Challenge: Day 2 What made you smile today?

Thank you for all who shared your smiles on Day 1.  Looking forward to sharing smiles on Day 2.


In our busy and hectic lives, sometimes we forget to stop and smile, hold back a laugh, or get pulled down by unhappy people. Then we have the continuous depressing reality of the world at large with senseless murders, wars, etc. and the wrath of Mother Nature.

Not too long ago there was the 100 Happy Days phenomenon that encouraged millions of people around the world to keep a social media photo diary for 100 days of things that made one happy each day.

We need this phenomenon to continue for our own selves and to keep positive energy around us which then multiplies into massive movement of positive energy.

I would like to encourage each one of you to share with me and all the readers on what brings a smile to your face everyday.  Everyday for the next 30 days (to begin with), in the comment box below, please share with me what brought a smile to your face that day.  It can be absolutely anything. Be open to all the that’s out there.

Are you in?


Challenge: What made you smile today?

In our busy and hectic lives, sometimes we forget to stop and smile, hold back a laugh, or get pulled down by unhappy people. Then we have the continuous depressing reality of the world at large with senseless murders, wars, etc. and the wrath of Mother Nature.

Not too long ago there was the 100 Happy Days phenomenon that encouraged millions of people around the world to keep a social media photo diary for 100 days of things that made one happy each day.

We need this phenomenon to continue for our own selves and to keep positive energy around us which then multiplies into massive movement of positive energy.

I would like to encourage each one of you to share with me and all the readers on what brings a smile to your face everyday.  Everyday for the next 10 days (to begin with), in the comment box below, please share with me what brought a smile to your face that day.  It can be absolutely anything. Be open to all the that’s out there.

Are you in?





Today I had the pleasure of being caught in a cross-fire between two sisters-in-law who could not stop gushing about each other!  Yes, you heard me… gushing…

In the morning, on my journey in to work, I called one of my best friends to catch up as it had been awhile.  Yesterday was her birthday and being the beautiful and popular girl that she is, I could barely just wish her ‘happy birthday’, so today was our catch up conversation.  Her brother’s wife, also a beautiful soul, was en-route to London today and I was due to have lunch with her.  The conversation was about how my friend’s sis-in-law spent the entire day organising my friend’s birthday along with some surprises all at her home while also preparing to catch a flight to London that night. She couldn’t stop praising her and all the beautiful things she does unselfishly.

Then I had lunch with the sister-in-law who couldn’t stop speaking about her husband’s sister in the highest of regard and how her birthday was so special because she is so special and how she gives so much of herself which was rewarded on her birthday by even the children she works with at a refugee camp.

Both girls have grown up with each other, and have been close through out.  My friend was always told by her parents to learn to be like their daughter-in-law and today the daughter-in-law says how she is learning so much from the daughter.  They are both on a spiritual path, both so giving of their time, so positive, unbelievably helpful and so unlike typical human nature, have no personal agenda or ulterior motive to benefit from their goodness.  They spend their time and money generously towards many charitable organisations or people in need.  They’re growing in leaps and bounds and are such amazing inspirations to all of us who are lucky to have them in our lives.  You will never hear these two speak ill of anyone, and have this natural knack of bringing out the best in anyone, in any situation.

I have been and still am a recipient of their love, dedication, friendship and loyalty and am so blessed to call them my friends… my sisters.  They make me want to be a better person.  They make me want to see the good in everybody.  They make me want to see all people as equal and worthy of love and respect.

Isn’t it just beautiful to see two women have continuous love and respect for each other and use each other as their guide to continue to climb the ladder of goodness, of duty, of love?  It is so contagious.

To all my sisters: cousins, sisters-in-law, sisters from other mothers (my amazing friends), and all you beautiful women… here’s to being ‘sisters-in-love’.  May we always stand united in being our best selves and to build a community of love, of respect, of being unselfish, and to keep this goodness going.


