Mummy bloggers NURTURING THEIR ELECTRONIC BABIES
FASHION & BEAUTY Mould a metallic finish for the face A wardrobe for a warm winter
Mother and son in ﬁght for life AN UNBREAKABLE BOND AND ONE BOY’S BRAVERY TO BEAT THE ODDS
ON THE TABLE ZERO WASTE HEROES CITRUS SEASON FOR CHRISTMAS COCKTAILS
the new NÂ°5 CHANEL.COM
# YOU KNOW ME AND YOU DONT
December 2016 100
22 PrivateEye keep on swimming My boy’s struggle to survive cancer 32 LifeStyle have baby, will blog Blogging passion turned business 42 ArtyFacts meeting maddalena Etnika’s female sounds and steps
FASHION 62 ShowStopper on a warm winter’s day Keeping it light and fresh 78 FashionStory silk is in the air The art of creating scarves 83 TheUniform black/out Spotting the off-catwalk trends 87 Pink@TheParty the pink fashion show Behind the scenes and more
HEALTH 97 BeautyParlour make up with metal this christmas Hot festive trends 105 InThePink waste not, want not Reducing what we bin 109 PinkShrink studying the season to be merry What the research says 111 ParentingTips giving thanks The gift of gratitude
REGULARS 11 EditorsNote 12 MailShot 51 WomanKind the greatest love of all Elizabeth Barrett Browning 74 ThinkPink fashion, food & events 100 ThinkPink health & beauty 113 TravelOgue buy me a glam-a-break The mid-January mini trip 116 GirlTalk sweating the small stuff Pet peeves and queuing rules 119 ReadingRoom time for a tome Seven books for the hols 124 TableTalk cocktails in season Give your drinks a citrus twist 127 StarGazer the future is pink Horoscopes 129 SnapShot learning the business of music Nikki Camilleri
COVER Photography Kurt Paris ∫ Styling Marisa Grima [www.marisagrima.com] ∫ Make-up Jennifer Dimech ∫ Hair Lisa Schembri @ Aura ∫ Models Issy @ Supernova Model Management UK, wearing coat, €149; shirt, €19.95, both Benetton; and Chloe @ Supernova Model Management UK, wearing coat, €169; blouse, €49.95, both Benetton ∫ polo neck, €37, Oasis.
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Photography Sean Mallia
It’s been a long ride to this point, and drained of sap, with a tight deadline hanging overhead, the last editorial of the year starts to take shape. I think of my state of mind as I approach the finish line of this bumper issue, having slept late last night, woken up early this morning, and knowing it will be the same today as well. The only way the printing ball would keep on rolling is if I completed this in time, so even if I don’t feel like it, it’s got to be done… And then I think of my visit to the children’s cancer ward at the hospital’s oncology centre last week; of my encounter with 10-year-old Giacomo, suffering from a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia, and his young, dedicated and, dare I say, jolly mother, who is holding it together for the two of them.
I think about the text messages I received from a woman I had never met, who was going through every mother’s worst nightmare, and her uniqueness hits me again, giving me something more to say here, apart from in their story in PrivateEye on page 22. Pira Fenech politely asks if it’s “a hassle” for me and whether I would be “kind enough” to visit them in hospital because Giacomo in undergoing chemo and cannot move. Yes, in these circumstances, she’s actually concerned about “hassling” me! In the course of the exchange, I tell her that I am meeting them with a sense of trepidation – it’s the first time I’m going to the paediatric oncology ward since I had a kid of my own and that could change your perspective somewhat. Self-defensive detachment is no longer that automatic. And before I know it, she is the one consoling me! “God bless you and your family and what you do,” she finds it in her to say, as her son is stuck to tubes pushing ‘poison’ into his body. There she was, spreading goodwill through a mobile phone. When I meet her in the flesh, I’m impressed and inspired by this positive power. I see where Giacomo’s soldier spirit is coming from and I sense the unbreakable bond between the two, battling a situation that would crack anyone into a thousand pieces. When you walk into a paediatric oncology ward, but
you know you’re going to walk out a couple of hours later and resume your daily grind, you get to appreciate what it means to spend six straight months inside a hospital, fighting a seemingly invincible disease for your son to survive. It’s not the first time I’ve made these visits to meet the parents of sick children; some of the faces, I won’t forget, like that of the girl lying motionless in bed with a surreal angelic and peaceful smile. I’ve seen the Rainbow Ward in different stages – before it was equipped with state-of-the-art toys and technology, a variety of comforts and amenities for parents too. The children’s cancer ward in Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre could be mistaken for a fun-filled kids’ playground, bright and cheerful and buzzing, as are the members of its dedicated staff. Hats off to Puttinu Cares, the foundation that has worked tirelessly to achieve this over the years. And I urge anyone – as did this admirable 10-year-old boy when he was asked what he wanted – to help raise more funds. At the end of the day, it’s thanks to them that Pira has a comfortable bed to sleep on since that time she was told hospital would be their ‘home’, she immediately wrapped up her life and put it away so that, like his “shadow”, she would remain by his side.
December 11, 2016 ∫ Pink is a monthly magazine ∫ Issue 146 ∫ Executive editor Fiona Galea Debono ∫ Publisher Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Printing Progress Press Ltd ∫ Production Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Contributors Edward Curmi, Claire Diacono, Jennifer Dimech, Mary Galea Debono, Marisa Grima, Jeﬀrey Muscat, Helen Raine, Stephanie Satariano, Lisa Schembri, Virginia, Shelley Von Strunckel ∫ Design Manuel Schembri ∫ Photography Brian Grech, Sean Mallia, Matthew Mirabelli, Kurt Paris, Darrin Zammit Lupi, Steve Zammit Lupi ∫ Advertising sales Veronica Grech Sant [2559 4706; firstname.lastname@example.org].
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 December 2016 ∫ 11
THE LETTER THAT TICKLED PINK FAMOUS WOMEN IN HISTORY Dear editor, I read your vibrant description of Valletta [EditorsNote, November 2016] and you made me look at our cherished capital with eyes wide open and aware of the beauty that familiarity tends to make us take for granted. What a jewel to be treasured! This Pink issue had such good reads about eating disorders [Lifting Myself out of an Eating Disorder, InFocus; Back on Track, LifeStyle; Weight Watching, ParentingTips], and we had a closer look into ZiguZajg [Leading Ladies, ArtyFacts]. But for me, the star article was The Greek Tragedy [WomanKind]. When I was a little girl, the Onassis family was always in the news. And lately, more so as bad luck seemed to be dogging them. But reading this article, which delved into Christina Onassis’ life, moods, miscarriages and disappointments, made my heart go out to the unhappy young woman, who had such great wealth, she could buy absolutely anything she wished for, except serenity and happiness. I love all the articles of Womankind about famous women in history. But this was exceptional as Christina does not belong to the distant past. And it helped me understand the young lady, whose photos always portrayed a sad face, with haunted eyes. AJ BALDACCHINO, FROM ATTARD
The writer of the letter of the month wins a voucher for a Sunday family buffet lunch for two adults, excluding drinks, at the Cavalieri Art Hotel; an Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd.
UPHILL ALL THE WAY Dear editor, the November edition of Pink seems to have been dedicated to health, and rightly so. There is the article on eating disorders [InFocus], on a mysterious illness [PrivateEye], on air pollution and saving your skin [BeautyParlour] and on weight watching [ParentingTips]. We readers are often faced with these problems, but sometimes, things are beyond us. How easy is it to avoid air pollution from traffic on the way to work? How easy is it to find organic fruit and vegetables? And the list goes on. Living a green, healthy life is really uphill all the way! I would appreciate an article on places where I could buy genuine local organic products, so I could support such initiatives [if these exist] and benefit from them too. Thanks. STANLEY HAMILTON, VIA E-MAIL
SEEKING HELP IS A STRENGTH Dear editor, I am fascinated by the complexity of the brain in the feature Lifting Myself Out of an Eating Disorder [InFocus, November 2016]. I am struck by the underlying controlling factor in eating disorders. Joanne Ellul Lanfranco found another way of having control over her body when she lost control of her previous relationship. She focused on food to become alienated from her overwhelming internal emotion, which she was struggling with at the time. Her eating disorder became a way of escaping. Escapism from our hurt and fears soothes our emotional well-being. Many of us tend to do it in different ways, be it through drugs, alcohol, gambling and the list goes on. May I take the opportunity to promote therapeutic support when we cannot make it on our own. Seeking help is a strength and not a weakness. Keep shining Joanne and good luck to all those who are going through a rough time in their lives. Remember, everything happens for a reason. Joanne’s story is the proof. CHARLES PORTELLI, FROM MOSTA
THE USUAL CONTRADICTION? Dear editor, after reading about the fight against anorexia [InFocus, November 2016], and Weight Watching [ParentingTips, November 2016], I then came across some very thin models in the adverts of Pink. The usual contradiction, I said to myself… But as I skimmed through the whole magazine, I actually noticed a couple of models who were far from anorexic. Well done to the advertisers who chose models that were not too thin… for starting the ball rolling towards a more realistic image of women – one that will not make our teenagers get inferiority complexes. Thanks for a great read. MARIA ATTARD, VIA E-MAIL
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 an Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; 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 email@example.com Correspondence may be edited for length and clarity. If prizes are not claimed within two months, they will no longer be available.
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ALL UNDER ONE ROOF ROCS Group launches all brands at The Point Shopping Mall this month. Step inside for the ultimate in one-stop shopping.
nglot, Inglot the studio, perfumes&more, ROCS travel, insurance and life insurance divisions and Emirates Holidays will all be present at The Point Shopping Mall in Sliema by the end of the year. At the grand launch on December 13, guests stand the chance of winning a memorable holiday for two to Dubai. Inglot and Inglot the studio are offering the latest cosmetics and the services of foreign make-up artists, hairstylists and nail technicians, as well as a dedicated VIP private room, where clients can enjoy total privacy to have their make-up, hair, or nails done. A completely new service on the Maltese market is also being introduced – a dedicated valet service for ROCS clients, who will be able to stop their car in front of the outlet, where its dedicated team will park it for them.
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Travel, insurance and Emirates Holidays will all be housed at level -3, where a dedicated office, complete with a sofa area and private rooms, will be available for all clients.
There’s just one resident in the ward for child cancer patients… and his mother, Pira Fenech, who is happy that others aren’t going through the same ordeal. She hasn’t returned home since the day 10-year-old Giacomo was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia three months ago, and plans to remain a solid rock by his side until the gruelling treatment ends. FIONA GALEA DEBONO is bowled over by the fighting spirit of this still fun-loving woman and her boy, as well as the indelible bond between them as they share – and try to dilute – the pain in this hospital that has become their home.
ometimes, you just want to believe – because it may alleviate the sadness for their situation – that those who are facing the toughest tragedies are the ones endowed with the best qualities to cope. This is the conclusion you reach when you meet 36-year-old Pira Fenech, a bubbly, yummy mummy if there ever was one; warm, energetic, welcoming and well-groomed, young and fresh, strong and in control – and all this as she keeps the keenest watchful eye on her 10-year-old son while he undergoes chemotherapy as we speak. Both of them used to this monthly treatment, the conversation continues to flow as she chronicles how they got to where they are. Giacomo is currently the only resident in the children’s ward at the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre – “it’s a hotel just for us,” they actually manage to joke – after being diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of leukaemia, aged nine. He is one in 300,000 suffering from Burkitt lymphoma, recognised as the fastest growing human tumour, which not only affected his bone marrow, but also his cerebrospinal fluid. Giacomo’s bone marrow was packed solid with those “naughty cells”, his mother explains. His condition was so
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dire and fast-moving that Pira was told he would not have survived more than 48 hours had he not started the treatment when he did – after three days of gastric-flu-like symptoms, throwing up and headaches that seemed to have come out of the blue. The day Pira took her son to Mater Dei Hospital for further tests was the day she never left. Three months down the line, she has never gone back to her own home. Treatment on Giacomo started immediately in as aggressive a way as the cancer that was attacking him, so “I packed my life up in a suitcase” and never left his side.
“HIS CONDITION WAS SO DIRE AND FAST-MOVING THAT PIRA WAS TOLD HE WOULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED MORE THAN 48 HOURS HAD HE NOT STARTED THE TREATMENT WHEN HE DID” To really understand the enormity of this, you have to know that Pira is a self-confessed homebody, who loves staying in. Things have changed now. “I don’t want to go home… In my ‘previous’ life, I always had the kids with me. I was never alone at home. If I ended up at home alone, I’d be running around the rooms, not knowing what to do with myself. Anyway, I don’t feel I
Someone to lean on: Giacomo and Pira Fenech.
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PRIVATEEYE have to do anything outside of here. What I have to do is in here.” In order to never leave Giacomo, Pira admits she has had to “give up” her four-year-old daughter. Her own mother took over and became “nanna mama”. At 6.30pm, when her husband replaces her at hospital, Pira leaves to put Sophia to bed. In four years, her daughter had never slept out, so when she was informed that they were going to have to stay in hospital, Pira was immediately concerned. “I lost a daughter, literally, for him. But I had no choice,” she says, admitting that Sophia may be building a wall between them. “I didn’t even go to her Parents’ Day.” Pira doesn’t allow her to visit Giacomo because she feels it would be harder on both. Sophia cannot relate to seeing her brother in a hospital bed, and mostly, she wants to protect “Gigi” from the pain of seeing her leave. Every evening, by around 9pm, Pira is back by his side, and in the short time that she is away, she is texting her husband about him. Of course, that means her only contact with him over the last three months has been during the ‘changing of the guard’: he comes and she leaves; she arrives and he goes.
