2015 has been a blessed year for period drama lovers, hasn't it? What costume series have you watched and loved? Here are mine.



The second part of season one was gripping, tough, dark, a rollercoaster of emotions. Never suffered as much as while watching ep.15/16 for any TV series! Unforgettable performances by Mr Heughan and Mr Menzies. Looking forward to Jamie & Claire's  French adventures!


The original TV series was pivotal in my life, it started my love for everything British. The new version was mesmerizing, so romantic and beautiful! Aidan Turner? Well, yes, I happened to notice his charming looks from time to time.



Secret Life of DaydreamsThe Secret Life of Daydreams by Lucinda Whitney

Six years after a painful divorce, Josh Conrad is happy traveling the world as a photographer. When he arrives in Portugal, he plans to complete the assignment as quickly as possible. What he doesn’t plan for is Sofia, the girl he baptized eleven years earlier on an LDS mission, and soon he’s making excuses to prolong his trip.Sofia Monteiro leads a structured life in Braga, Portugal, teaching high school by day and caring for her mother by night. After she reconnects with Josh through mutual friends, the memory of a failed relationship and her new graduate program are enough reasons to stay away from him. As they collaborate on a project, Josh is wary of repeating his old mistakes and Sofia hesitates to spend time with an American who’s only passing through. Can two people with wounded hearts bring themselves to trust their dreams to each other?


amazonSofia walked back to meet Josh and they strolled together past the deck at the reception center and the start of the trail. She unfolded the map and held it up between them.She pointed at the spots of interest. “This is the suggested route. The main road goes up the hill to the western fortification wall. At the acropolis, there’s another wide road that intersects in the opposite direction.” She circled several areas. “These areas are the residential nucleus and along the way we can see the remains of the round dwellings and the more common rectangular ones.” There was more but she looked up to Josh. “Are you okay with following this route?” “I’m here to follow you.” He swept his right arm in front of her. “Just lead the way.” Sofia straightened and pocketed the map. Josh carried too much and she hesitated. “Wouldn’t it be easier for you to use the equipment if I carry the backpack?” He paused for a moment and surveyed the area then chuckled. “Sneaky, aren’t you? I know what you’re trying to do here.” 



I'm so happy this holiday season will be pretty special.  It'll be a very period Christmas time, you know? Period as in period drama, great costume series, unforgettable emotions. Here's my holiday period calendar, which I'm glad to share with all of you. Are you ready? Bookmark this post or take notes, if you are a period drama freak like me! (for more info about the shows, click on the links below the pictures)

25th December 2015 - Call the Midwife Christmas Special 7.30 p.m. on BBC1

25th December  2015 - Downton Abbey Christmas Special and final episode ... for good! Tissues ready. ITV 1 9 p.m.



In the era of everything digital, do we still choose, buy and send personalized Christmas cards to family and friends living far from us? I definitely love them but, honestly, have been using them - especially printed ones - less and less in the latest years, preferring e-cards, which are entertaining, colourful, interactive, sendable in one click and which can be found at a very cheap price or even for free online.  Anyway, if you still are indecisive about what to do,  Grammarly is here, as usual, with funny, helpful tips to help you face and solve your doubts. To send or not to send? And then, what type of cards and to whom?



Traitor's Trap

traitors trap
The Traitor's Trap by Brendan Murphy

 It’s tough being a thirteen-year old schoolboy, especially when you’re a coward and the big brother who stuck up for you is dead. Oh, and you’ve been thrust into a magical realm you’re expected to save single-handedly. Sebastian Duffy has to learn an awful lot of skills in a hurry if he is to defeat Phobitor by stealing the Spear of Lugh from the peace-loving Tuath. He’s been given some help of course–a mercurial sorceress, an orphaned druidess, a taciturn warrior, a snuff-sniffing leprechaun and a lovelorn poet– an outfit known as the Hibernauts, but can he really overcome a psychopathic, warmongering god when half the realm is bent on his destruction? If he is to have the remotest chance he will have to do deal with aiia, cluricaun, brigands, woodwose, undead warriors, speckled bats, spies, hunkypunks, traitors, skeletons and battle-swine first. And are those Tuath really so peaceable? If only he could find his courage.

