The Oscars 2015: Predictions & Film Reviews




The Oscars are soon coming upon us, full of controversy about Hollywood racism and sexism, drama and fashion. Everything we love to talk and fight over.

Here are my 2015 Predictions: 

1. Best Picture: 

Nominees: Whiplash, Birdman, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Will go to Boyhood, and deservedly so. Even though I haven’t seen the movie, I hear that it is very good, and for a director to spend 12 years of his life following and filming the life of a boy becoming a man, this deserves all the plaudits it can get. It’s a cinematic feat to having achieved it and I love the concept. (I love that Grand Budapest Hotel has received a nod though, see below review).


All photographs in this post have been poached from some internet site. NHYM 2015

2. Best Actor

Nominees: Eddie Redmayne (Theory of Everything), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Bradley Cooper, Michael Keaton (Birdman), Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher)

It will be a battle between Eddie Redmayne in ‘The Theory of Everything‘ versus Michael Keaton’s Birdman. As you can read in the below review, I wasn’t bowled over by the movie Birdman and don’t think he deserves to win I’m afraid. But it is Hollywood, and with a majority of 60 year old white jurors, you never know. I think Eddie Redmayne will win it, with a Golden Globe and SAG award already under his belt. (Personally, I would have loved Steve Carrell in Foxcatcher to win as I thought he was absolutely brilliant in it. But hey, I clearly don’t fit the Oscar juror profile).

3. Best Director

Nominees: Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).

Will also go to Richard Linklater, as above mentioned for Boyhood. Best Director and Best Picture often go hand in hand, which makes sense, although The Theory of Everything missed out on Best Director whilst Foxcatcher missed out on Best Picture. Another happy nod to Wes Anderson as Best Director!

4. Best Actress

Nominees: Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Marillon Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).

Julianne Moore is loved by Hollywood and America. She can do no wrong and will win in her performance in ‘Still Alice.’ Everyone loves a physical and emotional transformation in a film. This is a sure bet. Rosamund Pike will miss out, although she is eerily terrific in Gone Girl. A nice nod to Marillon Cotillard for her performance in Two Days, One Night, the best french actress of our times (aka the French, younger version of Meryl Streep), whose performance in Of Rust and Bone was completely missed last year, which was a shame. Felicity Jones is trailing last in this race, but give her time and she may mature into an Oscar-worthy actress (see my review below).


5. Best Supporting Actor:

Nominees: JK Simmons (Whiplash), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Edward Norton (Birdman), Robert Duvall (The Judge)

JK Simmons in Whiplash will win, he who is more commonly known for his TV performances in some crime series aka Law & Order, as he provides a cringeworthy and intense performance as a tyrannical music teacher, which will beat all of his contenders in this fight.

6. Best Supporting Actress:

Nominees: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Meryl Streep (Into the Woods), Laura Dern (Wild), Emma Stone (Birdman), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

Rosanna Arquette in Boyhood will win although I really enjoyed Emma Stone in Birdman, and we can bow down to Meryl Streep for her *101st* nomination.

* With 17 or 19 Academy Award Nominations and 29 Golden Globe Nominations, I am sure I am not far off…

FILM REVIEWS: The Theory of Everything, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Foxcatcher


I recently discovered the Lounge at Whiteleys, which has become a second home to Mr. X and me. The ‘Business Class’ reclining seats successfully accomplish making a trip to the cinema worth it. Of course, I have one friend who feels an anxiety attack coming on when she sits in one of the seats, bringing on flashbacks of her flying for work, something she has happily given up long ago, while I hear others are bothered by the hamburger smells coming from their neighbour’s tray, which, when you aren’t eating, can be quite unappealing. But since I don’t have the patience to book a movie 1 month in advance for the Electric, The Lounge beats the regular Kensington High Street Odeon (or Westfield) any time!

The Theory of Everything

I actually enjoyed watching the Theory of Everything, and Eddie Redmayne is faultless in his performance of Stephen Hawking. The control he had physically in this part was tremendous and his nerdy-but-genius charisma worked very well. The trouble with the film is two-fold; it ended up being a rather sticky sweet, syrupy movie which didn’t really delve in the depths of the mental trauma of getting a life-threatening, catastrophic illness, and the emotional impact of it. Nor did Felicity Jones feel that believable as she aged. As a young university student, I think she was perfect. But as an ageing, possibly bitter, emotionally and physically exhausted woman who had lost her husband in some ways, she lacked the depth or maturity (or personal suffering) to convey the true emotions of a woman going through, let’s face it, hell. I don’t mean to criticise her, for she is a lovely, posh actress, but she is green and I think that they should have chosen a more mature woman for the part of Stephen Hawking’s wife as a mother and carer. All in all, a good film, I enjoyed learning about his triumphs over nature and his own body, and it was very watchable, but it was a bit too Hollywood-esque for me. A Beautiful Mind, was for me, a more beautiful movie.

