Sunday, 11 November 2018

Book Report: Autumn 2018

Cooler weather and remembering that practically every apartment in Dubai comes with a pool has made for a lot of reading since the mercury dropped. Since my last round-up I've ticked off a few bookclub reads, as well as downloading those books that just keep on popping up on my Instagram feed...

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma was a bookclub read. Aside from Chimamanda Ngozie Adiche, I hadn't read another Nigerian novelist before. Obioma writes like a natural story-teller, setting out a modern day fable with heaps of imagery, folklore and modern Nigerian history thrown in, centring around four brothers growing up in mid-90s Nigeria. The story is dark but it's not a grim book to read in any way.

I'm not much of a non-fiction reader (doing a law degree will do that) but The Culture Map by Erin Meyer is one that I would really recommend if you live or work in a country other than the one you grew up in (so...most of us in Dubai). It's well written, the chapters feeling more like in-depth articles that you can dip in and out of and return to if you're facing a specific roadblock. While it's written as a "work" manual, everything in this book applies equally to personal interactions - doubly useful if, like me, you're from a mixed cultural background.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie is quite possibly my favourite read of the year. It feels like a brave book to have written, it's not always an easy one to read and being a modern re-telling of Antigone you know from the start that the ending isn't going to be a happy one... The viewpoint shifts between members of two very different British-Pakistani families, as love, politics and power clash and bring about an ending I had to read twice through. This is a quick, intense and very "current"read. 

The Red Sparrow Trilogy by Jason Matthews. Sometimes you just want to read something that entertains, draws you in and has you picking it up in every spare moment. I've not been as addicted to a trilogy since reading Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo etc) and, as with those, the books are far superior to the films. The books centre around a love affair between an American CIA Agent and a Russian former ballerina turned agent set against a backdrop of modern day Russia. There's also, oddly but it works, a short recipe at the end of each chapter for one of the dishes eaten by a character.

Instagram made me do it. But...I actually loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor starts of the book leading what appears to be a quiet and simple life, which is gradually stripped away by glimpses of her backstory and her gradual (and sometimes quite hilarious) journey out of her comfort zone. This book covers some heavy themes but never feels like a sad or wallowing read. The passages on loneliness were particularly hard-hitting.

Instagram made me do it again... Crazy Rich Asians is a definite "beach read", it's silly and brash and dramatic but...actually really quite entertaining. I'm sure you know the story - girl gets invited to spend the summer in Singapore to meet her boyfriends's family without realising that said boyfriend's family is, well, crazy rich. It reminded me a lot of the Gossip Girl novels, only swapping out the Upper East Side for Singapore. I've still not got around to seeing the film (which is why I picked this up in the first place!) or to reading the two sequels.

What have you been reading recently?


Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Exploring The UAE - Beyond Dubai

Starting this post with a quick geography lesson: Dubai is one of seven Emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although you would be forgiven for thinking that Dubai is the UAE / the UAE is Dubai there are actually six other Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain) which have their own laws, ruling families and history.

One of my goals for this year was to explore my new home country and venture beyond Downtown Dubai at the weekends. The UAE is really easy to explore by car, with the other Emirates being a 1-2 hour drive away and each of the offering something different. I haven't ticked them all off of my list yet but if you're in Dubai and want to get a feel for the rest of the UAE then these are my top picks (so far):

Abu Dhabi - For Culture 

As the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi city still has its share of high-rise buildings and five-star hotels along the glitzy Corniche. The city is a network of interconnected islands with strips of sandy beaches, mangroves and clear blue water between them.

Abu Dhabi has become a cultural centre in recent years and your first stop is the Lourve Abu Dhabi, a beautiful gallery which tells the story of human history through comparative art. Next on your list is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - the largest in the world and one which welcomes all with daily tours.

Abu Dhabi's dining options are just as good as Dubai's - start your day with breakfast at No. 57 Boutique Cafe at Al Bateen Harbour and end it with dinner on Al Maryah Island - the business district is home to Abu Dhabi's Zuma and upscale Italian, Cafe Milano.

