Friday, 29 December 2017

My Path to Minimalism

My path to Minimalism started a little over six years ago when I stumbled upon Leo Babauta's website zen habits ( during a google search on 'how to be happier'. I remember paying the donation and downloading one of his ebooks, which I printed out (yeah not very Minimalist of me but I needed something I could carry with me to read on the go and had no iPad or smart phone at the time). I read through it in a flash as it was the most interesting concept I had ever stumbled upon. Interesting, yes, and yet too extreme for me at the time. However, despite that I was not yet ready to embark on such a serious and austere journey, it led me to more research on the topic and slowly, with the help of less extremist websites, I started my path to what at the time I called Simple Living instead.

I always loved simplicity deep down, so re-wording what I was doing to fit my idea was all I needed to start detoxifying my life whilst not feeling guilty of not going all the way. Some people might find it easier to just go from one extreme to another but I found that baby steps was what I needed to get on board with the idea of living with less stuff and commitments, yet a more meaningful life at the end of it. However, despite hacking away slowly at my hoarded clutter, I never seemed to be satisfied with the result and always felt like I was failing as a Minimalist. I even tried Courtney Carver's Project 333 on my wardrobe ( and hated it for limiting me to 33 items when my wardrobe actually held more pieces that I wanted to wear. Maybe I wasn't cut out for the lifestyle after all.

Still, intent on trying to find the peace in my life that I was craving, I kept looking up more and more articles that would help me out and I came across an advertorial for Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, which the ad convinced me to buy. I have to admit, the book lived up to its title for it truly changed my life. The author, Marie Kondo, never mentions Minimalism at all yet explains very thoroughly how to go through one's entire mountain of material possessions and decide what to keep or give/throw away based on something that resonated greatly with me - feelings. Her question for each item is the now internationally famous "Does this item spark joy?" Her method dictates that clutter should be tackled by type not location, in a particular order (clothes, books, then the rest in a specific order) and each item in turn is to be picked up (yes, even all those books on the shelves must be taken out for closer inspection) so that we may decide on whether to keep it depending on whether it 'Sparks Joy'. It might sound like a crazy system before you try it out but believe me, it works, and all her criteria (sort by type, in order, etc) are the result of her self-study in the subject and she clearly explains the reasons for these ideas in her book, ideas which make a lot of sense once reasoned out.

Once I had KonMari'd my house (that is an actual term now!) I still wanted to learn on how to live a more Minimalist life and went on to read Francine Jay's The Joy of Less. It is more extreme than KonMari and specifically targeted at a Minimalist lifestyle yet not an unattainable or too idealistic idea. This author goes by the name of miss minimalist over at

After reading both Marie Kondo's and Francine Jay's books at least two or three times each, I am currently reading goodbye, things by Fumio Sasaki. Whilst his book might be inspirational and full of good tips for anyone starting out on the journey, I am finding myself at that point where I have little to gain from his book. I bought it with the intention of being inspired by the man who owns only three shirts and four pairs of socks yet his book is about getting there rather than his current life, using the same old ideas for most of the time. So whilst I am enjoying the read, I think I can finally conclude that I am well-enough into my Minimalism journey that buying more books would just be counterproductive to my motto less is more.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas from My Various Hues!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Little Thing, BIG Difference

We are nearing Christmas at a fast pace now and knowing the Maltese culture I am sure most homes are by now spick-and-span and ready for guests. There were times in the past when I managed to catch up with the Jones' in this area but more often than not, we receive no guests and so I treat my home same as always - with a little TLC but without going out of my way to have it 'ready by' Christmas.

This year due to circumstances I have even less time than usual to dedicate to the art of cleaning and to make matters worse, my son fell ill, filling my past three days with constant moans, medicine spoons and worry in addition to the multiple requests for snacks and meals that he barely touched after all. So contrary to any tradition in any region of the world, my home is screaming for a pick-me-up at this very second, as I type this on my laptop surrounded by so many things that should not be on the chest of drawers/make-shift desk. As some Minimalist books describe, once one item is carelessly put somewhere where it does not belong, it is soon joined by many other invaders till they destroy the sense of peace that would previously have dominated the spot. I mention the chest not only because it is where I have opened up my laptop to work tonight but also because I remember very distinctly just how happy I was when I cleared its top from all clutter just days ago.