Best for: Date Night

Rating: 4 stars



Birdman is the film that the whole film industry is rooting for, with endless nominations, wins and glowing critiques. I went expecting a life-changing film as one film critic described it, but left not quite satisfied with the movie, as if I had eaten a 3 star Michelin meal, but that was too heavy for me and left my tummy unsettled. The film industry loves it because it is about actors and performing arts, and the film industry loves itself, which makes it rather self-indulgent. The cinematic feat of making it appear as one long take is a new visual skill that makes it quite exciting, another reason it received so many nominations. And the acting is actually quite good; Edward Norton is excellent as an arrogant, aggressive self aggrandising actor, Emma Stone has the right mixture of vulnerability and anger that a teenager/young adult should have and Michael Keaton is overall quite good at playing himself (although does not deserve to win Best Actor when there are so many great actors like Eddie Redmayne and Steve Carell competing). As an ensemble, they deserve to win best acting. As a whole though, the movie for me just didn’t quite to it for me. I felt that I could have skipped traipsing down to the movie theatre for it. Which is why I am not in the Film Industry; I just don’t get it.

Best for: Waiting for the DVD and watching it on your home projector

Rating: 3.5 stars (for the excellent acting)


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson is like Marmite, you either love him or hate him. I generally love him, even though I can’t stand marmite. I particularly loved Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tennenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited. His characters and story lines are quirky, inventive, and unique, always bringing light to the underdogs. He breaks taboos and shows real humans in their flawed glory. The Grand Budapest Hotel is just that, with Ralph Fiennes shagging old ladies, while showing the strength of loyalty between Master and Servant. His characters always end up loveable and flawed.

Best For: Double Date night

Rating: 4 Stars


In October, I predicted Best Actor, Best Director and a Best Soundtrack nominations for Foxcatcher, and I wasn’t too far off as it has bagged Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best original screenplay and Best Hair & Make-up (which it will win) nominations.  This movie waited almost a whole year to be released at the right time, in the fall, in order to pick up some nominations, so I’m glad the wait was worth it. Channing Tatum may have been overlooked in the nominations, but I question whether he was playing a lot of himself rather than the role. Hats off for the nominations!




In the Press, Press, Social Commentary

The Times Newspaper T2 Column written by NHYM

‘I live among them’



Thursday January 29, 2105

I was just commissioned to write a short column for a spread on the SuperRich, ‘Will we ever learn to love the 0.1 percenters?’ which came out today in the Times newspaper T2 section. They asked me to write a piece on how the 0.1 percenters are different from you and me, which includes how they holiday, buy and sell property, spend on their children’s education and art. Have a look in today’s paper!





Photos, Top 10, Travel

Top 10 Family Friendly, Luxury Hotels in the UK


Chewton Glen Hotel, NHYM 2014. 

1. Babington House, Somerset

For the ultra-cool media types, Babington is the ultimate London getaway. It has amenities to satisfy parents and kids alike, as little as 1 yo to 80 y.o. The only (biggest) downside is that it is incredibly difficult to book, with the hotel being booked months in advance, especially as a non-member of the Soho House Conglomerate.

For mums & dads: Cowshed Spa, indoor & outdoor pool, tennis courts, Library, Cinema, Cricket Pitch.

For Kids: Teeny House for tots 1 and up, The Loft for children 8 and up.

2. The Grove, Hertfordshire


The Grove Hotel Wall Artwork, NHYM 2014. 

The Grove wins tons of points for being only 45 minutes away from London, easy booking (i.e. always having availability) and having everything to please the whole family. There are a variety of restaurants, although some may criticise the main restaurant for being too ‘canteen-like’ and on the ‘WAGGY’ side. The hotel itself is modern luxury, although some of the rooms may feel somewhat corporate with its 191 rooms in the West Wing. But there are some lovely communal spaces such as the beautiful ‘adults only’ lounges and the scattered art works in its grounds. Overall, for a quick and easy family break, there are not many hotels that beat it.

For parents: Luxurious Spa for the mummies, Golf for the daddies.

For Kids: Anoushka’s Kids Club, Creche for the little ones, Kids activities, tennis courts, outdoor beach in walled garden, own kids indoor pool, with another larger swimming pool in the Spa with family swimming times, children’s food.

