Tag Archives: wine

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 Organise the Perfect Indoor BBQ In Winter

There is one thing we all miss in the winter: the ability to invite people around for an afternoon of barbecue. If you feel like your social life has suffered as the weather got colder, you might want to get creative and recreate the feeling of summer in your home, and hold an indoor party that cheers you up and makes your weekends more exciting. Below you will find a few tips on how to get started.

House Party

Get a Quality Grill

There are plenty of great quality health fryers and grills you can use, and the results will be the same as on the flames. You might want to get an indoor electric or gas grill set up in your kitchen, or keep it outside, and have the party in the conservatory, if you have one. If you are not sure which type of meat will be the best for your indoor grilling, you can always ask your local butcher or farm shop for advice.

Make Loads of Punch and Mulled Wine

To warm up the atmosphere and your visitors, you might want to get the punch and mulled wine on the hob, instead of cold beer and wine. You can create your hot cocktails yourself, and lay them out for your guests to try and rate. Get your recipes and creativity going, and impress your friends this winter.

Create a Menu and Start Cooking

House BBQ

Get some finger food on the menu, as well as the grilled meat. Offer bacon sandwiches, savoury pies prepared the previous day, and order some pastry from your local shop. Don’t forget about the fresh salad and entree, and get a bowl of soup out, so your guests can help themselves whenever they want to. You can make your own coleslaw, bake your rolls fresh, to go with the meat and the soup.

Get the Caterers In

Depending on the size of your party, you might want to get some help. Caterers can help you out with equipment that keeps the food warm and fresh, as well as laying out the dishes. Check out Singapore caterer ezBBQ to find out what services are available, and how you can make the most out of your indoor barbecue. Alternatively, you can order a hot pudding from a local catering company, and torch your own creme-brulees.

Add Lighting, Decoration, and Music

To get the conversation flowing, and cheer up your friends arriving, you can decorate your home with winter paintings and snowflakes. You might want to get a winter wax melt on the go, and install a mood light. Create a playlist that you can stream from your phone and control the volume according to what your guests are doing.

Just because it is cold and wet outside, your social life should go on. Organise a creative indoor BBQ party, and cheer yourself and your friends up. Make sure that you have adequate extractor fans installed in the house, though, otherwise, your house will smell of barbecue for a long time.

 

Don’t Assume A Girl Wants A White Wedding When You Can Have This Much Fun

Just Married

Any avid fans of this blog out there may well remember a blog I did about assumptions you should never make about a girl. There were things on there about how pink isn’t every girls favourite colour, how every girl doesn’t love wearing heels, how some girls love football and that the only genre of films we want to watch are chick flicks. It’s nonsense, as is the belief that all girls want to have a white wedding.

We don’t.

Sure, white weddings are beautiful and elegant and timeless, but that doesn’t mean the classic white wedding is every girl’s cup of tea. Nah ah. Not when there are so many ways to dot some personality around and add a splash of pizzazz and have some fun with the one day that will be remembered forever.

And with that in mind, we have pulled together a list of impossibly fun wedding ideas for all those girls that want to step away from the white wedding thing:

  1. Pre-Wedding Sports Day Party

A lot of the time, the big day will be the first time your guests have met one another and that means there will be a lot of shaking hands, air kisses and testing the waters before people get really loose. Well, why not get past all of this by having pre-wedding sports day party where your bridesmaids and groomsmen can get to know each other in the most fun environment possible.

meet up

  1. Request A Dance Floor Classic

Another great way to make your big day the best kind of riot is to have space on your wedding RSVP cards for song requests. But don’t just let them have free reign, specify that their choices have to be from the naughties. That way you will get some real dancefloor fillers. We’re talking Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” and Rihanna “Disturbia” and “It’s my Life” by Bon Jovi.

  1. Break Invitation Convention

When it comes to wedding invites, most people think they have to choose a white card with silver writing and then a pretty flower illustration. But that’s nonsense. You can do what you want. You could pick blue wedding invitations if you fancy, or have a scratch card sort of thing where the date gets revealed, or you could invite everyone to a multi-storey car park and then chuck the invites down the stairwell like you would an American house party.

  1. Flower Girls From A Different Generation

Think of a flower girl and you probably imagine your cousin’s daughter’s wearing pretty frocks as they sprinkle petals down the aisle. But just imagine how amazing it would be to break convention and have your grandma’s play the role instead, skipping along with baskets on their arm. Amazing.