Moreover, I must confess that the chest of drawers is actually no more of a concern than all the rest of my room and truly, all the rooms in the house at this point! As my son's fever spiked and the days passed in a blur of work and parental concerns, I took to leaving so many belongings here and there rather than in their designated place that I am now faced with the mountainous task of finding a 'home' for each one of these things. Which brings me to the real reason why I have been describing the chaotic state that my current house is in.

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It is true that we scrub floors and windows, plump up the Christmas-theme-covered cushions and vacuum the carpet too in time for Christmas. It is also true however that any working-mother with a demanding or sick child will be thrown off schedule in the meanest way and should she attempt to anyway catch up with sprucing up the place, be it for the festivities or throughout the rest of the year, she should always start with that little trick called 'putting it away'. It might be a small gesture towards our house, but it is the one that, alone, makes the biggest difference of all.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

More About Gifts - Essentials

In previous posts on here and on, I have covered gifts I would love to receive ( and experience gifts ( but truly, since I am quite selective in keeping any material things at all and that the experience gifts I mention are alluring yet not really essential ones, I will turn today to mentioning some gifts that will always be appreciated and valued exactly because they are indispensable and will anyway have to be bought by the receiver if not gifted to him/her.

First up is a mobile top-up card. True that many people nowadays have a fixed pre-paid plan for their phone, but many does not mean all. After all the plans are pretty costly so those of us who do not as a rule use their mobile phone for work often opt for the good old manual pay-per-use top-up, online or through a card. I would appreciate such a gift as it would save me money, provide a needed service and not have an expiry date to use either.

Money with instructions to use for fuel or to top-up the public transport card is also a good idea in my opinion, for who doesn’t love a free trip or two?

A hamper full of food-stuffs that your receiver loves to use rather than one full of chocolate and alcohol that are after all, if appetizing also unhealthy would be another gift I'd love to get. Choose items with a long life. My personal favourites would include pasta, pesto, olives, herbs, pulses and tinned tuna among others but the list will vary from household to household.

Unless your gift receiver has sensitive skin or other particular requirements, a hamper full of toiletries is also an awesome money-saving gift. What’s more, it can include items for all the family, meaning you can get one big gift for all.

Any more ideas about essential gifts to give? Feel free to comment below.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

What I'd Like For Christmas

This article sounds very unlike me. I mean, the things I really want for Christmas can't be bought, as they say. However for the purpose of a more commercial version of what I'd want, there actually are a few items I would love to own, regardless that I am a Minimalist. So here is a list that is by no means exhaustive but which I would never say no to and would actually ask for. In no particular order, here are my winners:

- DVDs.
Am I weird for loving how they look all sitting next to each other on my shelves and packed in lovely storage boxes? One thing I never do is remove DVD boxes to put them all in one case all together. No thanks, it would spoil most of the fun of owning them for me!

- Special Tea, Coffee or Wine
My three comfort drinks and they are consumables to boot, leaving me with no permanent 'thing' to store after I've enjoyed them.

- Candles
I wonder why! I mean, I decorate and decoupage my own candles so I always feel bad when I crave getting store-bought ones. However if someone else were to gift them to me I would not feel that I am being wasteful and appreciate the beautifully decorated ones much more than I appreciate most other types of decor.

- A Cosy PJ
Those button-down shirts and matching comfy pants in flannel that Bridget Jones wears in her 'All By Myself' scene in that first film are really a treat to my tired self throughout the winter months. I never say no to a cosy PJ.

- An Open Voucher from One4All
It can be used in a whole list of varied outlets so you can never go wrong with this one and I might actually get something I need with it rather than random extra stuff just to use up the voucher before it expires.

- A Voucher from a Bookshop
I never say no to a good book. It is true I like to borrow books, get them sponsored, or even at times buy them and then resell after use, but I appreciate the experience of reading them nonetheless and I do have faves that I buy and never part with.

