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Revive, Reset, Renew…

Starting Over-6

If I’m being honest, I have to say that I highly debated my return to Lifestyle Counter after all this time (which is why it ended up taking up twice as long as it would have, under different circumstances).

Eventually, it was the fact that this space is too much of a labor of love (with too long and complex a history) to just give up on…

So, I’m back with the best of intentions but, I am afraid, no promises…

Two years is a long time and I feel a little out of touch – and lost as to what I really want this to be. I believe that way too much is being said on every single issue, absolutely everywhere (everyone seems to be a blogger and/ or influencer these days) – so I am not quite certain as to what (if anything) worth mentioning is still left unsaid.

The question of what my exact niche will be moving forward (or, indeed, if there will even be one) is one I will not tackle for the time being.

Until further notice, Lifestyle Counter will be a work in progress – a creative outlet and a space to share with you my life and the things that make each day more colorful and add to the mosaic of who I am. There will be no strict posting schedule (even though I will try to stick to one post/ week, just to keep the juices flowing) and, most probably… no coherent “theme”.

That said, I do hope that some of you (older or new readers, who just happened to bump into this) will find your own sense of value in my ramblings and join me for the ride…

Locke & Key on Netflix ~ A Review

Having hugely enjoyed the Locke and Key graphic novels’ series back when I read it a couple of years ago, I was simply over the moon to hear that Netflix was set to bring an adaptation to our small screens. I opted for a ‘premiere’ reminder and promptly found myself plopping on the sofa all starry- eyed and excited, popcorn in hand – to enjoy this extra special treat. My, oh my, was I to be sorely disappointed…

Let me preface what’s to follow by saying: if you have never feasted your eyes on the awesomeness that is the graphic novels, then you’ll probably find my review slightly incomprehensible and my general distaste of the series absurd or, at best, far- fetched and kind of unfair. If, however, you are a fan of the original then you will understand where I am coming from and, in all likelihood, agree.

Let me also note that when it comes to adaptations in general, I’m kind of a stickler for accuracy and staying as true to the source material as possible. I do, of course, understand and accept the notion of time constraints as well as that of things not always “translating” to the real world (especially in the case of graphic novels). Changing or switching things around for reasons other than the above, however, tends to really bum me out – and has been known to put me off certain adaptations altogether.

So, things got off to a bumpy start when at the very beginning of the show I found myself in… Matheson, Massachusetts. What? Why? Whatever happened to Lovecraft (which the whole first installment of the graphic novel series was named after BTW)? Ah well, it was “just a name” so I accepted the production’s reasons (such as they were) and kept on watching.

But then the cast started appearing… and almost no one turned out to be as expected. Nina was a “clean cut”, suburban- looking redhead instead of the raven- haired, haggard and full- fledged alcoholic version of the novels. Tyler’s bulky, rugby player build was all but gone. Duncan bared no resemblance to his skinny and slightly disheveled graphic counterpart. Scot (don’t even get me started on that!) was a different character altogether. Ellie had somehow changed race (not to mention hair color). Rufus was significantly older (albeit played by an autistic actor, which was a great choice) and worked at Key House, Rendell may have borne a resemblance to his on-screen son but none whatsoever to his original image, Sam came from some parallel universe where his face had not been smashed in with a brick by Tyler… I could go on and on. Thankfully there were also a few, pretty spot- on choices. Emilia Jones was great as Kinsey (despite the difference in dress sense and the lack of body piercings & dreads), Bode found his perfect incarnation in Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie from Stephen King’s IT), Laysla De Oliveira made for a fantastic Well Lady/ Dodge & Felix Mallard couldn’t have been better cast as Lucas Caravaggio.  So, I turned my heart to stone and kept watching…

It quickly became apparent however, that changes were unfortunately not limited to cast decisions. So many aspects of the original were altered that the whole thing started feeling like a loosely based on the original, watered- down version of “what could have been” which reeked of missed potential. Some characters were forcibly shape-shifted into something beyond recognition (i.e. Kinsey’s love interest, iconic tattooed punk Scot Kavanaugh was replaced by mousy, retro Cavendish), others were seemingly arbitrarily upgraded or downgraded (i.e. Nina Locke, Duncan Locke) to the expense of the actual story, some were left out altogether along with their respective storylines and ramifications to the graphic novel’s plot (i.e. Al Grubb, Zack Wells, Jamal Saturday, Jordan Gates, Candice Whedon) and some were merely “invented” to God knows what purpose (i.e. Kinsey’s zombie like fear creature). Plot points changed. Keys were conjured up at will. Countless storylines went AWOL and the dark vibe & violence of the books were toned way down, to next to nothing. Meanwhile lots of pointless teenage drama was added, along with a fair amount of Narnia like magic (flying silver bullets anyone?) and all of a sudden I just felt like switching my TV off and giving the whole thing a miss. Instead, as homage to Joe Hill and the brilliance of the original, I suffered it all to the end.

