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COSMETIC SURGERY ON PRIVATE PARTS Dare to go designer down below?

Modern-day matchmaking WHO’S PLAYING CUPID TODAY?

Forget date nights SAVE THE WHOLE DAY


February 2016 51 48


FEATURES 14 LifeStyle a match made in heaven… or earth? The art of creating couples 21 InFocus a little pink pill Is female Viagra all it’s meant to be?



32 ShowStopper vintage-inspired Quirky collections

9 EditorsNote 10 MailShot 25 WomanKind the light of Hussein Queen Noor 40 ThinkPink food, things & events 48 ThinkPink health & beauty 66 GirlTalk the other side of February No love for exams 68 TableTalk stuff it A mountain on a mushroom 70 WomenOnWheels newcomer crossover Hyundai i20 Cross 71 StarGazer the future is pink Horoscopes 73 SnapShot a feast for the ears Jonathan Heely

BEAUTY 45 BeautyParlour no pussyfooting around Vaginal surgery comes home

HEALTH 51 InThePink silent condition the origins of bone disease explored 56 HealthBites 58 PinkShrink soul mate Identifying their traits 61 ParentingTips puppy love Teenage romance taken seriously 64 RelationTips seize the date day Don’t settle for one night alone


COVER Photography Gary Bugeja ∫ Styling Marisa Grima [] ∫ Make-up Elaine Galea ∫ Hair Marlene Vassallo ∫ models Naomi and Sarah wearing dresses, €27.95; necklaces, €17.95; gloves, €12.95; belts, €9.95, all Stradivarius ∫ cat’s ears fascinators, €15; boots, €55, Aldo ∫ Location Gigi’s Antiques & Collectables, B’kara.

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner [the mere words are starting to bother me in my rejection of any feast that imposes some sort of behaviour], we can expect more cringe-inducing public displays of affection on Fakebook, whereby several men and women, who are standing right next to each other, for some illogical reason, tell their partners how amazing the whole of the many years they have spent together have been via a post on social media. Boq! In truth, the last person they are telling is their partner – because the latter probably knows the reality of their situation only too well and that it hasn’t all been a bed of roses. The message is directed at the outside world to project – as Fakebook is clearly now a tool for – a virtual self to the rest of us. There are so many flaws in this type of behaviour in the eyes of a person who has never posted a single photo of her “great life”, “great holiday”, “great house”, “great kid”, or “great [virtual] self ” that I almost can’t be bothered to go into it. Where to start from… the fact that everyone is more concerned about their ‘public persona’ and how they think they are coming across to the outside world than focusing on their real life; that grown-ups are constantly seeking approval and actually self-consciously and secretly panicking about reactions to their posts; and that most of the time, they are in denial that they are doing this and point fingers at others… The list is endless.

The other day, I watched a shocking documentary that entered the lives of a cross-section of 13-year-old Americans to see how their life was dominated – and destroyed – by social media. Well-behaved kids on TV revealed a completely different character behind their computer screens, where they projected themselves the way they wanted to be perceived. And freakishly, their virtual persona was more ‘real’ than the quiet guy in the back of the classroom, who nobody noticed. What counted was the vile stuff he posted from the comfort and safety of his computer – and the amount of approval and followers he attracted. These are the lives of the kids who grew up with Facebook – wasted primarily on checking out the reactions to their posts and what everyone else was posting, rather than actually living. A bad photo, taken from a wrong angle, is enough to cause their complete downfall from hero to zero; cue the bullying, depression and worse. But lets bring this closer to home and to a generation that should know better – we’re talking here of the parents of the 13-year-olds, who may not necessarily be indulging in bitch fests on the internet. But their sugary and buttery talk of “beauty” and “sweetness” is equally sickening. Whichever way you look at it, everything they post is directly or indirectly intended to pump their egos. They change their profile picture. Why? Because fundamentally, they think they are looking gorgeous. And they know everyone is expected to acknowledge that gorgeousness – even if it’s through a most boring and repetitive string of “gorgeous” that only someone desperate for praise can read through. And then they have the time of day to thank each and every person for their compliments – as though they really weren’t expecting them and are amazed at the feedback to their simple and very private, casual and uncalculated change of profile picture. Yeah right! The next thing you know, you come across: “I am so blessed”, which is basically a way of boasting about how lucky you are, but trying to put it on the goodness of God and your gratitude towards him, rather than outright bragging.

So I suppose the deal is to trawl your collection of photos and pick and post those where you look young, fresh, cool, relaxed, professional, or whatever image you have in mind, preferably not posed but taken ‘unawares’, to project those sporadic parts of your life that were great and present them as permanent. Then sit back and gloat about how many people think you and your family are super; feel good, be fuelled by the boost, then go and create another scenario that will continue to project your Fakebook life. The problem is I’m starting to have serious issues relating to what I have coined the Poster People. Luckily, and probably because unlike my star sign suggests, I usually swim against the tide, Facebook is not my oxygen tank, and I only come across this when I check it now and again. But when I do, I am disappointed… The world and its people can be divided in many ways. But in 2016, they can also be divided into Facebook users and non. There is a major difference between these two categories. And while I would assume the latter is by far a minority, I’m so glad to be part of it. This Valentine’s Day, I won’t feel the need for public displays of affection, complete with a photo of the candlelit dinner I prepared [?]. This Valentine’s Day, why not try and be more genuine and keep your happiness to yourself, or direct it only at the persons involved? Remember, when you are so keen on exposing it, it gets fishy and some people smell a rat – even those who write “gorgeous” under the pic of the two of you, taken last century. Control your instinct to show off. Yes, you have the perfect platform to do that, and it seems human nature has always required it. But hold back. Nobody really cares about – or believes – how perfect your husbands and wives are, even though Fb etiquette may compel them to tell you they do [obviously, because you’ll have to reciprocate… and the vicious circle of fakeness rolls on]. Instead of revealing your innermost, private feelings about your partner in a message on Facebook, say them face to face. Or better still, don’t say them at all, if, like any other mere mortal, you’re having a bad day and simply not feeling the luurve.

February 7, 2016 ∫ Pink is a monthly magazine ∫ Issue 136 ∫ Executive editor Fiona Galea Debono ∫ Publisher Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Printing Progress Press Ltd ∫ Production Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Contributors Maria Cachia, Kristina Chetcuti, Andrea Faye Christians, Edward Curmi, Claire Diacono, Elaine Galea, Mary Galea Debono, Marisa Grima, Helen Raine, Stephanie Satariano, Marlene Vassallo, Virginia, Shelley Von Strunckel ∫ Design Manuel Schembri ∫ Photography Gary Bugeja, Chris Sant Fournier ∫ Advertising sales Veronica Grech Sant [2559 4706;].


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

Pink February 2016 ∫ 9


THE LETTER THAT TICKLED PINK BEWARE THE POTHOLES Dear editor and team, thank you for such a great magazine, raising awareness on issues that matter and inspiring us with stories of courage. Keep them coming. Today, on a very cold Sunday, January 17, I curled up in my armchair in our warm, cosy flat to read Pink, my favourite magazine, although it is meant for the female generation. I make sure I find the time to go through it from head to toe. The Virginia Monologues are the thing I look for first; then the other topics follow. It is always fun, packed, interesting and inspiring. I would like to also raise some awareness: Beware of potholes! A few weeks ago, my car had to undergo one more in a series of trips to the mechanic due to wear and tear. The radiator needed to be replaced, the result, according to the mechanic, of hitting a particularly large pothole. I have memorised the large potholes on my normal routes to avoid them. But you can’t always miss every bump – there are just too many of them! And what of the new ones that regularly appear after a storm and are often unseen because they are full of water? Who is responsible for this? How much money do I have to fork out in taxes and mechanic’s bills before the state of Malta’s roads comes remotely close to European standards? By the way, my motto for 2016 is less food, be happy, and make others happy. I am also trying my luck this month as I am a real big fan of Kate Hudson and I would be very happy to win her calendar. Thanks very much. Keep up your good, fantastic, magnificent work. We follow! MARIO SCHEMBRI FROM XGHAJRA

The writer of the letter of the month wins a Boucheron Quatre Homme perfume, courtesy of Chemimart; a manicure, courtesy of Roseberry; a John Frieda Luxurious Volume – 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment, courtesy of Charles de Giorgio Ltd; a bottle of Campari and its 2016 limited-edition calendar, featuring Kate Hudson; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd.


POSITIVE GUIDELINES Dear editor, a negative attitude beset by shame, selfloathing, self-pity and low self-esteem are often seen as pandemics in society, particularly spreading like wildfire among the female population. There’s a lot of ‘self ’ in there: the department of so much worry and angst that leave most of those in search of positive guidelines to pull themselves out of a bottomless pit feeling helpless and somewhat distraught. Who would ever have imagined that such guidelines, imbued with positivity and encouragement, would flow out of an 18-year-old girl, presented readily for us in a diary? Sam Pearson’s health situation and subsequent struggle [PrivateEye, January 2016], leading to a creative endeavour in the form of a published diary, almost puts the discouraged to more shame. But this is downright incorrect as it would indicate that no lesson was taken from her own written journey. Sam could have chosen resentment and isolation instead. And being turned down by friends in such a difficult time could have been the best fuel for her to break into a downward spiral. Instead, she reflected and was compassionate first towards herself, and then towards others, by sharing with us her intimate reflections. Sam showed how physical vulnerability does not necessarily mean a ticket to additional self-inflicted pity. We read many stories of strong-willed women who made it through the odds and became successful on a material level. And many good lessons can be learnt from them as well. But Sam’s story is so much more special and more encouraging. Gradually being stripped of her health, and bearing the loss of support along the way, she rose through the flames nevertheless. She needed no reality TV shows, no trophies, no awards etc… Sam stayed positive and, brimming with compassion and empathy, gave us a sweet piece of herself. A message of gratitude also goes to Pink, without which this story would have never made it to the coffee table. CHRISTINE MIZZI FROM ZEJTUN

We want to hear from you. Send us your feedback on Pink and any stories that may have touched you in some way, and you stand a chance of winning a Montblanc Emblem Intense eau de toilette and Montblanc Lady Emblem eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; a pedicure, courtesy of Roseberry; 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 Correspondence may be edited for length and clarity. If prizes are not claimed within two months, they will no longer be available.

A HARBOUR IN TROUBLED SEAS Dear editor, the logic in the article on love in The Virginia Monologues [GirlTalk, January 2016] set me pondering on, firstly, my own relationship, which has lasted over 45 years, and also on other relationships I witness around me. “When loving less is more than enough” is sheer wisdom that, on an everyday basis, we might not be practising. Love must be a harbour in troubled seas; a sense of security at the back of our minds that there are loving arms ready to enfold us when we’re down, or need consolation. These loving arms must never hold reins, limitations, or conditions. Although part of a pair, each half must feel like a free spirit and not be smothered by the wants and moods of another possessive half. We must never feel indebted to another person just because this other person loves us. And hey, this way of reasoning should apply to the way we love our offspring. Never overdo the guiding, never push advice, never make them feel beholden for what you do for them. Love is meant to be warm and comfortable like a much used pair of slippers we look for eagerly when we return home after a very tiring day. JOSETTE CHETCUTI VIA E-MAIL

10 ∫ Pink February 2016


14 ∫ Pink February 2016


A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN … OR EARTH? It’s the Valentine month and KRISTINA CHETCUTI wonders whether matchmakers, or huttab, are still bringing couples together these days. She talks to a parish priest, a cultural historian and a modern-day relationship fixer to find out.


he phone rings. The kappillan of Paola has received a matchmaking call from the kappillan of Qala. Or maybe it’s not exactly matchmaking – the technical term used between the parish priests is “vetting”. The parents of a Gozitan 20-something girl want to know whether the young man from Paola, who is dating their daughter, is “a tifel sew, minn familja sew” [a good boy, from a good family]. They consult their parish priest, who, in turn, has a chat with his counterpart in Malta. Dun Marc Andre Camilleri, 31, the Paola parish priest, does not have a box of filing cards with photographs of all the single people in his town to rummage through. He’ll ask around though, and in some way or other, manages to relay answers to the pertinent questions back in Qala. All being well, the unsuspecting couple gets the blessing of both kappillani and the parents are delighted. “In the past, priests used to be based in the parish for almost a lifetime, and so they knew every family by name, and were probably an automatic reference point for someone who was looking for a love match. These days, we move around every few years, and so it is a bit more difficult to know the parishioners who are looking for a relationship.” He pauses, zips up the Nike fleece jacket he is wearing over his cassock and chuckles: “In any case, these things happen by themselves; surely no one is going to marry the person of my choice.”

