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ISSUE143∫ SEptEmbEr2016





Women coming clean

PSYCHOLOGY: LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF Self-compassion in adults… and kids


September 2016


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FEATURES 10 PrivateEye sex, drugs and rehab Female addicts on the mend 17 InFocus the long wait for a family Current hitches in adoptions 23 WomensWorld a change of life No more scaremongering on HRT

FASHION 32 ShowStopper awaiting autumn Never a dull fashion moment 42 FashionStory very Tommy, very me! Gigi Hadid’s designs for Hilfiger

HEALTH 49 BeautyParlour for a brave colour moment The fun and funky side of make-up 53 InThePink time of the moon An alternative to tampons 56 HealthBites 59 PinkShrink what about you? Strategies surrounding self-compassion 61 ParentingTips criticism isn’t the trick Promoting children’s resilience

REGULARS 7 EditorsNote 8 MailShot 29 WomanKind behind the sex symbol Marilyn Monroe 46 ThinkPink fashion, food & events 57 ThinkPink health & beauty 62 GirlTalk the phenomenon that is Facebook How to use it, not abuse it 66 TableTalk pump up the onion jam Tomato tart with onion preserve 68 WomenOnWheels An old friend for a car Opel Astra 69 StarGazer the future is pink Horoscopes 71 SnapShot bridging the divide Stephanie Soler


COVER Photography Marvin Grech ∫ Styling Marisa Grima [] ∫ Hair and make-up Lisa Schembri @ Aura, using 3ina ∫ Location Progress Press, Mriehel ∫ Dogs Borg Cardona & Co. Ltd ∫ Model Gabriella @ Supernova Model Management, wearing top, €29.99; shorts, €19.99; bag, €59.99, all Mango ∫ Ice-Watch, €99, Ice-watch Shop.

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The recent etching of names and ‘love’ notes in the 5,500-year-old Ggantija temples – merely old pieces of stone – is a sign of the times. What we’ve taken for granted can be no more. What we thought was unheard of and unthinkable needs to be reassessed. Those invisible boundaries it seems that, somehow, everyone grew up with have disintegrated over time. The bottom line is crass stupidity and a lack of education – the most lethal weapons society can be armed with. No amount of reasoning can get through to that level of inanity. Not even if you spell it out – excuse the pun. And that’s why the world is such a dangerous place. The frustrating lack of basic common sense we are surrounded with leads to audacity, arrogance and overconfidence, where these are least permitted and where they are most hazardous – in the hands of the dim-witted. Cue the reactions of the clueless culprits – as shocking as the crime itself; it was reported they had no clue they were doing wrong, which makes this almost more tragic than an act of motivated vandalism. Yes, it’s a sign of the times. This is what we have come to: the wanton destruction of national monuments and World Heritage Sites. It is the culmination of the general population’s and its leaders’ and decision-makers’ apathy – if not aversion – towards anything related to our environment, heritage, culture, history… and, oh yes, remote prehistory, which are all too far removed from that superficial, right-here-right-now approach to life.

What happened at the Gozo prehistoric temples, where a couple thought nothing of carving names into their megaliths and causing irreparable damage, is symptomatic of our community and its lack of environmental consciousness; its lack of awareness of the value of anything that isn’t monetary – an undiagnosed condition that is starting to permeate all levels of society. David Trump [David who?] must be turning in his grave. On the other hand, in another 5,000 years’ time, future archaeologists may be as elated as he was when he dug up a bread roll from the ashes around the excavation site of Tal-Gawhar Tower, Safi, in 1960. ‘Stephen’ will be the subject of vast research and they will be able to read much into the state of Maltese society in the 2010s from that name. But who cares about 5,000 years into the future when we don’t even care about our children’s generation… as much as we don’t care about 5,000 years ago… and proceed to inhabit a vacuum. What happened at Ggantija is indicative of where we stand today in the face of anything that is not immediately convertible into cash, and of the steep downhill we are heading towards. Beyond the criminality – and sacrilegious aspect – of the callous offence, this is what concerns me. It happened now because it is now that we are scratching [if not to say etching] the depths of civilisation despair; it is now that we are reaching rock bottom. The writing is on the wall.

