitudes; experiencing inexorable forces - going through what cannot be avoided, riding your fate


5 of Swords - acting in your own self-interest - thinking of your own needs, going for the win-lose result, gloating; experiencing discord - choosing to battle, creating ill will, feeling people are set against each other; witnessing open dishonour - losing your moral compass, sacrificing integrity, knowing of criminal activity


Ace of Pentacles - using material force - working with the physical, improving the body/health, focusing on concrete results; prospering - having the means to reach a goal, seeing efforts rewarded, increasing assets; being practical - using common sense, being realistic, accepting the tools at hand; proceeding with trust - feeling safe and protected, having a support system, believing in the good faith of others


5 of Pentacles - experiencing hard times - running into material troubles, feeling insecure, struggling to make ends meet; suffering ill health - feeling run down and tired, getting medical attention, neglecting your body and its needs; being rejected - having the door slammed in your face, feeling excluded, lacking support

For previous readings, see Notes by Nectar.

Dubai: A proofreader’s paradise

Just a couple of things this week…


Good grief, I can’t take these apostrophes any more!!

There are two options for this one. It could either say ‘he’s going to do permanent damage to his tailbone’ or ‘he’s going to permanently damage his tailbone’.
To see more mistakes, click here.


Review: The Other Hand

I’d never heard of this book or its author, Chris Cleave. I was in the bookshop at Dubai Airport in April, waiting for my mum and grandmother to come out of Customs, and I saw this. I read the blurb on the back. It told me nothing

We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice. Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there… 


I don’t think knowing a little about what the book was about would have ruined it for me. It wouldn’t have stopped me from buying it. Anyway, it’s about two women: one is a Nigerian refugee in the UK, the other is an editor for a popular magazine. It’s about the day they met, and how their meeting changed their lives. 

I was hooked from the beginning. I started reading it by the pool and before I knew it, I’d read one-third of it. I read the whole book in four sittings. I didn’t want to put it down because I had no idea what was going to happen next. It has so far been the best book I’ve read in 2012 and it will haunt me for some time to come.

And that’s seven of 20 books I intend to read in 2012. And because I bought it this year it doesn’t count towards my Mount TBR Reading Challenge.

Dubai: Week 25

Apart from Wednesday, it was quite an uneventful week.

I had a session with Rama on Sunday and spent the rest of the day working. I did enough work in London to keep things ticking along, but had quite a bit to catch up on when I got back to Dubai. 

I went to the gym on Monday and that afternoon I met up with a friend for coffee at Starbucks in Mercato. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of months even though we’re in touch constantly on Twitter and BBM. It amazes me how quickly the days go by here. 

Tuesday wasn’t very eventful. I went to the gym, had lunch, did some work and then went down to the pool. I started a new book and after being completely disappointed (and bored) by The Marriage Plot, I think I’ve accidentally stumbled upon the best book I’ve read so far this year (The Other Hand by Chris Cleave). I read one-third of it in the 2 hours I spent at the pool. I did a few lengths to cool off, but wanted to continue reading! 

The sunset on Tuesday was gorgeous:

On Wednesday I had another session with Rama. I did some work that afternoon and that evening I went to an InterNations event at Ruth’s Chris Steak House Lounge at The Address Marina. I went with a couple of expat friends - I met one of the girls in the lobby of the hotel and we realised we were wearing very similar dresses - same colours, same vertical stripes, but the styles were slightly different! Yes, we got a few comments that evening. One of our other friends joined us a bit later on and we had a couple of drinks. They left at about 10pm but I stayed on with a couple of people I’d met that evening. It was actually a very fun night - I got home at about 2.30am after several glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. 

I woke up feeling rather fragile on Thursday - I didn’t (couldn’t!) get out of bed until 12.30pm and skipped the gym. I wouldn’t have been able to walk in a straight line anyway! That afternoon Mum and I went to Dubai Festival City Mall. There was a music store there (Thomsun Music) I wanted to check out as I’d seen an ad in the paper that morning - they were on sale. Their ‘range’ consisted of four Yamaha upright pianos, one Yamaha baby grand, one Yamaha concert grand and a mahogany Bösendorfer grand piano (it was beautiful - if I had the space and the money!). There wasn’t a lot of choice but I decided to go for one of the Yamaha uprights (instead of the  Ritmüller pianos I had looked at the week before). 

Now that I’ve bought the piano, I’m plagued with fears that I won’t remember anything that I used to play and will never be as good as I used to be. I need to find a good teacher (again) and learn everything all over again. It’s been 20 years since I played seriously. I’ve held on to all my old sheet music for all these years. I can’t wait to start playing Chopin again…

I stayed in on Thursday night. I thought I had plans to meet someone for dinner and drinks but he didn’t call (and I didn’t have his number). Guys not calling me when they say they will seems to be the general trend these days. A friend asked why we didn’t just swap BBM pins so I explained that he had an iPhone. ‘Doomed from the start,’ was his reply! I was actually shattered from the night before - so the night in was probably a good thing! 