Although priests no longer play cupid, he admits that they are still frequently asked to vet boyfriends and girlfriends, particularly by the Gozitans. “Especially if the parents are of a certain age, and their offspring has a Maltese namrat, they still refer to the kappillan.” So in this day and age of online dating sites and Tinder, is there still a place for matchmakers? He is not sure, however, he says older widows and widowers do seek the advice of the priest when they like someone from the same parish. “They come up to me asking: ‘Dak x’tghidli fuqu?’ or ‘It-tali serju?’ “I would not be the one to find the match for them, but they seek my approval; often they would just need some encouragement to take the first step. My help is limited, but I try to give them some tips to make the first move at least,” he says. Matchmaking has existed since the dawn of mankind; indeed going by the story of Adam and Eve, we could say that God was the first matchmaker. Since Biblical times, key people in societies always had a role in getting people to form a unit. Carmel Cassar, cultural historian at the University of Malta, says that the matchmaker was a standard feature in societies all over Europe and the Mediterranean. “Matchmakers were still consulted in the early 20th century, particularly in rural areas, and not just in Malta,” says Prof. Cassar. A typical example of this is the classic movie musical, Fiddler on the Roof, set in Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire, just before World War I. One of the ditties goes: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker / Make me a match / Find me a find / Catch me a catch / Matchmaker, Matchmaker / Look through your book / And make me a perfect match.”

“ALTHOUGH PRIESTS NO LONGER PLAY CUPID, THEY ARE STILL FREQUENTLY ASKED TO VET BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS, PARTICULARLY BY THE GOZITANS” In Malta, the matchmaker was known as huttab. Parents of children of marriageable age would speak to the village huttab, who’d try to arrange a meeting with possible contenders. Both sets of parents would have to be happy with the match before a marriage was arranged. Whether the couple fell in love or not was never really factored in. “Matchmakers were presumably paid in money or in kind, especially if the match was successful, but it was not exactly considered a job,” says Prof. Cassar. “They had a role that was quite similar to the popular healers who were normally sought and paid for a service.” In his book Daughters of Eve, he refers to a 17th-century documented case in which a certain Simone Brunetto, a soldier of the galley of the Knights of St John, engaged the services of four matchmakers to find a decent husband for his widowed niece Rosa. It took Pink February 2016 ∫ 15

LIFESTYLE the four of them to manage to convince Percio Piasuelo, a Maltese man from Vittoriosa, to take to Rosa. Sadly, the match was not a particularly successful one: according to the records, they only stayed together from Easter Sunday till Whitsuntide, which is the seventh Sunday after Easter. Prof. Cassar says that real matchmaking – as opposed to virtual – still exists in some traditional societies and close-knit communities. “So I would not be surprised to learn of matchmaking among a community in the centre of large metropolitan cities like Paris, London, or Berlin. These communities may have members who may not even know a word of the language of the country that is hosting them.” In Malta, although no one advertises matchmaking services, there are still a few undercover huttaba around. Clarissa Agius*, a modern-day matchmaker, says she observes “pleasant, decent, interesting people” and pairs them off mentally with other people who she thinks they’d like. Then she comes up with “stratagems” to get them to meet, or better still, spend time together, such as fake power cuts and pretend car breakdowns.

“IF A MAN IS CONSTANTLY POSTING PHOTOS OF HIS WAXED TORSO, IT KIND OF SIGNIFIES THAT HE’S NOT GOING TO BE AN IDEAL MATCH FOR THE GIRL WHO LIKES HIKING, CAMPING AND RAMBLING. WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO FIND A WAXING SALON IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS?” “Some people are nearly impossible to match because they are not very interesting, or too selfabsorbed,” she says. “Also, many people are quite choosy and have a sort of set ideal of what they want – a Gabriel Garko look-alike, or a blonde babe. They don’t give others a chance, not realising that looks, while being an important factor, are not as important as a girl who can make you laugh, or a man who cooks great lasagne.” Clarissa says that social media sites are of help to a modern-day huttaba. She gleans information and the character traits of a person from their Facebook posts to assess their suitability. “If a man is constantly posting photos of his waxed torso, it kind of signifies that he’s not going to be an ideal match for the girl who likes hiking, camping and rambling. Where are you going to find a waxing salon in the great outdoors?” There are absolutely no financial rewards in it for Clarissa; in fact, she mostly matches in secret, “like a female version of The Godfather”. But there have been times when people have asked her to intervene – mostly mothers of friends – and she has managed too. Why does she do it? “Oh, I just try to add to the sum total of human happiness,” she says, convinced that matchmaking will be around till the end of time because “we all love a love story”. *Names have been changed to protect the person’s identity.

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The modern-day matchmaker’s success stories • A Neapolitan guy at the deli counter would always talk to me about scamorza and the joys of the different salamis. That was before the processed meat scare and I ate my weight in prosciutto and salami just to hear him impart his knowledge. I set him up with this really clever Ukrainian waitress, who always remembered my order and not to spoil my cappuccino with chocolate. They were both so beautiful and so creative and now they run a bar in Italy. • Then there was the former colleague in IT, who was really quiet, always saving the day when our computers froze. I realised that underneath the whole computer geek get-up, he was quite handsome, and then I started noticing that he would bring interesting books to read. He was very shy; he had been a chubby kid and had lost weight when he was about 16, but was still very self-conscious and hardly dated. Immediately, I thought of my friend who wanted to be a teacher. She was a bookworm and an animal lover; not your Paceville-going type. She had also been chubby as a kid. I knew they would hit it off. So I got the computer guy to come home and reformat my PC. I told my girlfriend to come home to borrow a book too. Then I introduced him as a computer whizz and forced her to get him to see her computer… and the rest is history. They’re married now.

What happened after the match in centuries past? After the huttab helped the parents find a partner to their son or daughter, in the 18th century, a small engagement party was usually held, at which the families of the bride and the bridegroom, as well as their friends, were present. According to the study Private life, religion and enlightenment in Malta in the late 18th century by the historian Frans Ciappara, the groom presented his bride to the guests and they all kissed her. Some refreshments were then served, including wine, hazelnuts, rosolio and biskuttini. Sometimes, there was music and dancing too.

Priests: agony aunts not matchmakers More than a matchmaker, the priest today is more of an agony aunt’ – at hand to solve relationship problems, says Fr Marc Andre Camilleri [pictured]. “Today when a young couple chooses a priest to marry them, its the start of a relationship in which he’ll be their spiritual guide throughout their married journey.” Marriages are not becoming any easier, first of all because of the age factor – people are marrying late so everyone is more set in their ways, plus age also brings with it infertility problems and a lot of suffering, he says. “One of the privileges of Catholic priesthood is that you are always close to the people – whatever happens the priest is always present.”


a little

PINK PILL Female Viagra – is it just the boost you need? Or a dangerous supplement that could cause low blood pressure, fainting, or breast cancer and, at its root, has a basic misunderstanding of female sexual desire? HELEN RAINE pops the million-dollar pill.


adies, prepare yourselves; the pharmaceutical company Sprout has finally had its female version of Viagra, code-named Addyi, accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration. The boys have their little blue pill… Now the girls can start knocking back a pink one. But before you order a truckload of Victoria’s Secrets panties in anticipation of the return of your sex drive, you should probably read on. Sprout hailed the approval as a pivotal victory for women’s rights, given that men have 26 different products to help with sexual dysfunction to women’s big fat zero. But that’s not the whole story.

GET ON UP Calling Addyi a “female Viagra” is misleading from the get-go. Male Viagra has a physical effect on the body, increasing blood flow and thus solving a mechanical problem – erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, increasing blood to women’s genitals doesn’t seem to do much in terms of improving sex drive [drug development tests to this end have been discontinued after repeated failures]. So what exactly is Addyi doing to the female body?

The answer lies in its history; it was originally intended to be an antidepressant, helping to regulate serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain; but in trials, women reported higher levels of sexual desire while taking it, resulting in a diversion to using the drug as a libido enhancer.

“A PIVOTAL VICTORY FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS, GIVEN THAT MEN HAVE 26 DIFFERENT PRODUCTS TO HELP WITH SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION TO WOMEN’S BIG FAT ZERO” One of the reasons why the FDA took so long to approve Addyi is that ‘desire’ is a difficult thing to quantify and the ‘improvement’ that women reported appeared to be relatively small. Only around 10 per cent of test subjects reported any “meaningful improvements” versus a group who took a placebo, and that improvement was reported as being less than one additional “sexually satisfying event” a month. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for a drug you need to take every day [unlike Viagra, which you take only before a sexual encounter]. Worse, the drug has a litany of side effects, including dizziness, nausea, sleepiness and a dry mouth – none of which are supersexy experiences.

The drug is also linked to episodes of very low blood pressure, sometimes causing people to pass out. Alcohol exacerbates this problem, giving a whole new meaning to a ‘knockout’ date night; you might end up feeling more frisky, but if you pass out over dessert, that doesn’t help much. Unsurprisingly, the drug has not been approved for use in Europe, and even in the US, take-up has been slow.

HOT CONTROVERSY With all that baggage, the passing of the drug by the FDA stirred up a hotter controversy than the sex it is supposed to inspire. Cindy Whitehead, Chief Executive of Sprout, called it a “breakthrough moment”. She’s referring to Pink February 2016 ∫ 21

INFOCUS the idea that women’s sexual requirements have been sidelined by pharmaceutical companies and doctors alike as they focus on the male experience. The very idea that sexual dysfunction in women could be helped has, supporters claim, been ignored. The FDA spokeswoman certainly hailed it as a victory for women. She said the drug “provides women distressed by their low sexual desire with an approved treatment option… The FDA strives to protect and advance the health of women and we are committed to supporting the development of safe and effective treatments for female sexual dysfunction”. But opponents suggest that Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder [HSDD], described as “a persistent absence of sexual thoughts, fantasies, responsiveness and willingness to engage in sexual activity that causes personal or relationship distress” – the condition that Addyi is supposed to treat – is just a new “hysteria”. Hysteria was a Victorian invention, no longer recognised by modern medicine, which covered a wide variety of supposedly female ‘symptoms’,

kind of sexual dysfunction, but that only 12 per cent of them reported that as being a problem; clearly, the women who did not report it as being an issue should not be made to feel that there is something wrong with them. And some commentators are concerned that the women who did feel distressed about their lowered sex drive might feel that way because of the messages they receive about their sexuality from the media. We get much of our information about how much sex the ‘average’ couple has from newspapers, magazines and TV. Rachel Hills, author of The Sex Myth, says that gives most women a fixed idea of how much sex they ought to be having. “The women I interviewed, more so than the men even, internalised the idea that sex needed to be done at a certain frequency…” If, then, a woman doesn’t match that myth, she may feel obliged to knock back some Addyi. The reality is that the ‘twice-aweekers’ are probably rarer than a picture of Kim Kardashian with her cleavage covered up. Researcher Michael Kimmel asked male students

“OPPONENTS CLAIM THAT ADDYI IS JUST AN OPPORTUNITY FOR BIG BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY BY MAKING WOMEN FEEL BAD ABOUT ARGUABLY NORMAL LEVELS OF SEXUAL DESIRE IN A SEX-CRAZED SOCIETY” including fainting, nervousness, sexual desire, or the absence of it and “a tendency to cause trouble”. Some women were even committed to asylums after diagnosis. Opponents claim that Addyi is just an opportunity for big business to make money by making women feel bad about arguably normal levels of sexual desire in a sex-crazed society.

SEX ON THE MIND The questions at the heart of the debate are: what constitutes a ‘normal’ level of sexual desire and are women being negatively influenced to feel bad if they don’t measure up to an invented norm? A study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that 40 per cent of women will experience some 22 ∫ Pink February 2016

in the US how many of their classmates they thought were having sex on any given weekend. The students put it at about 80 per cent. In fact, a cross-campus survey of 24,000 students found that only 80 per cent of students were having any sex at all, and on any given weekend, just five to 10 per cent were getting it on. And that’s in university! Hills says she was an avid reader of teen magazines and she too grew up believing that everyone was having more and better sex than her; her confidence suffered as a result. She says of these statistics: “I began to realise we were living in the grip of a sex myth… the media myth of a hyper sexual society… the belief that sex was more special, a source of greater thrills and more perfect pleasure than any other activity that humans

engage in. I didn’t feel unattractive and inadequate just because I wasn’t having sex. I felt that way because I lived in a culture that told me that my sex life was one of the defining qualities of who I was.” Addyi, one might argue, is just another way to turn female sexual desire into a pathology. There’s a possibility that some men, wanting more sex than their partner, might be tempted to turn that difference into an illness that needs to be fixed, or subconsciously pressure women to feel they ought to ‘cure’ themselves.

FRENCH KISSING IN THE USA Clearly, a mismatch of desire between a couple can cause problems in a relationship, but if the alternative is a wife with a tendency to pass out, or a girlfriend who can’t muster enough saliva for a French kiss, most sentient men would probably take the fortnightly roll in the hay and be grateful for quality over quantity. Sexologist Prof. Ellen Laan and psychologist Leonore Tiefer are critics of Addyi’s approval, and say in the LA Times: “It is unethical and unscientific to attribute a couple’s discrepancy in desire to the woman’s biological deficit.” They note that studies have shown women’s response to both test medications and placebo drugs is high and conclude: “These repeated findings do not support the ‘unmet medical need’ theory.” And they don’t buy the argument presented by Sprout that the FDA was simply ignoring women’s health needs by refusing to approve the drug in the past, saying: “As professional sexologists and advocates of women’s sexual rights, we were horrified by the campaign’s use and abuse of the language of equality to pressure the FDA to approve a potential billiondollar blockbuster ‘pink Viagra’. “The only two drugs for women’s sexual dysfunctions that have come to the FDA in the 16 years since Viagra was approved were rejected… The drugs for women didn’t work and were unsafe. Not approving them isn’t sexism; it’s proper regulation.”

