Style on Sunday - Issue 38 - Spring 2018

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ISSUE 38 • APRIL 2018


When Academia meets Style Malta’s contemporary academics

Light & Bright This season’s must-have fashion

A Home with History Where old meets new

Of law and purpose


contents ISSU E 38 • APRI L 2018


When Academ meets Style ia

Malta’s contempora ry academics


This season’s must-have fash ion

A Home with History

Where old meets new

25 Style Interview

Style Fashion

17 Of Law & Purpose Martina Caruana talks unique accomplishments and resolute ambitions.

33 Written on the Stones Uniting ancient megaliths with modern fashion.

25 When Academia Meets Style Meet Malta’s top young academics.

Mother’s Day at Corinthia Palace

From the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift Fair on 1 May, to the lavish buffet lunch in Villa Corinthia on Mother’s Day itself and glorious springtime spa treatments available at Athenaeum Spa, this is the ultimate family celebration. Book now on 2144 0301 or visit

Of law and purpo se

Style Living 51 Down to a Fine Art The artisans keeping Malta’s crafts alive. 83 Land & Sea A Far Eastern feast for all the senses. 89 Papped! In Style Style sees and is seen!

Style Beauty 63 Breath of Fresh Air Sparkle this spring!

PUBLISHERS Content House Group Mallia Buildings, 3, Level 2, Triq in-Negozju, Mriehel BKR3000 T: 2132 0713

Martina wears: Clothing: Charles & Ron Jewellery: Victor Azzopardi Jewellers Photography: Kris Micallef Styling: Sarah Micallef Hair: Chris Galea at Michael & Guy Make-up: Chris Attard for Franks using Guerlain.

Style Home 67 The House on Old Mill Street The stunning restoration of a historic house in Mosta.


73 Spring Update Three top designers choose their key seasonal trends.

Editor Jo Caruana VISUAL EDITOR Sarah Micallef LAYOUT DESIGN Ramon Micallef Photography Alan Carville, Tonio Lombardi, Kris Micallef, Kurt Paris, Jan Zammit Contributors Chris Attard, Karen Cutajar, Claire Falzon, Iggy Fenech, Chris Galea, Marie-Claire Grima, Stefan Hogan, Mark McBride, Sarah Micallef, Caroline Paris, Pauline Van Der Mescht Advertising Content House Ltd Advertising SALES MANAGERS Matthew Spiteri, Diane Scerri Advertising SALES coordinator Elena Dimech Printing Progress Press Ltd Distribution Style on Sunday is distributed for free with The Sunday Times.

Style on Sunday is a quarterly high-end magazine which epitomises quality lifestyle and refined living. This issue covers the period April – May 2018. The themes and personalities featured are observed from the ‘Style’ perspective: elegant, inspiring, exquisite. Style on Sunday is meant to stir the desires of men and women, catering for their pleasures and needs. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means: mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of Content House Group. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in the publication, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors it may contain.



she can. Her wonderful story of how she is changing the world one idea at a time starts on page 17. And there’s plenty more to in“No matter what people tell you, spire you in this jam-packed spring words and ideas can change edition of Style. For starters, we the world.” – Robin Williams go through the keyhole to visit eeting this issue’s cover star the beautiful home of fellow Bliss Martina Caruana was a trumagazine editor Sarah Micallef, ly inspiring experience. At just 25 who has transformed a historic years of age, this dynamic lawyer property in Mosta (pg 67). We also and activist has had an exciting inmeet three artisans who have dediPhoto by Kris Micallef Hair by Recee at Dean Gera Salons ternational career that’s taken her cated their creative talents to bringMake-up by Chris Attard for Franks, using Guerlain all over the world. But her achieveing back traditional Maltese crafts ments don’t stop there – she was – namely filigree design, musical recently given the award for UN Sustainable Developinstrument-making, and gilding (pg 51). ment Global Goal of Humanitarian Leadership, and As for other ideas to bring us into spring, there’s lots will soon fly to London to be honoured by Her Majto get you in the seasonal mood – from the very latest esty Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution towards fashion and beauty trends, to interior design tips and International Law, Human Rights and Gender Equaldelicious recipes. As always I hope you enjoy your time ity. And yet, despite all of her incredible accolades and with Style. Happy reading! contributions, Martina remains resolutely grounded and committed to her cause – that of a human rights lawyer determined to improve people’s lives whenever



Follow Jo on Twitter at and Style on Facebook by searching for Style on Sunday Magazine.

COMPETITION Win with Style! Zadig&Voltaire’s This Is Her! EDP 50ml worth €70.15. This issue, you could win this irresistibly floral perfume from the quintessentially French fashion house of Zadig&Voltaire. To enter, all you have to do is answer the following question: Which aspect of Style did you enjoy most this issue, and why? Send your answers, as well as your telephone number, to or in writing to: Style on Sunday, Content House Group, Mallia Buildings, 3, Level 2, Triq in-Negozju, Mriehel BKR 3000. Competition closes 1 June 2018. One entry per person. Terms & Conditions apply. Last issue, Josephine Chetcuti won Valentino’s Valentina Blush EDT 50ml worth €76.

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Of Law and Purpose Legal mogul Martina Caruana recently received an award from the United Nations and will shortly be honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – no mean feat for a woman still in her mid-20s. Here she talks exclusively to Jo Caruana about her unique accomplishments and resolute ambitions. Interview Jo Caruana • Photography Kris Micallef • Styling Sarah Micallef Hair Chris Galea at Michael & Guy • Make-up Chris Attard for Franks, using Guerlain CLOTHING Charles & Ron • Jewellery Victor Azzopardi Jewellers

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s Martina Caruana and I sit chatting, sipping hot tea and comfortable on a sofa following our busy cover shoot, I am struck by one key thing: her humility. For Martina is no ordinary young advocate. On the contrary, her achievements are impressive – she was recently awarded by the United Nations and will soon be honoured by Queen Elizabeth II – and her ambitions are enthusing. This is a woman who, already, is using law to make a positive difference to the world. “I have always wanted to be a lawyer,” Martina tells me. “As a child, I was always very vocal but there came a period in my life when I went silent – and instead of doing the talking, I observed and listened, which is pretty much how my persona is today. During that time, I grew very sensitive to human rights violations and, when I developed my voice again, the law became my instrument.” It was back in Martina’s first year of law that she took on a part-time job with Aġenzija Appoġġ, working on care orders and court orders for those who’d experienced abuse or neglect. “This four-year experience exposed me to the realities within our society,” Martina goes on to say. “Although my passion for working with and for the vulnerable is, I believe, deeply innate and cultivated through personal experience, my experience with the agency definitely placed steel in my spine. From carrying a newborn baby immediately after a care order from Malta to his new foster family in Gozo, to standing up to high-profile criminals, it was the best training I could have ever received.” It was around this time that a twist of fate helped to shift Martina’s career onto a more international path. “Since my teenage years, I have always been an advocate for the elimination of violence

Martina wears: Clothing by Charles & Ron, Jewellery by Victor Azzopardi Jewellers.

“I am passionate about international law and diplomacy, and using those tools to fight human injustice.”

against women and girls, and my activism has, needless to say, opened so many doors. Ultimately I was in disbelief when I was offered a contract to work for an institution I had long been in awe of – the United Nations.” Carrying out ground-breaking legislation and policy work for the principal judicial organ of the institution in The Hague, and subsequently in the United Nations office in Geneva, Martina’s areas

were primarily international law and transnational justice between states. “There were so many cases that struck me,” she says. “One in particular actually involved a half-Maltese, half-Ethiopian woman living in Ethiopia, whose husband had thrown a bucket of acid over her body during the night and even turned off the main water supply in their house so she couldn’t cool herself afterwards. She obviously needed to have

her face reconstructed but her operation was held up pending advance money for the surgery and permission from the husband. Her mother sold all of her valuables and provided the money but her husband would only permit the operation if she consented to not seeing her children for the rest of her life. Thankfully, the case made it to the International Court of Justice and, after years, the woman was finally granted access to the operation and custody of

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her children. It felt wonderful to be able to make a difference to the outcome of the case and to, in some small way, alleviate her incredible suffering.” Other notorious cases which Martina worked on include that of young Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, and Rose McGowan, who recently reached out to commend Martina’s landmark achievements and asked her to collaborate on future projects. Asked about how she copes with the emotional weight of her work, Martina says that she tries not to take it home with her – although, of course, she does. “There is an undeniable amount of sadness and misery in this sector, but you also get to see the beauty in the humanity of people,” she says. “As a child, I remember watching sad news on TV and feeling bad about it, but my mum would always encourage me to look for the people doing something about it – like a policeman comforting someone in crisis or a humanitarian worker saving a life. I think that mentality grew in me and that is how I cope now, by using law to find solutions and justice for human misery. It’s all about balance, although I am an incredibly sensitive person. Now, when someone asks me why I cry so often, I say: for the same reason I laugh so often – because I’m paying attention.”

“It is my dream to create safe spaces for women in Yemen and to work with the Yazidi girls in Turkish refugee camps who fled ISIS’ sex slavery.”