3. Calcot Manor, Gloucestershire


The Grove Hotel Artwork, NHYM 2014

With only 35 rooms, this is ideal for those looking for a more boutique feel alternative to bigger hotels without scrimping on facilities. It has a cozy, country manor feel to it, and offers close access to the Cotswolds and all its activities nearby. It has special events such as ‘Meet-The-Author’ lunches and clay pigeon shooting.

For the Parents: Calcot Spa is a lovely haven of peace while the children are being looked after at the Creche. There is a new horse-back riding school for those looking to learn or to brush up on their riding skills.

For kids: The Playzone, Ofsted registered Creche and the Mez, for children 8 and above. There is also an outdoor heated swimming pool during warmer months and a heated indoor pool for children during Family Swim Times.

4. Chewton Glen, Hampshire


Front courtyard at entrance of Chewton Glen, NHYM 2014. 

Chewton Glen is a Relais & Chateux Hotel that has (cleverly) become a great family friendly hotel with plenty of family friendly room options: Courtyard suites, Coach House Suites (where they will arrange for you to have children’s beds on the ground floor and a King Bed on the top floor) and its famous Family Treehouse Suites, for a true treehouse experience. It was recently voted Best UK Holiday Hotel 2014, by Conde Nast Traveller, UK edition.

For the parents: Spa, cycling for the whole family, visiting nearby fishing villages and the coast.

For the kids: There is an outdoor pool, a Kids club during weekends and school holidays, special dining times with special buffet for kids, bicycles available for the hotel family to cycle to the beach. There is also an indoor pool with family swim times.

5. Coworth Park, Ascot


Wisteria, NHYM 2014

Part of the Dorchester Collection, Coworth Park lives up to its reputation; it recently won the 2015 Best Hotel with Spa Award at the Conde Nast Johansens 2105 Awards for Excellence. Located in Ascot, it is close to London and with an emphasis on horses, horse-riding, and polo playing with its Guards Polo Club Academy at Coworth Park. It is ideally located near all sorts of family attractions.

For Parents: Polo and Equestrian lessons, spa, and indoor swimming pool. Rooms in the ‘Stables,’ are beautifully appointed luxurious rooms.

For Kids: Kids Club at Coworth Park 2-8 yo, and a Teen den for children 8 and above. There are a wide variety of activities from horse riding and indoor pools to Legoland, Windsor, and Thorpe Park.

6. Limewood Hotel, New Forest


The Grove Hotel Artwork, NHYM 2014

Limewood loses points for not having a Kid’s Club but because of it’s cool factor, it still makes the list. With under 30 rooms, it will feel intimate and familiar. There is a heavy emphasis on fitness and wellbeing with fitness retreats for adults and a large spa/fitness centre which includes: sauna, steam room, outdoor & indoor pool, workout studio, Raw & Cured food, Caldarium etc…There are specific rooms designed to be family friends such as the Forest cottages and cabins for families.

For Parents: Everything.

For kids: Little actual organised activities, therefore best for older children who need less looking after.

7. The Four Seasons, Hampshire


Fresh fruit salad for breakfast for the healthy-minded. NHYM 2014. 

The Four Seasons, Hampshire is ideal for the American expats around who like to know what to expect and are Four-Seasons-Loving. The brand says it all and you can expect impeccable service and grounds. It is also pet-friendly, so for the full family+pet experience, look no further. It is no longer for the child-less parents, as I was once told by a couple who found it too child-friendly for their taste, since it has become so popular with families.

For Parents: Tennis, horse-riding, dog-friendly, fishing, clay pigeon shooting and falconry. Glass covered infinity indoor pool with outdoor vitality pool. Children are welcome most of the time in the swimming pool apart from Adult Quiet Time Swimming.

For Kids: Kids For All Seasons, Kid’s Club for children 3 – 10 years old.  (Under 3 can attend with a babysitter), Pony Club for those 4 and  up.

** The next three hotels are part of the Von Essen Luxury Family Hotel chain which are specifically focussed on providing a luxury family holiday. These may not have the same 5 star service and immaculate rooms as the previous hotels, but are ideal for parents looking for more low key, family-centred, 3 or 4 star hotels, with country charm in its place**

8. Woolley Grange, Wiltshire

It is a self proclaimed ‘luxury family hotel’ in the Cotswolds, where ‘we put family life at the core of your luxury holiday.’ There is a family friendly spa with an indoor and outdoor pool and tots treatments, a walled garden with medicinal herbs and chicken/duck nesting boxes to collect fresh eggs. It is close to Bath and Cotswolds for family outings.

