Friday, 14 December 2018

Love the environment, one pencil at a time!

Ever since I was growing up there's been this awareness campaign about how we are cutting down too many trees. One of the reasons is that, especially back then, we were using up (as well as sometimes outright wasting) too much paper. I won't say we are now totally paperless but the world has come a long way since then in promoting ebooks over books, email over mail, even almost paperless offices.


One item I did use growing up that remains even now so freely available and as widely in use and that also comes from trees is the pencil. Sometimes we do need to be practical and use things after all even when they come from sources that we are trying to protect. Which is why Agara Foundation's ingenious idea of a pencil that gives back to the environment is awesome and effective all at once. Not only will it not go to waste once we are done with it, it will also enhance our environment and maybe even help children try to take care of their pencil a little more and break less of them in a year (wishful thinking?). May I also hope it entices my son to write more in order to get to the bottom of it quicker?

For this pencil can be planted once we're done with it. Inside the back end of the pencil, rather than the traditional rubber, is a capsule with herb or vegetable seeds that may be easily planted by budding young writers/gardeners alike. So what are you waiting for? Let's all get down to writing and gardening.



Pencils cost EUR0.80 each and may be bought through Agara Foundation by phoning 79005037 or 79809911

Be sure to check out Agara Foundation's Facebook page for more info about this awesome organisation: https://www.facebook.com/AgaraFoundation/


Friday, 7 December 2018

Love Yourself First

There are a hundred and one love songs and a hundred others about lost love. Actually, multiply those figures by some other big number in order to cover just how many songs have been spun around the topic.


I believe in Love. Truly, I do. It fills my days, nights, thoughts and is amazing and necessary to a healthy happy life. Love comes in all forms, as Rockabye (Clean Bandit), The Perfect Fan (Backstreet Boys), Papa Don’t Preach (Madonna) and so many other songs show. In fact, the Greeks explained it best when they broke down the different types of love to more accurately describe them. We have all experienced Philia love, hopefully feel an Agape love for those close to us, and might thrive on a wonderful relationship with a partner that embodies all three kinds, including Eros.

Why am I saying all this? I am no stranger to love and I would never say it is unimportant. However somehow all these love songs irritate me. Just like I once pointed out that gift-giving is not a true indicator of the greatness of the love of a parent for their child, so I must now comment on the absurdity of lyrics that proudly advocate that without that other person we are nothing.

We are ourselves and no one else. Love is important, love fills us with happiness and definitely sharing life with our perfect partner gives a satisfaction that can’t be described or quantified. However we should be whole in ourselves and let Love come as a compliment to our Wholeness rather than let it be a requirement for us to become whole.

A friend of mine tried to tell me this over and over for months on end. I denied ‘needing’ love, I tried to disilllusion myself and him that I was fine without, that I only wanted to meet my ‘match’ to thrive. A keyword that. THRIVE. Even as I tried (and probably failed) to convince him I was fine, I told myself how wrong he was and how I knew so much more than him about love.

It turned out not. When after a tumultuous year and a legal marital separation I moved out to live on my own for the first time ever, I finally found myself. Slowly, piece by piece, I put it all back together as I learnt to accept to forgive myself for my past mistakes, allow myself to be vulnerable and meet new people who seemed like they would be good for me (and actually were!) and slowly flowered from a wreck that needed herbal calming pills to sleep or at times even to face workmates and my mother, to someone who is sure of herself and Whole within herself. More than ‘Need’, now it is a ‘Want’ for love that I have, and then only with my perfect partner. I stopped clutching at straws. I have stopped looking at people with ‘tinted glasses’ as someone pointed out to me more than once. I know who I am, I know what I want, and I am happy in myself. Love is wonderful yes, gives joy and all things amazing too when it is the ‘right’ kind of love for us. And yet Love is so perfectly delicious only if we are already in love with ourselves first. I have finally learnt that my friend.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Ghosts of Christmas Past - An Event Not To Miss!

DLS Productions in collaboration with Symphusion are going to rock the theatre down this Season as they bring you a performance that will defy all traditions yet still give a hygge Christmas feel.

It is a tale from times gone by and around this festive time, where four actors narrate the story of one loving mother who wants the best for her son, even when that means giving him up. Set in any land our imaginative mind desires, this is a journey that sees actors, dancers, solo singers, a choir and a ten piece band all come together to make magic. They will seamlessly fuse classical, Christmas and rock music with theatre as well as an important message for this special time of year.

