A letter to my 21 year old self

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With every passing year, my dear Mum is extremely prone to beautiful, profound and heartfelt messages about how extraordinary life is while also gently reminding me that it moves incredibly fast… blink, and you might just miss it.

I have to admit, I didn’t always believe her  when I was a fresh-faced 21-year-old, I always assumed she was being sentimental. In fact, I was almost hoping she was right. I couldn’t wait to get a full-time job to support my endless supply of cosmos and wardrobe second to none (Carrie Bradshaw may or may not have influenced this particular vision)

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I wanted out of university, studying was a chore and I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be just yet. I wanted to live alone, in a city flat filled with music, somewhere I could write and pour myself a drink at 9am just because I could. I wanted to go travelling on my own and be fully independent. I wanted to feel the warm sand wedged between my toes and fresh sea salt in my hair. I wanted everything yesterday and tomorrow couldn’t come quick enough, especially when it was a Thursday night and a Bacardi breezer was cheaper than a pack of chewing gum at the local night club ‘Nightspot’ 

*Blink*

One decade later, lying in my lap in the form of a red velvet cupcake jammed with glitter candles, is the concrete, unfathomable truth. Thirty one. How did I even get here?

As I blow my glistening birthday candles out in one, swift breath, I try to recall my last decade of memories, wishing I could rewind, press play and pause at the moments I wish I could live in forever. Some years a bundle of blur, yet some moments completely vivid.

The nights out, the nights in, the hysterical highs and the rock bottom lows. The moments you are so happy you think your heart might burst then the days you think your heart might break. Moments that seemed insignificant at the time, but even now, you can still feel the hot sun beating against your face, smell the sweet coconut oil dancing through the air and taste the watermelon Daquiri on your super sunburnt lips.


All those small moments that bring you to exactly where you are right this second. Where you were always meant to be.

Just to clarify, I wouldn’t change a single thing about my 20’s.

Partying till dawn, awful matching bowl hair cuts with my best friend, fancy dress theme for any occasion, rocking an over plucked brow while also sporting a boob tube and flat pumps to go to the local gym (Yes, this is fact – what was I THINKING?) 

Life was easy, old enough to know better but young enough to not care. Life was contemplating new shoes for the next gig line up or working out how I managed to come home from that night out with more money than I went out. 

I recently read an interesting article by super model Lily Cole who wrote her younger self a letter before she was scouted. The letter was filled with pointers, words of wisdom, tough love and self-love.

After discussing this subject at great length with my friends over a bottle of gin at 3am, we laughed and nodded approvingly at the answers provided. All completley different and unsuspecting. What advice or words would you give your 21-year-old self? The answers were deep, dignified and down right hilarious. The answers we didn’t have at the time and maybe didn’t need to know.

So, I thought I would share mine with you.

This is a letter to my 21-year-old self from my 31-year-old self.

I’m watching festival crowds scramble from the rain over a pipping hot Starbucks (yes, some things NEVER change) but I do come bearing some mind-blowing news for you.

You ready?

You’re not married. You’re not a millionaire. You don’t have kids or a puppy and you don’t own a car or a Vespa for that matter. You don’t have a job in publishing, photography or at a travel magazine.

You do have the best family and friends, you do have incredible, unconditional love, you do have a cosy flat to call home and you have a job you really like for the first time, um, ever.

Now, you won’t want to change a single thing. Every choice, every path, every turn, every bump along the way has made you, well, you.

But, I want to give you this letter. Little things I want you to know, little reassurances that everything works itself out in the end. I know right now, you might not believe me and you can be incredibly self-righteous but try to listen, ok?

Ahemmmm…

1. Right now, you’re out celebrating your 21st worrying about how patchy the tan on your legs look, how many freckles you have and how you’re having a bad fringe day. STOP. You are beautiful and looks are only skin deep. Get out the bog and go dance to your favourite Arctic Monkeys song, now!

2. Learn to love YOU… know your worth, treat yourself with the respect and love you deserve. #selflove

3. It’s totally OK to put yourself first. You have to learn to say no. It sounds tough, right? You will never please everyone, it will take you years to learn this but it’s a fact.

