The Book That Changed My Life: ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho

Ruki Garuba is an international celebrity stylist and fashion designer, who has worked with stars including Michael Bolton, Kelly Rowland, Keyshia Cole and The Jacksons.

How did you come across the book?

It was on the staff recommendations list at Borders (bookstore), so I bought it with about four other books, and it sat on my shelf  for about a year before I actually got round to reading it – which is very unlike me!

Give us a brief synopsis of what it’s about.

It is a simple story written about a boy who leaves his hometown and career as a sheep herder to find some pyramids with hidden treasure he dreamt about.  Along the way  he meets the love of his life and experiences different life lessons all in search of something he isn’t even sure exists.

How did it affect you or change your life?

The first time I read it I was going through a major personal and professional change, so the messages really touched home.  If you want something bad enough, the universe will conspire to help you achieve it.  It’s about following your dreams without fear.

Describe the book in five words.

Powerful, inspiring, encouraging, life-changing.

Have you recommended it to anyone?

Everyone I know!  It’s my favourite gift to give friends.

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Speaking Easy: Gay night stand, Changing for your partner, Fickle friendships, Poppies

Speakeasy celebrated the first anniversary this month (with the aid of plenty cupcakes and Krispy Kremes!) and as ever – it was lively…

You’ve been seeing the perfect guy for two years, when he admits to you that ten years ago he had a one night stand with a man.  What do you do?

Firstly, before I leave him, I’d need to know WHY he’s telling me this.  You can tell me “He wants to be completely honest with you and move the relationship forward” as much as you like ( as some did say in the debate), but over the course of the two-year relationship, I’m sure that somehow, in some sort of conversation, my discomfort with a situation like this would have come up.  Yes yes yes, it happened 10 years ago, and he was young, etc etc, but why is he telling me if there isn’t the threat of it happening again?  I actually don’t think I need to know, because now he has implanted paranoia in me.  As another lady said, when he tells me he’s going out with the boys, it might take on a whole new meaning and I wouldn’t mean it to!  Some of the guys in the debate asked whether doing it once means you are labelled as such permanently, and to that I say: not with everything.  But if you found out someone molested a child once many years ago, would you say “Oh that was a long time ago, he was young, just experiementing.” NAH.

What do you think?

If your partner doesn’t like an outfit or the way you wear your hair, is it a bad thing to change to accommodate them?

It’s not a bad thing if it was a suggestion made in a genuine ‘try something new’ manner.  But if it’s that they are trying to make you look like someone else or be something you’re not, then yes, it is a bad thing.  One female commented that the line would be drawn at suggestions of cosmetic surgery… Absolutely!

What do you think? 

Are girls’ friendships more fickle than guys’?

Hmm… I don’t think they’re more fickle, I think this question is a bit too broad.  Guys may not argue or bicker as much as some women, but they are more likely to back-stab while still being ‘friends’.  When it comes to gossiping about each other, I think the crown is definitely in danger of being taken away from girls.  I know guys who love to talk about each other behind the other’s back!  The friendship my girls and I have is like a sisterhood, and we have been told that our closeness is actually envied.  There’s nothing fickle going on here!

What do you think?

Why are “black-skinned” people wearing the poppy if history doesn’t matter to us?

Firstly I don’t understand why the person who posed the question said “black-skinned”, but anyway… Secondly, who said that history doesn’t matter to us?  A few people in the debate were under the impression that because the World Wars weren’t anything to do with Africa, there’s no reason why black people should wear the poppy and support the cause.  What they fail to realise, in my and some others humble opinion, is that regardless of what the purpose of the wars were/are, people’s lives are being taken, be they soldiers or civilians.  Wearing the poppy is just to acknowledge that, and if it does have to become a race issue, then yes, there were black people who fought in the historical wars, including the great grandfather of a lady at this event (who was sporting her poppy proudly and argued her reasons for wearing it very well).  I personally don’t have a poppy, and it’s not something I actively seek to buy, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to it.

What do you think?