DPDF Series: Que Sera Sera

Que Sera Sera

When I was just a little girl my mother used to sing this song to me along with a few others like ‘You are my sunshine’.
Now I have children of my own and I started to sing ‘Que Sera Sera’ to them the other morning. ‘A’ loves languages and new songs so he was quite intrigued. When I got to ‘…will I be pretty…’ he said…’Mama, pretty like Katie!’.
I was taken back for a minute as I hadn’t met Katie and was surprised he made the association. ‘Pretty’ with ‘Katie’. :). (Katie is their friend in Mandarin class which hubby takes them too.)
My 3 year old boy knows ‘pretty’ and can already appropriately use the adjective!  He’s already a little charmer… Sorry mums….look out for some innocent flirting from my little boy! Que Sera Sera…
And now from my head to yours….here’s Que Sera Sera…


I was reading The Week and came across an interesting fact: apparently one in four British women go clubbing with their mothers, according to a Usurv survey; 36% invite their mothers to social events with their friends.

Reading this made me smile at first. I then had this bizarre mental image of being invited by my “best friend forever”, my daughter, to a pub, agreeing to go and then finding myself sitting around a table with a bunch of young girls, chatting about their boyfriends or something and feeling incredibly out of place. Why would I want to feel that way?

Call me a cynic but I think survey statistics are sometimes begging to be challenged. One in four British women may go clubbing with their mothers but perhaps not because they want to! Also, 36% may invite their mothers to social events with their friends but what percentage actually goes?

These facts were written to suggest that the generation gap is closing fast in Britain. Indeed, our digital age has brought us closer together with regards to information access and social media; my “Baby Boomer” mum loves WhatsApp and uses it happily to share photos and jokes with me, as I do with my “millennial” daughter. And yes, I have invited my mother in the past to come out with my “Generation X” friends and myself, but only when I knew she really didn’t have anything else to do. But on occasion, she did also express a concern that it might be “awkward”, not for us but for her as a minority older person in a younger crowd.

I guess the question I am asking is: “why is it necessary for the generation gap to close?”.  One answer can be found in the workplace. We still find that when multi-generational employees work in teams, different work ethics, motivational tactics and capabilities can prohibit working towards that common goal. However, I think it is important to recognise the different supporting roles that we play to our older and younger generations; we can celebrate the strengths of older generations with their stronger work ethic and whilst still acknowledging that younger generations will generally learn and adapt faster in our evolving technological environment.

When I was younger and struggled to make friends, my mother always reminded me that she would always be my best friend, no matter what.  I repeat the same to my daughter today, when she needs to hear it. In our family, we have BFFs across different generations, and maybe over time, the gap will close as our relationships evolve. In the meantime, my mother, my daughter and I will continue to enjoy learning about one another; striving to develop a common language peppered by our multi-generational experiences.

Happy Birthday Papa!

Papa & Me
Papa & Me

Yes… this blog is intended to Celebrate Women… but Women just don’t happen.  As much as an impact a mother has on a daughter, a father has equally the same in my opinion and experience.  Here is how my Papa help shape me in to the girl/woman I am today…

Papa is a ‘No-bullshit’, ‘It’s all about tough-love’, ‘I know you’re my only daughter but don’t expect any special treatment’ kind of father.  In my life as a wife, mother and an entrepreneur today, I call upon various teachings and incidences I have had with my father growing up, and realise how influenced I am by those experiences and how they impact me now.

1.   Till the age of 7 I used to come home from school and change out of my uniform dumping it in my parents’ room for my mother to figure out the next step – iron or wash, when she got home from work.  One day, after doing so, my father walked up to me and asked me what my uniform was doing on the floor.  I said, ‘that’s where I always leave it, and mama does what she does with it’.  Papa said, ‘well, when are you going to figure it out?  Mama is not supposed to do everything for you.  Fold your clothes and put them away neatly.’  I burst out crying as I didn’t know how to button and fold a shirt.  All Papa had to say was, ‘work at it, you’ll get it.’