INFOCUS NO MOJO Laan and Tiefer’s arguments about the FDA being bulldozed by big business might be valid [Sprout mounted a slick campaign before the FDA hearing that included testimony from many women]. But they ignore the fact that there are plenty of women who are upset by a low sex drive, or a sudden fall in a previously robust one. [One woman giving evidence to the FDA described her desire as abruptly turning off “like a light switch”.] In these cases, even one monthly ‘satisfying sexual event’ [the marketers probably need to invent a sexier term for that] could be considered a triumph. That oncea-month might restore confidence, save a relationship and make the woman feel whole again. For those women, Cindy Whitehead might be right to describe Addyi as “a long-awaited medical treatment option for this lifeimpacting condition”. It is at least a recognition that female sexuality is important enough to spend some research funding on. That represents a sea change, because up to now, precious little has been done to try to fix female desire when it malfunctions. Women report that a trip to the doctors to talk about a loss of libido has traditionally meant hormone tests and a pitying look when they all come back normal, the unspoken implication being that it’s all in the mind, or due to relationship difficulties. For otherwise healthy and balanced women, genuinely suffering from a sudden, distressing lack of desire, to have it classed as ‘depression’, or even ‘normal’, is distinctly unhelpful. It’s akin to expecting someone who has lost their sense of taste to accept that it ‘just happens’, or that life goes on perfectly well without it. Life does of course go on, but the sense of loss can be grinding. It’s just a shame that Addyi is not the magic bullet that male Viagra has proved to be.

HOLD THE PINK PILLS Take control of your sex drive

While the Americans are already trying out the pink pills, this side of the pond, approval is at best a long way off and may not happen at all. In the meantime, if your ardour is about as warm as the weather during a winter storm, there are other ways to rekindle a spring spark.

Check your birth control For some women, the hormones in birth control pills can suppress libido. If you think that’s happened to you, discuss with your doctor whether coming off the pill for a while might help [obviously, you’ll need to use other contraceptive methods to avoid a rather larger Valentine’s Day surprise than expected]. See a doctor Anaemia can be a cause of low sex drive, as can an underactive thyroid; it’s worth ruling out these medical causes. Women also produce testosterone naturally, but a dip might cause a loss of libido; a doctor may be able to prescribe testosterone supplements, or gel. See a therapist If none of these problems are the culprit, you could consider seeing a sexual therapist to address any underlying psychological issues. Oil it up Consider, too, some alternative solutions. Zestra Essential Arousal Oils contain ingredients such as Borage seed oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Angelica extract, Theobromine and the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E. The manufacturers claim that Zestra has been tested in a double blind placebo study [the same as that used for new drugs] and found to boost sexual desire and satisfaction in 70 per cent of women. Pop a [different] pill ArginMax for Women is a nutritional supplement that ‘improved the sex lives’ of almost 75 per cent of the women who took it in a study. Drink [one glass of] red wine A study in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that women who have a regular glass of red wine have higher levels of desire, compared to those tipping back other types of alcohol, or not drinking at all. The levels of polyphenols in red wine are thought to increase blood flow. Women who had more than one glass reported falling asleep before their partner got to bed [just kidding – but getting too drunk is a passion killer]. Hold a pose Eastern mystics have long held that Yoga can help women get in touch with their sexuality. A study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine confirms that Yoga practice statistically improves sexual function in some women. If nothing else, it will make you feel more relaxed, which can only help… Go green What you eat can have a bearing on your sexual well-being. Not only will eating well make you look and feel better, but it also affects the production of many different hormones and chemicals that influence sex drive. Zinc, for example, blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to oestrogen, increasing sexual desire – it’s no coincidence that oysters have more zinc per serving than any other food – but a handful of pumpkin seeds will do almost as well. Magnesium makes it easier for testosterone to be distributed in the blood – dark, leafy greens like kale are a good source as are nuts and seeds. Asparagus is considered one of the best libido-boosting foods since it is rich in folate, which controls the production of histamine. Bananas are also good for loving, containing the enzyme bromelain, which helps in the production of testosterone. Get hot and bothered You can give your testosterone levels a natural boost by working out to build muscle using strength and resistance training [we are not talking Popeye here, but more of a sculpted look]. The action of lifting weights and doing push-ups can increase testosterone production for the rest of the day; try working out with your partner and make sure you have some free time to make the most of the hormonal boost afterwards. Losing excess weight can also help to boost this critical hormone and exercise will help you maintain weight loss. Win-win!

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Winter Essentials FOR OUR PETS Scruffs slow down bowl® The Scruffs® Eco Anti-Gorge Feeding Bowl is produced using a natural blend of bamboo and biodegradable resin. Anti-gorge feeding bowls are recommended to slow down the pace of eating. The bowls design prohibits dogs from taking large bites of food, making them chew, pause and digest. Fast eating (also known as inhalation eating) has been linked to some digestive problems. Problems range from burping to gagging and even regurgitating or vomiting food shortly after eating. The main benefit to slowing a dog’s eating pace is that a dog that takes more time to eat will swallow less air. This results in a slower more relaxed feeding time, decreasing canine anxiety, reducing indigestion and helping to promote a positive eating behaviour. This information is purely advisory always consult your vet.

Biokat’s Diamond Care Fresh Cat Litter…

CAT LITTER FOR THOSE WITH HIGH DEMANDS Fine granule clumping litter made from natural clay and activated carbon for effective odour binding. This absorbent cat litter forms flat clumps and is low in dust. With a pleasant baby powder scent. Biokat’s Diamond Care Fresh clumping cat litter is made from natural clay, with activated carbon and natural fibres to promote effective odour binding. The natural fibres are sourced from coconut shells, which are a renewable raw material. This clumping litter is then enhanced with a pleasant baby powder scent for extra freshness. *** natural activated carbon for highly effective odour control. *** protection against unpleasant odours with completely natural activated carbon, as well as additional care from Aloe Vera. *** Black Diamonds” – highly effective activated carbon *** Green Diamonds” – gentle care thanks to Aloe Vera**

Scruffs® thermal and stylish cushions AT AFFORDABLE PRICES The Scruffs® dog and cat bed collection has been produced using a rich fabric to upholster the outer of each bed. This is a luxurious, super-soft plush that lines the dog’s sleep area whilst providing a snug environment for your pet. Nearly all beds from Scruffs® are thermal, machine washable with a non-slip base. Thermal beds are also upholstered in a stylish corduroy outer fabric with a lavish plush interior for the ultimate luxury appeal.

Snuggle safe heating pad It is a common belief that cats and dogs are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur. However, some breeds need us to keep them in a warm place.

Use Snugglesafe to keep your pets warm. After only a few minutes in the microwave, it retains heat for up to 12 hours. Snuggle safe can also be used for rabbits and other small animals.

New Design of the durable nylon bone and rubber ball provide dogs with an extended chewing experience. The gnawhide lasts longer than giving treats alone and dogs are stimulated to chew the toy well after treats are gone. Toys unscrew to load treats and Design of the durable nylon bone and rubber ball provide dogs with an extended chewing experience.

Watch their weight! Both humans and pets struggle with winter gain especially after the festive seasons are over. There are various ways to keep your pets body weight in line. Royal Canin provides specific products cats and dogs to prevent pets from gaining weight. However, for pets that are already overweight, Royal Canin suggests that after seeking advice and prescription from veterinarians, the Royal Canin satiety weight management diets is scientifically proven to provide effective weight loss, reduce begging, maintain muscular mass, improve quality of life and stabilise weight. This month visit your vet for a free weight check. Ask your vet about information pack and bonus points provided by Royal Canin.


Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone

THIS MONTH • Visit your vet for a free weight check. • Ask your veterinarian about information pack provided by Royal Canin & bonus points on the loyalty card. • Get your free slow down bowl when you buy Royal Canin satiety diet.* *Seek advice from your Veterinarian.

Customer care: 21414753 | E-mail: | Facebook: Borg Cardona Pet Supplies | W:

WOMANKIND Desire – the Hidden World of Islamic Women, author and journalist Geraldine Brooks writes that, in an interview, the Queen had confessed to her that: “When he proposed I thought long and hard about accepting. Not because I was unsure of my feelings for him. My feelings were so strong for him that I was thinking of him, perhaps, more than myself. I was well aware that I wasn’t a typical, traditional wife. I didn’t want to be a source of controversy for him.” Twenty-two years of marriage proved that the problems she had foreseen were very real, and the difficult moments frequent. But when, after his death, she Lisa Halaby knew that beyond the glamour of reviewed her life as King Hussein’s becoming the wife of King Hussein of Jordan lurked Queen, she was able to affirm unequivunknown difficulties that would make it necessary ocally: “I continue to thank God for the for her to be on her guard all the time. But she took leap of faith I made as a young woman.” Lisa Halaby – Queen Noor’s name that leap of faith. MARY GALEA DEBONO chronicles before her marriage – was born in the life of Queen Noor. Washington DC in 1951. Her mother, Doris, was of Swedish origin. Her father Najeed Halaby, the son of a Syrian immigrant, had hree years after the death of King Hussein of risen to the top in government service and was for a Jordan, in February 1999, his wife, Queen Noor, time chief executive of Pan Am Airways. Under the published her memoirs under the title presidency of John Kennedy, and later Lyndon B. Leap of Faith. Johnson, he served as head of the Federal AviMore than the story of her own life, this book ation Authority. Her family was both wealthy is a tribute to her husband and, obliquely, a triband influential. ute to herself for the part she played in his life Lisa received her education at elite by supporting him in his endeavours to bring private schools and was later one of 150 peace to the region at a time when this tiny women accepted into Princeton UniverMiddle Eastern state was passing through a sity, which had opened its doors for turbulent phase of its history. its first co-ed class. After graduating in Every marriage is essentially a ‘leap of faith’ for both partners. But for Queen Noor, the leap required more “SHE WAS AWARE THAT THE RELATIONSHIP WAS FRAUGHT courage and commitment than is WITH PITFALLS; THAT SHE normally essential. Being an intelWOULD NEED TO MAKE ligent person, she realised that DIFFICULT ADJUSTMENTS; beyond the glamour of becoming THAT THE POSSIBILITY OF the King’s wife lurked unknown BEING MISUNDERSTOOD OR difficulties that would make it MISINTERPRETED WAS MORE necessary for her to be on her THAN LIKELY; THAT THE RISKS guard all the time. OF BECOMING A SCAPEGOAT She was aware that the relaWERE REAL” tionship was fraught with pitarchitecture and urban planning in falls; that she would need to 1974, she spent one year in Australia make difficult adjustments; and later joined a British planning that the possibility of being firm, working for a short period in misunderstood or misinterIran before she had to return to preted was more than likely; the US because of the political that the risks of becoming a unrest in that country. scapegoat were real; that she In her memoirs, Queen was exchanging one lifestyle Noor says it was her father who for another that was new and first introduced her to King Husuntested and had still to be learnt. sein. Halaby had come to Jordan The decision to say yes to King at the invitation of the King to celHussein’s marriage proposal was ebrate the acquisition of the first therefore not an easy one albeit attractive. In her book Nine Parts of Boeing 747 by the Royal Jordanian

The light of Hussein


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WOMANKIND Airlines. The introduction took place at Amman airport. On this occasion, the King was accompanied by Queen Alia. Eight months after this introduction, Lisa found herself once more in Amman. This time, she was there working for Arab-Air Services, one of her father’s companies. In the course of her work at the airport, she had sometimes fleetingly come across the King when he happened to be travelling to and from the country. But it was in April, 1978, when her father stopped at Amman on his way to Beirut, that she had her first real audience with him. Her father had an appointment with the King and he insisted that Lisa accompanied him. In her memoirs, she says she did this reluctantly and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. King Hussein and his new bride, American Lisa Halaby, 26, pose for photographers following their wedding on June 15, 1978.

Queen Alia had died in a helicopter crash, and although still in mourning, after the appointment, the King invited Lisa to lunch with him the following day. After lunch, he asked her whether she could visit Hashimya Palace, the royal residence, to look into some construction problems. There, he introduced her to his three young children by Alia and took her to see his stud, which he was very proud of. A week later, he invited her for a weekend with his children in his summer retreat in Aqaba. From then onwards, although she continued to live at the Intercontinental Hotel, she spent every evening at his palace. One of the iconic photos shows her riding pillion on his motorbike, with the hills of Wadi Rum in the background. What does not appear in the photo are the King’s bodyguards riding at a discreet distance. Lisa was a beautiful woman, tall and slender – she was, in fact, about five inches taller than Hussein. She was very athletic and played tennis, skied and loved horse riding. Hussein had the reputation of being a playboy. He was keen on aviation and had a passion for boats, cars and motorbikes. 26 ∫ Pink February 2016

When he met Lisa, he had already been married three times, having divorced his first two wives, Dina Abdul Hamid, a university educated Egyptian, eight years older than him, and Toni Gardener, an English woman, daughter of a military officer. Alia was a Jordanian Palestinian. It has been said that

“A WEEK LATER, HE INVITED HER FOR A WEEKEND WITH HIS CHILDREN IN HIS SUMMER RETREAT IN AQABA. FROM THEN ONWARDS, ALTHOUGH SHE CONTINUED TO LIVE AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, SHE SPENT EVERY EVENING AT HIS PALACE” Hussein chose his wives according to the political exigencies of the moment, but there is no doubt that he loved and respected Lisa and was appreciative of her support. Three weeks after the audience, Hussein proposed. When Lisa accepted, her lifestyle changed drastically. She gave up her job and was given a residence within the court compound. She was assigned a driver, and everywhere she went, she was accompanied by a security vehicle. From then on, she adopted the name Noor Al Hussein – the Light of Hussein – and started receiving instruction in the Muslim faith.