4. Enjoy your own company, you’ll grow to love it and need it. 

5. Please, do NOT use that home hair die… that golden brown WILL, I repeat will, turn your hair full on black. Ekkkkkk. 

6. You’ll get to see the world and travel… it’s everything you imagined and more. You will learn so much about you. Write down every memory – you’ll want to remember everything!

7. Mum is (usually) always right! Try to listen – she knows what she’s talking about and has your best interests at heart.

8. As each birthday passes, you’ll realise how small you are in this huge, incredible and magically mysterious world. Make it count.

9. It’s never too early to start investing in some good skincare or actually washing your face properly after a night out! Look after your skin and your skin will look after you.

10. Live in the present. Stop worrying about yesterday, you can’t change it. Stop worrying about tomorrow, it’s not happened yet.

11. Soooooo… don’t put that veet for legs on your face, ok? OK? #burnmarks #redmoustache #notpretty #whytho

12. Be kind to everyone, you never know what kind of battles they are fighting.

13. Wear your brace retainer… for the love of god!

14. Don’t be afraid to speak out when you have too, even if your voice is trembling.

15. You’re sometimes a little weird. You’re sometimes a little different. Don’t ever change YOU or try to be someone else.

16. It’s totally ok to make mistakes.

17. You’ll learn so much about the world, people, cultures, politics… always stay interested and help those you can. 

18. Work hard. Keep your head down.

19. Breathe when it all gets too much. It’s OK to not be OK sometimes.

20. Keep hugging, loving and smiling.

21. Boys can be assholes, stay strong and stubborn. Enjoy being single and one day, someone will sweep you off your feet (or get you really drunk, salsa dance you into a frenzy and look at you like no-one else ever has)

Oh, and please lay off that tequila – you may or may not have alcohol poisoning for the next two days.

To the next ten….

Love always,

Ash ❤️ 

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Something good in every day

A few months ago, while glancing through the beautiful, pastel co-ordinated furniture and to die for martini glasses inside Oliver Bonas, I happened to come across a small, bright, eye-catching book while being momentarily distracted from ‘100 gins to try before you die…’ (Wow, I have some damage to do!)

It’s completely normal for me to wonder aimlessly around Edinburgh on my lunch break, just to stare longingly at the new season French Connection sequin dresses or after pay day, go to Anthropologie and treat myself to that totally overpriced but essential bowl that would look GREAT to pop some, eh, olives in.

I stood deep in thought, staring indecisively at the potential purchase in my hand, while clutching onto my champions lunch of a sausage roll and tomato soup combo, obviously. I had a quick flick through the crisp, white pages, wondering if it was a suitable gift for, well, me.

One Sentence a Day‘ instantly appealed to me for a few reasons.


Valid reason number 1:

I have the memory of a goldfish, don’t you wish you were able to remember everything great that ever happened to you? I once completely, mm, disremembered my Dad’s birthday. Oh god, when I see it in black in white that is pretty bad. Well, my Mum and brothers did too so least I ‘m not alone…

Valid reason number 2:

I love diaries. No, I LOVE diaries. Not just my own, but reading peoples thoughts and memories, seeing people’s faces when they remember something from the past they had possibly once forgotten about. Keeping a short one liner of daily occurrences meant I’d be more inclined to write in it too.

Valid reason number 3:

It was £10. I only had £13.78 left in my bank before pay day. I can still afford my gingerbread latte on route to work tomorrow. Oh, and they do such cute gift-wrap, right?

As I peered down at my watch, I realised lunchtime was almost up. I’m probably the most indecisive person on the planet when it comes to a potential purchase, so as you can imagine, I had an intense internal conflict over spending my last £10 on a diary! I proceeded to do that thing. You know, the justifying it to yourself ‘thing.’

‘You deserve this, Ash. Go on, treat yourself. It’ll come in handy… if not you can totally use the paper if you decide to take up the complex arts of origami.’

So, off I walked, out of Oliver Bonas with my new  journal and my head held high! I was buzzing from the rush of my purchase! I was swiftly forced to drop my head down towards the tomato soup massacre I had frustratingly just created at the shops door step and all over some poor girls Nikes. UGH. I’ll remember my first entry at least.

