The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Fabulous Fridays - Colours

When I was a little girl, I remember someone telling me that dogs don't quite see as many colours as we do, that the colours they see are rather muted - and I felt so sad. I couldn't imagine going through life without experiencing the vibrant hues that we so take for granted. I know that there are people who love to surround themselves with neutrals - and neutrals are always safe. Safe, and as some other people would say, predictable and boring.

Turquoise yarn we'd love to knit into a sweater:

Image via Ball and Skein

But I really love to surround myself with colour - especially when it comes to my clothes. Red, ruby red to be exact, has always been one of my favourites. I also love turquoise and all its variants, fuchsia, chartreuse, and I have recently started to develop a bit of a thing for tangerine.

electric pink silk:

Image via Dye for Yarn on Etsy

Truth be told, I don't shy away from too many colours but I refuse to wear mustard or what I like to call St Patrick's green. I guess it's a good thing I'm not Irish.

                                                                                   I can't get enough of this color - especially paired with burnt orange or coral or matte silver grey ... love it!:

Image via ZsaZsa Bellagio

So it probably won't come as a surprise if I had to tell you that when I open the doors of my wardrobe, it looks like a rainbow exploded in there. I try to make some sense out of the chaos by grouping colours together: pinks and reds and all the shades of turquoise, interspersed with those ever-trendy non-colours: white and black.

 Toxic Tomato OOAK - BFL Sock Yarn Superwash

                  Image via Dye for Wool on Etsy

Colours are wonderful things. They are capable of cheering us up; changing our appearance. Good colours light up our faces and make us stand out. Colours are strongly tied up with human emotions and traditions. Black was the colour of mourning in Europe. In Japan it is white. Orange is the preferred colour of buddhist monks.  Purple is the colour of royalty. Native Americans believe that turquoise signifies life. The Irish believe that green is lucky. Locally, I have met people who think it is unlucky. Every culture has its own colour symbolism. The list is as fascinating as it is endless and it is a subjest I will return to on Fabulous Fridays from time to time.

The wonderful world of color...:

Image via The Atlantic

And what about you - what colours do you love and which ones, if any, do you absolutely hate? Are there colours you are superstitious about? Are you able to define one single, favourite colour? Do tell. I would love to know.

This five-minue quiz is supposed to give you and insight into your personality. I have to admit that mine was pretty accurate.

Interesting reading:

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Secret places

There are places and then there are other places. Those that make me dream and others that set my imagination on fire. And, finally, there are the places where I lose myself - lose myself in the world of what used to be. Just a few miles away from our house, a chapel clings precariously to the edge of a cliff. It seems to defy both gravity and the roaring north-westerly winds that fling themselves at the carmine-coloured dome, all the while screeching like demented banshees.
Mtahleb (2)
Mtahleb (8)
My soul soars free here and my heartbeat slows down, till it seems to be beating to the ebb and flow of time itself. Yesterday, today and tomorrow seem to be incomprehensible concepts in this forgotten spot. It's not so much a sense that time has stood still, as the fierce realisation that we are the only ones that mourn its passing.
Mtahleb (3)
Mtahleb (4)
The silence speaks volumes here. It whispers sweet nothings about the chirps of sparrows and robins; the crazy screeching of cicadas drunk on the August heat. The air is heavy, pungent with the heady scents of nature - the salty tang of the sea; the earthy smell of freshly ploughed soil. There's a feeling of wholesomeness here; an aura of innocence;  maybe even a glimpse of that Eden that I think we are all trying to find - in our own way and in our own time.
Mtahleb (12)
My parents used to bring me here as a child and our 'wanderings' often bring us to the brink of the cliff. To my eyes, nothing has changed. The scene is the same today as it was when I was six years old. This is one of my secret places. There are others, scattered around the island but they have become few and far between, which makes the ones that are still left all the more precious. I fervently hope that they will remain unchanged; ephemeral throwbacks to an unknown time, even though it probably takes dreamers like me to appreciate them exactly as they are - steadfast in the face of a world in turmoil.
Mtahleb (14)Mtahleb (15)
Location: Mtahleb, November 2015

