Tag Archives: expensive

When to get married in Malta: Seasonality

Maltese brides and grooms tend to play it safe when it comes to their wedding. Even if you are not a bride-zilla, you would most likely still not want a rainy wedding day as this would disrupt all your plans, be it traffic, wedding venue and dirtying your oh-so-white wedding dress! Funnily enough though, we don’t always think of the pros and cons that each season in Malta comes with!

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No snow in Malta, but you catch my drift!

Spring:
The weather starts changing from cold to warm
Happy guest mood since winter is over, and soon it is time for summer
A lot of fruit and veg are back in season, which means more variety when it comes to your menu
The grass is greener! And the flowers start bloom. Needless to say this will enhance your wedding photos, and no doubt, the floral choice for decor is at its best.
Allergy season (this was the only reason why I couldn’t go for a Spring wedding!)
Children are still in school, which might cause certain parents to not attend your wedding

Summer:
Risk of rain is close to none
Longer days, breezy evenings
If you are choosing Malta as your destination wedding, it is more likely that guests will attend as they can combine the wedding with a holiday, and the kids are off school
Summer season is the most popular season of all. If you are very specific on dates and venues, you have to plan very much ahead. Two years minimum, but three years ahead is advised
Noon summer weddings should be illegal. It is crazy to say the least!
Peak wedding season. Guests might choose to attend another wedding, not yours

Autumn:
Milder weather, ideal for noon weddings
The changes of the colour of leaves and trees makes for a magical and romantic background to your wedding photos
Children are back in school, which might cause certain parents to not attend your wedding
Risk of bad weather

Winter:
Classic and traditional Christmas themed weddings are amazing
Availability of venue and other suppliers are abundant
Cheaper deals on venue and vendors due to being off season
Noon weddings are appropriate as days are shorter
Brides have more dress options
✗ Bad weather is likely
✗ Wedding photos outdoors might be a bust due to weather conditions
✗ Festive season might discourage guests as they might rather spend it with close family
✗ Guest may be short on money as it is Christmas season

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Wedding in Malta: How to get started

Daniel and I are both planners, which I’d say is of an advantage when it comes to organizing our wedding plan. We have heard about so many stories, where couples are stressed beyond compare, fighting every minute they get, that we were a bit paranoid. Truth be told, none of this has happened. Three months into the preparation, we have been very respectful towards each other, and we have managed to compromise on everything so far, be it budget, and choosing our providers.

We believe, that the hardest thing that we had to come up with was our budget. The main reason being that we had absolutely no idea on how much a wedding should cost.  We heard of weddings which costed 10,000 and others which were 30,000 and more! This confused us further, as we were unsure how two weddings which had roughly the same items (sizable venue and guest-list, food, DJ, open bar) could differentiate so much in terms of cost!

wedding to do list

So how did we come up with a budget? In reality, we did not! Wait, what? We decided on what we can afford. We decided on the guests we wanted to invite. I come from a large family, and we had to draw a line somewhere. We made the guest list, and we asked vendors for quotations based on these numbers. Then by priority, we started to add additional costs – listing the must haves and the nice to haves.

This is the must-have list we came up with:

– Gather an approximate Guest list and request quotations for food and drinks
Chapel & Venue – booked on the same day
Food tasting from top 2 or 3 caterers (based on price, reputation and wedding date availability)
Photographer – A beautiful memory to cherish in the years to come
DJ – a wedding reception without music, is not really a celebration. In Malta, DJ is the most common form of entertainment for weddings. Some choose to have a live-band or singer
Cars – Bare necessity is a bridal car and taxi for groom and our respective family
Hair & Makeup – We all want to look at our best for our big day
Rings – The symbol for our marriage
Invitations – Compulsory
Souvenirs – A small thank you gift for our guests
Clothes – Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen
Bride’s flower bouquet

Nice to have list:

Flowers (for the church)
Church Singer
– Themed Decor (for the venue)
Lighting
– Videographer
– Red Carpet (for the church)

Things a’changing

There are days, when I question things about my life, and my choices. Today has been one of these forsaken days. Actually, I have been at it since 3AM, but that is beyond my point.