After my face gradually returned to the same colour as my body and not blending in with said tomato soup, I lovingly looked through my new journal.

The concept, is to get you to write down something small each day that is most meaningful to you. A lyric, a drawing, a compliment you gave or received, a moment that made you feel happy or grateful. The reasoning being, is that you focus and pin point one good thing that happened to you that day, every day for 365 days. Then, when the book is finished, you read over what made you happy and feel great and continue to do them – also providing those small, amazing memories we might have otherwise lost over the years (or seconds, shout out to my fellow goldfish readers!)

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They say its the small moments that you remember, not the year, not the week, not the day, but small moments. Just a few happy seconds can stay engrained in your memory forever, which I think, is darn beautiful.

It got me thinking about my ‘stand out’ moments throughout my life. I could essentially be here all day boring you to death with every descriptive detail, but I won’t… I’ll just limit it to a few that may provide some light entertainment.

The time I pretended I could snowboard.

I once upon a time, went snowboarding for the first time in Glasgow Escape. I proceeded to enter slope, with no prior lessons. When up on the slope, I took a deep breath and launched myself off, hoping the people in the restaurant were NOT watching. I fall over, naturally. I land awkwardly and start to cry. *moment I will remember forever* Cool staff snowboarding man ‘Have you ever been snowboarding before?’ Me ‘Err, Of COURSE…!’ Cool staff snowboarding man ‘Cool, just with that fall. Where?’ Me ‘Spain.’


The time the train loo door opened.

On my commute home, roughly 3 years ago, and a bottle of Friday fizz down, I was bursting on the loo after sprinting like Usain to platform 9. No one likes to use a public toilet never mind when it’s going at 80mph! But, desperate times call for desperate measures and all that jazz. I took one big, deep last breath as I entered. You can DO this. I shoved my bag on the hook and quickly started to hover (as I do…) *moment I will remember forever* The darn door swiftly opens as I hadn’t pressed the bloody lock to a crowd of approximately 3 faces looking in, as baffled and embarrassed as I was. I scream. I scramble to shut the door. I DIE inside. That’s perhaps a memory I wish I could forget.

The time I watched sunset on Cable beach, Western Australia.

I was travelling the West coast of Australia in 2011. I remember vividly, sitting down on a rock, with my 5 seeds cider clasped tightly in hand (it was my favourite!) and witnessing the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my entire life. The sky was ablaze with vivid tones of pink, orange and shades of red. There was next to no one there, I had my feet buried deep in the sand and nothing but a rug sack on my back. After a few standard cartwheels, I remember having a moment of complete and utter happiness. I had never felt so free, so alive… so skint!

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I’ve since made a solid dent in my diary with my one-liner entries. Picking the most meaningful moment or thing that happened to me that day could range from coming home to a hug and the person I love after a really tough day to finally mastering the perfect poached egg (it takes a lot of patience and love!) It could be smiling to a stranger in a coffee shop or being alone with nothing but a good book, spoon and a jar of Nutella.

Each day is different. Some days, if something doesn’t quite go my way, instead of thinking it’s the end of the world and drowning in my own self-pity… I love sitting at the end of the night choosing to pick a memory that was meaningful and happy, even if it was for a split second. Every day might not be good, but there is something good in every day, right? I guess it’s all about perspective. Since writing in my journal, every so often, you are instructed to look back on your entries, I always do with a smile on my face (especially at the day I almost nailed ‘Gangsters paradise’ for the first time #karaokegoals)

Choose to live in the small moments, because those are the ones we look back on, not the weeks or days. Choose to create the moments, the ones you won’t realise you were in until time passes. If you are lucky enough, you’ll make thousands of them in your life time. The big ones, the small ones, the life changing ones… the one’s that you didn’t realise were important until you do.

So, I encourage you to write. Write about all the good, hopefully not too much of the bad, the indifferent, the great. The memories, the moments, the ones you’ll never forget.

