Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Despite the fact that March was a long month, it has absolutely flown by and April has crept up on me the point where I am totally unprepared for my 'March Favourites' post that I was due to write on the! Luckily I have a day off tomorrow to shoot some snaps of what I have been loving this month, so keep your eyes peeled. You must all know by now that I am a little bit useless when it comes to meeting blogging deadlines, especially with my ever delayed weekly Doha Diaries posts, like on Sunday!

April isn't all that has crept up either. The temperature here in Doha has suddenly skyrocketed (today was a toasty 35 degrees) and it's only going to get hotter. I am particularly excited for a day off in the sunshine tomorrow with the mister!

In the absence of my March Favourites post, I will leave you with some of the blogs that I have been enjoying this month, so that hopefully you can enjoy them too :)

Milk Bubble Tea
This is such a pretty blog - I don't think any other blogger has blog photos as pretty as Becky from Milk Bubble Tea. She is a lifestyle blogger who takes gorgeous photos of little snippets of her life, from cupcakes, to homeware, to makeup, to her adorable sausage dog I totally can't decide if I want a pug or a sausage dog, he's too cute!

Marianna Makela is a lifestyle blogger from Finland, whose blog I followed a few years ago but completely forgot about. It was only recently that I rediscovered her, and I'm very pleased to see that she is still posting the gorgeous photos that drew me to her blog in the first place. She has an effortlessly cool style, and her blog documents fashion, homeware, food etc, with a handy English translation for us overseas readers.

The Sunday Chapter
Another lifestyle blog...I seem to be favouring these over beauty blogs at the moment, probably because I'm so darn curious and love reading about other peoples lives. Angela is an Aussie based lifestyle blogger with a simple, clean layout that I really love (blog envy right here!) and great photos. She writes about a mix of lifestyle, beauty, fashion and food...a blog that is right up my street :)

Top with Cinnamon
Izy Hossack is a food blogger who I have been turning to a lot recently for meal inspo (if I am going to be some poor fools wife someday I really should learn how to cook!) As the self-proclaimed Worlds Worst Cook, I need all of the help I can get, and I really enjoy reading Izy's recipe posts, which are always accompanied by gorgeous photos that always make me hungry! She has even released her own cook book...amazing what people can achieve from being successful with their blogging hobby. I am looking forward to trying out her sweet potato gnocchi next!

Which blogs are you currently loving?


Sunday, 29 March 2015

I must confess the past week has left me exhausted, and I've been a little un-enthused about blogging. I'm sure all other bloggers know exactly what I mean by this - as much as I love my blog, sometimes life just takes over and writing has to take a backseat.

Despite my 6-day week at the office, I have still had a few lovely evenings and one lovely day off.

Monday night was this weeks date night, and Matt and I set off to La Spiga at the W hotel on my request.

Clearly somebody couldn't wait to get stuck in to the bread basket! Whilst this in no way compares to the bread basket at the Anvil Rooms, they do have this amazing bread that is almost pastry-like, and tastes just like sausage rolls from the bakery.

I had been craving their gnocchi for weeks, so I was hugely disappointed when it arrived and was absolutely tasteless. I had asked for it with a white sauce instead of as it comes on the menu (I had this when we came to La Spiga to celebrate Jemma's birthday and it was incredible), which they prepared with absolutely no problem, but it just didn't taste of anything at all. The gnocchi was, as always, cooked to perfection but I just wish the sauce had had some flavour.

On Tuesday night I woke up with the makings of a cold. Luckily I had the day off, so Matt and I headed down to the pool for a few hours of sunshine. I had my first swim of 2015, and I'm looking forward to starting swimming regularly now that the weather has warmed up again!

When Matt went off to work, I popped upstairs to grab my laptop and brought it back down to the pool to work from home in the sun, before getting my head stuck in the new book I'm reading.

That evening, we took a walk down to Katara to check out the bazar that has popped up out of nowhere this week. It reminded me of the Ideal Home exhibition in the UK, filled with stalls selling various items - ornaments, Arabic coffee pots ('dallah'), honey, nuts, hair accessories, abayas, jewellery etc.