I was thinking about back in 2011, when I had my first Christmas alone, living far away from my family, friends, and on top of that, in another country – How courageous was I, to take such a big leap, leaving everything and everyone behind!

Before then, I have never lived alone, and I had no idea about the kind of responsibility and effort it entails to live and make ends meet at the end of the day, and month when all bills came crawling up. I have done a great job, and learned a lot from this experience.

When I have moved back to Malta, I was not willing to move back with the family, as I enjoyed my independent life too much to let go of it. So much so, that within a year of renting, I purchased my own property.

Although this made sense financially, this has indirectly tied me to this country without even realising at the time. Now that I have settled down in such a “grown up” lifestyle, it seems to me that I have become more self conscious when taking decisions. And I shall give you an example. This week, I was meant to travel, but my plans fell apart, and I have decided to give up the holiday based on two reasons:
1. I should not travel alone at night
2. Accommodation has risen up in price (it also being Christmas holidays, and included NYE), and a last minute purchase would have costed me my entire savings for my holiday.

If I did not have my house to worry about, and if I were not such a wuss, I would be in the UK right now, enjoying cold weather, possibly fog and snow, and beautiful beautiful scenery. How silly am I? Where has all my self confidence gone? What has tarnished my spirit in such a way?

And if you are wondering why I wrote this and why I am sharing this with my readers, it is because I want to be able to read this whenever I need to, so I do not repeat such thing ever again. And also, to try to keep reminding myself that not all my decisions in the past years have been as bad.

Now to try and live life guilt free… and keep moving forward… >>>

Want to Drive Sooner Rather than Later? Here Are the Keys to Success!

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When you’ve decided that you want to drive, the wait between the decision and actually getting your license can be torturous. Most learners just want to get on the road and start exercising their newfound vehicular freedom. Well, the key to doing that is to become a driving pro in as short a time as possible. Here are some essential suggestions for you.

Start the preparations now

If you’re reading this article, you might be on the verge of taking your driving test. But it’s also possible that you haven’t even applied for a provisional license yet! It’s important that you do this as soon as possible. One reason you may not have done this is that you haven’t reached the legal driving age yet. Depending on where you are or what you plan to drive, this is generally between 16 and 18. But you can usually apply for provisional licenses three months before you turn of legal driving age! You should also get together any other documents you’ll need.

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Thinking theoretically

A lot of people get stuck on the theory side of driving. One of the great things about theory is precisely that – it’s just theory! This means you can start getting practice in whenever you want. Some forward-thinking parents even have their kids study in a couple of years before they can legally drive. Get familiar with the various highway rules, as well as how the average driver behaves on the road. Start getting it in your head now!

Formal crash courses

One of the most popular ways of getting through this process quickly is by doing a crash course. I know that “crash” sounds bad in the context of driving, but it’s not about crashing. A crash course in driving offers you the required practice and learning hours within a week or two. It’s intense and fast, and requires a lot of spare time. It also tends to be quite expensive. Most people won’t have the time or the means to do it in this fashion. But the option is there!

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Longer lessons

Instead of going into full-on, intense crash courses, you could simply take longer lessons. Most learners will only take hour-long lessons at a time, maybe once a week or every two weeks. But as long as your driving instructor is able to do so, you can get lessons lasting two or three hours. This ensures that your required learning hours build up much faster. Of course, you need to be confident that you can absorb all the required information when you’re doing it this way!

Practice tests

You know what accounts for a surprisingly large amount of time during this process? Waiting to take your test once you’ve booked it. The people who oversee these tests are very busy. You may have to wait for just a few days, or you may have to wait several weeks. That, of course, is if you can even find a time that accommodates both of you in that period of time! Imagine how much time is lost when you have to take your test again. Your test is going to be very different from your lessons, and this surprises most learners. One of the best ways to tackle this is to take a practice test beforehand. Check this site out to find out more about practice tests.