“I’VE LEARNT TO TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME BECAUSE YOU SEE NO END IN SIGHT. WHEN GIACOMO IS REALLY BAD, I HAVE TO TAKE ONE HOUR AT A TIME. THE WORST IS WHEN HE IS SUFFERING AND I FEEL HELPLESS” “At this point, our main objective is Giacomo’s recovery. You don’t even think about anything else. He is the only priority. As a parent, you settle immediately to this sort of reality. That’s it! Life stops – literally.” Calling herself “Ms Control Freak”, Pira insists: “I simply need to be here!” But it’s more than just being around; she takes an active role in the care of her son, not only for him, but sometimes also to relieve the nurses, her newfound family. Pira hands over a notebook full of methodically listed blood counts she jots down every single time Giacomo undergoes tests – pages upon pages of results – and every form of treatment during chemo is chronicled in her diary. What for exactly? In truth, she’s not sure why herself. “Maybe to feel in control… I don’t know. I just want to know what’s happening. I’ve always been like that with my children. I’ve always taken great care of them…” let alone now. For the course of the six-month treatment – in Giacomo’s case “every form of therapy is required at once and not spread over years” – Pira and him have kept each other company and kept each other going in the confines of the welcoming ward. 24 ∫ Pink December 2016
It’s not surprising that the staff has become “my first family”, so much so that when one of the nurses was transferred the other day, Pira was heartbroken and felt as though one of her sisters had been taken away from her. Indeed, the ‘family’ bond is strong. In between the chemo sessions, there’s even some fun to be had as the nurses and Giacomo gang up and engage in waterfilled syringe fights, leaving Pira to clean up after. As the nurses leave the room, they joke that she can now say the truth about them, but Pira only has words of praise for the medical staff in whose hands she has had to entrust her precious son’s life. And Pira is by no means the type to let go easily, admitting that her children have always been like “my shadow”. In her 10 years of marriage, Pira says she never went out in the evenings without them. “I don’t need to. You go out to have fun, no? And I have fun with my kids! If I’m going out, they can come with me to have fun too,” she states. Yes, you could safely say that doting and dedicated are good adjectives to describe her. She’s a big believer in the mother’s role in bringing up children; her own had the same pivotal position in her life, and still does. Giacomo was a honeymoon baby. Pira wanted kids immediately. And of course, she never worried about these things. “I would see sick children on TV and it never crossed my mind that this would happen to us. Till this day, I don’t really accept it.” Having said that, there and then, on that fateful day, Pira knew they were either going to swim, or sink. And the motivating mottos since then have been: ‘keep on swimming’, inspired by Finding Dory, which they had watched at the cinema just before he fell ill; and ‘every day better’. Of course, her approach to her own everyday life since then has changed fast. “When I’m driving and I come across a scene of road rage, for example, I think of the many other important things in life. I’ve learnt to calm down and take one day at a time because you see no end in sight. When Giacomo is really bad, I have to take one hour at a time. The worst is when he is suffering and I feel helpless.” Giacomo’s pain can be so bad that he has to be on morphine. He can’t talk, or even swallow; lying side by side, they sometimes communicate via SMS. Once a month for a whole week, he hits rock bottom. He won’t even want to watch TV, or play. He just wants to shut the light out and sleep. During the first two blocks of treatment, Giacomo needed intrathecal chemo three times a week under general anaesthetic to hit the space that holds the cerebrospinal fluid. “The worst wasn’t when they told me he had leukaemia, but when I watched him go under anaesthetic and collapse. It’s too real; he just goes,” she recalls, now getting slowly used to that scenario too. Since he has been in hospital, Giacomo has lost eight kilos, and won’t eat a thing in the
Pink December 2016 âˆ« 25
PRIVATEEYE week the side effects kick in, his mouth covered in excruciating ulcers. Pira fought tooth and nail to prevent a feeding pipe from being inserted into her son when he wouldn’t eat for almost a week. It was probably the only time she started crying. “Not this now! It was too much to bear, although of course I would have given in had it been life-saving,” she says. Pira held her ground, and together, thanks also to Giacomo’s determination to recover, the two managed to get some liquid into his body, sip by sip.
“IN THE BAD MOMENTS, WE HAVE TO PULL THE SAME ROPE. GIACOMO HAS TO HELP ME HELP HIM AND VICE VERSA. HE’S FIGHTING AS MUCH AS I AM”
“In the bad moments, we have to pull the same rope. Giacomo has to help me help him and vice versa. He’s fighting as much as I am,” Pira says. “And it’s my faith that keeps me fighting,” she continues. “I thank God all the time… If I didn’t turn to Him, I’d have gone cuckoo.” Pira’s faith also allows her to continue “feeling blessed”, even in her circumstances; she is blessed to have such amazing children, who never gave her any problems. “They are diligent, obedient and easy-going,” she says proudly. “Giacomo never gave me any problems academically either. He’s a good boy! He’s super loving and caring towards his sister.” But what probably impressed his mother most in all of this is the fact that, when he was asked what he wanted from the many people who wished to buy him a gift, it was his idea and aim to collect funds for Puttinu Cares and raise awareness on blood donation 26 ∫ Pink December 2016
– Giacomo can’t even count the amount of blood transfusions he has needed over the last three months so he knows just how vital this is. Arguments between mother and son don’t last more than two minutes, but the latest revolve around him peeling the itchy skin off his back. Pira fears an infection and the need for antibiotics, which could stall therapy. This is when [she thinks] she becomes a “werewolf ”. But Giacomo begs to differ and thinks she is quite tame. Anything but a werewolf in appearance, Pira makes it clear she didn’t dress up specifically for the occasion and that she’s always been into her looks. However, she’s also making an extra effort in hospital. “You would tend to stay in comfy clothes – in a T-shirt and track pants – but you would end up feeling unwell yourself. It’s easy enough as it is to feel sick and depressed in these circumstances… And Giacomo hates to see me looking pale anyway.” But underneath the long and freshly blow-dried hair, the bright blouse, the stretch jeans and make-up is a woman who can also “sometimes, find it so hard that I just feel like sleeping through it”. Although walking into the ward is like entering a children’s playground, complete with colourful walls, toys and technology, and Giacomo’s room is fully decorated for Christmas, it’s still a hospital for someone living in it. Ask Giacomo how he spends his day: “In here?” he asks. And the only answer he can give – which just about sums it all up – is simply “I spend my day… in here”. As they try to fill their time, mother and son admit they got hooked on the Food Network Challenge. Giacomo loves cooking and the two have found something in common to keep them occupied. In the evening, his father brings over the boys’ stuff. But that’s when times are relatively good. Giacomo has had his fair share of bad luck to add to his plate. His Hickman line had to be inserted twice because it kinked the first time. And of course, he gets his moments of being down. Leaving school was not easy, so his mother encourages talking openly about it. Giacomo is hearing our conversation that touches on death and survival, and every now and again, it hits you that this 10-year-old is simply shouldering too much. As he awaits the scary side effects of the ‘poison’ that is dripping into his body, knowing full well what to expect – which in itself requires even more courage – he’s already worrying about whether the disease
They’ve set up a Facebook page called ‘Giacomo’s supporters’ and have lined his hospital room with posters, telling him to “be strong”; that he’s “amazing”; and that “we love you”, while his school has also been immensely supportive by “simply being human”. Then there’s Dr Victor Calvagna, consultant paediatric oncologist, who Pira describes as a “prophet” and says she wants to hug! “Dr Calvagna is spot on with everything and knows exactly what is going to happen. A consultant, he’s actually at your beck and call – even at any time of the night,” she says in admiration. “Let’s face it, I literally had to hand over my son to these people. He’s not mine anymore. You have to do what you have to do.”
“I TRY TO BLANK OUT SO THAT I DON’T WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING. MORE THAN THE PHYSICAL PAIN, I’M CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER IT WILL HIT ME AGAIN ONCE I AM OUT”
A strong team and mummy’s champion.
could strike again after he recovers. That’s quite an added burden to live with, considering what he is going through as it is. “I try to blank out,” Giacomo says, “so that I don’t worry about anything. More than the physical pain, I’m concerned about whether it will hit me again once I am out.” If you ask him what he wants for Christmas, he says “nothing”. All he really wants is to go back to his normal life. He wants to be back with his friends, but they don’t visit because it would be worse for him seeing them leave. 28 ∫ Pink December 2016
At one stage of the conversation, some nurses come to draw blood, but it’s not happening and the boy is about to faint. His mother manages the scene beautifully. Calm and collected, she intervenes. There is no sense of panic. Pira stretches across to ease any pulling she notices on his Hickman line, she adjusts Giacomo’s position, instructs him to breathe and encourages him in a voice that is both soothing and strong. It’s the voice of someone who has done this before and on whom someone else’s life is dependent. “Good job,” she tells Giacomo when the ordeal is over. The scene unfolds in a flash, but it says so much. Any onlooker would perceive the poignancy as a result of the pain, but also the resilience of both mother and child. It’s also clear that moments like this are routine in the life of Giacomo and Pira… As I leave, she tells me confidently that her son will live. “I feel he will get better,” she says. Meanwhile, the mother-son team is not making any plans for Christmas. Although Giacomo was allowed to go home for the first time on his 10th birthday last month, he may not be able to leave hospital again as this depends on so many factors, including whether he is doing chemo, is experiencing any side effects, or has fever. “In that case, we’ll just forget it. Another Christmas will come; this year’s will be different,” they nod in unison. And you just know that, together, they’re going to survive it big time.
11, TOWER ROAD, SLIEMA. TEL: 2131 3097 coccinelle.com
Photography M&J Photo Studio
Have Baby, Will Blog
HELEN RAINE chats with four mum bloggers to find out what motivates them to nurture their electronic babies and whether their blogging passion has translated into a business that fits around the kids.
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efore the Internet, a million questions from new mums went unanswered: Were other people’s babies screaming all night and only taking nano naps? Where the heck could you get a sexy nursing bra from? And how could you generate an income stream while stuck at home with an infant? These days, there’s a blog on everything from raising vegan children to finding an au pair. Four mum bloggers reveal what motivates them to nurture their electronic babies and whether their blogging passion has translated into a business that fits around the kids.
Mini Me Fashion Francesca Pace blogs full time on kids’ fashion as well as motherhood at facebook.com/gaiaandnina and instagram.com/gaiaandnina. The real Gaia and Nina are three and one; the family lives in Mellieha. Francesca says the blog began very naturally. “I had always worked and was used to a fast-paced environment. After the birth of my second daughter, I decided to step back and question what direction my life was going to take.” Through her interest in art and fashion, she found herself creating images and flat lays of the girls’ new outfits. “I posted these on Instagram and realised that a community of mums wanted to share experiences. In no time, I had built an international following,” she explains.
“THROUGH HER INTEREST IN ART AND FASHION, SHE FOUND HERSELF CREATING IMAGES AND FLAT LAYS OF THE GIRLS’ NEW OUTFITS” The blog has been running for almost a year now. “The first few months consisted of identifying my market; who was reading my blog and what did they want to see? I spent an average of five hours a day interacting with my audience,” she says. It’s this “genuine, relevant and consistent content” that has generated traffic for her. As momentum gathered, Francesca was asked to promote children’s fashion labels. “Brands loved my images and contacted me,” she says. The job has become full-time, but on her terms. “When something is your passion, you don’t see it as work, but I have always been business-minded,” she says. This year, she won the Malta Business Review’s Best Entrepreneurial Ideas and “this confirmed that I was heading in the right direction”. Francesca
is now planning collaborations with designers as well as a children’s clothing line. She hasn’t had to worry about trolling so far, but says “blogging is a balancing act between sharing personal stories and setting boundaries. The line between telling funny stories about motherhood and respecting my children’s privacy is fine. I hope that the blog will serve as an online record of our family life”. Pink December 2016 ∫ 33
Fit for the Net Sarah [Sass] Woods is a 36-year-old mother of two – Eli, five, and Mila, three – a foodie and a dancer. “My New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to be fit and healthy. I opened an Instagram account and posted a daily food picture to motivate myself to cook healthily. I started training regularly, acquired a love for High Intensity Interval Training [HIIT] classes and reconnected with Yoga,” she says. “For once, I found myself sticking to ‘the plan’ and seeing the positive effects it had on myself and my family. I wanted other mums to experience the same thing – and Fit Malta Mums [fitmaltamums.com; instagram.com/fitmaltamums] was born! After all, we need to be on our A game to care for the ones we love.” The blog has a range of holistic living articles, healthy recipes, fitness features, reviews and giveaways. “I am on a mission for a fitter, healthier Malta. I collaborate with
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fitness trainers, psychotherapists, physiotherapists and nutritionists to share knowledge,” Sass says. She fits the blog around her children by managing everything via phone or laptop and working when she gets the chance. She hasn’t had to worry about online privacy either, as she has decided not to feature her children at all. In terms of the technical challenges of running a blog, Sass says “it was pretty complex to begin with, but I think I’ve mastered the basics now. I learn something new every day. With technology and social media, there are always going to be new trends so you have to adapt constantly”. The site has only been running for a few months, but has had a phenomenal response. Sass sees it primarily as a community resource, but adds: “If I am able to earn some money, I do so knowing I am helping others and getting unbeatable job satisfaction.”
“I AM ON A MISSION FOR A FITTER, HEALTHIER MALTA. I COLLABORATE WITH FITNESS TRAINERS, PSYCHOTHERAPISTS, PHYSIOTHERAPISTS AND NUTRITIONISTS TO SHARE KNOWLEDGE”
Photography Francesca Pace
One Busy Mum Davinia Mallia Pulé lives in Valletta and has two children, aged one and three. She left a job in marketing management to focus on her blog, buzymummy.com, and her freelance marketing consultancy. “When I was pregnant with my first child, I wasn’t one of those mums who took the time to read up about parenting and babies. I had this belief that it was something that would come easy to me.” All that changed when she gave birth. “I realised that motherhood, albeit beautiful, is the most challenging job there is. And it is OK to say this; we should not feel guilty about admitting that parenting is not easy. Once you are responsible for the safety and survival Pink December 2016 ∫ 35
of a human being, life is going to get intense.” That realisation was the catalyst for her blog. She wanted to create a space to “share the wonderful experiences of parenting but also the challenges… Buzymummy.com is about keeping it real when it comes to motherhood.” She launched the site in May 2016.
“BUZYMUMMY.COM IS ABOUT KEEPING IT REAL WHEN IT COMES TO MOTHERHOOD” To make the blog stand out, Davinia keeps the website “crisp and easy on the eyes. The last thing busy mums want online is clutter”, she says. Her articles are easy reads: “I offer content that would be useful to me as a mum, such as ideas on where to go with kids in Malta, or fashion and beauty tips.” Davinia says that the blog doesn’t detract from her home life. “Spending quality time with my kids is of utmost importance to me. Purpose is important to me, and the way I relax in the little free time I have is to create ideas and implement them. I must add that having a very supportive husband helps.” In the future, she says, she is “looking to develop the site to its full potential”. She does the website management herself, but adds that when it comes to the very technical stuff, she engages an expert to help her out.
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Mothering Malta Elisavet [Liza] Arkolaki is behind the blog maltamum.com and the e-shop maltamumshop.com. Originally from Athens and with a Master’s in Global Marketing from the University of Liverpool, she has been in Malta since 2006 and lives in St Julian’s. Her children are Erik, three, and Nelly, one month old. “The idea of my blog started when I found out I was pregnant… I felt a bit adrift. I couldn’t find enough English resources online linked to pregnancy and parenting that were specific to Malta. My blog was one of the first with a ‘Parenting in Malta’ focus. It launched in July 2013, three weeks before my son was born. The blog posts I write covering babywearing, childbirth, breastfeeding and nutrition are immensely popular and get lots of views,” she says. Liza fits the blog around her family by working when the kids are sleeping, or when the eldest is at kindergarten. “I love working from home – it has allowed me to keep an eye on my eldest till he turned three. My husband is also working home-based, so we have lots of flexibility,” she says. What started as a fun hobby has grown into a business. “Through my blog, I maintain an online communication portal for mums in Malta. Through my e-shop, I bring to Malta selected brands such as Ergobaby, Thudguard and Juppy.”