The King and Queen of Jordan in November 1978.

In June 1978, Hussein, 43, and Noor, 26, were married in a simple ceremony. Contrary to the prevalent tradition of having a close male relative as stand-in, Noor was present at the ceremony. Before the actual wedding, at which she was the only female present, she became a Muslim. She was now the stepmother of eight children, five of whom were adults. Noor and Hussein had four children of their own in the first six years of their marriage. King and Queen lived at al-Nadwa, a palace in Amman with bullet-proof glass in the upstairs windows. There was also the summer residence in Aqaba, where they entertained royalty and heads of state. But they spent a good part of the year abroad, especially in London, Vienna and Palm Beach, Florida, where they had residences. Queen Noor carved a name for herself by the projects that she initiated – a step that was not always appreciated by the more conservative members of Hussein’s court, who advised her to restrict her public appearances to the occasional

WOMANKIND ceremonial duty. But the Queen was not easily put off by criticism. Her areas of interest were urban planning and environmental issues, education, mother and child care, as well women’s rights.

“FOR FUNDAMENTALISTS, QUEEN NOOR REMAINED A WESTERNER AND, THEREFORE, AN OUTSIDER” One of her most successful initiatives was the Jebel Bani Hamid Project through which the women of this poor bedouin village were helped to sell their carpets for which they were paid directly, giving them a measure of financial independence. Another one was the establishment of the arts festival at Jerash in which foreign companies were invited to participate. A Noor Al Hussein Foundation was also set up in 1980, with the aim of facilitating social and economic advancement. For fundamentalists, Queen Noor remained a Westerner and, therefore, an outsider. When the boom years were over and riots broke out among Jordanians, she became the target of their disapproval. Criticised for her extravagance, she did her best to change her image by adopting a less glamourous appearance.

Queen Noor of Jordan delivers a speech during the Women’s World Awards show in Vienna in 2009.

In fact, her autobiography can be seen as an exercise in damage control. Although she never adopted the veil, she waxes lyrical about “the striking, filmy chadors of delicately printed chiffon” of Iranian women; she stresses her “Med-Arab instincts” and her appreciation of the “exotic, Middle Eastern flavour”, and at the same time, attempts to appear neutral by criticising American society. But such ambivalence merely served to highlight the problem of her divided loyalties. Before he died, King Hussein appointed Abdullah, his son by Toni Gardener, as his heir, and Hamzah, Queen Noor’s eldest son, as Crown Prince. But a few years later, the new king, who himself had a son, overruled his father’s wish and stripped Hamzah of his title. This means that Queen Noor is no longer considered the Queen Mother. For the women’s hierarchy within the Jordanian royal court, this was a serious blow to her status. Queen Noor is still active in several areas at an international level. She is a board member of Refugees International and campaigns for the banning of land mines. She is the recipient of many international honours. She spends her time between Jordan, Washington and Buckhurst Park in England.

SHOWSTOPPER Shirt, €42; skirt, €60, both Miss Selfridge ∫ scarf, €19.95, Stradivarius.

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Vintageinspired Something old, something new, something borrowed and something… that’s just you. Photography Gary Bugeja Styling Marisa Grima [] Make-up Elaine Galea Hair Marlene Vassallo Models Naomi and Sarah @ Location Gigi’s Antiques & Collectables, B’kara

Shrug, €56; top, €56, both Oasis ∫ top hat fascinator, €12, Aldo.

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Sweater, €27.95; shirt, €19.95; skirt, €19.95, all Stradivarius ∫ necklace, €25, Aldo.

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SHOWSTOPPER Sarah wears coat, €129.95; trousers, €65, both Marks & Spencer ∫ shirt, €25.95, Stradivarius ∫ boots, €55; necklace, €25, both Aldo. Naomi wears coat, €134; polo neck, €40; trousers, €65, all Oasis ∫ boots, €55; necklace, €25, both Aldo.

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SHOWSTOPPER Dress, €74, Miss Selfridge ∫ clutch bag, €22, Aldo.

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Sarah wears dress, €89.95, Marks & Spencer ∫ beret, €9.95, Stradivarius. Naomi wears jacket, €99.95; trousers, €65, both Marks & Spencer ∫ beret, €9.95, Stradivarius.

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Jacket, €99.50; jumpsuit, €95, both Marks & Spencer ∫ boots, €55, Aldo ∫ scarf, stylist’s own.

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Shirt dress, €60; jeans, €52, both Miss Selfridge ∫ necklace, €45; bag, €55; boots, €55, all Aldo.

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THINKPi food, hins & evens

PRINTING MEMORIES fujifilm instax share sP-1 offers features to make instax prints more attractive. it enables creation of prints from images taken with your smartphone, is easy to carry and compact. Just by downloading fujifilm’s instax share app for free from the App store, or Google Play, you can have your smartphone images printed in three easy steps. shoot with your smartphone, send via Wi-fi and print high-quality prints in just 16 seconds. for trade enquires, contact 2148 0500; or visit

SAN MICHEL @ VODAFONE MALTA MARATHON The vodafone Malta Marathon will this year be taking place on february 28 and san Michel is once again confirmed as the official water for Malta’s largest and most popular athletic activity. A growing number of Maltese and foreign runners and walkers participate in this activity every year, which starts in Mdina and ends at the sliema ferries. The public is encouraged to support the runners along the route and cheer them at the finish line.

LOVE NEVER TASTED SWEETER Love is genderless; love is ageless; love is without race. Lovers, friends, couples, siblings, relatives and strangers are encouraged to hug or kiss in front of a love statue that will be temporarily set up within The duke shopping Mall on february 13 to celebrate valentine’s day. in return, they can redeem their hugs and kisses for chocolate! Love never tasted sweeter… A hug or a kiss is priceless nonetheless, so The duke shopping Mall has agreed to donate €1 with every hug or kiss in aid of Puttinu Cares because everyone should be loved this valentine’s. Carry on with the valentine’s celebrations by surprising your loved one for free when shopping at The duke. A repeat of last’s year successful initiative, The Rose Giveaway, will be in operation from february 11 to 13. shoppers who will buy a gift from any of The duke outlets between these days will receive a code voucher to enter details in an online form. They can then opt to leave a loving message to their loved one and stay anonymous if they wish. Roses will be delivered to all the lucky recipients on valentine’s day. [Terms & conditions apply.] visit The duke shopping Mall in Republic street, victoria, Gozo. To stay updated with the upcoming easter events and offers, follow The duke’s facebook page, or visit sliema, the Point Paola, main street


Cargo Pants




From designer vaginas to canal tightenings, vaginal surgery is now more popular than ever. The UK’s leading independent surgery advisor, Linda Briggs, explains why many Maltese women are now among those requesting procedures down below.



igger boobs. Nose jobs. Smaller boobs. Liposuction. Face lifts. Even bum implants… Cosmetic surgery is helping women everywhere to feel better about their bodies, and it is something we have become increasingly used to. Yet, even in the hard-to-shock world of cosmetic surgery, one set of procedures still has the power to raise eyebrows and make eyes water: vaginal surgery. However, despite the fact that many of us may feel a little squeamish about taking our private parts under the knife, surgery consultant Linda Briggs explains that vaginal-related procedures are now more popular than ever, and there are thousands of reasons why. “Women now believe they deserve to feel as good about their vaginas as they do about their boobs, noses, or bottoms,” explains Linda, who

regularly brings top international cosmetic surgeons to Malta. “Vaginal issues – such as a loosening of the vaginal canal – have been overlooked for decades as women preferred not to discuss their private problems. Thankfully, that is now changing.” In fact, Linda has helped hundreds of women to find the right cosmetic or gynaecological surgeon to solve their particular issues.

“DESPITE THE FACT THAT MANY OF US MAY FEEL A LITTLE SQUEAMISH ABOUT TAKING OUR PRIVATE PARTS UNDER THE KNIFE, VAGINALRELATED PROCEDURES ARE NOW MORE POPULAR THAN EVER, AND THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF REASONS WHY” For instance, one common problem arises when a woman has had a number of children. After one or two births, her vaginal canal reverts to pretty Pink February 2016 ∫ 45

BEAUTYPARLOUR much its original width; but after three or more children, she finds that it has started to loosen significantly. By the time she has had five or six children, she barely has any sensation there at all, and the canal has sagged considerably, possibly causing incontinence too.


Linda Briggs bridges the divide between cosmetic surgeon and client.

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“At this point, both she and her husband stop getting satisfaction from sex, and this could even eventually lead to the breakdown of their relationship,” Linda explains. “It’s a scenario I have come across again and again, but the good news is that vaginal surgery can solve it by tightening up the muscles and making sex pleasurable again for both parties.” That said, it isn’t just health issues that are causing concern. Some women are also on the hunt for the perfect designer vagina. “These days, women everywhere are bombarded by images of what their vagina should look like. From lads’ mags to porn sites, vaginas have come under scrutiny and some want to tidy up their parts,” Linda continues. This is where labiaplasty comes in; it is a procedure that enables women to reduce the size of their inner labia [the inner genital lips]. To achieve this, surgeons cut away at any unwanted labia tissue to form the desired shape, or can remove a wedge-shaped section of the labia to leave the front intact while removing the tissue behind it. “The latter option means there is no change in the colour of the labia, so the surgery is less noticeable,” Linda explains. “This surgery isn’t

just popular from an aesthetic point of view, but also with women who find that their labia are too large and that they chafe against their clothes and make them uncomfortable. I had a request for this surgery from a Maltese women only last week, and I am now working with a British surgeon to find her the best solution possible.” This is where Linda really excels – in matching every unique case with the right surgeon. “I truly believe that each surgeon has their own particular expertise, and I make it my job to find out what they are best at,” she says. “For instance, I know when a procedure requires a gynaecologist for the best results, and when it requires a surgeon with cosmetic proficiency.” Linda Briggs Ltd, the company Linda has successfully run for decades, flies some of the world’s top surgeons all over the globe – effectively taking the best doctors right to the patients that want their services. “I will shortly be bringing one of Harley Street’s top surgeons to Malta, for instance,” she says. “This means that British patients could choose to use his services while enjoying a holiday in Malta and at great value prices when compared to the UK; while Maltese could have their surgery done by one of the world’s leading experts and all in the comfort of their home country.” Aside from vaginal surgeries, Linda Briggs Ltd works with these surgeons to provide a whole host of other cosmetic treatments – from arm lifts and breast enlargements, to face lifts, liposuction and nose reshaping. She offers specific treatments for men too, including pectoral implants and facial feminisation. “We’re proud to provide such a wide range of surgeries and to be a place where people can come for expertise and advice; we can help them to find what they’re looking for. So, whether for cosmetic reasons or medical reasons, we will find a solution.”


MULTI-PURPOSE LIP TREATMENT Abeille Royal Honey Smile Lift Lip & Contour Sculpting Treatment is Guerlain’s first multi-purpose lip treatment, targetting all signs of ageing. Upon application, lips appear plumper, contours are reshaped and lines are smoothed, creating a defined lip shape. This concentrated balm formula, born of the exceptional repairing power of Ouessant honey and Royal Jelly, both exclusive to Guerlain, has a gourmand fragrance, with delicate honey flower facets by Thierry Wasser. Apply Honey Smile Lift morning and evening, after eye care and before oil or serum. An exceptional active ingredient, exclusive to Guerlain – Guerlain Royal Jelly, made exclusively in France – is combined with the purest black bee honey from the island of Ouessant to help correct visible and future signs of ageing, including loss of firmness and wrinkles. Guerlain is distributed by X-Treme Co. Ltd. For more information, call 2388 2300.

A SECOND SKIN PERFUME Valentina Poudre is about the art of dressing the skin in a natural way. For the first time, a Valentino fragrance gets into the universe of make-up and only keeps the essential to sublimate beauty without artefact. Valentina’s iconic bottle is wrapped in a blush nude colour, revealing her inner sensuality. It is a mix between the make-up universe and the uncluttered and hazy creations of fashion, embodying the essence of Valentino Maison femininity. Valentina Poudre is a textural game, combining light and shade effects; a powdery floral fragrance inspired from the make-up universe with a creamy sensual touch. It is exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd [2133 1553].

AN INTENSE FINISH Diego Dalla Palma’s blue water-resistant eye pencil is easy to apply, precise and comfortable for an intense and brilliant finish. The collection is made even richer by three different and matching shades of nail polish to add a touch of glamour to your hands. Diego Dalla Palma make-up is exclusively distributed by Chemimart [2149 2212].