Whilst those are my fave items to get, I do also love experience gifts, maybe even more-so. In fact, I originally had a blog post planned about that but it turned into a fully-fledged article for so I am linking it here:

Saturday, 2 December 2017

A Practical Item For Your Wardrobe

My blog post is overdue and whilst I have watched a film with the intention of reviewing it and even did some research and a first draft for yet another post, this time Christmas related, both ideas are still in the production phase and I might actually turn the Christmassy one into an article for Eve magazine rather than the blog. And so I am left with nothing to post today and a feeling of guilt that leads me to anyway say something, rather than leave my blog unattended for more days.

In line with my recent announcement that I will be blogging about household management, I decided today to mention a small but very practical item I found to buy online that turned out to be so useful for my wardrobe. I first found out about it through a Facebook advert that led me to a site where the cost per hanger was way too much to be worth trying. However I then looked it up on eBay and got quite a few of them at less than EUR1 each. Not only are they space-saving for those of us with little storage, but also helped me group clothes by type. Now I always know all I have to do is grab the hook and hang it up and voila - my choice of cardigans, stretch trousers, blazers, shirts, or whatever other group of items I am looking up.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

My Cousin Rachel - The Film Review

I pre-ordered the DVD of My Cousin Rachel months ago because the film is based on one of my favourite stories ever that I had read way before the new film (because there are two old ones too for the same story) came into being. In order not to lengthen this post and keep it confined to criticism, I am attaching a link to another article of mine about this same film and corresponding book for those that would like a brief intro to the story in question.

My copy of the DVD arrived recently and despite my rough timetable managed to fit it in to watch in the same month that it arrived, which is a first for this past year or so!!

Imagine my disbelief then when I sat down to watch the first half and was quite disappointed! Though it really is unfair of me to judge the film by the book when I last read the book long years ago. And yet I get the feeling that the very idea that I would still find Rachel Weisz' interpretation of Cousin Rachel lacking means that her book counterpart was all the more strong. Then again, I will say right now that when I watched the second half of the film on a subsequent day the interpretation was much more spot on so I can only assume that it was a character build-up happening. By the end Weisz made a convincing contrary Rachel just like the personality in the book.

Seeing as we are talking about the character analysis let me go on to the character of Philip, which I believe was delightedly played by the ever-impressive Sam Claflin. Yes, I do know that as a fan I will always be more prejudiced towards singing his praises than pointing him out as lacking. However in this film he truly leaves no room to comment negatively. For those who might have seen this film and hated him without having read the book, may I say that he is as nauseatingly childish and ever-changing in the text as Claflin makes him out to be. He might turn twenty-five in the course of the story, but a very childish twenty-five-year-old he makes. Maybe he was right and needed the love of a woman to really grow up.

One thing else I must commend about this film is the colour scheme - contrasting as it is between Philip's 'dusty' pale and warmly coloured scenes and Rachel's own dark and bold blues and black, including her clothes and rooms. Surely for dramatic effect, when Rachel invites a companion to keep her company, she turns up in bright pink that strongly clashes with Rachel's world, probably to show just how out of place even Rachel believed her to be, pointing out the obvious that Rachel did not really want her around other than to make Philip back off.

A last point I will make for today is that the ending is, despite similar to the original story, slightly changed. In a way a film should always have some differences in order to stand out, as well as that some scenes might be simpler to set up and shoot than ones mentioned in a book. After all, a writer has poetic license even in conjuring up places that do not exist and which might be difficult to find or set up in real life. Therefore I will mention more amusingly than pityingly that for those of us who have read the book before viewing this masterpiece (for a masterpiece it turns out to be by the time the credits roll up), the sunken garden mentioned more than once in the course of the book has been changed to a cliffside. It still works wonderfully for the final scene and in the trailer I quite thought they had left this detail unchanged in fact.

I am not yet done with my thoughts on the film and the story in general. However I do not want to ramble on unnecessarily and would rather dedicate another future entry on here to another facet of my analysis - the very famous Did she, or did she not?

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Management at Home
For quite a while when I was still young, I dreamt of becoming a hotel manager. Strategy games are the only ones I ever played when it comes to the digital world. I started my own magazine when I was just fourteen years old with the help of a partner before she opted out and eventually in Upper Sixth I became the editor for the Sixth Form chart newspaper.

For me, it was always about Management.