We only walked down one aisle of stalls and already I couldn't cope with all of the sellers calling out at us so we made a quick exit and headed next door to the temporary stadium playing host to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015.

This is one thing that I love about Doha - there are so many sporting events on, particularly at the start of the year, and so many are free to attend (although absolutely chaotic to get to by car - the road to Katara has been absolutely gridlocked all week due to the bizarre bazar and the beach football.) Luckily my apartment is in walking distance, so it would have been rude not to go and check out the event for ourselves.

The Iraq team arrived just ahead of us, and we all made our way up into the stands to get a view of the action.

The evenings match was Lebanon vs Thailand, and the teams took their positions on the pitch and sang their respective National anthems.

Despite the stadium being nowhere near full, there was a good atmosphere as fans cheered and children blew into horns that the stadium attendants were handing out.

The whistle blew, and the action started!

There was a lot of overhead kicking and rolling around in the sand. We left after half an hour or so, and took a wander to Chac'late at Katara as I had a craving for their hot chocolate (I will say this again, the Swiss hot chocolate is the best hot chocolate I have ever had. FACT!)

Such a pretty route to walk for a hot chocolate fix.

I had it to take away, and we wandered back towards home, stopping en-route for Matt to have a Nutella crepe, which didn't last long enough for a photo! I did however take a snap of my beautiful home - it looks amazing at night. I was recently contacted by one of my readers and asked why I chose to live where I live over anywhere else in Doha, and this could possibly be one of the reasons. It really is a stunning property.

On Thursday night, Marion and I took a trip to the Pearl for some food and chats at Shakespeare & Co. I had only been here once before with my mum when she came to stay with me, and it's such a lovely casual dining spot. The inside of the restaurant is gorgeous, with Parisian decor, however it was a lovely warm evening so we sat outside overlooking the beautiful marina.

The Pearl is such a lovely, informal location for lunching and dining, and somewhere that I would love to explore a little more as it's only a short drive from my apartment. With it's abundance of cafes, restaurants and waterways, and not to mention the marina, home to so many stunning yachts, it is a definite 'must-see' for any Doha visitor.

I stayed in on Friday night after work and made soup to ward off my cold, and Saturday night was a very early night in bed with a book due to a 7:30am start in the office today. Rock and roll weekend!! I must say I actually loved being awake at 6:30 this morning, standing on my balcony and watching the sun light up the city. Such a beautiful view to start the new week!

I hope you had a great week, wherever in the world you are reading from, and here's to another!


Friday, 27 March 2015

I have been living off Cadburys Creme eggs and Lindt chocolate for the past few weeks, and my waistline is starting to protest.

That, and the fact that I have developed a dreaded air-con cold, left me feeling in desperate need for something healthy, warm and comforting. I decided to head to the mall after work to pick up ingredients to make soup from scratch.

Unfortunately, I chose a bad day to hit the mall. Fridays at Carrefour are always chaotic at the best of times, but I was having a bad anxiety day so the whole trip stressed me out massively - I was a nervous wreck, and scooted round the aisles as quick as my wonky-wheeled trolley would allow so that I could get the heck outta there.

Back in the comfort of my kitchen, I got to work....and by work, I mean chopping. This is soup-er easy. So easy that even I (worlds worst cook, FACT) can make it, so you would have no excuse.

My measurements were enough for two portions. Perfect if you're cooking for you and your man-friend, your mate, your mum (...i've run out of M's), or you want to keep the whole lot for yourself.

To re-create, you will need:
Three medium sized beef tomatos. Not too big, not too small.
Two good sized red peppers.
One small red onion.
Garlic - I used four cloves because I'm a garlic fiend.
One stock cube - veg or chicken.
Olive oil.
Salt 'n' pepper.
Dried basil.
Chilli flakes.
A sprinkle of goats cheese to garnish. (optional..I forgot at that moment that I was supposed to be being healthy)
Fresh bread.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tin with foil.

Get chopping those veggies! Once your toms, peppers, and onions are all roughly chopped up, lay them all out on the baking tin. Throw in a clove of garlic here and there with the skins on, and drizzle the whole lot with olive oil. It doesn't matter if they cosy up and overlap each other. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and pop the tray in the oven.