A Weekend In Abu Dhabi at The Hyatt Capital Gate
Two Contrasting Cafes to Visit in Abu Dhabi 

Fujairah - For Diving 

Located on the Gulf of Oman coast, Fujairah is the place to go for scuba diving and snorkling boasting clearer waters than the Persian Gulf which Dubai is situated on. I did my first ever scuba lesson at the Le Meridian resort, spending an hour in the pool getting to grips with the equipment before hopping on a boat for my first open water dive, where we were treated to the site of a giant sea turtle.

Fujairah has a few beach resorts to stay at which are nestle between a white sandy beach and the Hajjar Mountains and with no high-rise buildings it feels like an entire world away from Dubai (it's really only a 90-minute drive).

RAK - For...Zip-Lining

Ras Al Khamiah (RAK) in Arabic means "top of the tent" - fitting as RAK is the northernmost Emirate. The beach resorts in Al Hamra are the perfect weekend getaway from Dubai, we stayed at the Al Hamra Hilton which had huge bedrooms, beach access and a Trader Vic's Tiki Bar...

The main attraction in RAK is the Jebel Jais zipline - the world's longest (you might have noticed this is somewhat of a theme in the UAE). The zipline is a further 90-minute drive from the resorts in RAK but the drive itself is an experience, the road cutting zig-zagging up the side of a rocky mountain with the satnav route looking like an F1 circuit.

The entire zipline experience takes around two hours - there's quite a bit of safety briefing, getting kitted up, being transferred from car park to the equipment centre and to the actual zip line itself. The world's longest zipline is so fast that it only takes 2-3 minutes to complete, before a shorter zipline takes you back to the mini bus to return all the kit. Ziplining isn't something I ever saw myself being a fan of but it's super fun (far less scary than scuba diving), and means you can definitely justify an afternoon drinking Tiki cocktails on the beach...

Al Ain - For History 

Al Ain city is part of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi but is a separate city, located inland next to the Oman boarder. Not being on the coast gives Al Ain a very different feel - the city is much older, more traditional and a definite insight into life in the UAE before Dubai became "Dubai".

Al Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed so you can pay a visit to his former residence as well as take advantage of the greenery that we...don't really have so much of in Dubai by visiting the date palm oasis and hot springs.

We also found a little piece of British culture in Al Ain - the M&S in Bawadi Mall has a food court which provided us with plenty of car snacks for the drive back to Dubai...

Have you visited the UAE?

Thursday, 1 November 2018

October Round Up

October has been a good month. I spent nearly two weeks back in London, a mix of showing my boyfriend around the small town I grew up in, catching up with friends in bars where you wait in line and carry your own drink to the table, walking several miles each day just because it feels good to and lots of long-awaited reunions.

In Dubai, the lowering temperatures have been accompanied by simple joys - the first dinner on the balcony, being able to hold a conversation while changing lanes on a seven-lane motorway, spending a Friday afternoon hunting down a carving pumpkin and venturing in to the weights room at the gym for the first time. Life feels slow and simple in the best way possible.

October looked like this:

1. Walking through our very own One Hundred Acre Wood - greenery! Fresh air! Being outside! (It's been a lonnnng summer in Dubai).

2. Breakfast at Shoreditch Grind when it wasn't quite warm enough for an acai bowl but I wanted one anyway.

3. Exploring the Barbican Conservatory on a Sunday. 

4. A slightly changed view from my Barbican flat (my tenant moved out the weekend we flew back to London - I think I am now cashing in on some well-earned good karma).

5. After a year of growing my hair I got five inches lopped off (at Pimps and Pinups in Spitalfields) in an effort to make it feel thicker and healthier. No regrets. 

6. The Welwyn Garden City fountain turned pink for October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

7. Back in Dubai and revisiting an old favourite, Comptoir 102, for breakfast. The chilled cafe and accompanying shop are a must-visit if you're looking for a healthy but tasty alternative to this city's obsession with buffets and chocolate fountains... 

8. An evening at Ninive, a really beautiful and unique venue in DIFC which has re-opened for the cooler months. 

9. A matcha latte at Menagerie in Mirdif. I stopped drinking coffee a few months back, helping my anxiety and bank balance in the process, but because obsessed with matcha lattes when back in London.

How was your October?


