The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

I started reading The Girl You Left Behind last Thursday and finished it on Monday evening. It was quite a marathon considering the 500 pages, not to mention I also have a life!

I read the first fifty pages in a breath and I even mentioned the beautiful writing of this novel on my Facebook. And it was great writing for a while, but then…

So here is how the book is structured. There are two stories revolving around a painting, one story set in 1916, in a small village in France and the second story is set nowadays, in London.

The first story is absolutely amazing, from the way characters are built, to the emphasizing of fear and desperation of people living during the war. I especially liked the “humanizing” of the German commandant, the war seen through is eyes, how he was letting the villagers get away with breaking the law.

Then suddenly the story moved in Central London. I didn’t like Liv, the British character, but I am subjective, this has nothing to do with the writing skills of Jojo Moyes. I found Liv lazy and pitiful and she was obviously suffering from major depression, yet she was doing nothing about it.

Some details in the story didn’t make sense and that really really bugged me. I mean, when you barely manage to find 200 pounds for the Council Tax, you don’t go to a pub to Central London, to drink one glass of wine after another, then plan to take a taxi home. That would be something between 50 and 100, depending on how much you drink and you simply can’t afford that, if, like I said, you have to put so much effort in finding the 200 you need.

The love story between Liv and Paul seems forced, it doesn’t naturally flow like the one between Sophie and Edouard. I would have believed it more if they had met while he was investigating the case of the painting, the coincidence that he found out she had the painting after their first night together is so cheesy. The trial is too long and full of too many spectacular moments, it looks more like a trial in Ally McBeal, to be honest.

The Girl You Left Behind is inconsistent, in one word. At one point I thought it might be written by two different people. I read it that fast for the only reason that I wanted to see what happened to Sophie eventually and I tried really hard not to skip the modern story and move to the old one.

I don’t write reviews in general, unless I am asked to. But The Girl You left Behind drove me mad from all the reasons mentioned above and I had to express myself. The second story was unnecessary, if you ask me, Sophie, Edouard and the commandant could have stand by themselves without any problems.

I am not saying Jojo Moyes is not a good writer. She is a great writer but I believe she loved the story from 1916 better because she obviously gave it more time and thought. I appreciate that it was well documented, I like a writer that takes the effort to find small details about the setting of their story.

Why she failed to make me believe the second story is probably because she was on a deadline and she didn’t have the time. Just saying, but after all, no one asked me, right?

From Here To Eternity – The Musical

I went to see From Here To Eternity and I would like to take this chance to apologise to the entire cast for not being in the story 100% but I was feeling so poorly, that I almost didn’t go.  It was on a Monday night, after work and after a long weekend in Oslo.

I liked the story and it was beautifully staged. I loved the dancing and the music and most of all, as usual at plays, I liked the energy the actors sent from the stage. Last but not least, the old look of the theatre made me turn my head from the show many times. I am such a sucker for old buildings!

From Here To Eternity is a very bold musical, quite explicit in terms of words usage. There was a lot of sexuality implied, but nothing aggressive or of bad taste.

From Here To Eternity is set in Pearl Harbor, 1941, where the girls sing “don’cha like Hawaii”, the men of G Company sing the blues, and where even on an army base, love and desire are never very far away. When the troubled Private Prewitt falls for the kind hearted escort club girl Lorene, and when his platoon sergeant, Warden, embarks on a dangerous affair with his commanding officer’s wife, Karen, the lives of both men are set on a course they cannot control. As war approaches, the worlds of the four lovers and the soldiers of G Company are dramatically ripped apart. (source)

And that is all I am going to disclose, you better go see the play if you want to know more.

My favourite song was something with “love me forever today” in it but I couldn’t find it on youtube, so I invite you to watch my second favourite from the show, Fight the Fight.

Right now, my personal top looks as follows:

1. Tanz Der Vampire

2. Dirty Dancing

3. We Will Rock You

4. From Here To Eternity

5. Wicked

I haven’t decided what show I’ll go to this month. I really want to see the Book of Mormon and I hope to buy tickets this month but they will probably be for later on. I will keep you posted.

12 sex tips from Cosmo explained by Lavinia

You probably think you know how to have sex but believe me, after you browse Cosmo for 30 seconds you will be ashamed of yourselves.

Valentine’s Day is the special day that is supposed to celebrate love but in fact it celebrates sex and dramatically  increases the sales in roses, teddy bears, chocolates, plush hearts and yeah, condoms.

Roses will die by tomorrow morning forgotten somewhere on the way from the front door to the bedroom, teddy bears will decorate the sofas for a while, chocolates will be very handy at the next PMS and everyone but everyone will make the best out of their condoms.

Just for you, I did some research while having breakfast and put together a list of sex tips to use for an unforgettable night. The things I do for you, people!

1. enhanced-buzz-743-1370960765-33

Make sure you make him a yogurt dinner for Valentine’s Day, if you like big testicles. I am sorry for you if you like them really really big, you should have put him on a yogurt diet weeks ago but how could you have known? The most important thing is you can put him on a diet now for the next year and boy, you will have some balls to play with!