THE PRIMAL POWER OF WOMAN The primal power of woman is captured in Versace Eros Pour Femme, a radiant, sensual essence. Attraction, desire and passion intertwine in an alchemical mix of tempting, bright and feminine notes. A refined accord of lemon and jasmine is exalted by sensual and smooth woods for a fragrance of strength, individuality and seduction. The bottle is crafted within the mythological codes of the Versace DNA. The gold Medusa and the Greek key design are engraved on the edge, stamping their imposing authority on the bottle. Versace Eros Pour Femme is distributed by X-Treme Co. Ltd. For more information, call 2388 2300. Enjoy your free sample out with Pink today.

A PERFECT FACE Do you desire a perfect face like that of a Hollywood star? The secret is in the contouring, a technique known for years in the world of cinema and photography. Deborah Milano has the answer: the new Secrets of Contouring palette blended well with a contouring brush, used together with Dress Me Perfect Concealer and Radiance Creator. Deborah Milano make-up is exclusively distributed by A.M.Mangion Ltd. Call on 2397 6000 and check the Facebook page Deborah Milano Malta.

SHAVE IN STYLE Shaving is a subtle art and a true cultural phenomenon. The elegant, refined and modern man has to be on top of his shaving game. At a time when beards, sideburns and moustaches are worn like genuine fashion statements, grooming one’s facial hair has become a means of personal expression and a way of conveying one’s personality. For these men, Chanel creates a unique Shave in Style collection, based on the art of shaving. Composed of two products, Bleu de Chanel Shaving Cream and Bleu de Chanel Hydrating After Shave Gel, it finds its natural place in their daily routine. These essentials ensure a perfect shave, while allowing men to explore different styles. They give unmatched intensity to the aromatic woody notes of Bleu de Chanel and prolong its scent on the skin. Chanel is exclusively distributed by Alfred Gera & Sons Ltd.

COLOUR AND RADIANCE The sun has barely risen, but a radiant glow already stretches over the distinctive architecture and greenery of Los Angeles. At the break of dawn, the horizon is tinged with multiple shades; the ocean is saturated with pigments and the façades sparkle with shimmering reflections… Every colour looks more vibrant in the exhilarating light of spring. For the Collection L.A. Sunrise, the Chanel Makeup Creation Studio aimed to capture the flamboyant colours and overflowing energy of California mornings. The Sunkiss Ribbon creation is a palette of pinks, making cheeks blush with intense emotion. Les 4 Ombres enlivens the eyes, while on the lips, light explodes with the vibrant Rouge Coco Shine, inspired by the energy of a city that never stays in the shadows. The collection makes colour and radiance its top priorities. Chanel is distributed by Alfred Gera & Sons Ltd. 48 ∫ Pink February 2016

A NIGHT OF QUALITY SLEEP Every mum recognises that a night of quality, uninterrupted sleep is beneficial for babies as they wake up rested, cheerful and ready to start their day. Securing the best possible night’s sleep is important, but babies don’t just sleep through; they need a helping hand. Pampers Baby Dry has unique double dry zones; a new soft absorbing layer and a core that locks in wetness better than the next leading nappy for up to 12 hours of dryness. So your baby stays dry and comfortable throughout the night, every night. Every good morning needs up to 12 hours of dryness. For local trade enquiries, call VJ Salomone [Marketing] on 2298 3201.



CONDITION Prof. Angela Xuereb, Dean of the Faculty of Health Studies at the University of Malta, and her team of researchers, are working on unravelling the genetics of osteoporosis. Being a condition that afflicts more women than men, Pink never tires of delving deeper and digging up more on the subject… particularly if it means identifying more genetic risk factors to get to the bottom of the complexity underlying this disease. our team of researchers is working on unravelling the genetics of osteoporosis. Why focus on this silent bone disease in particular, of which it seems we already know a lot? Osteoporosis is a silent progressive bone disease, affecting both women and men. The condition is diagnosed primarily through the use of bone mineral density scans. A number of risk factors, including environmental and genetic factors, increase susceptibility to osteoporosis. Much is known about the harmful environmental factors leading to osteoporosis, such as low calcium intake, low vitamin D, malnutrition, physical inactivity, low body mass index, smoking and high alcohol consumption. Genetic research in the field of osteoporosis has unravelled an appreciable number of the genes involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. However,


So far, what do we know about the genetic factors underlying osteoporosis and fracture risk? Presently, we know there are several genetic factors underlying osteoporosis and also fracture risk. These have varying degrees of harmful effects on bone. Very often, the solitary effect of these genes is not enough to result in disease, but it is the additive effect that, together with other environmental influences, culminates in pathogenesis. Research carried out so far, using both family and population studies, has identified some genes implicated in the susceptibility to osteoporosis, all of which affect proteins important for bone development. Identified genes are further studied in animal models to confirm their role in bone biology, and moreover, replication in different ethnicities is also encouraged for confirmation of their involvement in disease pathogenesis.

“GENETIC RISK FACTORS MIGHT NOT IMPOSE THE SAME RISK ACROSS ALL ETHNICITIES, MAKING IT IMPERATIVE TO CONTINUE SEARCHING FOR NEW GENETIC FACTORS UNDERLYING THIS SILENT CONDITION IN THE MALTESE POPULATION” many other genetic risk factors still remain to be identified due to the fact that osteoporosis is a complex genetic condition. This means that multiple genetic risk factors are involved in the pathophysiology of osteoporosis, which in turn predisposes to a high fracture risk. Moreover, such genetic risk factors might not impose the same risk across all ethnicities, making it imperative to continue searching for new genetic factors underlying this silent condition in the Maltese population.

What does your research aim to discover over and above that? Our research specifically aims to identify the presence of new genetic factors contributing to osteoporosis and fracture risk using a number of Maltese family studies. The identified genes are currently being studied further in animal models to confirm their role in bone physiology. The effect of these genes will also be tested in a casecontrol collection of more than 1,000 Maltese postmenopausal women to determine Pink February 2016 ∫ 51

INTHEPINK Digging deeper… Prof. Angela Xuereb and her colleague Dr Melissa Formosa at work in the lab.

“WE HOPE THAT SCREENING FOR GENETIC RISK FACTORS OF OSTEOPOROSIS WILL SHORTLY BECOME A REALITY AND CAN BE IMPLEMENTED ON A LOCAL SCALE” whether their harmful effect is also present at the population level. Furthermore, known different genetic risk factors identified from other population studies, especially European, will be replicated in the Maltese case-control collection to determine whether they also impose a risk to the Maltese community. In fact, the Maltese case-control collection is currently involved in a collaborative study including major international research consortia, which specifically replicate their findings. Based on the findings, would patients be able to tell before its onset that they have a predisposition to the condition and start taking tailor-made treatment? Genetic studies have provided valuable information on the pathogenesis of osteoporosis and fractures, which, in turn, can be applied to the identification of susceptible individuals and possibly formulation of customised treatment strategies. Individuals can be screened at a young age and, if found to possess a number of genetic risk factors for osteoporosis, can follow a number of preventive regimes focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These include increasing their dietary cal52 ∫ Pink February 2016

cium intake, following a good healthy diet, having good vitamin D levels, performing weight-bearing physical activity, and refraining from smoking and consuming excessive alcohol. Once high-risk individuals are identified, their relatives can also be checked and monitored, especially since heritability for bone mineral density ranges from 50 per cent to 80 per cent, and individuals with a parental history of a hip fracture exhibit a twofold greater risk of sustaining an osteoporotic fracture. We hope that screening for genetic risk factors of osteoporosis will shortly become a reality and can be implemented on a local scale. The aim of every researcher working in the field of bone is to identify the genetic make-up of high-risk individuals so as to develop and prescribe tailor-made treatment. We are already moving into this era, especially with the development of novel treatment strategies as a result of genetic studies. Case-control studies have already been carried out and papers published. At what stage is the current research, what does it entail and when do you expect more results?

Currently, we are testing new genes identified in two extended Maltese families using next-generation sequencing. The genes are being studied in animal models to determine how they affect bone. In addition, the large case-control collection referred to earlier has been used to analyse the effect of over 20 new or known genetic risk factors in relation to bone mineral density and fracture risk. A good number of these analysed genetic risk factors have actually been found to predispose to osteoporosis and increased fracture risk in the Maltese population, confirming results reported in other population studies. More genetic risk factors are currently being analysed and will be published in international peerreviewed journals in the coming months. The University of Malta is collaborating with two major international consortia on the research. How does this change its scope? We are collaborating with the international GENOMOS [Genetic Markers for Osteoporosis] and GEFOS [Genetic Factors for Osteoporosis] consortia, composed of several prominent research study groups, working to identify new and

INTHEPINK confirm known genetic risk factors underlying osteoporosis and fracture risk across different populations. This collaboration promotes the sharing of ideas and information, and also strengthens the results obtained. In fact, the data has been published in leading science journals. This collaboration also enables the testing of important and selective genetic risk factors that might otherwise not be analysed locally due to funding restrictions. Do you feel that enough importance is given to research projects of the sort in Malta and how important are they? Biomedical research projects are very important since results could be used to create tailor-made treatment and to educate the community about disease prevention. Financing is an ongoing problem, but with the possibility of joining European funding programmes such as Horizon 2020, and with scholarships, such as Endeavour supporting tertiary education, and Reach High Scholars Programme financing post-doctoral projects, such research can be facilitated. The UoM also aims to promote research by financing projects through its Research Fund although resources are very limited. Is the culture of donating to university research changing, and is the public starting to see this as another good cause that deserves philanthropic support, or not yet? Yes, it is changing and such funding has been instrumental for a number of research projects. The university’s Research Innovation and Development Trust [RIDT] recently secured €38,000 in funding from the Malta Community Chest Fund for our new research project on the genetics of osteoporosis and fractures. As researchers, it is important for us to increase the awareness and exposure of research studies in all fields, which, in turn, can also result in more collaboration and financial help. What else is going on behind the scenes in the university labs that the public may not be aware of? The expansion of a new centre for biomedical research at the University of Malta, including state-of-the-art equipment, such as next-generation sequencing equipment, obtained through the European Regional Development Fund [ERDF], will help enormously in many aspects of our and other 54 ∫ Pink February 2016

Normal bone

biomedical research. This will also lead to the encouragement of multi-disciplinary research, involving various researchers from different faculties across the university. And what field could do with more research projects? This is a difficult question to answer as many research projects are being conducted at the university in many fields, and most could do with more funding. However, one must keep in mind that despite the limited funding available, there is some excellent research being conducted in some areas, and it gets published in leading international journals. What else would you like to focus your research on if you had the funding? We would definitely start focusing on monogenic [controlled by a single gene] bone disorders in the Maltese population. In addition, we would aim to extend our current research studies by recruiting more individuals, including osteoporotic males, to determine the genetic risk factors leading to osteoporosis in both sexes. If you could pick a breakthrough in medicine, what would it be? As a geneticist, I have to mention the completion of the Human Genome Project as a major breakthrough. This has made possible the identification of several genes involved in many diseases, and subsequently, the design of direct and appropriate treatment. The development of anticancer drugs is another. In Malta, the number of people affected with osteoporosis is estimated to be around 20 per cent in women and six per cent in men aged 50 years and older. Have these figures changed over the years?


As reported by the International Osteoporosis Foundation Working Group, the number of persons suffering from osteoporosis has increased over the years, even though there have been major developments in the pharmaceutical field. This could be due to increased longevity, as well as the effect of harmful environmental influences. The presence of coexisting medical conditions, such as premature menopause, malignancies and chronic kidney disease, as well as medications, including steroids, also predispose to osteoporosis and fracture risk. In 2010, approximately 2,600 fragility fractures in men and women over the age of 50 were estimated to have been sustained in Malta, costing the National Health Service around €17 million. These figures are set to increase in the coming years. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation Working Group, Malta is rated among the High Incidence Category Group for both osteoporosis and fracture incidence. What is the major downside for sufferers of osteoporosis and what could be done to improve the condition? The major downside is by far suffering a fracture and the consequences of such a painful event. The most common and debilitating types of fractures are those of the spine, hip and wrist. A number of complications can delay healing, even post-operatively, especially in the elderly, and in the case of hip and spine fractures, this could possibly result in mortality. Sufferers need to adopt lifestyle changes and also require rehabilitation and secondary care. Secondary falls are not uncommon either; so prevention strategies with optimal functional recovery and improvement in the individual’s quality of life are called for.


Feel good. Be good. Do good. For more than 40 years, Yogi Tea has been producing delicious herb and spice teas based on unique Ayurvedic tea recipes, which promote individual well-being. Yogi Tea’s roots stem from the 3,000-yearold Indian Ayurvedic teachings about the balance between body, mind and soul. In the 1960s, Indian Yoga and Ayurveda traditions were first introduced to the rest of the world. Yogi Bhajan, a master of Kundalini Yoga, was a pioneer of this holistic yogic lifestyle, which encouraged people to live a happy, healthy and conscious lifestyle. In 1969, Yogi Bhajan came to the West and brought an immeasurable knowledge of Ayurveda with him. As a teacher of holistic living, he shared his wisdom and knowledge of Ayurveda and Yoga with his students while serving them an aromatic spice tea blend, which they affectionately named “Yogi tea”. This unique Ayurvedic tea blend is based on an original recipe by Yogi Bhajan and contains cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black pepper. Today, people all around the world enjoy the special blends of more than 80 selected organically-grown herbs and spices that give the nearly 40 varieties of Yogi Tea their unmistakable flavour and health-giving properties. YOGI TEA® products are found in leading pharmacies and health shops. They are distributed by Alfred Gera & Sons Ltd. For more information, send an e-mail to;


Collard greens I’m packed with good stuff Collards are leafy green vegetables from the same family that includes cabbage, kale and broccoli. While they share the same botanical name as kale, Brassica oleracea, and some resemblance, they have their own distinctive qualities. Like kale, collards are one of the non-head forming members of the Brassica family. Their unique appearance features dark blue green leaves that are smooth in texture and relatively broad. They lack the frilled edges that are so distinctive to their cousin kale. Long a staple of the southern US, collard greens, unlike their cousins kale and mustard greens, have a very mild, almost smoky flavour. Although they are available year-round, they are at their best from January to April.