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

September Round-Up

September is my favourite month. And not just because my birthday falls right in the middle. Despite living in Dubai and now being 31, September still evokes memories of slightly chilly, crisp mornings, of school books with still-sharp corners, shoes waiting to be broken in and the obligatory new pencil case. Of starting out in the working world some seven years ago with a wardrobe packed with rainbow-hued work dresses. Of starting university eleven years ago, grateful that a gap year was time enough to grow out the remains of the black hair dye from my teenage years.

There are less opportunities for new beginnings and fresh starts as an adult but September is still a small opportunity to take stock - freshly sharpened pencils and patent t-bar shoes optional.

September looked like this:

1. Making pancakes again - sparkling water in the batter (and practice) makes perfect.

2. I finished "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" in four days - such a good read.

3. Just two people sharing three breakfasts at The Sum Of Us.

4. Spending a long weekend in Al Ain, an inland city on the Oman border.

5. Jumping on another book bandwagon with Crazy Rich Asians.

6. An acai bowl at La Cantinetrès délicieux, très chic.

7. Breakfast at Vibe - a new opening in Jumeriah 1 which has been frequented by Drake.

8. A weekend in Abu Dhabi with a visit to the Louvre - it's been a while since I've exercised my brain with something cultural.

9. Lunch at No 57 Cafe - a kale and pumpkin salad to fuel the drive back to Dubai.

How was your September?


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

UK Vacay Snapshots

As an ex-pat, a trip back to the UK is never going to quite feel like a holiday but this trip involved beaches and sunshine and al-fresco drinking so it wasn't too far off.

And it's always nice to see your home city through the rose-tinted shades of being the friend back from far-flung climes, not having to answer the "how long have you lived in Dubai" question and feeling like it was only a few days, and not a few months or a year, since I last hugged friends goodbye.

On the less positive side, taking the tube alternately made me break out in a cold / decidedly not-cold sweat, hearing people loudly swearing was absolutely terrifying and each day felt like an impossible balance between seeing everyone, doing everything, living in each moment but also not being able to do everything, see everyone, and not to upset my carefully choreographed timetable of people, places and work meetings. Oh, and the time in London was bookended by two weddings (yes I am in my early 30s), M&S train picnics and a double dose of "so how do you know the groom / bride...".

An unexpected detour to Weymouth where the sun was shining
My outfit for a wedding weekend in Dorset - the dress is from Joy
A not very quick 8km the next morning along Swanage Beach 
Stopping for photos - I am a city girl through and through but enjoyed this morning a lot
Back to London to stay in this delightful airbnb 
I went to a yoga class and then needed to show off 
Optional punchbag for those who prefer less zen workouts 
A drinks date with a very dear friend and these millennial pink cocktails 
Visiting the London office of my current employer and getting very lost in Canary Wharf 
A weekend in Brighton for the second wedding - the weather redeemed itself for the previous weekend and was glorious!
My outfit for the second wedding, and a mental note to not wear stiletto heels to the next British summer wedding I attend
A morning run is a post-wedding tradition now, as well as a sign that I can now exercise restraint at an open bar. Some yoga for me and some photography practice for my poor Instagram husband (boyfriend)

Be back in October!


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Birthday Wishlist - Gifts for Yogis

This summer, chances are that (when not at work or sleeping) you'll have found me doing yoga, either at Zoga Dubai or with Adriene and Cat Meffan at home.

I went to my first yoga class over ten years ago but in recent months, practicing 5-6 times per week and having yoga as my sole form of exercise (although yoga is so much more than that) and post-work activity has resulted in a less achy, more flexible, stronger body and a much calmer, better behaved Lily (most of the time).

While yoga is really not about wearing a certain outfit, having a particular body type or forcing your body into a pretzel for an Instagram snap, there's no getting away from the yoga ~lifestyle and while most days I am happy practicing in a Hello Kitty tee and Primark leggings, I'm also guilty of a late night scroll through my favourite Insta-yogis and seeing the head-to-toe Lululemon outfits of my class mates and feeling slightly wanting. The commercialisation of yoga is complex and while a pair of £100 leggings aren't going to help me maintain a handstand for more than a micro-second, I am but a simple girl who once had a "fashion blog" and I still want cute things. Just know that you can still practice yoga at home, with your laptop, in your undies with a beach towel masquerading as a yoga mat.

