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ISSUE138∫ aprIl2016 PINK ISSUE138∫ aprIl2016

WOMEN ARE BAD SAVERS Finances for females

What mothers really want

From spa days to short trips… to flying their own plane

NEW MALTA FASHION WEEK & AWARDS FACE A CINDERELLA-STYLE STORY

Born deaf lIvIng wIth SoUnd

MALTESE MAKE-UP TRENDS Slapping on a full face


INSIDE

April 2016

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FEATURES 14 PrivateEye the miracle of sound Cochlear implants for a new life 23 InFocus cashing in Financial advice for females 26 LifeStyle women on top Flexibility and family-friendly work 32 WomensWorld mother worship Goddesses of fertility

REGULARS FASHION 44 ShowStopper sharp-edged vs silky Flowers and flowing fabrics 57 FashionStory sculpture in precious stones Gozo inspires jewellery creations 61 FashionStory a fresh face for fashion A new model for MFWA2016 67 TheUniform putting on a [ full] face Trending in Malta make-up

HEALTH 75 OnForm riding high Woman cyclist winner 78 HealthBites 81 PinkShrink my way The complex personality of the control freak 83 ParentingTips coping with hardship Helping children in difficulty

9 EditorsNote 10 MailShot 37 WomanKind against the law Caroline Norton 54 ThinkPink fashion, food & things 72 ThinkPink health & beauty 87 RelationTips time for love Original Mother’s Day gifts 90 GirlTalk parent day What a waste of time! 94 TravelOgue where time stands still The Pelagian Islands adventure 100 TableTalk stocking up Barley risotto laid bare 103 StarGazer the future is pink Horoscopes 105 SnapShot passing on the good Klara Grech

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COVER Photography Steve Muliett ∫ Artistic direction Adrian Mizzi ∫ Hair Chris Galea @ Michael & Guy ∫ Make-up Elaine Galea ∫ Model Nadia Debono for Malta Fashion Week & Awards 2016

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EDITORSNOTE There’s a growing Facebook group of former Convent of the Sacred Heart students that is gaining momentum, and it’s a source of nostalgia, a hint of embarrassment… and even a touch of frustration at not managing to keep up with the many posts that are reviving the past and the comments [and comments to the comments] that accompany them. I can’t say I’m following it religiously and, in fact, that is why the nostalgia is coupled with a niggling element of irritation at the thought that I can’t/won’t get through that maze of memories, a bottomless pit, where everything links up to something else, and you can continue scrolling down ad aeternum. I’ve barely skimmed the surface and I know I would need hours to catch up on the photos of school days, school plays, school mates, school teachers and school outings that are being dug up from decades ago and shared. But beyond the dysfunctional relationship I have with Facebook, which is clouding the experience down memory lane, what I have seen has reminded me how much of who I am is due exclusively to my time at the Convent of the Sacred Heart – from the creative writing days to the values and the friends – which I acknowledge to be the most pivotal and character-shaping episode of my life.

Dipping in and out of the page, other thoughts have popped into my head, including the fact that no matter how much time has passed, the natural bond between the students is indissoluble and enduring. It’s a case of ‘Sacred Heart is thicker than water’ and it emerges strongest when you bump into someone you haven’t seen since Year V and with whom you weren’t even that close. And yet, it’s like meeting your sister, brought up by the same ‘family’, who you can immediately identify with. [Of course, her trademark handwriting joins the dots.] The several posts have also rammed home the realisation that I store no detailed memory and it needs to be jogged by that of my former classmates, who seem to recall the fine points of what to me is one distinct blur that, nonetheless, left its mark. But there is one thing I do remember clearly about my school days and, sad as it may sound, it is that, probably, the last time I really laughed [out loud, or at least on a regular basis], was back then. Yes, my Sacred Heart days were filled with laughter – genuine, stomach-ripping laughter. Think about it. When was the last time you split your sides and ended up rolling on the floor in uncontrollable fits? I suppose I’ve had a few things to laugh about since, but somehow, I do it internally, without even breaking into a half smile. Nobody would ever know. I’m the type to watch a hilarious comedy and remain completely motionless, and seemingly void of emotion. In truth, I would be finding the whole thing totally funny, but it’s never externalised. For that to happen, I’d probably need a school retreat, or some other solemn occasion, where laughing is completely out of line and inappropriate, and the dear nuns wouldn’t have it.

What doesn’t make me laugh – not even inside – is the cringe-worthy photos of that ghastly puberty we managed so badly back then. I have to admit – and I doubt anyone would take offence – that most of us look better today, 30 years later. I have refused to identify myself to those who, fortunately, couldn’t recognise me, in the belief that no one would ever look at me in the same way again – and take me seriously – if I did. Under an umbrella of frizz on my head and wonky teeth prior to a serious overhaul; developing, sack-of-potatoes bodies overall, in unflattering uniforms and unimaginative outfits on school outings, we couldn’t have looked more different from today’s teens. And much as I hate to reminisce about the good old days and make denigrating comparisons with today’s youths – a total age giveaway – I have to say, we may actually have been better off looking rather frumpy in the prime of our life. I don’t think we were consumed by vanity and we certainly weren’t stuck in a frozen pout [unless it was a piss-take] for selfies. No, no, we had bad, unblow-dried hair, no make-up, baggy clothes, and shoulder pads that made rugby teams seem puny – nothing today’s girls would proudly post online without risking subjecting themselves to bullying and abuse. Can I say our fashion sense was better than today’s cheap and tacky chewinggum dresses, high-waisted, unflattering, bum-flattening shorts, and bare legs? I think I’ll avoid answering the question. Instead I quote an acute observation from one of the guys that says it all: “Brilliant… when girls dressed like guys!” The point is that it is considered “brilliant”… and that we can look back… and laugh out loud [lol] – at ourselves – once again.

April 17, 2016 ∫ Pink is a monthly magazine ∫ Issue 138 ∫ Executive editor Fiona Galea Debono ∫ Publisher Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Printing Progress Press Ltd ∫ Production Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Contributors Robert Agius, Maria Cachia, Mateja Camilleri, Andrea Faye Christians, Edward Curmi, Claire Diacono, Mary Galea Debono, Stephanie Fsadni, Marisa Grima, Caroline Paris, Helen Raine, Stephanie Satariano, Virginia, Shelley Von Strunckel ∫ Design Manuel Schembri ∫ Photography Robert Camilleri, Stephanie Galea, Matthew Mirabelli, Steve Muliett, Chris Sant Fournier, Steve Zammit Lupi ∫ Advertising sales Veronica Grech Sant [2559 4706; veronica.grechsant@timesofmalta.com].

THIS PUBLICATION IS BEING DISTRIBUTED AS PART OF:

© 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole, or in part, without written permission of the publishers, is prohibited.

Pink April 2016 ∫ 9


MAILSHOT

THE LETTER THAT TICKLED PINK COPING WITH RETIREMENT Dear editor, since the very first issue of Pink, I have not missed reading one from cover to cover. And I absolutely can never bring myself to throw it in the papers bin at the bring-in site. So I pass it on… I always find it very difficult to choose the story that struck me most as I enjoy reading each and every article. But I’ve made an exception with this issue [February 2016]. What hit me like a bombshell was A Match Made in Heaven… or Earth? [LifeStyle] as it reminded me of when I met my husband. His parents had immediately asked the parish priest about my family. He happened to be new in our parish so he knew nobody and had to come to my house and talk to my parents and I to gather some information about us. He ended up marrying us, baptising my two girls and is a great friend of ours. On another note, I do not agree with the pink pill [A Little Pink Pill, InFocus]. I always choose nature first. Then, the story of Queen Noor [The Light of Hussein, WomanKind] really struck me and I can say that she is such a beautiful woman. I do not agree with facelifts and cosmetic surgery at all. Of course I love the fashion pages, but what also hit me was Silent Condition [InThePink]. My mum’s death was caused by osteoporosis. It was too late when we found out what she had, but we now take great care and do regular check-ups. What made me write this letter is the fact that my father, who lives with us, will soon retire. We ask, therefore, if it is possible to write an article about retirement and how to cope with this stage in life. It could suggest ways in which people could continue to contribute to society and, at the same time, feel better about themselves. My husband also asked if you could create a male fashion section, featuring the latest men’s runway trends, as well as articles about fine watches [not that he can afford them] and other accessories. Last but not least, I highly recommend Inspire, which works hard to raise awareness about autism – my daughter is autistic. Thank God for this organisation that gives more than 100 per cent. I congratulate you for this astonishing magazine. I really love it and when I read it, I feel my stress has gone away. God bless you all. R. LIA FROM ZURRIEQ

The writer of the letter of the month wins a Montblanc Legend Spirit eau de toilette, courtesy of Chemimart; a pedicure, courtesy of Roseberry; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd.

WRITE IN AND WIN We want to hear from you. Send us your feedback on Pink and any stories that may have touched you in some way, and you stand a chance of winning a My Burberry eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart, Valletta; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd. Write to Pink, with your contact details, at Allied Newspapers Ltd, 341, Strickland House, St Paul Street, Valletta VLT 1211, or send an e-mail to pink@timesofmalta.com Correspondence may be edited for length and clarity. If prizes are not claimed within two months, they will no longer be available.

WOMEN IN POWER What does it take for a woman to succeed in the world? The answer is very simple… women need to be aggressive, assertive and confident, but able to turn these traits on and off, depending on the circumstances. To be successful, women must present themselves as self-confident and dominant, while tempering these qualities with displays of softer characteristics. Women’s participation in decision-making is highly beneficial and their role in designing and applying public policies has a positive impact on people’s lives. It is not about men against women, but research shows that when you have more women in public decision-making places, the result is also policies that benefit women, children and families in general. Reading the article Girl Power in the Past [WomensWorld, March 2016] made me realise how women are wonders to be reckoned with; wonders of a force that is so strong that their impact over the years is almost unnoticed. There were times where social constraints ruined the power of women. This is why their empowerment and positive reinforcement worldwide are important. Women and men should be equal, and women have yet to reach that pinnacle. The vacancy of woman power has finally been filled and we only hope that they now realise they can do anything they want and that they should not be scared to follow their dreams. This article is all about uniting women to become stronger. Thank you. PAULINE DALLI FROM ATTARD

NO FAIRY TALE Dear editor, I enjoyed and was kept engaged reading The Light of Hussein [Womankind, February 2016]. The chronicle is a perfect example of how royal women can balance their independence with the expectations that result from a marriage such as that to King Hussein. Queen Noor’s life is not a fairy tale, but reading about it still has that magical feel. She was not just an extension of her husband; but while respecting his position and status, she developed her own individuality and made her presence felt on the international stage. What is also surprising about her life is that she was respected by many of her people even if, maybe, she was not exactly what one would expect from the wife of an Arab king. I am looking forward to start reading Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life. DANIELLE SAPIANO FROM LUQA

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PRIVATEEYE Eradicating barriers and implanting opportunities: Joanne Bugeja and her daughter Anne Marie.

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PRIVATEEYE

THE MIRACLE OF

SOUND Joanne Bugeja was curtly informed, when her son was born deaf, not to expect that he would ever call her “mum”. Twenty years ago, Doris Camilleri’s son came into the world profoundly deaf, but she was determined to give him the best start in life. ANDREA FAYE CHRISTIANS sounds out the cochlear implants that gave these children the reason to celebrate two birthdays: the day they were born and the day they first heard.

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s one of the five senses, hearing is central in our ability to function in the world we live in. Indeed, the sounds around us – be they the voices of loved ones, music on the radio, or simply birds singing – are something a hearing person takes for granted. But deaf or hearing-impaired people inhabit a very different world in which even the most mundane tasks, such as answering the phone, can be a problem. While lip reading and sign language have long been accepted methods of enabling communication, advances in medical technology have now made it possible for

“I WENT TO BRITAIN 12 TIMES IN THE YEAR MATTHEW HAD THE IMPLANT, AND AT GREAT PERSONAL EXPENSE, BUT I HAVE NEVER DOUBTED THAT IT WAS THE RIGHT DECISION”

deaf people to actually hear with the aid of a cochlear implant, suitable for both children and adults who are either deaf or severely hard of hearing. At present, there are over 60 implantees in Malta and this year The Malta Cochlear Implant Association celebrates its 15th anniversary. Doris Camilleri is the president of the association that was formed originally as a support group and started off with just three parents. Her son, Matthew, who is soon set to celebrate his 20th birthday, was born profoundly deaf and was the fourth person to have an implant in Malta at three years old. Seventeen years ago, attitudes were somewhat different, Doris recalls. “At the time, the cochlear implant was quite a new procedure and many people considered it to be a novelty. “Although sign language and lip reading are to be commended, we live in a hearing world and I wanted to give my son the best start in life. If you have a bad heart, you fit a pacemaker. The cochlear implant is essentially a bionic ear. “I didn’t get much support at the time, so I did some research alone and found out about the implant, but it was not available in Malta back then and I had to go to St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester for a consultation. “I went to Britain 12 times in the year Matthew had the implant, and at great personal expense, but I have never doubted that it was the right decision. My only regret is that he didn’t have the implant fitted sooner as he lost

Pink April 2016 ∫ 15


PRIVATEEYE Doris Camilleri did it all for her son…

those crucial first years of speech development, although he now leads a full life. “The implant has given him more independence. He is a student and recently went abroad with his friends for the first time and is already planning a second trip.” Joanne Bugeja from Zebbug has two children with cochlear implants: 17-year-old Matthew and Anne Marie, who is 13. Like Doris, Joanne has never for a moment doubted that she made the right decision. “When my son was born, the medical professional who assessed him recommended an intensive programme of lip reading and sign language, but also told me something that will always remain with me. She said: ‘In truth, don’t expect that he will ever call you Mum.’ “Hearing the news that it was unlikely my son would ever speak was heartbreaking. I kept thinking there had to be a way. I was determined he would speak and I worked hard with him for seven years before and after the implant. “Both children received their implants at St Mary’s, necessitating travel back and forth to Britain 26 times as the surgery was still not available in Malta at the time.” Today, Matthew plans to study mechanical engineering, while Anne Marie, who was implanted at 18 months old, attends the National Sport School in Pembroke. She is currently the only special needs student and is an accomplished gymnast, winning five gold medals for Malta in the 16 ∫ Pink April 2016

2011 Special Olympics World Games at just eight years of age. Last year, she again represented Malta in Los Angeles, bringing home two silver and a bronze medal. On this slightly breezy day, she has to concentrate as we chat because there is also lots of background noise in the outdoor cafe where we meet. Soft spoken, her voice is clear and coherent as she talks about her friends and school. She is, too all intents and purposes, just like any other 13-year-old girl until you notice the cochlear implant she is wearing. Living with the disability, however, is an ongoing struggle, and despite the improved quality of life that the cochlear implants have provided, there are still many day-to-day difficulties that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, for example, the educational aspect of accommodating deaf and hearing-impaired children and students still appears to be is lacking in Malta.

“MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, I NOT ONLY HAVE TO HELP WITH HER HOMEWORK, BUT ALSO FIRST TEACH HER WHAT SHE SHOULD HAVE LEARNT AT SCHOOL. IT’S EXHAUSTING FOR BOTH OF US” “The education system here already puts enough pressure on normal children, but for the hearing impaired, it’s doubly difficult,” Joanne explains. “It’s easy to think that assigning an LSA to a deaf student will resolve the issue, but more needs to be done. My daughter often can’t understand the teacher, especially if she turns her back to the whiteboard. So, more often than not, I not only have to help with her homework, but also first teach her what she should have learnt at school. It’s exhausting for both of us, but at present, there seems to be no other


PRIVATEEYE

HOW IT WORKS

“IT DOES NOT RESTORE HEARING IN THE CONVENTIONAL SENSE, BUT GIVES USERS A USEFUL REPRESENTATION OF THE SURROUNDING SOUNDS, ENABLING THEM TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN PERSON AND ON THE TELEPHONE” option. We need teachers who are specialised in this. They are available in other countries, so why not here?” Joanne also points out that speech therapy sessions should not be scheduled during school hours as is often the case, while subtitled local television shows and news programmes would also make life easier. According to Doris, implementing a loop system at the university would greatly help hearing-impaired students as it creates a sound quality that makes it seem as if the teacher is standing right next to them. In her son’s case, the determination that he should be an achiever also academically led Doris to give up her job as a pharmacist. Her decision paid off as Matthew went on to pass nine O levels, two A levels and four Intermediate exams. Nevertheless, on a day-to-day basis, even seemingly routine tasks can present problems. The implants have batteries that need to be changed every couple of days. Currently, no funding exists for this, although the Malta Cochlear Implant Association does what it can to help by sourcing them from abroad where they are cheaper. Visits to Mater Dei’s ENT Ward are another issue as the loudspeaker announcements are difficult for implant and hearing aid users to understand. A digital read-out system throughout the hospital would be much more practical and would also help older people who are suffering from hearing loss. Nevertheless, undeterred by the sacrifices made and the challenges their children face, Joanne and Doris remain upbeat. As Doris explains: “We know this disability will never go away, but despite its limitations, the cochlear implant is amazing because it has allowed our children to experience the miracle of sound!” Both mothers recall their children’s reaction to it as an emotional moment, but it is perhaps best left to Joanne to explain. “My children have two birthdays – one for the day they were born and one for when they heard for the first time!” 18 ∫ Pink April 2016

A cochlear implant is a small complex electronic device that consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and is held in place by a magnet while a second portion is surgically fitted. This latter section includes a microphone to pick up surrounding sounds; a speech processor that selects and arranges perceived sounds; a transmitter and receiver that receives messages from the speech processor and converts them to electrical impulses; and finally, an electrode array that is linked to the cochlear. This sends the impulses to different sections of the auditory nerve that subsequently transmits them to the brain. Whereas a hearing aid amplifies sounds so that they may be heard by damaged ears, a cochlear implant works differently in that it totally bypasses the non-functioning parts and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. It does not, however, restore hearing in the conventional sense, but rather gives users a useful representation of the sounds of the surrounding environment, ultimately enabling them to have conversations with other people in person and on the telephone. However, the story does not end with the surgery as the recipient will then require audiological therapy to learn or relearn the sense of hearing, as well as speech therapy. The cochlear also has certain limitations. It has to be removed for sleeping and washing, although a special waterproof cover has now been developed to enable users to swim with it in place. It is also affected by wind or loud background noise, making it sometimes difficult to differentiate between sounds.


INFOCUS

juggle running a home, a career, their children, elderly relatives, social events – the list goes on. So often, financial planning is a niggling item, eternally carried forward on a to-do list; something ‘I really have to make time for’ but that is squeezed out by other pressures and demands. There’s also what I call the fear of the unknown – people tend to have their own ideas or misconceptions that financial planning is enormously complex or only for the very wealthy and they feel intimidated. Others may want to get the ball rolling, but just don’t know where to start from.

CASHING IN Every woman should aspire to being financially independent, and particularly those who have a partner, to ensure they have options if the relationship were to fail. Money expert Elaine Bonello explains to HELEN RAINE how even financial-o-phobic females can make sure they have more than the government pension to fall back on when they retire.

I

f the phrase ‘financial planning’ has you spontaneously falling asleep, you’re probably most in need of some help; being financially independent is something every woman should aspire to, and is particularly important for women with a partner, to ensure that they have options in the event that the relationship fails. Money expert Elaine Bonello is a chartered financial planner and the director of Financial Planning Services Ltd. With over 25 years of experience in the field, she demystifies the industry in Malta,

explaining how even financial-ophobic women can build up a solid contingency fund and make sure they have something more than the government pension to fall back on when they retire.

Do you feel that women have confidence in the financial services industry, and if not, how does it need to change? On the whole, women always tend to be more cautious than men and much more risk averse. People watch news bulletins and read about stock market crashes and tend to associate a high level of risk with all investments, irrespective of category. So in those cases, the lack of confidence stems from fear. However, any adviser worth his or her salt would be able to explain the different grades of risk and give an indication of the inherent volatility of the proposed investment. Then there is also the unpleasant but undeniable fact that every industry has its cowboys, or bad apples, which tarnish it. Increased regulation has helped to weed out unsavoury characters, with

“WOMEN TODAY, MORE THAN AT ANY TIME IN THE PAST, ARE DUTY RICH AND TIME POOR” What particular challenges do you think women face in financial planning? Many! Women today, more than at any time in the past, are duty rich and time poor. Most women

procedures becoming far more stringent. A concerted, ongoing, educational campaign by both the regulators and financial services providers should be intensified. Pink April 2016 ∫ 23


INFOCUS It is paramount to continue to educate investors, providing pointers on things to look out for, questions to ask and qualifications to seek out in advisers. Sadly, I often find that people will give as much weight to a qualified individual as to their friend’s neighbour. As a minimum, a professional adviser needs to be authorised by the financial services authority and hold a professional qualification.

Can Maltese women rely on social security payments as part of their retirement plan? At a conference, I once heard a speaker define ‘social security’ as one of life’s biggest misnomers: “There is nothing social about it, and with the amounts you receive, you feel anything but secure.” On a more serious note, social security will help, but you can hardly talk of ‘relying’ on it. For women retiring today, on the

Do you find that female clients prefer to have a female adviser? In what ways can this help? I think it’s a personal thing – it’s a little like going to a doctor; some women tend to feel more at ease with a female doctor, so choosing a woman over a man is their first criteria. Just as men can bond over football talk, women can break the ice in their own manner. I also think women are very well suited for this job; it does not just require analytical and financial skills, but also a high degree of empathy.

Some financial advisers claim that women are more cautious about investing in the stock market. Do you find that’s true and is it a mistake? In 9.5 times out of 10, absolutely! Women are always more risk averse. While there is nothing wrong with a cautious approach, it may sometimes hamper growth or lead people to miss out on opportunities. 24 ∫ Pink April 2016

What are the two smartest things that women can do to manage their money more effectively? Budget – know where your money is going. And save, save and save. In a Wells Fargo survey of affluent women, many of whom earned as much as or more than their spouse, only 58 per cent said they actively saved money. Do you have a top investment tip at the moment? Rather than investment, it’s a money management tip: Religiously save at least 15 per cent of your take-home pay.

How does it work? Do clients pay upfront, or do advisers take a commission? Typically, the first meeting is a fact-finding mission to establish what the person is looking for and to assess how to help. If, at a later stage, any dealings take place, the client is informed what fees are involved. On average, how much net wealth do people have when they seek an adviser, and is there a minimum amount of money they need to have before? There’s no hard and fast rule. With younger women who may be earning a good salary but have not built up any substantial savings, investment will not be an option. However, a good starting point may be the setting up of a savings plan and working on setting out a budget to build up a nest egg for future investment.

pension in her own name, and is then widowed, she automatically loses entitlement to one of the pensions, obviously opting for the higher one. So no, depending exclusively on social security is not an option.

“IN SURVEY OF AFFLUENT WOMEN, MANY OF WHOM EARNED AS MUCH AS OR MORE THAN THEIR SPOUSE, ONLY 58 PER CENT SAID THEY ACTIVELY SAVED MONEY” unlikely assumption that they have paid enough social security contributions [since far less women worked 30 years ago] and earned the maximum pensionable income, they can expect to receive around €230 a month. It’s a help – a crutch, if you will – but it will just allow you to pull through. It is unlikely that you can maintain any particular standard of living you may have been used to. Furthermore, there is another injustice for a woman who is widowed – she is not entitled to receive the full pension her husband received, but only two-thirds of it. Moreover, if a woman was eligible to a

Do you find that men are making the majority of the financial decisions in the home, or is that changing? Especially with my younger clients, I can see a shift in mindset. Traditionally, in the large majority of cases, finances were always taken care of by the man. This often led to lots of headaches when the husband passed away, or when the couple split up, leaving the woman to cope not only with the huge emotional stress of loss but also with the worry and fear of not knowing where to start from. I have heard some harrowing stories of people who had never set foot in a bank or written out a cheque “because my husband used to do all that”. It is essential that both parties have a full view of their household’s financial picture. If misfortune strikes, that is no time to be learning how to handle finances. Thankfully, in younger couples, I see that decisions are discussed more openly and women do take a much more active interest in finances. Funnily enough, with some couples I know, it is now the woman who takes the lead role! What are the biggest mistakes women make when managing money and making long-term financial plans? I think the biggest mistake is not planning. I am constantly taken aback at the level of detail and time spent on organising a party, get-together, or holiday, while pressing the ‘snooze button’ on financial planning.


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LIFESTYLE

WOMEN ON TOP The number of women in the workforce has increased steadily in recent years, and this may be attributable to the introduction of more family-friendly measures across companies, such as mobile working and flexible hours. However, they still lag behind men when it comes to top positions. STEPHANIE FSADNI meets three women occupying managerial posts at Vodafone Malta, who believe their peers can be empowered to achieve their full potential. 26 ∫ Pink April 2016

C

Women in the boardroom: Maria Vella Galea, Caroline Farrugia and Claire Mifsud.

olleagues Claire Mifsud, Caroline Farrugia and Maria Vella Galea feel lucky to work in an environment where they are respected for their role, while being given the flexibility to cope with their family life. All three are mothers and know how important it is to have family-friendly measures at the workplace. “Gender has never been an issue here,” claims Claire, Vodafone Malta HR manager. And the fact that its eightmember executive committee includes four women is evidence of this. When it comes to recruiting people, she and her colleagues look for the best person for the job, irrespective of gender.


LIFESTYLE

“WE HAVE NO POLICING, SO EMPLOYEES MAY FEEL MORE ENGAGED AND GIVE THEIR BEST… IT’S THE OUTPUT THAT HAS TO BE JUSTIFIED; NOT THE AMOUNT OF HOURS PUT IN” “I never felt I was considered anything less than my male counterparts, or that I should hold back from expressing my opinion. But I acknowledge that it’s not the same everywhere,” says Claire, 38, who has spent the last 18 years employed by the telecommunications company that allows employees to bene���t from two hours of flexibility and mobile working where the role permits. “Mobile working helps women a lot,” says Claire. “There could be family situations, for example, sick children, but not necessarily… It may be a case of employees who are continuing their studies…” However. this flexibility and mobility can only work if employees are trusted and if they, in turn, show their commitment to the company.

“We have no policing, so employees may feel more engaged and give their best. If you are a good line manager, you’ll know who is productive, or not. Here, it’s the output that has to be justified; not the amount of hours put in,” Claire explains. “If someone’s output is poor, the whole team suffers… However, there have been very few occasions when we’ve had to reprimand an employee.” This mobility would, of course, be impossible without modern technological tools, she continues. “With our move to SkyParks Business Centre, we’ve become a paperless office. All is set up on our laptops, so we carry all our documents and information with us.” Pink April 2016 ∫ 27


LIFESTYLE Vodafone has recently revised its global maternity policy and Malta’s is actually superior to the one implemented internationally. “This is especially important to women who are breadwinners and whose pay is crucial to the family,” says Claire. “We acknowledge the burden flexibility could have on SMEs. So when this is not available, it is important that you find support and encouragement from the people around you,” she continues, adding that she feels blessed that her husband and family give her a helping hand. The first year of work after maternity leave is the most difficult and she often has to encourage employees to “hang in there”. If they make it through the first year, chances are they’ll stick to their job, she says. g ia Once a week Caroline, 41, head of u r r e Fa Carolin finance, works half a day at the office and continues at home so she can spend a few more hours with her child. “With mobile working, you’re free to work anytime. I can go home, play with my son, cook, and when he goes to sleep, I can work for a couple of hours,” she says. Companies need to take stock of the reality of modern families and find ways to support both women and men, she continues, convinced of the many possibilities to help women who want to pursue their careers and raise a family. While both the company and her family support her, Caroline maintains that it’s also a quesa Gale lla tion of “being selective in what you do”. Ve a i ar She doesn’t take her child to so many M activities that she cannot keep up with his schedule, saying: “You have to make the right choices for your family and feel good about them”. Caroline believes women may suffer from guilt feelings; the last thing a mother would want is for her children to suffer because of her lifestyle. So feeling good about one’s choices is important.