My nutritional information Unlike broccoli, kale and cabbage, you won’t find many research studies devoted to the specific health benefits of collard greens. Based on a very small number of studies, cancer prevention appears to be a standout area for collard greens with respect to their health benefits. Collard greens provide special nutrient support for the three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development and prevention: the body’s detox, antioxidant and inflammatory/antiinflammatory systems. Prevention of bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate and ovarian cancer are most closely associated with the intake of collard greens.

How to choose me Look for collard greens that have firm, unwilted leaves, which are vividly deep green in colour, with no signs of yellowing, or browning. Leaves that are smaller in size will be more tender and have a milder flavour. They should be displayed in a chilled section in the refrigerator case to prevent them from wilting and becoming bitter. Place collard greens in a plastic bag, removing as much of the air from it as possible. Store in the refrigerator, where they should keep fresh for about three to five days. 56 ∫ Pink February 2016


The number of places Malta has moved up in the Euro Health Consumer Index, issued by the Health Consumer Powerhouse. It was given 663 points and is up from position 27 and 582 points in 2014. The report also shows Malta is in 32nd place out of 43 in cancer incidence and mortality.

MONTHLY MUSE “The safest and most suitable form of penance seems to be that which causes pain in the flesh but does not penetrate to the bones, that is, which causes suffering but not sickness.” Saint Ignatius [1491-1556]

Cholesterol: friend or foe? By Georgiana Farrugia from the Malta Medical Students Association

Cholesterol is a lipid molecule that is synthesised by the human body on a daily basis. It is an essential component of cell membranes and serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acids and vitamin D. From a dietary perspective, the major sources of cholesterol are derived from animal fats such as egg yolk, cheese, beef, pork and shellfish. Consuming a large array of saturated fats on a regular basis can lead to the development of high blood cholesterol. This condition is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease because it promotes plaque formation. By time, the lumen diameter of various blood vessels narrows. This could, in turn, obstruct blood flow, resulting in the formation of a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease. Lipid profiling is a commonly used panel of blood tests in clinical practice. This investigation allows the identification of lipid level abnormalities, which are often symptomless. A typical lipid profile test result consists of a detailed range of total cholesterol, triglycerides, lowdensity lipoprotein [LDL] and high-density lipoprotein [HDL]. The higher the levels of LDL and serum triglycerides, the greater the risk of coronary artery disease. Hence, they are commonly referred to as the ‘bad cholesterols’. On the other hand, increased levels of HDL are thought to remove cholesterol particles from the blood and aid in transporting the latter back to the liver for degradation. It is, therefore, known as the ‘good cholesterol’. In order to promote cardiovascular health, one should aim to maintain a total serum cholesterol level in a range of 2.0 to 5.0mmol/L. This target can be achieved through a variety of lifestyle modifications that revolve around the reduction of behavioural risk factors, such as prolonged periods of physical inactivity, tobacco smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Moreover, it is important to consume a balanced diet that is low in saturated fats. Foods that contain more than 5g of total fat per 100g of product should be avoided. In specific cases where the serum cholesterol is excessively high, a tailored drug treatment plan should be discussed with a family physician.


Soul mate If you’re searching for a soul mate, Dott. EDWARD CURMI explores what traits you should be looking out for.


veryone has an underlying desire to meet a soul mate; someone who is able to understand and love them without rushing to judgement; that person they can spend the rest of their life trusting while building a special bond.

Who is NOT a soul mate A soul mate is not an obsession. Dr Susan Forward, author of the book Obsessive Love: When it Hurts Too Much to Let Go, states that, more often than not, people mistake obsession with true love. Obsessive love is an unhealthy relationship, based on dependency, uncertainty and false hope. Also, when one obsesses about someone, it is very rarely reciprocated. A soul mate is not about trying to fill in an inner void. Some people believe that a soul mate is someone who can fill in the void of their sadness. It is extremely unhealthy when we start to believe that we can only be happy through another person. To find a soul mate, one needs to first be at peace with oneself. Finding a soul mate is not necessarily about attraction. A soul mate could be someone with whom we do not share sexual intimacy, like a parent, sibling, relative, or friend. Infatuation and attraction may be key ingredients in a healthy relationship, but they do not necessarily lead to a soul mate. A soul mate may be a source of 58 ∫ Pink February 2016

inspiration and fulfilment without any sexual attraction. A soul mate is not based on compatibility. As shocking as this may sound, Dr Ted Hudson of the University of Texas completed a longitudinal study of couples who had been married for years and showed that there is no difference in the objective compatibility between those who are happy and those who are not. The study, therefore, confirms that finding a soul mate is much more than two people simply being compatible with one another.

So what exactly is a soul mate? A soul mate is someone you can build something meaningful in life with. Dr John Gottman, founder of The Gottman Institute in Seattle, proved that those couples who focus their energy on building something meaningful together in their life are likely to be happy and last the longest. He states: “How a couple interacts is the single most fundamental aspect to creating a successful relationship, meaning it’s not who you are or what you do that will prolong or help you find the perfect mate; it’s how you speak to each other, how well you get along, and how you move through time together.”

much depends on your natural course of action and the right energy flow, allowing you to meet that special person. A soul mate is synergy. When both persons in the relationship are able to create that synergy that brings out the best in each other, they are soul mates. Soul mates are able to adapt to the changes and growth going on in your life. They are able to cherish such developments and encourage you to grow even more. Soul mates move at each other’s pace. It’s about respecting one another. It’s about being able to share your dreams without worrying about feeling overpowered, or having them shut down by the other. Soul mates never judge your behaviour and make good use of qualities such as genuineness, empathy and compassion. Finding a soul mate is about feeling alive. A soul mate is someone who makes you happy to be alive. Such a person knows when to make you laugh and when it’s time to be serious. They have a natural ability to make you feel comfortable, accepted and respected. Couples that enjoy this affinity enjoy each other’s

“SOUL MATES NEVER JUDGE YOUR BEHAVIOUR AND MAKE GOOD USE OF QUALITIES SUCH AS GENUINENESS, EMPATHY AND COMPASSION” Meeting your soul mate is a natural process. One should not try too hard to find a soul mate. After all, just like anything else, it is something that requires time and happens when you are ready for it. It very

company and look forward to growing older together. Dott. Edward Curmi is a registered clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and author of the book Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being.


Puppy love In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, eductional and child psychologist Dr STEPHANIE SATARIANO inhabits the complex world of adolescents and refuses to play down their teenage romances.


ost of us remember our first love; the first time that one person consumed our whole being! For most of us, it probably happened in our teenage years. Being a teenager is a difficult time in life. “In looking at teenager behaviour, you not only have to deal with hormonal changes and changes in social life; you also have to take into account changes within the brain,” says UCL professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. So, parenting a teenager is probably even harder and the issues abound… including teenage love.

And what is teenage love? Well, for most teen relationships, it probably isn’t the long-standing, deep love that grows and develops

over time. Though what is for certain is that they fall into a depth of caring, infatuation, passion, obsession, or whatever you may like to call it that is more complex and compelling than they have ever known.

Why is this love important? Numerous psychology theorists have attempted to understand and make sense of adolescence. For example, Erik Erikson defined this period as ‘identify vs role confusion’, which helps understand adolescence as a period of life that is characterised by trying to find out who

they are – their likes, dislikes, pleasures – and think about the roles they want to occupy in society. Freud referred to it as the ‘genital stage’, with the key defining factor being sexual experimentation. So with these two theories in mind, remember this type of love is part of typical development. It will help them figure out the type of person they want to be and the type of person they want to be with. It can also help them learn the fundamentals of forming, developing and ending healthy relationships. They learn about a variety of relationship issues, such as freedom and possessiveness, honesty and deception, trust and jealousy, togetherness and separateness, satisfaction and sacrifice.

What can you do? Teenage relationships are turbulent; an emotional roller coaster. One second, your children will be on cloud nine; the next, they’ll be in the depths of misery, and your role will change accordingly.

“TEENAGE RELATIONSHIPS ARE TURBULENT; AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER. ONE SECOND, YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE ON CLOUD NINE; THE NEXT, THEY’LL BE IN THE DEPTHS OF MISERY, AND YOUR ROLE WILL CHANGE ACCORDINGLY” It is completely understandable that parents are concerned when their teenagers fall ‘madly in love’ – and there are a variety of reasons why these concerns are valid. However, there are also many reasons why confronting your teenager head-on is not a good idea. As well as numerous psychological theories that advocate teens need to go through this period, there are also a range of biological and neurological reasons why you would be wasting your time. So here’s what to do: • Teach your children about healthy relationships and guide them towards being the type of person they want to be. • Strengthen your relationship with your child; show them you are open and approachable, without being judgemental. Pink February 2016 ∫ 61

PARENTINGTIPS • Hold parental boundaries; remember you are their parent not their friend, and this is a tough balancing act. But children need to feel safe, and you are the people to do that. Clear boundaries and expectations help them feel safe – even though they may not say that [in fact, they may say the complete opposite]. Try and explain the rationale for the rules; it may help compliance.

“CLEAR BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS HELP THEM FEEL SAFE – EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY NOT SAY THAT” • Don’t force your child to talk about it, but try to do regular ‘check-ins’ to see if there is anything they want to discuss. • Have the sex talk; yes, it can be embarrassing, but it is less problematic than an unwanted pregnancy, or a sexually transmitted disease. • Model how to have a healthy relationship; rather than preach and dictate, show them how to have

self-respect, while also keeping in mind the other’s needs and wants. For example, teach your children how to be kind when turning others down. • Show them and teach them selfrespect and self-worth; and the most powerful way to do this is by showing them respect, and respecting their choice of partner. Showing them respect will give them the strength not to go along with the crowd and not to be talked into doing things they don’t want to do. Above all, it will give them the strength to keep themselves safe. Modelling and teaching these things will help them realise when something isn’t quite right. • Get to know the partner; this will help your child feel respected, as well as help you learn more about their likes, dislikes and life choices. If you feel the partner doesn’t match up with your values or beliefs, rather than preach about it, model why they are important • Be there to heal the broken heart, without any ‘I told you so’ [hard as that might be].

Another useful thing to do, not only for your sanity but also for your relationship with your child, is to try to focus on the positives; for example, they may be going to less parties, the person may be a positive influence and they are learning how to have a relationship.

What not to do… • Be dismissive Saying things like ‘oh, this is puppy love’ and ‘you’ll be over it soon’ will not only make them feel undervalued, but will probably fill them with a drive to prove you wrong. • Put them down It’s an opportunity to show them how much you think they are worth, rather than make them feel undervalued so they choose anybody who comes along. • ‘I told you so’ As tempting as that may be when something goes wrong, it will only draw a bigger wedge between you and your child. Keep in mind Erikson’s theory: the teenage years are about figuring out their identity, their likes and dislikes, and most of the time, you need to try something to realise you don’t really like it.

RELATIONTIPS nothing to say to each other – that going out together might underline any disconnect that you feel. Intimacy with your partner doesn’t come for free; you can’t ignore it for a year and then expect it to be there when you need it. Being together and acknowledging those feelings can be the first step to putting them right however; the roaring flames of passion might be a distant memory, but at the very least, you need to keep a pilot light burning.

Dating with benefits

Seize the

Date Day

Most couples manage to get a babysitter for a night out, but having a day date [or better still, a weekend] can work even more. Instead of the same old dinner and drinks, you can hire a kayak, take a hike, or go for a challenging swim. HELEN RAINE finds it’s a way to recover the feelings you had before children and can help relationships stay strong. Here’s how to plan a date day instead and why you need it.


ost people can pull it out of the bag at the beginning of a relationship, trotting off in high heels or shirt and tie to candlelit dinners at least once a week. But a few years in, ‘date night’ finds couples slumped in front of the TV in an old pair of PJs with a lukewarm bottle of wine and a jumbo packet of crisps. It’s like someone broke into the marital home and stole the romance,

64 ∫ Pink February 2016

replacing it with a nebulous list of whines – too busy; bored of the same old restaurant; short of money; can’t get a babysitter. Making an effort for your partner becomes a low priority and parents in particular often end up going out separately, but rarely together. After a while, it can actually be a little alarming to find yourself alone as a couple with no distractions; there’s a fear that you might have

Although most of us instinctively know that time alone with a partner is important, a survey by women’s magazine Redbook found that only 18 per cent of couples had a date night once a month, with 45 per cent stating they rarely manage to get together. Research suggests that changing to a dating mindset really does pay dividends. Bradford Wilcox, author of The Date Night Opportunity says: “Husbands and wives who engaged in couple time… at least once a week were approximately 3.5 times more likely to report being ‘very happy’ in their marriages.” That’s because time alone allows partners to communicate. Wilcox says that this “deepens their understanding of one another and the relationship. This is important because individuals continue to change, and they experience new challenges and problems over time. Date nights may help partners and spouses to ‘stay current’ with each other’s lives”. For couples with kids, this is particularly important. “New parents who did not reduce their couple time together after the arrival of a baby were markedly less likely to experience a decline in marital quality,” Wilcox says.