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Let's talk about books

Last year I made a resolution to myself that I would read more books - and it is a resolution that I managed to keep. I read ten books last year, which may not seem like much. But I only find time to read during the weekend or before I fall asleep. So I am happy with my ten books, especially since I went on a reading sabbatical between August and October. I'm not sure why. It probably has something to do with the tiresome summer heat. Anyway, here's a look at five of the books that I read last year. Since I don't want this post to get too long we will have a look at the other five books some other time.


The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
This book was a page-turner. Once I  picked it up, I couldn't put it down. It is the story of one woman's attempt to turn wrong into right. In many ways, it is a tragic and heart-breaking novel. But in the end, it is a story of redemption. This novel is well-written and researched and gives a wonderful insight into the world of lighthouse keepers. I had no idea that such a career existed and that the person manning the lighthouse would be living on a small island all by himself or accompanied by just his close family.
“It astounds him that the tiny life of the girl means more to him than all the millennia before it. He struggles to make sense of his emotions – how he can feel both tenderness and unease when she kisses him goodnight, or presents a grazed knee for him to kiss better with the magic power that only a parent has.For Isabel, too, he is torn between the desire he feels for her, the love, and the sense that he cannot breathe. The two sensations grate at one another, unresolved.”
This is the author's first novel and is a New York Times top ten bestseller.


This is  Gonna Hurt: Music, Life and Photography Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx  by Nikiki Sixx
What can I say about this book except that you have to  love rock music and, specifically, a band called Motley Crue to enjoy it? Motley Crue played their last concert last December. Nikki was the bassist. Back in the bad old 80s he almost died of a heroin overdose but, somehow, he's still here. He wrote about his addiction in his brutally honest book 'The Heroin Diaries'. This is the sequel to that book. This is Gonna Hurt is described as "a deeply personal look through the eyes of a real rock star at a stark, post-addiction world."
“Life can be cruel. It´s been my struggle, my personal battle, my obsession to make people see that different isn´t always bad.”
This is also a New York Times bestseller but I won't suggest that you read it unless you want to look at the dark side of life.


Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho
If I had to sum up this book in just one sentence I would say that this is the story of a prostitute in search of herself and in search of love - not passion but real love, the kind of love that sets us free. But since the author is Coelho, it is much more than that. Eleven Minutes is a journey, of sorts, a journey that starts in Rio de Janeiro and ends in Paris. It is the journey of an innocent-girl-turned-prostitute who loses her soul for a while, only to gain it back in the most beautiful way possible. This is by no means a tacky book. I would go so far as to say that this is Coelho's ode to love.
“Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings.”

The  Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
A letter that was not meant to be opened. A secret that was not meant to be shared. It is a dark secret; a secret that threatens to destroy a family that, to those on the outside looking in, appears to be perfect. It is a compelling, bitter-sweet story - sometimes funny, sometimes sad but always a good read.
“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It's probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”


East of the Sun by Julia Gregson
It is 1928 and three young English women are on their way to India: one to get married, the other to be her bridesmaid and the third to act as their chaperone for the length of the journey. East of the Sun takes us to a world that has long faded away: colonial India and the sharp contrast between the rich socialites and the poverty that, to this day, is the fate of so many Indian people. I expected a bit more from this book. For some reason, I thought that it lacked a proper climax. I kept expecting something to happen but nothing really did until the last one third of the book. I don't want to sound like I'm saying that this is a bad book - it isn't. I just think it could have been developed better.
“She had a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach, like when you're swimming and you want to put your feet down on something solid, but the water's deeper than you think and there's nothing there.”

… to be continued.
In the meantime, I came across this reading challenge on Facebook that I thought I would shsre with you:

So what do you all think? Are you up to the challenge? I think I'll give it a try.
Links to the books:


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