“I DEPEND ON THREE KEY PEOPLE: MY MUM, MY MOTHERIN-LAW AND MY BABYSITTER” “Not everyone has the same kind of balance – what feels good to you may not feel the same to others. It also depends a lot on how you are brought up.” Maria, the business senior executive, directly supporting the company’s chief executive, 35, claims that mobility “is key”. She is a morning person and prefers to get to work early and leave early to take care of her two kids. 28 ∫ Pink April 2016

“One can work practically from anywhere and at any time. It is of paramount importance to feel in control of your hours, days, weeks. I organise my day around my family and work exigencies – they are in tandem…” Maria insists that one should make maximum use of available time. “You can work wonders in 30 minutes – reply to e-mails, think about a project, or have a quick meeting. I had a hospital appointment and spent two-anda-half hours working on my laptop instead of staring.” “Being connected to work through a smartphone is a blessing as it makes me even more mobile and I know that colleagues can reach me anytime,” she adds. Maria believes that progress is slowly being ud made, especially in the larger organisaMifs ire a l tions. However, more flexible measures C still have to be implemented across more entities. Big companies may afford to have such policies and flexibility, she acknowledges, but most are small and medium-sized enterprises that may not have the same resources, both financial and human. Referring to her own experience raising two children, Maria stresses that the mindset has to change. “When I was expecting my first child, some people were shocked at the fact that my intention and ultimate decision was to go back to working full time. I felt judged and looked down upon, even by friends, and I found myself struggling with the situation. Since then, however, progress has been made and more women are returning to work and assuming responsibilities. “On the other hand, my immediate family proved to be of immense support. I depend on three key people: my mum, my mother-inlaw and my babysitter.” Maria pinpoints three factors that, in her opinion, would help more women join the workforce: encouragement, flexibility and a robust, logical set-up. “Encouragement may sound like a cliché, but with encouragement from your closest in life, it is often easier to decide to go back to work,” she says. “Flexibility is also important, especially in the first year of returning to work. I often wake up early in the morning to work to ensure I can leave the office at around 3pm; I would have still worked all my hours. “A robust, logical set-up ensures there are enough people who can support you. For instance, I looked for a babysitter when I didn’t need one. And another plus for Malta is the proximity of family and childcare centres.”


WOMENSWORLD

MOTHER WORSHIP

HELEN RAINE is not implying that walking over ancient flagstones and laying eyes on some 2,000-year-old tiles helped her conceive… but there is something to be said for positive thinking and a relaxing holiday that comes with the sightseeing experience. Here’s her pick of historic temples around the world, where would-be mothers have prayed to the gods for centuries… and perhaps taken that break from the hustle of everyday life that made the difference…

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WOMENSWORLD

W

hen I was trying and failing to get pregnant, Mother’s Day began to take on an air of recrimination. To lift the gloom, I used the day as a challenge to make a change, rather than seeing it as a symbol of failure. I went decaf, reduced my alcohol intake [keeping one glass of wine a day for medicinal purposes, obviously], upped the ‘good’ fats in my diet, popped a few supplements and started reflexology. Six months later, taking a holiday in Turkey, I felt great, but remained stubbornly baby free. And then, at the bottom of a Lonely Planet page, I spotted a box about the local Roman fertility temple – surely it couldn’t hurt? My husband raised an eyebrow, but wisely kept his mouth shut as we navigated increasingly narrow lanes and went round in circles until, finally, I found the temple. It was deserted, the door secured with metal bars… I tried not to see it as an ominous portent. In desperation, my husband tracked down the custodian in the local cafe, watched doubtfully while I gazed at the mosaics of round-bellied women and was incredulous a month later when I announced I was pregnant. I’m not really claiming that walking over ancient flagstones and laying eyes on some 2,000-year-old tiles helped me conceive per se… but there is something to be said for positive thinking and a relaxing holiday. If you’d like to try the same

treatment, these are the pick of the historic temples around the world where would-be mothers have prayed to the gods for centuries; so abandon your scepticism for a moment, then be sure to kick back into the holiday atmosphere afterwards.

Narlikuyu, Turkey Narlikuyu [which means ‘Well of the Pomegranate’ – pomegranate long being thought of as a fertility booster since one glass contains a day’s supply of folic acid] is a relatively unspoilt village not far from Silifke in southern Turkey. It’s here that I found my temple. It’s actually a Roman Bath, built on a cold water stream that cools the nearby ocean – the fertility connection comes from the exquisite mosaic inside, depicting three goddesses for the price of one – Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne, daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, key players in Aphrodite’s baptism story. Once you’ve had your moment with the Three Graces, it’s fun to eat at one of the pretty harbour cafes before visiting the yawning Caves of Heaven and Hell to stand on a platform 100 metres above the Hell Pit and imagine Zeus subduing Typhon, a fearsome, fire-breathing creature. Follow up with the nearby Göksu marshes, a serene delta of lakes, reed beds and sandy patches for briny fresh air, spectacular views and glimpses of shy, native birds.

Palea Paphos, Cyprus Cyprus boasts the official temple for Aphrodite, goddess of love and fertility. Idols dating back to 3,800 BC have been found here and the temple flourished through Roman times until the 4th Century when paganism was banned and it fell into ruins. These days, there’s not much left of the original building apart from some foundations, but the cone-shaped stone that represented the goddess can be seen in Nicosia’s Cyprus Museum – it was also pictured on a Roman coin from AD 198, on show at the British Museum in London, according to historian Holly Hayes. There are some gorgeous Roman mosaics too – I visited with the results from the Turkey temple strapped in a baby carrier and my son had limited tolerance for dawdling, but they are worth lingering over.

After you’ve paid your respects, there’s world-class seafood at the harbour restaurants and you can visit the Rock of Aphrodite, which, legend has it, marks the spot where she rose from the waves.

Niuheliang Goddess Temple, China It’s very far from the beaten track, but Niuheliang is the mother of all goddess temples. Discovered only recently, it dates back over 5,000 years and artifacts found here include a sculpture of a woman’s head, inlaid with jade eyes, as well as gigantic figurines, three times the size of humans. Fetuses and pregnant women fashioned from jade were found in great numbers. Researcher Liu Guoxiang told National Geographic: “In ancient times Earth goddesses were regarded as symbols of fertility [and] vitality… This grand-size goddess temple and goddess figures found inside prove that goddess worship had a leading role in prehistoric Chinese religion.” The temple is around five hours from Beijing in the Chaoyang region. Attractions in the area include the spectacular mountain range of Qingfeng, the North and South Pagodas, the Phoenix Mountain National Park and the Guandi Temple.

– ag˙ar Qim, Malta H You don’t need to leave Malta to visit one of the most famous and historically important fertility temples in the world. The ‘fat lady’ statuettes found in the Neolithic temples around the islands might be of indeterminate sex, but most archaeologists agree they represent a ‘general fertility function’ as archaeologist Martin Gray puts it, and were related to a specific goddess cult. So take a day out of your hectic life to – ag˙ar Qim early in the morning when visit H you’ve a chance of finding some peace and quiet. Look out over the vast Mediterranean and link your mind back through the generation of women who have borne babies in the islands – an unbroken line that leads to you. Then enjoy the day like a tourist; swim or snorkel at the Blue Grotto, have a long lunch, take a walk in Buskett and finish off with a favourite dessert in Mdina. If anyone calls you out on all that indulgence, tell them your body is a temple and it’s time to worship. Pink April 2016 ∫ 33


WOMANKIND

AGAINST THE LAW Unbeknown to many, poetess Caroline Norton was a battered wife. MARY GALEA DEBONO shows how she turned her bitter experiences into positive action, changing the law to guarantee mothers in her position the custody of the children; as well as the unacceptable law that allowed the transfer of a woman’s property to her husband.

I

n 1836, and for a long time afterwards, the main topic of conversation among the habitués of society drawing rooms was the court case Norton vs Melbourne. In June of that year, George Norton, younger brother and heir of Lord Grantley, brought an action against William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, accusing him of “criminal conversations” – a euphemism for a sexual relationship – with his wife Caroline. Because of the nature of the case and the extensive reports in the newspapers – Charles Dickens was one of the reporters – the trial created a big sensation among the public and, since the protagonists in this alleged illicit affair were people from the aristocracy, it generated a special interest among the upper classes.

But this case became the cause célèbre of the 19th century for a more compelling reason. The accused was the leader of the Whig Party and the incumbent Prime Minister. A guilty verdict meant negative political repercussions not only for him, but also for his party. It is no surprise that

support his case were disgruntled servants, some of whom had been dismissed from service. Some may even have been bribed and their testimony was, therefore, tainted. More telling was the fact that Caroline, who stood to lose either way, could not defend her reputation because, as the wife of the plaintiff, she was not

“WITH HER REPUTATION TARNISHED, SHE WAS THE ONLY LOSER; OR SO IT SEEMED AT FIRST” Lord Melbourne was so worried about the outcome of the case that he took to his bed and was unable to make a presence at the trial. Luckily for Melbourne, he was acquitted of the charges because the only witnesses that Norton brought to

permitted to speak in her defence, although she had plenty to say about it. With her reputation tarnished, she was the only loser; or so it seemed at first. But Caroline was strong-willed and determined to turn her bitter experience into positive action. Pink April 2016 ∫ 37


WOMANKIND Caroline was the granddaughter of the celebrated playwright Richard Sheridan, whose fame is ironically linked with his play School for Scandal. When her father, a gambler and heavy drinker, died at the age of 42 of tuberculosis, her mother was left with seven children, four boys and three girls, and very little money. Fortunately, the Duke of York, who had been a great friend of the famous playwright, came to her rescue and provided her with a ‘grace and favour’ apartment at Hampton Court, as well as a small pension. Having solved her financial problems, she concentrated her efforts on finding suitable rich men to marry her three beautiful and spirited girls. It was a task she managed to carry out satisfactorily though, in Caroline’s case, as it turned out, not with unmitigated success. Caroline was the most unruly of the Three Graces, as the Sheridan girls were known, and the mother thought it wise to send her to a finishing school for some discipline. One day, while walking in Lord Grantley’s park with her schoolmates, the young

George Norton spotted her, and soon afterwards, proposed. At first, Caroline was reluctant to accept and her mother advised him to wait a couple of years. But, with little by way of dowry, suitable suitors were scarce. Her sisters had already found aristocratic husbands; so when she received a second proposal from Norton, she accepted it, and in 1827, they got married. George was dull and unimaginative; Caroline was clever and witty. This irked George, who had no use for a clever wife. Mean and stingy, he did not consider it his duty to discuss anything with her and kept her in the dark about his finances. His mistake was that he expected her to do as she was told. When she revolted against this domestic tyranny, or simply outargued him, he became violent and physically aggressive. Caroline was a battered wife although few people were aware of this situation. Writing became her way of escape and poetry was the vehicle to vent her frustrations. In her first long poem, The sorrows of Rosalie, she narrated the story of a simple country girl, who

Lord Melbourne

general election became a possibility, Caroline, a Whig supporter like her grandfather before her, opened her London house for meetings of the party election committees. George was a staunch Tory, but he tolerated these meetings, knowing he could only advance if he cultivated these friendships. When the Whigs were elected, Caroline begged the new administration to give George a job

“GEORGE WAS DULL AND UNIMAGINATIVE; CAROLINE WAS CLEVER AND WITTY. THIS IRKED GEORGE, WHO HAD NO USE FOR A CLEVER WIFE”

A watercolour sketch of Caroline Norton in 1860.

38 ∫ Pink April 2016

was the victim of treatment similar to hers. The poem was well received and was followed by others. By 1830, she had become a well-known poet. Writing was not only therapeutic; it also brought royalties and was a source of income she sorely needed. She started writing novels and became the editor of social publications, then known as ‘scrapbooks’, which were very popular in aristocratic circles. George found no objection to her writing as long as it brought in money, and when she announced that she was pregnant with her first child, he promptly told her that she was expected to pay for her confinement with her own money. Caroline’s success as a writer was reflected in her popularity as a society hostess. Her drawing room was crowded not only with artists and writers, but also with politicians. When a Whig victory in the 1830

and Lord Melbourne, who was then home secretary, made him a police magistrate. Melbourne, whose wife Caroline Lamb had left him after her affair with Lord Byron and whose only companion was his mentally ill son, found Caroline’s company stimulating. Their friendship flourished. George never opposed it. The Nortons had three boys. When Caroline was pregnant with her fourth baby, George gave her such a beating that she felt she had no other option but to leave with her three sons and seek refuge with one of her sisters. But she had no money to support herself and her children. So when George, repentant, contacted her and, pretending to be contrite, made a lot of promises, she decided to go back to him. Their domestic situation, however, did not improve; on her return, she was subjected to more physical violence that made her miscarry.


WOMANKIND In 1836, Caroline planned to take the boys for a short break to her brother, but at the last minute, Norton changed his mind – possibly prompted by his cousin/mistress – and this time, it was he who left the house, taking the boys with him. It was after this incident that George brought his action against Lord Melbourne, now Prime Minister, choosing him out of all of Caroline’s admirers, perhaps at the instigation of his political opponents. Norton, knowing that Melbourne had so much to lose, hoped to extract the highest possible damages from him. The trial convinced Caroline that she was entirely at the mercy of her husband, who had no intention of letting her have her children. He was

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Caroline Norton in 1863.

“THIS EXPERIENCE CONVINCED HER THAT A LAW WHICH ALLOWS THE TRANSFER OF A WOMAN’S PROPERTY TO HER HUSBAND IS UNACCEPTABLE AND SHE SET OUT TO CHANGE IT” merely using them as leverage to make her accept as small an allowance as possible. She knew she had to act if she wanted to see them again. And so began Caroline’s long and painful struggle for her boys. What she learnt from her lawyers about her position as a married woman shocked her. A married woman had no say over the children; a married woman could not own property, which meant she not only had no say over her own personal property, but also that even if she entered into a contract with her estranged husband, he had no obligation to honour the agreement. It was clear that the only hope she had of ever seeing her three sons was by changing these unjust laws. Her goal was to amend the law to guarantee all mothers in her position the custody of the children. She wrote and distributed pamphlets and lobbied hard among her many political friends from both political parties. In 1839, thanks mainly to her untiring dedication to the cause, the Infant Custody Act, allowing regular access to both parents of children of 12 or under, was passed by both Houses. George, however, managed to evade the Act by sending the boys to his sister in Scotland, where English laws were not applicable. Caroline found herself in a depressing situation. She had no money other than

what she earned from her writing and George had not only kept her books, her clothes and her furniture, but he also refused to pay her bills. Moreover, when her mother died, he even sought to appropriate her share from her mother’s bequests. This experience convinced her that a law which allows the transfer of a woman’s property to her husband is unacceptable and she set out to change it. She got one of her creditors to bring an action against her husband. The big audience in the courtroom for the hearing of this case, spellbound by her impassioned speech, burst into applause after her testimony. Norton lost the case. She later campaigned to bring about amendments to the Divorce Act of 1857, which ensured that a separated wife was free to own property. It was another triumph. Norton died in 1875, and in 1877, Caroline, 69, married her old friend Sir William Stirling Maxwell, 59, but the marriage lasted only three months because she died the following June. Of her three sons, William, the youngest, died aged eight after a fall from his pony, which he had been riding, unsupervised, while staying with his father. Fletcher, her eldest, died of tuberculosis, as did her second born, Brinsley, who died five weeks after his mother.


