Tag Archives: romantic

The Relationship Masks Are Slipping, But What Can You Do If You Don’t Like What’s Underneath?

The early days of a relationship are always a show of sorts. We put on our best faces for dates and try to paint ourselves in the brightest light possible. If we really like someone, we may even change our views to please them or tell white lies about our true natures.

But, when the relationship gets underway, that mask has to slip. In many ways, this is a good thing. When you let down that guard, true love can come in. Sure, the promise of your ‘perfect man’ might have caught your attention in the first place. But, you may not know he’s ‘the one’ until you seem him at a weak moment.

That said, this slipping of masks is often a painful process, and can be fraught with unpleasant surprises. It may be that there’s a habit or quirk to your partner’s personality which you really don’t like. When you think about it, it makes sense that they would hide this. Who goes on a date and grandstands their worst personality traits? Over time, you may come to realize that your seemingly gentle boyfriend has a nasty temper. Or, perhaps that attentive man spends more time on his phone than you first thought. The issue which makes itself known may be even severe, like a gambling addiction, or something like depression.

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Picture Credit

Sadly, this period is where many relationships end. And, believe it or not, that’s rarely due to the realisation that Mr Perfect is only human. In fact, most of the time, our attempts to change our partners put the nail in the romance coffin. You know how it is; you look past his temper because you think you can cure him of it. You assume that, because he’s with you now, his depression should evaporate.

But, here’s a horrible truth; love isn’t an instant fix. While it is a crucial part of life, it can’t just clear the way of problems. What’s more, approaching a relationship with thoughts of changing a person is the worst thing you can do. It suggests that you love your idea of them, not who they are. And, we all know that love is about accepting someone for their true selves. In fact, the only real time change would be the best route open to you is if this bad personality trait puts your partner at risk. Otherwise, you should attempt to help your partner when you notice these issues. It isn’t easy, but it may be the only way to keep your relationship healthy. And, we’re going to look at a few of the ways you can achieve it.

Recognize their triggers

For the most part, traits like these come with triggers. It’s likely certain things set off that raging temper, for instance. Equally, there may be certain situations which drive a gambler to hit the casino. As their partner, it’s your responsibility to notice. Do this without comment or judgement. Observe and accept the situation. Then, do what you can to help them avoid situations like these where possible. If you see your raging man getting mad, grab his hands and do a quick dance around the room, or something equally fun. This will distract his attention, as well as reinforcing your relationship. You may also notice that he’s more liable to gamble when worried about money. If you’re at the stage where you’re living together, do what you can to keep finances in check, or discuss ways to make more money. Again, this will help with communication, as well as distraction. It may be best, though, not to outwardly tell him about the triggers you’ve noticed. Making him aware of your observations could turn to a trigger in itself. He’ll also then be able to tell when you’re distracting attention, and that could drive him further towards the places you don’t want him to go.

Point him down a better path

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Picture Credit

This step is tricky. Get it wrong, and you could slip into the territory of trying to change your partner. But, if you take your time here, you may find that you can point him down a better path. The trick here is not to speak in definites. Merely make suggestions which you think would improve a situation. Do this subtly, so that your man doesn’t feel you’re preaching to him. It could be that leave a program on television discussing ways to deal with anger. Or, you may want to look at sites like Casino Guru which could at least recommend reliable casinos if he is going to gamble. If mental illness is the issue, talk to him about his treatment options. Through discussions, he may find he settles on a new approach which could work well. And, you can achieve all this without ever directly attempting to change the way your lover behaves. Instead, he’ll come to associate you as a reassuring presence who helps him make his own decisions.

Focus on the future

Focusing on the future is always a good idea in a relationship. If things start to stagnate, it can lead to frustration and disillusionment. But, it becomes even more critical in cases like these. If, for instance, your partner is depressed, a focus on your plans as a couple could be a considerable incentive for recovery. If it’s a mutual decision, a determination to have kids in the future could be all it takes to encourage your partner to get help. Equally, this could encourage them to face up to addictions, be they gambling or anything else. The knowledge of future parenthood could even help with anger management problems. After all, no one wants to be that parent who shouts all the time. Bear in mind that it’s essential you let your partner lead conversations like these. If they aren’t ready to discuss this kind of thing, pressure could push them further into a negative place. But, if you’re both in the same headspace here, the future could be the best tonic.

