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Monday, April 8, 2013


Hope you all had a good Easter.

Andy hosted a great quiz night, the day before Good Friday, a record turn out of 63 people, and a record amount of money raised which was great, fun had by all, and plenty of drinks to celebrate afterwards!!

It was a very long day for me with a meeting in the morning, then I went to a women's conference before the quiz. The conference was good, some inspiring guest speakers, some networking, a free book and a couple of glasses of wine. Got to know the founder of the women’s networking group that I went with, we really got on well and she’s invited me to speak at one of the events in June about finance, so that could be a really good opportunity for me.

On Good Friday, we went for a very posh dinner at The Cut restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel in Beijing. We’d won vouchers from a magazine (surprise surprise!!) for a champagne brunch, but they stopped doing brunches recently, so they apologised & invited us to use the vouchers for a dinner instead. We got dressed up, arrived to a welcome cocktail from the Manager to apologise for the confusion, and then gave us the menu – wow….!!!The restaurant is famous for its steak, so several pages were dedicated to information about steaks, what part of the cow it was from, what country, the grading, the marbling etc. etc. Then when they came to take the order, the brought a tall narrow drawer with them, with 6 different drawers showing you the steak. The waitress had a spotlight too and showed you the cut of the meat and explained the marbling and so on, quite an education.

We chose our starter & main course, with some sides, and got a couple of extra entrees too, and some fresh baked bread rolls. The steak was by far the best steak I’ve ever had, which was a fillet mignon, Andy had a T bone & very much enjoyed his too. Perfectly cooked (I daren’t go for my usual 'well done’ please, the chef had come out to talk to us & we discussed that wasn’t the way forward!!!).  All washed down with a glass of red wine, followed by the most indulgent chocolate fondant desert, wow……. The staff were all very attentative, and the food excellent. A very enjoyable evening.

On Saturday a friend of ours who owns an art gallery, had invited us to the opening of a new exhibition. It was quite far out of town, so a bus was put on to get us there. A lovely afternoon, with wine, cheese, meat, speeches and a good chance to see the art district, it was the proper art district rather than the more touristy 798 area that we go to.

Back on the bus to town for pre-dinner cocktails, before we went to a leaving party. Our friend Dale is moving to Shanghai, although he’ll be back frequently for business, and our friend Joel who has just taken a new job there too. Any excuse for a party, so 22 of us went to a local Thai restaurant, all in deal for 4 courses & free flow wine & beer, for 20. A few drinks in a nearby bar afterwards, and we waved them both goodbye.

Easter Sunday (after sending Andy out to find hot cross buns, very delicious but they'd want to be for around 6!!) a few of us girlies were supposed to go to brunch, but it didn’t really work out – so I decided to go & take some photographs of Andy’s event which this month was laser quest shooting! I will let him explain more about that!! I got cold after a while as it was a dismal day, so a couple of hours watching them run around I headed back home.

Last Wednesday I met Tracey for dinner at our favourite Italian for a lasagne fix, whilst Andy met some friends for the quiz night.

We didn’t get Easter off, but we did have last Thursday & Friday off for the Tomb Sweeping Festival, Qingming which means ‘clear and bright’. People visit the graves of their ancestors, pay respect to the dead at their tombs & hold memorial services in honour. People also spend time cleaning the grave area, and decorate them with fresh flowers.  It’s also a time to celebrate the new season, and the onset of warmer weather with family outings, kite flying, dancing, picnics etc.

Thursday morning I headed for a foot massage, 70 mins for 8, bargain. Then met Andy for lunch, the plan was to head to the lake area for a wander, but it started to rain, so we went to the market shopping instead! Still raining, and tired from bargaining in the market we of course, went to the pub! Met up with lots of friends and stayed in there until the evening, moving to another bar for some food. It rained all night long, and freshened up the air which was nice.