I had a lie-in on Friday, went to the gym, had lunch at Biella at Wafi City Mall with my parents (terrible service and I forgot to take photos - again!), walked around for a while and came home. I went down to the pool with my book and read another third of it. I ended up finishing it that evening. Yes, definitely the best book I’ve read so far this year.

On Saturday morning I went to the gym and was home the rest of the day. My piano was supposed to be delivered from 2pm onwards and it showed up just after 5pm. While I was waiting at home, I watched a movie on YouTube that Rama had recommended called ‘An American Crime’. He had told me it was quite disturbing but didn’t tell me what it was about. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for it. It’s a true story about a suburban housewife in Indiana who kept a teenage girl in the basement of her home in the 1960s. People are insane. 

That night I had dinner with my cousin at Caramel. I’d been there a few times but I’m not really sure how I feel about the place. There’s something about it I don’t like. Being a Saturday I expected it to be not very crowded, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite so empty. I think a lot of people are already away for the summer. We were shown to our table which was in a very dark corner. And I remembered that that is what I don’t like about the place. It’s just too dark. We needed little torches to read our menus. My cousin ordered a Cosmo, I ordered a (double) vodka with soda. It was bloody strong. Just how I like it.

We ordered a few starters to share and thought we’d order the main course afterwards. We had the spicy tuna roll and Chinese chicken salad to start:

We also had the yellowtail sashimi, miso black cod and mac and cheese. It was quite filling for just the two of us so we ordered another round of drinks and decided to skip the main course (we had planned to order the seared Chilean seabass). We shared the dark chocolate fondant with cappuccino ice cream for dessert: 

We had a lot of catching up to do - we hadn’t really talked properly since I got back from London. It was a chilled evening and I was home before midnight. 

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few: Week 9

Yes, the week began with my usual session with Rama. I did a 4-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer and then we began a circuit:

  • Bench press x 30 seconds
  • Squats with a weighted bar x 30 seconds
  • Lateral pulldown x 30 seconds
  • Walking lunges x 30 seconds
  • Rest

I did that circuit three times.

After that I did three sets on the leg press. Instead of using both legs, Rama told me to use one leg at a time - so 15 reps using one leg, and 15 reps using the other. For the third set, he increased the weight. My legs were shaking by the end of it!

After a short rest, we began the HITT exercises: the first one was the same burpee/push-up/squat jump combination I’d done before - 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. The second exercise was the same push-up/squat jump combination I’d also done the week before. It was no easier this time. Thankfully he didn’t make me do the stair-climber/burpee/squat jump combination as well. 

Instead… Rama told me to do the 500m on the cross-trainer again, just to see what my time would be after having worked all my muscles already. He told me to aim for 3 minutes and 10 seconds, but I couldn’t do it. I did it in 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Disappointing. And I felt sick after that. On the plus side, Rama told me that even though I’d been away for almost 3 weeks my fitness levels hadn’t really dropped much at all. I don’t know how I managed that.

After the 500m, I lay on the mat, did some lower body work and 10 sets of abs exercises (20 seconds on/10 seconds off again). And then I was done for the day. 

My yoga class was cancelled on Monday morning so I decided to go to the gym. I wasn’t really in the mood so only did 3k on the treadmill (28 minutes) and three sets of tricep extensions (x15). I wanted to do some Swiss ball crunches but found the Swiss ball in a corner looking like it had seen its last day - there were a couple of holes in it and it was slowly deflating. 

I got to the gym quite late on Tuesday - it was about 12.15pm. One of the Syrian women was there, and three French men. I’d never seen them before and I think they must work in one of the offices in the building and were on their lunch break. Anyway, I did my 5k (46:25) and some lower body floorwork and was done.

I had my second session of the week with Rama on Wednesday. I started off on the cross-trainer for my usual warm-up and then began. I started with this HITT exercise for three sets:

  • Stair-climbers x 30 seconds
  • Burpees x 30 seconds
  • Rest x 30 seconds
  • Stair-climbers x 30 seconds
  • Squat jumps x 30 seconds
  • Rest

The next circuit consisted of three sets of the following:

  • Bench press x 30 seconds
  • Walking lunges x 30 seconds
  • Pelvic lifts x 30 seconds

The following circuit consisted of three sets of:

  • Seated row x 30 seconds
  • Squats x 30 seconds (for the second and third sets, Rama told me to sit on a very low bench and get up - much harder!)
  • Squat/side kicks x 30 seconds

The last circuit was:

  • Tricep extensions x 30 seconds
  • Abs x 60 seconds
  • Bicep curls x 30 seconds

And then I had a choice. I could either do 500m on the cross-trainer trying to beat my best time of 3:03 twice or I could do the stairs twice. 

I never thought I’d say this (and I shocked myself) but I chose the stairs! I know what you’re thinking: But you hate the stairs! I know, I know. I figured it would be quicker, and I would feel less sick after doing it. And it’s a good cardio and leg workout. So there was some logic to my decision-making. I felt sick just thinking about doing 500m on the cross-trainer so soon after the last time. And I doubted my fitness levels would have improved in just 4 days. And I’d have been disappointed if I couldn’t beat my best time. So, stairs it was. 