For Kids: There is a Children’s Club for babies up to 8 years old, with 2 hours complimentary childcare, baby listening and babysitting service. There is an outdoor play area with swings, climbing frames and a sandpit. The Hen house is for older children with a pool table, table football and wide screen TV.

9. The Ickworth, Suffolk

With 1,800 acres of national trust parkland, biking, children’s playground, farm and deer-studded parkland, this is a children’s heaven. Other nearby activities include Cambridge and Colchester Zoo. There is a Family Friendly Spa with an indoor swimming pool and Mamma mio treatments for the yummy mummies.

For kids: Creche from babies to 8 years old, baby listening and babysitting services, Sunday breakfast club from 8 to 9:30am, Club Blu for older kids with table tennis, pool table, Wii & Playstation as well as a cinema 6pm screenings.

10. Fowey Hall, Cornwall

This hotel is the furthest away from London, therefore is not for the faint hearted with 4 and a half hours of driving or flying into Newquay but has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. It is thought to have been the inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows. It is essentially a hotel for families though, so don’t expect Child-Less Clients. It is for those who love sea-side Cornish holidays by the sea, where you can imagine the Famous Five playing by the beach and on the river.

For Kids: Four Bears Creche Den, trampoline, zip wire and beach adventures. Indoor pool and outdoor hot tub, children’s high tea between 5 and 6pm.




Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Rachel Johnson, columnist, novelist and Notting Hill Resident

Quote of the Day: ‘Lunch is for pussies’


Last month, I interviewed the wonderfully verbose, brutally honest, and (slightly) acerbic Rachel Johnson, prolific writer, who has written for the Financial Times, the Spectator, the Sunday Times, (and more), ex-editor of the Lady magazine, and novelist who wrote ‘Notting Hell,’ on the adulterers of Notting Hill’s private gardens ( She is now coming out with the third book in her trilogy, ‘Fresh Hell,’ (after Notting Hell and Shire Hell) where her characters are back in Notting Hill with subterranean basement renovations et al.

Rachel is known for not mincing her words and not being controversy (or publicity) shy, or shall we just call it blunt, brutal honesty. You could equate that to her not really giving a toss about what people think about her. Good on her. She has raised three children, (Ludo, Charlotte and Oliver) is married to Ivo Dawnay and lives in Notting Hill.

(I would have loved to have been sitting at one of her family breakfasts with her 3 brothers, a mix of witty, entertaining banter, attention-seeking hounds, intellectual and political conversations, with a smatter of creativity thrown in with her painter mother, her brother Boris (who happens to be Mayor of London, for the international readers who may not know, and who may be PM one day, he has my vote!), Leo the green-man-environmentalist/PWC partner, and Jo, writer/politician/Chief of Policy for David Cameron. This just shows how much influence parents’ careers and guidance can shape their children’s careers: Her father was an author and politician, and pretty much all of them are one or the other or both).

1. What’s Your Story? How did you get to where you are? 

Not really sure where I am or how I got here! I was the first female graduate trainee at the FT (Financial Times) after I graduated from Oxford University. Later, after I worked for the BBC, I moved to Brussels and Washington DC and eventually worked as a Freelance columnist. I couldn’t continue being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, at one point I had 3 under 4. When I returned to work in an office, it was one of my happiest moments. For a while, I couldn’t stop working. At one point I had 12 columns to write in one month but then the internet happened and then columns were dead, everyone started reading their news on the internet instead. I became the Editor of the Lady magazine, which they did a documentary on, ‘The Lady and the Revamp’ (Where she was famously caught saying about the magazine ‘In the real world this is a piddling little magazine that nobody cares about. Or buys,” before pausing to add: “I don’t mean that.”). I’ve also written a number of books (including ‘Notting Hell’, which was quite successful). The TV rights of my book ‘A Diary of the Lady’ were just bought by the guys who do TOWIE/Hollyoaks, basically the TV shows that people actually watch. It even went to auction. I am now writing a column for the Mail on Sunday.

2. What are you currently working on right now? What are your current projects?

Apart from the Mail on Sunday column, I’ve just finished a new novel which is coming out this June, ‘Fresh Hell’. It has just gone to copy. It’s another novel based in Notting Hill and has some of the same characters, it features some subterranean renovations. Apart from that, I am going to Burma and writing some travel pieces on it. (Lucky woman!)

Fresh Hell Cover Image

3. What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

Just Do It. It is a lot of hard work. Try to keep your voice fresh and alive. Stay authentic.