This grandiose show will run from the 13th to 16th of December at the Valletta Campus - University of Malta Theatre (ex-MITP).

The show has loud music and moving lights. It is open to and appropriate for all audiences aged three and over. The venue is accessible by wheelchair.

Tickets are available at the price of EUR20 and EUR25 and can be bought online through www.ticketline.com.mt

Ghosts of Christmas Past is an original concept by Stefan Farrugia, written and directed by Lucienne Camilleri.


The show is supported by: Rock ’N Malta Fund, Festivals Malta, The University of Malta - School of Performing Arts, RVC Event Lighting and Nisga Digital Media & Design

Saturday, 24 November 2018

And Black Friday did it again

So yesterday was Black Friday. And not just in America and Canada where they had just celebrated Thanksgiving but seemingly everywhere in the Western World. Also, in some shops it was not just a Friday thing but a weekend-long deal.

As a Minimalist I don't really 'do' Black Friday and use it instead to browse for items I was actually needing to buy regardless of sales. I so don't look out for 'bargains' on things I would otherwise have done without that today I went to a shop to buy an item I saw a week ago that I was sure I would go back for and I was pleasantly surprised when at the cash point the owner told me there was a discount.

However I am not here to gloat about how much I saved by not even buying anything (though that point is true too!) Today I am more concerned with the fact that the queues of people waiting around to get into a particular shop at any time of day yesterday would be so prone to the marketing ploy that they a) took a day off work to hit the sales, b) probably waited hours to get into the shop therefore using up precious life-time, c) ultimately got into said place to be in some cases told the item has now finished and d) also probably didn't really get good 'deals' at all as shops tend to higher 'original price' to get down to the discount price sometimes.

Yeah, I am a party pooper today. And also probably ruining my chance of ever submitting a CV to work in a Marketing department and getting chosen given potential employers nowadays google prospective employees and this will come right up there in their search. Yet I am a stickler for saying it like it is.

To be fair, I have seen some honest Sales here and there. As I said already, I went back for an item today and I know for a fact that the price I paid at the till was less than what was marked on the item even last week before the hype and the fake cut off prices began. I also did see some stores advertising percentages off that seemed to be genuine. Yet the point remains that yesterday marked THAT day on the calendar when people went even more out of their way than usual to fall prey to Consumerism.

When will we all learn that Enough is actually great and More will only ever leave us desiring for yet More? Enough is achievable once and lasts forever but More can never be satisfied.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Saving The Environment One Packaging Item Less At A Time

I took my son to McDonald's this week. Unhealthy though it is, I found myself in a position where I did not have enough time to take my son to my home for a meal before rushing off to an appointment so I found the nearest fast food place to where we were and ordered him a Happy Meal. My son's priority is the toy over the food, needless to say.

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Now Happy Meals not only have toys included in the price but also a lot of packaging. As my son unwrapped his new periscope of its plastic bag and even pulled out the usual paper showing the full set of collectible toys of the moment, my hands automatically reached out to grab the recyclable materials to throw in the appropriate grey garbage bag as I would at home. Remembering there was none in the fast food place, I put them in my handbag to take care of at home. At the end of the meal, even the big carton Happy Meal lunchbox made it into our car to throw away at home.

Recycling is a part of my every day and I don't even think about it, it is just what I do. However I am sure I was the only customer who made the effort and held on to the recyclable disposable avoidable packaging and advertising material till I could dispose of them 'safely', if safely it is, considering it would be more helpful to the environment to avoid using such one-time-use plastic and paper products.

Why am I writing this? It is a mystery to me how, with all the awareness and campaigns going on for so long about environmental awareness and all, we would still have so many brand names using disposable material so extensively in their every day.

I am not pinpointing McDonalds here, which just happened to be where my eureka moment took place. I am making a general comment about lack of commitment by big names to help deal with the problem that is waste and its impact on our world's state. For in a world that is slowly deteriorating no thanks to human consumption, it would be right for the big names to make an impact and set the tone for taking care of the environment. Imagine all the franchises giving a good example with their own policies and product choices. The world would literally be a better place for it.


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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Stuff

I am trying to do away with it but it has a way of coming back at me from avenues other than the ones I declutter!!

