Tag Archives: winter

Favourite things

We all have our passions and our favourite things in life.

I think I have always made it clear with all those who know me, that nature and medieval / gothic buildings are close to my heart; my inspiration. It kind of ties in with why I enjoy traveling so much, and why it is one of the few things in life which relaxes me and make feel at ease.

Fact: at least two thirds of my photos on social media cover these topics,  so don’t act surprise on what you are about to read!

When I bought my 300 year old house,one of the things I fell in love with is the courtyard. Although not huge in size, it is very homey and it had one gorgeous tree which flowers so many times a year. It felt like it was my own private garden. I was so happy to have found such a serene and beautiful place.

In the past 3 years, I have kept the yard as green as I could, considering that I work full-time and my gardening knowledge is not the best around. I have maintained and kept alive all the plants which came with the house and added a few new ones too!

Too many times, I have had tea outside, admiring the calm and peace of my safe place. At times, even birds came by.  My little peace of heaven!

bougainvilleaBut this week, the unthinkable has happened. My beautiful bougainvillea tree was snapped from the bottom of its trunk due to the winter winds. And now, I feel like I have lost a part of me. I must say, it has been a shitty start to the new year. The courtyard feels so empty now, and what’s worse is that I have spent three days chopping down this gorgeous healthy, full grown tree. It’s painful that I have to do this; putting it into boxes for the bin-man to take away in the morning.

And for those who think I am being dramatic, imagine that your favourite thing in the world is broken and is irreplaceable. (you will not find the exact replica) How would you feel then?

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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… >>>

Flee To Florida, And Escape The Rain!

It’s dull, drizzling, and the sky is really lacking inspiration. It no longer feels as if winter is around the corner… it’s here, and it’s here to stay! But, don’t fear. Some parts of the world are never really that cold, or miserable. One of the great examples, and a great holiday location is Florida. If you’ve never been, you’re really missing out. This post will go through the State of Florida, city by city, to inspire your next big trip!

Orlando

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You’ve probably heard of Disneyland in Paris, right? Well, Orlando is home to something a little bigger; Disneyworld. It’s also home to several other large theme parks, including Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. All in all, there are over a dozen theme parks in Orlando. And, some of them are the biggest in the world.

Like much of Florida, much of the Orlando area is filled with marshland and swamps. But, you’ll also find miles of white, sandy beaches to the east of the city. In areas like this, wildlife refuses to budge. This makes for a city that feels like it’s at the heart of nature, while still incorporating nightclubs and shopping into the mix.

Tampa

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For lovers of history and culture; look no further than Tampa. This city focuses more on intellectual pursuits than either of the others. The city has numerous zoos and aquariums, making it perfect for youngsters who don’t like rides! It also has several museums, and even plays host to the famous Busch Gardens; an African-themed amusement park.

Most of the cities nightlife and dining can be found in the Ybor City neighborhood. This area is steeped in history, having been established by Cuban and Spanish tobacco workers at the turn of the 20th Century.

Miami

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Miami is one of America’s hotspots for fashion and culture. For those who want to spend the nights on the town, Miami is the place for you. Much of Miami consists of art deco buildings and trendsetting diners. It truly is the best place to go to sample some of the finer things in life.

The city is famous worldwide for its beautiful white, sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean. Miami is a popular spot for surfers and other extreme water sports, adding, even more, culture to the already bustling city.

Getting yourself into a hotel in Florida is easy as pie. You have so many options available; the hardest part really is choosing. You can spend two weeks in a luxury hotel, or have a stint in vacation rentals in Florida. The world truly is your oyster. It’s best to avoid traveling to a place like this with food included in your trip. You’ll want to get out and try all of the different offerings these cities have for you.  Remember to take plenty of dollars with you, too!

All that’s left to do is get planning! Make sure that you plan well to avoid any unwanted issues on your journey. Good luck, and enjoy the trip!

Skincare SOS! Simple Solutions For Winter Woes

Winter can be a troublesome time when it comes to your skin. The elements can take their toll and leave your skin looking dull and feeling dry and flaky. If you’re keen to prevent winter woes, here are simple skincare solutions.

Get your blood pumping

Exercise is usually linked to losing weight and gaining fitness. But it also offers incredible benefits for your skin. When your body is moving, your circulation increases. This enables important nutrients to reach your skin, and toxins to be removed from your body. When you’re working out, your skin may not look great. Many people feel self-conscious when they’re hot and sweaty. However, you should notice the benefits once you’ve cooled down. Your complexion should look clearer, brighter, and more youthful. Try and avoid the temptation of wearing makeup when you’re working out. This can clog your pores, and increase the risk of breakouts.

skinImage from https://pixabay.com/en/outdoor-sport-runner-exercise-1270804/

Go for a massage

Massage spa treatments are famed for their relaxation properties. However, they can also be hugely beneficial for your skin. When you have a massage, your therapist will often use creams and oils that nourish and hydrate your skin. The movements and actions they use also increase blood flow. There are lots of different types of massage, such as Swedish massage and hot stone massage. If you’re not sure which option to go for, do some research. The spa or therapist you choose will also be able to give you recommendations based on your needs or preferences. If you have back pain, for example, one type of massage may be more beneficial than another.