Martina wears: Clothing by Charles & Ron, Jewellery by Victor Azzopardi Jewellers.

Martina’s favourites

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“When someone asks me why I cry so often, I say: for the same reason I laugh so often – because I’m paying attention.”

Martina wears: Clothing by Charles & Ron, Jewellery by Victor Azzopardi Jewellers.

All of this action on Martina’s part has certainly led to great things – including her receipt of a UN Sustainable Development Global Goal of Humanitarian Leadership Award last year. These awards are given out based on a variety of key areas that the UN is working towards, including influential journalism, the creative arts, environmental issues, gender equality and so on. She received her award for her pro-bono work, activism and

for developing several groundbreaking theoretical ground-work in international law. “It was an incredible honour and I couldn’t believe it when my name was called out,” she says. “I never expected to win but it has simply made my drive more resolute.” In fact, Martina has become more determined than ever to reach her goals – which include travelling to Yemen. “I love the Yemeni people and would really like to go there to help create a

safe space, because it is known to be the worst place in the world to be a woman. Aside from that, it is also my dream to provide legal aid to the Yazidi girls in Turkish refugee camps who fled ISIS’ sex slavery,” she says. Travelling, in fact, is very much on Martina’s agenda for the future, although she is now based in Malta and working with a local law firm, broadening her international law expertise – also now focusing on anti-

Film: Primal Fear Drink: English tea and a nice long glass of vintage Shiraz (for sentimental reasons) Instagrammer: @rupikaur Shopping destination: London Book: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid Place: My grandmother Paulina’s fabulous (really fabulous) kitchen Must-have accessory: Bulgari necklace

money laundering, counter financing of terrorism and financial crime, on which she had also gained experience whilst on secondment with Google Inc., another striking milestone for Martina. “It is incredible how at the bottom of every large-scale crime, you will find human rights being violated,” she asserts. She is also still running the Network of Young Women Leaders, which she founded, and, last year, was behind Artemisia 100, a project that shared the stories of 100 inspirational women. “I have no doubt that I will still be travelling extensively,” Martina continues, adding that she will definitely be in London in June to collect her Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. “During my time in the United Kingdom, I will also be having interviews with BBC and meeting other high-profile personalities, in addition to undergoing training at Doughty Street Chambers – where lawyer Amal Clooney works,” she says. “Regardless of where I am and what I am doing, my career will always come down to what I am most passionate about – using the law to improve the lives of those impacted by injustice – no matter how large-scale or small-scale those violations are, and ultimately, empowering and protecting those directly or indirectly affected.” n

Left to right: Dr Jean-Paul Ebejer, Dr Melissa Formosa, Dr Charlene Vella (seated), Dr Giuliana Fenech, Prof Ing Duncan Camilleri, Prof Kristian Zarb Adami (seated)

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When Academia Each of these individuals is an expert in their own fascinating field – from English and Art History to Astrophysics and Mechanical Engineering. Here these stylish Maltese academics offer insight into their speciality areas. Interviews by Jo Caruana • Photography by Jan Zammit Shot on location at the University of Malta, Valletta Campus



Dr Jean-Paul Ebejer has a wide variety of research interests, including Bioinformatics and Computer-Aided Drug Design. He was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to undertake a doctoral degree in computational drug discovery at the University of Oxford, and completed his DPhil in 2014. “Research in academia is like a jigsaw puzzle you have to solve. The puzzle has thousands of pieces, is made up of a single colour (with no beautiful picture to guide you), has an irregular outline (not rectangular), and you do not have all the pieces in the box – some you need to find elsewhere (and this is when we borrow techniques from other scientific areas). This makes it challenging, and rewarding – when (or rather, if) you crack the problem at hand!

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“My field is about applying computer science techniques to the biomedical field; so building computational methods to find new medicines, finding the underlying molecular cause of diseases and so on. At present, so much new data is being generated in this area that we are lagging behind in terms of analyses. Developing new methods, in particular Artificial Intelligence models for the available Big-Data, will be huge in the next few years. Together with colleagues in Oxford, we have recently developed a novel computational method to search for small-molecules to be used as medicines. We hope to further improve the performance of this method by adding more sophisticated machine-learning models. The end aim is to find a practical application for this computational algorithm in industry. “When I think of my career highlights so far, I also think of the advice one of my mentors gave me that: ‘your greatest achievement should always be the next one’. What’s done in the past is a building block towards something bigger in the future. I like that philosophy. Of course, getting a doctorate from the University of Oxford and working with some of the brightest scientists on the planet on ground-breaking science has been quite an enlightening experience too! Also, I was granted an award from a large pharmaceutical company for useful computational methods and software that I developed and made freely-available to the scientific community. I am thrilled to see the methods I develop being used by others, which gives me a unique sense of pride. Beyond that, I enjoy watching my students graduate in front of their glowing parents – nothing quite matches being part of that moment. “As for the people I look up to, there are many – all of whom have found time for me to make science fun, discuss ideas, help me out when I was stuck, or even to collaborate on a project together. I am especially grateful to those people well into their careers who still find the enthusiasm and energy to motivate younger colleagues. You are an inspiration. “Finally, I have a slither of advice for students. Research is not about being clever (it is only partly that), but is mostly about hard, daily work in the lab or at a computer. It is about being well-read in your area, inquisitive, and about questioning your assumptions. It is true what they say that the most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka! (I found it!)’ but ‘that’s funny…’”

Dr Jean-Paul Ebejer

Dr Charlene Vella

Dr Charlene Vella is a Lecturer within the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Malta. She specialises in Late Medieval Maltese arts and architecture, and completed her PhD at the University of Warwick. “I went into academia because I love the process of research and discovery. I was also inspired by the passion with which I saw my first tutor, Professor Mario Buhagiar, discuss art history. “Among my career highlights so far I definitely look back on a few moments with pride, including delivering an oration at one of the University of Malta’s 2016 graduation ceremonies; and having Peter Humfrey, Professor Emeritus at the University of St Andrews, as external examiner of my PhD viva voce defence. It was also an honour to have my papers published in scholarly journals and to participate in international conferences with scholars whose work I greatly admire. This is rewarding; research is there to be shared and can lead to new contacts and an exchange of ideas. “As my career progresses I hope to continue enriching our knowledge of Maltese Late Medieval and Renaissance art, as well as of the role of women in Malta in the history of art: as artists, muses, patrons, and such, and promoting local contemporary art. With that in mind, the research I am carrying out on Sicilian Renaissance paintings extant on Malta is allowing for a broader understanding not only of Maltese artistic commissions before the Knights of the Order of St John arrived in Malta in 1530, but also of artistic techniques that were employed by Italian Renaissance artists. “As for academia itself, well, being an academic means long hours of quiet reading, writing and contemplation, but this is balanced with a healthy interaction with students in or outside of the lecture room and colleagues. That, combined, is what I enjoy so much about it.”

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Prof Kristian Zarb Adami

Prof Kristian Zarb Adami is an Astrophysics Professor at the University of Malta and the University of Oxford. His own passion for science makes him hope that more young people will become excited about the world of science because it is what will revolutionise our world. “My dad studied at the University of Oxford and was later a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Malta, so I never really strayed far off the beaten track. He went to Oxford, I went to Cambridge; he did Chemistry, I did Physics – as you can see there’s not much difference… Couple that with the opportunity of international travel to meet people with a similar thirst to understand nature’s greatest mysteries, and academia becomes a pretty obvious choice. It was either that or opening a bar on a beach in the Maldives… I guess there’s still time for that! “I suppose every academic’s highlights would be their first accepted publication, their PhD and the first time they were invited to give a talk at an international conference. These events give recognition to one’s work from their most respected peers in the field. On top of that, setting up the Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy (ISSA) at the University of Malta would definitely be up there with the highlights, second only to seeing my PhD students forming international collaborations and graduating. But the defining moment in my career has been representing Malta on the board of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s largest telescope, currently being built in collaboration with 10 other countries. I hope there are many more highlights in store. However, I am most proud of my Maltese postgraduate students. They have shone on an international stage despite the lack of funding and support from the University of Malta. Sadly, research funding and support at the University remain very scant and frugal.

“Looking to what I would like to achieve in the future, short-term would be to finish building the prototypes for the Square Kilometre Array in Western Australia so we can begin to understand how it can be expanded into a truly transformational telescope over the coming years. Longer term, I’d like to build the same kind of telescope on the far side of the moon, away from terrestrial interference and outside the atmosphere to give us the clearest picture of the universe’s birth and how it developed the stars and galaxies we see today. On a more local note, I would like to see ISSA grow in stature, and attract a major European grant to be able to truly support postgraduate studies in the fields of space sciences and astronomy. “From the world of physics and astronomy, the next few years promise a lot of excitement. The SKA will transform radio astronomy and our knowledge of how the first galaxies formed. The arrival of humans on Mars will transform humans into the first interplanetary species. The building of a telescope on the far side of the moon will see the installation of the first infrastructures on a planetary body. The development of nuclear fusion will be able to deliver free electricity to the home. There are so many exciting things to look forward to.”