Build up those practice hours

Lessons cost a lot of money. But aside from car running costs, practice hours are virtually free! It’s important that you get as many practice hours in as you can. These are the hours that you spend with a licensed driver overseeing some informal driving. You need to accumulate a large number of practice hours before you can take your test. But the key to quick success could be to take on even more practice hours than is required. You need to perfect those maneuvers and really get your head around the roads and codes. This will give you a big advantage when it comes to taking your test and passing it first time.

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Know your routes

Do you know where your test is going to take place? If so, then it’s vital you check this area out before the day. Spend some of your practice hours there. One of the most common reasons for failure during a test is that the learner is unfamiliar with the territory. Even seasoned drivers are a little more cautious in new areas. You should make sure you know the roads as well as possible. Consider using your practice hours to cover the five or so mile radius that comprises that territory.

And Relax: How To Create An In-House Spa Experience

spa_relax_flowersImage credit: Unsplash

We all love those weekends away at a spa. Whether you take your Mom or go with a group of girls, there’s nothing more relaxing than being treated and pampered for a few nights. But busy schedules, money and getting everyone together at the same time doesn’t make it easy to treat ourselves to a lot of them. So why not bring those blissful spa vibes into your own home as well. With a few clever ideas you can create an in-house spa that will ensure you feel relaxed every weekend. Here are some ideas to get you started.

An At-Home Steam Shower

If budget permits and it’s time you renovated your bathroom, why not consider investing in a plush steam shower at home? With advanced technology, it has never been easier to install a steam shower or steam bath into your property. Steam showers can include overhead rain showers, hand-held showers, built-in music, LED  lighting, and even foot massagers. And of course, they enable you to create a hot steamy retreat in your bathroom. Jet systems and steam generators will create the ultimate in-house Turkish bath experience. Cutting edge technology will allow you to feel revived and refreshed in the morning and let you wind down and relax at night. Benefits of a steam shower include improved circulation and recovery after exercise. They also promote healthier, clearer skin by opening up the pores.

A Personal Massage Chair

For the ultimate relaxing experience why not invest in a massage chair for your home? Shiatsu chairs offer everything from Yoga and Chiro programs to Swedish and Shiatsu massage treatments. You may never need the services of a spa again! They are a great way to loosen up muscles and unwind in the evening or on the weekend. If you don’t have the space for a massage chair, you could consider getting a massage cushion instead. Many cushions also come with heat facilities, vibrations and built in rollers too. These are perfect for those times when your muscles need kneading, and there’s no time to book in for a treatment.

Luxury Products

Of course, no in-house spa would be complete without spa experience products. Brands such as Elemis and Decleor offer many super luxurious products that are also used in their very own spas. Decleor products are focused on essential oils, skincare rituals, and innovative treatments. And they also happen to smell delicious too. So if you want the scent of a spa in your home, it’s always worth investing in some high-end products too. Choose everything from bubble baths to body scrubs and body milks to facial night balms for the ultimate in-house spa experience. If you are doing a facial treatment, always keep a few hot towels close by for wiping off oils, just like they do at the spa. Simply soak the towels in hot water then wring them out before use. Adding essential oils to the water will also add an extra spa-like touch to your treatment. For lots more beauty tips follow the click.

Ambiance

To top of your at home spa don’t forget to include a fluffy bathrobe, Egyptian cotton towels and a pair of sleek slippers too. And soothing music and scented candles go a long way to creating a blessed out ambiance too. Engage your senses with relaxing scents, soft touches and calming sounds to feel like you are in a plush spa, even when you’re at home.