2. enhanced-buzz-14499-1370954039-6

Of course you must cook the yogurt dinner topless! Don’t you usually do that and put whatever you cook on your nipples so that he can taste??? No? What kind of  a woman are you, geez!!! Anyway, instead of the tomato sauce, use the yogurt. It was not yet scientifically proven on lady mice if it has the same effect on boobs as on testicles, but hope is the last to die, right?

3. enhanced-buzz-24677-1370955973-4

Now that you, guys, finished the yogurt dinner and his testicles are big enough, leave the table and start doing yoga, to get him in the mood. Pray it won’t take him that long, we all know it’s been a long day and you would rather play ball instead of doing yoga…

4.  enhanced-buzz-802-1370961189-4While you are aligning your chackras keep an eye on his hands. If he is scratching his balls (big balls, thank to the yogurt) or touching his belt, that’s it, jump him right there, right then, because he is ready to be taken, to be fucked stupid by you, his Valentine.

5. enhanced-buzz-25457-1370957460-3Ok, give him five seconds to see if he comes up with this idea by himself. I bet he probably won’t, men are not very sex smart, you know…That’s ok, we can always teach him. So, when you see he doesn’t think of blindfolding himself, you take the lead and do it. Now you can act like you are Miss Universe, as he can’t see your big butt and cellulitis and whatever other imperfections you might think you have. Between you and I, when in the act of fornicating, men can barely notice any details but why take the risk?

6. enhanced-buzz-14508-1370950132-2

Ok, after all that yogurt and a yoga session, you must be very hungry. This move requires a bit of prep, you probably need to do some measurements in order the buy the right donut. Or maybe you need to make your own donut? Are you that lucky? Anyway, I digress. So, stick his penis through the hole and remember, you blindfolded him, so wolf it down, girl, he can’t see you are eating like a pig! Not enough? Grab another donut. And so on, until you are full. Best sex ever, right? I know! And you did it for him! You are so generous, you will absolutely go to heaven in all religions.


I am sure you are multitasking so while you are working on your donuts, you can find a second to give him a facial. Pour a can of beer over his face and when he asks: what a fuck, woman? you simply say you love the taste of a beer face. But say it erotically! He doesn’t have to know this will make his face look like a baby bottom, no man wants to look like a baby bottom, trust me.

8. enhanced-buzz-1026-1370954852-13

You are pretty sure you didn’t eat all those donuts and some chunks of them are hiding somewhere under those big testicles you grew with yogurt. But no  big testicle stays between you and your donut so start digging, girl!  Dice around those balls, looking for leftovers, he will love it, according to Cosmo. And again, he doesn’t have to know why you are doing it. What really matters is that you are doing it!

9. enhanced-buzz-727-1370956119-4

Ok, you had your donuts, you gave him a facial, it’s time for the real thing already, don’t you think so? So give a treat to his penis. Grab it, squeeze it as hard as you can, try to see if you can literally rip it off, he would love it! Bite it, strangle it, pull it, dynamite it, the worse you can do, the better. He will never forget you!

10. enhanced-buzz-24677-1370954019-0

Is the penis still there? Good! Now it’s time to slap that bitch. Hold it still and slap it, damn it! Harder, girl! Don’t make the mistake of being too gentle, says Cosmo! We must listen to Cosmo, we must, we must, we must!

11. enhanced-buzz-15737-1370955546-5

He is probably about to climax any second now. In order to multiply his orgasm with one zillion, grab your pepper spray and spray him under his nose (or all over the face, it’s even better). What he will feel, he won’t be ever able to describe. You will leave him speechless and luckily not blind, thank to the scarf you covered his eyes with earlier.

12. enhanced-buzz-754-1370963754-48

Barry White is old news in terms of love making! In these times of recession people live with flat mates or, even worse, with parents. So play a horror movie in the background while having sex, this way the faulks living in your house will think your screams of pleasure come from the horror movie (WTF Cosmo?) Pray they won’t believe the screams from the movie come from your bed and call the emergency number because you will have a lot of explaining to do with the giant testicles covered in chocolate and donut crumbles, the bruised penis barely hanging in there, the beer and the pepper spray on his face…

Other than that, I wish you all a happy Valentine’s day and a safe love making tonight :)


I went to Tamesis Dock but I don’t remember much

Last weekend was supposed to be quiet and it almost was.

On Thursday I stayed in, away from the tube strike and the madness it created in the city, I worked on my novel and started reading The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes.

On Friday I went to an Internations  networking event at Chakana Club but I ended up sitting at a table, chatting with a German girl about botox because I am doing worse and worse in crowded places. I go to these events for the chance they gave me to meet interesting people that have great stories to tell but I usually end up in a corner, on the edge of a panic attack. I keep trying, though.

Beer, chips and this view go very well together!

Beer, chips and this view go very well together!