Dr Giuliana Fenech

Dr Giuliana Fenech is a Lecturer within the Department of English at the University of Malta. In the near future she believes we will gain new insight into the processes of reading and connection. “As digital technology changes the fabric of our society we will relearn how to share meaningfully and inclusively. I hope to share my research on multimedia forms of storytelling through publications and community projects because storytelling is a powerful tool for personal and collective growth but, as media mutate faster than our understanding of them, the way in which we tell and receive stories needs to be understood better. I also hope to be a driving force in the reform of our education system, increasing the focus on learning through play.

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“Highlights in my career so far have included developing and teaching a new MA course in English, Culture and the Media with colleagues, as well as unearthing new material on Victor Pasmore that highlights his special relationship with poetry and Malta in research that will be published with the Tate (UK) and Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. Founding Lignin Stories has also given me a lot of satisfaction. It is a storytelling organisation, which allows me to nurture international collaborations and to share the fruit of this work with others. “I’m most proud of my students who generally grow into critical thinkers within different sectors of society. I am also pleased to have introduced Children’s Literature as an academic area of study in Malta 10 years ago. I witness how students use the knowledge and perspective gained to re-evaluate the stories and norms they were given as children, rejecting those that go against more relevant principles of cultural integration, gender equality and environmental consciousness. “I look up to Eve Ensler for her ability to turn words into catalysts against violence on women, Marina Warner for challenging us to rethink the myths that form us all, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for succeeding from an unlikely place and continually challenging stereotypes in literature.” Prof Ing Duncan Camilleri attained his PhD at just 24 and is renowned for his work on international projects with big companies, including the British Aerospace Engineering Systems. He also heads the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Malta. “I was drawn to academia because I always wanted to learn new things and develop my knowledge. “I am currently heading the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Malta, so my focus is to develop and encourage the various capabilities that the department offers through its academic, technical and administrative staff in terms of research, the dissemination of knowledge and the courses offered. “When it comes to mechanical engineering in general, the future is already here. What we learn or discover today will effectively be implemented in the years to come and, in the end, the goal is to develop new systems and

processes that advance human capabilities while minimising our dependency on energy resources. In this day and age, advancement in scientific knowledge results through sharing of knowledge and integration of groups of researchers. Knowledge is a virtue and it is important that the nation supports and funds new research initiatives that will benefit the country in the long term.” Dr Melissa Formosa specialises in Applied Biomedical Science within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Malta. She chose a life in academia because it meant she could pursue her research while collaborating with other researchers and students. She constantly strives to learn, teach and keep abreast of the latest findings. “I was always fascinated by research and the process of making new discoveries, even when I was still a child. When I look back on my career now, I would say I am most proud of having put together a large collection of more than 1,000 samples for the study of the genetics of osteoporosis and fragility frac-

tures. It is one of the largest collections currently available at the University of Malta. I am also proud of my students and grateful for the opportunity to mentor and work with them, and proud to see them graduate and take off into the world. “My other highlights include collaborating with major institutions leading to a publication in ‘Nature’ which is one of the most prestigious journals in science, and conducting research at top-ranking universities in Europe. Additionally, the findings uncovered from research, and presenting them at international conferences, make all the hard work hugely satisfying and worthwhile. “As for my future, I hope to build a research team, get more research grants and scientific publications, and discover significant findings that will improve disease diagnosis and possibly create personalised medicine. I look forward to a range of incredible developments in this field, which are likely to include the accurate, fast and cheaper sequencing of the entire DNA of a human being, as well as improved methods to better understand and treat disease.” n

Dr Melissa Formosa

Prof Ing Duncan Camilleri



Dress from Mimi Boutique; tights and earrings stylist’s own.


Jumpsuit from LULU Boutique; scarf from MEI Boutique; necklaces stylist’s own.


Dress from MIMI Boutique; trench coat from MEI Boutique; earrings stylist’s own.


Dress from MEI Boutique.


Top, trousers and backpack from NOOS; sunglasses from LULU Boutique; earrings stylist’s own.


Trousers and shoes from LULU Boutique; top from NOOS; earrings and headband stylist’s own.


Staging Your Home for Sale If you’re thinking of selling your home, a staging session with RE/MAX Malta’s exclusive home stylist could make all the difference. Here, Fiona Caruana Carabez offers her tips on how to make your home stand out from the crowd through fantastic styling and photography.


he property market is a very busy place and, if you’re hoping to sell your home, then you may be looking for a way to make it stand out among the many properties currently on the market. Home styling – or ‘home staging’ as it’s professionally referred to – will help to do that very effectively by making your home look beautiful ahead of a viewing or when photos of it are taken. Professional home stager Fiona Caruana Carabez – who styles homes and provides 3D imagery on a complimentary basis for RE/MAX Malta’s Exclusive Listings – explains that staging is crucial, as it allows potential buyers to get a real feel for your property and to experience all its charm and character. “Unfortunately many homes aren’t properly presented when they’re put on the market, which can result in a tremendous loss in offers and even less cash in hand,” says Fiona, who runs ConceptsCarabez. “A cluttered, badly-presented property

makes potential buyers feel as though they are looking at something that isn’t worth buying. This is because many people aren’t able to look beyond daily clutter to appreciate what they are actually looking at. It’s similar to having a car for sale – most people will clean this car inside and out, and possibly even give it a polish, before putting up the For Sale sign. Sadly, this rule doesn’t often apply to homes being put on the property market.” When Fiona takes on a staging project, she starts by making it clean and clutter free, and stores away a number of personal items, including family photos. “My aim is to bring the property to a neutral state; one which is more appealing across the board,” she says. “This helps potential buyers to fall in love with the house and to see themselves living here. When you’re selling your property, you do need to make some sacrifices in the short term to show it in its best light. In

the long term, it will help sell your home quicker and to secure better value for it.” Fiona, who is originally an interior designer that started home staging eight years ago, loves seeing the difference that the process can make. She has staged everything from small apartments to massive villas, as well as restaurants, pharmacies, offices and boutique hotels. “Every property can benefit from staging, and all properties can look fabulous when they are staged.” And now it could be your home’s turn – with RE/MAX Malta’s Exclusive Listing package. “Sellers in this category get their home staged and professionally photographed for free, which means potential buyers get to see it online looking its absolute best. Every room in the house is decluttered, staged and photographed. This encourages buyers to make that all-important appointment for a viewing and, hopefully, to make a purchase too!” Fiona adds.


“Every property can benefit from staging, and all properties can look fabulous when they are staged.”

Staging Your Property?

These are Fiona’s Top Tips Start by decluttering – and begin with your cupboards, drawers and wardrobes. Once they’re clear, you’ll have somewhere to put your everyday things prior to a viewing. Take a set of photos of your property. Seeing your normal surroundings in a photo will put a very different perspective on this. It is astonishing how the pile of papers on the kitchen counter seems perfectly normal to you, until you see it in a photo. Remove personal photos. A potential buyer needs to be able to see themselves living in the house. Your photos only serve to remind them that this is your house. Clean, clean and then clean again. A property that is for sale should be immaculate. Scrub the grout in the bathrooms, take down the curtains and have them laundered, and get your carpets cleaned. Buyers love to walk into a clean, fresh-smelling home. Get out your best linen and make your beds. You’re out to impress your buyers on a viewing.

The RE/MAX And Friends Foundation Behind every RE/MAX transaction is the RE/MAX and Friends Foundation, which last year raised over €85,000 for good causes in Malta. Formed in 2014, the Foundation provides financial support to RE/MAX employees going through a serious illness, while also helping to fund voluntary organisations that focus on children and adolescents suffering from chronic deceases. Most recently, the Foundation has donated €20,000 to Malta’s largest fundraising event, L-Istrina in aid of MCCF, €5,000 to Dar Tal-Providenza, €5,000 to the Blossom Foundation, €2,500 to Beating Hearts Malta – the first Maltese Association for adults and children with congenital heart defects, €5,000 to support Mozart at Midnight, and €5,000 to iGaming idol, both the latter in aid of MCCF.

For more information about Exclusive Listings, email, visit or call: 2015 6800.