Don’t get me wrong, I probably would have been able to happily watch Locke & Key Season 1 (maybe even love it?), if I had nothing to compare it to. The chosen cast did a decent job, locations were great (have to admit I did love Key House and the underwater caves) and the plot was tight and swift enough to keep you from getting antsy. As things were though, I am afraid it was quite the big disappointment. Being the masochist that I am, I will most probably return to watch Season 2 when it airs – mainly in the hopes of it redeeming this darned show in my eyes.

As for recommending it, I’m kind of on the fence here. For those of you who haven’t read the graphic novels yet I’d probably say “go for it”. Having no expectations, pretty much ensures you will enjoy the series – then eventually appreciate the mind- blowingness of the novels even more.  For those like me, on the other hand, well let’s just say that you may “proceed at your own risk”. Do let me know what you thought, once you’re done though – in all honesty I’d be quite interested to find out.

Lifestyle Counter Rating: 


‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney ~ A Review

'Normal People' by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney’s second novel has been around for little less than two years and, in that short time, has managed (among others) to be hailed by public and critics alike, get longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, be voted Waterstone’s Book of the Year and win the Costa Book Awards Best Novel for 2018, get longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 and be ranked 25th on The Guardian’s list of the 100 best books of the 21st century. In 2019 BBC announced its plans to adapt the book for TV, with the series premiering a few days ago on BBC3. In the midst of all the hype, I somehow only heard about it a couple of months ago – from long- time favorite blogger and fellow bibliophile Anna Newton (of ‘The Anna Edit‘).

It’s now been a few weeks since I finished the book and, for some reason, I have found getting around to reviewing it to be very difficult contrary, in fact, to what reading it felt like (in few words: I could not put it down and devoured it in little more than one seating). It got so bad that I had to publish an Instagram story announcing this post – just to make sure I would finally sit down and share my thoughts… So, here goes:

I guess ‘Normal People’ would be best described as a coming of age story, documenting the journey of its characters (Connell and Marianne) from adolescence to early adulthood and offering us an unfiltered, intimate and emotional look into the lives of two people who may love each other but don’t “belong” together. Through a superb use of language and imagery Ms. Rooney weaves the story, cultivating a deep connection to her characters while dealing with (often sensitive) issues such as social class and conflict, abuse, depression and suicidal ideation.

‘Normal People’ seems to be quite polarizing, evoking disparate emotions and responses to different people. I, for one, have to admit I loved it! I loved the fresh & minimalist narrative, I loved the flawed and awkward characters (which felt real and compelling and whose thoughts & trials I found I actually cared about) and I loved the way the author portrayed human relationships in all their complexity (nerve-rackingly illustrating our interconnectedness, the impact seperate lives have on each other and the effect our failure to effectively communicate may have on our individual realities and happiness). The supporting cast felt more than adequate and to be honest, even when situations and side characters felt like they needed a bit more fleshing out (i.e. Marianne’s family and brother storyline) that simply did not seem important enough to spoil the overall experience for me.

All in all, I may not have ranked this book as high (or at all) in my ‘100 best books of the 21st century’ list, but I have certainly enjoyed it and it has planted Sally Rooney firmly on my radar as a highly talented, young author to follow. Until she comes out with a new book, I’ll keep myself occupied with her first novel ‘Conversations with Friends’ (already on my Kindle TBR queue), in the hope of it proving to be as great as this one.