I never did become a hotel manager and I barely ever play The Sims any more and no other strategy game apart from that. I still have my own blog and write professionally but I cannot pretend to be the editor of anything but my own works at this point in time. However, I still seem to be a manager of sorts in my life.

We usually associate management with our workplace, with suits and ties or skirts and heels, with meetings and long hours. Although I do aspire to reach that level on a professional level and know I have the necessary leadership skills to possibly someday make it that far, for now I am a different kind of manager.

I have lived away from either parent's home since I was 21. I started out my independent life not knowing how to light a match (seriously!) and my cooking knowledge extended only to boiling rice and eggs. I also started out with bad money management skills and no clue to organising my stuff.

I always believed that necessity is the mother of invention, as some say, and I also believe that in all facets of life it is experience over anything else that helps us move in any path we may be on.
So whilst in no way do I perceive myself to be the perfect housewife (long way to go!) and I often find myself making mistakes along the way, I do believe that I have learnt a lot over the years and can see the difference in my budgeting skills, organisational tricks and home management in general. Yes, a household requires a great deal of management and even though a yearly balance sheet is unnecessary and we do not actively calculate the depreciation value of our items, we nonetheless are required to keep restocking the wardrobes after laundry and the kitchen cupboard after a trip to the supermarket. Failure to doing either of these two might actually result in chaos. Likewise, everyone must, perhaps at times unknowingly, keep some kind of budget or at least accounting system going, if only one that keeps track of whether the pay for the month has finished and from which account can you move funds into the VISA account you used in an emergency.

Regardless that it is a 24/7 job without a pay, household management is a very real situation that at least one adult in every house must take upon themselves to see to. So I think it would be of interest to some of my readers if I started blogging about Household Management now and again. Therefore with this post I am starting a new label on this blog. Keep tuned for my tips, tricks and musings about keeping a household happy, sane and on track. Goodbye for now, till next time.

Friday, 3 November 2017

The Chain Reaction

My son calls it The Chain Reaction. He uses this name to describe any domino effect such as when, say, you hit something by mistake that in turn topples over onto something else, causing that thing to move and cause yet another reaction.

In my mind, I prefer to associate this with The Butterfly Effect. Not only is this the name of a film but also the name of a scientific theory that suggests that one small movement or event can, in a chain reaction, cause greater consequences, so to speak.
I believe in Destiny. I am unsure whether I believe that anything in the future can ever be prevented and changed but I do believe that Destiny is there, written down. I also understand that anything in our present can cause ripples that could affect it in a big way. So I know for a fact that all the things that have happened to me these past few months, since February the 28th of this year to be exact, have all caused their own direct consequences that led to my current present and hopeful future.

There were some events that happened that were totally beyond my control. There were others caused by myself and my decisions, be they good or bad ones that I made. Each small action, development and predicament as well as each mistake, led to what is now my life. However as I have just stated, it is sometimes the work of others and not ourselves, that moulds our future in ways good and bad. Through time we also might change idea about whether a particular situation led to good or bad things. So whilst one day I could be thanking a friend for being late meeting me as something wonderful happened to me in those few minutes that I was waiting outside a café, at a later stage I would wonder could I have been spared some heartache if only she had been on time. In the same way, sometimes I plead with those stars under which happened one of the most marvellous experiences in my life to tell me just why someone I don't even know managed to thwart all my future plans with their power over someone else that in turn meant something to me.

I've heard the word Destiny used too loosely and resignedly. We blame it for our unhappiness and for what happens that we believe is beyond our control when sometimes it isn't really. That is the very reason that believing in Destiny can, after all, be a negative thing. For only when we believe that what's written in the stars is beyond control, is when we stops making the effort to change what we do not want our life to be like.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Laugh? Yes please!

Copyright DanielM Photography
DLS Productions has in the past excelled at presenting musicals, a walk-through play and other projects that include even summer courses in anything from puppetry to Maltese text to choreography.

Last weekend's comedy was no less interesting than all the past events as seven actors took to the stage to present Laugh? I nearly went to Miami!, a comedy by Miles Treadinnick, directed by Lucienne Camilleri with the assistance of Maria Agius and produced by Yandrick Agius.