September 18, 2016 ∫ Pink is a monthly magazine ∫ Issue 143 ∫ Executive editor Fiona Galea Debono ∫ Publisher Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Printing Progress Press Ltd ∫ Production Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Contributors Maria Cachia, Claudia Calleja, Kristina Chetcuti, Andrea Faye Christians, Edward Curmi, Claire Diacono, Mary Galea Debono, Marisa Grima, Jeffrey Muscat, Helen Raine, Stephanie Satariano, Lisa Schembri, Virginia, Shelley Von Strunckel ∫ Design Manuel Schembri ∫ Photography Marvin Grech, Matthew Mirabelli, Chris Sant Fournier, Steve Zammit Lupi ∫ 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 September 2016 ∫ 7


THE LETTER THAT TICKLED PINK WOMEN ON TOP Over the course of my life, I have embraced a number of different hobbies: hairdressing, cooking, make-up lessons, art, just to name a few. But none of them have changed my life, or brought me as much satisfaction as reading. In almost too many ways to count, it has changed me and the way I live my life… So much so that it has become a hobby I regularly recommend to others. I feel that Pink gives us readers the opportunity to become more well-rounded in our mindset. After all, this competition is an exercise in give and take. It gives the opportunity to readers to offer their input. All articles are meaningful. The subject is laid out and thoughts on the topic are offered to the readers. Then, they get to respond. One of the articles I enjoyed reading was Women on Top [LifeStyle, April 2016]. Why? We are flooded with books on career advice for women. There are women’s networking groups and leadership conferences galore. But they are all geared towards women, consumed primarily by women and discussed among women. I am convinced that women do not need more advice. Companies with more women in leadership posts simply perform better. Family-friendly corporate initiatives, like maternity leave and flextime, are crucial, of course. But that is not enough. If the numbers are to be changed, men have to get involved. Life at work, like life everywhere else, is messy. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. I suggest that men should learn a few things about women: women with young children may intentionally step back from their careers and then want to step up again years later, when their children are in school, or out of the house. But too often, they have been sidelined by then. There is a simple solution: keep talented women with little children on the books. But do not assume that all women with children want to step back. Female leaders are more likely to work on collaboration, treating others as equals and checking in frequently. Research consistently shows that both men and women are more likely to prefer male bosses. The good news is that more people are trying to bridge the difference. Women do know. But we need to go beyond just talking to ourselves. It is time to change this idea. Well done for this magazine! CECILIA DALLI, FROM ATTARD

The writer of the letter of the month wins a Sun di Gioia Giorgio Armani eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd.

WRITE IN AND WIN We want to hear from you. Send us your feedback on Pink and any stories that may have touched you in some way, and you stand a chance of winning a Boucheron Quatre eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd. 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.

EXPRESSING YOURSELF FREELY Pink, like many other magazines, is an enjoyable read, keeping its readers updated… But its most gripping aspect, which differentiates it from others, is that it also tackles uncommon and somewhat unexpected topics. I’m referring to the articles about people who struggle with certain difficulties in their lives – undoubtedly issues, experiences and emotions a large number of us are shy to talk about, or are not given the opportunity to share. For example, in the August issue, there was an article [PrivateEye, Talk isn’t Cheap] about a young lady who struggles with depression. Coming from a person who has also been fighting her own form of demons, it’s nice to see that stories like this are published because, just as she said, it’s comforting to know that she’s not alone. Not only did it allow her to open up about her issues, but it also helps the reader understand and see a situation from a different perspective. Thanks go to the editor for giving people the voice to express themselves more freely and for accepting various stories with an open mind. DAVINIA LONGO, FROM SWATAR