Keep the fires burning Humans tend to crave novelty, so instead of reliving the past with tired old date options, it’s time to commit to doing something different with your partner. Anything from rock climbing to tap dancing works, as

RELATIONTIPS long as it gets you a little bit hot and bothered. According to Dr Arthur Aron of the State University of New York, these new experiences will flood your brain with the ‘happy’ chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine, stimulating the same parts that used to light up when you were kissing on the doorstep on your first date and thinking about your new lover obsessively. In Dr Aron’s research, couples who were required to seek out exciting new experiences together showed significantly higher levels of marital satisfaction. “THERE ARE A FEW GROUND RULES HERE THOUGH. BOTH PARTIES NEED TO AGREE TO THE PLAN, EVEN IF ONE NEEDS A LITTLE MORE PERSUADING – FORCIBLY EJECTING YOUR SCREAMING PARTNER FROM A SKY-DIVING PLANE IS NOT THE WAY FORWARD”

There are a few ground rules here though. Both parties need to agree to the plan, even if one needs a little more persuading – forcibly ejecting your screaming partner from a sky-diving plane is not the way forward. You also need a pact not to discuss dull household issues, or difficult topics; a date is about getting away from the day-to-day grind, so asking whether your partner paid the electricity bill can wait for another time. Try too, to open your mind to the idea of romancing your partner – the atmosphere of a date night is what you make it, as much as where you go and what you do. Become curious again; try to find out at least one thing that you didn’t already know about them. You’ll be surprised, once you ask, at the conversational avenues that open up, reminding you both that you’re in a relationship, not just randomly sharing a house. And one last thing – for the love of God, turn off your phone!

HOW TO GET LOST TOGETHER Malta is a small country and it can sometimes seem as if you’ve covered every possible corner of it; but in fact, there are new experiences popping up all the time. The list below offers suggestions. Some of the activities are free; most are reasonable; and a few have a hefty price tag, but compare them to the hourly rate of a marriage counsellor, or a divorce lawyer, and they’ll seem a lot more reasonable.

Kick off in a kayak will pick you up at the Gozo ferry terminal and take you to Hondoq Bay, the starting point for a paddle across the Gozo Channel to Comino. This adventure takes in caves and natural sea arches plus a hike on the island, a swim and a snorkel. A group trip costs €65pp for a full day, including lunch, but if you want to get more romantic, you can request a private outing.

Drop your partner off a cliff To recreate the nerves and shaking hands that accompany a first date, throw in a spot of abseiling; there’s nothing like dangling off a climbing rope with only fresh air beneath you to make you appreciate your partner just a tinsy bit more. MC Adventure offers spectacular cliff descents [their longest is 75m]; an adrenaline-pumped half day costs €120 for a couple. You can also do a 40m urban abseil from Mosta Bridge – once you climb over the stone balustrade and descend a few metres, you’ll be dangling free. Just repeat the mantra ‘couples who play together, stay together’ to help you get over the terror.

Stick in a pin Blindfold your partner and ask them to stick a pin in a map of Malta [you can do it virtually too with a finger and an iPhone]. Wherever the pin lands is where you’re going for the day [you could be generous and give yourselves a 2km radius to work with]. Even the most unpromising locations will have a little café tucked away, or a view that you’ve never seen before – all you need is an appetite for a fun day together.

Start wine-ing It’s probable that alcohol played a fairly important role in your courtship. Recreate your dating Dutch courage with a wine

tasting. Being underground in a wine cellar, or out in the fields surrounded by grapes, is a wonderful experience; add a few glasses of plonk and a successful date is virtually guaranteed. offer scheduled tours of their 400-year-old cellars and provide little savouries along with their wine [contact them for prices and times]. Ta’ Mena Wine Estate in Gozo also does tours; they’ll take you around the vineyards and the winery and pair their tastings with some local treats []. also offers tastings at their site in Ta’ Qali on a panoramic terrace overlooking the vineyards.

Photographic evidence Looking through a lens can give you a different perspective on a familiar place, so take your partner to a place you both love and challenge each other to a photographic competition. You can take pictures of each other, the scenery, or the wildlife that you might otherwise miss on a walk. Afterwards, get the best two photos printed and framed to remind you of the day.

Spice it up Spice up the romance with a cooking class for two; award-winning author and cook Pippa Mattei offers classes for couples – once you’ve cooked the food, you’ll enjoy the result in her Attard Mediterranean garden. A typical menu might include spaghetti with sea urchin roe, followed by stuffed courgettes on a bed of potatoes and onions. Dessert could be Maltese pastries, flavoured with orange blossom water. Each meal is accompanied with local wine, espresso and limoncello []. Prices are between €75 and €125, depending on the group size.

A game of chance To keep the element of surprise about your date day, write three cards each of activities that you’d like to do [or just use the ones above]; then roll the dice to decide which one will be first. [Keep the other cards – that’s five more months sorted!] Pink February 2016 ∫ 65





very year, as February approaches, I am told by the editor of this magazine that preparations are underway for the Valentine’s issue and could I please hurry up the piece, which is ordinarily published earlier than usual. Every year, I am also cheerfully reminded that I am in no way constrained to write about Valentine’s Day, or to link my piece to that fourletter word. And truth be told, I usually steer clear of the L word around this time, which is funny, considering most of my other pieces during the year tend to dissect it, or at any rate, talk about it, or the lack of it, and tap dance around it.

dedicated student myself back in the day. One would think I’d relish the prospect of reliving those years and going through it all over again vicariously, through my son. But nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps, when you’ve been that sort of student all your life, you experience burn-out earlier on and are, therefore, more inclined to be rebellious. In fact, by and large, I find that mothers who dropped out of the educational rat race earlier than I did and did not pursue tertiary education are far more attentive to their children’s educational needs and well-being and are more inclined to sit with them religiously. I suppose it makes perfect sense. You always want for your children what you didn’t manage to

“BY AND LARGE, I FIND THAT MOTHERS WHO DROPPED OUT OF THE EDUCATIONAL RAT RACE EARLIER THAN I DID AND DID NOT PURSUE TERTIARY EDUCATION ARE FAR MORE ATTENTIVE TO THEIR CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND WELL-BEING AND ARE MORE INCLINED TO SIT WITH THEM RELIGIOUSLY” For some reason, the February issue doesn’t – probably because of the way I find that Valentine’s Day forces the issue; the love issue, I mean. So I think I’ll go with tradition and talk about the other side of February: school books, mid-year examinations, mocks and that dreaded word I can barely bring myself to pronounce. Revision. My revulsion surprises me and is so odd really, given that I was such a 66 ∫ Pink February 2016

achieve for yourself, because the grass is always greener, and a degree is still considered a feather in one’s cap. Oddly enough, and for whatever the reason, I have never been that sort of mother; the mother who spends three weeks of January indoors and knows the ins and outs of homework and examination week. I am not terribly proud of it. I just never managed to become that person. And although I know it

would have served my son far better, I think that when you’re a control freak and have absolutely no control over the way another person thinks and operates, attempting to be that person is not easy. Trying to get inside someone else’s brain and ‘revise’ is guaranteed to end badly when the other person does not understand the rudimentary importance of filing, for instance. Keeping your notes up to date and in order is sine qua non and finding stray A4 papers inside pockets, or at the bottom of my son’s school case, gives me the heebiejeebies. So every attempt of mine to be that person usually ends prematurely, with me giving up. You see, I still remember calling up friends of mine on sick days, days when I was absent from school, bang on at 3.30pm just to check what I had missed that day; just to be able to catch up on notes. Friends of mine who are reading this will remember those long laborious telephone calls when I would make them dictate everything to me on the phone. I do apologise. My son, on the other hand, has absolutely no concept of this. In his fatalistic world, whatever happens on the day he is sick was not meant to be and does not find a way into his educational world. In fact, it’s become something of a joke with us. I still make it a point of asking: ‘Did you catch up on the stuff you missed when you were absent?’ He dutifully replies that he coincidentally didn’t miss anything for four days running.


Of course, I say that I am not really au courant with the ins and outs, but I exaggerate. I still drive my son to all his lessons and print out his exam timetable and remind him that he really ought to be studying harder. I’ve just never been that good with knuckling down and doing it with him. I got to the point where I was forced to stop worrying, to let him navigate the system and find out the hard way, which he has, of course. He has now realised that I was right all along; that doing a little bit every day is far better than trying to cram it all in. Moreover, he has now realised that passing examinations and studying for them is a ‘game’. Exams don’t only test how much you have studied; they also test your ability to understand the question and to ‘sell an answer’ even if you don’t necessarily know the answer yourself.  Perhaps, I have avoided ‘revising‘ with my son because I guess I was saving myself for when it really mattered.  Who cares about Year 3 exams, or Year 6 for that matter?  What is the point of knowing every last detail of the Sacrament of Baptism? But when the mocks are four weeks away and O levels are 12 weeks

away, and you know that it is now or never and that there is nowhere else to hide, you roll up your sleeves and do it. I could choose to look away and tell myself that he doesn’t really need me. But I know that he does. I know that if I am not there to ram the 1921 Constitution down his throat, or the reasons why Maitland was successful in dealing with the bubonic plague, chances are that Modern Family, or The Big Bang Theory will seem like a far more attractive option and easier way out.

either, but by and large, I find girls are much better at studying than boys are. My son will read something for 35 minutes and claim he’s done studying while I tell him that he has just started warming up. We’re getting there slowly, but I can’t wait for February to be all over and done with and for school to end for good. I’m just getting too old for all this tension, and believe it or not, I worry more than he does. I’m biting my nails

“AND THESE ARE THE ONLY TIMES I AM SURE THAT HAVING A GIRL WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH EASIER. GIRLS ARE PROGRAMMED AND WIRED DIFFERENTLY. BOYS – MOST OF THEM – DON’T POSSESS THAT GENE. SOME GIRLS DON’T EITHER, BUT BY AND LARGE, I FIND GIRLS ARE MUCH BETTER AT STUDYING THAN BOYS ARE” So January has been spent revising chunks of Maltese history with a lot of hysteria and histrionics from my end of course. And these are the only times I am sure that having a girl would have been so much easier. Girls are programmed and wired differently. Boys – most of them – don’t possess that gene. Some girls don’t

wondering which Macbeth essay will ‘come out’ and trying to find the shortest cut to passing these exams. I’m right there, all over again, and the thought that I can’t be in total control of the questions he will eventually choose to answer [that’s an art in itself ] on the day itself fills me with dread. Pink February 2016 ∫ 67


STUFF IT MARIA CACHIA fits her leeks snugly into her portobello mushrooms, oozes out some smoothened Jerusalem artichokes and tops it all with roasted carrots and a sun-dried tomato pesto.



Serves 4

Remove the stalk of the portobello mushrooms and reserve. In a pan, drizzle a little coconut oil and sauté the mushrooms for approximately five minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper when cooked through. In another pan, sauté the garlic clove with the chopped Jerusalem artichokes. Add a sprig of fresh thyme leaves and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, or until the Jerusalem artichokes are cooked through. In a food processor, blend them to a smooth consistency. Chop the leeks into small pieces. [These should fit snugly in the inside of the portobello mushroom once cooked, so cut accordingly.] Sauté the leeks in a pan with coconut oil, a bay leaf, a sprinkle of soft brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover the leeks and continue cooking for at least 10 more minutes, or until they are cooked and start to caramelise.

4 portobello mushrooms 3 Jerusalem artichokes, cleaned and finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 1 sprig of fresh thyme leaves 2 leeks 1 bay leaf A sprinkle of soft brown sugar 6 sun-dried tomatoes 50g ground almonds A small bunch of coriander leaves 1 tbsp olive oil 4 carrots, peeled

68 ∫ Pink February 2016

Soften the sun-dried tomatoes in some hot water, pat them dry with kitchen roll and place them in a food processor. Add the nuts, a little olive oil and the coriander leaves. Blend until the mixture has a smooth consistency. [If necessary, add a little more olive oil.] Preheat the oven to 200°C. Spiralise the carrots with a spiraliser, or cut into thin ribbons. Pour in a bowl and add a little coconut oil and season. Toss the carrots so they are evenly coated with oil. Roast for 20 minutes until crispy. Add the sun-dried tomato pesto to the carrots and mix. Place the portobello mushrooms on a baking tray, top side down, and pour about a tablespoonful of the Jerusalem artichoke mixture onto them. Scatter some mozzarella over them and season. Place the leeks on top of the mozzarella and roast for five minutes, just enough for the mushrooms and leeks to warm through and for the cheese to melt. Top the portobello mushrooms with the carrots and serve with a green salad.