PINKPROMO

NOTHING TO HIDE Professional make-up artist Allison Depriestre was recently in Malta for the launch of Dermablend [3D Correction] by Vichy Laboratoires. From her experience on severe imperfections, face burns and skin pigmentation, she tells Pink make-up can simply change people’s lives, especially those whose flaws have not always been around and are hard to accept. When the right make-up is applied in the right way to cover them, it can be truly efficient. Your tool is make-up. What do you feel about people who never use it and would you consider leaving the house without it? Some people don’t need any makeup, although these are very rare. Most women can significantly enhance their look with just a few hints of make-up, so I think it’s a shame not to take care of this little advantage we have. On the other hand, some women use too much and hide their beauty with it. It’s all about balance. Of all the make-up products that we apply, what do you think is the single most important item that no one should really do without and that should always be in our handbag? Foundation or concealer plus lipstick/moisturiser. Just hiding a few flaws, under-eye circles etc…, is enough to look less tired. On top of that, a hint of colour on the lips or cheeks makes you look healthy in 30 seconds. Make-up is generally used to enhance looks. But you have experience in applying it on people suffering from severe imperfections, skin pigmentation and even burns on their face. How effective can it be in this case? What is the impact on their life? And what are your most important tips?  I think, in these cases, make-up can simply make you happy and change your life. Especially when those imperfections have not always been there, they are hard to accept. It’s only normal to use make-up to cover them, and when you do it right, it’s really efficient! My

best advice is to use high coverage only where you have the imperfection to cover. You should try to keep the make-up as natural as possible on the other areas of your face.  When can make-up actually have a negative, rather than embellishing, effect? When you lose objectivity. The most common mistakes I see are: use of the wrong shade [in doubt, always opt for a lighter colour]; bad blending of the product; too much product!  Who is the most important person you have done up and who would you most like to apply make-up to? I wouldn’t be able to name a most important person. I am very lucky to have applied make-up on many amazing people! What are the hardest flaws to hide? Highly pigmented under-eye circles, and all strong pigmentation, such as vitiligo. You were recently in Malta for the launch of Dermablend [3D Correction] by Vichy Laboratoires. From your vast experience, what can you say about this revolutionary and innovative foundation? I really love products that have more than just one advantage. Doing your make-up when you have acneprone skin is really demanding; it takes time, there are several steps to follow and you need to be meticulous to achieve a natural finish. What I love about the new Dermablend [3D correction] is that you can obtain an amazing and long-lasting result in a minimum amount of time. The resurfacing effect is pretty efficient and this is what most foundations are lacking for this type of skin. Pink April 2016 ∫ 43


SHOWSTOPPER

Dress €17.95, Lulù Boutique; Ben de Lisi waistcoat, €87; Ben de Lisi trousers, €56, both Debenhams.

44 ∫ Pink April 2016


SHOWSTOPPER

Sharp-edged vs silky SOFTEN ANY FASHION HARSHNESS WITH FLOUNCY FLORALS

Photography Stephanie Galea Styling Marisa Grima [www.marisagrima.com] Hair Robert Agius @ Aura, using Screen hair products Make-up Mateja Camilleri Model Brunella @ Supernovamodel.com Location Cactus garden at Derek Garden Centre

Pink April 2016 ∫ 45


SHOWSTOPPER

Dress, €39.99; scarf, €22.99; necklace, €17.99, all Mango.

46 ∫ Pink April 2016


SHOWSTOPPER

Dress, €288, Joseph Ribkoff @ Mimi Boutique.

Pink April 2016 ∫ 47


SHOWSTOPPER

Dress, €92; trousers, €60, both Star by Julien Macdonald @ Debenhams ∫ bag, €49, Aldo.

48 ∫ Pink April 2016


SHOWSTOPPER

Dress, €162, Guess ∫ shoes, €69, Aldo.

Pink April 2016 ∫ 49


SHOWSTOPPER

Dress, €92, Warehouse @ Debenhams ∫ sandals, €67; bag, €59; necklace, €22.90, all Aldo.

50 ∫ Pink April 2016


SHOWSTOPPER Top, €48; shirt dress, €73; trousers, €69, all Oasis ∫ shoes, €69, Aldo.

Pink April 2016 ∫ 51


SHOWSTOPPER

Dress, €169; shirt [worn tied around waist], €99.90; bell-bottoms, €139; bag €239, all Tommy Hilfiger ∫ necklace, stylist’s own. 52 ∫ Pink April 2016


THINKPINK

FASHION, FOOD & THINGS

SIMPLE, RELAXED SILHOUETTES

The Marks & Spencer Spring/Summer 2016 menswear collection, available now in the Sliema and Valletta stores, sees a focus on tailoring, simple, relaxed silhouettes, texture and luxury footwear. Sports Luxe continues as a strong influence for summer, with sports-inspired detail found across the collections. The new smartcasual underpins design this season, with items such as bomber jackets, trainers and polo shirts worn as both casual and formal options. Tailoring continues to take on a softer construction, creating a more relaxed look for the formal silhouette. In formal wear, styles are contemporary and slimming. The Limited Edition Super Slim Fit suit will make a lasting impression and its Buttonsafe Technology ensures the heat-fused buttons will not fall off. And don’t worry about spilling a cup of coffee while wearing it to work, or a glass of wine after hours, as the suit is fully machine washable.

CLASSIC AMERICAN COOL

Tommy Hilfiger has opened a dedicated Tommy Hilfiger accessories store at The Point in Sliema. Part of a growing portfolio of Tommy Hilfiger locations worldwide, it is operated by Trilogy Ltd, franchise partner of Tommy Hilfiger in Malta. The Sliema store showcases the latest Spring/ Summer 2016 Tommy Hilfiger accessories for men and women, including footwear, bags and wallets. The store’s bespoke interior fuses the brand’s Americana heritage with clean, modern finishes and a bright, airy aesthetic. The collections are inspired by the spirit of an island-hopping adventure. The new Tommy Hilfiger accessories store in Sliema joins existing Tommy Hilfiger sportswear stores in Valletta and St Julian’s, and a Hilfiger Denim store in Sliema’s The Point Shopping Mall.

KIDS’ FASHION

TOGETHER AGAINST BULLYING

Victim Support Malta, the NGO responsible for supporting victims of crime on the island, has recently launched a campaign against bullying, supported and funded by the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties. Dr Roberta Lepre, director of VSM, felt that with the rise of bullying in schools, homes, online and on school transportation, VSM had to take a stand to create awareness of this phenomenon with a nation-wide campaign. The focus of Together Against Bullying is aimed at educating the public about the phenomenon, defining its parameters and inviting adults to get involved in the problem rather than leaving it to the kids. To find out more about the campaign, visit www.facebook.com/victimsupportmalta; send an e-mail to info@victimsupport.org.mt; or call on 2122 8333.

OUTSTANDING THIRST-QUENCHER

Cisk Lager beer is a golden-coloured, bottom-fermented lager with a distinctive and well-balanced character. Its rich hop aroma and pleasant bitterness, combined with a mild astringency, make it an outstanding thirst-quencher, with an alcohol content of 4.2 per cent. Today, Cisk Lager beer has developed and progressed considerably since its launch in 1929 and the range also includes Cisk Export Premium Lager – a smooth, well-balanced and exceptional beer with five per cent alcohol content; Cisk Excel – a low-carbohydrate beer; Cisk Chill – a lemon-flavoured and berry-flavoured lager; and Cisk Strong – an outstanding extra-strong premium lager with a nine per cent alcohol content.

INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE

Designed exclusively for Debenhams, J by Jasper Conran creates a classic style with contemporary and premium pieces. Star by Julien Macdonald starts the summer with a monochromatic colour palette with tones of pinks and lilacs. Alongside gorgeous woven dresses and essential coverups, embellished denim is key. RJR. John Rocha’s collection is a cool, modern look, created for boys. The girls’ range showcases signature floral prints, textured fabrics, 3D appliqué and sparkly embellishment on soft and woven pieces. Mantaray is a casual and relaxed brand for girls, featuring ditsy florals and fun prints. Bluezoo is a fun, colourful, comfortable and stylish brand, featuring everyday must-have looks at great prices.

DENIM TRENDS

Stradivarius, a fashion brand that is well known for its denim collections, proposes new jean fittings for this season. The most classic jeans come accompanied by new trendy silhouettes that are a musthave for this season, from cropped to skinny and mom fit, the revelation of the season that takes us on a trip back to the 1990s; to the wide-leg, midi-length and high-rise culottes; and the push-up. Stradivarius is at The Point, Sliema, and St Lucy Street, Valletta.

Aldo celebrates those who find inspiration in the everyday, the everywhere, and the everything through its continued campaign geared towards individuality and personal style. The campaign features a diptych: two side-by-side images playing off each other visually and conceptually. On one side is a still life representing Aldo’s abstract inspiration shot by Bela Borsodi; on the other is a portrait of interesting people by Matteo Montanari, illustrating the complete look that speaks to the heart of the inspiration. Each accompanying still life is a wink to the portrait it couples. Together they intersect to tell the complete story – inspiration that goes from the abstract to the tangible and sets the stage for Aldo’s take on the Spring/Summer 2016 trends. Aldo Shoes & Accessories are at The Point, Sliema, Valletta, Paola and Arkadia, Gozo. 54 ∫ Pink April 2016


FASHIONSTORY

Sculpture in

precious stones

Paolo Labianco of Opalia fine jewellery has travelled the world, settling in Gozo for a new lease of inspiration and experimentation. His jewellery creations have been described as miniature universes and his local customers fit comfortably in this cosmos due to their international spirit.

Y

ou travel around the world. What brought you to Gozo and how does the island inspire your creations? The respect towards art, religion and cooperation is unique; it’s the key to the perpetuation of Gozo’s precious history and culture. I think it is essential for any artist to have these conditions, together with a humane modus vivendi. There is no greater inspiration than this. Your jewellery has been described as a “miniature universe”. How so? Technically, if you look closely at all our creations and from all angles, they turn out to have precise geometry. Their visual impact allows them to seem like different jewels at times, depending on the angle. Every second year, we also create collections with rotating parts inside the jewel; like Saturn and its rings, they are small universes. Your creations have also been described as intense and flamboyant and at the same time primordial. Isn’t that a contradiction? How do you combine the two? If we think of primordial

art, simplified shapes and earthy colours [often flamboyant in a sense, from red soil to yellow ochre] conveyed very clear messages with strong meanings. In essence, behind all our works of art, the precious gemstones and the ancient and modern techniques we use hides a very intense meaning. How much time do you spend on research and experimentation? A great amount, I would say. My decision not to have a shop is based on the fact that I want to spend most of my time on experimentation, to avoid the commercialisation of my jewellery and to dedicate all my energy to personalisation and exclusivity. This has allowed me to invent new types of tools and techniques, while gemstone settings and cutting are done entirely by me. What is the most important secret in a gemstone you have unearthed along the way? No matter how many gems I have observed, a new secret has always emerged. And I believe there are more around the corner. Pink April 2016 ∫ 57


FASHIONSTORY

“A SPECIAL COLLECTION, DEDICATED TO GOZO, WITH EARTHY COLOURS, INSPIRED BY MALTA’S STONE”

What is a complete no-no when it comes to jewellery? There is never a complete nono in jewellery. Anything goes, and it’s very personal. Of course, the rules of bon ton must be followed, according to the occasion. But the important thing is that the person’s qualities stand out and that they feel unique wearing Opalia’s jewels. Who are your customers and how do the Maltese fit in? We have customers from all over the world. Our business was active in Italy, Greece and Australia for more than 30 years. Our customers are normally over 25 years old, they are often eclectic and are lovers of refined products. Maltese customers fit perfectly because of the international spirit that distinguishes them. We always try our best to fulfill their needs and expectations, and as a result, many become our personal friends. You use a variety of precious stones, but especially, Australian opals. Why this particular penchant? No matter how many opals you discover, you will never find two that are similar. Their structure is unique and rare; they have great value and personality. 58 ∫ Pink April 2016

What is your all-time favourite piece? The Miner’s Spirit brooch, which placed second in Australia’s Opal Jewellery Design Awards. It reminds me of the fairy tale I lived. Have you ever created anything you just couldn’t part with? My first Kinetic earring – the gemstone was gifted to me by Daniela L’Abbate, an Australian opals cutter and carver, a magnificent artist and close friend. What can we expect from you for summer – what colours, materials and designs? A special collection, dedicated to Gozo, with earthy colours, inspired by Malta’s stone. Who would you most love to see wearing your jewellery? I always love seeing elegant women of any age wearing my jewellery. What’s your biggest milestone so far? On a personal level, my family; as regards Opalia’s art, my loyal customers and their profound love for my activity.


FASHIONSTORY

A FRESH FACE FOR FASHION Behind the scenes of the MFWA2016 shoot.

Nadia Debono is relatively new in the fashion industry and has never even set foot on a catwalk before. She doesn’t even know if her height fits the requirements. But the 23-year-old, who is a chef by day/night, was chosen to be the face of Malta Fashion Week & Awards 2016, and she intends to become renowned in both lines of work.