ALL ABOUT DETERMINATION First of all, I have to say that I really enjoy reading Pink. It’s a magazine that is not focused only on dieting, dieting and dieting. It offers a picture of the beauty of just living, providing an ocean of possibilities even after worst-case scenarios are encountered in life. I was really impressed by the article on The Business of Ballet [SnapShot, May 2016]. Apart from reaching out to those highly interested in ballet, I think this article attracted the attention of those women who have a challenging career. It was all about determination and striving to capture one’s dreams. It was about not giving up and about broadening one's horizons once a particular dream is achieved. Well done on this one. There is much more to life and one has to work hard for what one’s heart desires. PAULINE MERCIECA VIA E-MAIL

EMPATHY BETTER THAN SYMPATHY Dear Fiona, Kristina Chetcuti’s article in your magazine on wheelchair basketball [EyeWitness, July 2016] took me back to the time, a few years ago, when a friend of mine pretended to be wheelchair bound and took to the streets. She actually tried to get to Valletta on a borrowed wheelchair to see and feel the daunting problems a wheelchairbound person faces in trying to do something easy enough for the rest of us. It did warm my heart though when I heard how one bus driver actually stopped and carried her up and down his bus, which, of course, embarrassed her. It was an act that shows there are some genuinely kind people out there. With her foray into wheelchair basketball, Kristina too has shown that by actually putting ourselves in their shoes, we can move forward not only in better understanding their plight, but also in changing attitudes and improving facilities to make their life better and, yes, happier. Pity is no good; sympathy is fine, but empathy is better. Can’t something be done to help fund the maintenance of these special wheelchairs and perhaps buy more of them? Thank you, Pink, for the articles you publish. They are not only informative and interesting; they are also uplifting and inspirational. ANNA MARIA MALLIA, VIA E-MAIL

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Women in

REHAB Many may find it hard to conceive how a woman could sell her body and neglect her children – just to take drugs. CLAUDIA CALLEJA understands what has led a group of females into prostitution, addiction and other crimes, coupled with shame, guilt and fear, by entering their circle at a drug rehabilitation programme, where they are working hard to put their bad habits behind them and, hopefully, improve their lives for themselves and their families.

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s a teenager, Carmen* would spend her evenings in her family’s bar in Valletta, all dolled up, sitting on a high stool and waiting for men to offer her drinks – a prelude to something more to come. Even though she felt all grownup, she didn’t like being touched by those strangers, many of whom she did not find the least bit attractive. The solution was simple – take something to make it easier. “My family was in the prostitution business. At 13, I was sent to drink whisky in bars with strangers. Sometimes, you can’t take having to sleep with a man, so you start taking things to make it better. Having been raised in this life, it’s normal,” says the 43-year-old as she thinks back to the days that shaped so many years of her future life. She looks at the other women sitting around her in a circle and brushes her black, straight hair away from her face. She raises a

Hope female drug rehabilitation programme, run by Caritas. Set up eight years ago, originally in Birkirkara, a few months ago, the women’s programme was relocated to the San Blas Therapeutic Centre. Even though it is in the same complex as the men’s programme, the two buildings are completely separate from each other. “The women’s house is called Et Iris, which means ‘rainbow’. These women have a lot of darkness in their lives. Here, we seek to bring back colour,” says Nancy Scerri, who heads the female programme. Originally a nurse, Nancy has been working at Caritas for 26 years. “In the past, we offered help to women and men during mixed gender programmes. But we noticed that women’s needs are completely different from men’s. Women on the street depend on men and we were seeing this dependency replicate itself here in the programme. They were also entering relationships and it was not healthy. So eight

“MY FAMILY WAS IN THE PROSTITUTION BUSINESS. AT 13, I WAS SENT TO DRINK WHISKY IN BARS WITH STRANGERS. SOMETIMES, YOU CAN’T TAKE HAVING TO SLEEP WITH A MAN, SO YOU START TAKING THINGS TO MAKE IT BETTER” pencilled eyebrow and says: “I’m the eldest here. I feel very sorry for these other women because I know what they’ve been through. They get into this habit because life pushes them to. Drugs make it easier to forget. Then, all you care about is drugs. You end up in jail, in debt and still an addict. “What’s worse is that people judge, but they don’t understand where we’re coming from. You wish to learn to live a better life, but sometimes you have to do bad things out of fear. Then, without you even realising, it becomes part of who you are. That’s what’s so great about this place. You don’t feel judged,” she says in a husky voice.