Praise for The Traitor's Trap 

 An imaginative epic…an intricate and fully realised fantasy world with a big cast of likeable characters that are charming, well drawn and endearing, with wonderfully apt names. The depth and breadth of the author’s high-voltage imagination, and the richness of the world created is very impressive. ~Sam Mills, author of Blackout, The Boys Who Saved the World, and The Quiddity of Will Self 

amazon get it

I cannot say just how much I have enjoyed this book ... a very accomplished writer with a wonderfully rich imagination and an incredibly inventive mind. Readers will come to love the many wonderful creations in this novel, it is jam-packed with the most wonderful and inventive characters; new, exciting and beautifully realized. ~Cherry Mosteshar, author of Unveiled: One Woman's Nightmare in Iran.



If I Run tells the story of protagonist Casey Cox. When her life becomes complicated, she resorts to lies - even crime - to survive.  
Casey Cox has had her fair share of struggles, but after her best friend is found dead, Casey's life is turned upside down. When her DNA is found all over the crime scene, she knows talking to the police is useless; they have failed her abysmally before. At the age of 12, Casey found her father dead, and while police ruled it a suicide, she knew it wasn't. She's carried that great sense of injustice into adulthood, mistrusting all authority figures. Casey knows she has to flee before she's arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn't matter in her world anymore, and it certainly won't set her free.
War-weary veteran Dylan Roberts is hired to find Casey, but as experienced as he is at solving crimes, his personal problems can get in the way. PTSD forced Dylan from the Army, and adjusting to his new normal has not been easy. Dylan knows bringing Casey home could redeem both his life and career. Blackstock did extensive research into PTSD in preparation to write If I Run. "I was shocked to learn how many of our veterans are coming home from war with PTSD," she reveals. "If they don't get the help they need it can impact their relationships for the rest of their lives. There are treatments that are successful in helping them. It's a wound that is as deep as a physical wound, and it should be treated just as aggressively so they can live normal lives."



After Maria Sofia and her touching story from Palestine,  full of hope and enthusiasm, here is my second guest in this series dedicated to my former students and their successful careers in the world of work, university or research. 
Emanuele has always been the nerdish type with his love for fantasy books - "prof.,  what about  reading some good Tolkien pages in our classes"? -  rock music and computers. Achievement after achievement, he now lives in Milan, has an important job, works in a field he loves but still dreams to achieve more. He wrote this piece for my present pupils - see it on Learn Online - in order to share his love for Computer Science and pass a few good tips  to them.. 

Hello, I’m Emanuele and Mrs Spila was my English teacher during my high school years,  so I’m really proud to write a post for her blog.
Let’s see what happens when I try to sum up my whole life in a short post... Well, let’s start from the beginning. My high school career wasn’t that brilliant, mostly because I spent those years playing the guitar, listening to music and reading fantasy books. I was quite weir and it was really  hard for me to study something I couldn't  find cool, exciting or useful. So,  I have to admit, high school was really boring for me.

After leaving school  I had no idea of what I was going to do in my life so I enrolled to University, Computer Science Department of  La Sapienza, in Rome.

The first year was a nightmare! I couldn’t pass any Maths exam because they were so hard for me and I had no skills for programming.  Till then I hadn’t written a single line of code in my entire life. I started feeling really frustrated and, at the end of the first year, I started thinking that computer science wasn’t the right choice. However, I decided to resist just another year  before quitting definitely.

Guys, guess what? My second year was amazing!

I started  studying  hard, I totally changed my attitude and, finally, I discovered the creative and fun aspect of this world. I clearly remember those years, they were tough but, at the same time, challenging. I studied a bunch of new things every day and all classes where based on cutting edge technologies: algorithms, artificial intelligence, micro processors, data bases and other nerdy stuff I’d always loved!