4. How do you become a successful writer? 

I don’t know. Just look at Zoella, who sold millions of books in her first week. It’s all about the internet nowadays. (When I say that she has 8 books under her belt, isn’t that success, she gives me a tired smile, saying, ‘it’s difficult, you don’t want to disappoint everyone, your family, your friends, your agent, your publisher etc…’ where for a brief minute she shows her vulnerability, her self deprecation and a sensitive side not often seen in her usual sharp tongued retorts).

5. How do you balance it all, family/work balance? 

It’s all been a blur. My three children are grown up now, so I can finally spend some ‘me time.’ But I work hard. I get up and I work all day. I don’t stop apart to walk my dog. Lunch is for pussies. Get a life!

6. What is the best parenting advice you have? 

None of it really matters. Here’s a list:

1) Everything is a Stage

2) No one asks where you go to school

3) Nothing you can do can change that anyway

4) The less you do, the more you do

5) Over-parenting is a form of under-parenting

6) Never comment on their school reports

7) You can’t do it for them. I could go on…

7. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill? 

Portobello Pizza is one of my favourites. The Grocer on Elgin. Pedlars. Portobello Road for veg & fruit. I was brought to Notting Hill by my mum in 1979. She still lives here. When my husband asked where I wanted to live I said, Clarendon Road, Elgin Crescent or Lansdowne Road, I live on all three! (She is posh after all. And has been called a ‘rich bitch from Notting Hill’ by some).

8. What are you currently reading?

‘The Iceberg’ by Marian Coutts (a memoir on her husband’s death) ‘Churchill’ by Boris Johnson and ‘Burmese Days’ by George Orwell, since I am going to Burma soon.

9. Since you mention Boris, can I ask about him or is he off limits? 

No, not interested.

10. What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Don’t try so hard.

11. What was the proudest moment of your life? 

The birth of my three children. Ludo is 21, Charlotte is 20, and Oliver is 18.




Social Commentary

‘Divorce in The Digital Age…’

Quote of the Day: In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find and continue to find grounds for marriage. ~ Robert Anderson


For those of you who didn’t know it, Monday was D-day: not the veterans-day D-day, but Divorce day, the first working day in January, when most people ask for a divorce. Apparently, two whole weeks as a family, family fighting, a stressful Christmas (and you know how stressful Christmas can be,, New Year’s and New Year’s Resolutions, can all trigger a World War at home. As many as 1 in 4 married couples have been thinking about this for some time, months or even years.

Digital Divorce

January divorces are well known, and already I have been told of 4 couples deciding to divorce in 2015 in my (very) extended social circle in the last two weeks (friends-of-friends-of-friends-of-friends-of-friends). No one is happy to hear that a divorce is happening, especially when it involves young children (and all of these involve young children, 10 and under), but already the 2015 divorces are already claiming lives. Most people ask for privacy in this difficult time and try not to chat too loudly about their divorces, but someone I knew from school announced her divorce by no other means than Facebook, so in terms of ‘keeping our privacy’ etc… all bets are off.

It appears that they want the world to know: I opened my Facebook the other day, which I very rarely do, and saw announced on her page: ‘As you may have guessed, X and I have decided to separate.’ I hadn’t seen her in about 25 years, (so no I had not guessed) and hadn’t had any contact with her apart from accepting her ‘Friend’ status, but I have been privy to all of her emotional ups and downs along the years, and now her divorce, through her Facebook page. There was an entire announcement of her separation on her page, and exactly the same one on her husband’s page. She had even made an entire photo montage of their lives together, from University to their marriage to their children’s birth photos, where of course they seemed like the perfect, happy family. Just a few months ago, a photo showed her husband preparing her breakfast with the caption ‘Best Husband Ever!’ underneath. The Digital World can help you create your perfect online family, which can easily hide the flaws and cracks of a fragile marriage, and for the world to see only what you want it to see. You can be your own Digital Editor of your life.

I wasn’t sure how to take this announcement. I felt like a voyeur into someone’s life which made me rather uncomfortable, but she clearly had no qualms in airing out her dirty laundry. There was an attached Blog about her divorce, a minute-by-minute detailed description of how the divorce occurred ‘he said to me he no longer loved me and said that I should be honest with myself and admit that I no longer loved him.’ Wow. It read like a Danielle Steele novel and I felt at the same time entranced and enticed to read more but at the same time repelled by the thought of intruding into someone else’s detailed, tragic, personal train wreck. It’s like reality TV, you know it’s so bad but you just can’t stop watching it.