MOTHERS AND SHAME Carmen is one of the eight women who are currently attending the New

years ago, we started the women’s programme in Birkirkara,” she says. Experience has also taught her that women come with a lot more baggage: “A lot are mothers. Unlike men, they use their bodies to get money for drugs. They feel lots of guilt and shame.” Nancy goes on to add that many women have a history of abuse – be it physical, psychological, or sexual – and many struggle with low self-esteem. Her words soon become clear as the women share their experiences in the therapy room on condition of anonymity. They agree that they will speak up because they want other women out there to know help is available. “It’s important that we’re just women in here,” says 26-year-old Kate*. “Men are a distraction. Pink September 2016 ∫ 11

PRIVATEEYE Besides, they tend to get abusive and pass unnecessary, sexual comments.” Janet*, a 28-year-old mother, adds that it’s nice to be able to speak to other women who lived through similar experiences. “We carry babies inside us, unlike men. During pregnancy, you feel the shame – you’re meant to stop taking drugs, but it’s not always the case. Then there are issues of your children being taken away from you,” she says.

BAD COMPANY Janet, who has a son living in a residential home, started taking drugs when she was 18. “I used to hang around with the older kids. There were many problems in my family and I felt I was more mature than the other girls at school. To me, they acted like babies; like idiots. They were immature. They didn’t even know what a condom

was,” she says. “And when I did try to make friends with them, their parents didn’t allow them to hang around with me.” Abigail*, a 24-year-old mother of two, nods in recognition: “I knew what drugs were all about by the age of five, so at school, I didn’t gel with younger children. I was on a different wavelength. I was 11 when I started drugs and I too was with an older crowd. At the time, it was just about losing control and escaping problems at home. You never think about the future.” Janet nods back in response and goes on to describe how she found herself in a world of crime and prostitution. “I did many things to get money. I did that job not because I liked it, but because of my addiction,” she says matter-of-factly. This also meant a string of court cases – some of which are over, but others are still pending.


SELFISHNESS, PRISON… AND MORE SHAME “I had been out of prison for a month, after serving for two years, when I ended up back in. It’s very difficult to stay clean when you’re in prison. But I wanted to start a programme, so I asked around and here I am. I have a big problem and need help. I don’t want to keep living like this my whole life,” Janet says. Although she has a young son, she admits that, while she wants to be a better mother, this was not always a priority. “If I had to be completely honest, in the world of drugs, all you care about is yourself and your habit,” she says looking down at her hands. Kate knows the feeling. Drugs took the place of her children. “You lose all direction with drugs. You come first and become egoistic as the addiction just grows and grows. I was scared of myself.” After dabbling in heroin and cocaine, when Kate had her third child, she

Nancy Scerri and Marica Mizzi from Caritas.

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decided to start over and began to go to university. “Then I met a man. We did drugs. We both ended up in jail for stealing. I used to say I’d never steal, but I did it and ended up in jail for it. It was difficult. I felt lonely and so ashamed. I’m still carrying that shame,” she says.

A FEAR IN COMMON “What scares me most now is that I will get onto the right path, then a new court case comes up from the past and I’m back in jail. It’s not right that we would have reformed ourselves and we’re chucked back in jail,” Abigail says. The women all join in a chorus of approval. Nancy, who runs the women’s programme, agrees with them. She has seen many women, who genuinely wanted to fight their drug addiction struggle once back in jail for something that happened before their rehabilitation programme even started. “This is something that really needs to change if we are to really help these women,” she says, adding that Caritas offers a place of support for these women no matter their criminal history.