NEWCOMER CROSSOVER If Hyundai i20 Cross has any negative points, ANDREA FAYE CHRISTIANS can only think of one: that it isn’t hers!


his month, it’s the turn of Korean car manufacturer Hyundai to strut its stuff with the i20 Cross. A bold jump, some might say, but the crossover market is an exciting new development that is gathering momentum amid a growing demand from consumers for cars that really reflect the lives they live. As new entrants into this extremely competitive market, Hyundai certainly had its work cut out, but it has risen to the challenge admirably with this rugged-looking newcomer that is based on the current i20. However, as the name suggests, the Hyundai i20 Cross is not so much a compact SUV as it is a crossover hatch. It has not only had a facelift, but also improved functionality. From a looks perspective, the metamorphosis has been very well executed.

70 ∫ Pink February 2016

With fluid lines, the car has both an elegant and sporty appeal. The addition of body cladding makes the i20 Cross look meaty and muscular, which is further accentuated by a new-look grille in the front bumper and sweptback headlights. Other notable features include roof rails, a silver skid plate at the rear and

that is user friendly, and it also has a height-adjustable driver’s seat that creates an optimum driving position. The three-pronged leather steering wheel has integrated stereo controls along with Bluetooth, USB ports and all the usual kit that one would expect of a car of this calibre. Then there are also lots of other unexpected nice touches, such as LED daytime running lamps and a full-size spare wheel, which is one of my personal bugbears as many of the latest cars don’t have it in an attempt among some manufacturers to cut costs and increase boot space. Incidentally, at 285 litres, this car has the largest boot of all its competitors and the rear seats can be split 60/40 to increase cargo carrying capacity if needed. However, looks aside, it was the drive that really surprised me. Out on the road, the Hyundai i20 Cross did not disappoint and was amazingly nippy, leaving others standing at the traffic lights… which is no mean feat, considering I was behind the wheel of a car driven by nothing more than a 998cc petrol engine. In fact, the more I drove, the more enamoured I became and was left in no doubt that the Hyundai i20 Cross has a surprisingly torquey engine and packs a feisty punch when put to the test. There is a diesel version too, but no automatic option. Starting at €18,000, the Hyundai i20 Cross offers a lot of car for the cash and is aimed at drivers who live active and adventurous lives while also wanting value for money.

“THE ADDITION OF BODY CLADDING MAKES THE i20 CROSS LOOK MEATY AND MUSCULAR, WHICH IS FURTHER ACCENTUATED BY A NEW-LOOK GRILLE IN THE FRONT BUMPER AND SWEPTBACK HEADLIGHTS” circular reflectors to create an altogether sportier feel. The i20 Cross is also higher than its hatchback counterpart to give greater ground clearance when tackling tough terrain. The interior is spacious and quite stylised, with a distinct youthful feel

Hyundai really does seem to have got it right as this is a car that offers the best of both worlds and definitely merits an all-round thumbs up. If there were any negative points, I can only think of one: that this Hyundai i20 Cross isn’t mine!



PINK ARIES MARCH 20-APRIL 18 Although you thrive on exploring the unfamiliar and meeting new people, in certain areas of your life, you’ve become surprisingly rigid. During March, events force you out of this. Resist the temptation to battle those changes. They’ll seem unfair, but by midmonth, you’re rediscovering your enthusiasm for long neglected passions, challenges and adventures. Explore everything that arises. Commitments, however, should wait until the pivotal Aries New Moon on April 7. After that, your priorities will be clear.

CANCER JUNE 20-JULY 21 Plans being discussed are intriguing but would mean rethinking elements of your work, lifestyle, or both. Besides, they’re vague and slow-moving. Actually, that’s best, because events midmonth substantially alter the foundation on which they’d be based. Until then, consider existing arrangements, from what doesn’t work to what could go. Only recently, you’d have battled to end certain of these. But changes would free you to pursue certain activities and alliances that once seemed completely unrealistic.

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 21 While you can’t plan for the unexpected, you can keep in mind the Libra eclipsed Full Moon on March 23 is bound to trigger shakeups, some welcome, others unsettling and a few very surprising indeed. Knowing that, explore everything that arises. And, equally, ensure both your plans and ideas are flexible enough that you’re able to respond easily, even when events are entirely unexpected. Pursue whatever interests with an eye to what you can learn, not lasting arrangements. They can wait until April.

CAPRICORN DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 19 Although your ferocious work ethic is a virtue, it can mean you dismiss ideas and offers that seem too good to be true. What’s more, with things already unsettled, you’re uneasy about taking chances. Still, the events triggered by the alliance on March 16 between bountiful Jupiter and Pluto, which is positioned in Capricorn, could transform your life, wonderfully and possibly overnight. Out of character as giving in to destiny may be, it’s the best approach to this rare and fantastic planetary setup.

According to astrologer SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL… TAURUS

APRIL 19-MAY 19 Life’s amazing but there’s one requirement. It’s that you support certain individuals as they make drastic changes, some of which will be unsettling for you. These may seem unwise, or even worrying. Watch and learn. Gradually, you’ll realise others have sound, practical reasons for updating arrangements. Go with the flow. They’ll benefit and you will too. Better yet, joining them in this process brings you together, almost magically. Better yet, in the process, your world becomes bigger, more exciting and more rewarding.

LEO JULY 22-AUGUST 21 You begin March with a vision, one that involves others and would be profitable in terms of close relationships, both longstanding and new ones. And, equally, there’s financial, or business promise. While things will work out wonderfully, with eclipses on March 9 and 23 triggering shakeups, even simple plans will change, possibly several times. Let them. This enables you to shed unworkable arrangements. Better yet, it triggers changes that clear the path to achieving your objectives in a different and much improved form.

SCORPIO OCTOBER 22-NOVEMBER 20 Making decisions is no problem. You know what you want. The difficulty is gathering reliable facts. What’s more, the chaotic events triggered by eclipses on March 9 and 23 could seem reason for concern. You’ll soon discover they’re breakthroughs in circumstances and arrangements with others that you’ve regarded as unchanging. By midmonth, ideas and offers are so good you’re tempted to plunge in, even if lacking reliable information. Go for it. You’ll only regret what you didn’t do, not what you did.

AQUARIUS JANUARY 20-FEBRUARY 18 As February begins, you’ll be battling for certain ideas and against other plans, but with little success. Actually, that’s good. Add what you learn from these to the insights triggered by the Aquarius New Moon on February 8, and your world will look very different and probably a lot more exciting. You’ll feel seriously optimistic. Still, the full picture will emerge gradually, which means decisions about your future may not be finalised until later in the month. It will be worth the wait.

Visit to learn more and order your own chart.

GEMINI MAY 20-JUNE 19 During the first half of March, there’ll be demands for solid information regarding your plans. However, with your thinking changing often, that’s unrealistic. Instead, invite those interested to get involved. Instead of needing updates, others will be with you, step by step. They’ll soon realise why ongoing developments mean making a single lasting plan is impossible. Meanwhile, you deepen your connection with others, especially with certain individuals who you recognise will become an increasingly vital part of your life.

VIRGO AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 21 Because the Virgo Full Moon on February 22 brought issues involving matters of both a practical and emotional nature to a head, you begin March with numerous unresolved questions. Tempting as it is to find swift solutions, take time over these. Explore on your own, but also seek the advice of those you trust and, possibly, experts. This so broadens your horizons that by midmonth, you’re aiming higher than you’d have conceived possible only weeks before. Remember this when dealing with other, as crucial, decisions.

SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 20 The chart for March centres around the potent link between your ruler Jupiter and the planet of transformation, Pluto, on March 16. As the month begins, you may already be experiencing these life-changing developments. While they won’t always be up to you, so could seem worrying, your instincts reassure you they’re brilliant. If this means relinquishing existing arrangements, but what’s new isn’t yet clear, take a chance. You’ll soon realise that what’s coming your way will be nothing short of miraculous.

PISCES FEBRUARY 19-MARCH 19 Your intuition is powerful. While you’ve benefitted from it in all sorts of situations, during March, you experience the downside. It’s that others will dismiss those instincts. Usually, this wouldn’t matter. But with the Pisces eclipsed New Moon on March 9 shaking things up, what you sense is more reliable than the hard facts certain individuals rely on. This requires tact and, occasionally, gentle deception. Bizarrely, when you’re reviewing these events with others, they won’t recall their objections, or your discreet manoeuvres. Pink February 2016 ∫ 71




hat is it about Disney productions that have always tickled children’s fancy over the years and seem to be timeless? The stories resonate with their life experience in a way that is not threatening. We all experience loss [not always as tragic or disruptive as in the film] and seek to be understood or loved as the characters in the movies. Disney has also been found to be helpful in therapy with certain developmental issues in children. The expressions, emotion and character interaction help children interpret real life too.

Music is enough… for the director of Disney Music Publishing and Concert Licensing. In the run-up to Disney Fantasia Live in Concert, Jonathan Heely says songs have a great roll in telling the story. In a short time, a significant change, or development can be described through music in a way that cannot be achieved effectively with dialogue.

You’ve been working in the Disney Music Group since 1981. How important is the music in these productions, compared to the storyline, characters, graphics etc…? The music is another character, drawing out the emotion, or anticipating a change in the story before it occurs. Songs have a great roll in telling the story. In a short time, a significant change, development, or transition can be described through music in a way that could not be achieved effectively with dialogue. You still get all the emotion and somehow accept the big shift in the character because of the musical experience. Pink February 2016 ∫ 73

SNAPSHOT Children are expected to be enchanted by the emotional storytelling power of Disney’s classical music. But is the music enough to stimulate them? Most of us hear music from mechanical sources – radio, CD, audio speakers, or those awful in-ear headphones. In the concert hall, the music has many sources – that sound over there, it’s coming from the harp; and wow, feel how that big drum rumbles your seat; and what kind of instrument is making that high-pitched sound? Live music is a feast for the ears. Recorded music is compressed and digitised for the sake of the format; soft passages are boosted, loud moments are compressed to put data on a CD. No such compromise is used in live orchestra [when heard acoustically]. The wonderful dynamic range of the orchestra can really be appreciated by our own ears. Music is enough.

Why do some Disney productions, such as Frozen, gain such popularity? What is it about them? If we knew that, we would make every film that way. Disney does have the global reach and media connections to extend a great film like this to a wider audience. Concerts have been performed by all major symphonies, including the US National Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Munich Symphony and now the National Philharmonic Orchestra. How do you feel musicians respond to the Disney repertoire? This is familiar repertoire to most professional musicians, but there are some edits in all of this music that may irritate some of the traditionalists. The adherence to the click track and image on screen, rather than the conductor’s interpretation, is another restriction that

“JUST GETTING FAMILIES INTO THE CONCERT HALL, EXPERIENCING QUALITY MUSIC PLAYED BY THE FINEST MUSICIANS IN TOWN, IS AN EDUCATION” How important is the educational element of Disney Fantasia Live in Concert? Just getting families into the concert hall, experiencing quality music played by the finest musicians in town, is an education. The images from the film are the work of a small army of artists and creators, who were inspired by the sounds to create the images. Hopefully, people will be inspired to let music guide their imagination to other creative endeavours. And what’s in it for the parents? I think the nostalgia of seeing the state of the art in 1940 [original clips] and comparing them to the impressive digital animation from Fantasia 2000 is a real treat. Most haven’t seen these films in a theatre on the large screen, and if they have watched this on television, they would have been distracted by activities, or thought this was a film just to keep the children occupied. Now, for a moment, they can experience the music and films in their full potential on the large screen. How do Walt Disney’s original Fantasia [1940] and Fantasia 2000 differ primarily? The state-of-the-art handdrawn animation and digital animation is the main difference. What does Disney mean to you personally? Disney is a creative workshop, started by an exceptionally talented and driven man and his supportive and astute brother; passed down to clever leaders and staff, who cherished the brand and developed the basic concepts of innovation and quality into every conceivable way to entertain families. I’m proud to have been a part of the music group for the past 27 years. 74 ∫ Pink February 2016

some may not appreciate. However, I don’t hear much complaining. I think it breathes new life into music they may have become complacent about, playing the original to an ageing audience. Now, to play these master works to a full house of family and younger audiences compensates for any artistic concerns. You’ve developed a series of cinema concert packages presenting the entire feature film with soundtrack performed in real time with symphony orchestra. Why is it so important to have the symphony orchestra and could it fall on deaf ears and go by unnoticed as the audience engages in the animation? I’ve thought about this a lot and have tried to focus my eyes on the orchestra only at times. After 10 minutes of watching the musicians work at their craft, I decided to use my eyes to enjoy the lovely images and let my ears tune in to the orchestra. There are moments when the orchestra totally dominates the moment [two minutes into Firebird Suite] and then you are shaken to remember this is live music! If you had to ask Walt Disney one question, what would it be? What does he think of Pixar, Star Wars and Disney of today? If you had to be one Disney character, who would you most identify with? Goofy. He’s good-natured, kind to all, and clueless as to his goofiness. Disney Fantasia Live in Concert is being held on February 20 at 3pm and 7.30pm. It is being performed by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Mro Brian Schembri, accompanying scenes from Walt Disney’s original Fantasia [1940] and Fantasia 2000. Tickets are available from


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