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If you forgot to pack sunblock, there is nothing to worry about. It’s readily available here in Qatar. But perhaps a little more pricey than back home.

Available in nearly all pharmacies and large supermarkets, a decent sunblock will cost around QAR 57 (GBP 11, USD 15, EUR 13, 818 Peso).  And please, please, please make sure you put it on. Or your vacation may be a painful one.


I was afraid that by now my motivation to keep fit by walking would be diminishing, and the fitness watch bought for me by my son would be just another piece of tech gathering dust. But here is the thing, not only am I still motivated, the watch is actually pushing me harder and harder.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 and I love it. My son has an Apple Watch and he loves it. I am not promoting one brand or the other as these days they all have similar functionality and features. Also it doesn’t matter if like me you just need something to get you moving again, or if you are a fitness freak like my son, these watches really do help at all levels.

Because of the data being fed to me by the watch, I am able to plan my walks better. TheScreenshot_20170614-191216 maps help me refine routes that give me the distances I need and that are interesting and enjoyable to walk.

The live announcements coming from the watch through my Bluetooth headphones while I am walking, help me to decide if I’m going to speed up or slowdown to avoid over doing it before getting back home.

And even on days that I am supposed to be resting, I still try and meet the minimum activity required to keep the watch happy.

In just 2 weeks I can see that my heart rate stays a little lower during workout and recovers a little faster afterwards, and that my speed has increased from 4.5 km/h to 5.3 km/h. This information is what helps me to see benefit from effort. This is what helps me to want to do better. This is why even on days where I don’t feel like going out, I push myself out the door because I don’t want my inactivity being recorded. And once out the door I am always glad that I made the effort.

Also because the watch has all the sensors required built in (including GPS), I no longer take my phone with me. When walking fast the phone bouncing around in my pocket became very annoying. So I popped some good music onto my watch and paired my Bluetooth headphones to the watch instead of my phone and started leaving the phone behind. Which is quite liberating in itself, as this is now the only time when you cannot contact me in any way whatsoever. Before I was always 100% available as I never turn my phone off, and always had it with me.

This is one of the best pieces of tech I have had in a long time. I will continue to blog my relationship with my watch in the coming weeks.


Actually it’s an early birthday present as my birthday is not until the end of the month. But he wanted me to have it early to try and prevent me dying before the 29th June.

Now here is the thing; My son is a fully qualified personal trainer. He is a dietitan and a complete health and fitness freak. He trains some of Qatar’s elite in a gym appropriately named Q Gym Elite here in Doha. And that gym has very kindly given me completely free use of their facilities. But I don’t go to the gym, and my son is afraid that his constant nagging about my health will stress me to the point where the stress actually kills me.

So he cunningly bought me this watch to try and get me moving again. He knows I love data and information, and figured the watch would motivate me to at least walk.

It worked. I love the watch. And it is indeed motivating me to walk regularly and vigorously.

At present I am walking 4km a day at a fast pace. I am capable of more, but don’t want to pick up an injury from over doing it. So I am being sensible. I know if I push, something will get strained or torn or worse. And I don’t want to have to rest because of injury and never start again. Which is what happened when I injured my ankle back in 2014: 3 months after injuring my foot it’s still agony and now it’s starting to go numb in places, so off to @HMC_Qatar I go

I’m loving the data/feed back from the watch. I love the maps, the graphs and the motivating messages. And apart from my poor aching legs, I’m loving getting out there.

One of the nice things about the Samsung Health APP, is it encourages you to grab a photo of your workout. So recently while out walking I have used my phone to grab shots of stuff that will help me remember the route I was taking.

Soon enough you will learn from me if this latest fitness effort is just a fad or a long term commitment. Obviously my son wants it to be long term to try and keep me alive as long as he can. And I hope the technology keeps me motivated by showing me improvements as they happen. I will report back again in a month.

On the very day that my juicer arrived I had a health scare, the symptoms I’m experiencing make me believe I could have possibly have had a minor stroke.

I started feeling ill at 5 o’clock in the morning, I was dizzy to the point of not being able to walk. I decided to take the day off work, and hopped the dizziness would subside. Which it did. But not completely. As the day progressed my dizziness reduced enough to allow me to walk and function normally but with a light headed fatigued cloudiness around everything I did.

I so wanted my juicer to arrive. I so wish it had arrived the day before. Perhaps if I had started my detox the day before I would not have fallen ill. In the last couple of weeks stress at work (that’s my excuse anyway) had me smoking like a chimney, and comfort eating to excess, oh and a couple of drinking sessions were in there as well. All this self-abuse was in my mind what had caused me to fall ill. And now I was counting on my juice diet to get me back on track.

My juicer arrived at 6 o’clock that evening. My new toy had arrived but I was feeling too unwell to play with it very much. Nonetheless something was going to get juiced. The apple juice, carrot juice and tomato juice were absolutely amazing. Celery juice and cucumber juice were shall we say interesting. But as I was feeling unwell the fun didn’t last for long before I went to bed with a belly full of random juices.

The next day I woke feeling no better. But I got up and made my first real green juice made First Juicewith apples cucumber celery and some parsley with a small cube of ginger. Today was the start of my 60 day juice diet. It had begun!

Whilst not tasting particularly amazing it was palatable. And having drunk a pint of green stuff I did at least feel full. I kept thinking that hopefully a couple of days drinking all these amazing nutrients and I would start to feel better again. However I still felt very unwell and those around me bullied me into going to hospital for some tests.

I was in hospital from 10 in the morning till six at night. I had all the tests you would expect for the symptoms I was showing, and unfortunately they all came back as normal. This was exceedingly good news! I cannot tell you how relieved and happy I was. Even today I’m still dizzy but the knowledge that I have not had a stroke has made me so much happier. And although I regret wasting the hospitals valuable time for an entire day, I’m so glad I went. And the peace of mind I have now was well worth the day of discomfort. When I got home from hospital I made another green juice, stuck a straw in a young coconut, and drank the two before going to bed.

Today I feel no better. I’m still dizzy, fatigued, tired, and miserable. And all I want to do is nothing. But this morning I made another green juice with celery, cucumber, spinach leaves and apple with a small piece of ginger. And having drunk that, once again at least I feel full. My body is getting more nutrients than it has been in a very long very long time. And I just hope that in the coming days all these nutrients are going to make me start to feel better.

Oh and yes I have cut out the cigarettes and booz. So let’s hope tomorrow morning I wake and start to feel the benefits.