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Your wishes, My dreams

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I see you looking at me
With those big brown eyes
From which I can view everything:
Your longings, desires,
Your wishes –

You make my heart
race,
You make me grasp
for air.
You are my reason,
for all that is good.

Your desires, are my goals.
Your longings, are mine too.
Your wishes will come true,
Let’s work on them together;
Two hearts, beating as one.

What we have between us
is what I have been searching for;
for years, I dreamt about this
moment, about having it all.
Your love is the answer.

You are my real-life dream.
I want your love. I long –
for your presence in my life.
I desire your body, your soul;
my heart you stole.

______________________________________________
Steffi 2018.03.28

Best Castles in Germany

I have quite a soft-spot for Germany. My fascination started way back when I was barely a teenager. At that time, I was supporting the German National Football Club, better known as Die Mannschaft. Since then, I discovered another love – Castles. After exhausting my travels in the UK, in 2016 I started traveling to Germany. So far, I have visited between 30 to 40 castles in Germany and based on my experience, I would like to write about my favourite 5 castles (so far!) in Deutschland!

Burg Hohenzollern

Located on top of Mount Hohenzollern, one can find a very distinguished castle.  What I would also call distinguished is the view from the castle onto the surroundings; the mesmerizing view of the Black Forest. Upon entering this castle, one would realise that no expense was spared in building and maintaining this castle.

The first mention of the castle was in 1267, however the mentioned castle was completely destroyed in 1423. Roughly 30 years later, the second Hohenzollern Castle was built – now bigger than ever. The fortification around it is a testimony of several conversions the castle has endured during its lifetime. To this day, the structure is sound and in perfect condition thanks to all the tourists who have visited and will visit in the years to come. Personally, I appreciate it when admission fees are used for the maintenance and renovation of the castle I visited.

 

Burg Eltz

Located along the Mosel Valley, one finds a breathtaking castle by the name of Eltz. Remembering the first time I visited this castle, I was unaware of the long (and pleasant) walk in the forest to reach it. We were puzzled; How is it that we are visiting a castle so out of sight? Trust me, the fifteen minute walk is worthwhile. If you find this as an obstacle, you can always take the shuttle bus however! English tours are available in this castle which is kind of expected considering how popular this castle is.

The castle is still owned by the same family who around 33 generation ago lived there. Eltz is one of the only three castles on the left bank of River Rhine which has never been destroyed. Construction started prior to 1157. Another house within the castle was built in the 1400s, whilst the third part of the castle was considered finished in the 1530s. The upside of this last construction is the fact that each room was heated, unlike the remaining parts of the castle which were partly heated only. The Eltz family is still considered noble to this day.

Schloss Drachenburg

Although Shloss Drachenburg looks like a castle, in fact to me, it looks very similar to Disney Castle, this is considered as a villa. What is unbelievable about it is that it was built in just two years between 1882 and 1884. It belonged to a banker who initially planned to make it a home, but then he didn’t. It was later donated to the State Foundation and is now open for the public. The western facade of the palace was heavily damaged in WW2. The restoration took many years to fulfill as even roofs needed to be replaced.

Aside from the beautiful views of Bonn and the river from the very top of the castle, one must admire the interiors who have been hand-painted all these years ago and are to this day so well maintained. I also remember huge stained glass windows, with details I have never witnessed before; and even after visiting several other castles in other countries, still remain unbeatable…

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Pfalzgrafenstein – such a big name, for such a small castle! One can find this little gem in the middle of River Rhine. In fact, to gain access to it, you’d have to ride a short boat trip. Once we arrived on Falkenau island we started by admiring the river from a different angle. We also noticed that from a certain level, this castle looks like a ship. Since the river’s depth varies due to seasonality, the castle had to be built in such a way that it did not flood when the water rises.