Y

ou’ve never modelled before, so what were your thoughts when you were handpicked to be the face of the Malta Fashion Week & Awards 2016 completely out of the blue? I couldn’t believe and still cannot believe it. First thoughts were mostly fear and excitement, but the way this news was given to me was quite cleverly coordinated. My first involvement with professional modelling was during

my participation in the TV programme Venere in October. This was an amazing experience for me as I got to see what it’s like to work as a model with a professional team. When the programme’s artistic director, Adrian Mizzi, had called me in for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Malta photo shoot, I thought it was related to Venere and I had no idea we were doing the 2016 campaign. In the past, the face of MFWA was always one of the top models in Malta, and it never crossed my mind that, as a beginner, I could be chosen. In hindsight, it was probably wise of Adrian to keep me in the dark so I wouldn’t get too excited. I only got to know I had been chosen when he was happy that the shoot was going as he had planned, and when he knew that by telling me, it would help me project the look required. Is this a dream come true, or just a bolt from the blue? As it turns out, it’s both a bolt from the blue and a dream come true. Although I never dared to even think of being the face of MFWA, it was always my dream to form part of the fashion industry. Did you ever aspire to be a model and did you think you had what it takes? Since I was a little girl, I used to watch fashion programmes and always dreamt that one day I might make it onto a catwalk, or get called for fashion campaigns, but I wasn’t sure I was capable, or had what it takes. Also when I grew up, Pink April 2016 ∫ 61


FASHIONSTORY

Adrian, who is always present at the shoots, so it was all very casual and went very well.

my job, which involves long and tiring hours, mostly in the evenings, never gave me space to seek such opportunities. Why do you think you were chosen? This is the question I asked Adrian. I’ve been told that I was chosen for my particular look, which fitted in well with the creative direction they had in mind for this year’s campaign. Basically, they wanted a look that is not too confident and not too shy, with sharp features; innocent, while making a statement; simple and elegant. I’ve been told they wanted someone who is totally new in this industry – Venere is considered to be more of an artistic programme than fashion.

“BASICALLY, THEY WANTED A LOOK THAT IS NOT TOO CONFIDENT AND NOT TOO SHY, WITH SHARP FEATURES; INNOCENT, WHILE MAKING A STATEMENT; SIMPLE AND ELEGANT” How was the actual shoot? Did you feel uncomfortable and unprepared, or did you slip quite naturally into the role of a model? The shoot took place at Unique Fashion Studios in Paola, which is the production office of Venere, so I felt at home there. Apart from Chris Galea, the hairstylist, who I worked with for the first time, I had worked with the rest of the team before on the programme and they make you feel really at ease, explaining what they want from you and helping you out step by step. I worked with Steve Muliett, the photographer, twice and Elaine Galea had done my make-up at least three times before. I had also worked with 62 ∫ Pink April 2016

How would you describe the end result and what did you feel when you saw it? In my opinion, it is top notch. Although I know I am the model in the pictures, I’m still pinching myself to realise this is reality. When Adrian showed me the end result and told me it would feature in everything related to MFWA2016, I was over the moon. I am happy I lived up to their expectations, as I did not want to disappoint the production team. Have you done any other modelling since this opportunity came along and how do you compare this to your day job? It’s still too early to be landing other modelling jobs as a result of this campaign, but I’ve already been approached by several photographers linked to MFWA2016. Also, I am totally new to this industry and have never been on a catwalk before. I don’t even know whether my height is appropriate for MFWA. Now that you have had this experience, would you like to continue along this line, or was it just a one-off opportunity and a bit of fun on the side? I definitely intend to pursue other opportunities that may come my way, but I’m keeping my feet firmly on the ground. This is definitely helping build up my confidence and portfolio. If you had to change something about your body/face, what would it be? My hands are not that nice due to my job, but at the same time, I know they are a sign of my hard work. This has the ring of a sort of Cinderella, rags-to-riches story… How has your life changed, or does it simply go on, business as usual? My day-to-day life did not change. I still do the same work I used to do, but I got to know a lot of people very quickly and got many new friend requests on Facebook. Having said that, my schedule has changed as I am involved in many activities, which I have to say I enjoy a lot. But I still go to work without any make-up!


PINKPROMO

Canestest

CONFIDENCE TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TREATMENT FOR YOU

D

ealing with vaginal infections can make you feel less confident and less in control of your body, not to mention very uncomfortable. New Canestest® allows you to independently diagnose yourself in the comfort of your home, quickly giving you reliable results. It’s a new and innovative solution that will put you back in control of your intimate health and give you the help to choose the treatment you need to effectively deal with your infection.

Thrush vs Bacterial Vaginosis While both thrush and bacterial vaginosis [BV] are very common, they’re two different types of infections and you need to treat them differently. Many women mistake BV for thrush, but the symptoms and causes are different. Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans, which leads to symptoms such as itching, soreness, or a white discharge. BV is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria regularly found in your vagina. BV symptoms include a fishy odour and a greyish-white, watery discharge. With Canestest®, you can test before you treat so you know you’re using the right treatment for your infection.

What is Canestest®? New Canestest® is a convenient self-test solution that helps you to find out whether you’re suffering from thrush, BV, or another infection and also helps you to decide which treatment is right for you. This innovation allows you to regain control of your intimate health – it’s over 90 per cent accurate and it only takes 10 seconds to receive your diagnosis. The test itself is a simple, easy-to-use swab that changes colour, indicating which vaginal infection you may be suffering from.

How do you use Canestest®?

L.MTCC. CANTEST.2016.02

It’s easy and straightforward to use Canestest® at home. In fact, it’s similar to inserting a tampon and it shouldn’t cause you any discomfort. To get the most accurate results you need to make sure you

don’t use Canestest® less than one day before or after your period, or if you have any signs of your period or vaginal bleeding. You also need to allow 12 hours after having sexual intercourse or vaginal douching. Instructions: 1 Unwrap the Canestest® swab and make sure its tip does not come into contact with anything before you insert it into your vagina. 2 Hold the Canestest® swab by the handle and insert the yellow tip into your vagina, rotate the swab and then remove. 3 After 10 seconds check the tip of the Canestest® swab to see if the colour has stayed the same or changed to blue/green.

How to interpret the test results If your Canestest® swab didn’t change colour after 10 seconds, it means that you may be suffering from thrush. If you have symptoms such as an itchy or sore vagina, or thick, white discharge, it’s likely that this is the case. If your Canestest® swab changed colour and the tip becomes blue or green, it means that you may have a BV infection. BV infections are usually accompanied by symptoms such as a thin, grey discharge and an unpleasant fishy smell.

Treating Bacterial Vaginosis [BV] If you’ve used our Canestest® self-test kit, or if you’ve been diagnosed by your doctor and you know you have bacterial vaginosis [BV], you can use an internal gel to treat the symptoms of the infection. These internal gels, such as Canesbalance® BV Gel, work by helping to regulate the pH balance of your vagina. New Canesbalance® provides triple benefit, relieving unpleasant odour and abnormal discharge, restricting the growth of bad bacteria and supporting good bacteria. It is a seven-day treatment that starts to soothe your symptoms in just two to three days. It’s easy to use, providing you with handy and hygienic applicator tubes.

Treating thrush Treating thrush can be quite straight forward. To treat the infection, you can use an internal product that contains the active ingredient clotrimazole or fluconazole. Choose from the Canesten® Oral Capsule, Soft Gel Pessary or Pessary. These products all treat your infection, but different people prefer different treatment options. Canesten® 2% Thrush Cream will help to soothe your symptoms such as itching. You can buy these products separately or you can purchase a Combi Pack containing both the internal and external treatments. If you need further help, a pharmacist or your doctor can help you decide the best option for you. Canestest®, Canesbalance® and the Canesten® thrush treatments are available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Pink April 2016 ∫ 65


THEUNIFORM

Putting on a

[full] face Fashion blogger and stylist CAROLINE PARIS skirts the [fashion] issue to focus on Maltese make-up trends. Local ladies have their very own look, she maintains, and it runs counter to their Western counterparts.

‘T

rendsetter’ has never really been the word used to describe the little island of Malta. The feeling has always been that, by and large, the Maltese tend to suffer from a copycat, small-island mentality and be suspicious of ideas originating from their own shores. More often than not, we have always tended to seek inspiration from overseas. The general fashion scene actually swings between both ignoring and emulating what is done abroad. Many people like to imitate what celebrities wear, but are less

focused on foreign street style and catwalk ideas. Like it, or not, however, the truth is it is always interesting to see and analyse what the average person in another country is wearing.

Check out some of the favourite looks of the beauty bloggers and other make-up lovers out there. They may be of inspiration for the next night out.

hair maintenance to nails, skincare and especially make-up. Actually, when it comes to make-up, the interest is quite staggering and it definitely seems to be one of the most popular areas. Make-up trends in Malta are quite inspired and tied to our Arabic roots – we tend to enjoy wearing a lot of it and using make-up to alter our features. In many Western

“MAKE-UP TRENDS IN MALTA ARE QUITE INSPIRED AND TIED TO OUR ARABIC ROOTS – WE TEND TO ENJOY WEARING A LOT OF IT AND USING MAKE-UP TO ALTER OUR FEATURES” On the other hand, when it comes to the beauty scene, trends are forming. Beauty in Malta is booming and there is a high dedication to personal upkeep, from

countries, the recent trend for everyday looks – and really even when all dressed up – has been about the nude and slightly unpolished, imperfect face. The global Pink April 2016 ∫ 67


THEUNIFORM

obsession with a filtered curated Instagram world has somehow resulted in an attempt to create an imperfect look. In Malta, however, most of us have remained make-up lovers. The average woman will wake up every morning and apply a full look before leaving the house. Whenever time – and skill – allow, the lips are perfectly defined and the face perfectly contoured. Winged eyeliner is also a popular

“IN MALTA, HOWEVER, MOST OF US HAVE REMAINED MAKE-UP LOVERS. THE AVERAGE WOMAN WILL WAKE UP EVERY MORNING AND APPLY A FULL LOOK BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE” make-up trend, although probably not for every day. And many women also have taken to visiting make-up artists before attending parties and weddings. Over the last year, there has also been an interesting surge in the

68 ∫ Pink April 2016

number of beauty bloggers, many of whom also film tutorials to post on You Tube. Facebook groups, where users post daily make-up looks and discuss different products, have also been created and have become very active –

one such popular one being The Beauty Game. So should we be following the trends in cities such as London, Paris etc…? Really, there’s no right, or wrong. The reality of the matter is that Maltese skin does tend to look better with at least some make-up. And anyway, the bottom line is that make-up is fun; transforming your face is enjoyable, albeit a bit time consuming. Check out some of the favourite looks of the beauty bloggers and other make-up lovers out there. Maybe they can be of inspiration for the next night out.


THINKPINK

HEALTH & BEAUTY

A LOOP OF SENSATIONS

Prada’s latest fragrance, Prada Candy Kiss, evolved from the idea of creating a loop of sensations out of a single signature note wrapped around the body. Channelling Candy’s addictive nature, the fragrance elevates a distinctive musk scent by multiplying its presence on the skin. It’s about obsession and repetition, just like a favourite song triggers emotion again and again. Prada Candy Kiss is the latest addition to the Prada Candy fragrance collection, which includes the original Prada Candy EDP, Prada Candy L’Eau and Prada Candy Florale. Bright, sensual and bold, Prada Candy fragrances are delightfully addictive scents, inspired by a new facet of Prada’s femininity, where more is more and excess is everything. It is exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd [2133 1553].

LONG-LASTING SMOOTH SKIN

Discover the new Braun Silk-épil 9 range with a 40 per cent wider head, removing a lot more hair in one stroke, for a faster epilation versus other Braun epilators. It’s a new standard of epilation so you can enjoy long-lasting smooth skin for up to four weeks. The new Braun Silk-épil 9 is available from shop.vjsm.com.mt and leading outlets.

HEALTHY-FEELING EYES

Upgrade to Air Optix® and get two free lenses with every six pack and one free lens with every three pack. Air Optix® contact lenses reduce the risk of eye infections, swelling, redness and dryness. These breathable monthly contact lenses are made from state-of-the-art material that allows up to five times more oxygen through the lens than traditional soft contact lenses for healthy-looking and healthy-feeling eyes than older technology lenses. For more information, call on 2381 1400; or send an e-mail to info@classoptical.com

INCREDIBLY IRIDESCENT AND SEDUCTIVE

Diego Dalla Palma’s Glow & Perfume Potion pearly dry oil is delicately scented, illuminating and moisturising the skin of the body, making it incredibly iridescent and seductive. Its light and melting texture is immediately absorbed without leaving it greasy, while its gelled structure facilitates the application, releasing the precious golden pearls that light up the complexion. A few drops of this potion give a flawless skin, moisturised, smooth and shiny. Diego Dalla Palma is exclusively distributed by Chemimart. Call on 2149 2212. 72 ∫ Pink April 2016

THE PURE SPIRIT OF THE ROSE

Following the floral tradition initiated by Dolce, the new Dolce Rosa Excelsa Eau de Parfum captures the boldness and pure spirit of the rose with the essence of fresh petals in bloom. The precious heart of Dolce Rosa Excelsa seduces with two delicate and noble rose notes. Used for the first time in perfumery, the African Dog Rose premieres in this exquisite fragrance creation, combined with the enveloping femininity of the Turkish Rose Absolute, highly-prized in perfumery for its olfactive intensity. Iconic, timeless and unique, the rose is a recurrent motif in Dolce&Gabbana’s runway collections. An exclusive vanity case is on offer with the purchase of any large fragrance from the Dolce pillar. For local trade enquiries, call VJ Salomone Marketing on 8007 2387.

REVOLUTIONARY TEXTURE INNOVATION

Say goodbye to the over-layering of products to cover indented scars and acne bumps, and turn 3D imperfections into 2D with the new Dermablend [3D Correction] by Vichy Laboratoires. This revolutionary texture innovation in corrective foundation doesn’t just even out skin tone and smooth over any bumpy texture flaws, but it also contains an acne-treating complex that actually helps reduce imperfections. Dermablend [3D Correction] is oil-free, with SPF 25. It is suitable for sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin, and leaves no mask effect. The more you wear it, the less coverage you will need! Dermablend [3D Correction] is available in pharmacies. For more information, send an e-mail to vichy@prohealth.com.mt

INFINITE RADIANCE

This Eye Serum draws on the expertise of Orchidée Impériale to endow the eyes with infinite radiance and a lastingly youthful appearance. At the heart of the formula lies Gold Orchid Technology, with global age-defying action, which works in synergy with the Bright-Eye Complex to reveal extraordinary brightness. Guerlain products are exclusively distributed by X-Treme Co. Ltd. For more information, call on 2388 2300.