I realised this last weekend when I ended up making one long car trip simply to pick up the parcel full of photos that I'd ordered online from the Post Office in the next town. Yes, I am a Minimalist who gets photos printed out. I am nowhere close to obsessed with photos. In fact, as with everything else in my life, I am actually extremely selective. But I do need to see them in my hands, put them in an album maybe too, and be able to gaze at them lovingly. Just a couple weeks back I wrote an article about my photos which you can check out here: http://vintagehew.blogspot.com/2018/10/photos-changing-relationships-and-ocd.html

Since I now actually put them in the album and wrote down dates and short snippets of into about the particular photos, I started thinking of how much I'd love my son to have and read and look through the album eventually too. Once I saw the result of my trip to the Post Office, I have come to believe it was worth it. However as I said it got me thinking. Uploading, cropping and resizing, choosing photo sizes and finishes took time as did the eventual trip to pick them up. That is not counting the money I paid for them and the time spent looking up what date had which photo been taken on (thank you FB for that!) and to put them all in order and write down the corresponding titbits of info. So every item that enters our life, as per the Minimalist creed, will take your time and money, both of which could be used for something else. With this in mind, as well as my problem with facing any kind of clutter, I hope to still hold onto and develop my photos but at the slow rate I been going at up to now. No need for the albums to pile up. One and a half years of photos (this is my post-marital-split new start album) and I filled only maybe one third of it as yet.

On to another source of acquired junk, I have decided to take up collaging again. I used to love it when I was very small and remained fascinated by it as I grew up and discovered my childhood lonely hobby was actually something big and money-making in the adult world. Professional artists like Lisa Falzon and Luciano Micallef have managed to seamlessly incorporate it into their professional work in a way that makes me want to try it out. The thought came to me as I flipped through my lately-acquired copy of Ideal Home, which I preferred to cut out pictures from than actually read. This revelation taught me two things. Firstly, I have got to that saturation point whereby buying more articles about home decorating will not help me achieve anything new at this point. On the other hand, it showed me just how many ways the photos inside the magazine could be used for creating awesome collages and even backgrounds to them. This had me rushing to the charity shop at the first chance in order to buy a load of outdated similar magazines simply to cut out pictures from. Again, time and money were spent (albeit little of both) in order to get more 'stuff' into my life. However the end justifies the means in this case as being a very creative self who thrives on creating art in all its forms, the couple of euro and small pile of 'junk' will serve me well and are worth the trouble. This is very much the same way that I view books, whereby I don't mind paying to buy them (I hate ebooks) but then allow myself to sell them or at times even give them away for free once I am done with them. I see the cost as a payment for the experience of reading rather than to acquire a thing. Back to my collaging experiments, I am usually either very slow or very fast in completing artwork. When I have any decent completed collages I will definitely share on here with my readers.

Thankfully my hobbies and wants are quite small in size (my one and only current album will take years to fill up at this rate!) and at times even temporary (I will be throwing the second-hand magazines in the recycling garbage bag once I am done cutting up their insides). However size does not matter when something means a lot to you so I will never stop reading, making art or developing photos of my most heartfelt memories simply to conform to the most extreme kind of Minimalism. That said, I am a good guardian as a rule of what I allow to come into my life in terms of stuff and will always remain selective of what I allow to fill up my time and home.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Broadway Villains - this 8th November

From the actors that brought you the likes of Belliegha Rockin’ The Underworld and Laugh? I nearly went to Miami! comes their latest - Broadway Villains - a show as gripping as it sounds. On the 8th of November, eight performers and an accompanist will rustle up a night of absolutely magical music and mischief as the villains from Broadway take centre stage amid cocktails and song.

Happening at The Thirsty Barber, this is a show with limited seating so hurry up and dial 99996608 for tickets at only EUR10 including a glass of wine or prosecco on entry. Seating is on a first come first serve basis.

The performers of this fabulous show are the following talented bunch:

Julia Cini
Neil Grech
Chrissy Warrington
Michela Agius
Yandrick Agius
Thomas Grixti
Matthew Cassar
Amy Caruana Dingli

accompanied live by Elaine Mercieca on the piano


Friday, 26 October 2018

Photos, Changing Relationships and an OCD Dilemma!

When something ‘big’ ends in our life, we usually replace it with something of the same importance or maybe at least try to substitute it with something we believe could possibly take its place.

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Maybe that is why as my relationship of seventeen and a half years came to its slow yet sudden death last year, my friends, previously relegated to the background, came to the fore of a new adult life that was even lonelier than that of my married-but-always-alone self.