The topping on the cake was a Paypal button. ‘Please donate any money, as you know divorces are expensive.’ This was taking things to another level. It’s one thing to take your husband to the cleaners, which already brings out the worst in a lot of people, but begging on the internet? I started to feel very sorry for her. I am not sure that was the intent, but the whole sordid affair just seemed like it should have stayed behind closed doors. Perhaps I am a techno-prude, but I do like the preferred  old fashioned method, used by one of the other D-Day victims, to keep their Divorce Reasons completely secretive to all but their closest friends.

What are your thoughts on announcing your divorce on Facebook, a Blog, or Twitter? 

Most Famous Digital Divorce

Of course the most famous Digital Divorce Award goes to Gwyneth ‘Goop’ Paltrow and Chris Martin for their ‘Conscious Uncoupling,’ which won the ‘Worst term in 2014’ Award in Australia. Her announcement made on her GOOP website was probably the most read Divorce Announcement Ever. At the end of the day, they were just plain old divorcing, but only Gwenyth would turn it into a ‘positive’ experience. Say it how it is. Divorce sucks, everyone gets hurt, everyone gets down and mostly everyone comes out a bit poorer. Luckily for Gwenny, both parties are rich enough not to care for the other’s bank account. This at least takes out some of the bitter money-fighting that often comes with the D-process.

In the US, in one of the most expensive divorces in history, oil baron Harold Hamm is appealing his order to give his wife $1 Billion because plunging oil prices, which means his personal worth and assets in stock are on its ass. She is appealing saying the sum is too small. What is her point of needing more than $1 Billion please? Does she really think she will be happier with $2 Billion? The only answer I can think of is that during divorces, money is used as a weapon of mass destruction and annihilation of your former partner ’til death do us part’.

Divorce Quotes

Top divorce quotes when no other words will do:

Staying married may have long-term benefits. You can elicit much more sympathy from friends over a bad marriage than you ever can from a good divorce. ~ P.J. O’Rourke

“Bad divorce?” Hardy asked, his gaze falling to my hands. I realized I was clutching my purse in a death grip. “No, the divorce was great,” I said. “It was the marriage that sucked.” ~ Lisa Kleypas, Blue-Eyed Devil

Ah, yes, divorce . . . from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.~ Robin Williams

A lawyer is never entirely comfortable with a friendly divorce, anymore than a good mortician wants to finish his job and then have the patient sit up on the table. ~ Jean Kerr

In Palm Springs, they think homelessness is caused by bad divorce lawyers. ~ Garry Trudeau

The difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that a legal separation gives a husband time to hide his money. ~ Johnny Carson

Instead of getting married again, I’m just going to find a woman I don’t like and give her a house. ~ Lewis Grizzard

You know why divorces are so expensive? Because they’re worth it. ~ Henny Young man

If you think you have trouble supporting a wife, try not supporting her. ~ Unknown

It was one of those ridiculous arrangements that couples make when they are separating, but before they are divorced—when they still imagine that children and property can be shared with more magnanimity than recrimination. ~ John Irving

You don’t know a woman till you’ve met her in court. ~ Norman Mailer

Nowadays love is a matter of chance, matrimony a matter of money, and divorce a matter of course. ~ Helen Rowland

I look at divorce this way: it’s better to have loved and lost, than to live with that bitch for the rest of my life. ~ Steve McGrew

I can’t get divorced because I’m a Catholic. Catholics don’t get divorced. They stay together through anger and hatred and festering misery, just like God intended. ~ Lenny Clarke

Divorces are made in heaven. ~ Oscar Wilde

Half of all marriages end in divorce—and then there are the really unhappy ones. ~ Joan Rivers

Divorce is a declaration of independence with only two signers. ~ Gerald F. Lieberman

[and last but hardly least . . .]

The only time my wife and I had a simultaneous orgasm was when the judge signed the divorce papers. ~ Woody Allen




Photos, Social Commentary

‘Are you Sun or Ski? Top 10 Reasons why I choose Sun over Ski Anytime’


Copyright NHYM 2014

There are two camps in this Battle: the Skiers and the Sunners. The Skiers tend to be athletic, sporty and have a need for an Adrenaline Rush, the Sunners, well, you could either call them the Lazy Ones or the Intellectual Ones. I’d rather call them the Intellectual Ones, who, like myself, are satisfied with the only activity of reading books while sipping a margarita cocktail on my sun lounger with waiters coming by with fresh fruit ever half hour while working on my tan.