It's my birthday on Sunday so here are some yoga gifts for yogis in your life:

gifts for yogis

The habit of wearing all-black in Dubai has well and truly got to me and I cannot imagine exercising in bright colours anymore. These Alo Yoga leggings have been on my list for a while - the mesh, high waist and 80s-esque stirrup detail makes them perfect for class and beyond. Yoga still needs a somewhat supportive bra but I have been oh-so-glad to do away with the ones I wore back in my running days - this one is the right mix of soft and structured.

For at home practice, a scented candle helps set the mood and this one smells so beautiful, for travelling and squeezing practices into the smallest of spare moments, toe socks are your friend - no excuse for not having space for a mat in your luggage. A room spray can also make anywhere feel like a yoga studio - this one smells of lemon and lavender would even work at the office if you or a colleague could do with some 9-5 zen (vegan). The Pixie Vitamin Radiance Mist also contains lavender for a post-class refresh (vegan, cruelty free).

I've been looking for some cute yoga tops lately, this one has a sweet faded design and some slight LA yoga-girl vibes. A girl can never have enough tote bags and this one would be a great gift for someone you know who enjoys say, coffee, yoga and naps.

Finally, a soft cushion for the home, and a super versatile Turkish-style towel for staying warm during savasana, doubling up as a scarf for after class or packing for a beach break too.

Namaste, y'all.


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Four East London Vegan Breakfasts To Start Your Day

The best thing about being back in London (besides friends, family, weddings and drinks outside)? The breakfasts. Even with my favourite avocado on toast off of the menu (for now while my body has - hopefully temporarily - decided it doesn't like a long list of foods including wheat).

We breakfasted like kings (and queens) each morning because gin for supper is far more acceptable when you've started your day with a kombucha smoothie bowl. Here are some of my favourites, and the spots I'll be starting my day at when I'm back in my favourite (when it's not grey and raining) city next month. 

1. Buckwheat Pancakes at Curious Yellow Kafe 

curious yellow kafe hoxton

Staying in an airbnb a few steps away from this cosy Swedish cafe was a very good idea indeed. The prices are so good that after a year in Dubai I was convinced that they had only billed half of our order. The buckwheat pancakes (buckwheat is actually wheat free despite its name) were super delicious and came smothered in coconut cream, raspberries and a carmelised banana. Yum. My boyfriend has his signature breakfast of the moment - porridge with a side of sourdough.

2. Almond Milk Porridge at The Hoxton Grill

the hoxton grill shoreditch

The Hoxton Hotel has become a go-to for seeking sanctuary when arriving off of the overnight flight from Dubai. When you've been away for a while, London on no sleep feels like a rather aggressive assault on ones senses (compared to when you live here when London on no sleep is alternatively grimly bearable or aching beautiful depending on the previous night). The Hoxton is the perfect setting to grab a delicious breakfast and then (after requesting an early check-in at the time of booking), take a well-deserved nap. The almond milk porridge at The Hoxton Grill is really delicious and so warming when 22 degrees feels cold.

3. Kombucha Smoothie Bowl at Friends of Ours 

friends of ours hoxton

The one rainy morning of our stay in London saw us take shelter in Friends of Ours with a rather sunny-day breakfast option. The kombucha smoothie bowl is vegan, gluten free and packed with lots of goodness. I had an oat milk chai on the side to attempt to warm me up a little bit. Service is fast and friendly, and back in my coffee-consuming days, I loved this place for it's iced soy lattes. The all-day menu has a few good vegan options and offers gluten free bread, too. For the more carnivorous, my boyfriend recommends the beef brisket benedict.

4. Porridge at Ozone Coffee Roasters 

ozone coffee old street

A few steps from the Old Street Roundabout, Ozone is never not busy with people cooler than me who I cannot help but wonder why they aren't at work at 10.45am on a Tuesday. I had the spring porridge made with oat milk and topped with banana and "scroggin" (I have no idea what that is). I also braved some caffeine with an oat milk iced pirate chocolate with a shot of espresso and it was like an adult-acceptable version of the Starbucks Mocha Lite frappucinos that I spent all of my money on at university. My boyfriend's chia pudding was a little small but the spoonful I snuck of it was delicious and the dark chocolate topping saves it from being too virtuous. 