2.  At 8, papa taught me how to make his and mum’s afternoon tea, to be ready for them after their siesta.

3.  At 10, I was told off for being arrogant with his staff at his shop when I answered, ‘It’s my father’s shop, I’ll do as I please’.  I was made to apologise to everyone.

4.  At 16, while my  mother was on a business trip, my father asked me one day what was for dinner.  I just looked blank at him… if mum didn’t cook and freeze, then dad cooked, or my older brothers dabbled in the kitchen and conjured up some yummy food.  If all that failed, then we got a take out.  But me cook?  Sure, an omelette or a scramble egg and toast, or a toastie?  I had a strange feeling that none of that was going to work that day.  So I asked papa what he would like and he said call Aunty …. and ask her how to make kababs, and I will show you how to make hummus and tabouleh.  Well if any of you know what tabouleh entails…. we spent a couple of hours in the kitchen with papa showing me how to ‘finely‘ chop ALL the ingredients of the salad just like we had it in Kuwait!  Needless to say, the kababs turned out not too bad and all the boys were pleased with the dinner.  Those experiences carried on and soon I was calling all our relatives and friends for recipes of dishes papa wanted to have!

5.  At 18 Papa accompanied me to the orientation day at FIDM and when we decided on my course, he encouraged me to take a student loan to complement the fee he would pay, so that I would learn the value of work,  money and education when it was time to get a job and pay my loan back.

6.  At 19 Papa took me on my first buying trip for his business.  I was already at the Fashion Institute of Merchandise and Marketing and studying Merchandise Marketing.  Papa took me to India for my first hand experience in ‘purchasing with the customer in mind’, and taught me (tried to at least) negotiate, and also calculate the landed price, and then working out the selling prices and the ROI of the trip.

7.  I left the business at 21 to work in the garment industry for many years, then at 26 while on a holiday in India, I received a ‘fax’ with one of his customer’s requirements and that the trend in LA was changing, so while I was in India, I needed to travel and find new merchandise for the shop… and upon my return, I was handed the business and asked to change it… from name, to look, to merchandise, to customer.

8.  All through my late teenage years and my twenties while still at home, Papa showed me how to care for the garden, the grass in the hot & blazing summers and how to prune the fruit trees.

9.  In the same years during courting and dating, Papa met all the young men and would charm them instead of the other way around.  We would then discuss the men, whether arranged or not, and we usually shared the same opinions or thoughts about them.  We liked the same ones and not so like the same ones!  Papa held on and would not give me away until he was totally convinced by one of them to be the right one for me.  Turned out he was more smitten by my hubby’s intro and request for my hand than I was!

10.  For some years after getting married and moving to London and seeing my parents age long distance, I offered to do some of the buying trips for them being that London is far more closer to India than LA is and that jet lag on me was far easier than jet lag on Papa in his late 60’s, early 70’s.  The response I got from him was typical of what a traditional father would say to his married daughter.  My responsibility now is towards my new home and my new family and I need to look forward.

11.  At 41, after trying a new venture in London, when I took some samples to Papa to see, he sat me down and we had a good educational chat once again on how to purchase, who my client was, how to price the items and how to market them.

12.  We still discuss business, I am still Papa’s sous-chef when I visit, we still exchange recipes, and we still enjoy his beautiful garden, and Papa still talks about what our ‘dharma’ (duties) in life are while relating his entire life experiences to us.

Wishing you a VERY HAPPY 76TH BIRTHDAY PAPA!  May you always be blessed with your strength and sound health.  Thank you for being such an amazing guide and role model.


50 Shades of Grey – My humble opinion

50 Shades of Opinions & Reservations…

Like the books, the media is all over the movie and so are the viewers, and the conservative non-viewers.

I made it through the first 2 chapters of the 1st book – 50 Shades of Grey – over a period of 3 weeks!  A mere 10 or so pages? I can’t recall, but the only pain I remember experiencing was the terrible writing, which actually turned me off from going any further. Nope, no curiosity left.

