Our Etna Experience

Each holiday has at least one big highlight, and while we were in Sicily, one of the highlights was visiting Etna. I admit, it was long overdue – in fact, visiting Sicily was long overdue! I bet not many Maltese people can say that they have not been to Sicily by the age of thirty. The thing is, that I am fascinated with the UK, and I mostly ignored all other countries for a big chunk of my life. It was in 2016 that I started exploring properly and I have not looked back ever since.

We left Etna for our very last day, it being so close to Catania airport. We arrived at around 9:30AM after a two hours drive from where we were staying. The Etna car park, by the cable cars was almost full. It happened to be May the 1st, which is a bank holiday in most countries, so there were a lot of tourists there.

Steffi enjoying Etna, Sicily!

We bought our tickets and made our way to the queue for the cable cars. Once we were at a reasonable height, we queued again for 4×4-style buses. Most of the tourists were laughing hard while we made our way on what we could only describe as a bumpy ride!  It took us to almost to the top of the volcano in no time. It was rather astonishing seeing people walking all the way up from ground level, seeing that Etna is 3,500 meters high up. I bet it takes most of the day going up and then down. We thought it was money well spent as this way we could enjoy walking around and inside the craters for a longer time.

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As you set foot out of the bus, you realise that the temperature changed drastically. From almost 20 degrees to around 2 degrees! Once you get accustomed to the change of weather, you start to embrace the surroundings. The view is breathtaking, the colour of the gravel varies from black to red to yellow. I have never seen so many colours on such a huge stretch of mountain-like land. It was simply amazing being there. No words were enough to describe what we saw, what we felt being so high up, on such a clear day. You could see steam coming out, touching the floor underneath your feet feels warm. You could tell you are walking on top of an active volcano. A bit scary and risky, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

We spent roughly two hours walking and exploring, and around three hours in total including the transport. The souvenir shop comes highly recommended. While we were there we tried several liquors and the famous mandorla wine. We ended up buying some, as well as lava made statues and decor, adding onto the issue we already had since we traveled with just a hand-luggage for a five day long holiday! On the way down to the car-park, there is a restaurant which in our opinion had the best arancini in Sicily. Do give them a try if you feel peckish!

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How To Spot A Fake Online Dating Profile

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There is no denying the popularity of online dating in the current day and age. In an era when we all seem to be time poor and technology oriented, the Internet provides us with the perfect platform to find Mr. Right. However, the only issue is that there are going to be a lot of Mr. Wrongs out there that you need to weed through first. With that being said, read on to discover how to spot a fake online dating profile so you don’t end up being cat-fished!

    • Lack of detail / discrepancies in their profile story
      When you are genuinely looking to find love, it is important to make your profile detailed so that you attract people that have the same sort of interests as you. You can find some tips on writing an online dating profile here: https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/online-dating-advice/online-dating-profile-tips/online-dating-profile-examples-for-women/. If a profile is lacking any detail, it does not necessarily mean it is fake, but this is a common trait of fake profiles. After all, they do not want to give anything away. They will try to mould themselves into the person they believe you want once they start talking to you. Another sign that a profile is fake is if their story doesn’t add up. Is their profile contradicting what they tell you in their messages?
    • Stock profile photos
      This is one of the key signs that the profile you are looking at is not going to be the love of your life. If their profile appears like a stock photo, then the chances are it probably is. If you do a little bit of digging online, you will probably be able to find the photograph with ease. Moreover, if the profile only contains one photo rather than several, this is another indicator that it could be fake.
    • Let other people spot fake profiles for you
      Last but not least, the best way to make sure you do not fall victim to a fake online dating profile is to use a professional matchmaking service rather than a free online dating website. You can find more information about this by visiting https://macbeth-matchmaking.com/dating/matchmaking-and-dating-services/ . With matchmaking services, every person that joins the agency will be vetted to ensure that they are genuine. You will then be matched to a person based on your likes and interests, as well as what you are looking for from a relationship. This dramatically increases the chances of you finding the perfect man for you.

So there you have it – some useful tips on how to spot a fake online dating profile! If you have noticed any of the signs that have been discussed in this blog post, stay away from the dating profile in question. The last thing you want to do is think you’re meeting up with David Beckham only to discover the man of your dreams is more like David Brent!

Engagement Day

For many, the 19th of May meant nothing but the marriage of Prince Harry to Megan dsc_5108.jpgMarkle. To myself, my partner and our families, it was the day of our Engagement Party. For us, it was a very important day, not just as a milestone in our relationship but also because we wanted to share this with our closest family and friends. We wanted them to be present and share with us the happiness and love such an event brings.

It was also the first time my partner, Daniel, met with my entire family – with all my uncles and aunties. I thought it is a very important step before our wedding day next year to get to know where I’ve come from.