Keep them close to your heart… and write them down, even if it is just one sentence a day.

xxxx


 

Turning 30

30. Big 3-0. THIRTY. 3 decades.

If someone was to ask me then, what 30 year old me would be doing now, I would have said that I’d probably be married with kids, possibly a small dog or three, living in the city… or maybe I’ll move to New York or Paris! I’ll have enough money to work for only 6 months a year and travel the rest! That, was my understanding of where I would be at 30. To be honest, I thought of it as a bracket I didn’t want to be ticking my age group off as. I clearly hadn’t heard of inflation and thought money grew on trees.

My 20’s.

Circa 2006, I vividly remember having a haircut to rival Rod Stewart and a polka dot neck scarf I would wear so tight, who needed bourjois blusher? Blazers and boob tubes were all the rage and I had one in every colour. My early 20’s, I can honestly say are some of my favourite memories. I spent most of my time with friends, habitually frolicking around local clubs and frequenting bars for the cheapest deal on a long vodka, not thinking twice about walking a mile further to get the best deals on a pitcher of cheeky vimto.

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The girls and I thought we knew it all… and some more. Lip gloss, check. Orange palm from OTT tanning, check. Side fringe, check. £10 for the night out and coming home with some change for a chippy, check.

Parading around town dressed up for any occasion was a frequent occurrence. And when I say any, I mean ANY. Sailor for your birthday you say? Greek goddess for a house warming? Why not! Holiday to Portugal – let’s wear matching florescent tutu skirts! (I mean, we did get quite a lot of attention from the locals, for all the wrong reasons!)

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My worst faux pas, had to be the time the girls and I casually hired a limo take us to Glasgow and my Moulin Rouge theme was verging nudity, thank god our hi tech cameras then consisted of a £3 job throwaway from Semi-chem!

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Tennis player… if you hadn’t guessed already.

I was earning money and BOY was I spending it. Topshop was my weakness. Every weekend, I would run to my best friend’s house and we would raid each other’s wardrobe before we went out on the Saturday night to the local ‘nightclub’ (when I say nightclub, I mean a small sticky floor with mirrored walls – but wow, did we LOVE that place!) We sometimes, on the odd occasion, raided my mums – I still to this day have pictures of us hanging off each other sporting dresses from ‘Wallis’ or ‘M & S’ god forbid anyone was to know (excluding my mum – who often found items of clothing mysteriously reappeared in her room sporting new cigarette burns and red cola cube stains.) I wished away a majority of my earlier birthdays in our old haunt, secretly wishing there was more to life than swaying to Journey while washing it down with tequila rose.

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And so on the early 20’s progressed, moving in with one of my best friends. Two, single, independent women, moving to the bright lights of Armadale, a cosy 2 bed house… the world was our oyster! We thought we were adults. We lived off our emergency heating most days and ate cous cous or cereal for dinner. I think I laughed like a mad woman most days while I watched our lives pan out in front of us, the mishaps, the silliness, the hangovers, the uncooked chicken. We once managed to lock ourselves out after a night out in Glasgow. Cue us running through our neighbour’s garden (with CCTV that we were blissfully unaware of!) Me, trying to jump over the 6ft fence and getting stuck while said neighbour runs out with a hammer and a baseball bat to ‘do us in’ with Julie hiding in the bushes somewhere. We bonded with the neighbour after that incident. We laughed we would always live together and that really does feel like yesterday.

From flat adventures to travelling. My mid-twenties were my prime travelling years. I turned 26 as I was heading home from my time away and remember my mum saying it was time for me to get back to reality. So, I moved to rent a flat in Edinburgh and booked a flight with the girls to Ibiza. Ibiza is reality, right?

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While we were there, I remember feeling out the loop. Not down with the cool kids. We clearly missed the memo on the bumbags – but for the first time, I really didn’t care. I also remember, myself and the girls talking about how we felt ‘old’. And THAT, my friends, was the first time I genuinely worried about turning 30! Someone did mention we looked too old to be in Amnesia… cue defense mode and writing him off as clearly being on hallucinogenics.

My 29th birthday.

