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Mastering small talk

Posted in Life & Love

I have always considered myself awful at the kind of small talk that takes place among strangers at dinner parties or business meetings. It’s not that I cannot come up with bland topics to dissect for a few minutes at a time but it’s that I find it intensely boring, my eyes gloss over quickly and my mind starts pining for the sofa and a book.

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(5) Things we love…#121

Posted in Things We Love

According to most of my American friends, the world is heading towards a period of gloom and doom. Time for some heroes. Not of the super variety – just ordinary people capable of extraordinary acts of love. If it all looks a bit like a giant reading assignment, just pick what resonates. I also threw in a heart-warming video (no dogs, I promise) and a yoga idea.

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Prawn, potato and avocado salad

Posted in Food & Entertaining, and Uncategorized

My sister is mystified by my (very American) embrace of Valentine’s Day, a holiday nobody pays attention to in Italy. In truth, my version mostly entails an exchange of cards and a collaborative meal, but this year, because she is here with her boyfriend, I thought we would use the occasion for a bit of fun.

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(5) Things we love…#120

Posted in Things We Love

 

I am smelling Valentine’s day already. Cards, chocolates and useless gifts are upon us. I will be avoiding restaurants like the plague and just celebrate at home with a home-made dinner for four this year. Truly surrounded by people (and animals) I love. Wishing you a festive one, whether it’s a walk at sunset with your pooch or binge watching Netflix with your best friend. Just make your Tuesday fun.

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(5) Things we love…#119

Posted in Things We Love

To those of you who do not live in the United States, I cannot stress enough how topsy-turvy it feels to live here right now. The rug has been pulled from under our feet and we have not regained our balance. Every day is an exercise in decoding what is happening and the public discourse has spilled into the private, whether we like it or not. Balancing levity and politics is becoming the new norm. But I have the whole weekend off and I am ecstatic!

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Things I lost to the dogs and the lessons I learnt

Posted in Life & Love

PortiaLooking at Portia now, peacefully napping on her bed, the mischief that is perpetually swirling in her brain is not apparent. Yet, that scoundrel, aided and abetted by her brother, Ottie, have caused their share of havoc. Neither of them has ever chewed shoes or furniture, and long ago I learnt the trick of scattering a couple of cardboard boxes with a small treat inside before leaving the house, to be sure I will return to everything as I (mostly) left it.

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Hair and skincare fatigue

Posted in Beauty, and Health

Graffiti by Anastasia Brennab
Graffiti by Anastasia Brennab

A couple of years ago, once I got home after a fundraising lunch, I looked in the goodie bag that had been left under my chair, and found a pair of attractive bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I had read about these products online, in passing – clearly a well orchestrated media campaign, if even I took notice.

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Double chocolate cupcakes for grown-ups

Posted in Food & Entertaining

chocolate cupcakesI have a strong antipathy towards cupcakes, for no other reason that they became so popular and I never quite understood why. A cupcake is just a piece of cake baked in a cup with frosting on top. Like cakes, they come in all sorts of flavors and decorations and colors. And, since the cupcake craze started, ridiculous looking and ridiculous tasting options have proliferated.

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Robert Mapplethorpe – The search for perfection

Posted in Things We Love

Self-portrait 1975
Self-portrait 1975

Los Angeles is currently enveloped in Mapplethorpe mania. Two companion exhibitions are on view at the Getty Center and at LACMA, and a new documentary titled “Look at the Pictures” just opened on HBO. Twenty seven years after his death, it seems it was time to rediscover the work of an ambitious and provocative photographer who started taking pictures by accident.

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Be not afraid – dealing with anxiety and fear.

Posted in Relationships, and Women's issues

10437609_10153038959378907_433491740597971405_nFear is padding around on little cat feet in the lives of too many people I love.

The first email I opened on Tuesday morning was from camparigirl. We’d had a conversation a few nights before about managing the disquiet we felt about a future that suddenly seemed so unpredictable and malevolent.

“Let’s embrace the possibility of possibility”, we’d agreed.  “Look outward with optimism. Can only help. We’re all going to die at some point anyway – may as well live until then.”

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(5) Things we (love to eat in NYC)…#67

Posted in Food, and Things We Love

Bright lights, Big City
Bright lights, Big City – the central hall at the new Whitney Museum

This week we are going to tell you about some fabulous food we had during our most excellent vacation in NYC.  We are not going to bother with the restaurants that let us down (yes Shake Shack, we’re referring to you) – because that would be the wrong way to remember our adventure. Instead we are going to tell you about some restaurants or food stalls that will have us remembering them with love, smacked lips and happy discovery.

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Dos and don’ts around your friend with cancer

Posted in Health, and Women's issues

banksy-out-of-stock

How many people do you know? Seriously, think about it. Between your friends and family, close acquaintances and all those you keep in touch via phone and social media, how many are there you share tidbits of your life with? Hundreds?

On the same day I received my breast cancer diagnosis, I was struck by a variety of thoughts I never imagined would pop into my mind at such a time.

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