After coming back from a week’s holiday of Skiing in the Alps, to a place we shall call Valdeblore, I am reminded that I am firmly, and always will be, in the Sunny Holiday camp. I was swayed this year into thinking that a Snow Holiday would be great for the kids, who are ready to learn to ski, just as they should learn how to swim. Very valuable asset to have. Therefore, off we went on a Ski Holiday with 2 young children in tow. I quickly realised my mistake and longed for the tropical holidays my friends were sending me messages from; ‘Happy New Year from the Bahamas!’ Hello from Hawaii!’

Top 10 Reasons why I choose Sun over Ski

1. Packing: Packing for a Sun Holiday is the easiest packing you will ever have to do: bikini, sarong, flip flops, sunglasses and you are set. Now that the Kindle exists, it is even easier, no need to lug 7 paperbacks like I used to (ave. 1 book read per day in my heydays). I can fit my clothes and two children’s clothes in just one suitcase! Amazing! This past week, I had to pack for myself and my two toddlers, my husband, my mother which meant 10 thermals, socks, 5 Snow Suits (which take up a lot of space), 5 snow boots, 5 regular boots, 5 Ski-Warm Clothes and 20 town outfits, and the list goes on until we somehow ended up with 7 suitcases, 2 backpacks (one for skiing, one for carrying children), 1 travel cot, 1 buggy, and all of our Ski equipment.

2. Equipment: Like I mentioned before, the Sun equipment necessary now really boils down to a Kindle and Sunglasses. Perhaps a Dive Computer for the Dive Aficionados. But Ski Equipment? Ski Boots, Ski Poles, Skis, Gloves, Goggles (in case you get stuck in a Snowstorm like we did last week), and then you actually have to carry it all! And your children’s. And then you end looking like a Robot from Transformers will all this gear. I watched parents struggling to carry all of their and their children’s equipment down some stairs while their children were too scared to walk down by themselves, screaming and crying out of exhaustion and cold while I watched on, feeling sorry for them but unable to help because I was already carrying my own ski equipment plus my daughter’s helmet, gloves, skis, ski boots and prayed I wouldn’t lose any of them, which could set off a world-war-3-tantrum.

3. Travel: So both require plane travel in general (except those who want to brave a 13 hour car ride with their children in the back, but no thanks, better you than me or overnight train rides. Really? Again, not for me), but at the other end, car rides are almost essential for the Skiers. For Sunners, the best case scenario is to get to your final destination by speedboat from the airport like in the Maldives, ( ) which frankly is just much sexier than you in an oversized 7 person Family Car rental full to the brim of ski equipment and bags falling over right, left, and centre with each turn. And you know how much I like Boats. Then to reach the mountains, it will take a few hours drive from the airport to the final destination, in what are not the most easy conditions. Windy, icy roads on a mountain’s edge which threatens you at every turn to fall into the abyss, while my children both turn Green after the third windy turn. Eldest daughter vomited on the way up, youngest daughter vomited on the way down. Cleaning up vomit in a car on the side of a dangerously freezing road with one or the other child crying is just not very fun.

4. Clothes: This is really an extension of points 1 & 2. The ease of slipping into a bikini and pareo in the morning before heading off to a luxuriant laid out tropical fruit breakfast on the beach is just so much more appealing than waking up early to make sure you’re not missing any daylight skiing and getting dressed which requires military precision: Special-Socks-to-Keep-Your-Toes-Warm, long johns, Thermal long sleeved shirt, Special-Keep-Warm-Shirt-On-Top-of-Thermals, Ski Trousers, Ski Jacket, Ski Hat, Ski Gloves, Ski Boots. Not only do I have to put on all these layers, but then I have to help both of my children put on all of these layers, which if you are a parent know how difficult dressing time can be. By the time they are all dressed up, there are so many layers, they could barely move and found it easier to slide down a snow hill than to walk. All the while, they are complaining about something; too hot, too cold, too tired, ski boots hurt, too grumpy. Why are my children never happy?!

The worst case scenario in a Sun Holiday, like the (only) time my husband was in charge of packing the kids’ bag to go to the beach, is that you forget their bathing suit, which he literally did, and which meant two frolicking naked children on the beach, which is fine if you’re in France, and is even recommended in some places, although, if you were in the US you’d probably end up in jail for child abuse, while they wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the firearm in your purse.

5. Style: Ok, so the Ski Bunny look can be cute and charming with its Furs and Fur Trimmed jackets etc… But then you’d have to fend off PETA Supporters and Avoid Tomato-Snow-Balls headed at you, but seriously, the white sun protection lip block which covers half your face and the frozen, windswept hair and bright red, coarse cheeks after a day of skiing just isn’t a good look. And most Sunglasses/Goggles for Skiing really are just not that Stylish and the suntan around them just really looks daft. Sunny Holiday Sunglasses, on the other hand, can make anyone look good. The bigger the Sunglasses, the better you look and literally anyone can look good in large sunglasses and a Melissa Odabash kaftan. ‘Nuf said.