“I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME – IT HAS ALLOWED ME TO KEEP AN EYE ON MY ELDEST TILL HE TURNED THREE” Liza does worry about online privacy. “I am careful with what I share about my little ones. The amount of family pictures and information is kept to a bare minimum. I feel it is their right to choose how much they wish to share about themselves when they grow up.” And she makes blogging sound easy. “Nowadays, you can find so many blog templates that meet your requirements. For my blog, I chose WordPress and UnoEuro [based in Denmark] for web hosting. For my e-shop, I chose a Shopify template.”
Give a Mum a Job Katja Dingli Bennetti, 32, describes herself as “married and a proud working mum of two five-yearold boys”. She works reduced hours as Director of Business Development in a destination management company and founded the jobsformumsmalta.com website. She says her inspiration came from the challenges of trying to find a work-life balance. “Malta needed a job search engine where businesses could promote flexible work opportunities and family-friendly measures… and mums could easily search for them.” The website has been running for almost a year now. “As a ‘mumpreneur’, it’s superfluous to define how much time I dedicate to JobsforMumsMalta because, truthfully, it’s part of who I am,” she says. Katja admits that fitting it around the children has not been a walk in the park, but says she’s also “blessed to have a supportive husband who does
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his fair share in our household. Most of the time, my children tag along, especially if I schedule in a JobsforMumsMalta meeting between family appointments”. She plans for JobsforMumsMalta to become a household name and the early signs are good. “Work-from-home job opportunities have attracted incredible traffic,” Katja says. When GO listed a home opportunity job, the HR team asked her to pause the listing after 72 hours because they were overwhelmed by applications. Katja has had positive feedback from both mums and employers. “My favourite part of JobsforMumsMalta is hearing from other mums: they tell me that we inspired them to get back into the working world; or a business gets in touch to share a female employee’s journey to the top. Both give me immense satisfaction.”
Ta’ Xbiex Sea Front, Msida. Tel: 2133 1026 Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 09:30 to 19:00; Sundays and public holidays during the festive season from 10:00 to 19:00
Maddalena Pink singles out the female side of Etnika to understand the input of flamenco dancer and percussionist Cikka Grima and singer, songwriter and musician Alison Galea in its latest album Maddalena’s Marvellous Tripfolk Klabb.
ou are the female side of Etnika. What do you feel you bring to the band together and in your own individual areas of dance and music?
Cikka: It is interesting. The way the band works, there isn’t an obvious front person all the time. We tend to all step into the spotlight at different times as the songs flow. Our music used to be more instrumental, but now, we made an effort to make most songs with vocals and Alison’s amazing voice definitely has a major influence on the current sound. My dance is also more incorporated into the fabric of the music and live show, rather than being an extra feature. So there is definitely a strong female presence in the current setup. Alison: Together, Cikka and I bring a strong female presence to an otherwise all-male band and this helps to bring to light the nostalgia for the lost presence of local women in traditional Maltese music and dance. You’ve been performing with Etnika since its inception. Is this some sort of milestone?
C: This definitely feels like a big milestone for the band. We have changed our lineup, found a new sound, and recorded a new album after 13 years! We feel that probably our audience may change 42 ∫ Pink December 2016
somewhat as the new repertoire is definitely less folk, but we had to find other ways to make the project valid in 2016 and be able to express how we feel about the music now and be engaged by the music ourselves. How would you describe your personal contribution to the sound and feel of Maddalena’s Marvellous Tripfolk Klabb? Is it sensual, soft, strong, masculine maybe…?
C: The overall sound of the album is certainly more sensual and feminine than the previous one. With Maddalena being the single track, it kind of sets the tone for the rest. I tried to incorporate my footwork into each song in a different way: sometimes, more pulled back and as part of the rhythm section; other times, more like an electronic loop; and in some places, more energetic and dominant, like a footwork solo. It was a challenge to steer away from flamenco rhythms and patterns as well as to incorporate just the sound of the footwork. Obviously, in a live performance, the visual aspect of dance is still very present. We even experimented with sounds – some footwork is done in a pastizzi tray, for example. It’s probably the first album to feature a pastizzi tray as an instrument! A: My contribution to this album has been very natural and honest. Both with
Etnika’s women: Alison Galea and Cikka Grima.
my voice and instrumentation, I was able to interpret old stories and feelings as if they were my own because the history and nostalgia that they bring with them made it all the more heartfelt. This fitted in well with the idea behind Etnika wanting to challenge perceptions of what Maltese music should sound like. The album offers a fresh new sound, while revisiting some of the music created since Etnika’s last recording in 2003. Where were you back then?
C: Andrej and I joined Etnika in 2001, so we were there helping create all the
“TOGETHER WE GIVE A STRONG FEMALE PRESENCE TO AN OTHERWISE ALL-MALE BAND AND THIS HELPS TO BRING TO LIGHT THE NOSTALGIA FOR THE LOSS OF LOCAL WOMEN IN TRADITIONAL MALTESE MUSIC AND DANCE” Etnikafe annual showcases since then, and Andrej was also very involved in the 2003 album. We were and still are living in Seville most of the time and had to come to Malta for the summer to work on all the productions, which was a huge job! Over the years, we created some interesting songs that we wanted to feature on this album, but with new arrangements to go with the current sound.
A: I was busy touring around Europe with Beangrowers at the time of the first Etnika album, but was already a big fan and used to attend every concert I could. In 2004, a year after the first release, I was invited to perform at the Etnikafe summer concert for the first time and I am now happy to have finally recorded Insig il-Holm, which was one of the first songs I ever performed for the band.
Both the singing and dance are focal points in this project. Both stand out and take centre stage to a certain extent, or not?
C: Sure. The dance is especially prominent in the live performance. It is an unexpected surge of energy and audiences respond well to it. It also invigorates the band and creates a more interesting flow of the event. A: A voice always gets attention and easily guides the listener to the feel of the song and the message we want to portray. Same goes for the dance. But I would say that they complement the songs and arrangements in the same way that an Pink December 2016 ∫ 43
ARTYFACTS instrument would, and not just to tell a story, both rhythmically and in the sense of our own artistic expression. What has flamenco got to do with traditional Maltese music and culture? And have you adapted the dance form for this?
C: Early flamenco singing and guitar is, in many ways, similar to early Maltese music. When we were collaborating with ghana singers and guitarists in the past, we were surprised how many similarities there were in terms of the culture and way of being. Over time, flamenco as a genre changed and evolved. Enriched with so many influences, it became an art form, while unfortunately, the same didn’t happen in Malta for a variety of reasons. The same happened with Maltese dance. So our attempt in Etnika was always to work towards imagining what the dance could have become had it been given a chance, as well as to give a strong and individual female presence to the local folk arts, which is not very prominent at all. From the early shows in 2001 till now, there has been a gradual incorporation; a moulding of the flamenco style into something new – my personal style, I suppose. The more you do something, the more the technique steps back and the expression starts to shine. I feel the Maltese in me comes out when I dance now, and it is the transmission of that unexplainable and authentic emotion that gives the dance its strength of conviction and validity. You come from a different music background as the vocalist of the indie rock band Beangrowers. How did you land this? And did you ever see yourself in this genre?
A: I honestly always felt very comfortable trying out other genres because I grew up listening to and loving different styles of music, thanks to my musical parents. I have also always had a fascination with Maltese folklore, especially with our traditional music and instruments. So when Etnika appeared on the scene, I was completely smitten, and later, when they invited me to perform on some songs, I was thrilled and took it on as a challenge to sing and express myself in Maltese without losing my identity in it. It’s been described as haunting and whispery. Was it important to have a female voice? 44 ∫ Pink December 2016
A: Yes, I believe so. If we did not have a voice that brings with it an expression of the past, but with a strong sense of the present, the wonderful lyrics and poetry would have been lost. Beyond the singing and dancing, what else have you contributed to the project as a whole during its development?
C: There is an incredible amount of work that goes into running a band. We do all of our promotion and management ourselves, so it is a constant stream of e-mails organising concerts, tours, promotion, social media, coming up with new and creative ideas, working out costumes, stage setup and choreography. People see the fun part of it, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg. There is really a surprising amount of work that goes into it.
A: I feel the same about Cikka as she so kindly says about me. There is no greater joy in being a musician than making music with people who inspire you and show such passion for what they do. Cikka embodies passion, fire and a strong will to work hard, but also to play hard. I admire her for all her hard work, natural talent and dedication, and I also really enjoy all the good times we have together. In the band, there is an equal dynamic between the guys and the girls as we all bring a very important part to Etnika with us. And we are all passionate and fun in all that we do.
A: I also play the keyboards and guitar in Etnika so my contribution goes beyond the singing. This time around, I was happy to be a part of the project from the start and was involved in its musical and conceptual development. Is there a particular bond between you two women? And what are the male-female dynamics of the band?
C: It is so cool to work with Alison. She is an amazing performer and really brings it on. I am used to feeding off the emotion and energy of the singers and I feel goose bumps on stage listening to her. We get on really well, are very serious about what we do and love doing it. Her experience as a singer, songwriter and musician really shines through. We both also have our partners in the band so there is a really strong and important feeling of intimacy and of really knowing each other. We all get on really well and have huge laughs all the time. It is real fun being a part of it.
What is your look for the album? And are you more interested in the band’s overall image than the men?
C: During the preparation and recording of the album, we kind of stumbled upon this new sound that we are calling Tripfolk. It’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek name, referencing the influences of both the trip-hop genre and Maltese folk or roots music. It is a strange combination,
ARTYFACTS but amazingly, it seems to work and we are very excited about it. Our look is trying to tie both of those things together. Trip-hop genre has its own look and style and it is an interesting challenge to find a right balance of cool urban and quirky folk. I have had a few costumes specially designed and made, and the rest I am trying to combine in interesting ways. The boys in the band are also into it. It is important to somehow fit the look to the music and feel comfortable with it. It is a new sound, so we have to find a new look for it!
genre we have called our music and wanting the audience to take home a great experience. So, whereas normally, I would keep things a little bit more casual, in Etnika, I make a special effort in choosing particular colours and styles that suit the vibe of the music better. Etnika is about breaking expectations and challenging notions of local musical identity. What role are you playing in this?
C: I think as a Maltese dancer and footwork percussionist accompanying Maltese tracks and melodies, I am quite unique and I also know that many young Maltese haven’t seen fast footwork as an accompaniment to music. Also living in Seville and being part of the competitive flamenco world there, regularly performing in tablaos and keeping up with the evolving artistic scene by striving to improve every day has kept me ready to take on this challenge and input a fresh approach to my Etnika contribution.
living abroad and breathing that has been an important part of my evolution. A: My experiences from outside our island have helped me aspire to always give my best and to doing everything I do professionally, while remembering to enjoy the process and have fun with it. Which song do you particularly enjoy dancing/singing to?
C: I am genuinely enjoying all the songs from the album. They are so varied and each brings something different. I love Maddalena, but probably in terms of dancing, Il-Mara u x-Xitan is one of my favourites. The lyrics are taken from a 1930s recording by Carlo Satariano and are interesting as they evidence a male-dominated view of Maltese society and women’s role in it at the time. We have decided to turn it on its head and do a new version of it that is sung and danced by women. We both feel like we own this song now, which feels very empowering.
“IL-MARA U X-XITAN EXPOSES THE LACK OF EQUALITY WHEN IT CAME TO WOMEN IN MALTA IN THE 1930S. SINGING THE LYRICS IS A REWARDING FEELING OF HOW FAR MALTESE WOMEN HAVE COME SINCE THEN” A: Anyone who knows of my musical background and other projects would agree that this is what Etnika is all about. The same goes for all the other band members who each have their own interests and musical styles. We wanted to break through the barrier of expectations about Maltese music, while keeping traditions alive and channelling them without the clichés. You both live/d overseas. What has this experience brought to the Maltese band?
A: In this band, I feel the men are very into its overall image and I have to say it is a breath of fresh air compared to what I am used to. In order to get the music across well, there is no doubt that giving importance to image helps. We are not wearing anything outside our comfort zones, but simply adding to the Tripfolk ∫ Pink December 2016
C: In Seville, I spend my day locked up in a studio dancing and in the evening I perform or just go back to the studio and dance. This discipline is what I can’t seem to find when I am in Malta, although I started dancing flamenco really late in terms of any dance form, I certainly have had the desire to constantly improve and grow and I think
A: I enjoy each and every song for its own story and feel, with two particular favourites: Il-Mara u x-Xitan for exposing the lack of equality when it came to women in Malta in the 1930s and for being able to sing the lyrics with the rewarding feeling of how far Maltese women have come since then; and Insig il-Holm for that sense of melancholy in the metaphorical loss of musical tradition. Who is Maddalena in your mind?
C: Great question! The mysterious female. The one that got away. The elusive host of the imaginary Tripfolk Klabb. Floating naked, out and away from the giant Maltese pomegranate into the dusky and somewhat ominous sky over Valletta that is turning into a sound wave. A: The embodiment of unrequited love – sad, melancholic and very sensual. www.facebook.com/etnikamalta https://etnikamalta.bandcamp.com
The greatest love of all In telling the story of one of the greatest romances of all times – that between Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning – MARY GALEA DEBONO also reflects on the fact that the digitalisation of communications was a revolution that killed the art of letter writing of which the Victorian poetess was a master.
ow do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” This is the opening verse of a sonnet written by Elizabeth Barrett and published in an anthology of her poetry in 1850. The object of her love was Robert Browning, also a poet. Had this been the only poem that Elizabeth Barrett wrote in her entire life, it would still have made her one of the great poets of the Late Romantic Period. For many decades after its publication – in the days when intimate relationships took time to mature and savouring the thrill of falling in love was still the first phase in the ‘getting-to-know-you’ process; when sentimental feelings could still be expressed by spontaneous quotations from poetry without the fear of being laughed at as an insufferable pedant – the lines from this poem were often recited or written on cards and letters dedicated to loved ones. Elizabeth was born in 1806 in an affluent family, whose wealth had been made in the slave plantations in the West Indies. She was the eldest of 11 children. When her mother died, an aunt moved in to replace her, but Mr Barrett, the archetypal Victorian father – affable in society but tyrannical in discharging his domestic responsibilities – remained in command. The family lived in a lavish country mansion, but was forced to move to a more modest house in London, at No. 50, Wimpole Street, when slavery in the colonies was abolished and the family’s wealth diminished considerably.