For the first few months I happily collected photos from trips to the bar, restaurant or even simply a snapshot taken at work to send on as a happy birthday to a missing colleague. I held onto the digital version of these pictures with an almost reverence and proceeded to develop them in order to place in an album pertaining to the ‘new’ me, plus friends.

With an ever increasing amount of photos and still no album, I proceeded to fantasise about anything from a scrapbook kind of book to paste them in to a vintage-style cord and pegs to hang them by. Eventually I found to buy an album that felt ‘just right’ but didn’t slip my photos into it for never having time.

Meanwhile, a boyfriend became an ex and I debated between still adding our photos to the album else saving them in my treasure box with memories old and new. I even toyed with the idea of developing the rest of the photos of us together else tearing up the ones I did have a hard copy of. In the end, I couldn’t get myself to do this last but am yet to get the rest of them printed out, though I eventually will, that I know.

Where am I going with this? My boyfriend was unfortunately not the only person to become an ex in my life this past year. In fact, I call him an ‘ex’ due to the nature of our relationship which is now no more yet I am still content with this person’s presence in my life to date and am so so glad that following the heartache I have come out the other side of the pain with the photos of us still intact.

In other cases I was not so lucky and people I would previously have gone out of my way for and treasured greatly suddenly left my life, leaving only the photos to remind me of good times. In some cases, I have made peace with the way things ended up and so still would like a reminder of the ‘times gone by’ in my album. That said, some relationships end too badly to even contemplate leaving said friends’ faces in my album.

I have been collecting these photos now for over a year, still all of them tucked in a pile and none of them actually making it into the album. I have arranged them according to historical timeline and contemplated more than once starting to put them in the plastic slips inside their eventual home. With the excuse that I need to develop some that should go in between others, should it be an album about ‘me’ else also incorporate those pics of my son, as well as the eternal to-put-or-not-to-put in the ones of myself with said ex boyfriend/now close friend, I am yet to start on project put-photos-in-their-place.


https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/instant-photo-frame-collage-with-realistic-design_2630107.htm
So back to my previous comment about a friendship ending so badly I must now remove photos of myself with this particular ex-friend, how will my album fare considering that I will keep pulling out photos and stuffing others in, whilst maintaining my OCD historical order intact, which will require me to reorganise the whole album after every friend break-up? (I have come to expect them considering the frequency with which they happened this past year after all! Read my other article Goodbye Toxic Friendships for more about this.)

I rather think my kitsch idea of stringing the photos along the wall behind my desk else pinning them on a cork board with my new trendy gold pins is preferable to the much more unchanging nature of an album after all.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Product Alert - EAU THERMALE AVENE - Miracle Moisturizer

I suffer terribly from skin reactions and extreme dryness, caused by anything from soap to humidity to plain cold water in the winter as well as the more logical irritants such as dust.

So when one fine day I felt the front of my neck dry as sandpaper to the touch, I thought nothing of it, blaming the cheap bath soap I was using and switching to a better brand. Still, the situation got worse, with my skin turning pink and raw and harsher to the touch.

I tried thinking back to anything else I might have used on my neck but drew a blank so I decided to actually put something on it instead to try and counteract what still appeared to me as impossibly dry skin. One item from my latest sponsor EAU THERMALE Avène still sat new and unused in my room. It was a moisturiser that I was warned was too strong to use on anything but dry skin. It beckoned to me as a possible answer to my problem and I spread some of the oily cream content from the white reassuring no-nonsense tube onto my pleading skin.

I expected to use it for a week or so to see a positive result, maybe even longer than that, especially considering the extent of the issue. However, i found myself touching the same spot to feel a much softer neck after just two or three applications. I truly could not believe it.

So if you have any dry skin issues, this product with its signature dose of thermal spring water, which has soothing and softening properties, is most definitely the way to go.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Party for a Good Cause - L-istrina Music Festival

A free event for a good cause (EUR5 donation at the door) is coming up this Saturday. A lineup of both popular and upcoming DJs and Producers will lead the party at Tigullio in St Julians, Malta.