And then it was Saturday, which started with a beautiful walk in the sun from Leicester Square to South Bank, continued with beer and chips and a nice chat in a pub with a great view at the bridge full of tourists and at Big Ben, then with another walk along the Thames all the way to Tamesis Dock, a supposedly nice and quiet floating pub. But, once we opened the door and entered Tamesis Dock at 5 pm, was like travelling in time for a few hours, all the way to midnight.

Dressed up happy people, drunk and high on life, were dancing the afternoon away all over the boat, like there was no tomorrow. Everybody was hugging and kissing everybody, everybody was dancing with everybody and the pictures they were taking to themselves were to each other were already far from being Facebook material.

The 5 pm party looked like this

The 5 pm party looked like this

We sat down at a table in the middle of the party, wondering what we did good in this life to deserve such a treat on a quiet, almost boring Saturday afternoon.

The feeling was awesome. We felt like we could watch without being watched (we thought the party people were too drunk to even acknowledge our presence) so we ordered some wine to get ourselves in the mood (I was secretly hoping I can get tipsy enough to join them but it didn’t happen).

Trying on my best "back in my day..." look, while secretly hoping to get drunk already so that I could join them:)

Trying on my best “back in my day…” look, while secretly hoping to get drunk already so that I could join them:)

They took pictures of us and we were laughing at their surprise the next day when they would look at the pictures and would ask themselves: “Who the fuck are these people at our party?”

I personally felt like a party crasher and I loved the feeling. I used to crash parties in my very early 20′s, I would have never imagined myself doing that in my late 30′s but it was a honest mistake, nothing planned here.

Shortly, the party people started talking to us. They introduced themselves, told us it was a birthday party which started at 1 pm, we found out they were from New Zeeland, working in London and that they would later on go to a club in Shoreditch and we were welcome to join them.

One of them remembered he was working for Durex so he marketed the brand to us for a while, insisting on the lemon flavoured condom and all of them apologized for being loud and crazy. Very lovely people, I must admit! And apparently, we weren’t watching without being watched, as we believed!

Three bottles of wine later (so I’ve heard, I don’t remember the third one, to be honest) I left the boat in a hurry to catch my last train home and the thought of an hour spent in the night bus gave me wings.

We didn’t follow the party people in Shoreditch, even if they left us a phone number and a post code, because we had more people joining us in the evening and a live band started to play. So yeah, I spent Sunday in bed, with a sore throat, a tiny bit of a hangover and with The Girl You Left Behind. Like I said, it was almost a quiet weekend.

My January

I had a good month, therefore a counting of blessings is absolutely necessary:

1. I made nice friends and all in all, even though I don’t have many people in my London life just yet, the ones I have are wonderful and overwhelm me with their kindness, making me strive to become a better person.

2. I went out in some great places: The Roof Gardens, Ziferblat, Bill’s at Hoxton Square (among the regular pubs I visit often).

3. I saw two musicals: Dirty Dancing and From Here to Eternity (review to come in one of the next days);

4. I read three books: The Sum of Days by Isabel Allende, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink and Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou.

I am totally in love with Isabel Allende’s writing since I was in University. A friend sent me House of Spirits from the USA more than ten years ago and that was how it all started. I had to wait for a few years until she began being translated into Romanian but it was worth it. The Sum of Days is one of her memoirs and right now, memoir is my favourite genre. So you can imagine I put my life on hold with absolutely no regrets until I finished it.

I found The Reader in a charity shop and I remembered I saw the movie and I liked it. I bought it, I read it and I decided I like Schlink’s writing. Today I bought The Weekend written by him, also from a charity shop and I cannot wait to snuggle under the covers and lose myself in its world.

I have heard about Maya Angelou a few times, I have randomly came across some quotes from her work but I never saw a book of hers until I  found  Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas where else but in a charity shop? It is the third part of her memoir and all I can say is that her life has been amazing. She is still alive, still inspiring people all over the world and I know I want to read at least the rest of her memoirs, if not all her work.

I tried to read Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes and it was impossible for me to get past page thirty-something. It is a best seller and I am not saying it is not a good book, it is just not my kind of book. It is slow and way too detailed for my taste. I still have the book, if anyone wants it, let me know in a comment below and I will send it to you.

5. I promised myself to do something new every month so, in January I went to Oslo for the first time. I had Paris and Amsterdam on my list for this year but…what a hell…I started with Oslo.

6. I decided to take swimming lessons and an exam to become an interpreter. I haven’t signed up for any of them yet but I haven’t changed my mind either.

7. I went to a lecture to The School of Life and I discovered I was an introvert and felt relieved. I thought I was just weird. Phew!

What I would have liked to do this month was a sleepover at the Natural History Museum. Unfortunately, it was behind my pockets this time.

The most interesting person I met: a Lebanese girl working in the field of human rights in war conflicts. Now, that is a JOB!

What I wish for February is to buy tickets to The Book of Mormon and to a play by candlelight at Globe Theatre. So help me gods.

Have a great February everyone!

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