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Elizabeth was a precocious child, fond of writing from a very early age, and when she was 14, her father, proud of his daughter’s achievements, paid for the publication of her first work, an epic poem about the Battle of Marathon. For several years afterwards when, crippled by ill health, she was unable to live a full life, poetry became the only outlet for all her frustrations. By the age of 20, Elizabeth could hardly walk. At first, it was thought that her back pain was the result of an injury after a fall, but it was later diagnosed as tuberculosis. She was in constant pain for which the only relief was morphine. As the London winters did nothing to improve her condition, in 1840 she was sent to Torquay, where it was hoped that the sea air would help. Unfortunately, during her stay in this seaside resort, her brother Edward, who had accompanied her, drowned in a boating accident – a tragedy that had a great effect on her. Back in Wimpole Street, Elizabeth spent entire days sitting on a sofa, confined within the four walls of the drawing room. In 1844, Elizabeth published a collection of poems that was favourably 52 ∫ Pink December 2016
received by the public. After reading them, Browning felt he had to write to her to congratulate her. “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,” he wrote. Elizabeth and Browning had never met before; they had common friends and, as poets, they belonged to the same literary circle, but that was as far as their acquaintance went. What is unusual about this first letter that Browning
with his own and gave expression to his deepest feelings; that he detected in her a kindred soul? Whatever the reason for the impulse to express himself in that manner, this letter turned out to be the first in a long series of epistles that document in detail a relationship that began on the basis of their mutual sympathy in literary matters and developed into one of the greatest romances of all times. Their
“BY THE AGE OF 20, ELIZABETH COULD HARDLY WALK. AT FIRST, IT WAS THOUGHT THAT HER BACK PAIN WAS THE RESULT OF AN INJURY AFTER A FALL, BUT IT WAS LATER DIAGNOSED AS TUBERCULOSIS. SHE WAS IN CONSTANT PAIN FOR WHICH THE ONLY RELIEF WAS MORPHINE” wrote to Elizabeth is that he ended it by saying: “I do, as I say, love these books [referring to the two volumes of poetry just published] with all my heart – and I love you too.” To conclude a letter to a woman who was virtually a stranger to him in this manner was unprecedented and completely unorthodox for the Victorian Age. Could it be that Browning felt her poetry had struck a special cord with him; that her thoughts resonated
correspondence, now published, reveals the true nature of their relationship, and without it, we would never have known, for example, that their love was both sexual and spiritual, or never guessed that it was Elizabeth who, in spite of her fragility, was the dominant character. These letters also make us pause to reflect on the effects of the digitalisation of communications in our times, a revolution that has killed the art of
WOMANKIND letter writing – an art which Simon Garfield describes as “the lubricant of human interaction and the free fall of ideas, the silent conduit of the worthy and the incidental”. Browning was six years younger than Elizabeth. Although he had a very good rapport with his family, he lived a solitary life and suffered from bouts of headaches. Unlike Elizabeth, who in spite of her forced sedentary life was mentally very energetic as well as emotionally very strong and with all her physical handicaps had a passion for life, he had a tendency to be despondent. Browning was very keen to meet Elizabeth, but his request remained unfulfilled for four months from the receipt of the first letter. Although flattered by the admiration coming from the poet and grateful for the interest he showed in her, Elizabeth remained reluctant to meet him. Not only was she aware of the disadvantages of her chronic disability and unsure of how he would react to her physical feebleness, but she was also afraid that his interest in her, once he met her, would be based solely on commiseration for her physical weakness. “I am a recluse, with nerves that have been all broken on the rack, and now hang loosely – quivering at a step and breath,” she wrote in preparation of an eventual meeting. Browning’s first visit to the Barrett house took place on May 20, 1845. Admiration for the woman with the corkscrew ringlets that hung on either side of her face, who sat sedately and, one imagines, rather primly, on her sofa, turned immediately into love. He was determined to marry Elizabeth in spite of all the hurdles along the path. Their first and biggest obstacle was the inflexibility of Mr Barrett who, Elizabeth knew, if displeased, would, without any hesitation, put an end to both visits and correspondence. She had already had a taste of how he would react to any perceived opposition to his wishes when it was suggested that she spend some time either in Malta or in Pisa to improve her health; he had made it amply clear that he objected to any such plans. There was then the financial problem. Elizabeth had £8,000 of her own in bonds and a yearly income of £300, but 54 ∫ Pink December 2016
Browning was not earning any money from his writing and attempts to get a diplomatic post abroad had failed; he could rely only on a small allowance from his father. The only way to fulfill their dream of a life together was by eloping. Although 40, Elizabeth felt powerless to take this decision; as a dutiful daughter, she was sure that such a step would greatly offend her possessive father.
The poetess and her son Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning in 1860.
maid, they took the train to Southampton – destination Pisa. It was a difficult and strenuous monthlong journey. The voyage to Le Havre was rough. It involved trains, coaches and river steamers to Marseilles from where they travelled by ship to Genoa and then to Leghorn. Elizabeth was sometimes so exhausted that Browning had to carry her. But after settling in Pisa, there was a remarkable improvement in her health. Their newly won independence also contributed to their well-being. When Mr Barrett discovered what had happened, he was furious and vowed that he would have nothing to do with his daughter. Not only did he refuse to see her when she returned to England for a visit, but all the letters she sent him were returned to her unopened; he cut her from his will, and to emphasise that for him she was dead, he never mentioned her name. Elizabeth was distressed by his intransigence. After Pisa, the Brownings settled in Florence, a city popular with English settlers, where life was still relaxed, but more cosmopolitan. Her health continued
“THE ONLY WAY TO FULFILL THEIR DREAM OF A LIFE TOGETHER WAS BY ELOPING. ALTHOUGH 40, ELIZABETH FELT POWERLESS TO TAKE THIS DECISION; AS A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER, SHE WAS SURE THAT SUCH A STEP WOULD GREATLY OFFEND HER POSSESSIVE FATHER” But Browning was determined. He knew they had to act fast; their first step was to get married. In the previous two years, Elizabeth’s health had improved considerably, making their plans somewhat easier to execute. One Saturday in September 1846, Elizabeth left Wimpole Street with her maid and headed for the Church of St Marylebone, where Browning, with the necessary licence and a witness, was waiting for her. After the ceremony, the bride sent for two of her sisters, informed them of what she had done and together they returned home. A few days later, Mr Barrett announced that the family was moving house to allow for repairs in Wimpole Street. This move precipitated matters, and four days after the announcement, Browning made arrangements for Elizabeth to meet him at a particular bookshop. From there, accompanied by her
to improve, making frequent visits to Bagni di Lucca and Rome possible. In Pisa, she had suffered her first miscarriage to be followed by others, but in 1849, she gave birth to a son to whom they were both devoted. Ten years after his birth, Elizabeth’s health began to deteriorate, and despite Browning’s care and solicitude, her condition continued to worsen. This time, there was no revival. One evening in June 1861, Browning noticed that her lungs were congested and, alarmed by her state of semi-consciousness, he asked her if she knew him. She put her arms around him and, kissing him, said: “My Robert – my heaven, my beloved.” Then noticing that she had difficulty breathing, he lifted her up in his arms; a few moments later, she was dead. Elizabeth is buried in the Protestant cemetery of Florence.
SHOWSTOPPER Chloe wears coat, €114.50; jeans, €27.50, both M&Co ∫ shirt, €41, Oasis ∫ bag, €59, Aldo ∫ Camel Active boots, €139, Scholl Foothealth Centre.
ON A WARM WINTER’S DAY Photography Kurt Paris ∫ Styling Marisa Grima [www.marisagrima.com] ∫ Make-up Jennifer Dimech ∫ Hair Lisa Schembri @ Aura ∫ Models Chloe and Issy @ Supernova Model Management UK
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Keep it light and fresh despite the layers. With a climate like ours, you absolutely can.
SHOWSTOPPER Issy wears bomber jacket, €70; pinafore, €84; top, €41; jeans, €55, all Oasis.
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SHOWSTOPPER Jacket, €131; blouse, €56; skirt, €87, all Oasis ∫ brogues, €79, Aldo.
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Shirt, €59.99; leggings, €29.99; bag, €29.99, all Mango ∫ boots, €129, Aldo.
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SHOWSTOPPER Jacket, €352.50; trousers, €150; bag, €150, all Armani Jeans.
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SHOWSTOPPER Dress, €289; hat, €139, both Mangano.
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SHOWSTOPPER Coat, €169; blouse, €49.95; trousers, €49.95, all Benetton ∫ polo neck, €37, Oasis.
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SHOWSTOPPER Coat, €149; shirt, €19.95, both Benetton ∫ trousers, €58, Oasis.
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FASHION, FOOD & EVENTS
OPEN IN MOSTA
As an international leader in fashion footwear and accessories, Aldo takes a fresh approach to its visual identity through a unique creative direction for its campaign. Exploring the concept of movement, this innovative campaign contextualises footwear and accessories within fashion, building aspirational looks that allow consumers to get inspired and translate them into their own personal style. Along with its flagship Tigné store, and others in Paola Square, Zachary Street, Valletta, and Victoria, Gozo, Aldo has now opened its fifth in Pama Shopping Village in Mosta, open from Monday to Sunday. “The concept of movement corresponds directly with Aldo’s core philosophy: to inspire and move forward,” describes Erwin Hinteregger, Chief Marketing Officer for Aldo Group.
FOR A CHIC AND SIMPLE LIFESTYLE
Taken to the next level in polished steel, women’s Fossil jewellery designs have a chic simplicity that makes for perfect pairing with its iconic women’s watches. Clean-lined and classic, Fossil’s sterling collection sparkles with details from rings to pendant drops. These pared-down designs have a chic simplicity that’s always in style. See the full range of Fossil Jewellery from all Sunlab and VIP shops.
THE DRESS OF THE SEASON
The Calista Pinafore Dress by Desigual is the dress of the season. Forget dark and dull attire this winter and dress yourself in colourful prints that brighten up any cloudy day. It’s not the same without Desigual. Visit the Desigual authorised dealer in Sliema, Miss Fashion in Valletta and Paola, Niumee Concept Esthetique in Mriehel, or Arkadia, Gozo, to view the latest Desigual collection.
TIDINGS OF COMFORT & JOY
SHINY STEEL MEETS SMOOTH ACETATE
Made for the modern sophisticates and vintage enthusiasts alike, you won’t be able to live without the ever-chic Virginia. This Virginia watch also features the indigo-dyed leather strap, resembling rich textile weavings in denim, and a stylish three-hand movement. All Fossil watches and Jewellery are available from Sunlab and VIP shops.
WONDERFULLY STYLISH WATCHES
This wrist watch from the Georgia range, created by Fossil, has a strong leather strap, and is light brown to complement the golden head casing beautifully. The strap links to the analogue display through loops of gold and is secured with a buckle clasp. A baby blue seconds dial is a subtle addition of colour to the watch face, while mineral crystal glass is perfect for creating a shine. See the extensive Fossil watch range from all Sunlab shops.
COLLECTION BASED ON DETAILS
The pieces of the new Oysho collection create a visual universe with a clear commitment to details. Oysho creates an atmosphere of sensations: from sweetness to the most intense sophistication. Elegance, romance and subtlety combine and set the limits of the new collection, which seems to draw a new femininity, based on the maturity and personality of the Oysho woman. New patterns on bodysuits and lingerie sets join dressing gowns, jumpsuits, pyjamas and nightdresses that will surprise you with updated silhouettes. Layering in fine fabrics such as tulle, lace, velvet and brocade creates original optical effects on a colour palette that ranges from dusty pink tones, metallic greys and neutrals such as the classic black or ink blue. Oysho is at The Point, Sliema.
The historic Valletta Waterfront has taken on a Christmas Village feel with a mix of décor, music, food and activities related to this magical time. A variety of free activities are being held underneath the 35foot Christmas tree and along the whole promenade: Christmas bands, choirs, cribs, stalls and more. Santa can be found in his workshop, and together with his helpers, will be available for photo opportunities. As throughout the rest of the year, on weekends and public holidays there will be free children’s entertainment. Little guests can enjoy balloon modelling, face painting, crafts, games, colouring-ins, meet and greets with favourite characters, puppet shows, bouncy castles and more. End the year with a bang and join in the New Year celebrations: entertainment for old and young will be provided with live bands and roaming children’s animation. At the stroke of midnight, there will be an aerial fireworks display coupled with confetti on the Valletta Waterfront promenade, overlooking the historic port and fortifications. www.vallettawaterfront.com/christmas 74 ∫ Pink December 2016
THINKPI FASHION, FOOD & EVENS
John Vassallo, Joe Tanti, Anton Borg, Joseph R. Darmanin, Anthony Cassar.
COMMEMORATING 20 YEARS OF SERVICE
THE PLACE TO GET MERRY THIS CHRISTMAS There’s nowhere quite like Ta’ Marija for a Christmas and New Year’s Eve party, or simply to meet up with family and friends during the festive season. Combining delicious food and drink with an exciting and friendly atmosphere, Ta’ Marija has everything you need for a truly magical dining experience. Awarded 10 times Best Maltese Food Restaurant, including 2016, the stylish surroundings are matched by the quality of its menu and varied entertainment line-up, including popular singer Corazon and its resident DJ. Add personal service and an extensive wine and deserts list and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a festive feast. Ta’ Marija is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with Maltese themed nights every Wednesday or Friday [complete with folk dancers, mandolins and guitars] and an all-inclusive carvery buffet on Saturday nights and Sunday lunches for only €25, with a show every Saturday night. Find out more at www.tamarija.com; or call on 2143 4444.
In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, the Malta Business Bureau [MBB] organised a lunch-time concert, followed by a reception to celebrate the milestone. The high-proﬁle event held at the Malta Chamber of Commerce in Valletta was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, various MPs, MEPs and ambassadors to Malta, among other stakeholders and members of the business community. A welcome speech was delivered by MBB President John Vassallo, followed by commemorative speeches by founders and past presidents Joseph R. Darmanin and Chevalier Anthony Cassar – both instrumental ﬁgures in the setting up and running of the MBB in its early days. The speeches highlighted MBB’s key milestones over the years and expressed the organisation’s important role within the institutional landscape of the EU. A performance was given by the re:orchestra of Rotterdam, considered to be one of Europe’s best chamber orchestras. The concert was conducted by Roberto Beltrán-Zavala, director of a group of young and passionate musicians who are active in some of Europe’s leading orchestras. The MBB is the EU-business advisory oﬃce of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. www.mbb.org.mt
SILK IS IN THE AIR
Every scarf by designer and Decielis founder Zoë Hili has its own story to tell. Pink listens to hers… It’s a long tale of non-fast fashion.
esigner and Decielis founder Zoë Hili is a believer in great accessories, and not surprisingly, especially the most versatile – the scarf. For her, a scarf can make the outfit. The choice of colour and the way it is styled say so much about the person, she maintains. And each way of wearing a scarf is a form of self-expression that is unique to the wearer. This in itself is inspiring to Zoë, who recently presented her Decielis cashmere silks scarf collection at Palazzo de Piro in Mdina. “Summer is a fun season to style,” she says, “but right now, I’m having a special moment with my new collection, which I cannot seem to part with.” Some people would never go out without a scarf, winter or summer;
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others may find it stifling. How Zoë wears her own scarves depends on her mood, what she is doing and where she is. Every place inspires her to style her scarf differently. Each of Zoë’s scarves tells its own individual story. “I’m inspired mostly by the people surrounding me, emotions, and the excitement of discovering something new that changes constantly. Inspiration is everywhere – it depends on how it catches us.”
she’s also done internships with Louis Vuitton in Asia before becoming its visual merchandising manager for central Europe. Her experience has definitely had an impact on her current creations and the way she works. “Luxury brands teach you technical precision methods related to the development of the products that is integral to why I’ve chosen to work closely with Italian artisans to source fabrics and to weave my scarves. “Made in Italy is a brand in itself, and one that larger fast-paced brands have moved away from. As opposed to
“EACH WAY OF WEARING A SCARF IS A FORM OF SELF-EXPRESSION THAT IS UNIQUE TO THE WEARER” Zoë has worked for the likes of French designer Roland Mouret on several ready-to-wear collections and with Jonathan Saunders, head designer of Diane von Furstenberg;
fast fashion, you’re made to question: ‘What am I creating, and how can I make people fall in love with what I am doing, while guaranteeing my customers a market renowned quality?’