On Friday Tracey & I decided to go out on an adventure. And what an adventure it was……!! She had found a temple that looked good to visit, the websites told us the bus number, and that it went straight there – so it looked fairly easy…. We boarded the bus at 9.30am with lots of Chinese people, some with cameras & looking like they were packed up for the day, it looked promising. A couple of hours on the bus, nothing seemed obvious, and only a few people were getting on & off. Heading closer to the mountains, we saw sections of the Great Wall, wondering if this was in fact the destination for the bus, and not the Temple! We turned off the main road, and arrived at an attraction – we discovered that it was Qinglong Gorge, and not a temple at all! All got off the bus, after 2 & a half hours!! What a fantastic day, the gorge was great – walked along part of it by the water, then saw a massive dam approaching. We climbed the steps by the side of the dam to the top, and looked at the great views across the lake / reservoir and the mountains in the distance. A few boats on the lake, and some bungee jumping and a zip wire across. We watched these for a while, enjoying the fresh air & open space, before wandering to the cable cars. Several paths led to parts of the great wall, so we decided as we’d walked a fair way already we’d get the cable car up to the top. I’m ok with heights; Tracey isn’t so much, a bit like Andy, doesn’t like the edges but decided she’d be ok. We went some way up, and thought that was it, before crossing a ridge over a big gorge where we were really high up – it seemed to be a big wind tunnel too & there were we, hanging & swinging in the wind, that even I didn’t like it!! 10 min trip to the top, couldn’t wait to get off!! The views were worth it thought, stunning scenery across the mountains, lakes, countryside, and parts of the great wall. Tracey decided there was no way in this world that she was going to get the cable car back down, so we walked back down the mountain which took nearly an hour & was very hard going! I am still aching now 3 days later!! Again, great scenery but wow we were tired & glad to be back on the bus home! Sadly, the bus stopped half way to transfer us onto another route, where we got stuck on the ‘express’way, which wasn’t express at all, and it took us 3 & a half hours to get home…… Falling through the door at 7.30pm very weary! Andy took me straight out for a Chinese dinner & a much needed beer, ran me a bath back home, and put a DVD on to watch. Needless to say I fell asleep!!

Saturday we met a couple of friends in town for coffee & brunch, before heading to go karting, to try out a new track for Andy’s next Internations event. Again, I’ll leave the boys stuff for him to tell you about!

Sunday was a lazy brunch with crumpets & baked eggs at the Big Smoke, before heading off to the lakes. Andy’s moped had to be fixed as did my bike, so we sorted that out first before heading to Houhai on the moped, a good wander, a beer, and dumplings & hot pot potatoes at Mr Shi’s, lush!

An Sunday evening in for me, nice catching up with Mum & Dad on the phone, Andy had to meet a client for some paperwork in the evening, so combined that with watching the Everton game on the TV too. 

Back to work today, but only for 3 days before we hit the Shanghai Grand Prix!!! Very very excited…. a guy we met at a recent networking event & kept in touch with has managed to get us all on the guest list for the after party on Sunday night, so you never know – I may just be rubbing shoulders with Jenson Button…..!!!

Some of you may have seen on Facebook that I’ve booked my flight home to the UK to visit in August. Friday 2nd until Monday 19th. Can’t wait, even though it’s a few months away it’s lovely knowing that it’s booked & I’m coming home. We’ve decided that I’ll come home on my own first of all, well – one of us needs to stay here & work!! Seriously though, Andy is more used to being away than I am, and as much as he’d love to visit, it’s expensive for both of us, so for now it’s just me.

I will have 2 new members of the family to meet when I come home too which is very exciting! As well as my cousin Rachel & Dave having recently had baby Oscar, her brother & wife have this week had a baby girl called Snowdrop, congratulations to you both, can’t wait to meet her!

Next time we’ll have plenty of stories to write about the Grand Prix, and photo’s to bore you with, you know me!!

Bye for now,

Tracy & Andy

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Ellie on

Good read tonight and fantastic pictures .Very brave of you both.Reminded me when we went on cable car at Chamonix!Swinging in the air trying to ignore the drop and amazed at the wonderful view!Really looking forward to seeing you Tracy.Dave has put dates on calender.Yes we are over the moon with our latest baby.Snowdrop is just so gorgeous.Oscar is getting on really well now too.Smiling a lot and very knowing.Can't wait for you to meet them.
Can't write without latest weather update.Still cold here and guess what rainig again tonight!However good news is it is about to warm up.Ssssh!So get the bbq ready for action.Don't want to miss any oppurtunity!
Speak again soon
Enjoy the Grand Prix
Lots of love Ellie and Dave

Lizzie on

Enjoy every moment of the Grand Prix guys... and if you do get to meet Jensen Tracy get your photo with him (and kiss him too if he lets you!!!!!). So jealous but so excited for you. Lots of love Lizzie xxxxx ps started working in a school this week as a Teaching Assistant - no longer a Registrar so you 2 were the only friends I married! x

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