Set times for the official event in aid of L-istrina 2018 are now set as follows:


Main Hall

Thomas Venutu (Thomas Attard) b2b Roxanne Attard 21:00 to 22:00
Atleha 22:00 to 22:45
J JOY (JJoy Refalo) 22:45 to 23:45
Ramzi Armani 23:45 to 00:45
Joseph Armani (Joseph Armani) 00:45 to 01:45
Clay C (Clayton Coleiro) 01:45 to 02:45
Eloquentia - DJ / Producer 02:45 - 04:00

---------------------------------------
Orb Danny Lee 21:00 to 22:00
Alvin Gee 22:00 to 23:00
Claytonesane Darmanin 23:00 to 00:00
Roxanne Attard 00:00 - 01:00
Eloquentia - DJ / Producer b2b Thomas Venutu 01:00 to 02:00
Thomas Venutu 02:00 to 03:00
Lost Emotions (Steven Psaila) b2b Jo Micali (Joseph Micallef) 03:00 to 04:00

Friday, 5 October 2018

An Obsession with Celebrities

I started writing an article back in 2015 that I never got around to finishing. I picked it up again this summer and it eventually turned into You've Got To Have An Idol or Two, which was published on EVE last week:

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Goodbye Toxic Friendships

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Sometimes we let people into our life thinking they are good for us. They might have done us one good deed or helped us through some difficult decisions and now we feel indebted to them. Yes, they might have entered our lives in the guise of the hero/heroine.

Then one day, out of the blue, they unexpectedly upset us. We try to brush it off and soldier on with the friendship and find ourselves constantly having to ‘bear with’ the other person’s inability to be anything but insensitive to who we are. A friendship after all is a relationship even though not a romantic one and it is important for both partners to be respectful of the other and understanding rather than constantly trying to make the other person feel inadequate.

It has happened to me many times in various situations and phases of my life. I used to blame it on change of interests, goals or life situations that ultimately leave the friendship with nothing to bond over. However I then came to realize that some friends do remain and are always there to support and make you feel like a welcome part of their life even when they do not in fact have any hobbies or life situations that reflect your own. Whilst I am talking from my own point of view, I am also indirectly referring to the mirror image of the same friendship and therefore the other person’s viewpoint. After all, it has got to be two-way to work.

So I have come to the conclusion that when so-called friends are always too busy to keep in touch when I ask else not even try to make contact at all, it is maybe time to move on and let them be. In these cases, I rather they become happy memories from the past than chance their lack of interest turn to bitterness at the situation on my part.

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In some cases, rather than fade into the distance, some people have gone the other extreme, openly blaming me for everything from declining a date with their brother to nursing my own problems when I was at a low point rather than trying to take on their own. Incidentally these are the friends who usually impose rather than suggest their own ideas and refuse to accept the person that I am. There was a time when I would have questioned my actions big and small, simply because I was being blamed for them. Now instead I have the guts to walk away from people who make always negative observations simply because I cannot fathom why they would even want to be friends if my character is all 'bad'.

So whether the friendship has lasted a year or two decades, it is always important to know and feel that it is a good and not bad aura that surrounds it. I only learnt the hard way that a friendship of twenty-two years was very easily undone through trying to share with said friend an article or event of interest to her on Facebook messenger, only to find myself blocked for not conforming to her 'norms'.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

I Had A Dream...

Last night I had a dream. In the dream I literally pulled every single item I own out of its
a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-
vector/box-with-books_1389329.htm

home or hiding place and started trashing most of what there was.

Somehow, after going through the sensation of letting go in my mind, I itched to try it out for real. Suddenly even the box behind my bedroom door, full of books waiting for someone to buy them, changed image in my head. Previously regarded as money to be made, suddenly they became books sitting heavy on my mind, an unwanted full box on the floor of my room. The books themselves were a mix of half-read and unimpressive and previously treasured titles that I would never before have thought of parting with. Now I want it all gone.

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Considering the lightness I felt in my step in the dream as I sifted through all my belongings choosing to part with most of them, I think it is actually time to keep only what I love or need, there is no place for maybes in my life. I started out this post talking about material items and yet the same mindset applies also to other facets of life. Be it long expired friendships that bog me down for thinking about them, letting go of commitments I don't want or need and even memories I would like forgotten, I will be able in the end to find more peace and time for the real treasures in my life.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Too Many Friends = Too Hectic Trip

This week an advert from a local travel agency came up on my Facebook feed. They are giving away a set of five free flights to London. I was feeling lucky, it is a destination I was anyway thinking of buying a ticket to and I had nothing to lose. Or almost nothing. The competition requested tagging four friends I would take with me if I won (well it was a trip for 5 after all). Funny thing is, not only did I not feel I had four friends I wanted to tag, let alone together. I didn’t feel it would be a holiday at all if I had to make the trip with four friends. One close friend, maybe, two a little more iffy. But four! That sounds like relaxation suicide to me.