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What? Wait a minute… but, I was only 21 like 2 seconds ago? On my birthday last year, I had a shiver when my Dad brought it to my attention… that it was my LAST year in my twenties (like I didn’t know that, thanks!)

From then, it lurked in the back of my mind, just like when Donald Trump was running for President, it was there, but you don’t think it’ll ever really HAPPEN, or anytime soon for that matter. It wasn’t clear just what was round the corner but that number put the fear of death inside me. Saggy skin? Sunken eyes? No bladder control and puffy ankles? Verbal diarrhoea, cat lady and wrinkles?

OH GOD.

And before I actually had a clue what was going on, 2 jobs, a flat, a full year later and BAM. I was 30.

I woke up to a FaceTime with my family while in Dubrovnik. Before answering, I caught a glimpse of my slightly pink, 30 year old self staring back at me. But, wait a minute. I looked the same. Infact, some might say my hair looks better now than when I was in my early 20’s. Also, my makeup skills have flourished, the ‘clown’ look is so 2007. My skin has small lines but they are laughter I’ve had over the last 10 years that I would never change. I’m a lot more confident now than I was when I was 20. I have a home, it might not be a house in the city but it’s a flat filled with love. I have a dog… he may only be a door stopper but he’s a dog. Felicity the fern may not be a baby, but she’s a responsibility. Don’t water her for 2 weeks and she may start to cry!

I still feel 20 at heart. The lines on my face may run deeper, but that’s because they have a better story to tell. 30 feels no different to any other birthday (well, I did get treated to a weekend in Croatia, but hey, that could happen every year right?!) I had a kick ass time at Hemma, with my kick ass friends, playing kick ass beer pong and feeling pretty lucky that over those 10 years… I’ve made some pretty amazing friends in the process.

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All in all. For any of my friends or bloggers or anyone that are currently worrying about age, how you look, who you’ll become and if you’ll have it all sussed out by 30? Don’t. The best is yet to come and a number does not define us. It’s all relative. It’s knowing yourself and not worrying what the world will think of you. It’s learning that it happens to us all, embrace every second and LIVE it.

Dubai Diaries

Before it all went pete tong.

Before it all went pete tong.

It was no secret that I was going to Dubai from the very second Emirates accepted my credit card payment – well, post initial panic that I had booked the wrong dates that is. I casually screeched the news at my parents, text my ever-so-interested friends, dropped it into conversation at my local newsagent. I didn’t hold back in letting any of my clients at work know either  ‘What was that Mildred? You’re watering your plants? Cool. Well, err, I’m actually going to Dubai in a few weeks… don’t know if I’ve already mentioned it? BEAT THAT SISTER!’

Some might say I was pretty casual about the whole holiday scenario, not hyper at all, nope, not me. It was a new adventure, a new beautiful destination, a huge change of scenery and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love getting a bit of sunshine at this time of year when it’s this miserable at home?

Our best friend Steph, moved out to Dubai around a year and a half ago for work which:

1) Left the team a vital man down and us in tears (I only wear waterproof mascara when she is around now)

2) Now means we get THE best presents from Victoria’s Secrets AND cheap booze home at the holidays

3) Provided us with the perfect excuse to go over and visit any time we wanted and see her face

So, with the latter in mind, the girls and I booked a flight in hope that we got to see this new, amazing, glamorous, surreal lifestyle our friend was now living, additionally in hope that we would not be arrested or detained for being our drunk and disorderly good selves. Amen.

Before I knew it, Jill and myself were throwing back our last-minute ciders and pizza at Glasgow airport while making a run for the departure gate (In our heads, we had champagne and oysters at the emirates lounge – we shouldn’t have pinned our hopes on an upgrade) Once on the plane and a ‘good few’ complimentary vodkas in, we were high as a kite… or an Emirates flight for that matter.