Save Some Bucks This Christmas By Getting These Things Ready Now

We all know that Christmas has the potential to be an extremely expensive time of year. After all, there is a lot that you need to buy for it! From food and presents to decorations and greeting cards. But you don’t have to let the festive season be a drain on your bank account. In fact, if you start preparing now, you will find that you could end up saving a few books. That’s all because you’ll be buying out of season. We’re now in the run-up to Halloween and Thanksgiving. Stores are now focusing on selling all their Halloween and Thanksgiving products; you will find that Christmas stuff is still quite cheap.

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So what should you focus on getting ready now before the season starts? Here are some of my best ideas.

Christmas Presents

Ideally, you should look for Christmas presents for your friends and family all year round. There is no point waiting until December to do all your Christmas shopping. The stores will hike up their prices then so that they can make some extra cash before the holidays. So if you see something that you think might be suitable for a relative earlier on in the year, buy it! It doesn’t matter that you will have to wait a few months to give it to them. Just keep it in a cupboard or drawer where the recipient won’t be able to find it. If you do leave your Christmas shopping till later on in the year, it might be worth doing it online. Generally speaking, online shopping is a lot cheaper than going to a store. Looking for the perfect gift for your mom? You’ll be able to find unique gifts for her from Cuckooland.com.

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Food And Drink

Now is the best time to start thinking about the feast you will be having on Christmas day! If you have a big freezer, you will be able to buy quite a bit of the fresh food now and freeze it. Even your turkey! Try and buy your turkey within the next few weeks. Otherwise, you could end up paying quite a bit for it once we are into Thanksgiving season. Don’t worry that the one you buy now isn’t specifically a Christmas turkey. The only difference between a Christmas one and the ones you can buy all year is the packaging! And why pay more for a turkey that is covered in a festive wrapper? Buy all the dried and tinned foods that you need now as well. These will keep in your store cupboard. However, you can’t buy your fresh fruit and vegetables too far in advance. You will have to wait and get them a week or so before the big day.

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Greetings Cards

Most stores that sell greeting cards will have some Christmas cards on sale all year round. You probably haven’t noticed this before because you haven’t looked hard enough! As they aren’t in demand outside of December, they won’t be placed in a noticeable place. So next time you go shopping, have a long, hard look for the Christmas cards. If you buy them now, you will make a significant saving. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that there might not be a great selection just yet. If you don’t like what you see and want to wait till there is more choice, there is another way of saving some cash. You just need to buy in bulk in December. Sure, you will have more cards than you need, but they will last you for a couple more years!

Christmas Decorations

There may not be many decorations in the stores just yet. However, you might start to see some in large supermarkets such as Walmart. The supermarkets tend to display a small portion of their stock during fall to start selling as soon as possible. If you look now, you might notice that there are a couple of discounts and deals advertised. Buy them now before all those savings disappear in December! But, do you want to know the best way to make a huge saving on your Christmas decorations? You can make your own! This isn’t as difficult as it may sound. You will find plenty of guides and how-tos online on sites such as goodhousekeeping.com. There is, of course, another way to save some bucks on your Christmas decorations. And that is just to recycle them and use the same ones every year. If you do this, it is a good idea to check yours now to make sure they are still in good condition. If they aren’t, you then have plenty of time to make or buy some new ones. That way, there is no chance of the kids getting upset when they find all their Christmas decorations are broken!

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Plan Christmas Parties

You will no doubt be having an office party with work at Christmas. And many families and groups of friends also enjoy meals together in restaurants over the festive period. If you are planning any big celebrations such as these, it is a good idea to get everything booked now. The earlier, the better! That is because many restaurants and function rooms offer early bird deals. It’s just like the saying, the early bird catches the worm. Wait too long, and you will end up paying full price. However, book now and you could find that you can take advantage of deals and price cuts.

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Clothes

Are you looking for the perfect outfit to wear to all your Christmas parties? Maybe you want a cute dress for Christmas day? Now is the time to buy your festive wardrobe! It’s true that more glitzy stuff will come into the stores in November. However, this can be quite expensive. It’s a good idea to buy something from fashion stores’ fall and winter collections that are out now. You can always add some sparkle with some cool accessories!