Pre marital-separation, I used to have a friend who was hyper. One time, when my ex-husband and I were planning a holiday, he decided to invite her and her husband along. The look of horror on my face would have said it all to anyone actually in tune to me as a person. Why? Because I was definitely not planning a Quad bike excursion, multiple trips to the pool or evenings out on the town. The whole point of a holiday was, to me, the luxury of not waking up to an alarm clock, not make definite plans and definitely not exhaust myself trying to do it all. Maybe that is why I am very selective about which friends I would ever agree to go on a trip with.
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Don’t get me wrong. I don’t pay a flight intending to veg in the sun. I actually get too much of the sun and beach here in Malta so not even Hawaii sounds exciting. If anything, a hyggae cabin in the mountains with a burning fireplace and snow falling steadily outside sounds much more ‘me’. However I am also willing to go on adventures, learn new languages, look around for art and well even do a bit of shopping should I visit any big city. So truly, I am quite a versatile person and always willing to try new things. I just hate getting bogged down by the ‘let’s ensure to do it all’ syndrome.

So London might still be my next destination, or it might not. I might choose to base my holiday around some art gallery featuring one or more of my favourite paintings, else go trekking in the rocky hills of Greece. The mountains with their inviting wooden cabins are an attraction I greatly consider and I’d feel at home even in the never-asleep New York.

So it is not a problem for me to be active, really, or to find interesting things anywhere in the world to try. My problem seems to stem instead from rowdiness, a hectic outlook or needing to comply to others’ tastes. So I guess I will be choosing my travel partner much more carefully than the destination after all.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Product Alert - EAU THERMALE AVENE - Very High UV Protection Tinted Cream

Sun protection is something I often skip (yeah, my bad!) Either irritatingly thick and white, stubbornly refusing to permeate into the skin properly, else liquid to the point of causing me massive eye irritation as it slowly trickles into my itchy eyes at the first sign of the scorching sun, it has caused me more grief than peace of mind.

Rather than go without, I have at times resorted to using BB cream with a UV protection and moisturising properties, whilst also enjoying the fact that its tinted hue serves as a bit of a cover-up from blemishes and makes skin look smoother. However, beautiful though it looks, it will not replace the higher-factor real deal when it comes to protecting your skin.

I approached EAU THERMALE Avène asking for any products they might have to help keep my delicate skin safe, little knowing they had a miracle sun protection cream that would hit all my desired specifications.

With a smooth consistency that is neither runny nor too dense, a tint that covers up impurities whilst avoiding that white-washed look and the all-important high sun protection factor of 50+, this fabulous product is also good for dry and sensitive skin and eyes. What's not to love about EAU THERMALE Avène's product for some fun in the sun?

Friday, 31 August 2018

Love Moderately

I am known with my friends for falling head over heels and fast, every time. Or so my current 
https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/love-lust-lost-typographic
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 friends still say. However a while back I actually had a very big disappointment which made me start guarding my heart more. So imagine the confusion when at that point I met someone and it was he for once, who fell hard for me!

There was once this guy who fell in love with me the very first time we met. At least that's what he said. You see, as flattering as it sounds, I doubt he meant it though I was naive enough to believe him. Now I would say his was an infatuation and a bad one at that. We texted from morning to night and met every chance we got, even if it was just a drive from his workplace to his hometown during the week on my way to my own home, just as long as we could see each other. We really were that bad!

A few weeks of blissful 'happiness' and people telling me I was actually glowing and how well I looked (well by that point even I was in love with him, more so than he was it seems in retrospect!), then suddenly poof - it all vanished like it was some genie's wish that was only an illusion at the end.

I'd told the guy at the beginning to calm down and take things slow and that I should be a 'part of' his life not all of it! Then slowly he became all of my life and I saw it all come crashing down around me when he messaged me saying he had 'some bad news'.

I would be lying if I said I took it calmly or quoted Shakespeare whilst going through the five stages of grief more than once for the loss of the same person. And yet, at the beginning when I was reminding him to live his life whilst seeing me, a passage from Romeo & Juliet came to mind that I would remember months later whilst trying to deal with the break-up logically.