I roasted mine for about 30 mins whilst FaceTiming my mum, then pulled them out after around half an hour when they were soft and the edges of the peppers had charred a little.

Take the tray out, and gently remove the peel from the garlic cloves with a knife and fork (they come off super easily). I leave the skins on my tomatoes, but this would be the point to remove them if you so wish.

Boil the kettle, add the stock cube to a jug, and fill with water, stirring the stock cube until it dissolves.

Transfer the veggies into a deep pan on the hob, being careful not to carry over too much excess olive oil if you can help it. Top the pan up with the stock, until the veggies are covered. Add a sprinkle of chilli flakes and dried basil to taste, and leave to simmer for 15-20 mins.

[EDIT: I forgot that at this moment I also added a glug (technical term) of balsamic vinegar!)

The perfect opportunity to butter yourself some nice fresh bread from the bakery!

Give everything in your pan a good stir, before ladling it into a blender and mixing for a good couple of minutes until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl, and top with a sprinkle of goats cheese.



Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Is it terrible of me to admit that this was a Mothers Day present from my brother to my mum that I stole and ran away with to the desert?!

Only kidding. I started reading this the night before I was due to fly back to Doha, and my mum told me to keep hold of it and finish it, and to give it back to her in May when I go to meet her in Dubai.

The Girl On the Train isn't my preferred genre of book, so I was pleasantly surprised to get stuck into it straight away.

This story is told from the point of view of three characters, Rachel, Anna and Megan, all of whom are linked in ways that are revealed throughout the course of the book.

A murder takes place, and the alcoholic main protagonist Rachel knows that she was in the area the night of the murder, but her blacked out memory means that she can't remember why or what happened. She is desperate to solve the mystery.

This is the first thriller written by Paula Hawkins, and I am very pleased to see that this may be turned into a film. It has something 'Gone Girl'-esque about it, and I could definitely see an adaptation of this on the big screen.

I found this book to be quite disturbing - whilst it isn't graphic in its content, it really does go to show that you never know who might be watching you, which is quite an unsettling thought. It really took me back to my commuter days, travelling in to London on the over ground train - I always used to think that I wouldn't fancy living next to a train line and now I am even more sure of this fact!

Maybe next time I'll stick to my light-hearted Chick Lit! That's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I did. The characters were well written, and it really shed light on the dangers and sadness surrounding alcoholism as an illness.

One thing I would say to anyone who reads this, is to keep an eye on the dates. I got a little lost part way through when I just assumed the dates were in order, although it was easy enough to get things straight once I'd realised.

I'm looking forward to hearing my mums verdict on this book once I get it back to her!


Saturday, 21 March 2015

This post is the first of a new series of posts I will be writing, under the title of 'Alphablog' - each post in the series will centre around a word beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, with that word being something that means a lot to me, or is a part of my life in some way. I hope you enjoy them!

I'm kicking off the series with 'A is for Anxiety' (let's get the serious stuff out of the way first, shall we?!)

I have wanted to write a post on this topic for quite a while. Anxiety is an issue that I often see talked about on blogs these days, and I think it's great that people finally feel that they can open up about it on social media. I am genuinely astounded by how many people are affected by anxiety on a daily basis, so I wanted to share my experience with it too.

I am a self-confessed worrier. I worry about everything under the sun - my family and friends, about their health, about work, about what people think of me, other people's feelings, about the random old man I see sitting alone in the cinema...(why is he alone? What has happened to his wife?! And then I will be consumed with worrying about him for hours afterwards!)

My mind can go into over-drive worrying, often about things that are absolutely nothing to do with me, or things that are completely out of my control, and that can't be healthy.

Work is the big one. I worry about work all the time, and often wake up in a panic in the middle of the night to check my phone to make sure I haven't missed anything. I will dwell for ages on things that are absolutely beyond my control, and feel like I am personally responsible for everything even when I'm obviously not.

Some days, I will wake up with the feeling of anxiety, for reasons I just can't put my finger on. I just have 'anxious days', and I can go about my day for hours feeling anxious about something but nothing in particular, and it's a horrible feeling.