When the movie was released, I was still not curious.  I do enjoy the soundtrack however, and find Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love me like you do’ very romantic and beautiful.

Early last week, I went to a dinner and some of the girls mentioned they had watched the movie.  I expected them to get in to an uncomplimentary dialogue about it and how I should not bother wasting my time.  To my surprise they just smiled and said that it was quite nice, the lead  actors did a great job and it was definitely worth watching.  Few days later, another group of girls asked me to join them for the movie.  I hesitated as you can gather from my earlier post, I would rather catch up on sleep! Then I thought, why not?

So I braced myself for scenes I thought would be OTT, that I wouldn’t be able to watch them, and to be completely turned off as I was with the book.

Once again, to my surprise, I thought the movie was actually tastefully adapted and that Sam Taylor-Johnson – the director, brought a lot of dignity in to the characters – Christian Grey (HOT Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) – and directed the script very well.  Christian Grey very clearly explains why ‘he was that way’ owing it to being orphaned at the age of 4 and then continuously being sexually abused by his mother’s friend at the age of 15.  But you don’t get the feeling of an obnoxious, power-hungry man who enjoys being the ‘dominant’ in an S & M relationship, instead, you see that he starts to feel uncomfortable in his own skin and he softens up when he is with Anastasia Steele.  Anastasia, a young and innocent virgin, curious and enamoured by this beautiful man, tries to take it as far as she can, in the process of discovering herself and experiencing all kinds of pleasures and found her limits after consenting to  being the ‘submissive’ and challenging Grey to ‘punish’ her.  She was aware of the shame she felt as a result and was able to draw the line.

As I said, I did not read the rest of the books, and hence, am naive myself as to where this is going, butI have to say, I was impressed with Anastasia’s journey in this first part and her strength to walk away.  I am also impressed at how Sam Taylor-Johnson created something nice from all the badly written smut and soft-porn described in the book.  Well done to all 3 – Taylor-Johnson, Dornan and Johnson for carrying this through so well.

Prior to watching the movie, I read some of the circulated letters written to daughters by the mothers who watched the film.  I totally agree that a woman should never feel ‘submissive’ in any way to anyone, especially in a sexual relationship. I wouldn’t encourage every girl to test the limits as far as Anastasia does in the book/movie.  I would like to think that it’s all good in fiction and fantasy, and that reality is a whole different game.

It is important that she (a woman) understands what it entails to be in such a relationship and that she first needs to love & respect herself before engaging in one.


“That time of the Month?”

I was at Pilates, again. On this particular Saturday, the Studio was packed. There were two women chatting together, quite audibly (I was not eavesdropping) about how exhausted they felt and one of them sighed and remarked, “Well, I always feel like this when there is a Full Moon, I’ve noticed that about myself.”

Now, maybe I misheard her but it did get me thinking. We as women have always talked about the mood swings, the physical pain and fatigue and the generally rubbish-like feeling that we feel during that time of the month but I’ve not heard about this time, the Full Moon, ever given as an explanation before. While my logical internal voice was thinking about the possible scientific reasons for her observation, my other more cynical internal voice decoded, “maybe she was just saying that but what she really meant was that she was having a bad period week?”

As these two internal voices continue to verbally arm-wrestle, my external voice ponders about how women today, including myself, perceive the “chum” as my Mum positively introduced it to me, many years ago. I always thought my monthly bleed was a nuisance but something one could use to an advantage; it was a “get out of swimming” card for many of us at school. I even recall more recently, attending a family funeral and noticing my cousin’s absence, I sought her out only to find her curled up at the top of the stairs, clutching her mobile, mouthing to me that she was (winking) “on” so she wasn’t to attend the prayers below.

I know that by using a normal, biological, monthly occurrence as an excuse, we are probably propagating the notion that women are the delicate sex but the fact is that most women will experience some inconvenience or discomfort during their period and I don’t think we should be ashamed to talk about it. On the contrary, we should and do exercise our right to complain (!) but then we move on.

