Warts’n’all Holiday Food Diary…

Dublin : London : Dubai

What an adventure! My big brother Raymond Martin is taking me on holiday to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to celebrate my 50th birthday.

I’m giddy with excitement and because I’m going to be out of my routine, my mate Vera Baker has suggested I keep a food diary (warts and all) while I’m away. She has very kindly offered to give me some advice and the occasional reminder, not to lose the run of myself! ?

I’ve decided to post my food diary here. Comments are open and you’re welcome to make suggestions too. Vera runs a motivational weight loss blog which you can check out at www.veras5.com. 









Day 1 – Thurs 

The holiday started well with porridge and fruit for breakfast at Dublin Airport.

‘Crash landed’ in London with 2 mini pork pies for lunch. They were a favourite treat when I was a kid in England, and today Ray met me with a packet at Gatwick Airport, when I flew in from Dublin.

Went out for dinner and decided to go vegetarian (feeling guilty about the pork pie). I chose mushroom risotto, which I’d never had before. It was gorgeous. So gorgeous that I bet it had a tonne of calories!

Daily Drinks: I love the way you can order ‘small’ glasses of wine in the UK. I had two!  / 3litres of water / 2 cups of black coffee.

Day 2 – Fri 


My Big Brother treated me to a grilled British Breakfast with Porky White pork sausages, scrambled eggs, lean back bacon rasher, and black pudding. Did you know black pudding is classed as a ‘super food’ now? Or so my brother tells me!

Breakfast was such a big meal that I didn’t feel hungry for hours. But I’m flying out to Dubai tonight and I decided to eat before I left, to stop me eating something silly at the airport! I had chopped berries, half a banana and a handful of crushed oats with Greek yogurt.

Dinner was on the plane. I had Nićoise salad starter, chicken and veg main, I gave away my bread and wine – but I indulged in the little pot of chocolate cherry mousse.

Daily Drinks: Freshly squeezed orange juice / 2 filter coffees / 3 litres of water.

Day 3 – Sat 

London – Dubai – Abu Dhabi 

Chatted for hours on the Airbus380, knowing I was missing a night’s sleep, but too excited to be tired. Arrived into Dubai and grabbed a bowl of porridge with honey, and a black coffee at ‘Costa‘, before catching a coach and an hour’s sleep, en-route to Abu Dhabi.

Lunch came a couple of hours later at “Le Boulanger”, Corniche, Abu Dhabi. Freshly grilled fish and prawn tastes even better when you’re sitting in a seaside restaurant in 26 degrees!

Dinner was a phenomenon. A buffet at the Rosewater Restaurant, Eihad Towers was an Aladdin’s cave of ‘all you can eat’ delight. I think I was remarkably restrained, filling up with a side plate of salad for starters.

I had beef, shrimp, roasted root veg & spinach for main.  I didn’t go back for second helpings and I avoided dessert and the chocolate fountain.

What Vera said:

Looks fab Teena you are making great choices. And you are right to fill up with salads and veg. If you don’t feel satisfied (by the portion and the taste) after your starter and main, dessert can be very tempting and a lot more damage will be done by a plate of chocolate dessert than a plate of salad.

Daily Drinks: 2 glasses of wine with dinner / 3 litres of water.

Day 4 – Sunday 

Abu Dhabi: 

Kicked off the day with a banana, then dashed out to pick up a hire-car and visit the Grand Mosque. Got it badly wrong at lunch. Ended up in a burger bar asking for a grilled breast of chicken with extra salad; which turned out to be chicken in a bun with cheese and bacon. I don’t think they quite got the concept!

What Vera said:

Come on you can do a lot better than that. Bet you’ll be hungry again within an hour!! It’s all riding on dinner ?

Kept it light at Dinner with salmon & salad with tomato and feta salsa and an egg-plant dip @ Jones The Grocer, Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi.

What Vera said:

 ?Much better Good Job ?

Daily drinks: 1/2 cider / 2 glasses white wine / 2litres water.

Day 5 – Monday 

Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa 

Meusli and yogurt for  breakfast before driving to Dubai.

Lunch was a savage affair at Ribs & Rump in Dubai Mall, where the menu featured steak, ribs, chicken, sausage and egg – all on one plate. ?

I kept it tidy and had a 200g striploin with a Greek salad.

What Vera said:



We visited the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa and took the tour to floor 124 – then decided to KEEP GOING!
We went all the way to 555 metres – level 148 – THE WORLD’s HIGHEST OUTDOOR OBSERVATION DECK!

We were greeted by lime juice and petit fours. I had one tiny macaroon the size of a euro coin, and refused any more.

After watching the amazing Dubai Fountains Lightshow, both from 555m in the sky and then again at ground level, we hit the road back to Abu Dhabi.

We stopped for petrol and supper along the way.  There was a drive-thru McDonalds, but we stopped in a shop beside it instead and I had strawberries, black coffee and a warm tuna salad wrap.

It’s been a truly amazing day, and I have amazing memories to bring away.  It would have been easy to go crazy with the amount of food on offer today and the petrol stop etc., but I didn’t.  I ate well and feel good after a stunning day when the highlights were, friendship, family and new experiences.  Love it!

Daily Drinks; 2 litres water, 2 black coffees, 1 cappuccino & 1 lime juice.

Day 6 – Tuesday

The  Jumeirah Palm, Dubai & Emirates Palace, Abu Dabai.

Today is my last full day in the UAE (for now). The diet hit a speed bump this morning but I hope I put the brakes on relatively quickly!

We had an early start and I had smoked sausage and lentil salad for breakfast at 0600.  By 0900 I was having coffee in the Aquarium  at the ATLANTIS HOTEL, Jumeriah Palm, Dubai and ordered what I thought was the simplest thing on offer, ‘an almond croissant’ – mistake – I could taste the sugar and butter having a fiesta in my tongue but I ate every last crumb. Never tasted anything like it!

Some fast driving by the brother and we’re back in Abu Dhabi for lunch at the St Regis Hotel.  Bearing in mind ‘the croissant incident’ I kept it light with a grilled Halloumi salad.

This evening for dinner at the Hiltonia Beach Club  I had a tandoori mixed grill:  with locally caught King Fish, shrimp, chicken and lamb chop, cooked in Vasco’s tandoori oven. White rice and Indian cabbage and carrot vegetable salad; raita & mango chutney.

I had two glasses of red wine and no starter or dessert.

What Vera said (at the end of all six days):

Teena you have done so well, yes there were a few high cal/fat choices along the way but all in all for an extravagant holiday you have been very reserved. I’m so proud of you ????????

  • Communicorp
  • Danone
  • Irish Farmers’ Journal
  • Dublin Airport Authority
  • WeightWatchers, Ireland
  • Limerick City & County Enterprise Board
  • ‘Foot In The Door’ Media Trainer for Independent Commercial Radio, Ireland
  • Clare County Enterprise Board
  • Carlow County Enterprise Board
  • Great Outdoors
  • Adrian Hendroff ‘From High Places’
  • Chernobyl Children International
  • Concern Ireland
  • The Hope Foundation
  • LauraLynn Childrens’ Hospice
  • Travel Department
  • Helly Hansen Killarney Adventure Race
  • 98FM Dublin
  • Newstalk
  • TodayFM Radio
  • Learning Waves Skillnet
  • BCFE, Ballyfermot
  • Pat Falvey, 'The Summit Book'