Recently, I was laying in bed thinking about nothing at all, and I became very anxious out of the blue - my breathing became erratic and I started to experience heart palpitations, the usual systems of my anxiety, but triggered by nothing specific.

Other days, I experience anxiety because of social situations. Whenever I open up to people about my social anxiety they don't tend to believe me or are really surprised, and say that I appear really confident, but believe me when I say I am not! I appear confident because I have told myself that I can't go through life being terrified of social situations, but that doesn't mean I didn't spend the whole run up to that moment thinking of a million excuses not to be there. Even with things I love doing, and do weekly, I will feel anxious about doing it all day and then love it when I do it, like tennis or nights out with friends.

With the gym, I am so anxious at the idea of going when it's busy, and always prefer to go late at night when I know nobody will be in there. If I am running on the treadmill alone in an empty gym, and somebody comes in to work out, my heart-rate shoots up and I find it hard to breathe, and always end up finishing my workout early so that I can get out of there. I have even been known to walk into the gym in the evening and walk straight back out when I've seen that there are other people in there. I realise how crazy that sounds!

My housemates and I recently signed up to a 5k fun run, and I was so anxious about it, almost every day in the build up to the race, and felt a huge amount of relief when the event was postponed.

On another occasion, I attempted a beginners Salsa class at my apartment block. As there was a limited number of men in the class, the girls were split in to two groups - one group watched whilst the other group danced. I was gripped with panic about being watched by the other half of the group and couldn't concentrate at all on the dancing, so when it was time for us to swap and for me to join the watching group, I grabbed my things and ran out of the class! I was mortified, but I was so uncomfortable, anxious and out of my depth that I just had to remove myself from the situation.

It's a tricky one as exercise is proven to be amazing for relieving stress and anxiety, so it is frustrating when I am gripped by the fear of taking part in it.

Symptoms of anxiety include disturbed sleep - almost everyone who is close to me can vouch for the fact that I am a terrible sleeper. I have night terrors, and wake up most nights shouting about something or panicking that somebody is in the room.

Anxiety at it's worst leads to panic attacks. To memory, I have only experienced panic attacks twice in my life, and hope not to experience one again. Once last year - again, for no real reason. I had been feeling particularly anxious all day, was completely restless, my heart was pounding and I couldn't stop worrying - in the evening I had a dinner with friends and my mum, and all through dinner I felt so emotional and wanted to cry. When we left and I was in the car home, I began panicking to the point where I couldn't breathe. To this day I still don't know what triggered it. The second was on my recent flight from Doha to the UK when we hit some turbulence. Even after we were clear of it and other passengers had gone back to sleep and the air hostesses were going about their business as usual, I was sat in my seat convinced the plane was going down, I was crying, my heart pounding out of my chest and my breathing all over the place. I think the guy behind me thought I was a bit mad!

I'm lucky that I am not somebody who suffers from panic attacks regularly, or potentially at their full capacity. What I experienced was bad enough, so I can only imagine how it feels for people who's lives are consumed by panic attacks.

I have never been to see a doctor about my anxiety, but there are a few things that I do to try to help myself:

I discovered Pilates, with a fantastic instructor who is completely approachable and put me at complete ease during my first class. I will still always hide at the back of the class, but it is one hour a week where I can completely switch off from all of my worries, whilst getting an amazing work out at the same time! I haven't actually been to this class for about a month now but writing this has reminded me how much I love it and that I must start going again!

There is nothing quite like taking a deep breath and counting to ten, to slow your heart beat down.

There are some really good apps available for taking time out to meditate to. I use the Headspace and Sleep Easy apps most often.

I have found that talking about anxiety helps to normalise it. Reading blog posts by other bloggers on the issue has also helped to reassure me that I'm not alone.

I would urge anybody feeling symptoms of anxiety to try the above :)

That concludes my first instalment of my 'Alphablog' series - I promise the next one won't be nearly as heavy going! I always think it's important for readers to know a bit about the person behind the blog, so I am looking forward to working on this series of posts so that you can get to know a bit more about me, as well as my week by week life in the Middle East.