I found myself sandwiched in the middle seat on the 8 hour flight. To my right aisle, an elderly woman named Cynthia, who managed to tell me her intriguing life story in between very regular toilet breaks and requesting vast amounts of gin and tonic. To my left window, my partner in crime Jill, who found it rather hilarious to press my assistance buttons to order alcohol continuously throughout the flight – which left me looking like an extravagant economy class diva. We found ourselves in a pretty great position to hear a frantic woman a few rows behind us in a very entertaining screaming and shouting match. Apparently, her brand new white converse had been subject to spillage and that someone (I felt sorry for whoever the someone was) owed her £56 pounds due to accidental red wine damage. It went on for a few minutes until the now burgundy converse owner threw her napkin directly at the flight attendant demanding cash from someone! What a hustler! People around us whispered and rolled their eyes ‘She better shut it – she’s going to get arrested!’

After the drama had dissolved and the 8 hours worth of vodka and hilarity was starting to wear off, came in an announcement from the captain. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts and prepare for… the feeling of the warm sun against your skin, the taste of ice-cold daiquiris and mojitos and an ache in your feet from dancing the night away! Cabin crew, will you please take your seats.’ And buckle up we did, because it was going to be one hell of a journey.

Now, I don’t know exactly what I had in my mind for Dubai, but what I saw when I arrived exceeded every image I ever had and any expectation I ever had. We checked into a hotel in the city centre on our first day (rooftop pool, oh, HI!) then we headed down to the dream that is JBR beach. After making it in one piece through crazy Dubai traffic, we arrived to a beautiful, picture perfect beach on a 30 degree day with barely a cloud in sight.

As we lay down on the sand, sunglasses on, I remember thinking that I wish my life was made of small moments like that, just simple, but perfect. Best friends, laughing over nothing, swimming in the water, eating frozen yoghurt with our toes in the sand while singing along to some classic ‘Return of the Mac’ channelling our inner Mark Morrison’s. It all felt pretty surreal. Camels and banana boats to the left of me, Jill’s nose stuck in 50 shades of Grey to the right, towering sky scrapers behind me with a crystal clear sea rolled out in front and as far as the eye could see.

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I felt like someone had picked me up and dropped me on the front cover of a First Choice holiday brochure it was so beautiful.. minus the fact I was blinding passers-by I was so pale and that I was also sweating rather profusely. To overt attention away from the fact I was both sweaty and white (super attractive, right?) I talked Gail into coming to do some hand stands down near the water with me and being the absolute sweetheart she is, agreed to even get involved. Now folks, I must admit that I’m usually a pro at the old hand stands and cartwheels. I mean, I used to do them around my room up until, I don’t know, like a few months ago… sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch me whip out a cheeky handstand on a night out.

So, there I was, trying to look all Beyonce ‘Drunk in Love’ on the beach incorporating a bit of a Jay-Z swagger walking down to the water. Gail signalled that she was ready to take the pictures even though there was about 10 people with kids who stopped to watch me. First handstand, nope, didn’t get it right. Damn it! The pressure was now on, people were peering over there sun glasses in anticipation of this girl, on the beach, with crazy concentration levels while making random acrobatic movements. Jeez, how does Louis Smith do it with all these people watching?

Second attempt, YES, I was up, perfect picture. Oh, no…noo… to far over! I suddenly managed to flip into some sort of weird crab position, landing on the solid, wet, wet sand, THUD. The population of JBR beach must have thought an off the Richter scale earthquake had hit or perhaps that some large mammal had found itself beached on the shore. I had winded myself pretty badly. I let out a loud squeal, a squeal so high-pitched that I’m sure the dolphins were tuning in on my frequency. OUCH. I crawled back to my towel as onlookers scurried on.

Now, I was more like Beyonce ‘Sober in Pain’ with a bit of Jay-Z who’s just been kicked in the nads swag. Oh, not to mention that I had sand indented into my back for about a day.

And that kids, is how it’s done.

After an amazing dinner at Steph’s favourite place at JBR ‘The Cheesecake factory’ (any type of cheesecake imaginable with portions of food the size of your HEAD) we headed backs to the hotel to get our glam on for our first night out in Dubai at ‘The Address.’ It was ladies night. For those of you who, like me, love cosmopolitans, good music, great surroundings and more importantly FREE booze – it’s your dream. When we arrived, the view was breath-taking. Dubai’s skyline mesmerized me so much, I almost forgot that we could get free cocktails for 4 hours. The four of us gathered around a small candle lit table with an abundance of cosmos, chat, laughs and some seriously questionable dance moves.