FASHIONSTORY Photography Brian Grech
“EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DONE, BUT HOW EVERY DESIGNER GOES ABOUT DELIVERING THE PRODUCT/BRAND TO THE AUDIENCE IS KEY. THIS IS WHERE THE IMPORTANCE OF ANIMATING THROUGH VISUAL MERCHANDISING COMES INTO PLAY” “Everything has been done, but how every designer goes about delivering the product/brand to the audience is key. This is where the importance of animating through visual merchandising comes into play.” Once head designer of matchesfashion.com’s women’s ready-to-wear line, Zoë eventually branched off alone. She started to “crave the liberty of wanting to tell more of a story through my creations”. At the same time, she was in search of new and very different experiences so she decided to take a gamble and leave the industry… only to return three years later. Zoë is Maltese, based in Vienna and her scarves are produced in Italy – a situation that could either complicate matters, or add more flavour to the whole mix. In her case, having always lived outside Malta, commuting is second nature. “I work alongside top expertise and artisans in the industry, which is necessary to achieve the precision I want for Decielis. I believe in going out to search for the best that works for me and for my brand, and that’s a personally inspiring challenge. It’s the utmost honour for me to say that my product is produced in Italy.
Receiving the highest product quality in return makes everything worth it.” Zoë makes it a point to wear the fabrics she selects before deciding on putting a design into production. “It’s important for me to understand how the fabric feels and behaves on the body,” she says. “This is a luxury I believe non-fast fashion producing designers have. There’s more time to understand the fabrics to carry forward into future collections, and as opposed to sticking to the trend of the moment, it’s about interpreting it into what works well for me and my brand, which is, ultimately, what I can offer that is unique to my clients”. Despite the fact that fast fashion is a convenience due to competitive prices, Zoë maintains that many consumers want the item that is unique to them and “a beautiful accessory or any unique investment piece is a great way to stand apart”. With so much exposure to what is out there, Zoë believes consumers are more clued in than ever, and as a designer, the challenge is to provide the best quality for the most competitive price. The length of the design process varies depending on what has
inspired Zoë to start creating the scarf. It all starts from a life-size sketch and she doesn’t really give herself a time frame in which to complete a creation. Sometimes, she has three artworks being created at the same time, and sometimes just the one. Once the sketch is realised, the mood is created with the colour selection for each design. This is the process she loves most. “Here, I am really able to focus on my clients; to strike a balance and create scarves I know are fitting to their taste, while also introducing new colour variations to the collections.” Zoë is very excited about the local response to her collection. “I didn’t anticipate to organise an impromptu private viewing after the launch and that’s the beauty of the journey. You never know what to expect and where that interest is going to spring from. “In a world where social media is king, we have opportunity to test market interest literally at our finger tips,” she points out. Pink December 2016 ∫ 79
BLACK/OUT Fashion blogger and stylist CAROLINE PARIS, together with photographer husband Kurt, scoured the stalls of the Manoel Theatre on a trend-spotting mission during The Pink Fashion Show to see who was wearing what and why? She separates the black from the colour…
ne of the winter social calendar highlights is most definitely The Pink Fashion Show. There’s simply no end of fuss, from people wishing to attend to outfit-planning before the show. It’s most definitely something many a fashionista looks forward to. Apart from the catwalk show itself, one of my main interests on the night is always spotting the best outfits and trends. The numberone look, this time round, really seemed to be black. And I’m not complaining. After all, to be fair, I actually wore a black dress myself. It must be said, though, that despite how beautiful a plain black dress may be, in a crowd, it’s simply hard for it
“DESPITE HOW BEAUTIFUL A PLAIN BLACK DRESS MAY BE, IN A CROWD, IT’S SIMPLY HARD FOR IT TO STAND OUT”
to stand out. This did mean that the non-black outfits shone in the sea of black and I could spot the best of the rest rather quickly. The outfits that really caught my eye all had something a bit ‘different’
– whether it was a giant flower pinned to the front of a trouser suit, or a guy wearing a metallic beanie, paired with an oversized shirt and leather jacket, or a bright pop of colour worn on the feet. I do love boys and girls who go for the unconventional. I always love her outfit, but it’s not always easy to get this magazine’s editor to pose for her shot. This time, I demanded it! Her dress was mesmerising; an intricate
affair that struck that perfect harmony between class and showpiece. It was actually my favourite look on the night. Otherwise, faux fur made a prominent appearance, while clutch bags, some with a touch of shine and sparkle, were a favourite, and culottes and cropped trousers made a visible appearance. Hairstyles, for the most part, were kept quite natural and relaxed. Photography Kurt Paris
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PINK@THEPARTY The Pink Fashion Show, a Times of Malta event, was recently held at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta. The seventh edition saw the participation of Benetton, Lulù Boutique, M&Co, Mangano, Mexx, Rebelli and River Island, which showcased the party trends for the festive season. It was supported by C. Camilleri & Sons, Campari, Carolina Herrera, Chemimart, Daniel Wellington, Diet Kinnie, Fifth Flavour, Guerlain, Screen Hair Care Malta, Thorntons, Optika Opticians, Pandora, Renault.
Behind the scenes and more… Photography Kurt Paris
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Setting the scene to the sound of the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble… Photography Sean Mallia
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Photography Darrin Zammit Lupi, Sean Mallia
PINK@THEPARTY Lulù Boutique
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BEAUTYPARLOUR Jennifer Dimech
It’s cold outside and your summer tan has faded, but don’t worry – Malta’s hottest make-up artists know exactly how to warm up your look. HELEN RAINE speaks to Chris Attard, Jennifer Dimech, Krista Paris and Gabrielle Zammit Grungo to steal their top tips for the festive season.
MAKE UP WITH METAL THIS CHRISTMAS LOCK LIPS
The hottest trend this Christmas is metallic, says Krista Paris, Malta’s Makeup Artist of 2016. For lips, she is loving dark vintage tones in copper, rose-gold, brown, or old-gold. To create the perfect lip look, she says: “Start with some concealer or foundation all over the lips. Paint them with a brush, then outline with a lip liner. With a slightly darker lip liner or lipstick, shade the top lip and the outer corners of the lower lip for that perfect pout. Place a tissue over the lips and powder to set the look.” If you’re not brave enough for a metallic shimmer, Jennifer Dimech, who once made up 25 models in five hours during Fashion Week, says red or maroon lipstick is in for Christmas. “This look is not only super sexy, but it’s also simple to achieve. Thanks to the boldness of the lips, you can keep the rest of your make-up pared back,” Jennifer says.
Metal is the word when it comes to eyes too this year. Gabrielle Zammit Grungo, a professional make-up artist of 10 years, says a hint of metallic can make eye colours stand out. She’s also into a touch of glitz: “Glitter can be applied in the crease of the eye for a clean look, or under the eye for a sparkly pop. For a more daring look, use microfine red glitter on top of red matt lipstick coated with a thick gloss.” A new trend for metallics doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a new
bone to take your make-up from work to party.” Chris Attard, make-up artist at Franks for 18 years and part of the Guerlain team in Paris, agrees. “After finishing off your eye make-up, dip your finger or brush in sparkly eye shadow and apply on top for extra glam factor.” He has a top tip when it comes to party eyeliner too: “Use an angle brush with some eyeshadow and apply it on top of the eye liner under your eyes. This technique prevents the eyeliner from smudging.”
“JUST PURCHASE ONE NEUTRAL GLITTER AND MIX THIS WITH ANY PRODUCT YOU LIKE FOR EXTRA SPARKLE” make-up kit, says Krista. “Just purchase one neutral glitter and mix this with any product you like for extra sparkle. Or you can add a shimmery highlight to your tear ducts, brow bone and cheek
For a more classic slant, Jennifer says a smokey palette is fast to achieve. “Blend a kajal black eye liner to create the smokey effect” [kajal is made of mainly natural ingredients and soot for Pink December 2016 ∫ 97
BEAUTYPARLOUR Chris Attard
a smooth application – it can be messy, but lasts a long time]. Her go-to tip for fast Christmas glamour is a pair of false eyelashes.
SOLID FOUNDATIONS To keep your make-up in place past midnight, Krista says you need to use goodquality brands and two key products: primer and setting powder or spray. “Before your foundation, apply a primer. Complete the base with a highquality setting powder and a dash of setting spray to lock in your look.”
“BUSHY OR BLEACHED BROWS ARE STILL ON TREND, AND BLUE EYESHADOW FOR BROWN-EYED LADIES IS ON THE WAY”
Gabrielle Zammit Grungo
She warns not to overdo it though – “you can end up with a cakey, sticky mess; shake the spray and don’t hold it too close to your face”. Gabrielle’s pro tip to keep eye makeup in place is to use an eyeshadow base and waterproof eye make-up.
WINTER WONDERSKIN Krista says that while we have a mild winter in Malta, the winds can dry skin out so moisturiser is a must. After that, she says, a good BB cream is perfect as a morning go-to product if you don’t want to wear foundation daily. “Since we lose our lovely Mediterranean tan in winter, I like to brighten cheekbones and temples with a matt bronzer and warm blusher.” Chris’s favourite product to cheer up a wind-dulled complexion this season is Guerlain Meteorites Base Perfecting Pearls. He says it smooths and corrects 98 ∫ Pink December 2016
skin tone. “Apply two pumps on top of your moisturiser before applying foundation.” Gabrielle agrees that the winter season can leave skin looking lackluster. “The quickest fix for a flawless complexion is the addition of highlighters, known as the strobing technique. I’m a huge fan of liquid and cream highlighters – I just mix a drop with my foundation or BB cream.” However, she adds, we should be wary of overdoing contouring: “it has the tendency to look like dirt in different lights. A little goes a long way.”
AWESOME AGE Some products don’t work well with older skin. According to Chris: “Semimatt or an anti-age foundation are best for mature women. The ideal powder
would be a loose mineral, which holds make-up, without defining lines. “Add pink blusher for radiance and a lot of mascara. Lip pencil should be applied all over the lip area as it helps the lipstick stay on longer and avoids feathering.” For mature skin, according to Krista, it is sometimes better to avoid shimmery products as they can accentuate wrinkles. She recommends going easy on the concealer and foundation and says that when concealing under the eye, “bring the brighter tone towards your hairline and the tail of your brows to create a mini-facelift-like effect.”
PAINT IN THE NEW YEAR As for spring, Chris says the new trend is “electric, vibrant colours”, while Gabrielle maintains that using shades of red on the eye, such as red eyeliner in the waterline or a touch of red shadow on a smokey eye, will be big. “Based on the catwalk shows, major trends include black smokey eyes, or nude eyes with a strongly defined black eyeliner,” says Krista. Bushy or bleached brows are still on trend, and blue eyeshadow for brown-eyed ladies is on the way. She also predicts “gothic lips in grape, brown, mocha and, of course, red.”
THINKPINK HEALTH & BEAUTY
A NEW CHAPTER QUEEN OF ROSES Lancôme Trésor La Nuit Caresse begins with a fruity blend of raspberry, bergamot and lychee, spiced with notes of pink pepper that gives it a bit of freshness. Damascus rose, known as the “queen of roses” rules the heart of the perfume, accompanied by a sensual duo of jasmine and almond blossom. The composition is completed by the warm base of tonka bean, orchid, vanilla from Tahiti, patchouli and white musk. Lancôme fragrances are exclusively distributed by Chemimart [2149 2212].
Classique and Le Mâle Essences de Parfum add a luxurious and sophisticated touch to this iconic fragrance universe from Jean Paul Gaultier, opening a new premium fragrance chapter. Perfumer Daphné Bugey wanted to keep the gingery, almost spicy dimension of Classique, but make it lighter, adding bite and burst. It is based on the idea that when it smells this good, you just want to eat the air. Quentin Bisch, the perfumer of Le Mâle, says he saw its new body and he thought skin; he thought leather; he thought a leathery suede-like perfume, soft as velour and sexy as the smell of skin. Essences de Parfum are exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd [2133 1553].
THE ESSENCE OF SEDUCTION Be prepared to have your senses enthralled by Boss The Scent for her – the new seductive fragrance for women from Boss Parfums. Inspired by the art of seduction and irresistible act of getting closer, the luxurious and sensual perfume is the inimitable female counterpart to the male scent, designed to elicit a hidden seductive power that envelops the woman who wears it with a captivating allure. Meanwhile, Boss The Scent reveals a different aspect to the Boss man, paying tribute to his personal rather than professional achievements. This is a man whose success has always proved seductive. It is evident in the way he carries himself, the cut of his suit, and his self-assured charisma. Now he can discover these qualities in his scent. Receive a Boss travel bag when purchasing Boss The Scent eau de toilette 100ml, or a Boss tote bag when purchasing Boss The Scent for her eau de parfum 100ml. Offers are valid from authorised doors only. For local trade enquiries, contact VJ Salomone Marketing Ltd on 8007 2387.
TAKING THE WEARER ON A VOYAGE The instinctive, human, highly crafted and boundlessly imaginative approach that Prada ascribes to the making of fragrance is everywhere present in the ‘olfactory maps’ for both La Femme Prada and L’Homme Prada. Designed to take the wearer on a voyage through place, memory and time, somehow there’s a sensual meeting point for these distinct female and male fragrances to consummate an aesthetic relationship through experimentation and tradition. For more details, contact Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd on 2133 1553.
UNIQUELY DAZZLING Gold in all its regal shades is paired with the seductive hues of red and burgundy in a resplendent colour way fit for a true queen. The Pupa Red Queen Limited Edition Make-up Collection is a uniquely dazzling show of luminosity and richness, available from pharmacies and beauty salons. For more information, call Medimports on 2148 3139; or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the Facebook Pupa Milano in Malta. 100 ∫ Pink December 2016
FOR SUBLIME RADIANCE Chanel presents Sublimage Le Teint, an exceptional light-generating foundation for incomparable radiance, so incredibly creamy and soft that it feels like a skincare product. Its exquisitely sensorial texture instantly melts onto the skin. It evens out the complexion and offers 12 hours of continuous hydration with unmatched luminosity for a sublime and glowing complexion. Chanel Research carefully selected the most precious ingredients to enhance this exceptional foundation. Diamond powder reflects the light for an incredibly luminous complexion and Intense Vanilla Water preserves the skin’s quality while delivering strength and vitality. A soft focus complex blurs skin imperfections for a visibly even-looking complexion. In parallel, a trio of film-forming, hygroscopic and emollient agents weaves a web to attract and retain water molecules in the upper layers of the epidermis and ensure complete hydration. Fully moisturised, skin is soft and supple. Sublimage Le Teint is only available in selected Chanel retail stores only. Chanel is distributed by Alfred Gera & Sons Ltd.