I hope you'll join me for the next one!


It feels like such a long time since I last wrote a blog post!

This week actually began in England, as I had travelled home for a week to surprise my aunt who is very unwell, and spend some time with my family. I didn't write a Doha Diaries post last week for that very reason.

Sunday was Mothers Day in the UK. I spent the day at home with my parents, and then in the evening my brother and his wife Holly came round with my baby nephew, and my mum cooked an amazing spaghetti bolognese dinner for us all. I feel bad that she cooked for us all on Mothers Day but she said it was a pleasure, and it was definitely appreciated by all!

Monday was my last day in the UK, so of course I went to visit my aunt. We were with her for a good three hours and the time literally flew by. I felt very emotional saying goodbye, and can't wait to get back in the summer to see her. It was also nice seeing this furry little face! Her dog Teddy is the cutest thing.

I flew back to the sandpit on Tuesday, and was back in the office on the Wednesday.

On Thursday, our presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray had put on a charity golf event, so I went along to this in the evening after work. It was a really fun night with a lot of our regular sporting pundits in attendance - hopefully lots of money was raised. I was very surprised when my colleague Sara and I were called up on stage to be presented with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers each for helping with some elements of the travel arrangements for the event. Just as well I brought a vase back to Doha with me!

Friday was a long overdue date night with Matt. At the risk of sounding soppy I really did miss him whilst I was away! We had some dinner, and stayed in watching back to back episodes of 24 and eating some of the goodies I had brought back from England with me. You just can't beat a Cadbury's Creme Egg!

And now it is Saturday and the end of another week. I'm having a quiet night in tonight, catching up on some of my favourite blogs and finishing off a book that I have been enjoying this week which I think deserves a blog post soon!

I hope you had a great week, wherever in the world you are reading from :)


Sunday, 15 March 2015

When I get back to Doha, I am definitely getting back in to books.

Since I have been in the UK this week, I have stocked up on three new books to bring back with me, as I had run out of reading material after finishing up 'Looking for Alaska' by John Green. I was really disappointed in this book, as I had really enjoyed 'The Fault in our Stars' (the book and the movie), also by John Green, but 'Looking for Alaska' was just too young for me.

So for a while, I've not had anything to read, but reading really is one of my favourite things to do. And I mean with a proper book in hand. I have the iBooks app on my iPad but I just don't enjoy it as much as curling up with a physical book.

When I stumbled across 'The Reading Habits' tag on Vanilla Crush's blog, I knew this was a tag I would enjoy, so without further ado, here are my answers...

Do you have a certain place at home to read?
I would say if I am at home, always in my bedroom. I wouldn't tend to read in the communal areas of my apartment as reading is a solo activity, and I get pretty in the zone when I've got my head in a book and wouldn't want to appear to be antisocial! I also really enjoy taking a book down to the pool to read in the sun.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
I am a random piece of paper kinda gal...or no bookmark at all! Sometimes I just like to remember where I left off - and then curse at myself when I can't find the right page. I can't abide people who fold the corners of books to mark their page, drives me mad!

Can you just stop reading, or do you have to stop after a chapter or number of pages?
I like to at least finish my paragraph - I would never stop mid-sentence or anything like that! - but I don't feel like I need to finish a chapter before I can put my book down.

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?
I would normally have a bottle of water or a mug of tea to hand if I've settled down for a reading session, but I wouldn't normally eat whilst I read. I would take time out from reading to go and make/get food if I was hungry and have a break, not do the two together.

Do you watch TV or listen to music whilst reading?
Definitely not, a book deserves full attention from its reader.

One book at a time or several at once?
These days, one book at a time as I have been pretty limited to the number of books I have with me in Doha. When I was younger, I used to read a couple at a time depending on my mood, but looking back I'm not sure how I did that!

Reading at home or everywhere?
At home, or at the pool/beach. I get a taxi to and from work and I can't read in the car, and at work I don't tend to take a lunch break so there is no time to read then (or really any place to go to read a book without distraction). When I was living in London and commuting I would always take a book on the over ground and tube with me to pass the time.