TheBodyYouWant The pressure that the media and Hollywood starlets bring to bear on our perceptions of body image is undeniable. Lately, we have seen many celebrities giving birth and seemingly bouncing back into shape within a few weeks. For the majority of us, this is anything but reality. Here we speak to Dr Demetris Stavrou, visiting Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, about his experience with body-shaping issues after one has had kids.


rom his experience, Dr Stavrou points out that the number of mothers resorting to plastic surgery to regain confidence post partum has increased. A small percentage of women are becoming impatient and not giving their body enough time to recover from the stressors that pregnancy brings along. So, he notes that one should wait at least three to four months after the baby arrives before taking the plunge, as you will be going through a lot of physical and psychological changes. The most popular body contouring procedure is Abdominoplasty, better known as a ‘Tummy Tuck’. The ideal candidates for such a procedure are those who have an extensive amount of skin laxity and also stubborn fat. Such a procedure also corrects a condition called ‘Diastasis Recti’ when the abdominal muscles would have separated during pregnancy, leaving the tummy protruding. When asked if he sees the popularity of this procedure increasing further, Dr Stavrou is very to the point: “There will always be women who struggle to get back in shape post pregnancy. So yes, the chances are that it will become more and more popular.” Adding

to this, Dr Stavrou points out that a healthy, balanced diet together with an element of moderate exercise will always be beneficial, both for aesthetic purposes and general wellbeing. A procedure that, often, is paired up with Abdominoplasty is that of Liposuction – as, to achieve optimal results, it is necessary to remove any pockets of fat which otherwise hinder

a streamlined appearance. According to Dr Stavrou, apart from the two abovementioned procedures, one should not forget ‘breast lifting’. This is a procedure that restores much necessary confidence in women when their breasts have lost volume and shape, especially after breastfeeding. Dr Stavrou ends the interview

with gentle emphasis: “Patience is the key,” he says. “Expecting to bounce back to your prepregnancy weight and shape straight away is impossible and will only create unnecessary stress. Discuss body issues with your surgeon. Then when your body has taken its time to recover, you can leave the matter in the able hands of the surgeon.” n


The Bicentenary Exhibition of the

Schranz Family of Artists Heritage Malta’s Fort St Elmo is currently hosting the much-awaited exhibition dedicated to the Schranz family of artists, entitled The Schranz Family of Artists – A Journey of Rediscovery.


his is a special occasion indeed, marking the bicentenary of the Schranz family’s arrival in Malta in July 1818. A prime catalyst of the bicentenary celebrations was Professor John J. Schranz, a fifth-generation direct descendant of Anton Schranz through his first-born son, Giovanni. In 2002, 19 years after his father had successfully traced relatives still living in Ochsenhausen, Germany, from where Anton originally hailed, Prof Schranz made it his mission to embark on research about the artist-members of the family. This quest turned into the goal to commemorate their work in 2018, 200 years after Anton, together with his wife and nine sons and daughters, made Malta their home. This exhibition is hosting over 170 works, ranging from oil paintings, watercolours, pen-and-washes, pencil and pen drawings, to books, lithographs and photographs. Guided by very strict criteria, this final selection was achieved after a year-and-a-half of rigorous sifting of well over 400 works. A substantial

number of these pieces come from private collections in Malta and even from public art collections, both locally and abroad. Visitors to this exhibition will have the unique opportunity to view the various artistic talents of the Schranz family members spanning over four generations. Apart from a short audio-visual introduction, the exhibition is divided in seven sections. The first section, A Family Portrait, gives an overview of the family members and introduces their artistic activity, talents and contributions. A Gifted Family displays the various techniques and media the artist members of the family specialised in. The themes tackled and the difficulty encountered when attempting to distinguish one main Schranz artist from the other are featured in the subsequent section, A Family of Styles. The fourth section, With a View to Record... Events, recounts the works that visually record particularly important events in Malta and abroad in order to show the journalistic role these paintings also tended to play.

The various urbanised and rural areas of Malta and the separation between land and sea, as well as human activity and daily needs, are featured in the fifth section, With a View to Capture... Malta, which is followed by a display dedicated to the numerous journeys the Schranz artists embarked on throughout their lives. The last section, With a View to Capture: The Calm and The Storm, casts light on how the force and unpredictability of the elements inject the captured views with mood and atmosphere, showing the Romantic streak that some of the Schranz artists indulged in to free themselves from the conventions dictated by topographical painting. The Schranz Family of Artists – A Journey of Rediscovery is another hallmark in the series of high-standard exhibitions organised by Heritage Malta, in collaboration with the Schranz family and the Schranz Bicentenary Committee. n

The exhibition will remain open till mid-July 2018 and admission is included in Fort St Elmo’s regular ticket price. The fort opens daily between 9am and 5pm, with last admission at 4.30pm, while from 1st April the Fort will remain open till 6pm, with last admission at 5.30pm.


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Sound the Trumpets!

From world music and local folk song to grand performances and foot-tappingly good jazz, Festivals Malta is in full festive mode as it launches its four summer festivals.


low the trumpets, beat the drums and lay down the red carpet for this summer’s great arts festivals. Be it Indian fusion music, local folk song, spectacular performances or cool jazz tunes, Festivals Malta has gone all out this year as it presents its four varied festivals to be held across the summer months. Adding to the islands’ European Capital of Culture celebrations will be four household festivals, namely the Malta World Music Festival, Għanafest, the Malta International Arts Festival, and the Malta Jazz Festival, which run from May through to July.


The festivals are all special in their own way, but they share a common thread in the driving tour de force behind them: to increase local audiences. One of the vital components of a festival is, of course, its audience, and in order to reach out to as many people as possible, many of the festivals feature components that stretch beyond their usual locations and events. All four festivals also bring to fruition Festivals Malta’s vision of nurturing creativity, professionalism, participation and cultural education in festivals of the performing arts. Speaking about the launch, Festivals Malta Director Annabelle Stivala Attard said, “we are excited to be launching these four festivals that will begin the process of bringing these important goals to fruition.”

The season opens with the Malta World Music Festival (MWMF) on 18 and 19 May, which will be held in the stunning Fort St Elmo, just by the water’s edge. Under the artistic direction of Renzo Spiteri, the festival has become an important addition to the country’s national cultural calendar as it celebrates the beauty of cultural diversity, the exchange and dialogue of people’s roots, and the vitality that is borne out of such experiences and expressed through the powerful medium of music. This year’s lineup promises to impress, featuring the likes of European- and African-based collective Afro Celt Sound System, The Refugees for Refugees Band – which builds musical bridges between the different traditions they represent, and Cushion – an Indian fusion

band based in Malta that plays a mid-tempo fusion of western and eastern chill-out music. Malta’s folk music heritage is given deserved attention during Għanafest, on 22 and 23 June at the pretty Argotti Botanic Gardens in Floriana. Maltese folk song – għana – is traditionally performed in the intimacy of bars in Maltese and Gozitan villages, but it is now being given the spotlight, opening it up to new audiences at this festival. In addition to serving as a platform for local folk musicians to perform għana, the festival is also a fairground for local bands and artists, as well as foreign bands from Mediterranean countries, all celebrating the Mediterranean identity. And what better way to do this, than by also tying in the culinary aspect? This festival also offers its patrons a delectable gastronomical experience. Look out for the festival’s sister events held in various locations around the island before and after the festival. Site-specific curation, music, visual arts, theatre, dance, opera, installations, films, community projects, interactive and participatory events, are just some of the various highlights of the Malta International Arts Festival, which runs from 29 June to 15 July. The programme celebrates the Mediterranean, diversity and mankind, and brings together different art forms, assorted cultures, and creative minds not just in its performances and events, but also in a rich programme of workshops. Highlights of this festival include the grand concert by the world-famous Royal Concergebouw Orchestra at the Manoel Theatre on 1 July and the literally gravitydefying Aria by Italian dance company No Gravity at the Manoel Theatre on 8 July. Cool jazz and breezy tunes will waft through the air from 16 to 21 July as the Malta Jazz Festival brings some of the finest musicians in contemporary jazz to the Maltese islands. Big names Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Michael League make this year’s line-up shine bright. With Grammy-winning jazz legends Corea and League, as well as one of the most recorded musicians of his generation, Christian McBride, this year’s jazz festival promises to be a veritable feast for the senses. And don’t forget to look out for the free jazz on the fringe events held in various locations around Valletta. n


down to

a Fine Art

A small number of artisans and craftspeople in Malta are keeping age-old skills alive by a thread, hoping for someone to come along and help them breathe new life into these dying arts. Marie-Claire Grima meets four of the people making the magic happen. PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAN CARVILLE



evin Attard started practising the art of filigree at the age of 13 – a friend of his father’s taught him the craft, and he has been one of the leading practitioners of filigree in Malta for over 20 years. “Filigree is practised all around the world – you can find it everywhere you go. I use thicker strands of silver than normal, and the final result is stronger and more practical,” says Kevin. “Each piece of filigree is hallmarked – in Malta, the hallmark is usually the filigree-maker’s initials, another letter, and the number 925, to represent the grade of silver. In 100 years, if someone wants to know the history of the piece, it’ll be easy for them to trace it. “I get all sorts of requests from clients, and I’m open to all ideas. I like to think of myself as a tool, so I never refuse a customer. My favourite style to work with is abstract filigree; no single object can be replicated, because it’s the flame that directs how the design turns out. I think that the style of filigree has a lot of potential and can evolve into really original artwork.” Although filigree is still highly in demand, especially in foreign markets such as Japan and the US, Kevin is deeply concerned about the future of the craft. “I’m worried that the art of filigree in Malta will soon vanish forever. Right now, only myself and four other people still practise filigree full-time in Malta. I’m trying to lobby for scholarships so that I can teach young people the art, so that it won’t be lost.” Kevin met his collaborator Eric Attard last year, when Eric was on the hunt for a custom septum ring. The two recently hosted a pop-up exhibition at the Malta Society of Arts, where they presented a collection of filigree jewellery for men, designed by Eric and created by Kevin. “Filigree for men is quite a daring concept

“I like to think of myself as a tool, so I never refuse a customer.”

for Malta. For this collection, I drew inspiration from traditional architectural motifs and secondary Maltese iconography. The concept behind the exhibition was that your body is a temple, and a temple needs to be adorned.” Eric is also one of the young people whom Kevin is passing on the torch to, by teaching him the art of silver and flame. “After all, you can’t design without knowing Eric and Kevin the limitations of the craft.”