The play followed Tom (James Camilleri) and fiancée Alice (Nicole Piscopo) as well as Tom's brother Barney (Neil Grech) and his date for the night Muriel (Nicola Mangion), Alice's Auntie (Laura Cornelius) and gangster Frankie (Thomas Grixti), in a comedy of errors full of banter and miscommunications that are resolved at the end by the appearance of Inspector Hendy (Kyle Mangani), who arrives on the scene to solve the case.

Copyright DanielM Photography
I have been to several plays over the years, be it musical, drama or comedy, but I have to admit that this was by far the best comedic interpretation I have seen. From the robust periodic set that served many purposes throughout the various scenes, to the perfectly articulated English and superbly timed phrases, the play was a joy to follow. My good impression was further enhanced when, after the show, I came across the actors off the stage and realised they were youngsters, most of them still in their late teens or early twenties.

It ran for two nights in competition with The Phantom of the Opera and yet the theatre was full for the two hour live show I attended. In fact I think it was rather a pity that it ran for only two nights and when there was a big musical to contend with. Truly, it was a show that had me begging for more so I must admit that Laugh? had me in stitches of laughter throughout.

Copyright DanielM Photography

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

On Daphne CG's Death

I was in Valletta when I heard the news. Even as it spread slowly to all the people in this country and even trickled abroad, I saw what I presumed to be lawyers standing about in clusters of suits around the city, already deep in discussion, aware not only of the repercussions of such news but of the significance of such an atrocious act in a civilised country of the EU.

On Monday the 16th October in the early afternoon, wife and mother Daphne Caruana Galizia published her latest blog entry and set out from her home in Bidnija. Only minutes would pass till the car she was driving blew up in an explosion so powerful that it was hurled ‘tens of metres’ away.

As a journalist she went out of line at times, she jeopardised jobs including my own on one occasion and she definitely could use a pen viciously when it suited her. Some loved and others hated her, unfortunately because of their bias towards one political party or another more often than not. However, she was a journalist at the end of it, and a good one too, not a criminal. The one that happened on Monday afternoon was no deserving murder, though certainly a vindictive one. Do not get me wrong. I am pro-life to the point that I do not believe in such permanent retribution even for the lowliest of people and any victim of such a heinous crime would deserve respect in life if lucky enough to escape the blast still alive, else in death should he/she succumb. But to purposely sabotage the life of a writer just to silence her else to pay her back for using her right to free speech, is to shock this nation that relies so heavily on sympathy and hospitality and a united front.

Whoever planned the attack sought to silence a voice, but succeeded instead in making thousands of others use their own.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Single Motherhood: On A Timer
I managed to take my bath in peace this evening, without my son shouting "Muuuuummmmmm" from the other room. However there was a reason to that. He actually put me on a timer. I am not kidding. I coaxed him into letting me get away from his room to the bathroom for a quick bath and said I'd be done so quickly my bath would take five minutes. So he grabbed the old mobile phone with the dying battery that he's just inherited from me and decided to make a timer for... exactly five minutes! I complained, saying it would take ten for me to get to the bathroom, undress, take the bath, towel dry and get back into some clothes. So as you might have guessed, the timer started ticking from exactly ten minutes and rang just as I put my specs on after getting into my PJs. Ah, the speed with which you do things when you are a mum!

Pre-mummyhood I would have been shocked to hear anyone relate what I just said above. Pre-mummyhood I would also have said many other things that are now obsolete in my books. Such as that as long as you make it a point that your kids are to behave, they will, at least in public. Haha, say that one again?!

I was a very quiet obedient child who only ever complained on two occasions: bedtime or if we ever went as a family to Sliema. Don't ask about this last, I have no idea why the small me hated the sea-side tourist town with such a passion. But all in all, I would do as I was told and found it very hard to accept that my own little one was never going to be as pleasing as I'd been. So every day for the rest of the days till he realises it is actually embarrassing for him to do so, he will drag out any mealtime (even McDonalds) and drop his pencil multiple times ("Did you see that fall mum?") whilst doing his homework, it will take him approximately five minutes to hear me as I repeat, "Put on your shoes," in the morning and over an hour to settle down in bed in the evenings. So let's use the timer if it helps me get my well-needed five mins soak and soap.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Does Money = Love Then?