Reading aloud, or silently in your head?
Definitely reading silently in my head. I'd sound like a bit of a nutter if I was reading out loud!

Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
No, I like to read each page in order and I have never understood people who skip to the back page first! I may be guilty of skim reading a paragraph occasionally if I'm desperate to get to the good bit but more often than not I just read normally.

Do you ever write in books?
No, never. Even when I was at University I didn't write in any of my course books. I wish I had, as it probably would have really helped me in my lectures and seminars but I have a real thing about damage to books. Even when I buy a book from a shop it has to be in absolutely perfect condition, no creased corners or damaged pages. These days however, I have been guilty of getting suncream on a couple of my books from reading them down at the pool!

If you are a book worm like me, please do the Reading Habits tag and link me to your post!


Saturday, 14 March 2015

As Mothers Day is tomorrow (for us Brits, at least), I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate a whole blog post to my wonderful mum, who just so happens to be my blogs biggest fan!

Not only is she my mum, but my best friend too. How lucky am I?!

I decided to do the Mothers Day tag, where we both answer a short set of the same questions about each other.


What is one of your favourite memories with your daughter?

My favourite memories are when she does silly dancing on our slippery dining room floor
(this always seems to put a smile on my mums face, which is the reason I do it!)

What is your daughters best quality?

Her best qualities are being kind, caring and overly generous.
(n'awww...thanks mum!)

What is your daughters worst habit?

Her worst habit would possibly be when she nags me about dieting!

Do you ever argue?

We wouldn't be natural if we didn't occasionally have a dig at each other

What will you be doing on Mothers Day?

We will be spending the day at home with Matt (my brother...yes I know my brother and bf have the same name), Holly (his wife...yes I know my sister-in-law and I have the same name!), Ryan (my nephew), Ray (my dad) and possibly the dogs. By special request from both Hollys, its spaghetti bolognese with dipping oil and bread.


What is one of your favourite memories with your mum?

I have so many favourite memories with my mum. One that sticks out to me was when she whisked me off on holiday after a particularly bad break up when I was at University. She just said to me, 'we are going on holiday, here's the travel brochure, pick somewhere you would like to go'. We ended up having a brilliant holiday just the two of us in Tenerife, but that act of kindness sums her up. She hates seeing people unhappy and cares so much, and wants to do whatever she can for people.

What is your mums best quality?

She is the most caring, kind and generous person I know (along with my dad of course.) She genuinely can't do enough for people.

What is your mums worst habit?

She can be very stubborn!

Do you ever argue?

Rarely. We will occasionally have a gripe at each other, and I remember one or two big shouting matches between us when I was a horrible teenager thinking I knew best! In recent times I would say no, not really.

What will you be doing on Mothers Day?

We will be spending the day at home with all of the family. Mum is still putting together a dinner for all of us (see what I mean? She's so good to everybody) but we will still spoil her lots. 

Love you Mumma Hen, have a great day!


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

It dawned on me today that I haven't written a blog post since Saturday, and in all honesty it might not be until this Saturday coming that another post goes up.

I've flown back to the UK to surprise my aunt who is very unwell (it was so lovely to see her today in person and give her a big hug after such a worrying month), so blogging understandably isn't really top of my agenda - this week is all about quality time with my family.

I'll be back on top blogging form next week, so I hope you'll join me back here at The Blonde then!


Saturday, 7 March 2015

This week has flown by - I feel like it was only a couple of days ago that I sat down to write last weeks Doha Diaries post. I swear time goes by so much more quickly living out here!

The week kicked off in one of my favourite ways, playing tennis with Marion at the St Regis. This week we had a spectator - a guy came right up to the fence of the courts and stood watching us for a good 25 minutes before Marion shoo'd him away - it was very distracting, and kind of creepy to be honest. I could understand if we were awesome (we will be, one day!!) but it was weird for him to stay watching two complete beginners for as long as he did...but anyway..Ferrari guys last week and staring guy this week, whatever will next week bring!?

I was off work on Monday, so I spent the morning by the pool with Matt before he went to work, and I came back to my place to have a 'getting things done' kind of day (laundry, tidying, you know the drill). I called home and my mum informed me of more bad news regarding my aunt, and I fell to pieces.