Dreading an expensive Christmas? Not this year!

Age, is the question.

When I was much younger, think – early teenage years, I used to believe that being 18 years old was old. Because you know, you are officially an adult, you can drive, you can vote… you name it! When I got to the age of 18, I was worried on how I will feel when I am no longer a teenager. 10 years later, I am terrified of the idea of being 30!

This time three years ago, I was a very busy bee. Why you ask? I was in the process of buying property for the first time, as after 3 years I was tired of stuffing my money in rental properties and having nothing to show for it!

What I didn’t know was, how time consuming and difficult it is to find a place you love, in a town you like and with all the specs you wanted. In the end I settled for a 2 bedroom house, with a yard and a cellar. Almost three years down the road, and I do not know how much money I have put into the house, but I cannot say that it is ready. Truth be told, I haven’t gone down in the cellar for over 2 years, and I have changed my mind on what  I want to do with it a dozen of times.
First I thought I wanted a spa Jacuzzi and a gym area, then I thought a library dungeon sort of thing, and now I think I am settling for a cinema / bar area combo. Needless to say, this project would cost A LOT of money. Money which I still don’t have… and by the time I get to do it, I would probably think that this current idea will not fit my lifestyle (due to age, situation, who knows!)

As rime goes by, I wonder. What makes us who we are? What changes us? Is it age and experiences themselves, is it people? Or is it just us looking for something new…. for a new project or challenge?

Be Valuable!

When it comes to the subject on how valuable we are, one would think firstly on money. It is true that having an indefinite amount of money, would make you to an extend superior than anyone else, because it means that you can live comfortably, afford the little (and big!) things in life. With money one can upgrade his/her gadgets when they see fit, and spend money loosely without wondering if they they’d survive until months end.

But in reality, money is just money, and things are just things. They’d make you happy when you get them, but sooner or later it is just yet another thing you own, which you will most likely put aside when something better comes along. It is only temporary….

You cannot put a price on what truly is valuable in ourselves and our lives… For instance, the memories we make, we will cherish for the rest of our life. Loving the people close to us, will make us feel complete, and despite the fights and disagreements, we all make our peace and never put each other aside. Investing our time on this and reminiscing about this would always bring a smile to our face. So does, when helping someone in need (a random act of kindness), or a friend who is in a rough situation.

Money, and possessing lots of expensive things, is all fine and dandy, but not if you have no one to share them with because you are just focused on work or you are greedy. Nothing makes your heart happier and rich than when you matter to people, and when you are loved for who you are.

Always appreciate what you have, and don’t do anything silly to jeopardise it.
Remember, there are always people around you who want what you have.  Never take it for granted.

steffisays-be-valuable

 

 

Best European Country to purchase Tech Stuff

Being the techiest (and probably, geekiest) person in my group of friends, I am the go-to person when it comes to technology questions and suggestions. Although I no longer informed about all the latest IT discoveries, I am very keen on it, and I seem to have the right answers to most of their dilemmas.

I do love this, and I enjoy the fact that I can help my good friends. But, I always fear that I might get blamed if I don’t give them the best solution.

One of the questions I get to answer, is ‘Should I buy gadget X from Malta?‘ If this gadget is something which was released in the last 6 months (or year), the question is likely to be no. Due to importation expenses, and the fact that Maltese businesses seem to always want to make a lot of profit, the prices are usually high.

Lets take an example. This week, I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S6.

Price on the Samsung Importers website in Malta:

samsung galaxy malta

Price on German Amazon:

samsung galaxy germany

If you are a bit more patient, you can even get it cheaper from eBay. In fact, I purchased mine for 500 euro. That’s over 200 euro cheaper than what I would have bought it for locally!

This is one example, but I can confirm a huge reduction in prices for both GoPro as well as my new Samsung Tablet. Lets say, that thanks to the German technology market, I have around 350 euro still in my pocket from just 3 products.