“The żaqq is like Marmite – you either love it or hate it.”



rancesco Sultana’s interest in making traditional instruments started when he took a course credit on the subject, taught by Ruben Zahra at the University of Malta. The final assignment involved looking at the techniques that were used to make these instruments. Through this assignment, he met Ġużi Gatt, a Maltese folklorist, and a builder of traditional instruments. Ġużi gave Francesco his first two traditional instruments – a flejguta (flute) and a żummara (reed pipe). “I used them in a couple of songs and I liked the sound they made, so I decided to try my hand at making my own. Through trial and error, and guidance from Ġużi, I started improving, until I started making instruments that I was satisfied with.” Traditionally, the flejguta and żummara were improvised instruments, built to be discarded. “The flejguta most likely originated from the cane whistles that hunters used to call birds with. The only recordings we have of someone playing the flejguta are from the 1960s of Anġlu Zammit ‘il-Ħaħaj’ playing a few melodies over Carnival – so there are, perhaps, three traditional Maltese songs for it that we know of.”

Francesco then turned his attention to the żaqq – traditional Maltese bagpipes, which create sound through reeds (bdiebet). The skin bag helps the musician sustain the melody for a longer period of time without stopping.

“Every country has some kind of bagpipe. Scotland’s are the most famous, but they are among the most modern forms. The oldest are mentioned in Roman writings from before Christ’s time. The technique is ancient.” The materials Francesco used to make his two żquq are all natural – animal skin, rope, cane, beeswax, and horn. “The żaqq was certainly not an instrument played by a professional musician. It was meant for people in rural communities to make a little music. I’ve only made two – the materials are difficult to source, and even longer to process. It also takes a long time to make them sound good. There are few people around to play them, and those who do already have a working instrument. We also don’t know if there were any specific melodies played with the żaqq. “The żaqq is like Marmite – you either love it or hate it,” Francesco adds. “When I first heard it, I thought the sound was hilarious, but then you get used to it. You have to accept it on its own terms. It’s incredibly primitive, and it has a mind of its own. You can’t even play it if it’s a particularly humid day. You wouldn’t have this problem with instruments made from synthetic materials, but then you lose some of the authenticity. I’m currently writing some tunes for the żaqq – I want to create a sound that’s not too old, but not too modern. Eventually, once I have a few good ideas set to music, I’d like to get some people together, along with their instruments, to see what we can create.”



“When I start winding down, I’d like to pass on everything I know.”


rthur Vassallo had always been fascinated by the art of gilding, and used to spend hours at Ta’ Ġieżu church in Rabat, talking about the craft with a veteran gilder named Joseph Muscat. “He taught me all he knew, and that’s where my passion started.” He decided to attend a gilding course at the Malta School of Arts, followed by another course in Florence on restoration. “After that, I decided to take it up full-time. It was difficult – I had just got married – but you have to follow your heart. If you’re determined you will succeed.” Gilding requires patience and precision, and lots of legwork before it reaches the final stage. “Let’s take a Maltese clock,” Arthur says. “The box is made out of wood, so we give it about five coats of glue to close its pores. Once the glue has dried, we cover it with 10 or 11 coats of plaster – it has to dry well, so it needs two or three weeks.

After it has dried, we sand it down so it is completely smooth, then we start making the carvings. The design is first prepared on paper – then we trace it onto the clock, and we start carving it out. Once that’s done, we give it five coatings of boll – a terracottacoloured paste. That’s then mixed in with the glue, which is made of rabbit skins – we give it another five coatings of that.” Once dry, the surface is brushed with water and gold is delicately laden onto the surface. Arthur uses static from his own beard to pick up the fragile sheets. The gold is left to dry for 24 hours, after which it is polished until it gleams. Once the clock has been fully coated in gold leaf, the paint work can commence. Different techniques are used for various effects, including sgraffit (scratching through the paint to reveal the gold beneath) and martellat (hammering the gold for a rugged texture). “Everything in this workshop is done by hand,” Arthur says. Besides Maltese clocks, which he ships all over the world, he’s gilded innumerable pedestals, altar-pieces, ceilings and sculptures. “There are only about six other gilders in Malta. I’m very busy right now so I don’t have time to teach new gilders but, when

I start winding down, I’d like to pass on everything I know. There’s more than enough work for everyone to go around. But it’s not easy to find a committed apprentice – you have to be into a very particular style, including churchwork. Like I said, it all has to come from the heart.” n


Arthur Miller’s

The Crucible at the Manoel

Director Sean Buhagiar talks about this timeless production.


idely recognised as a classic of modern theatre, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible continues to be staged and restaged globally. It’s not hard to see why this emotionally gripping and politically poignant drama continues to enjoy a chokehold over audiences all around the world.

Written at the peak of the McCarthyist communist ‘witchhunts’ but taking as its inspiration the very ‘real’ witch-hunts of Salem, Massachusetts in 17th-century America, the play paints an unflattering but incisive picture of how the very worst elements of human society can conspire to destroy those caught in its whirlwind.


Having enchanted theatremakers the world over for decades, it now falls to young director Sean Buhagiar to stage in our national theatre. And for better or for worse, he believes that the time is ripe for such a heady theatrical concoction to be quaffed by a local audience too. “Why now? Because this is as much a play about the current homophobic witch-hunts in Ethiopia, as the doubleedged sword of the #MeToo campaign (like Margaret Atwood recently pointed out), as present parent-teacher-student relationships, political blamegames, partisan mudslinging, false truths, fake news and the brutal killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, ‘is-saħħara tal-Bidnija’,” Buhagiar says, agreeing that the staging of such a perennial work is indeed a ‘no-brainer’ but pointing out that his production – set for May 2018 – will mark the first time it will be staged at our national theatre. This brings us to another important aspect of this upcoming show – the fact that Teatru Manoel will serve as bonafide producers on the show. “It sounds obvious, but this is the first time in a very, very long time that Teatru Manoel is producing a drama production. It is not renting out the theatre, co-producing, hosting or inviting a theatre company. This is a Teatru Manoel production,” Buhagiar emphasises, adding that he believes this to be the way forward to bring drama on a par with current opera productions and other high-quality music events – something that often arose from his discussions with the venue’s artistic director, Kenneth Zammit Tabona. Buhagiar also notes that the Manoel’s goodwill in taking on such productions – of which it is hoped there will be a lot more in the future – is not just down to enhancing the artistic and technical standards of contemporary production. What’s at stake is also the legacy of local theatre productions, and the value of audience development. In short, a steady supply of classical theatre, done

well, can only be ‘healthy’ for the scene as a whole. “We are not re-inventing the wheel, this happens all around the world – why not here? The only resources we need are courage and passion, which Teatru Manoel has shown in wanting to produce its own modern classic,” Buhagiar says, adding that the success of such an initiative may have a positive knock-on effect which would help local theatre practitioners confront some persistent challenges. “For example, we are still not in a position to cast The Crucible and rehearse professionally for eight hours a day. Right now, our cast is made up of a mix of professional and semi-professional actors. However, if Teatru Manoel starts giving classics a longenough run because there is an audience for them, this can change. And I like change.” But there was yet another, perhaps more prosaic, obstacle in Buhagiar’s way as he set about putting the production together. Namely, the fact that The Crucible boasts a large cast, and that this could spell trouble during the year in which our capital city is putting on the garb of European Capital of Culture, with many of our actors committed to a variety of productions. “Nevertheless, we also have a lot of talent around the world,” Buhagiar says, and is visibly excited to speak about nabbing Maltese-Australian actor (‘based in Germany and Switzerland’) Kenneth Spiteri for the lead role of the beleaguered tragic hero John Proctor. “Casting The Crucible is no mean feat, but I feel confident that we have done a very good job,” Buhagiar asserts, with firm confidence. But soon enough, the young director’s raw enthusiasm is allowed to slip out, and he simply ends with: “Come watch!” n The Crucible will be staged at Teatru Manoel, Valletta, from 17 to 20 May. For more information, log on to


Wanting a

change! Having slight issues with your dental health but not quite sure what the problem is? Here dental and implant surgeon Dr Jean Paul Demajo highlights the importance of good dentition.


n elderly patient walks into the clinic for a long-overdue check-up, sits in the dental chair and says: “Doctor, I have no major problems in my mouth but I want to know how I can improve my teeth.”

Dr Jean Paul Demajo, Dental and Implant Surgeon

This is a very common scenario. Unfortunately a lot of patients are still irregular attendees and only visit the dentist when in pain or when they want to have a major overhaul. The dentist asks a few questions about what ideas they might have and how they would like to look and feel at the end of their treatment. Although a lot of these patients aren’t in pain when they come to me, they are actually forgetting what the true comfort of good dentition can actually feel like. At times, on examination, one sees large cavities, broken teeth and signs of inflammation – and yet the patient is still comfortable. Occasionally there are no cavities and no inflammation, and yet the patients aren’t quite comfortable with the way their mouth feels.