Since we planned the party ourselves, the months which lead to our party were busy; we spent a considerable amount of time planning it out. Not just the food, but also the music list, the guest list. Coming up with the invitation, and the decor. Needless to say the decor was for me the most exciting and challenging part. Thinking about what we might need on the day, creating and customising props and buying decor. Although I did most of the research, we chose everything together. Daniel also worked on building a wooden box from scratch, in which we put the cards the guests brought us on the day.

The party itself was filled with smiles and happy relatives and friends. It was also a get-together, as some of the guests we did not see for a good number of years! I thought, it was great, that we managed to do this. Especially for the fact that it was the first time in 24 years that my mother’s siblings were all under the same roof! Having family living overseas, makes it difficult for all of us to meet for every occasion, especially those who live as far as South Africa!

The blessing of the rings, and the cutting of the cake, were the highlight of the evening for us, mainly because of what they symbolise. The joining of two, who have the same outlook and dreams in life. To love, and to cherish. Now onto the big day next year!

 

Details:

Erice-Craze

The primary reason why I wanted to visit Sicily, was Erice. For those who have visited, they would agree with the steffisays-sicily-erice-castle-ruins-venus-venere-castelloimportance of visiting such a place, and others are curious to know why. Erice situated on top of a mountain, is a medieval fortified town with breathtaking views. You can go for a walk in the cobbled streets, for food, shopping or to indulge in its historical importance.

When we got there, it was very difficult to take it all in – I could not believe that after so many years dreaming about it, I was there in the flesh. We spent a good hour just walking aimlessly enjoying the surroundings. Although it was still April, Erice was buzzing with tourists.

Highlights of Erice:

The views
The below pictures can speak for themselves. Since Erice is so high up, you can capture beautiful photos with the castle and the wondrous beaches all around.

Castello di Venere
Although now in ruins (which date back to the Norman Period), this castle enjoys views all around. It is built on the top-most part of the castle. The reason behind its name which translates to English as the Venus Castle, is due to the fact that at the very spot there was the temple of Venus Eryx, dedicated to the Italian love goddess; mother of Cupid.


Giardino del Balio
As the name states, this is a garden, well sized  and definitely relaxing. It is situated very close by to the castle and towers, which means it’s busy and with gorgeous views. If we had a lot of time on our hands, we would have definitely sat down on the benches and watched the world go by! Unfortunately time was of the essence since we were in Sicily for just five full days, so we had to get on with the next attraction!

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Toretta Pepoli
Built on the slopes of Mount Erice, one can find a small castle which was built in the 1800s. This property was used mainly for meditation and was later on abandoned. In July 2014, it was re-opened again after several years in restoration. One now can visit to admire the architecture and of course the views.

Tasty Sicilian Nibbles
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, I recommend Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, for the typical Erice sweet: The Genovesi Ericine! We also enjoyed Cannoli Siciliani from there, and I can tell you, it was hard to just choose two from their vast variety!

Photos taken by myself while in Sicily. Kindly seek permission before re-using.. For more photos visit my Instagram page.

5 Steps to NOT be an asshole

It is true that being proud and comfortable with yourself has its benefits… However, if you find yourself looking at your image gallery on social media, and all you are brostop-being-an-assholewsing through is pictures of yourself, you have probably taken it too far. If you find yourself continuously talking about yourself, and your only specialty is proving others wrong, then it’s time to admit you have a problem.

If this bothers you on the verge of becoming pissed off, as you think I am writing about you, keep reading… I dare you!

Here’s a few points on how to build yourself into a regular human being to give you the possibility of having meaningful relationships:

1. Being Right
One of the ways to drive another crazy is this idea that you have to always be right. It gets worse when you are in the wrong, but you keep persisting until you hear the other agreeing with you. The reason why one keeps being so persistent is probably because it feels good to be right. However, this is at a detriment of friendships and relationships, as in reality no one enjoys being proven wrong every time there is an argument; let alone when they are sure they are right!

2. Me first
As much as we should respect ourselves, one should not interrupt another – one should listen. Sometimes, all we need is to be heard. No need to come up with a fix or a solution. Although the intention might be genuine, we need to learn to listen, let the other feel and express what he is feeling and instead, understand what they are going through. If they need your help, they will let you know since they chose to confide in you.

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3. Ass kissing
The opposite of always being right, is trying too hard to get people to like you. Being that person who agrees to anything and everything, will make those around you lose your credibility.  Your words will not mean much since they are adjusted depending on the belief of your audience.

4. Attitude
No one is perfect, and everyone falls in this equation – including you! Stop being such a selfish, inconsiderate jerk. The world is not yours, but ours to share and live in. If you have nothing nice to say, you are better keeping your mouth shut! The only way you can be considerate is by thinking things through – Pause and review what you are about to say; be it in person, on the phone, email etc. Practice makes perfect – Funny, practice makes us better people.

5. Building up
Instead of talking about yourself, spend time to compliment someone unprovoked… Ask a question about themselves and their life in a conversation. Celebrate the success of others, rather than turning the subject about yourself. Stop thinking about yourself and focus on the others in the room with you. If you truly care about those around you, it will sooner or later become natural to do so, and your actions will follow suit.