Where serves up your favourite East London breakfast?

Saturday, 1 September 2018

August Round-Up

August is over and for us Dubai-dwellers that means that it's nearly "outdoor season" again. The temperature has hit over 40 degrees for most days since June, and August brought with it a bonus dose of sticky humidity - no, the desert is not "dry heat", my constantly steamed-up glasses will attest to that...

I am writing this in advance of a trip to the UK where I may well take all of the above back if the heatwave has not made a reappearance in time for me to not shiver my way through two weddings.

August in Dubai looked like this:

1. Lunch at Zuma to say farewell to a colleague - a sad inevitability of ex-pat life is that everyone, including you, will one day leave.

2. Breakfast at The Sum of Us - my boyfriend treated because I correctly tipped France to win the world cup.

3. A lunch meeting at the Armani - still pleased with trading off a chuck of my salary for a more varied, less soul-crushing and normal-working-hours type existence.

4. Chia pudding and beet bowls at Common Grounds - fuel for braving the Mall of the Emirates on a Friday.

5. Cat sitting for a friend which mostly involved saying "I want a kitten" for five hours after each visit - this is Dizzee Rascal and he's the cutest thing ever.

6. Cherries are £8 per pack in Dubai so I whipped up some vegan pancakes so that these didn't go to waste. Extra points to me for flipping them using chopsticks as I still haven't gotten around to purchasing kitchen utensils.

7. Breakfast at The Sum of Us again. Not sponsored we just like it there a lot. Possibly explains why I've yet to buy utensils.

8. Starting the three-day Eid break with a yoga class at Zoga and a post class acai bowl. I've been doing 4-5 yoga classes a week for the last couple of months and I'm making slow but steady progress in new poses and undoing years of slouching over a desk.

9. I took an afternoon of work, just because Cherie wrote a post about taking a day off work just because.  I visited a new cafe, Kad Che in Bay Square, read my book, attended an earlier yoga class and felt SO refreshed.

September plans:

Visits from friends, my birthday (turning 31 and feeling fine about it), slightly cooler climes and, of course, more breakfasts.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Travel: Hong Kong Photo Diary - A Day In Central

Just a metro or boat trip away from Lantau (post here), we ventured in to Central for a day of exploring. I'd snapped the above pic a few days earlier on the way back from a Junk Boat outing, sitting on the front of the boat watching the skyline get closer.

My boyfriend hadn't been to HK before so I wanted to take him to a couple of the sites and everyone I spoke to told me we had to visit Grassroots Pantry and that it would cater for my veggie / gluten free / general dietary woes. I also wanted to buy things and walk on streets because I am easily amused.

But first, coffee. I love HK cafe culture and Coco Espresso's iced lattes and cold brew provided welcome relief from the crazy humidity. You can find my other favourite cafes here and on this trip we also visited N1 Coffee & Co in Kowloon where we picked up a bag of beans to take home.

I was very keen to take the escalators (my favourite thing about HK) up to mid-levels as a way of seeing the city without getting overly sweaty (humidity makes me grumpy). Hopping off at Hollywood Road, Grassroots Pantry did not disappoint - I had the vegan nachos with pulled jackfruit. My plans to pop back for some snacks were scuppered by a torrential downpour...more on that later.

We hopped in an Uber to the top of the Peak and got dropped off at the park rather than the viewing platform. No one else was around, I was wearing a vintage dress and sandals with absolutely no grip and it felt like a thunderstorm was imminent so we decided to go on a walking trail despite not knowing how long it would take to complete.

Despite my boyfriend having to carry my handbag while I tried not to slip and die, the walk was quite nice - the humidity was almost bearable and aside from some bugs it was peaceful. We saw this waterfall and speed-walked the last few hundred metres, arriving at the shopping centre right before a T1 storm.

One of us had a grilled cheese while we waited for the rain to stop. It didn't. I was actually enjoying it having not seen rain since April in the UK. We braved a rather terrifying tram ride down (ticking off another "HK must" in the process even if the windows were all steamed up) and then got wet all over again getting back to IFC Mall and I definitely didn't accidentally whack people with my umbrella and it's not really my fault because I am so out of practice using one but it didn't happen anyway. 