skin1Image credit https://pixabay.com/en/wellness-massage-sound-massage-285591/

Stay hydrated

When it’s warm outside, it’s easy to get through gallons of water. In the winter, it can be hard to stay hydrated. Your skin often shows the first signs of dehydration. You may notice that it feels dry or your complexion lacks radiance. Try and ensure that you drink enough water each day. Ideally, you should aim for at least 2 liters. If you don’t like plain water, add sugar-free cordial. If you find it hard to hit your daily target, make sure you carry a bottle of water around with you at all times.

skin2Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/aquamech-utah/24441559784

Moisturise frequently

Wind and rain can cause your skin to become dry and irritated. In the cooler months, it’s essential to pay due care and attention to moisturisation. You’ll need a thicker, heavier cream than you could use in the summer. Don’t just apply lotion to your face. Cover your whole body, including your hands. When it’s chilly outside, your hands can often become very dry. If you have sensitive skin, try and avoid perfumed products. Look out for creams that are specially designed for dry skin. Don’t forget to look after your lips. Use lip balm once or twice a day to keep chapped lips at bay.

skin3Image from https://pixabay.com/en/skin-care-cosmetics-natural-1309504/

Winter can be notoriously harsh on your skin. This winter, follow these simple steps to keep your skin nourished. If you’re prone to problems, and you can’t find a solution, see your doctor or a dermatologist. They will be able to recommend treatments and self-help tips.

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!

London Tea Exchange Review

I have always had a strong bond with tea, but always preferred teabags over loose tea leaves just because it is so much easier to make tea.  But when I opened my mind towards loose tea leaves, I realised how many more options I have at hand, and how much I can experiment with various flavours, even making my own flavour.

During my loose tea leaves discovery, I was in London, and this is where I came across London Tea Exchange. Right next to the tea shop door, there were various teas one could sample. And so I did…

Entering the shop was like I was in heaven. Everywhere I look, it was tea and more tea… Over a hundred choices, and I couldn’t be more excited.. and confused.

It was hard to just choose just the one flavour, but since I never had chocolate or coconut flavoured tea, I thought that I should opt for a black tea… with these two flavours. May I say that…. It is magnificent?

The tea was given in a golden packaging which made it safely from London to Malta.

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The tea itself looks something like the below… Although not cheap, it is very tasty and makes me feel all warm and tingly inside….

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When in London, I’d suggest you give this shop a try, if like me, you are a massive tea lover 😉

Dream Job

I have been asked the question of what is my dream job several times. When I was younger, this used to change depending on my moods, or what I was going through. I remember me wanting to be a scientist, and even a hairdresser; until I was told I had to study biology for that. I hated anything that had to do with biology and the dissection of a human or animal. One of my childhood friends had to buy a heart of a cow and cut it in half in one of the lessons. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for steaks, but this was to me disgusting.

Then, I wanted to become a teacher because it would mean I get the summer off from work like all the students. Then I started thinking on how bored I would, and how much I despised the summer heat that this didn’t sound like such a good idea either.

Growing up, I decided to get into IT, because, I thought, this would mean, working in peace, and not get distracted constantly by customers and people with questions. A couple years later after my graduation, I can tell you that this was very untrue as stakeholders come and go on a daily basis, and I get bombarded with questions face to face, by email, by chat and what not.

No, my current job is not my dream job.drmjob

But, the more I matured, the more I realised, that IF IT IS SOMETHING I LOVE DOING, AND I’D CALL IT A DREAM… HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU CALL IT A JOB? Isn’t it more like a vacation, a hobby, or a pastime.
This got me thinking further.

Oh, I know!

My dream job would be, traveling from one place to another, photographing, and writing about it… And in turn sharing it with my readers…. Companies would pay me to do this for them, and from my end, I would enjoy one holiday after another for free.
Both of us win right? Adverts, promotion and generating buzz for your country, and traveling experiences for me.
Yes please.

Raining Again

The last thing I heard before I fell asleep was, the rain.
The first thing I heard when I woke up today, was the rain.

The room, was still so dark at 7AM. I thought, I woke up in the middle of the night rather than a few minutes before my alarm went off.

I love the rain, when it’s not accompanied by wind… As such I was happy with a rainy Monday morning. I thought to myself, better the rain than a sweaty summer’s day.

Now, it’s almost bed time again, and I wonder if I will hear the rain again… or whether it was the last rain before summer hits our islands… I hope there will be more rain, even if not abundant.

I miss you already XOXO

Maltese houses heating problem

Maltese houses lack insulation as they are solely made out of concrete. Just to give you a brief idea, the houses absorb a lot of heat during summer. Being inside a house in summer is overall hotter than being outside. Due to the concrete’s heat capacity, the house remains hot during summer nights and makes it impossible to sleep comfortably without a fan or air-conditioning. Exactly the opposite happens in winter. The heat in the house is absorbed by the concrete wall and roof and is emitted outside, because we all know that hot air likes to travel to cold areas. As such, during the night the temperature inside our houses are almost the same as the temperature outside.

insulation

Now the bummer is, that in Malta we do not have a proper heating system in our houses. We buy gas by the cylinder which makes it impossible and unaffordable to have a good amount of heaters around the house, unless we use electrical heating. Let’s face it, no one really has this, unless you are extravagantly rich.

Because of this, every morning I struggle to come out of my cosy, warm bed to the cold reality that is my bedroom and the rest of the house. Especially when you can hear the wind and the rain outside, fighting against one another on who is making the most sound… And then there’s the dreadful traffic… Oh, how I wish I could hibernate during winter and wake up in a more convenient summer spot that is not on the Maltese Islands 🙂