A remarkable movie about a remarkable man: The Theory of Everything

This is an amazing film – an astonishing performance by Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking – but more so, it made me realise what an incredibly remarkable man Stephen Hawking is: not just super brainy but courageous and funny too. See it if you haven’t yet!


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Snatch happiness like snatching colour after rain

Taking every chance we get to appreciate the small moments of beauty can help us deal with the stresses of life, writes author Yang-May Ooi, in this parable about a rainy day.

It had been raining incessantly for the last two days. I had been cooped up for the last six weeks working on my book as spring spread its vitality across the world outside. Work had been busy too so I had spent most lunch hours grabbing a quick bite at my desk. Just keep going, I had told myself, get to the end of the book and then you can relax and go out into all that beautiful nature. It had felt like an endurance race.

Now I had finally submitted my manuscript of Bound Feet Blues and I wanted to celebrate by lounging in the garden in the sunshine or going for long walks in the sunshine – any activity, really, involving outside and sunshine. And it was raining. And raining. And raining.

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Our lives can feel like that sometimes, can’t it? We feel trapped inside whatever difficult situation we find ourselves in and wish we could get away, out into the fresh air. And then just as that situation improves and the end of our endurance race is in sight, just when we think, ah yes, we will be able to relax now just as we had hoped, another problem rains on our hopes and dampens everything.

There was a break in the weather yesterday evening and my partner and I grabbed the chance to nip outside for a walk in the park. We were Continue reading

The Joy of NOT blogging

I took a break from blogging and social media over the last couple of months in order to focus on finishing my book Bound Feet Blues. Having been a blogger since 2006, I felt guilty to let go of this part of  my life – albeit for only a little while. But it has been worth it.

Channelling my writing energy into the book intensely for the last few months has meant that I was able to finish the first draft ahead of my schedule – a week or so short of the end of May.

This then gave me the last week to read through it and edit it so I could sculpt it into shape, ready to send off to my publisher Urbane Publications.

I am pleased to report that I submitted the final full draft yesterday.

Part of the reason for starting this Little Remarkable Moments blog was to help me be more mindful and present to my life especially in this very busy year with my book deadline and also preparing for the 3 week run of Bound Feet Blues in Nov/ Dec. I wanted to be sure that I did not focus only on the end results and could enjoy the process of getting there as well.

I had to let this blog slip due to the time commitments of working on the book but I am happy to say that that did not mean that I also let slip noticing the little remarkable moments in my life so far.

Here is a random list of little remarkable moments that caught my attention between March and today (in no particular order):

# the gradual lightening Continue reading

Savouring a home made meal of venison in red wine and port

We often don’t have time to try new recipes but recently, we got a new crockpot and have been playing with a whole range of different meals.

Because of this new cooking pot, I decided to be more adventurous at the butcher and asked for some venison chunks.


We mixed the meat up in the crockpot with carrots and celery, then added red wine and port. It simmered away for 6 hours, filling the house with the most delicious fragrance.

My partner Angie made swede mash to go with it.

After practically a whole day of Continue reading

A gorgeous reward for getting off the bus a few stops early

The bus taking me to work got stuck in traffic just a few stops from work. It was aggravating to be so close and still so far. Time was ticking on. I had got up early so that I could get to work early that morning.

Grump. Groan. Huff. Puff. Fidget.

I was getting into a bad mood.


So I got off the bus and started to walk. Anything was better than sitting there not moving.

Because I was grumpy, I took off at a quick pace. I nipped off Continue reading

Appreciating being busy

The cult of busy is not a good thing. You know – that sense of urgency and self-importance we can sometimes get when someone asks us how we are and we say in hurried, harried tones, “Oh, busy, really busy.” We equate busy-ness with significance and purpose and if we’re not careful, we can subconsciously manufacture too many things to do, too many people to see, busy, busy, busy to give ourselves a sense that our lives our worthwhile.

I’ve been there and done that!

And I can tell you I hate it. I hate busy-ness that stops me having time for myself, my friends, my partner, my writing. I hate busy-ness that means I don’t have time unwind, relax, laugh and appreciate every moment.

February has been busy. It’s partly because I’ve been invited to take part in a number of events and it is taking time to prepare for them. I’ve also been seeing a lot of my friends for coffee, lunches and dinners. It’s busy but not busy-ness.

Busy is good when it means that our time is taken up with things that we want to do. Things that give us genuine purpose and authentic delight. I would have preferred that the events had been more spaced out rather than all logjamming into a short two week stretch so that I could have had more time in between to catch my breath. I would have preferred that my diary and Continue reading

A Big Remarkable Moment – signing with Urbane Publications for Bound Feet Blues, the book

There are some big moments that we cannot help but notice – and which we can enjoy celebrating as much as the little remarkable moments.

On Chinese New Year Day, I met up with my publisher Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications at the Royal Festival Hall. It was a grey, blustery day but not so grim that we could not go out on to the balcony on Level 5 to sit down together with the contract for Bound Feet Blues, the book. Sam Batt of Literally PR was also there with his camera to mark the occasion with us.

I will always remember that cold February breeze and the grey sky – and also the high spirits that Matthew, Sam and I shared. Matthew and I sat next to Continue reading

Can we choose happiness?

Thinking of happiness as a state to be achieved – and then maintained – is, I think, unhelpful. We cannot be happy all the time. If we were, we would either be mad, with our emotions out of kilter with reality, or that state itself would feel like stasis and we would be impelled to search out our next fix of feeling good. It is appropriate at times to feel sad, hurt, angry, lonely, in pain, anxious, afraid. That is part of being human.

However, I believe we can find moments of happiness even in the most awful situations.

Let’s say, we may feel hurt by someone. It is OK to allow ourselves to experience that hurt for a little while. The thing is not to dwell or ruminate on it beyond that initial feeling of hurt. And the word “feeling” is the key. There is a huge power in experiencing the situation as “I feel hurt” compared with “I am hurt”. When we recognise that what we are going through is a feeling and not a state of being, not a constant, then we have the choice to let that feeling go. We are not that feeling. We are more than that feeling.

We can notice where we are in the present. The hurtful act or words are in the past. The past is gone, never to return. We only have this moment right now. And our feelings about Continue reading

The pleasure of sex, drugs and classical music

There’s nothing more pleasurable on a cold, winter night than settling down to some sex, drugs and classical music.

Mozart in the Jungle is a brilliant and witty drama series on Amazon Instant Video about the complicated relationships in a dysfunctional orchestra in New York, inspired by oboist Blair Tindall’s memoir of the same name.

Check out the trailer below:

Gael Garcia Bernal, better known for his dramatic roles, is clearly Continue reading

The first sip of coffee in the morning

I smell the coffee first. Its distinctive aroma wafts into the air as the hot water breaks down the ground beans, setting free energy and alertness and punch.

The steam curls up from above the filter. Beneath, the dark liquid splashes into the tall glass latte mug.

I wait.

Little Remarkable Moment #012 – the first sip of coffee in the morning

The smell of coffee is the smell of a new day.

The final drop drips into the full mug. I lift the filter cone off. Pour in Continue reading