REAL STYLE ACCESSORIES

Much more than beauty accessories, Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo and Le Duo Longwear Nail Colour are real style accessories. Together, they co-author a new chapter in colour and give a unique signature to the style of Chanel from the lips to the fingertips. In one easy step, the lipstick pen accentuates a style and personality to match every mood and colour. When it comes to colour and style, Le Vernis is the benchmark nail polish. In 2016, Chanel reformulates its cult beauty accessory and pairs it with a gel coat for a six-day hold. Embellishing and protective, Le Vernis dazzles with intense and vibrant colours, and its new formula also cares for the nails. Chanel is distributed by Alfred Gera & Sons Ltd.


ONFORM

RIDING HIGH

Photography Robert Camilleri, Fotoclassic

Financial controller Marie Claire Aquilina, 39, is the first Maltese female cyclist to win the Tour ta’ Malta. This achievement means she is no longer labelled that ‘bike-crazy’ girl, but has earned recognition and respect. And it’s even more satisfying because it’s also a win for Malta.

Y

ou recently became the first local female rider to claim the coveted Tour ta’ Malta title. Is this your biggest cycling achievement to date and what does it mean to you? Definitely, this is the pinnacle competition Malta has to offer in our annual racing calendar, where we get foreign teams from various countries travelling to Malta to compete. Placing first in each stage race and winning the overall

title is a dream come true! Getting this result means I’m not that ‘bike-crazy’ girl, but it has earned me recognition and respect, which is extremely satisfying… even more so when it’s a win for Malta! Why do you think you are the first Maltese woman to win this title? I feel that the local scene for women cycling is still in its early days. We have not had many female riders over the last 10 years, with three to four racing independently. But this year, we did

something different. For the first time, we have a complete women’s national team [of which I am captain], and their effort and focus has paid off. Malta placed first, second and fourth overall [by a few seconds]. What other cycling successes do you have under your belt and which is the most significant, or memorable? In 2014, I gave a strong performance at the UCI Amateur World Tour in Trento, obtaining third place in the time trial Pink April 2016 ∫ 75


ONFORM event. In 2015, I placed first in category and third overall in the Etna Marathon, which is a gruelling mountain bike race on Mount Etna, Sicily, in dramatic volcanic scenery. But winning the Tour ta’ Malta a few weeks ago is now my most significant achievement.

childhood pleasure to international competition? In 2009, I qualified to compete for Malta in the Small Nations Games and this is when I discovered the grit to race hard and be proud to represent my country. What sort of training is required to reach these levels? How much time do you dedicate to your sport and at the expense of what? Huge question! My life is cycling! I train between 12 to 20 hours in peak training [though the shorter the better]. With working full-time, time with my partner, family and friends becomes precious. Behind the scenes, the feeling of being constantly hungry and getting enough sleep is challenging. Yet with my best training buddies, coffee pit stops, and some good laughs, training can actually be a walk in the park.

If you had to encourage others to take it up, what would you say about cycling? It’s the best sport in the world! Mountain biking and off-roading in particular give such a sensation of freedom and adventure. The world is all yours to explore. If you weren’t riding a bike, what sport would you be striving to excel at? In my fantasy, it would be downhill skiing. I’ve wished to move to the mountains since age nine… But of course, cycling would still be part of the training. Do the dangers of cycling on Malta’s roads put you off ? What do you feel are the greatest hazards and what should be done about them? I would have to be crazy to say no. There is this constant prevailing fear, especially after losing a friend in a fatal accident.

“WITH HARD TRAINING AND RACING, I HAVE TO GET IMMEDIATE REST AND APPRECIATE COACH-POTATO MOMENTS. IT’S GOOD TO BALANCE THINGS OUT”

What is your most ambitious goal in the sport? Mountains – climbing them harder, better, faster, stronger! This is even more challenging since we have none locally, so that’s where my vacation time goes. This June, I will take on the Sportful Dolomites, a 200-kilometre race with 5,000 metres of climbing. This means lots of preparation and discipline – not just long hours on the bike, but good rest and optimal nutrition. Once you learn how to cycle, you don’t ever forget. But what makes someone a top-class cyclist? Talent, passion, commitment, perseverance. Yet the right opportunities also need to exist, otherwise all this can be futile. Funding and sponsorship becomes crucial. At what point in your life did riding a bike move from being a mere 76 ∫ Pink April 2016

What sort of ancillary training is required to be sure your body is up to the challenge? Just like in any other disciplines, core strengthening and lots of stretching are required. Yoga combines these two elements well, apart from offering mental relaxation and improved focus. Are you constantly on the go, or do you have your couch-potato moments? I like to be active and love the outdoors. Though with hard training and racing, I have to get immediate rest and appreciate coach-potato moments. It’s good to balance things out. Are there ever times when you really don’t feel like getting onto your bike? Yes of course! It happens when the alarm rings too early in the morning, on cold winter days, and during hard sessions. Yet it’s all mental, and you learn to fight your demons. Creating a system of repeated behaviour and reward makes you just not think about it. Sometimes though, it’s important to look into your body and mind and see if something is not quite right… in which case, you have to back off.

But this fear makes me constantly cautious and alert. I avoid busy areas and offroad as much as possible. Drivers tend to drive too close to a cyclist when overtaking, and worse still, at high speeds. They may be unaware of how easily a cyclist can suddenly lose control, be it due to a pothole, glass and debris, high winds, or simply bad luck. Anything can happen. There should be zero tolerance on overspeeding, especially on Sunday mornings, when lots of Maltese like to dash to Golden Sands and Cirkewwa. Lately, I have seen more police around and this is a good thing. Campaigners like Bicycling Advocacy Group [BAG] are doing a great job at pushing for law enforcement and education, sending a message to share the road. How does cycling help you in everyday life and in your profession as a financial controller? It makes me take on challenges and deal with stress and difficult life situations with a more objective and realistic perspective. We are only as strong as we believe we are. Do you recall your first bike? It was pink!


HEALTHBITES

eatme

FLAXSEEDS I’m packed with good stuff The flax plant has served not only as a food source and source of linen, but also for the creation of sails on sailing ships, bowstrings and body armour. Flaxseed is known in many parts of the world as linseed, although most of the linseed oil is not food grade and is sold as a wood finish and preservative. In their raw form, flaxseeds usually range from an amber/ yellow/gold in colour to a tan/brown/reddish brown. Raw flaxseeds that are white, green, or black should be avoided.

My nutritional information Flaxseeds are nutritionally unique, offering health benefits that are not found across the board within the seeds food group. They are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a very good source of dietary fibre, vitamin B1 and copper, as well as a good source of the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and selenium.

How to choose me Flaxseeds can be purchased either whole, or already ground, the latter, however, while being more digestible and convenient, having a shorter shelf life, lasting about six to 16 weeks. Whole flaxseeds, on the other hand, typically last for six to 12 months when stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool, dry spot. If directly refrigerated, they may last for up to two years. Whether purchasing flaxseeds in bulk, or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture. When purchasing ground flaxseeds that are sitting on the shelf at room temperature, they should be packaged in a vacuum-sealed bag. After opening, they should always be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container, as once flaxseeds are ground, they are much more prone to oxidation and spoilage. Flaxseed oil is especially perishable and should be purchased in opaque bottles that have been refrigerated. It should have a sweet, nutty flavour. Far too easily oxidised, it is not recommended for cooking, but can be added to foods that have been cooked. 78 ∫ Pink April 2016

Fertility vs Age By Shafia Khanum from the Malta Medical Students Association

With the changing new world and arising opportunities for women in a more gender-equal society, they are putting off having children until a later stage, when fertility problems seem to be more apparent, suggesting a link between fertility and age. Studies have shown that fertility in women peaks during their 20s, but begins to decline after 30, and more so after 35. This is because women are born with a set number of ova [eggs] and these become older with age, reducing their quality. In addition, ova are lost with each menstrual cycle and, therefore, fewer goodquality eggs remain. Also, many women reach menopause before the age of 40, which means they have stopped ovulating long before that and so there is no egg to fertilise. However, even if menopause has not been reached, periods become fewer and far between, making ovulation irregular and so increasing the chances of infertility. In addition, older women are more likely to be exposed to infections that may have gone undiagnosed, such as Chlamydia, which can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease [PID] and block the fallopian tubes. This, in turn, can prevent fertilisation, or increase the chances of an ectopic pregnancy

[implantation outside of the uterus lining such as in the fallopian tubes]. Moreover, infertility and age is not only limited to females. Male fertility has also been observed to decline after the age of 30, but more gradually than in women, so men are still able to father children even well into their 50s. To ensure fertility problems are kept to a minimum, having children should not be put off. However, at least one year of trying should be allowed before anything is suspected, and if anything is worrying the conceiving couple, GP advice should be sought.

1/5

of the human species will be obese by 2025, with men in Malta already being a step closer, with an average body mass index [BMI] of 27.8 being recorded. In fact, men in Malta are among the heaviest in Europe, having the highest BMI along with males in Ireland and Cyprus, according to The Lancet medical journal. [For a healthy weight, the index for men should be between 18.5 and 24.9. Those with a BMI higher than this are considered to be overweight, and if this goes on to exceed the 30 mark, the person is considered obese.]

MONTHLY MUSE “If we don’t somehow stem the tide of childhood obesity, we’re going to have a huge problem.” Lance Armstrong, American former professional road racing cyclist


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PINKSHRINK

MY WAY Dott. EDWARD CURMI understands what lies beneath the complex personality of the control freak and how to deal with it.

T

he term ‘control freak’ is used to describe people who are rigid and try to dictate how others should act or behave around them; who believe they are always right and feel extremely uncomfortable around uncertainty. These people have serious difficulty delegating tasks to others as they believe no one can do them as well as they can. Living or working with them may be extremely stressful and challenging. So what lies underneath such a complex personality? And how can we deal with it?

What lies beneath this controlling nature? It is not at all easy to pinpoint why some people choose to behave in such a controlling manner. However, here are a few possible reasons: Sense of superiority People who are extremely controlling have a false belief that they are better than others. They feel omnipotent and, more often than not, may resort to aggressive tactics to overpower others. In fact, controlling people believe they are always right and refuse any form of criticism towards them. Severe anxiety People who are so controlling may have serious issues with anxiety and may act out like a drama queen. They despise uncertainty and often feel insecure and vigilant due to

their lack of trust in others. Such a negative perception of the world constantly makes them feel threatened by everyone and everything. Self-defence Some people choose to be controlling because they have a strong fear of losing control. Such a mentality may lead them to adopt a perfectionist nature as a form of defence mechanism. By being more rigid and abiding to rules and restrictions, they feel more secure and ready to protect themselves from any chances of losing control. Negative childhood experience At times, people choose to be in control because they feel haunted by a past experience where they perceived themselves to be losing control. Having such a negative childhood memory could be traumatic, leading them to do their utmost to avoid ever feeling the same uncomfortable feelings of losing control again.

How to deal with a controlling person Understand their strong denial One classic trait of control freaks is that they will never admit that they are being controlling. They have very little awareness or insight into their own behaviour.

So do not bother trying to convince them that they are being controlling. Be aware of their stress levels Most controlling people act out, especially when they feel overstressed. Stop dwelling on it Do not waste time taking it personally and feeling offended by the way they talk and behave around you. After all, it has got nothing to do with you. Be assertive around them One of the best ways to handle a controlling person is to remind yourself that you have rights and they need to be respected. Learn to put your foot down and say ‘no’ to such people. Set your limits and protect yourself When working around such challenging people, make sure you find some quality time to take good care of yourself. Eating well, sleeping adequately and doing regular exercise can possibly prevent you from feeling burnt out. Dott. Edward Curmi is a registered clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and author of the book Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, and its newly launched sequel More Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, available from Agenda Bookshops.

Pink April 2016 ∫ 81


PARENTINGTIPS

Coping with

HARDSHIP How do you help your children through difficult times? Do you shelter them? Or do you expose them to every demoralising detail? Educational and child psychologist Dr STEPHANIE SATARIANO chooses the happy medium.

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arents may want to protect their child from heartache and difficult life events. However, as we all know, that’s impossible. Life is full of ups and downs, most of which are completely unavoidable. This may include the death of a loved one, a sibling’s illness, or parental separation. So how do you help your children through a difficult situation? Do you shelter them from it? Or do you expose them to every heartbreaking detail? There is, indeed, a happy medium, and when handled well, it can turn a difficult time into one of growth. • Demystify the scenario: children sense when their parents and loved ones are stressed; their routines and life as a whole are affected. They are aware something is going on and the fear of the

unknown is worse than the fear of the known. So talk to your children. Give them the facts. • Let them know you are in control: show that you have clear plans of how you will be managing the situation and that, with you, they are safe and protected. For example, “mummy will be looking after your sister”; or “you will see daddy on these days”. • Maintain familiar routines [as best as possible]: there are going to be unavoidable changes to your child’s routine; however, try to keep routines in place, even if it is just the steps before going to bed. Where there will be changes, communicate these with your child. If they are talking, then talk to them. If not, create calendars, use pictures

“THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN IS WORSE THAN THE FEAR OF THE KNOWN” and/or other ways of letting them know the changes to their lives, while reassuring them you are in control and will keep them safe. • Acknowledge their feelings: remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel; just let them know that, whatever they feel, it is OK. Pink April 2016 ∫ 83


PARENTINGTIPS

• Help them articulate their feelings: regardless of age, feelings are difficult to identify and express constructively. Give your children the time and space to think and share their feelings; help them do this by labelling what you think they are feeling and checking this with them. For example: “You look like you’re feeling sad, am I right?” • Develop positive expression: your child’s behaviour may change [let’s face it, most adults’ behaviour changes in times of stress]. This can range from temper tantrums to becoming increasingly introverted; you may even begin to see new behaviour emerging, like biting. Giving your child positive strategies to cope with the inevitable difficult emotions they are feeling will help them cope with the immediate hardship as well as develop emotionally.