I was meant to write this post probably over a year ago but had totally forgotten about it till I came across a first draft. Although the introductory "A while ago" has now been changed to "Quite a while ago" it remains nonetheless a current post to write. I wrote it, though not in the heat of the moment, the same week that the episode in question happened, as far as I recall. I was pretty upset about the issue, although unnecessarily so I know, and to this day I would still like to give my take on the subject.

So, quite a while ago, I was in a supermarket when my son went up to an ageing man and excitedly showed him a new toy I had given him. The man's first words were, "See how much your mum loves you!" I know he meant it in a good way and was nice enough to listen to my child and talk to him, unlike some people who just brush him off. However, it is a pity that this person, and most of the rest of the Western World, tag love with gift-giving rather than what truly counts.

Would I have been a lesser mother had I not afforded to get my son something that was not really a need? I can understand that with love comes responsibility and I would never dream of, say, not getting my son something he needed for school or health reasons. Even a mother who can't afford those things will go out of her way to find the means to give them to her children anyway. But to suggest to my son that my love for him is proportional to the number of toys and knick knacks I've bought him over the years is a mentality that many unconsciously adhere to and one which is, I hope, incorrect.

I cannot figure out how and why people connote the two (gifts and love) together. That would be like saying that no Third World mother loves her children enough for providing them with no expensive toys and gadgets, or that a father is less of a father if he provides payments on an apartment rather than a villa for his family.

I really think we should be getting our priorities straight. Yes, a better standard of living is always welcome if achievable and it is a joy to watch a child open a much-desired present at Christmas. However let us not mistake gifts for love or love for gift-giving as they are really, truly, unrelated.

Hearts credit
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Presents credit
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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Laugh? I nearly went to Miami!

Registered voluntary organisation DLS Productions creates theatrical concepts and productions by the community and for the community, with auditions open to the general public, yet boasting members and committee members that are now big names in theatre.

Starting out as a Sixth Form initiative at De La Salle College, the theatre group eventually outgrew the limitations of a school setting, becoming an organisation in its own right. Over this summer its committee organised workshops called ‘Intensive Performance Workshops’, which were held at Palazzo La Salle in Valletta and from there, the idea for their current project was born.

Copyright DanielM Photography
For DLS Productions is now back with a new show. Following last year’s jukebox rock musical Belliegha Rockin’ The Underworld, it is time to turn to comedy as a group of seven actors take to the stage to present Laugh? I nearly went to Miami! for the first time in Malta. Penned by Miles Treadinnick and directed by Lucienne Camilleri, assisted by Maria Agius, it is a play that relies on comedic timing, banter and interesting visuals, that make it a treat for adults and kids alike.

The fast-paced comedy of errors is set in the eighties where we meet Tom (James Camilleri), who is an Elvis fanatic, and his fiancée Alice (Nicole Piscopo). Together they intend to fly to Miami for an Elvis Convention but the flight gets cancelled due to fog. Arriving back at Tom’s flat, they realise they have picked up the wrong suitcase back at the airport and are now in possession of  half a million dollars. Meanwhile they have walked in on Tom’s brother Barney (Neil Grech) who is trying to seduce his date Muriel (Nicola Mangion). Soon Auntie (Laura Cornelius) and Frankie (Thomas Grixti) both arrive with a bag containing $20,000 and it is Inspector Hendy (Kyle Mangani) who finally sorts everything out.

Sharp humour and miscommunication are the order of the day in this live performance in English, happening at Teatru Salesjani in Sliema on the 20th and 21st of October.

Tickets can be bought from or through phoning 79848788 and cost EUR12 and EUR15.

Copyright DanielM Photography

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Lust - by Roald Dahl

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have bought a set of four books by Roald Dahl that 
explore human nature’s darker side.

It was difficult to decide which book to start reading first and finally settled for what I believe is the easiest of the titles to understand. So I found myself opening the one called Lust, still unsure of how the author would present that feeling in his ten short stories about the subject.

I do not have a clear idea of what it is I expected out of the tales. I assumed it would be about lovers, cheating, sudden attraction, the heat of the moment. Instead I read through the first story to find that Dahl was very much into presenting a more subdued and everyday version of how Lust can interfere in, or take over, our life.