Below is a list of ailments that often go unnoticed without causing pain but which may still lead to discomfort and poor quality of life: • Food packing • Bleeding gums • Mobile teeth • Halitosis • Inability to eat evenly on both sides • Inability to eat chewy or hard food • Maligned or crooked/crammed teeth • Short tooth stubs • Colour mismatch • An asymmetrical smile Most of these ailments can easily be treated, while others might require more complex procedures to be solved. There is no good reason why you should put up with any level of discomfort. Teeth are a major front for communication, socialisation and general well-being. Teeth stand right behind our mouth and, together, produce a horrible or lovely smile. The latter has a large influence on our confidence and quality of life. Ask your dentist how they can help you!


intra-oral before treatment

A gentleman in his mid-60s wants to improve his appearance. He does not suffer from much, except for some sensitivity due to exposed roots following recessed gums, and has otherwise a healthy (albeit heavily restored) dentition. He is unhappy with the colour and the general appearance of his teeth. His upper teeth appeared too prominent for his liking, and he points out that he cannot see his bottom teeth. Following a lengthy consultation, while noting each of his wishes, it was decided to veneer and crown many of his upper, heavily restored teeth. The aim was to improve their appearance, line them up better, improve the level of biting and make the lower teeth more visible.

Case Study 1

Case Study 2 A young woman wishes to close the gaps between her teeth. Orthodontic tooth movement wasn’t an option here, so four porcelain veneers were the treatment of choice.

intra-oral after treatment


Get THE look!


Fresh Air Embrace the sparkle of the new spring season with a stylish makeup look that’s stepped right off the catwalk – and it’s all about bold eyes and sun-kissed skin. Make-up: CLAIRE FALZON FOR FRANKS, USING GUERLAIN Hair: PAULINE VAN DER MESCHT FROM DEAN GERA SALONS Model: JESSICA AT SUPERNOVA MODELS Photography: KURT PARIS Shot on location at Heritage Malta’s Ħaġar Qim Visitors’ Centre

1 Brows really do have it this season – and they’re a great place to start on this make-up look (after you have freshened up your skin, of course). Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire Brown Duo is an ultrapractical product that can be carried wherever you go for perfect brows at all times. It somehow manages to create visibly fuller brows and bigger, brighter eyes, all in one.





Next, take a sweep of strong eyeliner across your lid, for a look that stands out. We used Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire Roll Ink Liner, which has a unique wheelshaped applicator that glides over your eyelid in – you guessed it – the blink of an eye! Plus it’s waterproof with a 12-hour hold. Perfection!

To complete your eye make-up, swish on some mascara. But not just any mascara – Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire Mascara. The body of the brush is used to volumise, curl and lengthen your lashes. The round head defines, intensifies the result and reaches every lash one by one.

It’s time to focus on your cheeks next, and to add a subtle-looking tan with Guerlain’s New Terracotta Light. This light powder features a unique blend of sun-kissed tones enhanced with vibrant colours to reveal the healthy-looking glow, and it’s available in six shades.

Finally, seal the deal with beautiful lips. We’ve fallen for Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire Lip Colour Ink – a liquid lipstick with a matte finish, and an eight-hour, long-hold formula that stays put all day.


Do you know what time it is? It’s UV time! And that means the sun could damage your skin. Invest in a good, facial sunblock in time to beat the heat.


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The House on Old Mill Street

Bliss magazine editor and head of content at Content House, Sarah Micallef, and her partner, Switch CEO Richard Muscat Azzopardi, have lovingly converted this historic house in Mosta – and the results are nothing short of incredible. Here they share this mesmerising journey of transformation. Interview by Jo Caruana Photography by Alan Carville Flowers by Alistair Floral Design


have followed the transformation of Sarah and Richard’s house with great interest since the day they bought it – mostly through Instagram snippets (@onoldmillstreet) and quick chats in-between magazine planning or photoshoot organisation. Even from the side-lines it’s been a fascinating process, as the couple took a very detail-oriented and creative approach to turning a run down house-of-character into their home. Now, as we sit eating Sarah’s delicious homemade banana and carrot cake in their kitchen, I am eager to hear all about it.

“To start with, Richard and I were looking for very different things,” Sarah smiles. “I always wanted an old house to renovate but Rik was after something more modern. Thankfully, he was open to the idea and, as our property search gained momentum a few years ago, we found ourselves keen on three different old houses – two in Mosta, and one in Żebbuġ.” The couple quickly narrowed their choice down because (ironically) they thought this one needed less work – but also because Richard had history with the house. “Two

friends of mine actually rented it a few years back, so I had been inside and liked it,” he explains. “Plus, it’s something of a landmark in the area – I’ve always known it as the house with the red doors – so I liked the idea of transforming it back to its former glory.” While the house had clearly seen better days, both Richard and Sarah could see its potential. At first, they considered sticking purely to cosmetic changes and doing as little work as possible but, having assessed the possibilities of what structural works could add to the house, they went for it.


“We took possession of the keys in March 2015 and the first step was to design the space and decide on the layout. There were a few key questions, such as whether we wanted to build an extra floor and how we were going to increase the natural light downstairs, so we tackled those immediately with our architect, Kurt Vella from MMK Studio.” Downstairs, some of the biggest changes included pulling down a wall that separated the two front rooms and creating much larger windows in the kitchen. The results were transformative and, instantly, made the space so much larger and more practical. Upstairs they added a staircase and new floor, which now serves as a second living room and spare bedroom when they have guests, a bathroom and washroom. All of the structural changes took around two months to complete, and they then moved on to the finishes. “That’s when the fun really began for me,” smiles Sarah, who was eager to get to the more creative parts of the project. “I was so excited and had all sorts of ideas, so it fell to Richard to rein me in, both for logistical and budgeting reasons!” Today, they describe the finished style of the house as an eclectic mix of their tastes. “I have always loved interiors and I enjoy spending hours poring through interiors magazines and Pinterest boards to find styles I like. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that, with a few exceptions, most shops in Malta didn’t really have many things that suited our tastes and budget, so we ended up looking overseas.” That’s when the couple decided to book a short stint in France, where they could explore shops and markets looking for pieces that

would suit their style perfectly. “We actually discovered what fun it is to shop at French antiques markets a few years ago, when we were in Lyon on holiday,” Sarah explains. “I love to collect knick knacks from our travels, so we look for markets and antiques shops everywhere we go. Lyon was no different, except for the fact that I discovered Les Puces

du Canal – the second largest antiques market in France, after the famous one in Paris – and fell in love. There were so many beautiful unique pieces in exactly the style I wanted, and I was so frustrated that we didn’t have anything like it in Malta. That’s when we decided to return officially a year later – with a plan of action and a list of pieces we needed for the house. Rik was brilliant at organising it all (he now admits that he preferred the idea of 10 days solid shopping in France versus endless Saturday mornings in home shops here!) and it was a fantastic experience. We got everything we wanted – from our sofa and 1960s dining room table and chairs, to the antique butcher’s workbench in the living room, and all in the budget we had set out in advance. By the time we moved in, the house was almost entirely furnished, so it was just the finishing touches that needed to be done.” As I sit – looking around their glorious home and admiring its unique style – it’s almost impossible to imagine the house any other way. I ask them both to choose their favourite spaces and they falter – admittedly it must be hard to pick one from among all the beautiful rooms, nooks and crannies.

Location, Location One of the couple’s favourite aspects of their home is actually its location – they love living in Mosta. “It was one of a handful of towns we considered and we’re so pleased we did,” Richard says. “It’s lovely to be walking distance from such a pretty square, with nice places to eat, grab a drink or go for a wander through the countryside. Our street has lots of old houses on it too, which is nice – some renovated, some for sale and some crumbling. We hope the crumbling ones will receive the TLC they deserve before too long.”