Built between 1326 and 1327, its function was as a toll-collecting station. A chain across the river forced ships to stop and pay the fee. If they did not cooperate, they were kept in the castle’s dungeon until a ransom was received. Although the castle was restored to its glory, to this day one does not find neither electricity nor a lavatory. The area is a World Heritage site.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Possibly the more popular castle not only in Germany but worldwide. What many do not know, is the sad story behind it. Back in the 1800s, the King Ludwig II, started to build this most magnificent and luxurious castle, only he died before it was completely finished. In fact, the king only lived in the castle for 172 years (in his private headquarters, whilst it was still being built), and it was opened for public viewing shortly after he died in the year 1886.

It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day […]; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world…

— Ludwig II, Letter to Richard Wagner, May 1868[14]

 

Most of the photos above are my own (apart from interior photos of Neuschwanstein, Eltz and Hohenzollern for the simple reason that it was not allowed). Kindly seek permission before re-using.

5 Simple Ways to Wow Your Wedding Guests

You’d like to think that simply looking your stunning best will be enough to make your wedding guests say ‘wow,’ and it will! But it’s also true that every bride looks amazing on their special day. If you want to make yours stand out from the crowd, then you’ll want to go the extra mile to make it memorable. Below, we take a look at five ways you can make your guests feel the love – and have a day they’ll always remember.

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Pick a Unique Venue

You could pick a venue that’s close to where you live, but where’s the fun in that? There are a million and one unique, beautiful venues across Europe, and with inexpensive flights available to and from many countries, it’s not that much of a hassle to ask your friends and family to travel overseas. If you’re not of an overly traditional bent, then you might want to consider getting married away from the church. A beautiful ceremony set among lush woodlands, with fairy lights making the space look extra magical, for example, is guaranteed to impress your guests.

Make a Strong First Impression

Of course, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to wow your wedding guests before they reach the ceremony. You can make a strong first impression by investing in beautiful wedding invitations, and by asking your guests to RSVP with added details – such as a song they’d like to hear at the wedding party. You may even ‘wow’ your guests by simply asking that they don’t bring anything other than themselves – that means no gifts – to the wedding, which is a touching detail if the ceremony is taking place overseas. Get creative with your invites, and you’ll have people keenly anticipating the fun days to come!

Riding in Style

The ceremony and the party rarely take place at the same place, so how are your guests going to get from one place to the other? Normally, this will involve a series of taxis, but there’s not going to be anything normal about your wedding! Instead, put on some funky transport, such as a themed party coach, or limos, or – if it’s not too far – a series of horse carriages for everyone. It’ll be much more exciting than having everyone patiently queuing for the next series of taxis to turn up.

Extra Touches

You’re going to have people from all walks of life attending your wedding; relatives, old friends, work colleagues, and so on, and they’re not all going to know one another. So why not help them up by adding a “who’s who” to the seating plan? You can show everyone how they know each other through six degrees of separation. It’s a great way to move past small talk and onto the fun times!

And Relax

You’ve got a dance-floor; how about a place to relax? Some people don’t want to dance all night but do want to be involved. Create a space that allows them to be involved and also unwind. They’ll love you for it.

Belated 30th Birthday Post

Exactly five months ago, on the 16th of October, it was my birthday. My 30th.

We woke up in Scotland, because we discovered that we like traveling for our birthdays. It was a windy day! So much so, Hurricane Ophelia was visiting! This did not stop us from having a lovely day out in the countryside, visiting several castles and eating at Jamie’s Italian in Glasgow. For the first time in my life, I had a clear picture of where my life is going. I did not care where I am, I was just happy spending my day with the person who means the most to me.

In the past years, I always reflected on what I have achieved, but this time round, I reflected on my future; our future. It is true, that in the year 2017, so much has happened. For starters I went on so many holidays: Hungary, Bath UK, Wales, Romania, Denmark, Cornwall, Austria, Scotland and Germany! But the most important of all, I met Daniel who has turned my life upside down. My traveling partner, the love of my life! I finally found him, and I ain’t letting him go. 🙂

But most of all, this birthday was so significant to me because as my birthday gift, Daniel bought me a promise ring. As much as I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man, I was still caught off guard. From then on, our path has become a little clearer. In fact, as of November, it’s been full-on planning for our big day coming up in 2019!