THINKPINK HEALTH & BEAUTY
A NEW SPARKLING FRAGRANCE Yves Saint Laurent introduces a new sparkling fragrance, inspired by Paris, the city of intense love. Red berries and pear immediately exude sensuality and femininity in Mon Paris. The exotic white Datura flower, the soul of the fragrance, embodies desire and seduces the senses. Finally, this modern and daring floral scent is balanced by creamy white musks and patchouli in a passionate and unforgettable whirlwind journey to Paris. Yves Saint Laurent fragrances are exclusively distributed by Chemimart [2149 2212].
RELOAD FOR UNSTOPPABLE LASH VOLUME London’s most scandalous mascara is back with a breakthrough! Rimmel London reveals new Scandal’Eyes Reloaded Mascara for dangerously bold, lethally full lashes. Every lash and every corner is quickly loaded with extreme, clump-free volume and wear for unstoppable, up to 24-hour impact… that disappears without a trace. Want fast, full, unstoppable lashes? Time to reload for scandalous impact! Make Rimmel London’s new Scandal’Eyes Reloaded Mascara your new secret weapon. Get the London look. For more details, contact Vivian Corporation on 2258 8600.
A NEW BEGINNING FOR THE SKIN From the age of 40 onward, changes in the hormone balance often cause the skin to become thinner, slowly lose its elasticity, with the first signs of ageing becoming visible. The skin often becomes a little more demanding and those mostly affected complain that they look more tired than they actually feel. Nutri Sensation by Dr Grandel is the innovative regenerating and restructuring skincare line, where highly regenerative substances are combined in an ideally blended‚ nutrient formula that produces a visibly regenerated, healthy and radiant complexion. The Nutri Sensation Series provides the intelligent nourishing and firming combination perfectly tailored to the needs of the skin. It provides the skin with soothing, long-lasting moisture and a sensational lifting effect on facial contours. The focus is on the regeneration of the skin, for true indulgence and dramatic results. Dr Grandel is available in beauty salons and spas. For trade enquiries, contact Carewell by Reactilab on 9982 8498 or 9945 7245, or send an e-mail to email@example.com
Waste Not, Want Not So you do the recycling and don’t use plastic bags, but even so, the average family still puts a lot in the bin. HELEN RAINE shows us how to be zero waste heroes, without necessarily going to the extremes some people do to reduce waste. She’s not expecting us to be like the woman who washed her dental floss every day to be able to produce only a Ziploc bag of waste in a year.
fair amount of food gets thrown away in our house. Between the kids’ leftovers, the bread that goes mouldy before we get to it and the veggies that roll to the back of the fridge to rot, we could easily feed another person. And I know I’m not alone. In Malta, the National Statistics Office reports that 22 per cent of purchased food is thrown away, with supermarkets and restaurants wasting still more. Some of this wastage requires change at an industrial level; but there are plenty of things we can do at home to make a difference.
Food waste hits us in the pocket too. The average UK family throws out over €700 of food a year, according to the www.lovefoodhatewaste.com campaign. Figures are lower in Malta, but still substantial; imagine tossing a few 20s a month into the rubbish bin and you get a tangible feel for the cost of food waste. Annually, it’s enough for a mini-break in Sicily.
“THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE REPORTS THAT 22 PER CENT OF PURCHASED FOOD IS THROWN AWAY, WITH SUPERMARKETS AND RESTAURANTS WASTING STILL MORE”
EUROPEAN WASTRELS What’s clear is that a change can’t come soon enough – the detailed statistics are mind-boggling. In the UK, which tops the EU waste charts, almost half of all fruit and veggies and nearly a third of fish are thrown away; a fifth of dairy products also goes straight into the bin. That equates to 30 per cent of agricultural land being farmed, using water, pesticide, fertiliser and energy, for absolutely nothing. The environmental problems don’t stop there either; once food waste gets into the landfill, it rots, generating greenhouse gases that speed up global warming.
STARVE THE BIN Whatever your food sins are, from binning beans to chucking cheese, a good place to kick-start a change is the ‘food assistant’ on lovefoodhatewaste.com. It has handy suggestions on how to reduce waste for a wide variety of foods, from presenting snacks in smaller portions to reusing items in different recipes. If you need a little guilt to help you make an effort, the UN estimates that over 800 million people go hungry worldwide while we waste around a quarter of the bread Pink December 2016 ∫ 105
INTHEPINK we buy. Those hungry people are not just in far-flung countries; they are here in Malta too as the popularity of food banks attests. Once you’re on a roll, other ways to stop feeding the bin include: • Check ‘use by’ dates and only buy products you know you can eat in time [note too that ‘sell by’ or ‘best before’ dates are only a recommendation; most foods, especially things like yoghurt, are fine to eat past that date]. If food is about to expire, then freeze it or, in the case of veg, make it into soup. • Planning meals makes a big difference. Think about what you’re going to eat before the weekly shop – that way you won’t end up with food you can’t use. Check your cupboards and fridge [take a photo ‘shelfie’ if it helps] so that you don’t end up double-buying. Leaving one day a week ‘plan free’ will give you some flexibility if you end up being invited to dinner or hitting a restaurant after work.
time. Putting half of the loaf in the freezer when you first buy it will reduce bread waste and ensure you always have a supply for toast.
FEED FOR FOOD Despite our best efforts, the odd lettuce head is going to go black and mushy. To avoid sending it to the landfill, consider setting up a worm bin – even a small one will make a difference and won’t take up much room on the kitchen counter, roof [they’ll need shade], or in a back garden. The worms will demolish your leftovers, and in return, give you a highly nutritious liquid fertiliser to help you grow your own produce. [Find out more on www.facebook.com/earthwormsmalta.] Wasteserv is also piloting a scheme to collect organic waste separately for composting; if the pilot is in your area, separating your organic waste into the special bags provided with a ventilated bin is a great way to help the environment.
“KEEP THAT SPOONFUL OF KID’S YOGHURT AS A GRANOLA TOPPING FOR BREAKFAST; PERK UP AILING SALAD BY PLUNGING IT INTO COLD WATER; SIT BROCCOLI IN A GLASS OF WATER TO REVIVE IT; OR THROW BORDERLINE STRAWBERRIES AND BROWNING BANANAS INTO A SMOOTHIE – NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW” • If you’ve got any leftovers, eat them for lunch or invite people over to share. Use today’s spaghetti sauce as a baked potato filling tomorrow; keep that spoonful of kid’s yoghurt as a granola topping for breakfast; perk up ailing salad by plunging it into cold water; sit broccoli in a glass of water to revive it; or throw borderline strawberries and browning bananas into a smoothie – no one will ever know. • Storage is also important – for example, apples last longer in the fridge, potatoes should go in a cool dark place and bread needs to stay in the cupboard. Cheese should go into Tupperware so that it doesn’t get exposed to the air [and you can also freeze it]; grate it if it’s going hard. Make sure your fridge is at the optimum setting to keep food fresh too, around 4°C. • Our two fresh staples, bread and milk, are at the top of the wastage league tables; if you’re regularly pouring the white stuff away, consider buying smaller milk containers; you can also freeze milk if you feel you won’t use it in 106 ∫ Pink December 2016
We know it – they know it; supermarkets waste food. Shopping locally at a veg van, fish market, or butchers can help with this, but the reality is that we’re still going to end up pushing a trolley around a supermarket for a lot of our groceries. The French passed a law in 2015 that prevented supermarkets from deliberately spoiling past-the-sell-by-date food – they had been pouring bleach onto food to prevent ‘dumpster diving’; instead they must donate it to charity, or give it to animal feed suppliers. Maltese supermarkets contend that waste here is relatively low because importers take back about-to-expire goods [which may be why Eurostat ranked Malta as the least wasteful country in Europe in 2015]. But edible, perishable food still gets thrown away. Write to your local MPs to tell them you want supermarkets and importers to do more to reduce food waste and suggest to the manager of your local supermarket that they donate goods they would otherwise throw away to the food bank. The Alliance Foundation Food Bank and St Andrews’ Scots Church food bank on Old Bakery Street, Valletta, feed people in need, but often find supplies running low.
TAKE A DOGGY BOX Restaurants with a vast menu are likely to be the worst culprits when it comes to food waste, according to the Malta Food Waste Working Group, so avoid these and go for an establishment that offers a pared-down menu [they’re more likely to do their specialties well anyway] and doesn’t overdo it on the portion size. Take a Tupperware with you so that if you can’t eat all your food, you can take it home [without ending up with a polystyrene container].
KILL THE FOOD BILL To chart your progress, check how much you spent on groceries for the last three months [your debit or credit card bills will capture most of your spending] and then make the changes above for the next three; you should be a substantial amount in pocket, which will give you the incentive to make the changes permanent. Then spread the word; love food, hate waste.
PINKSHRINK to be questioned as it gives them a false hope”. This argument seems to completely contradict a study that was conducted with 318 parents about the myth of Santa Claus. The results proved that the myth and magic of the story of Father Christmas are what make people love Christmas so much. Very few parents mentioned the fact that their children felt deceived or traumatised when they found out that their parents were not telling the truth.
Decorating our houses
STUDYING THE SEASON TO BE MERRY With Christmas round the corner, Dott. EDWARD CURMI decides to dig up and dish out some interesting studies about the celebration that have been carried out over the years. It’s all about the ‘halo effect’ Have you ever wondered why the turkey and pudding always taste so much better on Christmas Day. Well, it’s all due to what social psychologists call the ‘halo effect’, which means that people tend to believe something is good because it appears good. For example, politicians who are likeable and attractive are also perceived as friendly or of good judgement. Obviously, this is not the case, but unconsciously, the more you talk about the special turkey you got from the farm down the road, or the wine you bought from your last trip to Tuscany, the more likely your guests are going to want to believe that your food is delicious. Putting it simply, the more you make people feel good about a few aspects of an experience, the more likely they are to feel good about it.
Spending money on others makes us happy In 2008, Dunn et al conducted research on whether spending money promotes happiness. The results were pretty clear: people seem happier to spend money on others rather than on themselves. Also, spending more of their salary on others predicted greater happiness. Therefore, no wonder Christmas makes a lot of
people happier; they feel that by giving, they are getting.
Humour What is it with our fascination for stale jokes around Christmas? No Christmas is real without the banal jokes that we read in Christmas crackers. Ironically, in a survey conducted with 2,000 people, there was an overwhelming majority that found the jokes in Christmas crackers not funny at all. So, what is our obsession with stale humour? It must be in our genes as Christmas crackers have been around for more than 170 years. “VERY FEW PARENTS MENTIONED THE FACT THAT THEIR CHILDREN FELT DECEIVED OR TRAUMATISED WHEN THEY FOUND OUT THAT THEIR PARENTS WERE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH”
The magic of Father Christmas Social scientist Kathy McKay has insinuated that parents should stop telling their children that Santa Claus is real. Her argument seems to be backed up by psychologist Chris Boyle, who stated that “the morality of making children believe in such myths has
Throughout the Christmas period, people enthusiastically decorate their homes with Christmas paraphernalia. This phenomenon was studied by Carol Werner in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. First and foremost, her study concluded that residents who decorate their home exterior are perceived by others as more sociable and cohesive. Secondly, people tend to decorate their façade throughout the Christmas period to create a feel-good factor and a stronger bond with their neighbours and community.
The battle of the sexes We often assume that people who love us know exactly what we would like for Christmas. However, assuming is never a good thing and, more often than not, we do receive gifts we don’t like from loved ones. So how do men and women deal with this? Well, one study really confirmed that men are from Mars and women from Venus. In fact, men are more likely to share the honest truth about a gift while women are very good at pretending the gift is just what they have always wanted.
It’s not about the gift Too often, people get stressed out trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones. Ironically, a study conducted by Tim Kasser for the Journal of Happiness Studies, shows that material gifts do not necessarily bring happiness. What really makes people happy around Christmas is the possibility to do family and spiritual activities. Moral of the story: base your energy on family and religious matters, rather than materialistic consumption. 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 sequel More Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, available from Agenda Bookshops.
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Educational and child psychologist Dr STEPHANIE SATARIANO shows us how to help our children appreciate the non-materialistic aspects of the holiday season. There is no time like now to start a daily gratitude exercise, asking them what they are pleased with, or about something that made them happy, or that they are proud of…
hristmas is a time of the year that is filled with so many intense emotions; for some it is positive; for others, negative, and it may even be a mixture of both. And for most people with children in the family, it’s usually an exciting [albeit tiring] time of year, filled with fun, celebrations and presents! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and whirlwind of events, decorations, parties and gifts. And this makes it even easier to overlook the non-materialistic aspects of Christmas, which are actually so important and what make it special. So how do we help our children appreciate the intangible aspects of the holiday season? How do we use such a special time, filled with family and friends, to help develop and instil important values in them? One way is through gratitude. Gratitude is currently a buzzword in the field of ‘emotional well-being’. This is following a large body of research that has found that regular expressions of gratitude have a positive impact on mental health, the development of self-concept, as well as coping and
resilience. It is thought to help children focus on the positive aspects of their lives, and use these to overcome the difficult ones.
So what is gratitude and how can we use it to grow our children? Gratitude is a positive emotional response that is brought about through the acknowledgement and appreciation of something good in our life; this can be a person, a gift, an event, or something we witnessed.
think of something they are grateful for, or happy about. In fact, they tend to need a great deal of help with this. Also, there is a tendency to focus on the materialistic aspects of their life, overlooking the rest; so they will need help to do this. A good strategy to help your child develop this skill is by modelling it. Regularly [ideally daily] name something
“REGULAR EXPRESSIONS OF GRATITUDE HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH, THE DEVELOPMENT OF SELF-CONCEPT, AS WELL AS COPING AND RESILIENCE” One way of helping children develop this skill is through a ‘daily gratitude’ exercise. At the end of each day, or during the day, ask your children what they are pleased with. Ask them about something they’ve seen that made them happy, or something they are proud of. Christmas can be an easy time to start doing this. Keep in mind, most children do find it difficult to spontaneously
you are happy about, proud of, or grateful for. Try to make this about a relationship in your life, something nice you saw, or something you are excited about. By doing this with your children, you help them see the fundamental parts of life; you help them appreciate and acknowledge those around them and themselves to develop into a well-rounded adult. Pink December 2016 ∫ 111
BUY ME A GLAM-A-BREAK If your significant other prefers an ‘experience’ to a ‘gift’, it’s time to start shopping for a fancy weekend away. Prices tend to fall for travel in mid-January so book one of these fabulous escapes for the New Year and tell them all about it in your Christmas card.