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  1. Hand Out Them Sparklers

Okay, so this modern trend is fast becoming a wedding mainstay, and for good reason. The sparkler exit is just the most epic way to leave your own bash; each of your friends waving sparklers in front of the night sky as you and your love leave for your new life together. Trust us, this will be the photo you cherish more than any other.

  1. Midnight Feasts, Yes Please

Everyone tends to get a little peckish late in the night (when those signature cocktails of yours start to kick in). Well, instead of having cheese and biscuits or whatever else, you should hire a food truck to come and save the day. Come on, how cool would it be to have a burger van show up as everyone starts to feel hunger rumble away in their bellies.

  1. Liquid Confidence

There are two things that will get most people on the dancefloor; great music and a glass of wine. That tends to do the trick. If, however, there are still people that aren’t quite feeling confident enough, you should give the classic chalkboard a makeover using some quotes like, “Trust me, you can dance” – Vodka. You’ll be amazed at how much it works.

  1. Colourful Bridesmaids

Traditionally speaking, bridesmaids all wear the same dress in the same colour. And it looks nice. But we would much prefer to be supported by an array of friends rocking different shades. Have them look stunning in the same dress, just let them rock different colours. It looks soooo good. It really-really does.

  1. Order Of Service

We love how personal people get with their order of service programs. They have a so and so is going to speak and such and such a hymn is going to play and then this poem will be read. But why not just keep it short and simple. “Music will play. We will get married. The party kicks off.” Done.

Happy New Year!

So, every new year we all say how we are going to change for the better, or  how we are going to start exercising, or perhaps be better with how we spend our money etc.

From my end, this year I will not do any new year resolutions.

 

I think I am old enough to realise, that all the new year resolutions are broken one day or another, so I am going to be realistic and simply try to lead a good life, which I believe I have done so in the last 29 years 🙂

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Thanks Google for a gorgeous London fireworks photo.

 

May I remind you that I started off this blog as a new yearbr resolution back in 2014, and luckily I am still pursuing this; mainly because it has been of substantial help to me in expressing myself both in writing and creativity.

Throwback to my first ever blog post here. And, before I leave you so I go and share this day with my family, here’s one of my best articles from last year – All the best guys!

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.

Picture Source

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.

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 29th birthday.

It is only one year until I’m 30! When I say it like this, it sounds scary… I am growing old! Luckily I have a lot of older friends, so I do not feel too bad about it! Haha 😉

I am not much of a birthday person. As much as I enjoy the fact that family and close friends remember the day I was born, I do not crave the need to do something special on a day like this. (We age on a daily basis not on a yearly basis!) In fact, I am not too comfortable being in the center of attention. I would rather open up a bottle of wine, snuggle up on the couch and enjoy a good movie. If only it was not this warm right now in Malta….!

Having said that, this coming year I will try to be happy for what I have achieved, and where my life is taking me, rather than focusing on the fact that I am growing older. I will attempt to be thankful for who I have become, and welcome the coming year with arms wide open. I am grateful to those who have supported me, and listened to me complain about what was bringing me down. I appreciate especially those who pushed me to do well, change jobs and not to lose hope! When I stop thinking about how unlucky I am at times, I come to realise how good it feels to be alive, how I survived so many difficulties and heartache this year, and because of this, I have become a stronger person. More than ever, I know what I want in life and I am determined to not let anyone get in the way of myself following my heart and my dreams.

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Hello 29, let’s kick some ass!

It has been 1 year!

happy anniversary with wordpress

The 30th of December 2014, was the day when I officially started off my blog. One year later, with close to 17,000 unique readers and 180 blog posts, I can happily say that I managed to keep my last year’s resolution. I have had readers from 112 countries around the world with my top 3 countries being Malta, Germany and almost a tie between US and UK.

2015, was a very interesting year for me.

I have had too many opportunities to call it quits this year… had a lot of struggles with the house, finances, friends wise, emotionally… but at this point in time, I feel happy. I have tackled every issue I have encountered; I know I have not fixed them all to their entirety but I know that eventually, I will get there. I have took the bull by the horns; I’m fighting….  and I am winning.

Finally, I feel like I am in a good place, and I am getting what I deserve.

Here is, to another new year of fighting, not giving up and chasing dreams.

cheers

Happy New Year to all of my friends and frenemies!