And folks, that is a happy ending right there!

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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Schloss Drachenburg

Built in the 1880s, Schloss Drachenburg is a fairy tale castle. The architecture is full on romantic Gothic, with spires, the style of a medieval cathedral and a beautiful clock tower. It stands on a hill above the Rhine River, with beautiful breathtaking view of the said river.

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A story from the German folklore says, that Siefried has slayed a dragon up on this very mountain, which the castle gets the name from. Drachenburg, translates to Dragon’s castle in English. The actual story of this castle is however less glamorous as it was commissioned by a rich stock broker. Funnily enough it was built in two years, yet recently a 15-year restoration was completed for 31.5 million euro.

Completed in 1884, the castle started off as a private villa, then was converted into a museum, which later on was used as an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys. To this day, you can still see holes from the US artillery fires, as they smashed the stained glass windows and facade in the last months of the war. It was at this time that the Nazi schoolboys decided to stop resisting against the americans.

The inside of the castle is full of German art and craftsmanship.

See below, some photos I took of a day well-spent in the Dragon’s castle.

Such a dreamy castle!

Perfect Perth

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Perth not only enjoys wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and a laid back demeanor but there is more to this captivating city than the myriad of bars, restaurants and activities. Perth’s pristine parkland, nearby bush, and river and ocean beaches allow its visitors to spread out and enjoy what’s on offer.

The transport system is fabulous but to truly take advantage of all that’s on offer you may wish to hire a car. Burswood Car Rentals offers free delivery to all city hotels allowing you to explore further afield and visit some of the less well known yet spectacular spots that cost next to nothing. (Please note that costs may apply for some activities)

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is accessible from Rockingham which is less than an hour’s drive south of Perth. Swarming with marine life including sea stars and urchins as well as a number of fish species flitting through the shipwrecks and makes for excellent diving, snorkeling and wildlife watching. While in the water you’ll probably run into a pod of bottle-nose dolphins and can swim with these on the regularly operated tours.

Penguin Island, a breeding colony for an array of perth1incredible birds, has Little Penguins which breed in the burrows and you can watch them being fed at the interactive center.

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If you have a dive permit, The Saxon Ranger, a 400 tonne former fishing vessel takes residence at the Park. The boat is first purpose sunk dive wreck in the Perth metropolitan area.

Just 20 minutes east of Perth, sample the divine fruits of the vineyards of Western Australia’s oldest wine region at the Swan Valley and Darling Range.  Here you may indulge on award-winning local produce, discover the incredible local heritage or simply relax in the stunning bush-land of the Darling Range. The antithesis of the bustle of city life, it can be reached via road or aboard a Swan River Cruise from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.

Sharing a glass of red with the vineyard owners, they are happy to recount stories of the generations of their families who owned the vineyards before them, some dating back to the early European settlers.

With over 70 eateries to choose from you are spoiled for choice or pack a lunch enjoying the breathtaking views of your surroundings.

You can also partake in many activities including horse riding, cycling and Indigenous culture.

perth2If you fancy getting even closer to some furry friends, head to Caversham Wildlife Park –  where close encounters with kangaroos and koalas is order of the day.

Alternatively you could choose to drive along the Great Eastern Highway to the blissful tranquillity of the Avon Valley heritage town in under an hour and a half. One of the few towns in WA to hold ‘Historic Town’ status, the proud residents of York have taken great care over restoring its many Victorian and Federation buildings. Due to retaining its heritage charms, it remains Perth’s favourite country escape.

No wonder this area is a top spot for romantic weekends or family fun.

8 things to strengthen one’s relationship

Given the last 13 years of somewhat unsuccessful relationship “experience”, I have tried to gather and combine a list of things or tips, which I think would make or help in having a satisfying and working long term relationship.

