When Dressing Up Means Being Slapped With A Fine (Or Worse)


We girls love to dress up, right? At least I do every now and then!

For many of us, I think it’s fair to say that it’s exciting when we get the chance to dress up for a special occasion.

For me, I think there’s a little escapism involved. I love the fact that if I’m dressing up for something out of the ordinary, I can ditch the work attire or the going shopping attire or the whatever-I’m-normally-wearing attire.

Essentially, for a little while, I can ditch part of the person or lifestyle that usually embodies me.

And I’d wager that for many, the chance to dress up supersedes the actual occasion of dressing up.

For example, in my last year of high school, one of the hot topics for discussion amongst my friends – actually for most of the female student population – was what we were going to wear to the Formal (or the Prom for my American readers!).

And call me crazy, but looking back, I really think my school formal was seriously overrated. My memories of the occasion aren’t exactly vivid.

And I’m not like, old or anything.

But the memories that are vivid are the discussions with my friends preceding the formal. Of being huddled around a table in the library, pretending to be working on an assignment, when really what we were focused on was whomever of us had finally ‘found’ our dress.

Why were we so excited about it what we were going to wear? Was it the chance to pretend that for one night, we weren’t high school students, but something more? Like something almost akin to a celebrity or princess?

These questions have been forming in my mind as I’ve been researching for my story that’s set in the Medieval period.

And I’ve discovered that for some people (namely the peasants), they never had the opportunity to dress up.

Well, duh, you may be thinking. They were peasants!

Except that after the Black Death, when roughly a third of Europe’s population was wiped out, peasant workers raised their prices as demand for their work increased.

Which meant that some peasants – whom in the past had nothing – were now finding themselves to be a little cashed up.

And what do you do when you find yourself with a pay increase or a bonus?

If you’re really sensible and all that, you probably put it into savings or something financially…sensible.

Or you splurge and buy a new outfit!

Except English peasants in the late Middle Ages who splurged their newfound cash on a new outfit ran the risk of running into trouble with the law.

That’s right.

Now, that’s not if they bought an outfit that was just a new and improved version of their everyday work clothes. But if they decided to buy something that was a bit say, nicer, a bit not-so-peasant-like, they were headed for trouble.

That’s because the nobility decided that they didn’t want the peasants dressed as anything but peasants. So Sumptuary laws were passed that meant no one could dress in clothes that didn’t pertain to their class.

So if you were a labourer, you were only allowed to wear cat or rabbit fur. No matter how good business was.

So while I still hold the view that my school formal was a little overrated, I’m sure glad that every now and then, I have the opportunity to dress up. And  for a few moments or hours, I get to forget about the demands and drudgeries of life, and pretend that my life is a little glamorous and sophisticated.

What does dressing up mean for you?

And if you were denied the chance to ever dress up, would that be a big deal for you?


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When Things Are Not What They Seem

Mirar by Kara Allyson


Do you ever have times in your life where you feel life is becoming just a bit too predictable?

Or do you clutch to life’s predictability as one tightly clutches a blanket around them on a cold night?

And what happens when everything in life that is well, predictable, is shattered into smithereens?

This is what the lead character in my novel I’m writing grapples with when everything as she knows it  turns out to be quite what it seems.

As in everything. 

Her family, her friends, her beliefs – she is basically forced to question everything in her life.

My novel-in-progress is a historical fictional story set in the late Middle Ages. And in the beginning of the story, my character begins to scratch beneath the surface of her life.

But what begins as a mere scratching beneath the surface brings her to a full-blown discovery far bigger than what she would have ever expected.

And she discovers that things have not been at all what they seem.

I can’t wait to tell you more!

But for now, I have a question for you.

Has there been something in your life that you discovered was not what it seemed?

Was this discovery good or bad for your life?



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After the Rain

During the recent rainfall here in Queensland, I was inspired to take my camera out into the garden. I love seeing droplets of water on flowers and leaves in the aftermath of a shower of rain.



A few remaining frangipani flowers that survived a storm.

I could literally keep snapping images like these all day! For me, there’s something incredibly therapeutic about wandering amongst nature after rain.

What do you  most like to snap pictures of?


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That Elusive Sunset

We all love a good sunset, don’t we?

But when it comes to photographing one – especially during those precious few minutes before the sun dips beyond the horizon – it can be a little tricky. For me, it’s like trying to walk a tightrope. In which case you need to be able to balance atop a tightrope before you can even seriously consider walking it.

So before I can even attempt to apply the principals of how to correctly take a sunset shot, I’m going to have to get used to being ready for those crucial moments. And I’m not envisaging that to be an overnight success.

But today, for once, I was actually ready with my camera – in the backyard. Be it somewhat unglamourously, as I wobbled atop a wood pile straining to get high enough so as to prevent having the fence line as the main subject. And because I couldn’t believe my chances of actually having my camera ready at that moment, I snapped away, as excited as a child in a lolly shop, completely forgetting every tip and piece of advice I’ve ever come across about photographing a sunset.

Which will probably explain the following picture.


But because photos like these are such a rare occurrence for me, I couldn’t help but share this one with you.

I hope you don’t mind.

So for the next time I happen to have my camera poised and ready for a sunset, I’d like to be armed with a few fresh ideas up my sleeve on what to do. So:

Do you have any secrets or tips on taking a great sunset shot? Please tell!


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The Case of the Missing Soundtrack


There are a lot of movie soundtracks out there that I’m a fan of.

Chocolat, The Last of the Mohicans, The Duchess….I could go on and on.

So it was extremely disappointing when I tried to track down the soundtrack of a BBC TV series that featured some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard, but couldn’t.

Because it doesn’t seem to exist. Not in the non-piracy world, anyway.

I’m talking about North and Souththe 2004 adaption of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel. Very correctly described (in my humble opinion) by  the Sunday Express as “Pride and Prejudice with a social conscience.”

And unlike most novels that are channeled into a movie or television version, I think the TV version of North and South does a tremendous job.

But the main reason I bring this up is because of the jolly soundtrack, which I have looked and looked for, and all in vain it seems. Composed by by Martin Phipps, it does an amazing job of conveying the characters’ emotions. And in my opinion it performs the role of telling the story just as much as the characters’ dialogue does.

Think I’m exaggerating? Have a listen to this!

And this:


Did you have a listen? Still think I’m exaggerating? Are you now also scratching your head as to why an official soundtrack was never released?

Apparently the BBC weren’t prepared for the popularity the show received – no doubt largely thanks to Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Mr Thornton. But because of the BBC’s assumption, they didn’t seemed to bother much with advertising the series in the lead up to it’s screeening. And the soundtrack was never released.


That’s just what I came across during my desperate search for the soundtrack.

But if I happen to have my wires crossed and there is actually a legitimate soundtrack of North and South, please, oh please let me me know at once. And you will be my new favourite person!


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