Eventually, Richard picks the living room – including the mid-century modern drinks cabinet and sofa, both of which travelled with them from France. Sarah laughs, “that sofa is the only piece of furniture I have ever seen Rik get really excited about, ever!” “I also like the fact our TV isn’t the focus in here,” Richard says. “We went for a drop-down projector instead, which means we only see it when it’s in use.” Sarah, meanwhile, picks the kitchen, courtyard and her studio. “I love baking and making intricate recipes, and this kitchen is the perfect place to do exactly that. I love how the light streams in through the windows now. The courtyard, although small, is the ideal spot for breakfast or tea with a friend, and I spend quite a lot of time out there. Finally, the studio, upstairs, has been a dream of mine for a long time and I love how it turned out. As I have a

The History of the House Sarah and Richard have enjoyed looking into the history of their home. Its eclectic past includes time as a communal house for a very large family who used it for birthing. “As they were a rural family, they needed somewhere with closer access to a midwife to help the women to give birth at a time in which birthing was done at home,” Sarah explains. “And this is where they did it. They would travel here on a horse and cart, and each facet of the family had its own room.” “Later, this house became known as ‘Ta’ l-Iskarpan’ – the Cobbler’s. A wellknown cobbler operated his business from our now-living room. We’ve seen some photos of its past life, and it was quite something! This space was his workshop, and it was piled high with his tools, and piles upon piles of shoes.” “The ceiling in this room and the studio above it also highlight the fact that it was bombed during the Second World War and then rebuilt, as the beams are made of steel. The back part of the house – the kitchen and dining room – survived, and dates back around 300 years. The ceilings there are supported by the original stone arches and wooden beams.”

small embroidery business I need lots of space for materials and to be creative, and this room works so well. It’s exactly the inspiring space I always hoped it would be. I also love the art on the walls, especially the pieces by Richard’s dad, which have really added to the unique feel here.” Now, looking back on the entire process of doing up their historic home, both Richard and Sarah pronounce the results ‘indescribable’. “It’s a very satisfying feeling to be able to respect the history of a place, while also making it shine in a different but respectful way. Seeing it now is also a lovely validation, as we know we did the right thing by going down this route and making this investment. It’s wonderful to see the house’s potential fulfilled, and to have created a home that we are both so happy to live in.” n


SpringUPDATE “Bright, light and absolutely beautiful – it’s the little touches that will make your home feel like spring. As MARISE PACE, designer for Grey & Adler, explains, this is the perfect time to rethink your home and fall in love with it all over again.”




1. Embroidered Fabric

5. Sweet Spring

We love this material! The embroidery is so delicate, yet, at the same time, can give your room a bold and beautiful injection of colour.

Impress your guests this spring with these cute little sugar portion butterflies.

2. Fragrant Spring

There is nothing more beautiful than a space lit with beautiful lamps.

These faux flower arrangements are filled with silk flowers that have been artfully hand-made. Encased in a glass holder, these boxes include two spray bottles to refresh and enhance the flowers’ fragrance by lightly spritzing the petals.

3. Cushion Botox Inject some colour with beautiful cushions. Your room will look better in an instant.


4. Spring Table




Food brings people together and these beautiful cups, mugs and plates will add that extra sparkle to your table.



6. Light 7. Change Your Walls If you want instant change, wallpaper is the answer. Change your walls with a choice of wall coverings – from subtle for the elegant and conservative decorator, to bold and beautiful for the brave.

8. Statement Pieces Introducing a new piece of furniture to a room will likely make you want to change the furniture around and give some life to those forgotten corners. Go ahead, change is good.




“The past few weeks have seen a rise in temperature, giving us hope for the arrival of the muchawaited spring season,” says GABRIELLA ARCIDIACONO, the sales and marketing director for Boris Arcidiacono. “And with the departure of winter and the welcoming of spring come the light-heartedness and joie de vivre that sunshine and warmth bring to our homes. It’s goodbye to heavier textiles like winter quilts and fleecy sheets, and hello to summery ease and freshness!”




1. Change of Quilt

4. Spring’s New Colour

Just as it will soon be time to pack away your winter coats, the same will happen to your toasty bedding. Opt for a lighter summer quilt (and have a throw ready for when the temperature drops unexpectedly). The Hefel Pure Silk is a supple, lightweight summer night‘s dream, made from 100 per cent pure silk. The naturally cooling properties of silk make it the ideal filling for this wonderfullyrevitalising summer quilt.

Joop! bed linen presents delights in a clear, modern design with block stripes in harmonious colours. Each pattern receives an accent colour from bright to noble, which is complemented by basic colours such as sand or grey. This season’s accent colour is pretty mint.

2. Sheet Material


Besides your lightweight summer quilt, the quickest way to transform the temperature in your sleeping climate is to opt for cotton percale, linen or silk sheets, which all breathe remarkably well and keep you cool during the hot summer months. Schlossberg Sateen Noblesse is woven from pure, long-staple cotton. Sateen Noblesse by Schlossberg is wonderfully-smooth, fresh and soft-to-the-touch, while its elegant shine is striking.

3. Stress Less


Finally, use spring as a time to unwind – on a Stressless recliner in paloma crystal blue. Stressless has built the world’s finest leather recliners since 1971. We love the Plus™ System, which gives you perfect lumbar and neck support, and the Glide System that follows your body’s movements to adjust your leather recliner to the perfect position.


5. Wrap Up These 100 per cent cotton kimonos by Cawö are made from extra light, very fine, waffle-piqué fabric with two patch pockets and a tie. They ensure your bathrobe will become a highlight.

6. Fresh and Fluffy These beach towels by Schlossberg are must-haves for summer. We love the soft Pixel and Bold towels from the YU! Collection – especially as they’re so large (100cmx180cm), velvety and fluffy.


7. Soft and Cosy If you still need a bit of warmth for the season, this throw is absolutely perfect. It is delicate and eye-catching, with fringes in stylish colours including mint, rose and grey.

8. Sea Salt and Lemonade The new Schlossberg collection interprets an unmistakable mixture of colours and fragrances. The ZOE blanc design by Schlossberg is adorned with fragrant lemons, together with branches full of blossoms and buds in a bright yellowy-green and delicate pink.



Whether in your garden, on your patio or on your roof terrace, spring is the perfect time to move your life outdoors to enjoy the weather. As JYSK Malta managing director MARCUS BONNICI explains, it’s quick and easy to transform your open-air space, whatever its size.




1. Beautiful Butterfly

4. Outdoor Sitting Room

When did portable deck and beach chairs get this stylish? This new twist on an outdoor standard is a simple and affordable way to bring smart design to your home. The durable textiline fabric seat is secured over a powder-coated steel helix frame to create a flared, butterfly form.

Who says sofas are only for indoors? This aluminium set has extra thick pads, so it’s really snug and perfect for lying on while you look up at the stars.

2. Lie Back and Relax What makes a perfect sun lounger? Comfort and adjustability, of course, and, happily, this NORDSTRAND lounger is blessed with both. It has the perfect balance of the two qualities, uniting a cool and comfortable textiline cover with a multiple-reclining mechanism that allows you to take the lounger from upright reading to post-lunch nap position in a matter of seconds.



3. Raise a Glass Spring is the perfect time for cocktails – and what better way to present them than in this bottled container, which has a handy tap for pouring them out? Cheers!


5. Green Fingered If you want to create the most effective flower displays, we suggest incorporating a range of different shapes and sizes into your planting scheme. The LJUM planter not only provides a generous planting area but also offers the possibility of building some height into your display – perfect at the back of an arrangement of pots, for instance.

6. Let’s Lounge Whether you have lots of space or just a little, these brightlycoloured lounge chairs are the perfect size – and so comfortable!

7. Patio Perfect Dainty in size but strong in colour, we love this French-style patio set of table and chairs – it will make your balcony or terrace spring-ready!

7 8. Pretty Touches Light a candle, hang your lantern, and enjoy the gentle light it throws over your outdoor space.



Behind the Scenes at

Levantina Bistro With every business there is a story. The typical Maltese customer wants to know who is running the business and who owns it, because they want to be pampered by the owners and want to feel at home and be considered as special clients – which they should be. Here we find out all about Levantina Bistro.


evantina’s chef patron, Silvana Callus Mizzi, came up with the idea for a Bistro & Bake house in Mrieħel because of her vision of Mrieħel as a business centre that will flourish in years to come. Although the locality is a morning venue, people who work in Mrieħel also need to dine in the evening, so this is an ideal after-work meeting place to wine and dine – not to mention those who look for something different with no parking hassles. Silvana’s passion for food originated many years ago when she met her husband-to-be, financial advisor Jesmond Mizzi, who, at the time, managed the catering business at the Marsa Sports Club together with his father Charles, who spent his whole working life in catering. She helped them in that venture but, because of the long hours that it entailed, the family decided to part with that business and move on. Jesmond then moved to the financial services sector, having previously practiced as an accountant and auditor. Silvana followed her husband into the financial services world and became a financial advisor until Jesmond co-founded Jesmond Mizzi Financial Services. Silvana then set up a production house, and produced and presented a financial programme and a food television

programme. Then, a few years later, she she wanted a new challenge and decided to further her studies in the United Kingdom by attending the Tante Marie School of Cooking, which is co-owned by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. She spent time training in the UK to gain experience with both renowned and not-so-renowned chefs! However, Silvana is mainly inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, a Londonbased restaurateur, celebrity chef and cookery book writer. When in London she visits his restaurants regularly as he continues to evolve his cuisine. The name Levantina refers to Levant – the Eastern Mediterranean cuisine from countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iran. Despite these influences, Levantina is not a Middle Eastern restaurant in the traditional sense of the word – it is Middle Eastern-inspired and also includes dishes from North Africa. Levantina is inspired

by ingredients from the Middle East and the dishes presented that are not Middle Eastern in nature include Levantina’s blend of spices which are Middle Eastern. Spices are key to Levantina but this does not mean that the food is hot – people associate spices with hot food, but this is not the case. The ingredients at Levantina include orange blossom, preserved lemons and pomegranate molasses, pistachios and more – which give the dishes a unique personality. Levantina is all about relaxing and enjoying good food whether it is a weekday or the weekend. You can exchange a book, enjoy a business lunch, dine with family and friends at lunch or dinner, and relish the fact that parking certainly isn’t a problem. Besides the in-house offerings, Levantina also caters for board room lunches and snacks, dinner parties and outside catering with a difference.