I read an article about Heather Watson’s explanation for defeat due to “girl things” at the Australian Open. The article suggested that talking about menstruation might set women back in the world of sport but acknowledged that she had every right to point at her period as a reason for under-performing and that maybe more athletes will feel free to do the same from hereon, when relevant.

On the same day, I also came across an article written by an 18 year old girl in India about how fed up she was by the “taboo” label attached to this subject matter. She wrote about how women in India are still prohibited today from participating in normal activities when they have their period and how this is “archaic”. I agree with her (and we all know that this doesn’t just happen in India). However, I had hoped that she would gently acknowledge how and why traditional ideas and beliefs in India evolved: in yesterday’s India and the world, there was relatively no access to good feminine hygiene products and education and so fear and ignorance determined behaviour and bias.

There is little excuse for this cultural cover-up today and for future generations of women, open recognition and discussion of a menstrual period for what it is, plain and simple, should negate the negativity in time. So let that time start now.


Happy New Year! Back to school runs and work.  As you skip back into the gym, remember to check out new January rates that might be displayed in the smallest font humanly possible to read – they may be cheaper than what you currently pay. I only realised when I received a letter from my gym about a rate increase – which was sent in error!

I emailed polite queries that evolved into frustrated complaints, always to at least 2 managers, escalated these to managers’ managers and finally got a nice chap on the phone who agreed that I had been overcharged for 2 years! The same nice chap gently explained that since our gym had been taken over, new rates had been made available; the information had been “on display” in the gym and therefore nothing could be done to reimburse me for the excess paid. Not happy, I insisted that I should be compensated and after more emails and calls, the same but now not-so-nice-chap then decided to give me a month’s membership free but still took payment for that month anyway.

Deciding that I wasn’t going to stop chasing this until the excess that I had paid was refunded, I expressed extreme dissatisfaction about the way my case had been dealt with, which drew out another few months’ membership off. Eventually, the really-not-so-nice-never-wanting-to-speak-to-me-again chap offered a few more months’ free membership and threw in guest passes too!

Funny how the human brain works, I went to the gym way more often once money wasn’t leaving my account for it…

You always have the right to request a review on your membership, just ask.

Gyms use their websites now to communicate offers, letters are only sent bearing bad news about price increases; for the good news, look online. And I guess I will be going to the gym with my glasses on, take the 3 minutes extra to look for the fine print!

Remember, if you are stuck, you can always read about your rights:

Why am I so quiet?


Loving January.  No matter where I am – in Los Angeles or in London – I love January.  It’s the calm after the storm of the holidays, but there’s this magic in the air as I look forward to all the surprises that will unfold in the New Year!

(I do not make New Year’s resolutions as I think I keep evolving during the year and make adjustments, amendments, or learn new things as I go along.  However, this year I have stopped having sugar in my 3-cups-of-tea-a-day and resisting my daily bite of dark chocolate after every meal.  So… I did cheat yesterday, but is it cheating to eat 90% PURE, dark chocolate??)

I have been busy working behind the scenes on my Colourful Women who will be portrayed slowly but surely on this site.  As I had mentioned… these are MY Colourful Women.  The Women in my life who I admire, respect, and model various aspects of my life on.  They are an inspiration to me and many around them, and I will be sharing these special women with you.

While I work on ways to portray them, I encourage you to think of the special women in your life and either talk about them…….or please…. introduce them to me!

I have also been asked to write about bringing up my twin boys, so on my page – Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun – I will be sharing stories of being a mum in her 40’s to twin toddler boys!  Mostly funnies – yes, the joke is usually on me! – but it’s a beautiful and blessed journey when I’m not tearing my hear out and trying to pawn them off on Papa or the Nanny.

Enjoy 2015 and everything beautiful that unfolds along your path.  Open your eyes, ears and heart and allow yourself to take it all in.