His writing is detailed and vivid, making the reader want to turn the page every time, even when the characters are idly sitting around a table in the bar. There is something comic about the way the scenes are presented and the very dialogue of the characters big and small. In the first story it is as if the narrator, though not one of the characters, is nonetheless in their minds. He presents whatever is going on in a way that is in keeping with their characters. In fact, two out of the three main characters are always called by their nickname, as they would call each other in 'real' life.

In the second story, he presents the beautiful Natalia, the cheating wife, exactly as she would be. There is no cooing and luring of the narrator as despite his attraction to her, she cares nothing for him. She is dismissive instead and surprised when he takes up her offer to be a guest in her mansion, which she made out of politeness during small talk rather than with any intention that he would take it up. Later on, when she is caught (even literally!) in the wrong, her allure vanishes and her panicked self shows through.

Reading Dahl’s short stories reminded me of those by Graham Greene, only the latter is purposely depressive in his presentation of the stories. Dahl, on the other hand, plays with his imaginative narratives in a way that suggests he thinks his characters’ situations are absurd. It is almost as if he is laughing at the ridiculous situations that people are ready to get into for lust.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

When The Colour Changes...

I used to love the colour blue. I actually once wrote a blog post about the colour blue (read here: I even had a guest article on about coloured walls and distinctly mentioned blue walls (read here:
So it was a wonder even to myself when I first started to like also the colour of red wine and burgundy some years ago. Still, I insisted I loved blue primarily and would hesitate whenever someone asked me what colour I was buying something, unable to decide most of the time between the two types of colour.

Then my son was born and I was shopping around for a dress for his Baptism Ceremony. I looked around the clothes shops for a non-existent dream dress that would not only hide my post-baby tummy but also make me look like a princess, as is always my target when choosing formalwear (I guess I still have a bit of the little girl in me!). I browsed through endless selections and tried on multiple choices, all of them 'iffy' dresses that did not have me convinced. Then in one shop, when I was all ready to postpone what seemed like an impossible task to a future date, a salesgirl finally pulled out a stunning purple dress that I knew was 'It' even before I'd tried it on. The dress fit like a dream, the colour complimented my skin, hair colour and eyes and I left the shop as a very happy young mother who was wearing no boring suit to her son's Christening. And so my love affair with purple began.

I wore that dress so many times and it always made me feel confident. Partly it was the colour, that rich and deep hue that alternately reminds me of passion and young princesses, a contradictory colour that looks naive and experienced all at one go. Soon it was not just the dress that I owned in some shade of purple, but also makeup, an iPad cover, more clothing, jewellery, the storage containers in my wardrobe, my stationery, even my car! I eventually dyed my hair purple a couple of times and started buying the purple version of the 'She' deodorant range which curiously enough is that one spray smell I love and want to wear.
As I have probably mentioned before, colour is to me a very important part of life. Well, that is evident even in my blog's name! So for years I tried to understand how the love of blue that had accompanied me since early childhood could so suddenly disappear and give way to its darker cousin, which ironically is the very mixture of blue and the deep wine red that I mentioned earlier. It seems to me nowadays that the colour I so love, in all its different gradients and hues, is the colour that I would attribute to a person's soul. Blue is cold, unnervingly so, but purple has borrowed enough of the warm colours to lend its velvety look to unearthly deeds it seems.

As a result, it is only lately that I have perceived just why my colour changed. It is because I have changed. The blue was a primary colour, devoid of experience, untainted and unexplored. It was the colour that obeys and is unchanging, a colour to trust for its calming effect. Once I became a mother, it was like my very soul had changed, and later still the changes came, piling up, making me who I am, both in terms of family life as well as shaping my very being. In fact maybe that is why I only lately felt that my transition from a Blue-lover to Purple-lover became acceptable and complete a couple months ago. It has to do with finding oneself and oneself after all can always change again. I am the first to admit that I am ever-changing and suffer from itchy feet, crave constant change and am always up for a new challenge. Then again, maybe the colour purple is itself like that in character, and might accompany me as a wilful companion through my life.