6. Food: Perhaps it was the Ski Station we were staying in, but Ski Food becomes quite nauseating and redundant after a while. After a few days of Tartiflette, Raclette, Fondue, Sausages, Frites, Burgers, Pizzas and More-Cheese-Than-You-Need-for-A-Year, you start to crave fruits and vegetables. The Alps evidently did not get the ‘Five-a-Day-Fruit&Veg Pamphlet from the Government Officials. Perhaps they got car sick and had to go home. But then, when I wanted vegetables or fruit, there were none to be found! In one restaurant, I asked if I could get a side of vegetables, and the waiter looked at me with a blank face, like I had asked for a rare caviar from Odessa. And don’t even think about looking for fruit, it is literally an endangered species up there. So, not only did we all gain 5 pounds and became the chubby family version of ourselves, by Day 5, I felt nauseous just looking at anything with cheese anymore. Not great for my #1 New Year’s Resolution of losing weight, ‘Fighting the Flab,’ and eating healthy.

7. The Actual Sport: For anyone who is like me, a part time exerciser, skiing is hard work. I can just about ski any colour of the rainbow, red, green, blue, white or black, but it isn’t without huffing and puffing, feeling the lactic acid buildup in my legs and being exhausted by the end of the trip. Isn’t a holiday supposed to be relaxing and rejuvenating? Skiing, unfortunately, does the opposite to me; exhausting, stressful with kids who don’t want to carry their skis, and I come home more tired than I left. Another notch against the Ski Camp. Sun Holidays encompass all my favourite things in life; swimming, reading, eating well, and sleeping (whilst it is positively encouraged to wake up at 10am on a Sunny Holiday, the Die Hard skiers/snowboarders will look down at you with contempt should you try to show up on the slopes at 10am).


Copyright NHYM 2014

8. Weather: For those who haven’t been in Western Europe for the past week, the week started out snowless. There was barely any snow in the Alps or anywhere in Europe. Even the fake snow machines couldn’t save the day and many stations were shut. The day after our arrival, beautiful snowflakes appeared outside our window, and thinking we must make good use of this fresh snow and powder, we rushed out, early morning to hit the slopes. By mid-morning, no one else seemed to be skiing apart from a few like us. When we arrived at the top of the mountain, we couldn’t even see in front of us. It was freezing at -13C and we couldn’t see anyone or even the piste in front of us. This was a definite sign to go home. By that time, I couldn’t feel my toes or my fingers, my hair was caked in snow and my lips had become so numb and frozen that I could barely form my words, I sounded like I had had too much dental anaesthetic or an overdose of Valium. The skiing was bitterly cold and unpleasant as I began to wonder why in the world we have decided to come skiing to get frostbite in the process. Later, I found out that this heavy snowfall caused massive chaos and stranded 15,000 cars, with people needing to go into emergency shelters in school halls and sports centres.

9. Threats to your Life: At the precise moment in time we were stuck in the blizzard I started thinking of who we would sacrifice first, me or Mr. X. I definitely decided Mr. X. This part is actually serious, but Snow & Ski holidays leads to a huge number of accidents; avalanches, head injuries, snowstorms. Unfortunately, I remember last year hearing about Michael Schumacher’s accident, while he had a helmet on, and thought that I would never go skiing again, and here I was stuck in a snow blizzard. Sun holidays do have their risks, but generally speaking and excluding exceptional natural disasters, risks of accidents Skiing vs. going to a Sunny, tropical destination don’t really compare.

10. If I were Ever Stranded…Mountains or Beach? Of course as we were skiing down the slopes literally in the white darkness, I thought about being stranded in the mountains like in the movie ‘Alive’ and about Alexander Supertramp in the movie ‘Into the Wild’, and whether anyone survived. The question of mountain or beach is a no-brainer; if I were to be stranded somewhere, I would rather be on an island somewhere off the coast of Thailand, me and Leonardo di Caprio on our ‘Beach’ (without Tilda Swindon the dictator of course), drinking coconut water (which happens to be very trendy at the moment), fishing and eating sushi everyday, with grilled banana for dessert. I can’t think of a better way to be stranded.

Eventually, we returned to the Ski station, safe and sound, I hugged my two children, thanking whoever was listening that I had made it back into one piece.  There you have it. Beach holidays always win. Even in the movies.