When Matt suggested we go to the cinema after he finished work, I was so grateful for the distraction. We went to the Novo Cinema at the Pearl, to the IMAX screening of Focus. It was a really light hearted, easy watch, and I have the biggest girl-crush on Margot Robbie! She's so beautiful.

Afterwards we took a walk around Spinneys whilst we waited for our driver to pick us up - I always find shopping in Spinneys so funny as there are Tesco products everywhere, it's almost like being back in the UK!

Tuesday night was a night that I have been looking forward to for so long. Jemma had managed to track down tickets earlier in the month, and then the day before the concert the very lovely Christoph offered us VIP tickets, to see the amazing Ed Sheeran in the sandpit!

He was incredible. Amazingly talented, not only with the guitar but vocally too. He put on an absolutely phenomenal's just such a shame that for the best part of the concert we had three of the rudest and tallest people in Doha push their way front of us and block our view. Towards the end of the show we moved to the back of the VIP area which was so much better. I've been listening to his album 'X' non stop since!

On Thursday night, Jemma very kindly took me as her plus one to the new members night St Tropez at the Hilton hotel. Marion was away on a business trip, so we got ourselves dressed up and headed out as a duo. I had no idea what to wear, and ended up throwing together a mix of clothes I have had in my wardrobe for ages, and I think they have become one of my new favourite outfits!

It is still way too cold to really enjoy the beach parties (I know people from back home might find that hard to believe when it's 25 degrees in Doha, but you'll just have to trust me on that!) but when it warms up I think St Tropez will become a real nightlife hot spot here in Doha.

It was another one of those nights where we ran into many familiar faces - Doha really is the smallest little bubble.

After a very cold day in the A/C at work on Friday, I hopped straight into my warm pyjamas and crawled in to bed to finish listening to Serial, that really addictive podcast I talked about in my February Favourites post. It's amazing, and I was left with a very strange feeling, almost deflated at the lack of resolution (not a spoiler, as we already know that the accused is currently in prison for allegedly murdering his ex girlfriend). Nothing about the whole thing adds up, from the inconsistent witness stories, to the trial itself, to the fact that the accused has no recollection of his whereabouts on the day. I literally don't know what to think, but it's very interesting that (probably wholly to do with the success of the Serial podcast) the accused has recently been granted a rare hearing in June which may completely change his life. I strongly advise giving the Podcast a listen, you'll be hooked in no time.

Today was a rare day where Marion, Jemma and I were all off work together, so we headed over to Katara for lunch. It was a beautiful, hot day so it was lovely to walk along the sea front.

We decided to eat at Mamig, a beautiful Armenian/Lebanese restaurant, with an exterior bursting with beautiful, vibrant flowers.

This patio was heaving with customers by the time we left, but we sat on the upper terrace, and ordered about half of the menu to share...

Beautiful light salads, delicious grilled halloumi, stuffed vine leaves, cheese and spinach-filled dough, and light Arabic bread.

If you don't fancy eating out on the terrace (it's way too hot unless you are completely in the shade, and come the height of summer it will probably be too hot altogether!), then there is plenty of space indoors where it was equally busy, and where you can spot some very cool decor.

Something sweet was next on the agenda, so we hopped in a golf cart to Chac'late.

I have never eaten at Chac'late before (I've only been inside to gaze longingly at all of the amazing handmade chocolates in the display cabinets) but this could well be my new favourite place.

The cafe was full, but they opened their additional outdoor seating area half an hour early to accommodate for us and the other waiting customers, which was lovely of them. 

Chac'late is situated right behind the amphitheatre, which is an absolutely stunning piece of architecture to look out onto over coffee - or waffles!

Marion opted for the White Mocha...
A Hazelnut Latte for Jemma...

And a Swiss whipped cream hot chocolate for me...easily the best hot chocolate I have had for a long time.

If you are a Doha dweller, this a great spot to grab a coffee. Next time, I'm coming for a waffle!

A lovely end to the week with my team :)

As always, I hope you had a great week, wherever in the world you are reading from!