Sunday, 10 September 2017


As I have mentioned of late, I am currently starting out my new life as a single woman. It has given me food for thought and I went through a whole process of finding myself all over again and with that, discovered all the things that make me who I am. One of the things I much enjoyed previous to settling down in a relationship and routine had been writing and speaking different languages. So lately, given a certain twist of fate, I found myself rediscovering the Italian language in all its beauty. Knowing we are learning and practicing something for our own well-being and personal fulfilment rather than just for exams makes it all the sweeter and usually helps us strive more towards that achievement. So I decided today to share with you a paragraph I wrote in Italian to practice my writing. Unfortunately the person who was meant to edit it never returned the text to me with any adjustments so forgive me for any errors of spelling or grammar. Meanwhile, for those who do not understand Italian, I have included a translation to English just below it.

La Felicità

Se qualcuno mi chiedesse, “Cos’è la felicità?”, io direi che non c’è modo di quantificarla o descriverla veramente. Però se propio dovessi descriverla, allora direi, essere felici è una passeggiata lungo il mare, o forse è il canto degli angeli nel cielo; quel canto che si sente quando c’è l’amore nella vita, quando ci sono amici che sai non ti lasceranno mai, che ti terranno la mano quando ce n’è bisogno e asciugano le lacrime quando tutto va male. La felicità è nell’ essere genitore, vedere crescere i propri figli, dovunque siano, lontani o vicini. Si sente la felicità infatti nell’ essere parte di una famiglia, nell’ abbraccio della madre, anche quando siamo digià adulti. Ci sono tante versioni dell’essere felici, ed è diverso per tutti l’idea di che ci farebbe di più felice nel mondo. Però credo che dopo tutto, qualunque risposta darei a questa domanda, quella più corretta sarebbe dire, “È l’amore, in tutti i suoi veli diversi, che è la vera risposta per la felicità.”



If anyone were to ask me, "What is happiness?", I would say that there is no way in which if can be quantified or described properly. But if I really had to do that, I would say, being happy is a walk along the coast, or maybe the song of the angels in the sky; the song that one can hear when there is love in one's life, when there are friends that you know will be there for you always, who will hold your hand when you need it and dry your tears when everything seems to go wrong. Happiness is being a parent, seeing your children grow, wherever they are, be they far or near. In fact happiness is felt when one belongs to a family, in a mother's embrace, even after we grow into adulthood. There are many versions of happiness and each one of us has a different idea of what would make them the happiest person possible. However after all, whatever reply I give to this question, the correct one will always be to say, "It is love, in all its different forms, that is the true key to happiness."

Saturday, 9 September 2017

As it is the 9th of September... Happy Birthday Hugh Grant!

Yet another birthday for Hugh Grant, who turns 57 today. Long after the hype around his arrest on Sunset Boulevard in 1995 died down, Grant's star is still shining brightly as he appears in new films every year, in an assortment of new types of characters so unlike his Charlie from Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), the film that made him into an overnight star back in the nineties. So whilst wishing the dapper Englishman a warm Happy Birthday on his special day, here I am once again posting links to articles and reviews of mine about the boy who will forever remain famous even for his About a Boy (2002).

A short feature about Hugh:

A long article about Hugh:

The Hugh Grant label on my blog:

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Cruelty, Madness, Deception, Lust

This is not exactly the entry I had in mind but as that one still requires a bit of polishing, I thought I would share my latest purchase with my readers instead. To be honest, I never before knew that Roald Dahl wrote books for adults too. When I stumbled across this set at a Book Fair yesterday morning, I couldn't not stop and take a look. And once I'd had that look, it was impossible to walk out of the Fair without acquiring at least one of those tantalising books. Then it seemed a pity to buy just the one when they all looked so pretty together. Well, you know how this story goes. Here's the book (or books!!) I got at the end:

Apparently each of these instalments explores the theme of the title through short stories that depict the author's ideas and thoughts as he dissects the said title's possible meaning and repercussions. I have not yet had time to start reading through them but once I do, I plan on coming back with my thoughts about each of the topics.

Meanwhile I look forward to publishing the other entry I mentioned as soon as my friend is done doing some editing work on it. I do not usually ask anyone to check my work, for grammatical or any other reason, but this one required it due to the nature of the entry. I will not be divulging anything else for now but I am sure that once it is online, it will be an entry that will pleasantly surprise you and hopefully also intrigue you.