We were on a roll, the minute one had finished, we were back up a the bar, nudging our way in for our delicious freebies. As I was standing, quietly minding my business while trying to gauge the attention of the bar staff, a rather odd-looking man held out his hand to some fast paced salsa song and tried to dance with me. Now, when I say dance, I mean drag me around the floor, spinning me around in hope that maybe I knew a few ‘moves’ which clearly, I didn’t. After a polite smile and a few thumbs up while pointing over to the girls with my drinks from the bar, I managed to make my speedy get away. He then proceeded to walk up to the table, tried to plant a kiss on my cheek during which he managed to spray half his whisky drink all over me! Smooth. I mean, was it not bad enough when prince charming almost pulled my arm out my socket trying to salsa me into a frenzy, he felt the need to share his drink with me too? Before I understood what happened, he was gone, leaving nothing but Gail and I howling with laughter at the bizarre, unnecessary yet hysterical scene we had just witnessed. Shortly after, the free bar closed and we made our way to the next destination… maybe not quite as sober as we had arrived.

This time, we headed for Baristi beach to catch some last drinks before home time. Inside there was a sea of unrecognizable faces, a cloud of sheisha filled the air, the beach waves just a minute wonder from the bar… it just oozed beach-bum brilliance. We only stayed for a few drinks as we had a long day ahead of us on the Friday for our Brunch and we had been warned not to get too carried away by our resident tour guide Steph, so we all grabbed a taxi and headed back to the hotel.

Now, most people, would have went to bed, it was already after 2 am. After Steph left us to go home, Gail, Jill and myself decided we weren’t so tired after all and were still up for carrying on the party. We headed down with our free drinks token to Nelson’s bar within the hotel where we were greeted by a bouncer and a couple of I.D checks (brownie points already, Nelson’s!)

Inside, there was a nautical theme. I felt like I was on a boat and no, it wasn’t because of the shots we had just downed at the bar. After claiming our free drinks, we were told that we only had about 45 minutes left. So, we grabbed our vodkas, presented our best dance moves in the middle of the floor to the likes of Aerosmith and Katy Perry – I think at one point we were cuddling each other in the middle of the floor screeching in true karaoke style ‘And I don’t wanna miss a thingggg.’ Thankfully, the bouncer separated us and told us to ‘make fast tracks.’

While on route back to the hotel room, we suddenly thought, what better night-cap than another Jager bomb? I mean, that will definitely put us right to sleep.

As we made a pit stop at the overcrowded bar, we bumped into Rob. Rob, bless him, was a retired architect who had been working between Abu Dhabi and Dubai most his life. He was late 60’s early 70’s and from Glasgow, so, when he heard our accents he was overjoyed and keen to chat to us. Funny that, isn’t it? I guess it’s much like finding a can of Irn Bru on holiday, you know it’s going to be there somewhere, it’s just SO exciting when you find it, a piece of home, some familiarity.

Rob had on a worn baseball cap, his white free-flowing hair peering out from underneath, sitting just to the shoulder of his vivacious Hawaiian oversized shirt. He was slim, a chain smoker and enjoyed talking about politics. The deep lines around his long face told a story and boy, did he have a few for us. We bought Rob a few Jagers in exchange for tales about his time in Dubai. After asking if any of us were single and verging on creepy man territory, the girls and I sobered up ever so slightly and made the eyes at each other. You know, when you need removed from a situation immediately? Yup, those one’s. After being moved on by the bouncers anyway, we said our goodbyes to our new-found friends at Nelson’s and eventually made our way up to bed…

Our big brunch day out was now only a few hours off and I had a feeling we might not be as fresh as we originally promised. My mind was racing and I couldn’t sleep with excitement… or was that the vast consumption of red bull? Our first day in Dubai had been absolutely amazing, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the holiday. I didn’t want to close my eyes as I didn’t want the day to be over. After a few minutes, I eventually managed to drift off into a deep sleep with nothing but the cities bright lights left on… Oh, yeah, and my data roaming.