We found a Japanese restaurant in the mall and I had a cocktail which (I think) contained whiskey and lemon sorbet and it was very restorative, especially after viewing the menus for at least three other places and discounting them all. We also had some okonomiyaki fries which were delicious but not very photogenic and then hopped on the MTR back "home" to collapse in a heap. 


Thursday, 9 August 2018

Travel: Hong Kong Photo Diary - Lantau Edition

My second trip of 2018 to Hong Kong - back in March I visited with Lauren, staying in an appropriately-named hotel in Central and spending our days wandering, chatting and stopping for avocado on toast.

Fast forward a few months and a much hotter and more humid Hong Kong was waiting for us. My boyfriends's friends have recently relocated from North London to South Lantau and staying with them for a week was the perfect mix of HK's frantic city pace, chilled beaches, boat trips, gin-fuelled board game sessions and making them my friends, too.

Our friends' place had an amazing view over the beach and mountains. Most of our week was spent on Lantau itself - the humidity was a little crazy, even for someone who lives in Dubai (where it is actually humid, much to everyone's surprise) and I very much appreciated the  slower pace and being able to take frequent dips in the sea and pool.

Staying pale on the beach - borrowed the hat and beach cover-up because I packed way more "city break" than beach holiday and ended up not needing half of what I packed, including heels and my entire make-up bag. Blissful.

The "Big Buddha" is a Lantau must. We took the glass-floored cable car up to pay him a visit and then caught a taxi to Tai O. Walking up those steps in the humidity was not my least-grumpiest moment.

A HK first for me, Tai O is best seen by boat. Trigger warning: smelly fish but seeing the remains of the traditional way of life here was well worth it.

Grateful to have packed my prescription sunglasses, we spotted some dolphins off of Tai O - given the amount of plastic pollution in HK (and everywhere else) I was sceptical that we would see any but certain that there are far fewer now and that we were lucky to see the ones we did.

Our friends' favourite Lantau restaurant, The Gallery in Tong Fuk serves up amazing salads and (for the carnivorous) amazing steaks.... The menu is written up daily on a chalk board and the restaurant is unpretentious with beautiful, simple food done really well.

On our final evening, we took a mini BBQ down to the beach to watch the sunset with G&Ts and skies clear enough to see the stars. I never thought that HK was somewhere I'd associate with being super relaxed but there are so many sides to this city and, if time permits, you have to explore beyond Central and HK Island.


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

July Round-Up

Long time, no blog post.

July was all sorts of busy but in a good way - I spent less time on my phone and in front of screens and some WhatsApp messages didn't receive replies for...oh, at least 4 hours. Highly unusual for me. I spent quite a lot of time watching the World Cup and hiding indoors from the 50 degree heat in Dubai, and finally braved the crazy roads here and almost enjoyed it.

1. Welcoming July with my Bando planner. Diary entries included: trips to Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong, farewell drinks (because #expatlife) and friends making brief appearances in the desert (as in stop-overs, not mirages).

2. On the beach in Ras Al Khaimah - spent a weekend exploring another Emirate and did the world's longest zipline which was less scary than me driving back to our hotel on a motorway for the first time ever and the hotter-than-bathwater sea. 

3. Breakfast at The Sum of Us is a weekly must when in Dubai. 

4. I got my haircut for the first time in months at Y12 Salon - highly recommend this chilled salon at the Ritz-Carlton, DIFC. Not quite sure what I'm doing with my hair currently - the urge to cut it all off sometimes surfaces...

5. The prettiest gins at BBs in DIFC. 

6. A weekend in Abu Dhabi where friends cooked up an American-inspired feast, I played N64 for the first time and spent a lot of time cuddling their three cats.

7. Bookclub discussions and a book that everyone loved! Would definitely recommend this one if you're living / working abroad or thinking about it.

8. Lunch at Peyote in DIFC to welcome a new colleague to my work team.

9. A week in Hong Kong staying with friends in their beautiful villa in Lantau. More on this when I get around to opening my laptop again... 

August sees a trip to London for two weddings, finally hosting a dinner party and taking part in a yoga challenge (weddings on two consecutive weekends surely need some stored-up zen?).

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