SINTRA, PORTUGAL Why? Sintra is the birthplace of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II kicked things off with a luxury palace above the clouds on the edge of a pine forested escarpment. The Lisbon elite soon followed, filling the town with rainbowcoloured homes. A World Heritage Site, Sintra’s got a bit of everything: historic sites dating back to Neolithic times, mansions where the royals would spend the summer, hikes in the woods, ancient moss-bound convents just begging to be photographed and tasty local snacks such as queijadas [cheese cakes] or travesseiros [almond pastries]. The town is just half an hour away from Lisbon.
Glam Sleeps: The Casa Miradouro has the kind of picture windows you usually find in a period drama, with long white curtains to set them off and four-poster beds made up with Egyptian cotton sheets. It’s in a great location, just a few minutes’ walk from the town centre. Prices start at around €60 per room, including buffet breakfast. Glam Eats: Try the Restaurant Pendoa for traditional Portuguese cooking, or A Raposa for beautifully presented amuse-bouches. Extra Glam: Organise a private wine-tasting session with Adega Viuva Gomes, a 200-year-old cellar keeping the ancient traditions of Portuguese wine-making alive.
ST TROPEZ Why? In summer, St Tropez is prohibitively expensive – Bridget Bardot transformed the place into a celebrity haunt in the 1950s and it has never looked back. January, however, is a different story. It’s still glamourous, but you’re more likely to get a decent deal on a hotel while you discover what this chicest of seaside towns has to offer. Tread the quaint, cobbled streets in the old quarter of La Ponche, or hike the Sentier du Littoral, Pink December 2016 ∫ 113
TRAVELOGUE an 11km track along the rocky, pine-laden peninsula that inspired Henri Matisse and Guy de Maupassant. Glam Sleeps: The Hotel de Paris Saint-Tropez has a décor so cheery it will offset the flinty look of the winter sea outside. It’s hyper modern with a great location. Rooms start from around €230. Glam Eats: Don’t miss sampling a Tarte Tropézienne from the Eponymous Café on the Place des Lices. This brioche is shot through with orange essence and stuffed with cream; at €3, it won’t break the bank. Extra Glam: Get another pastry hit at Ladurée [pictured overleaf], the world-famous bakery, which produces 15,000 macaroons a day. It’s a good place to do some A-list spotting, even in the off season. TEL AVIV
IBIZA Why? Most people come to Ibiza to party, but in the winter months, Pacha is the only club that opens and even then, only at weekends. A quiet-ish nightlife means more time to explore all the other great attractions on the White Isle, such as the historic city centre, the markets, the cutting-edge restaurants and the gorgeous beaches. There’s also a spectacular kite festival towards the end of the month. Glam Sleeps: An apartment in the ultra-modern Las Boas [pictured] will set you back around €93 a night on Airbnb – far less 114 ∫ Pink December 2016
than it would cost in the high season. Every balcony is laden with gorgeous foliage, making it look like a giant hanging basket and the interiors are straight out of design magazine double spread. Glam Eats: La Casita Restaurant has a fountain terrace with serene views over the pine forest. This restored farmhouse has a romantic streak – a great place to come with your media naranja [soul mate]. Extra Glam: Take advantage of the down season to get a good deal on horse riding at Ibiza Horse Valley. They run regular four-hour adventures through the mountains, with breathtaking views.
Why? Dubbed the “Miami of the Middle East”, Tel Aviv mixes urban cool with a happening beach scene and an outdoors lifestyle. There are tons of things to see and do – such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Yitzhak Rabin Centre [promoting democratic values] and the Beit Hatfutsot [which tells the story of Jewish exile]. But what visitors seem to love most is getting into the groove and becoming one of the multilingual crowd. Glam Sleeps: The Norman is a boutique hotel that straddles two historic buildings in the centre of this ‘White City’. It’s pure luxury, with a rooftop infinity pool, a fragrant citrus garden, a library bar and rooms blending “antique charm with contemporary technologies”. Rooms start at around €420. Glam Eats: Thai Zu combines chef Yuval Ben Neriah’s experience of five cuisines – Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian – into a menu packed with texture, colour and zing. The result is dishes like Black Code, a corn curry with purple sweet potato gnocchi and charred tomatoes or Hummus Rissoles with turmeric and coconut. Extra Glam: Friday is shopping day at the Jaffa Port. The flea market here has everything from old Persian tiles and handmade leather sandals to antique Bedouin jewellery; you’ll find teetering towers of old dining chairs stacked next to neat displays of ceramic mugs, and new designer clothes mixed in with tatty Moroccan fabrics. Haggle hard!
THE VIRGINIA MONOLOGUES
SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF
guess I do. Sweat the small stuff, I mean. They say that it’s the little things that make us happy, so perhaps it’s also the little things that make us hot under the collar and cause us to break out into a sweat. So here it is, in no particular order of annoyance: the list of things that make me angry and bother me no end – hugely, in fact.
prescribe advice to other people who are presumably lying in bed at home. Haven’t you ever been inside a pharmacy and felt completely invisible and ignored, having to play second fiddle to someone who was clearly important enough to be served from the comfort of their home? Someone who chose not to brave the rain or the traffic and stayed put is somehow always considered more
“SHOP ASSISTANTS HAVE THIS IRRITATING HABIT OF NOT IMMEDIATELY SERVING AND GIVING PRIORITY TO THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACTUALLY LEFT THEIR HOME AND SCHLEPPED OVER TO THE SHOP IN QUESTION” If I’ve bothered to leave my house to go and buy something, I expect that small detail to afford me priority when being served… which means that I expect the person behind the counter to see to me before assisting someone else on the other end of a telephone line. This happens far too often in my world. Shop assistants have this irritating habit of not immediately serving and giving priority to the people who have actually left their home and schlepped over to the shop in question. Instead, they will take long luxuriating calls, which go on forever and 116 ∫ Pink December 2016
important than someone who did. It’s unprofessional, rude and plain bad manners. And there can be no justification for that sort of thing. Calls are to be taken at your convenience not the caller’s. So first you see to the people in front of you – the people who may be badly parked, or who may well be getting a parking ticket as ‘we’ speak; then, when your shop has emptied and you have a minute on your hands, you can take a call or call the person back, having got his number on your ID caller. That is the way it is done. Because, you see, we are all in a hurry; we are all in a rush…
which brings me to another bone of contention – queues and queue etiquette. The following is actually a true story that happened to me not so long ago when I was standing in a queue at a supermarket. First, a bit of background: You ought to know that I don’t do trolleys. Never have. I’m the one who always goes to a supermarket for a carton of milk and a couple of other things that swiftly turn into 10 items, which are usually expertly balanced one on top of the other and hugging my chest. Incidentally, I’m also the one who has about 350 heavy-duty super bags in a room inside my home, which invariably, never see the light of day. I’m never prepared. This is why queuing up is always a painful experience for me, especially at a place where you can and often do wait 10 minutes for your turn. When you’re badly parked and your chin and chest are trying to balance eight different items and you’re desperately trying to keep it all together with your powers of concentration, the last thing you want to hear is the sound of: “Can I please go before you as I only have two items?” So when I heard the magic words the other day, instead of caring what I would sound like if I actually said no, I tried it on.
“I AM A GREAT BELIEVER IN SOCIAL JUSTICE, EVEN [OR ESPECIALLY] WHEN IT COMES TO QUEUES. THERE ARE RULES TO BE FOLLOWED. EVEN IF YOU ARE NEXT IN LINE FOR THE CASHIER AND ARE FEELING GENEROUS, THAT DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO CALL TO THE PERSON AT THE END OF THE QUEUE AND ASK THEM IF THEY WOULD LIKE TO GO BEFORE YOU” I said no. I didn’t just say no. I then proceeded to give a three-minute, anal Larry David-type speech – right there in the lane. I heard myself say: “You only have two items, and I only have six or seven more than you do. Besides, by the time you get round to paying, one of your items may be missing a bar code; you may rummage for change, realise you
don’t have enough and use your credit card, by which time I’d have long been out.” I would have told her that I was also badly parked, and for all she knew, my ailing grandmother was waiting in the car, but the person before me in the queue decided to cut me short and rain on my speech. She then did something she didn’t have the authority to do
– she turned to the queue-skipper and said: “You can come before me if you like.” At that point, I was tempted to interject: “Actually, she can’t madam, because you have no authority to do that. It goes against the law of queues and queue etiquette.” I wanted to say… but of course, she had completely shown me up as an uncharitable jerk, which I probably was. I was right in principle, but being right doesn’t always get you far – certainly not in a queue. And this is how I suddenly ended up two places behind… and why I am writing this. You see, I am a great believer in social justice, even [or especially] when it comes to queues. There are rules to be followed. Even if you are next in line for the cashier and are feeling generous, that does not give you the right to call to the person at the end of the queue and ask them if they would like to go before you – not unless you have the permission of all the other people in the queue. The only person you can ever offer your place to is the person immediately after you. If you want to offer your place to someone four places behind you, and number two and three are not on board, you simply can’t do it. There have been times when I have offered someone my place, but the minute someone asks, it just puts my back up. It has to be my idea and I find the audacity of those who ask quite off-putting. When you don’t ask, people usually go out of their way to offer – that’s the way it should be. firstname.lastname@example.org
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TIME FOR A TOME
HELEN RAINE suggests we curl up with a book this Christmas.
ew of us have much time for reading in the run-up to Christmas, but there’s often a delicious lull between Noel and New Year when you can escape with a book. Here are seven tomes the whole family can get excited about.
LITTLE KIDS Tom Fletcher – The Christmasaurus Tom Fletcher is one half of boy band McFly and his books are proving as popular as his music with pre-tweens. The Christmasaurus follows young William Trundle on a journey to the North Pole in which he encounters oddly named elves, Santa [naturally], flying reindeer and a fabulous baddie that wants to derail their plans. The chapters are mercifully short for exhausted parents reading at bedtime, while the witty plot will captivate children learning to read short novels alone. If you find your kids get hooked, Fletcher’s other hit book, The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas, has more festive humour.
children’s books. The Midnight Gang opens in the children’s ward of the Lord Funt Hospital [detailed comedy map supplied], where five of the patients are about to have the nighttime adventure of a lifetime, supported or thwarted by characters such as Matron, who doesn’t like children at all, and Dilly the Cleaner, who leaves a trail of cigarette ash behind her wherever she goes. The bold illustrations capture Walliams’ dastardly creations perfectly. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down Every time we get a new Wimpy Kid book, my son vanishes into his room for a few hours. Kinney’s character, Greg Heffley, recounts the tribulations of middle school in diary form, interspersed with comic-book illustrations. The realistic plots and caustic comedy one-liners make for easy reading – Kinney is famous for coaxing reluctant readers into action and engrossing kids who are already proficient. Double Down picks up with Greg as his parents
“THE CHAPTERS ARE MERCIFULLY SHORT FOR EXHAUSTED PARENTS READING AT BEDTIME, WHILE THE WITTY PLOT WILL CAPTIVATE CHILDREN LEARNING TO READ SHORT NOVELS ALONE”
MEDIUM KIDS David Walliams – The Midnight Gang Walliams’ comic gift is already well established with TV hits like Little Britain and Come Fly With Me, but he has outdone himself with his series of
beg him to do anything other than play video games… and he finds a video camera in the basement. “Is doubling down on movie-making a smart plan? Or is it just a recipe for doubling Greg’s troubles?” ask the publishers. Your kids will love finding out.
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READINGROOM NOSTALGIC PARENTS Bruno Vincent – Five on Brexit Island It’s not nice to laugh at the misfortunes of others, but when it comes to the Brits blundering into Brexit, an exception has to be made. Five on Brexit Island takes the old Famous Five format that those of us thundering past 40 will remember reading, and turns it into a satire. Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy are all grown up now, but their friendship endures – at least until Brexit politics threaten, at which point they flee to an island with their smartphones for a mini referendum of their own. When Dick is handed a cracker with a delicious slick of brie across it, he observes: “We must have made a rash decision, when the Europeans are capable of this…” Expect
in a philanthropic effort to ‘give them a better life’, put on board trains bound for the pioneering new farms of the Midwest. Once they got there, however, they were indentured to whoever chose them at the stations. Orphan Train weaves the story of Vivian Daly, a train rider, who is now living out her last years in Maine, with 17-year-old Molly Ayers, a Penobscot Indian, who is sent to Viviane’s house as part of a community service sentence. The compelling relationship that develops between the two women pulls the reader between the past and the present in a way that underlines how similar their struggles are, despite their apparent differences. This literary page-turner will have you mulling over the story long after you finish the book.
“IT’S NOT NICE TO LAUGH AT THE MISFORTUNES OF OTHERS, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO THE BRITS BLUNDERING INTO BREXIT, AN EXCEPTION HAS TO BE MADE” many more pro-EU jabs in this vein and imagine the ‘remainers’ weeping into their ginger beer. JK Rowling – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them You’ve seen the film [at least, anyone with a house full of Potter lovin’ kids has]; now read the book. Written under the pen name of magizoologist Newt Scamander and masquerading as Harry Potter’s text book, Fantastic Beasts details the habits and appearance of dozens of magical creatures. The scribbles of Ron Weasley and notes by Hermione Granger appear alongside entries about chizpurfles, dragons, pogrebins, sphinxes and mackled malaclaws. It’s a lot of fun for diehard Potter fans – just don’t confuse it with the screenplay, which bears the same name and is rather more impenetrable for the average reader.
ADULTS Christina Baker Kline – Orphan Train In the mid-1800s, deaths from tenement fires, illness and childbirth left thousands of orphans on the streets of New York. Between 1854 and 1929, these children were rounded up and, 120 ∫ Pink December 2016
NON-FICTION Tim Peake – Hello, Is This Planet Earth? Astronaut Tim Peake, famous for running the London Marathon live while floating, weightless, in the International Space Station, wants to share with us his view from the ISS. Peake’s photos include the ultimate selfie – him, in a spacesuit, with the Earth forming the backdrop to his spacewalk. Among the more than 150 photos, we see the UK twinkling with electric lights under the eerie Aurora Borealis, the towering sand dunes of the Sahara and Patagonian glaciers carving out mountain ranges. There’s a serious point to Peake’s book too. He says: “It’s impossible to look down on Earth from space and not be mesmerised by the fragile beauty of our planet. I was struck by just how thin our atmosphere really is – that tiny strip of gas that sustains all life.” But if the book is a reminder of how precious our planet is, it’s not heavy on the rhetoric, relying instead on showing us our world from a whole new perspective. The title comes from a wrong number that Peake dialled from the Space Station; when a woman picked up, he asked: “Hello? Is this Planet Earth?” Her response is not recorded.