Hardcover: 266 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber (28 August 2018)
ISBN-10: 0571334644
ISBN-13: 978-0571334643

Buy in English here
Buy in Greek – not yet available

Lifestyle Counter Rating 

Latest & Greatest: Favorite Mobile Apps…

OK, “latest” is probably a bit of a stretch here – I’ll give you that. Some of these have been around for a long time. That said, my personal obsession with them is brand new, thus the title of this post… So, without further ado, here’s the 3 mobile apps I’ve been tapping away at the most, these past couple of weeks:

  1. DAYLIO (for Android and iOS)

I’ve always liked the idea of keeping a daily diary, but have never managed to come to terms with the  effort involved in recording proper entries every- single- day (!!). Best intentions an’ all that… Then, I accidentally bumped into this. Officially branded a “mood tracker and micro diary”, it offers exactly what I need – a hassle free, customizable and really fun way to record your daily life (in 60” tops/ day). Plus, it offers interesting statistics and insights (that might be especially useful for people struggling with mild depression and/ or mood swings). I love the monthly mood chart and calendar mode and have not skipped a single entry, since installing this 23 days ago. Investing in the premium version is recommended but, the cost is real small and, I can almost guarantee you will not regret it.

    2. $PENDEE (for Android and iOS)

Now, this has been around forever and TBH I have previously installed and tried using it, without much luck. I guess I was a bit all over the place and not in the mood to seriously track my finances, after all. This time around, however, I’m feeling more inclined/ responsible and am happy to report I’ve religiously recorded all income flows and expenses for the past month or so. I’m finding it enlightening to see exactly where and when my money goes (pinpointing usual pitfalls and overspending that need to be addressed, along the way) and have also just started using the budget mode to try and save me some money next month. The premium, paid, version offers additional features (such as, for example, the option to connect securely with your bank account so that all your incomes and expenses are added/ categorized automatically or the ability to add/ manage multiple budgets) but I find that the free version serves me just fine, so that’s what I stick to. If you have been living under a rock (like me), wanna better manage your finances and have not yet downloaded this I highly recommend that you do.

    3. COMIXOLOGY (for Android and iOS)

Pretty self- explanatory, right? Amazon’s latest ingenious way to squeeze us all dry venture has a great little companion app. It’s lightweight, fast, ultra- responsive and features an amazing “Guided View” mode, that makes reading an absolute pleasure (even on smaller screens). There’s wish lists, smart lists and a variety of filters (publishers, series, story arcs etc.) for browsing the extensive title collection. Once you find something you like, just click to buy it in-app (or go rogue and download one of the many free issues available) and enjoy… As a Joe Hill fan, I’ll shamelessly go as far as to get you started and recommend the Eisner nominated “Locke & Key” series which has got me absolutely hooked (am currently on Vol. 4, Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom and loving every panel). Go on, give it a go, tell me what you think!

  • Bonus Entry that’s got my attention these last few days: VERO (for Android and iOS)

Interesting new social media concept which, however, is still in beta (causing slightly annoying android app lags). The format is fresh & exciting and registering an account is currently free (sounds like this will require a subscription once it reaches a million users – which may or may not bode well for its future, but who am I to judge?). If you happen to check VERO out and opt in, come join me:

In the meantime, do drop me a line if you try any of the apps mentioned – or if you have other interesting apps to recommend. I love trying new things and have a 64GB, extendable, storage… he he he….

Holiday Gift Guide: The Fashion Lovers Edit

As promised, today I will be tackling my 5th holiday gift guide – now veering into “specialised” interest territory. I’m pretty sure we all have a fashion loving girlfriend or partner that we want to buy something special for. The trends for Fall- Winter 2017- 2018 are quite diverse, allowing for all tastes and I have picked a selection of possible gifts based on my favourite ones – for you to peruse.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Fashion Lovers Edit


1. Jacques Vert- Ana Fit & Flare Coat
2. Loewe Contrast Panel Polka Dot Silk Scarf
3. Silver Chunky Heel Patent Leather Ankle Booties
4. Baublebar Gabriela Gold Plated Tassel Earrings
5. Alexa Chung for AG Jeans Laura High Rise Corduroy Pants
6. Mugler Technical Cady Mini Dress
7. Polka Dot Duvet Cover 600 Thread Count
8. Bebe Brookee Slouchy Boots
9. Dune London Heston Leopard Buckle Ballerina Shoes
10. Humble Chic Mini Tassel Vegan Leather Bucket Bag
11. Kate Spade New York All in Good Taste Deco Dot 12-Pc. Set
12. Coco Noir Eau De Parfum Spray
13. Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones
14. The Fashion Book
15. Angelo Di Spirito Rosa Black Spinel Diamond Polish Double Ring Bracelet
16. ‘Paris’ Gillian Wright Limited Edition Fashion Illustration Giclee Print