  1. Honesty; Possibly the most important thing of all. Always be honest and truthful to each other, on all things in your life, be it as a couple or individual. Honesty helps you feel more comfortable and assured on where you stand in your love affair.
  2. Be respectful – Mutual respect is important in maintaining a healthy relationship. The wishes and feelings of each other are valuable even when you disagree. Be genuine and show interest in your partner’s life and hobbies – such things can only bring you closer as a couple.
  3. Trust – This is the foundation of a happy and fulfilling relationship. It take time to build trust and can be lost in a split of a second if one feels betrayed. Examples of being trustworthy are: being reliable and following up on your promises, share what you feel and always say the truth, be a safe place for your partner, be consistent (not only when it is convenient or things are going well).
  4. Be considerate – Keep each other in the loop, ask for holdinghandssunseteach other’s advise in decision making, especially when this will affect your life together as a couple.
  5. Affection – don’t just say that you love your partner; demonstrate it. Kiss each other good morning, be passionate, hold hands in public, take pictures together – make memories… surprise each other with a romantic date or a gift.
  6. Know your Priorities – Although we all lead busy lives, we should always find time for our partners. If you don’t see this as important, perhaps you should spend some time to think about this and why you are hanging onto a relationship which you don’t feel devoted to. If we all invest as much time on our relationship as we do texting, playing games, on social media and watching TV  or films, we might actually have a meaningful relationship.
  7. Security – Show that your partner can count on you to be there in times of need; be it emotionally or physically.
  8. Be a team  – You are stronger together, as a team. Make plans, ensure you have shared goals and same purposes and views long term. Work together.

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Friendzone Galore

So, we have all heard about the infamous friendzone…

Women are rather experts in this, and men are up there all the time. I suppose it is the worst place to be for most men, and women are at ease because they have yet another platonic friend to talk to and spend time with.

In reality, even if men do not admit this, it is a struggle for them to be just friends with someone who they find attractive. Research most often than not says that men cannot be friends with someone they fancy. I guess my male readers can give their HONEST opinion about this. 🙂

I am the kind of girl, that when I meet a man, I figure out my intentions quickly. Whether the feeling is reciprocated or not; that is another thing… but to this date, I have never dated any of my best or closest male friends which in my eyes are my brothers. Having said that, I know a few rare occasions where a girlfriend of mine has fallen for her best friend.

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Tips on avoiding the friendzone:

  1. Always make your intentions clear
    Okay, I do not mean that when you mean someone you like, you just tell them “I want you to be my girlfriend”; but… if you like someone, although you do your best to get to know them, you would also flirt to test the waters. If the girl flirts back, then this is an indication that she likes you, there’s potentially an opportunity for you to be more than just friends.  Do not become her doormat, we do not feel sexually attracted to these kind of men. Make the girl blush, compliment her!
  2. Ask her out ASAP!
    As much as it makes sense for you to get to know your potential date and partner, do not wait weeks, or worse months to do something about it. Some girls do not like playing games, especially those who are mature and are interested in serious relationships. They’d give you some time, but the chances are that other opportunities arise, and in that case if another guy asks before you, she will say yes and forget all about you.
  3. Don’t talk to her when she is with her friends
    If she invites you to spend time with her and her friends, it is most likely not because she wants to introduce you to her group of friends as her someone special, but because you are friendzoned. Avoid these occasions until after you start dating. Spending alone time with her, gives you more opportunities to show your interest and intentions. If she avoids being alone with you like the plague, this means that she knows what you are trying to do, and she is trying to spur your the embarrassment.
  4. Don’t let her vent and complain with you about other guys
    This is probably the most obvious indication that the woman in your life is going to friendzone you. It is not your job to listen to her problems with men; she has her girlfriends for this. This is in no way intimacy, and remember – we do not live in a fairy-tale world where a girl will suddenly realise she has been dating assholes and that her one love is you.
  5. Don’t be afraid of rejection
    The idea of being rejected is terrifying for both genders. It is most likely that a friendship cannot be leveraged into romance. You are better off being rejected while you are getting to know each other, rather than after you spent so much time together. A rejection at the very beginning could be turned into friendship, but a rejection once your are friendzoned is very awkward, and the probability is that you stop talking to each other altogether. On top of that, think about all that time and effort and possibly money wasted on someone who is not interested in you.