COCKTAILS IN SEASON Winter is citrus season in Malta and there are some exciting herbs growing in the countryside too. HELEN RAINE shows us how to take the seasonal bounty and turn it into a tasty Christmas or New Year’s cocktail that is easy to make and serve at a party. GOZITAN GRENADE
THE NAUGHTY NASTURTIUM
Gozo produces some particularly delicious tangerines, especially in the northeastern valleys, and they are harvested in the winter months. If you can get your hands on them, your cocktail will be extra delicious, but any locals tangerines will work. Squeeze yourself a litre of juice, add 350ml of tequila and the juice of one lime. When you’re ready to serve, rub a slice of lime around the edge of each glass, dip it in Gozo sea salt, pop the lime and some ice into the glass and pour. You can thank the Portuguese for this one – they are said to have introduced tangerines and sweet oranges to Malta.
From January onwards, nasturtium flowers bloom in the Maltese countryside. They are not native, but you’ll often spot them in gardens, or growing wild in the corner of a fallow field. The plant has a peppery flavour that goes well with the neutral taste of vodka. Put a couple of flowers in a glass with half a teaspoon of sugar and press down a few times with a wooden spoon so that they release their flavour. Mix two shots of vodka, a shot of lemon juice, a few drops of Angostura bitters and lots of ice in a glass. Add an intact nasturtium flower at the top.
Malta’s Hawthorn trees fruit in autumn and the red berries [called ‘haws’] are used to make jam. Pick up a jar from a local producer to give a Maltese twist to the classic Savoy Hanky Panky. In a cocktail shaker, mix half a teaspoon of jam with a shot of vermouth, a shot of gin and a dash of Fernet Branca, then strain into a cocktail glass and add a spiral of orange peel.
HAWTHORN HANKY PANKY Thyme is intrinsically linked with Christmas in Malta because it is traditionally placed around the nativity cribs. In fact, thyme was so heavily harvested in the past that it became endangered. It is now widespread again, but you should harvest from the garden, rather than the wild. To make a thyme syrup, combine 100ml of local thyme honey with 125ml of water and five sprigs of thyme. Simmer until the honey has dissolved, remove the sprigs and cool the syrup in the fridge. For the cocktail, add four teaspoons of the syrup and a few drops of a good cocktail bitter [such as St Germain]; then pour in a shot of whiskey, a twirl of lemon peel and some ice. The thyme brings a taste of the wild into your kitchen and the whiskey should do the rest. 124 ∫ Pink December 2016
BLUE FLOWER POWER Borage is a common plant in the wild with elfin blue flowers that usually appear around January. Adding these edible starry blooms to a Bacardi punch will give it a touch of Maltese class. Combine 200ml of Bacardi rum with 600ml of cider, 400ml of lemonade, a teaspoon of allspice and a sliced apple. Garnish each glass
with a cinnamon stick and add a sprinkle of the flowers on top as you serve.
THE COLD CURER If the onset of a cold has you reaching for a hot toddy, this is the Christmas cocktail for you. It uses the smokey, peaty taste of Laphroaig whiskey to balance the sweetness of Maltese honey [December’s honey comes from bees that have fed on Asphodel, or berwieq] and the acidity of freshly squeezed Maltese lemons. To make it, muddle some slim slices of fresh ginger in a cocktail shaker until they are lightly mashed. Add two shots of Laphroaig, one shot of lemon juice, a half teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of water and shake it all up. Strain into a glass of ice.
ROSEMARY’S COCKTAIL Rosemary is another aromatic shrub that you’ll find growing wild all over the island. Its subtle, dry flavour pairs well with gin. Heat 100ml of water with 50g of sugar and two teaspoons of chopped rosemary leaves. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool in the fridge, then strain out the rosemary. To make the cocktail, mix two shots of gin with half a shot of lime juice and half a shot of the rosemary syrup, then add ice. Serve it with a sprig of rosemary in the glass.
THE FUTURE IS
PINK ARIES MARCH 20-APRIL 18 Being in control is important. So when January’s events prevent you making your own plans or decisions, you’re seriously annoyed. Yet being forced into unfamiliar settings and spending time with people you don’t know broadens your horizons amazingly. Similarly, events make it clear certain elements of your life can’t remain as they are. This isn’t unexpected, although you had wanted to decide when and how. Still, by late January, you’ve enjoyed recent changes so much, you happily opt for what’s newest and most exciting.
CANCER JUNE 21-JULY 21 The fact you need to rethink elements of your own life isn’t news. Between recent unsettling events and your shifting perspective and priorities, you’re feeling unsure what to change, explore, or commit to. Actually, these questions are appropriate in the run-up to the Cancer Full Moon on January 12, which brings both your own feelings and the circumstances you’re facing to a head. Urgent as decisions seem, take it slowly. By January’s close, you’ll know what, and who, should come first.
LIBRA SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 22 Being told you’ll be restructuring your life, at work or at home, may seem worrying. Yet you’ve already been wrestling with several increasingly unworkable situations. Events or, possibly, changes in circumstances between late December and mid-January broaden your horizons in terms of ideas and practical options. Explore everything. Still, put off firm commitments until the facts are clear, which may not be until early February. That may seem a long time to wait but the results will justify the patience required.
CAPRICORN DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 18 The insights triggered by the Capricorn New Moon on December 29 will explain past difficulties, inspire future plans and, importantly, give you courage. Promising as this is, be patient. Things are unlikely to come together until mid-January. Thus, the less you say to others about this vision, at least initially, the better. What’s more, this allows you to rethink plans as new and appealing ideas and encounters broaden your horizons in terms of your life at home and out in the world.
According to astrologer SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL… TAURUS
APRIL 19-MAY 19 It’s unlike you to leave crucial decisions to others. However, because December was so unpredictable, you’re encouraging those closest, in your personal or working life, to share the responsibility. This works amazingly well and leads to joint decisions in mid-January to approach once-complex matters more creatively. While the resulting changes are demanding in the short term, there’s less stress and you’re happier than for ages. This success gets you thinking what else in your life would benefit from a similar rethink.
LEO JULY 22-AUGUST 21 Having to deal with dull details is bad enough, but facing constant changes is exasperating. Actually, each twist, turn and unexpected development is introducing you to ideas you wouldn’t otherwise have encountered and, equally, broadening your circle, personally, or at work. Knowing that, forget about a quick fix. Instead, take your time and investigate every option in real depth. By mid-February’s Leo Full Moon, you’ll have updated your perspective and priorities, which, in turn, adds new excitement to your life.
SCORPIO OCTOBER 23-NOVEMBER 21 Usually, both your opinions and the best way to handle events in the world around you are crystal clear. Yet sudden developments so alter circumstances that you’re forced to question deep convictions. While this process takes time, what you learn about others, the situations involved and yourself justifies any delays. Also, while ordinarily you’d make decisions solo, talk things over from the outset. This proves informative but, as important, results in unexpected and welcome support when it’s most needed.
AQUARIUS JANUARY 19-FEBRUARY 17 Once you understand there’s no way of avoiding the unsettling and often confusing events and mood of others from late December until the end of January, you’ll stand back, look and listen. In some situations, you’ll realise changes are inevitable; in others, you’ll be intrigued by new ideas. Explore these, and discuss your ideas. However, avoid solid commitments until January 28 when the Aquarius New Moon brings a muchneeded fresh perspective on circumstances but, even more, on your future plans.
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GEMINI MAY 20-JUNE 20 During January’s first half, you’ll be focusing on questions raised by both events and lively discussions in 2016. Some were nothing new, others came as a surprise, but all merit serious thought. If pressed for decisions, explain you’re exploring your options and, equally, learning about others’ intentions. Meanwhile, you’ll be rethinking your objectives and refining plans involving those at home or at work. Expect to go through several versions. Give yourself time to get things just right. You’ll be glad you did.
VIRGO AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 21 In late December, you’ll begin to recognise that neither misunderstandings nor the errors of others are your fault. Equally, you’ll realise that unsettling as sudden changes are, they’re amazingly promising. So as you begin January, you’ll be eager to turn these exciting events into solid plans. Discuss your options. But avoid solid commitments until mid-month, when arrangements, the people involved and your own priorities will be clearer. Living with confusion won’t be easy, but you’ll learn from even the most surprising of experiences.
SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 22-DECEMBER 20 While you don’t mind even dramatic changes, others do. This means you’ll be exploring promising developments while reassuring those who are unnerved by events that things are just fine. The real challenge is to sidestep pressure to make swift commitments. This gives you vital time, not only to explore but also to learn more about the ideas and people involved. Tempting as it is to reassure others, avoid this. That way, when things are settled, probably in late December, you need to make those explanations only once.
PISCES FEBRUARY 18-MARCH 19 Rarely are discussions, encounters, or experiences as astonishingly clear about you, your life, plans and even distant future. However, the link between Mars and your ruler Neptune on January 1 achieves exactly that. Still, the way these insights will fit into your existing life may puzzle you. Take action on what you can, allowing complex or even confusing events to unfold gradually. Then shift your attention to decluttering your life, letting go of existing arrangements and passions that are no longer rewarding. Pink December 2016 ∫ 127
LEARNING THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC Twenty-year-old Nikki Camilleri is still a student, but an ambitious one at that. She’s already managing an artist, works on music events and aims to one day inspire aspiring Maltese musicians and business talent. Success is a slow process in music, she knows, but she’s clear about her future dreams. Here’s how one young girl is planning to achieve them.
o you think the UK music industry as cut-throat as it is made out to be and what does it take to survive and make it in this world? The UK music
industry will always be very competitive because the ratio of quality artists from around the world to opportunities is so disproportionate. However, it’s also a very small industry of true professionals. It is often portrayed as this extremely fast-paced, get-famous-overnight sort of industry, but it’s a lot more of a waiting game. I believe you have to be willing to give it a go for an average of six or more years before getting a break. Over the years, this sifts out people without true passion and drive. Success is a slow process in music.
What have been your highlights so far working on music festivals, even though it’s still early days? There are a few,
but three really stand out: working at the AIM Awards and meeting Noel Gallagher, an all-time favourite of mine; working with a songwriter while she wrote tracks for Beyonce’s and Britney Speer’s latest albums; and most recently, I met Harry Magee, a music business heavyweight from Modest Management, where I’ll be starting a placement in February. One experience that you wouldn’t want to repeat… I’ve
had my ups and downs from horrible internships to events, but I don’t think there are any I wouldn’t want to repeat. It’s all a learning curve.
What do you think of Malta’s music scene and Maltese talent? Where do you think local artists go wrong on the road to making it big? We definitely don’t lack talent in
Malta. It’s the lack of business know-how of artists and the lack of people directing and making opportunities for them. Every time I speak with a Maltese band, I’m asked the same question: What’s the fastest route to being successful? Pink December 2016 ∫ 129
SNAPSHOT “I ALWAYS LOVED MUSIC AND BUSINESS, BUT NEVER HAD THE GUTS TO GO FOR IT BECAUSE OF THE STIGMA ATTACHED TO IT THAT IT IS SUCH A TOUGH INDUSTRY” There is none, and if any of us knew the magic formula, it would be a very different industry. If it’s really what you want to do, you’re going to have to sacrifice a lot, work hard, get your music up to scratch and buckle up for what could be a lengthy ride. Why did you choose to sign on the Maltese band The Busker to a UK publisher? What was it about them? The Busker are
a great talent. They have a certain professionalism and a distinct sound that makes them stand out while still being ‘mainstream’ enough for everyone to appreciate the music. Although I only have positive things to say about them, being realistic, signing a band is always a matter of the right time and situation. Their music was lucky enough to fit the ever-changing brief at the time. But I’m a firm believer that good music will always eventually find a way. Which other Maltese musician would you like to work with? And when it comes to foreign stars? I always keep a sneaky
watch on Maltese talent and I was recently at Malta Takes London [as the name suggests, a showcase of Maltese talent in London]. I’d love to work with tenor Joseph Calleja. Some other great local talent I’ve come across are The Travellers, I Am Willow and a favourite, Airport Impressions. On an international level, my dream would be to work with Lukas Graham, Zak Abel and Jack Garrett. They all have really soulful undertones to their music. You manage your own act, who just released an EP in October. Tell us about her. I manage a pop soul singer-song-
writer, Ina Shai, originally from Slovenia, who has an absolutely amazing voice. We released her first four-track EP, Overload, on all platforms after a successful crowdfunding campaign and the tracks have already secured radio play internationally, including a slot on BBC Introducing. She’s best described as a mix between Sam Smith and Sade. Her writing skills are so strong, making all her tracks universally relatable. I’ve had 30-year-old men as well as young girls tell me how the music moved them. You can listen to her on Spotify or YouTube; just search Ina Shai. How much pressure do you think managers should exert on artists to make it? I don’t believe in pressuring artists. Your role
as a manager is to encourage, support and build. Manager’s hold 20 per cent of the business that is an artist, which means the act should be putting in double, if not triple, the effort the manager is. At the end of the day, if an artist doesn’t want to do something, it’s their career and you can’t work with people you don’t see eye to eye with. With my act, we’re quite lucky because we really have the same vision in mind so we always manage to work out what’s best for the music. I can’t stress how important finding the right people to work with is. 130 ∫ Pink December 2016
You’re in your third year of a BA Hons in Music Business. What made you choose this line of study and how important is it to have an educational background in the field? I was
actually set to study film. I always loved music and business, but never had the guts to go for it because of the stigma attached to it that it is such a tough industry. Feeling very uninspired about a month before UK university started, I just decided to go for it, and within four weeks, I got a place, found a flat and moved to London. I like to think it’s destiny. When I was still in Malta, I won a local competition, Young Enterprise, with an arts management company that combined different arts and business. It was definitely this and the amazing mentors I had at the time that unknowingly pushed me into this line of study. Although a lot of people in the industry don’t have music-specialised degrees, I think having this knowledge and dedicating three years of your life to it definitely gives you an edge. In general, music is considered an art and is alien to business. What sort of interests and talents do you need to have to see the connection and the appeal? Business, especially
now, is becoming more and more creative, with businesses here in the UK investing in whole departments that just deal with innovation. Creativity is becoming more appreciated in business roles, so it is definitely a key skill whatever you wish to pursue. Pursuing music as a career will always need Ina Shai business to make money, so brushing up on royalty collection societies, such as PRS, different streams of income online, and with live performances and their going rates to make sure you’re not being ripped off should definitely be of interest. Are there many Maltese like you pushing things in the business side of the industry overseas, or are you a rare breed? Sadly, on the business side, I
think I am quite a rare breed. I’m yet to meet anyone, but if there are any overseas, please reach out as I’d love to meet you. What does music mean to you? Music is such a big part of our culture, memories and emotions, softening life for us as humans. It’s hard to describe and I probably won’t do it justice, but Karl Paulnack from Boston University really sums it up nicely: “If you were a medic, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at 2am someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well…someday at 8pm someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.”