“YOU CAN’T EXPECT YOUR ONE-YEAROLD TO SPEND HOURS SITTING QUIETLY IN HOSPITAL, OR YOUR FOUR-YEAR-OLD TO UNDERSTAND WHY DADDY IS NO LONGER AROUND” • Patience: be patient with your child; although you are tired and stressed, remember they are too and they are only little and need your love and care now more than at any other time. • Have realistic expectations: you can’t expect your one-year-old to spend hours sitting quietly in hospital, or your four-year-old to understand why daddy is no longer around. 84 ∫ Pink April 2016

What are the signs that your child is suffering and needs some extra TLC? • They may regress in their behaviour; for example, they may start wetting the bed, sucking their thumb, or wanting a favourite soft toy back. • Changes in eating or sleeping habits. • Acting out and showing increased temper tantrums. • Becoming very quiet and withdrawn. • Acting very clingy with parents/caregivers.

When to seek professional help? There is no right or wrong time to speak to a professional. You may want to just talk or seek their direct involvement. You will know when things are not right and that you need an outside perspective on a situation. Remember, it is also important to look after yourself and get help when you need it. To be able to look after others, you have to be in the best place you can be. The best thing you can do for your children is to ask for help, or accept help when it is offered. Don’t forget to respect your children. Whatever their age, try your best to see things from their eyes and be there when they need you. There is no right and wrong way to be a parent; the most important thing is to be there as your child needs you. The truth is there is nobody more important to children than their parents, and nobody can be there for them like you can.


RELATIONTIPS

TIME FOR

LOVE

HELEN RAINE decides that what mothers really want as a gift on their day is, quite simply, time… alone, or with others. Here’s her [somewhat extravagant and daring] wish list in advance for Mother’s Day next month.

buffet of Tuscan treats. The Antica Locanda Leonardo is a sweet place to stay with stripped wooden floors and a courtyard – there’s also a suite for families [approximately €150 per night, including breakfast].

The Gift of Balance

ost mothers are constantly fighting a rising tide of chaos; Lego leaks into the living room; crayons careen underfoot in the kitchen; handcrafted knickknacks stack up on any flat surface to gather dust. Honestly, the last thing they need for Mothers’ Day is more stuff. What they want is time – time to themselves, time with their kids, or grandchildren, time with their partner, time to do things. Here are some ideas to help the mother in your life clear the decks and have some fun.

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Stand-up Paddle Boarding is an experience in itself – combine it with an ocean-bound yoga class at sunset, and you have the perfect gift, provided the mother in question is open to a dunking. All equipment is provided and it doesn’t matter if your ma has never set foot on a paddle board before – the instructor, Rosita, will talk her through it. She says: “It’s a guaranteed stress reliever that will leave you feeling centred and empowered.” What more could a woman want? Watching from the shore for a good laugh is optional. Reservations can be made online at www.supyogafitnessmalta.com

Mum-Milano

Working Mothers

Air Malta is offering Milan for €55 each way, including taxes and a checked bag. Score brownie points by prebooking a viewing of the iconic Last Supper fresco by Leonardo da Vinci [it’s almost always booked out]; then make your trip all about the food. Start with an aperitivo at Ceresio 7, a rooftop pool bar with skyscraper city views. For a Sunday lunch with [or without!] the family, try www.ribotmilano.it, which is set in an 1800s estate and offers grilled meats and a

Getting to the gym to work out, or just to relax, is one of those treats that mothers rarely get time for. Make it easy with a three-month membership package – the Westin Dragonara Resort has an option that costs €145 and gives full access to the gym, all cardio machines, free weights and strength training, a heated indoor pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. Just bear in mind that you also have to provide free babysitting for mothers with small kids if you choose this option. Pink April 2016 ∫ 87


RELATIONTIPS Gullet to Go Those Turkish Gullet Tours aren’t just for tourists – getting out on the water is a pleasure for everyone on a fine summer’s day. For €25, Seahorse Cruises will take you from Bugibba to Gozo, where you can disembark for three hours, or just hang out on board. From there, you’ll cruise on to Comino and spend 90 minutes at Santa Marija Bay, then another couple of hours at the Blue Lagoon, checking out the caves by speed boat. Choose a day in the off season, and you’ll even avoid the crowds.

Golden Age If your mother is nostalgic for the good old days, consider a vintage car tour in a beautiful Beauford Hardtop. An hour costs €60 and you can extend the trip if you wish. The driver will whisk you through the countryside, or you can choose your own itinerary. Waving like the Queen through the windows is optional – you may also choose to dress like a Downton Abbey extra. Book through www.greatmalta.com

Up a Height Isn’t a trial flight lesson on every mother’s to-do list? You can choose to send her into the air on an Ikarus C42B [yes, they actually named a plane after a character that crashed to earth] or the Apollo Delta Jet 2 – both are guaranteed to give a completely

different perspective to the Maltese Islands [and possibly, the delights of remaining earthbound thereafter]. During the trip, mum will be able to take photographs and also take control of the aircraft while “enjoying unparalleled scenic views”. Thirty minutes cost €30, which will get you as far as Gozo and back. www.islandmicrolightclub.com

Ha-mamma Send your mother through the steam room and sauna, then on to relax on heated marble before having a very enthusiastic scrub, followed by a foam bath – the Hilton’s Myoka Spa has nailed the Turkish bath experience. Thirty minutes [plus extra time for the sauna/steam room] costs €55, or you can book the Royal Experience, which includes a clay body mask for €100. An extra €50 will get you a personalised massage.

Like Mother, Like Daughter Giving is better than receiving, but you get both if you actually have to accompany your mother on her Mother’s Day experience. The Corinthia Apollo’s Mother and Daughter Spa Day at St George’s Bay includes a welcome drink, use of all the spa facilities [sauna, pool, Jacuzzi], a relaxing back, neck and shoulder massage, a customised facial, a manicure, or a pedicure and use of a delightfully fluffy robe and flip-flops. It will set you back €99 for both guests – bargain! Throw in a champagne breakfast for two for an additional €65.


GIRLTALK

THE VIRGINIA MONOLOGUES

PARENT DAY A

few weeks ago, I took the morning off for what I hoped would be my last trip to parents’ day. My son turned 16 this year and although, apparently, this is where the real trouble starts, if nothing else, it does put an end to the drudgery of school life and all its miserable appendages… parents’ day, of course, being an all-time drag and my pet hate – the bleakest, most boring day of the year as far I’m concerned. Incidentally, in my case, it has always been parent’s – or perhaps I should say mother’s – day. But that is not really where the problem lies with me… On the contrary, it is probably a small blessing that I have never had to endure a man tagging along on top of everything else. Just think how many arguments were spared on account of that sane inevitable decision. In the same way that most couples fight in the car en route to a destination, ostensibly about which road to take and ‘why didn’t you turn left there’ and ‘could you please slow down, you’re driving like a maniac’, there would be a whole new repertoire of arguments waiting to happen in that infuriating queue when you’re crossing teachers names of the list and wondering how many you ought to see, and more importantly, who not see. What I fail to see is the point of queuing up for hours to be told one of two things: 1) your son is brilliant, we have no complaints; 2) your son can do so much better if he tries harder. In my case – and by that I mean in my capacity as a parent [not a student] – I happen to 90 ∫ Pink April 2016

know there is room for improvement. There’s actually more than a room; there’s probably a whole house in there. So yes, I know my son doesn’t try hard enough, and that if he put his mind to it and focused more, he’d do a hell of a lot better. I also know that he is very bright, but fundamentally lazy; that he is very often distracted. I know he is passionate about English literature and knows all his books inside out, but does

Things that make me angry and ruin the rest of my day and even my week… And yet, every year, infallibly, I queue up to hear those very same things… which, I guess, makes me a glutton for punishment. To be fair, I also hear that he is extremely polite, a very good-natured boy and the kindest soul, which actually is quite rare nowadays. That does make me proud, of course. But even so, it doesn’t really merit that long and awful queue.

“IT IS PROBABLY A SMALL BLESSING THAT I HAVE NEVER HAD TO ENDURE A MAN TAGGING ALONG ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE” not manage his time properly in exams, and invariably chooses to answer the question he knows least about. I know all these things. So is it really necessary to take a morning off work, queue up for hours and be lectured in what I already know and have no wish to hear again?

Every year, I wonder whether I should just ditch it. And every year, I choose to do the ‘right’ and ‘proper’ thing. I don’t know what it is about us – or perhaps me. That horrid sense of duty kicks in and the thought of ditching parents’ day fills me with dread. I imagine all the


GIRLTALK

teachers commenting in the staff room afterwards about how ‘she didn’t turn up this year, how very irresponsible’, and that spurs me on. Of course, I also know that they wouldn’t care or know the difference. And yet, to me, it remains something I hate to do, but have to do, if that makes any sense. This year, I wanted to go because it was my last one. So I had that little nostalgic incentive to propel me forward. I got dressed and that, of course, is another issue, knowing that most of the women there would dress up for the occasion, whereas I invariably dress down. With me, it’s always jeans and boots [flat boots] and the minimum amount of make-up; just enough to look like a ‘mummy’. Off I went and did a quick recce of the place. Some years, I have lucked out and found teachers who were actually waiting for parents instead of the other way around. This year was not one of

those. I actually waited about an hour before I saw the first teacher. It was a mini ordeal, made even more tragic when a fight broke out between two women about who was next in line. Not a pretty sight, but I suppose it did serve as a distraction of sorts. When that was over, I found myself kicking myself for not bringing a book to read and then had to content myself with reading the school charts on display. What is it with charts anyway? And why choose to display the ones with spelling mistakes? I counted about three and I was sitting down in a chair without my specs. These things annoy me – more than they should perhaps. But to advertise spelling mistakes on a notice board inside a school, to me, makes absolutely no sense at all and I’m always tempted to say something but I don’t… Because children hate these things, and I suppose you can’t really blame them. Then there’s the teacher you just want to hit; the one who, despite everything you know, tells you things you

also know you can’t agree with. And even if there was an element of truth, the tone is all wrong. Recently, on an old girls’ Facebook page, we reminisced about teachers and headmasters and all the other ‘schooly’ things we could think of – of which there were many. And one girl, who wasn’t particularly ambitious at school, but then turned out to be a very overachieving adult, mentioned an incident where she had been told by someone in authority that she was a failure and would not amount to anything. I hate that sort of talk. Anyone who tries to make you feel like a failure shouldn’t be in the teaching profession. Because you see, for all the fuss we make, school is and shouldn’t have to be that defining at all. Some people are good at it and some aren’t. And sometimes, the system, in its all-inclusive cookie-cutter ways, fails the student and not vice versa. Pink April 2016 ∫ 91


TRAVELOGUE

WHERE TIME STANDS STILL Lampedusa: everything our own islands may have been. Now it’s just a hop, skip and jump away by plane for a raw, relaxing and authentic break on our overlooked doorstep. FIONA GALEA DEBONO discards the bad press to discover this new destination’s true nature – in every sense of the word.

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ampedusa hasn’t hogged the headlines for a while, appearing in the media only because a play by the same name was recently staged. But when it did dominate, it was mostly for the wrong reasons. Depicted as an Alcatraz for illegal immigrants trying to reach Europe, with ensuing unrest, the occasional riot, and images of an island sinking under an invasion, unable to cope, few really ever considered it a tourist destination. But we certainly had the wrong end of the stick. Now, driven by a belief in its potential and spurred by personal friendships with the local hoteliers and an understanding of their situation, two Maltese, Michael Zammit Tabona and Anthony D’Amato, are on a mission to put Lampedusa on the world tourist map. The only question that arises is: what took anyone so long?

94 ∫ Pink April 2016

All it took them was a visit that verified the real – and intriguing – nature of the neighbouring island. The wheels to revive it from a dry spell and show its true colours were set in motion last summer and have resulted in the first international flight taking off from Malta in June. [Until now, flights to the island were only from Italy of which it forms the southernmost part.] Traditionally, a destination visited only by Italians, whose influx dropped considerably with their own economic crisis and probably also with the bombardment of media “propaganda” that


TRAVELOGUE

“LAMPEDUSA IS PROBABLY THE CLOSEST EXAMPLE OF RAW AND UNSPOILT. AND COMPARED TO MALTA, THE CONTRAST IS STRONGER THAN EVER”

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TRAVELOGUE

“LANDING ON LAMPEDUSA FEELS LIKE GOING BACK IN TIME. AROUSING AN ELEMENT OF SWEET NOSTALGIA AND A YEARNING FOR NATURAL SURROUNDINGS, IT IS A UNIQUE OFFER AT OUR DOORSTEP”

portrayed it in a negative light – a form of betrayal to which the locals, who have felt ignored, took great exception – the idea is to open up the market to the rest of the world, and in particular, Malta and Northern Europe for the moment. And quite rightly too. Because in reality, Lampedusa is by no means one great big detention centre, with nothing to offer tourists of the paying, beach-bumming sort, who arrive on planes instead. Lampedusa is probably the closest example of raw and unspoilt. And compared to Malta, the contrast is stronger than ever. The island 96 ∫ Pink April 2016

and its terrain are so similar to ours… but before haphazard and shameless construction spread like wildfire back here. It’s an uninhabited Malta – if you ever tried to imagine that. This is natural heritage like we’re not seeing much of, and that is one of the attractions. Landing on Lampedusa feels like going back in time. Arousing an element of sweet nostalgia and a yearning for natural surroundings, it is a unique offer at our doorstep. Which brings us to another plus: its proximity. A 30-minute chartered flight – actually less – means you reach this new destination probably as fast as you would Gozo, with the added benefits of the novelty and authenticity. In fact, it’s another world – so close; and yet so far in terms of landscape and lifestyle. Think no cars; think practically no roads; no tarmac at least; think no dense population [6,000 inhabitants only]; think immaculate sea, where no boats are allowed. Yes, Lampedusa’s version of our Blue Lagoon, Isola dei Conigli, is a truly protected nature reserve and strictly boat free, as well as the chosen site for Loggerhead Turtles, endangered elsewhere, to lay their eggs. Here, sunbeds don’t litter the landscape; and the only access, the dusty track down, is just that – no cement has been poured on it so cars can start creeping closer.