In conformity with my usual strange choices, I have to admit my favourite character in Shakespeare's world-known love story has to be Friar Laurence, the voice of reason, despite not being myself a very reasonable person when it comes to feelings. So here they are, his words full of truth and wisdom, that everyone would do well to follow in newfound love:
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

The happiest time of my life... In love.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Looking Only Ahead

I am writing this on my wedding anniversary, although it will be a few days before I publish it on the blog, due to that I like spacing posts a little.

It would have been my thirteenth wedding anniversary if I had not split with my ex husband some sixteen months ago. I am obviously not celebrating my marriage to an ex so today should have been pretty much a normal day for me. In fact I was at work till the afternoon and had an appointment straight afterwards, followed by some time with my precious kid. All in all, a standard day. Except for one detail. It is the day I decided to move on. I am changing the meaning of the date and from now on shall regard the 21st of August as the day I left my past behind. I am unable to photoshop the scars that are by now deeply embedded in my soul but just like tattoos are the permanent marks that we choose to portray who we are, the physical and mental scars are the marks that we don't choose yet still shape who we are.

Unfortunately I can't program my mind to cancel all the flashbacks that periodically haunt my days, but I can easily try to block them when they come instead of dwell on them. I cannot rewind the years I lost fumbling around in a limbo but I can at least opt to remind myself that now I am out of it and it will never become my home again.

I am still single, struggling on one pay and not even sure of who I am after being moulded by someone else for so long that I am still slowly chipping away at the layers of unwanted opinions that made me stop singing, become embarrassed of my accent when I switch to the Italian language and question all my choices if they disagree with those of the people around me. I mentioned only three of a multitude of things that never were for years. I wanted to move to another country, make a tattoo and take up drawing again. I wanted time to discover outings as a family, take my son to Legoland and host a yearly party for friends. I would have liked to do up my home in a rustic or vintage cosy look and invite people over for tea of an afternoon.

I spent too long hurting about the time lost caring for and cultivating something that was never meant to be and better ended. Instead I decided today that to look back will never work as I could still do all the things I wanted in the future instead, and I am only wasting more hours on unworthy thoughts when I dwell on what was. So from this year on, the 21st of August has a new meaning. It is the rebirth of the new me. I will stop myself when I think of the singing lessons I stopped and instead switch on YouTube and sing along. I will go on the holiday that I craved, alone or with people dear to me, instead of remembering how many times it was postponed in the past or was marred by bad memories the times it actually arrived.

All in all, I will live today and for the future, never looking back at the past except in order to avoid the same mistakes.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The Dave Bruno 100 Thing Challenge (Part 4) - Doesn't Matter If We Don't Make Lists

Due to recent upheaval in my personal life, I never did continue the series about the '100 Thing Challenge' but now that I am finally trying to settle back into a routine, it is time to turn my thoughts back to how Minimalism, even maybe extreme Minimalism, could better help my life and even sanity.

Suffice to say, despite my pride in being what Westerners would definitely call a Minimalist, hauling all my stuff from one home to another more than once in the same year (and knowing I need to do it all over again in some months) has made me question even the items that do remain.

So rather than, as initially planned, going into the whole 100 item list that I had promised to write, I will instead be commenting from experience as to what i actually think I would keep and what I should part with.

Though my list of 'types' of items is in no particular order, I can definitely say that clothing items (including shoes and bags) do top my list of things I am in love with. Also, for the purpose of this exercise, I do not mention electronics simply because they are part of my every day and my work and would be useless to even contemplate removing them. In fact, on the contrary, I have to say that since I switched to a smart phone only a year and a half ago (yes you read that right!) and getting 3g on my phone as of September last year (again, that is not a typo!) my life has become much easier as I can get stuff done on the go.

So here it is, my life's worth of things that remain and whether I plan to keep or not:


Clothes, Shoes, Bags, Accessories including Jewellery

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Not only do I plan to keep all I own, but this is one area where I realised I honestly don't mind adding on, simply because I love clothes and dressing well, have my own style and would never keep clothes I don't want anyway. One item I might be able to reduce on in this section is scarves. I realised when I last moved house that I hadn't really worn many of them in a year so come winter I will be ruthless with which ones I will actually keep.

Craft Items

Now this is a tough one. Realistically, I should part with practically all the items I own, simply because they rarely see the light of day! However I am fascinated by the embellishments I do own and must admit my hand-decorated candles are amazing pieces so truly, the artist in me doesn't really want to say goodbye. Unfortunately they aren't much use sitting in dark drawers in my wardrobe though!

