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The X Factor 15

Hello, this is Jonathan Sanchez. This blog post is coming from me, live from Dubai; I’ve sort of commandered this WONDERFUL blog by my wonderful best friend to hold a mirror up to her face (not to check she’s beathing, although she is one deep sleeper) but more to reflect to her how much she means to me and what a wonderful person she is. She’d be even more wonderful if she realised my champagne glass was empty as opposed to flicking through the television here at the Jebal Ali Hotel.

All said and done that would be fine. But, some facts got in the way of this intended good sentiment.

Firstly, we haven’t had much to catch up on since she got here. Let me be clear, about 5 years ago when I first moved ‘abroad’ we’d joked about one day ‘meeting in the middle’ – meaning no matter where each of us both was, we’d find a way to meet about half way between both our respective countries. That is what this weekend is about.

To say we’re both over-excited is a massive understatement and can be demonstrated by the 200+ emails we shared over 4 hours as she waited to board the flight here. Those emails included such hits as ‘Holly, look at the ool it’s gorgeous, notice there’s no P in it’, to which she replied ‘ice’. And other favourites including ‘I’ve bought so much alcohol the man at duty free guessed I was coming to Dubai’.

The most important exchange was regarding the factor of strength for the suntan lotion. Which is about the same price as Unicorn tears here in the UAE. I did, Holly, ask you for factor 30, mostly because as all my friends will know, any more that 2.1 minutes in the sun and I go the shade of red associated with Ken, Devils and Kidney beans. I was never a natural tanner (or any other type of Moroccan leather maker).

Naturally she arrived, looking wonderful in full winter wear (it was a nippy 40 degress) carrying a lake of wine and two bottles of factor 15 sun lotion. I’m sure her rationale was we could just put on two layers. Indeed today she said to me ‘well yeah, you just put it on more often don’t you’.

So now I’m sitting here looking like the Singing Detective wondering why I can’t actually rest my back against the bed. So I’d like to thank her for that. Sometimes, when you live your whole life in a country (Singapore) where it’s 34 degrees EVERY day, one might just have a little insight into the bigger picture of weather. The irony of Singapore is that you can spend your whole life in air conditioned retail hell. Singapore is really the world’s biggest airport and you should know I love the airports.

I’ve just told Holly I think this post might be too long, and Holly replied ‘well if it’s readable’ it’s ok. So I’m grateful for her for that feedback.

The other insight from actually being ‘bodily  with Holly’ – and by that I don’t mean seksually I mean not on a sodding unsocial network, is having a copy of OK! thrust into my man hands. Reading it was like a relapse into the world of artifice, boob jobs, ugly footballers having affairs and CAPRICE – I mean the pipe-cleaner handbag faced old model bird, not the restaurant. I suddenly flashed back to doing great photoshoots with Hols of B list stars for A list brands, the concomitant hell of negotiation of celebrity contracts and the murky morass of media writing drivel about some celebrity navel being pierced or abused.

But all that aside. One thing more than ever, the one face in the mirror that I hold up to Holly’s is her own. I am more proud than ever to know her, feel our time together right now is more special than anything I can remember and I am prompted, as I used to be everyday when I saw her at work, to see her real beauty inside and out. There are many things, people and experiences that shape who you are as a person, I can honestly say without the owner of this blog in my life, I would not be the man I am today – and for that Holly, I can forgive you spilling pasta sauce on my duvet and contributing to my 3rd degree facial sunburn – small prices to pay for a friendship that feels as strong today as it ever did and one of the most cherished things in my life.

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