Christmas Time… ♫

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“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see” ♫

 

Yes, it is Christmas time… and yes I do tend to indulge on some extra ̶w̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶  mulled wine at this time of the year… Unfortunately no mistletoe here, as I won’t be spending my Christmas with a special someone; but rather with my family and friends… which is still good none the less.

The plan is to go out at around 10PM for a few drinks and chatter on Christmas Eve  and then off with my mates for the early Christmas Breakfast. For those not in the know, it usually is a continental and English breakfast buffet and this is quite a popular way to start off Christmas day in Malta. Afterwards, it is resting time and then at noon I’m off to lunch with the family. Luckily this time round we are not going to cook ourselves, which means that I will have enough time (!) to charge my batteries after the night out.

Once that is over, I am hoping to make mulled wine and teas at home, and soon after all the family opens gifts from each other. Usually this is quite fun as we leave the presents as a surprise so we have no clue on what we are getting, unless the gift wrapping shape is too obvious, such as when the gift is a bottle of alcohol.

How will you spend Christmas this year?

Wishing all my readers a lovely Christmas with lots of smiles, hugs and beautiful experiences. May you get all you wish for… and more! X

Chester Christmas Market 2015

During my latest travel to the UK, between the 19th and 24th of November, we came across the Christmas Market by chance. It was a lovely surprise as Christmas Markets have always been a pleasant memory of mine, of the time when I lived in Stoke-on-Trent and went to Birmingham year on year for this particular event.

When we made it to the Christmas Market, the place was already buzzing with people looking and buying items. The decorations and a sense of happiness from the people, really put me into the Christmas vibe. More so because the day was rather cold (it even snowed in the evening!). Cheese with cranberry bits and the cheeky mulled wine helped in all this too.

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This year, the Chester Christmas Market will last a week extra – In fact it will be open 7 days a week, from 10am to 6pm for just over a month. So make sure you make your way there any day between the 19th of November and 20th of December for some fantastic gifts, ranging from home-made stuff, to food and high-end items.

More information can be obtained by reading here and here.

Happy Birthday to me!

I eagerly waited for church bells to ring at midnight, as I was worried that I will age a year in an instance. No, not really; that is what I thought when I was a kid anyway… but now, I do not believe in this crap anymoreIMG_20151016_122108-01… Same with massive celebrations, when in reality, we get older everyday… and those who love us and care about us, should not wait for this day to appreciate us.

This year, I decided that I won’t bother with organising any birthday event or get-together. I decided I want to spend it with myself. In my own company; Take a drive, enjoy nature… whether it rains or shines. Maybe read a book and sip a glass of wine, then an easy afternoon with my cats.

It has been a busy and rather rough year, but I can’t say I didn’t have fun;

  • I made some new decent friends
  • I am trying to maintain friendships which are worthwhile. You know who you are!
  • I finally made a dream come true, by watching AC/DC live
  • I have also made it to Cardiff and finally saw all things Doctor Who.
  • I kept in track with fixing the house, although there is still more to maintain and make my house a home…
  • I am still writing on here, which is a good thing too. I find that writing things down help me deal with things better.
  • I’ve drank countless bottles of wine, and laughed uncontrollably.
  • I’ve survived another year with two lovely deviled cats
  • I’ve managed to get rid of some people who only contact me when they need a favour or they are bored with their lives
  • I’ve made plans to visit North Wales, and it will happen in a month’s time
  • I have upgraded my phone to my beloved Samsung s6; fancy pants I know
  • Although it is hard for me to finish off a book, this year I have managed to read quite a few. The problem is that it is difficult to find a book which keeps me intrigued
  • I have realised my passion for photography is here to stay, and traveling is the key to my happiness and relaxation
  • Explored more around the island thanks to my new SatNav

I have also learned a few lessons:

  • I have learned to love myself and to respect myself, as I am in the end the only constant in my life
  • It is my life, and i won’t let anyone make me feel that I am doing it wrong. My life, my choices… No one knows what’s best for me better than I do
  • Don’t judge people, even if you were in their shoes
  • Complaining and not acting on it gets you nowhere
  • Don’t let anyone use you for their personal gain

Overall, I feel that I managed to confront most of the challenges thrown in my face with positivity and a dash of panic. I think I did well, but I hope that I keep growing into a strong achievement oriented person as years go by 🙂

Thank you to those of you who stood by me, and pissed me off to no end so that I strive to get better and better at what I do.

Enough now, see you soon!

Love,
The 27 28-year old X