TRAVELOGUE beach resort. This is not the artificial, man-made, materialistic version. It may be basic, and yet, it is on this island that you can enjoy a Spritz and a unmarred cliff-edge view at the end of a sun-kissed day; it may be basic, but it is here that you can dance on the sand and in the shallow, limpid waters until the early hours, without disturbing a soul. The relatively quiet and lazy life – as opposed to the fast pace beyond – will make you realise how much you lack it. And it’s the little things – like getting out of a car, leaving your belongings

JUST SOME GEOGRAPHY • Covering an area is 20.2 square kilometres • The southernmost part of Italy and Italy’s southernmost island • Part of the Sicilian province of Agrigento, which also includes the smaller islands of Linosa and Lampione • Tunisia, at about 113km away, is the closest landfall • Malta is closer than Sicily at 176km to the east

So what does one do on an island of 20 square kilometres, with one inhabited corner? That’s actually the beauty of a no-brainer summer break here. It’s a scenario that immediately and automatically sets the stress-free vibe. It’s about relaxing on the beaches and sampling the local cuisine, strongly connected to the territory and its active community of fishermen. [Their ragu of ground calamari and octopus springs to mind, while pistachios make their way into many a dish and sashimi takes on a whole new and sumptuous taste.] In between, you can also sip a sunset cocktail to chill-out music on a beanbag at the edge of a cliff; and then take a stroll down the buzzing main road for a post-dinner drink to the sound of live music. A boat trip from the harbour around the pristine coast is also a must to access the type of beaches that have been called “God’s pool”; and if you are fortunate enough to be around during the feast of the patron saint, you can enjoy the religious traditions and fireworks displays, with all their familiar, yet distinct, charm. [Yes, you may be accustomed to this, but in Lampedusa, they have a particular ring to them, due maybe to the lack of light pollution… and any other sort, for that matter.] It’s that barren kind of beauty that adds to the allure of the island. Forget your standard

inside and the door open – that make you appreciate this lost world all the more. Yes, visiting Lampedusa is like stepping back in time. Moreover, it’s a step that is taken in slow motion. The only fast leg is getting there. The moment you set foot on the island, you are retuned to its particular pace and that of the locals’ leisurely lifestyle. Speed is an alien word, and siestas are the only things on schedule for the islanders, who present an enviable picture of what life could – and maybe should – be like. Other than that, it’s about long lunches, late dinners… and the days roll on for a guaranteed total recharge. In this world of plenty, it’s the simple and nothing much that are sought after and harder to come by. That’s why Lampedusa has what it takes. The hospitality of the locals also plays a major role in its appeal; they have suffered and deserve the rinascimento they are working towards. Lampedusa’s isolation may be coming to an end and a new chapter is about to start. Some of you may be writing the first of volumes to come if you choose to pop over to the Pelagian Islands this summer and be a part of their rebirth and rightful future. ROCS is operating chartered flights to Lampedusa twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, from June to the end of September.

Pink April 2016 ∫ 


TABLETALK

STOCKING UP MARIA CACHIA uses barley instead of rice for her risotto, chucking cauliflowers and broad beans into her mix. INGREDIENTS

METHOD

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 230°C. Chop the cauliflower into florets. Place in a mixing bowl together with one tablespoon of oil and season. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when the florets are cooked throughout. In a large frying pan, pour one tablespoon of oil, and when hot, sauté the onion with the garlic for about five minutes, or until translucent. Add the barley and continue sautéing for another minute. Start adding the vegetable stock as you would for a risotto, one ladle at a time. Add another ladle as soon as the stock is absorbed by the barley. When the barley is almost done, but still rather al dente, add the broad beans and continue cooking. When the barley is done, add the cheese and the knob of butter. Add the cauliflower florets and blend into the mixture. Garnish with more Pecorino cheese and chopped parsley.

200g cauliflower florets 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 280g barley [if going to be used as a main meal, or 150-200g if used as an accompaniment to meat or fish] 250ml vegetable stock 200g broad beans, outer skin removed 2 tbsp olive oil 50g grated Pecorino cheese 1 small knob of butter A small bunch of parsley leaves, finely chopped 100 ∫ Pink April 2016


STARGAZER

THE FUTURE IS

PINK ARIES MARCH 20-APRIL 18 Exciting as certain ideas are, obstacles are slowing your progress. This is annoying, but in every case, these are forcing you to question existing plans or gather vital facts. What you learn and who you meet will prove so rewarding you’ll soon be grateful for those delays. Then, midmonth, discussions revolutionise your thinking and, in some situations, objectives. Urgent as plans once seemed, the process of exploration proves so exciting and informative that you realise you must rethink your plans and, even more, priorities.

CANCER JUNE 20-JULY 21 Long ago, you realised that even unsettling changes aren’t just important; often they’re breakthroughs. This is the case now. Some are triggered by shifting circumstances in the lives of others but, as May’s weeks unfold, events force you to rethink everything from your everyday routine to your working life. Or, possibly, a shift in obligations to others or alteration in your health regime could mean rethinking everything. Any initial disruption is more than compensated for by the insights and knowledge you gain.

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 21 No sign is better at guiding others discreetly than Libra. Usually, others welcome your advice. But now they want, and need, total control. Tempting as it is to give discreet suggestions, you’d either be misunderstood or, judging by May’s tricky planetary setup, unwittingly give bad advice. Instead, back off and focus on your own dull but increasingly pressing personal obligations and decisions. Act decisively and you’ll clear these up in time for early June’s far more intriguing events – ones you can undertake with others.

CAPRICORN DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 19 Giving up on existing arrangements, in your personal or working life, may seem like a failure. But you’re giving more to these than you’re getting in return. What’s more, in reducing their importance, you’ll be clearing the way to explore the intriguing ideas and offers that arise during May. Some are familiar, others new and, therefore, would mean asking lots of questions. Do exactly that. Even if you don’t proceed, what you learn will prepare you to pursue other ideas in June.

According to astrologer SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL… TAURUS

APRIL 19-MAY 19 Events will seem unruly, if not worrying. The surprises triggered by the communication planet, Mercury, being retrograde might be confusing, if not disruptive. When you look back, however, you’ll regard them as breakthroughs. These free you from restrictive situations and, equally, transform your thinking about rigid situations, some restrictive, others troublesome. Knowing that, go with the flow. And take chances. Ultimately, you’ll only regret what you didn’t explore, do, or try, not what you did.

LEO JULY 22-AUGUST 21 Crucial but dull practical matters can’t be avoided. This process, which begins in late April and continues until the Full Moon on May 21, proves unexpectedly interesting. The resulting insights act as a springboard for new activities or ventures. Still, making plans when so much is uncertain is frustrating, at least for you. Since others don’t mind, discuss your objectives, but leave decisions to them. That way, when late May’s potentially dramatic changes arise, you’ll be free to give them serious thought.

SCORPIO OCTOBER 22-NOVEMBER 20 As May begins, you’ll still be weighing up potential changes in your life, activities, or goals triggered by the Scorpio New Moon on April 22. With the actual circumstances shifting, sometimes more than once, your usually acute intuition isn’t that reliable. So do the minimum. Wait, watch, and when you can, ask questions. With so much in transition, this can be necessary anyway. Even more important, explore absolutely everything. What seems least appealing or least promising could work best in the long run.

AQUARIUS JANUARY 20-FEBRUARY 18 Having discussed certain plans with others, some over a period of months, you won’t imagine a rethink is necessary. But there have been changes. Some have been in the world around you; others in your priorities, more than you’d have imagined possible. Discuss this frankly with others and you’ll realise you’re not alone. Knowing that, take time considering whether it’s best to reorganise existing arrangements or simply begin again. This may seem extreme but you’ll soon realise it’s probably the best option.

Visit www.shelleyvonstrunckel.com to learn more and order your own chart.

GEMINI MAY 20-JUNE 19 By nature, you’re easygoing. Judging by the intense planetary focus on the most strategic portion of your chart, in many situations, you must leave the timing or even decisions regarding plans up to others. Actually, with your ruler Mercury retrograde from late April until May 22, both personal confusion and unsettled plans are inevitable. Actually, that’s good, because this temporary chaos forces you to explore ideas you’d otherwise have dismissed and, equally, to get to know individuals you mistakenly assume are dull.

VIRGO AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 21 Usually, you plan so carefully you even take the unexpected into account. Yet even you couldn’t anticipate the twists triggered by your ruler Mercury’s retrograde cycle, from April 28 until May 22. While worrying initially, each encourages you to set aside existing arrangements and explore far-reaching changes, if not a fresh start. This may seem extreme. But in the process, you’ll spot unanticipated yet thrilling options. While they could lead to considerable temporary disruption, ultimately, it would be worth it.

SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 20 Because you’re easily bored, you’ll thrive on May’s unsettled mood. While, initially, unexpected events are fun, the intense feelings roused by the Sagittarius Full Moon on May 21 could trigger doubts about the wisdom of certain arrangements. True, these mean taking chances. However, they’re also leading you into new and rewarding activities. Some will be clear cut but others remain puzzling until you’re actually involved in them. Knowing that, ensure whatever you organise is flexible.

PISCES FEBRUARY 19-MARCH 19 Taking over in situations where others were enjoying being in charge isn’t your style. But judging by the planetary setup for May, you’ll need to create a master plan for your own life, and that will, in turn, influence what those around you do. Discuss your thoughts and ask for suggestions, always making it clear you’re taking responsibility for what’s done. Enjoy the process. You’ll find both creating the vision and taking action surprisingly easy, and that you’re very good at it. Pink April 2016 ∫ 103


SNAPSHOT Klara Grech and the Dr Klowns.

PASSING ON THE GOOD Klara Grech, 23, forms part of the Voca Choir and is about to use her talent to raise funds for charity. She believes she was just fortunate to be born in better circumstances than others, and not deserving such luck, she wants to do her utmost to help them better their own lives.

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oca Choir’s upcoming performance is in aid of Dr Klown. This brings in the charity element, which you claim is a big part of your life. How and why? I was always exposed to voluntary work through my parents’ involvement with the Girl Guide Movement, missionary work in Peru, the Hospice In-patient Unit and Dr Klown, which my father forms part of. From a young age, I formed part of youth groups. I have participated in three editions of Voices, which although a huge commitment is worth every minute, and along with a group of my friends, we organised a number of Christmas parties for children in orphanages. I believe I was just lucky to be born in better circumstances than others, and not

meriting such luck, I feel I must do my utmost to help others less fortunate to better their own lives. My parents’ guiding principle is to live, love, laugh and leave a legacy. This is their legacy… I will continue building on it. Why do you feel Dr Klown is such an important initiative? Happiness is not just about money and comfort. Feeling cared for is also an important aspect and being able to care adds a deeper significance to life. This is one thing Dr Klown definitely offers to that sick child in hospital. There is no better medicine than laughter; the ability to get a child to dream and forget the trauma of hospitalisation. All money raised from the Voca Choir Pink April 2016 ∫ 105


SNAPSHOT concert on April 29 is going directly to Dr Klown to help continue the mission. The €10 spent on the ticket is not for the Klown doctors to benefit from, but to continue their training and development to be able to deliver love and laughter to children in hospital to help them forget their fear and pain. Your motto is paying it forward. Have you experienced this in life, whereby people who have benefited from someone’s kind act have paid it forward to the next person in need? Do you think this happens much and how would you describe the world we live in, in terms of good and evil? Paying it forward does not mean that you have to perform a huge act of charity. That simple smile at the next person you meet may make a huge difference in their life; it may be the only smile they receive. If that smile keeps on going, it creates a ripple

The repertoire of Voca Choir ranges from spiritual and worship music to folk, musicals and also contemporary pop, and its forte is Gospel music. But what is your own favourite genre… and what do you absolutely detest? I enjoy all kinds of music and listen to different genres depending on my mood. However, if I were to pick, my favourite would be contemporary pop, while I detest techno. In life, you admire your parents mostly. And in the music scene? Locally, I admire my brother Peter Grech from Pete and Paps, who is self-taught. From the international music scene, I would have to pick Celine Dion. She brings a different kind of electricity to the stage. Her voice and the lyrics are a booster to whatever kind of mood you are in. I would love to one day have the opportunity to see her perform live.

“THERE IS NO BETTER FEELING THAN SHARING THE STAGE WITH YOUR MUSICAL FAMILY, WHICH IS WHAT VOCA CHOIR IS TO ME” effect. I have had my ups and downs like everyone else, and that smile and word of encouragement helped me to move on. I will now pass it on to someone else. Unfortunately, today, only evil is publicised and there is not much focus on the good things being done in our world, especially by young people like myself. Granted, there is crime and terrorism… But life is not just about that and not all people are driven to do harm. We just need to be reminded about this constantly and focus on what is good. Most of my friends share the same values and are doing similar acts of kindness, paying forward what they have received. How does the stark numbers aspect of your job as an accountant marry with your passion for singing and your love for nail art and painting nails? What do these varied interests say about your character? Accountants are not just numbers oriented. Variety is the spice of life – accountancy is my profession, but it is not what makes me who I am. My love for singing, nail art and recently running [I just participated in my first Half Marathon] help me improve my creativity and teach me how to be more patient. They fill my busy daily schedule and make this journey of life more interesting. You sing in a choir, but would you prefer to do it alone, and hear your own voice rather than the combination of many? I love singing in a choir. There are certain harmonies you only get to experience within a choir, which makes a song more melodious. I have never performed a solo and will be doing so for the first time during our upcoming concert at St Monica School in Birkirkara. Singing in a choir means unity and harmony. There is no better feeling than sharing the stage with your musical family, which is what Voca Choir is to me.

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You’re part of an unusually big family of seven, apart from having five nieces and nephews. Is music in the Grech genes and racing through their blood, or are you the exception? All the Grech family loves to sing… in the shower! In fact, my father is proud to be crowned the ‘stunat perfett’ of our family. There are only a few who were blessed with this talent from both sides of the family, but we hope it will be passed onto our nieces and nephews. When did your love for music start and when did you realise you had a good voice? I always enjoyed music and my parents always supported me. The first time I formed part of a choir was at the age of eight with Pepprin Children’s Choir at St Patrick’s Church. At 12, I was encouraged to join an adult choir and now I form a very active part of Voca Choir. At school, I took part in a number of productions. Apart from Voices, I have also taken part in the Pope Youth Choir when Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict visited Malta. Who would you like to do a duet with? I dream of performing a duet with Adele. Do you have a favourite song and will you never tire of it? I love Knock Knock by Lenka – an upbeat song that always manages to put a smile on my face; and Angel by Sarah McLachlan always helps me clear my head no matter what circumstance I am in. Voca Choir has joined forces with MSV Life for a concert on April 29 at St Monica School Theatre in Birkirkara in aid of Dr Klown. Tickets are available on www.ooii.com.mt



Pink - April 2016