Ras El Hanout Cauliflower and Spice Mix Cumin Fritters Ras el hanout is a North with Lemon Yogurt African spice mix that means Ingredients

Recipes by Levantina

Lamb Tagine

Lamb Tagine

Citrus Couscous



1kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into chunks (ask your butcher to do this for you) vegetable oil • 1 onion • 2 carrots 2 sticks of celery • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 cinnamon stick • 1 tbsp turmeric 1 tbsp ground coriander • 1 tbsp ground cumin 1 tsp ras el hanout • 500ml chicken stock 20g flaked almonds • 100g dried prunes 100g dried apricots • 100g black currants

400g couscous 800ml boiling salted water Fresh herbs such as mint, parsley and coriander ½ tsp ras el hanout Zest of one lemon and one orange

In a cast iron pan, heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil and sear the lamb pieces very well, turning them only after they’re well browned. It is very important not to crowd the pan with a lot of pieces of lamb, as the meat will not sear well. Remove the lamb pieces from the heat and set aside. Reduce the heat and add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook for around eight-to-10 minutes. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes to release their flavour. Add the chicken stock to the pan and increase the heat, bring to a boil, then add the lamb pieces back to the pan, add some salt, reduce the heat, and put the lid on. Let it simmer gently for two hours. Remove the lid and add the dried fruits and flaked almonds, and cook for a further 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl, add the boiling water and some olive oil, cover with cling film and let it steam for seven minutes. Uncover the couscous and fluff up with a fork, as couscous grains tend to bind together in the cooking process. Add the fresh herbs, ras el hanout and the citrus zest. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

800g cauliflower, cut into florets 3 eggs, beaten 2 spring onions, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tsp Turkish chilli flakes 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp turmeric • Vegetable oil Salt • 150g self-raising flour

For the lemon yogurt: 200g full fat Greek yogurt 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tbsp lemon juice Pinch of salt • Fresh coriander

Prepare a pan with salted water, bring to a rolling boil and add the cauliflower florets. Cook the cauliflower until tender, drain in a colander and set aside to cool. Combine the eggs, spring onions, garlic, spices, salt and self-raising flour, whisk until smooth. Add the cauliflower to the egg mixture. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook two tablespoons of the mixture in batches for a couple of minutes on each side. Drain excess oil on kitchen paper. For the lemon yogurt, mix all ingredients together and adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

‘head of the shop’. The term implies that this spice mix is the best the seller has to offer and each shop would offer its own spice blend. Ingredients

2 tbsp cumin seeds 2 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp black peppercorns 1 ½ tsp ginger 1 ½ tsp cardamom ½ tsp turmeric

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for around four minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar; let them cool slightly. Process until finely ground and transfer to a small bowl. Grind the black peppercorn until finely ground and add to the cumin and coriander mixture together with the other ingredients. Should you like to add some heat to it, add ½ tsp ground chilli. n

Levantina Bistro Bakehouse, Triq in-Negozju, Mrieħel. T: 2144 0149/7924 8949 E: W: levantinastore Levantina_bistro_bakehouse

Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters with Lemon Yogurt


Land&Sea Marbled backgrounds and coral motifs – this is a Far Eastern feast that will delight all the senses. Food inspired by the new menu at the RICKSHAW RESTAURANT, BY EXECUTIVE CHEF STEFAN HOGAN, CHEF KAREN CUTAJAR, AND PATISSIER MARK McBRIDE, FROM THE CORINTHIA PALACE HOTEL & SPA, ATTARD Props from ONE TWO ONE INTERIORS, NAXXAR Styling and photography by TONIO LOMBARDI

CHICKEN & CHIVE GYOZA WITH AMAZU PONZU DRESSING Ingredients: 300g chicken breast, finely hand-chopped; 30 wrappers; 100g chives, finely chopped; 5ml & 1 tbsp sesame oil; 15ml soy sauce; 10g ginger, peeled and grated; 4g sugar; 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped; 40ml hot water. For the Amazu Ponzu dressing: 60ml soy sauce; 120ml rice wine vinegar; 20ml lemon juice; 1 small piece kombu (dried seaweed).

Method: Mix all the ingredients for the Amazu Ponzu dressing and allow to sit overnight

to extract the flavour from the kombu. Meanwhile, for the gyoza, mix the chicken breast, chives, 5ml sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and garlic in a bowl. Place one heaped teaspoon of the mixture onto each wrapper, brush the edges with cold water and fold in half to enclose filling. Press edges together to seal. Heat 1tbsp sesame oil in a frying pan, remove from heat and place half the dumplings in the pan – flat side down – and fry until the bases are golden brown. Place the pan back on the heat, add the hot water, cover and allow the dumplings to steam for four-to-five minutes, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to stand for a minute or so until the dumplings easily come away from the pan. Strain the Amazu Ponzu dressing and serve with the piping-hot gyoza.


CANTONESE-STYLE SEA BASS Ingredients: 4 sea bass (about 700g each); 3g salt; 50ml vegetable oil; 1 garlic clove; 10 slices ginger, julienned; 8g sugar; 50g red miso paste; 60ml fish stock; 25ml soy sauce; a pinch of ground white pepper; 10ml sesame oil; 50ml Shaoxing wine; 4 spring onions, chopped; corn flour.

Method: Pat the fish dry, score and season with salt. In a pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger and red miso paste. Leave to cook slightly, deglaze with the wine, and add the fish stock, soy sauce and sugar. Allow to reduce. Dust the fish in corn flour and fry until flesh is crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate and drain any excess oil. Heat the sauce you made, add the spring onions, white pepper and sesame oil, and pour over the fish. Serve with wok-fried greens and noodles.


YUZU & LIME SORBET Ingredients: 250ml cold water; 150g caster sugar; 10g corn syrup or glucose; 2.5g sorbet stabiliser; 40g yuzu juice; the juice of half a lime.

Method: Place the cold water in a pan with the glucose, and separately mix together the sugar and the stabiliser. Pour the sugar-stabiliser mixture into the pan, stir and leave to hydrate for 15 minutes. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly with a hand whisk. Remove from the heat, pour in the yuzu and lime juice. Transfer to a plastic bowl, cover with cling film and allow to cool. Once cooled, transfer to an ice cream-maker and churn for 45 minutes until frozen.

Our chefs served the yuzu sorbet with crystallised lime peel, mango mochi rocks, caramelised white chocolate, a jasmine rice veil, gelée and golden coral tuile.


DQR Pre-Launch Event, The Palace Hotel, Sliema

Ben Carlotti, Xandru Grech, HE Ambassador of France BĂŠatrice le Fraper du Hellen, Philippe Guillord, Valery Bollier, Pamela Michaux, Kristian Heandel, Channa Dassanayaka The Schranz Family Reunion at the inauguration of 'The Schranz Family of Artists - A Journey of Rediscovery' Exhibition at Fort St Elmo, Valletta

Teuta Bakalli, HE Ambassador of Spain Jose Pons


The Faculty for Social Wellbeing Dean's Debate, University of Malta, Msida

Andreana Boldarini, Prof Andrew Azzopardi, Pro-Rector Prof Joe Cacciottolo The Launch of Paul P Borg's Book 'Il-Kmandament Numru Hdax' Vol I & II, Parlament ta' Malta, Valletta


The Launch of Mangano's Spring/Summer '18 Collection on Women's Day, Sliema

Left: Diane Ellul, Stephanie Cassar Middle: Jahel Briffa, Brooke Borg Right: Romualda Vella, Dorianne Mamo The Launch of the AmUsE Arts Project by the Malta Society of Arts, Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta

Ritty Tacsum, Lisa Gwen Baldacchino, Jo Caruana

Lisa Gwen Baldacchino, Roderick Camilleri, Albert Marshall, Adrian Mamo, Joe Scerri

The Launch of Peter Calamatta's 'Me & My Mentors', The Grandmaster's Palace, Valletta

Iggy Fenech, Peter Calamatta

Daniela Calamatta, Peter Calamatta, Simone Calamatta, Carlos Calamatta

The Opening of Matalan, Republic Street, Valletta

Andre Camilleri, Joseph Camilleri, Damian Hopkins, Anthony Camilleri, Anne-Marie Silcock, Aaron Hickton


The Opening of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange Exhibition, Buckingham Palace, The UK

The Opening of the 'Contemporary Inside: 18' Exhibition, University of Malta Junior College, Msida

Ron van Maarschalkerweerd Borg, Naomi Campbell

Dr Clifton Grima, Paul Xuereb, Dr Trevor Borg, Roderick Vassallo

Amanda Mizzi, Federico Santus

Patrick Fenech, Dr Trevor Borg, Sina Farrugia Micallef, Austin Camilleri, Prof Vince Briffa

Nicola Magro Axelsson, Anabel Attard

Ron van Maarschalkerweerd Borg, HRH The Countess of Wessex, Charles van Maarschalkerweerd Borg

Wine Tasting Event, Dical House, Mosta