I went down to the ground floor and climbed up. I barely had a few seconds to rest (Rama had already pushed the button for the lift) and I went down again and climbed up. It was tough. My legs felt like jelly by the end of it, but it was definitely a good session. My thigh muscles will thank me one day. Maybe not on Thursday, but one day.

On Thursday I felt so fragile after my night out on Wednesday that I didn’t even notice any aching muscles. I also stayed in bed until 12.30pm and didn’t go to the gym. 

On Friday I was back to normal but kept putting off the gym until I couldn’t get away with it any longer. I got to the gym at about 1pm, did 3k (28:11), and rushed home to get ready for lunch. It’s still better than nothing, isn’t it?

I did just 3k on Saturday too (27:49), but I also did two sets of lower body exercises and two sets of tricep dips.

Low points of the week? Managing 5k on the treadmill just once this week and doing 3k the rest of the time. Oh, and discovering a small French vanilla cappuccino from Tim Horton’s contains 250 calories (dammit!). 

High points of the week? One of my friends telling me I looked ‘fantastic’ on Wednesday night. She said the difference between when she first met me at the end of January to now is astonishing. 

Weight loss? I hit my lowest weight this week. Of course it could have just been the result of not eating very much on Wednesday night. Anyway, whatever the reason, I’ve now lost 18 kg (39.6 lbs). Rama thinks I should aim for 20 kg by the middle of July when I leave for Bali, but that’s just 2 weeks away now and I’m not sure it’s possible. If I do manage it, it would mean losing 20 kg in exactly 1 year. And it took me about 10 years to put on that weight!

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (1-7 July)

Hope you all have a great week (in spite of what the cards say)!


Ace of Swords - using mental force - being objective, finding out the facts, analysing the situation; having fortitude - facing problems, finding the strength to overcome; seeking justice - righting a wrong, accepting responsibility, establishing the truth; proceeding with truth - cutting through confusion, being honest, having clear understanding


Temperance - being temperate - finding the middle ground, reaching a compromise; maintaining balance - recognising all sides, feeling centred and secure; experiencing health - renewing energy and vigour, flourishing; combining forces - joining with others, finding the right mix


Judgement - making a judgement - having a day of reckoning, taking a stand, getting off the fence; feeling reborn - awakening to possibilities, making a fresh start, discovering joy; hearing a call - feeling drawn to a new direction, answering a need, recognising your true vocation; finding absolution - feeling cleansed and refreshed, atoning for past mistakes, feeling sins washed away


The Fool - beginning - entering a new phase, expanding horizons, beginning an adventure, heading into the unknown; being spontaneous - letting go of expectations, acting on impulse, surprising someone; having faith - staying open, feeling protected and loved, recapturing innocence; embracing folly - taking the ‘foolish’ path, being true to yourself, trusting your heart’s desire


Queen of Cups - being loving - dispelling anger and hate, having infinite patience; being tenderhearted - being kind and gentle with all creatures, feeling what others are feeling; being intuitive - being guided by the heart; being psychic - having a well-developed sixth sense; being spiritual - having reverance for all life, appreciating the deeper meanings of life


8 of Wands - taking quick action - making your move, putting plans into action, rushing into a new area; coming to a conclusion - closing out an activity, completing unfinished business, having all elements come together; receiving news - getting an important message, finding the missing puzzle piece, having a meaningful conversation


3 of Swords - feeling heartbreak - having your feelings hurt, getting some unsettling news, being disappointed; feeling lonely - feeling lost, being separated, wandering far from home; experiencing betrayal - being let down, breaking your word, finding your trust misplaced


Page of Wands - being creative - taking a novel approach, finding a new area of self-expression; being enthusiastic - getting excited, being passionate; being confident - stretching your envelope, moving beyond doubts; being courageous - taking assertive action, overcoming a fear


10 of Wands - over-extending - trying to do too much, refusing to say ‘no’, having to work overtime; feeling burdened - assuming responsibility, being left holding the bag, never having time to relax; struggling - doing everything the hard way, pushing against the current, having to work for every gain


Wheel of Fortune - feeling a sense of destiny - using what chance offers, finding opportunity in accident, altering the present course; being at a turning point - reversing, having a change in fortune, being surprised at a turn of events; feeling movement - being swept up in new developments, getting involved, experiencing change; having a personal vision - seeing how everything connects, becoming more aware, expanding your outlook


2 of Swords - blocking emotions - denying true feelings, hiding distress, maintaining your cool; avoiding the truth - refusing to look at facts, choosing not to know, ignoring the warning signs; being at a stalemate - staying stuck, refusing to decide, being unwilling to rock the boat


The Sun - becoming enlightened - finding the sense behind the chaos, getting to the heart of the matter; experiencing greatness - being singled out for notice, becoming the centre of attention; feeling vitality - experiencing joy, feeling invigorated; having assurance - knowing you can succeed, trusting your abilities

For previous readings, see Notes by Nectar.