Stationery including Wrapping Paper, Cards for all occasions and extra Office Supplies

These are all consumables so really I could just let them run out and not replace apart from a couple of spare items just in case. However I need to admit that I am one of those Minimalists who are anyway always worried of running out of something they need. Add to that, I do love a pretty wrapper and my crafty mind tricks my itchy hands into grabbing it each time at the shop.

Files

These are a category of their own as I have so many and they are full of documents. Unfortunately after I KonMari'd my bills I did get asked by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to provide a Water and Electricity bill that was 'over one year old'. Oops! Thankfully, after dejectedly confessing to my ex-husband that I don't keep bills for so long, I found one that was just above the one year old. Yippie! Thank goodness I hadn't been through my files to purge yet that month! So I am guessing these will have to stay. That said, I have multiple files with notes, research and drafts of articles that I would be working on and must find a more user-friendly solution for my messy mind and way of working. Maybe I should get used to leaning on electronics a bit more.

Decorative Items

By European and American standards, I have only a few. If I were to think in terms of Maltese standards, I have even less!! Yet from an extreme Minimalist point of view I might have a few too many. However I can honestly say that I only keep those that I truly love as a rule. Anything that causes me to think of bad memories is quickly out the door as are any items that don't really tickle my fancy. I follow the KonMari method to the letter when it comes to this type of personal item. In fact, when I packed my things from the matrimonial home I shared with my ex husband, I only chose those decorative items that brought me joy and left all else, regardless of whether I was leaving behind items that were expensive or pretty. Even in cases when I liked an item but had bad or even sad feelings attached to it, I left it behind. I have to admit adding to my total number of items in this category since I left my old home. However I make sure to buy items only if they spark joy and feel like they would be a part of 'home'.

Kitchen Items

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I listed this section right after Decorative Items purely by chance and yet it is in reality a continuation of that previous section. For as a rule and as much as possible, I try to buy kitchen items that are not only functional but also pleasing for me to look at. I've got some lovely colourful bowls but rather than keep them in the dresser I plan on using them to eat my cereal in every day once I have my own kitchen. Same goes for the vintage reproduction glasses and mugs I got. My guests won't be the only ones to drink their tea from pastel-coloured mugs and their orange juice in the colourful glasses. This means that my kitchen items, neatly tucked away not only in closed cupboards but also behind beautiful glass doors, do double duty and I have no need for pretty items that sit there doing nothing all day. That said, some kitchen items are purely functional and still have a place in my kitchen and I must say that I am very much missing the strainer that is packed away somewhere right now as the kitchen in my rental home has none and I did have to get a new peeler since it was the easier choice between buying another and having to open up all the boxes sitting in the garage to find the one I had! Then again, a second peeler is never a loss in my house as I use it all the time and have found myself at times pulling it out of the dishwasher before it has been washed.

Books

One of the hardest type of items to part with not just for me but for most Minimalists. Books seem to have a soul and cry out when they see that you might be putting them on the 'no' pile. I have to say that KonMari works on most of my things but when it comes to books, even the ones that give me no real joy to hold in my hands still have a habit of guilting me into putting them back on my shelves (or in my boxes currently). I should learn to become more ruthless unless I want to find myself with boxes of books even at my new home where I know that realistically library space will be limited unless I want books to take over various parts of my home. Discipline is key in everything so maybe I should listen to my heart rather than mind in this one case.

DVDs/Blu-Ray Discs

No way will I part with most of the DVDs I own and no way will I promise to not buy more! That said I have mixed feelings about holding on to movies and series that made no impression on me just because they are part of the filmography of that actor or another and I'd bought them to continue my collection. The word 'collection' here may be key and justify having some unappreciated guests in my film library.

Toiletries and Makeup

Maybe this section should have come directly after Clothes but as I said already above I
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made this list in no particular order and decided to leave it here at the bottom if only as food for thought. Why would I not even remember it till the very end? This confuses even myself as I love my makeup and do need some facial products due to very sensitive skin. I also think this section should include items such as my hair drier, my brand new straightener and my well-loved much-used epilator. The mention of these three items makes me realise this section should go at the top but maybe the reason I forgot all about it till now was that my use of makeup has dwindled over the past couple of months and I have found people find me no less attractive for it. Add to that, I actually prefer people who stick around regardless of whether I have make-up on as it says something about them after alll. That said, I do understand that deodorant is a must and I don't blame people if they left my side should I ever decide to minimise it. XD