UNCONDITIONAL HOPE Mary*, 26, agrees with Nancy. “I had a tough childhood. My family was never there for me. I had lots of problems at school because I was so angry. As a result of this behaviour, I even ended up at Mount Carmel [psychiatric hospital]. It was ugly. Now that I’m a mother, looking back, I realise that I needed more attention and care,” she says. This is something the women crave and find at the programme. For many, 14 ∫ Pink September 2016

this is the first residential programme, but not the first rehabilitation attempt. “Caritas helped me several times. I always find support here and I was never told that I missed the boat by quitting,” Mary adds. Svetlana*, in her 40s, had hit rock bottom and was convinced she was destined for a lifetime as an addict. “The past 10 years, I struggled a lot. I ended up homeless, wearing second-hand clothes, smoking cigarettes from the floor. I thought it was too late to find help. I knew that I couldn’t do it alone. I was in a violent relationship and through [government support agency] Appogg, I was referred to Caritas. “I learnt that it’s never too late. I’m sure there are women out there who are abused; stuck in a life. They need to know there is help. If you are afraid or feel shame, you have a chance. All you need to do is reach out,” Svetlana says as she sits on the edge of her chair and learns forward into the circle. The other women agree. Kate adds: “People will try to discourage you. They tell you you’ll be locked up and won’t stick the programme. But it’s really not like that. Here it’s like we’re in a five-star hotel – we eat three meals a day and have people who accept us and don’t judge us.” Carmen nods: “It’s hard to trust people, especially if you were betrayed by those you never thought would hurt you. But there are people here you can really trust.” Photography Matthew Mirabelli

*Names and personal details have been changed to protect the women’s identities.

The outreach in Floriana is the first point of contact for women seeking support to overcome their addiction, explains Caritas PRO and fundraiser Marica Mizzi. These women either go there willingly, or they are referred by relatives and friends. At the outreach, they are assessed to determine whether they need support in the community, or a residential programme. In case of inmates, a board that includes Caritas representatives determines whether they are really motivated. A residential programme lasts between eight and nine months, depending on the individual’s needs. Initially, there is no contact with the outside world as the women are encouraged to focus on themselves. They write their first letter after two weeks and can make their first phone call after six. “Drug addicts have no structure in their life, so we start with that and self-discipline: a time to wake up, eat, sleep, therapy, group sessions, sports etc… They also get time with their children every week in a dedicated playroom,” Nancy explains. The women are also taught life and social skills. The Employment and Training Corporation [ETC] also supports every woman who leaves the programme to find a job. After four months, they start going out for a few hours. The time they spend outside gradually increases in a phased-out re-entry process. Once they leave, they are followed up and remain in contact through regular support during re-entry. “They are never alone,” Nancy says. The Floriana outreach centre can be contacted on 2123 7935 or 2123 8090. For more information, visit

INFOCUS Seeking Adoption Opportunities: Desiree Spiteri and Josette Sultana.

THE LONG WAIT FOR A FAMILY Ten years ago, 59 children from countries around the world found a welcoming home in Malta with adoptive parents. In 2016, the international adoption picture is drastically different. As this article is being written by KRISTINA CHETCUTI, Maltese prospective adoptive parents are waiting… and waiting… for a call bearing good news: no adoptions have been registered so far this year. Desiree Spiteri, who has set up an agency to tackle the hitches, says it’s not easy living life like you’re holding your breath. These are people who deserve to be parents.


never thought it was this difficult… It is a big emotional journey,” says Desiree Spiteri, 41, from Pembroke. She and her husband have been trying to adopt since November 2013, and the past three years have been a roller coaster of hope and dashed hope. Together with lawyer Josette Sultana, also a prospective adoptive parent, Desiree has now set up a non-profitmaking adoption agency, Adoption Opportunities, with

the aim of trying to open new doors in other countries. The two met during the adoption course, which is compulsory and the first step for anyone who takes the decision to adopt. “Sadly, we kicked off the process in the year that it started becoming extremely hard,” she says. The number of adoptions – which reflects the difficulty and the brick walls encountered – started dwindling from 2013. Malta Public Registry figures show that the average Pink September 2016 ∫ 17

INFOCUS of 50 international adoptions a year suddenly fell drastically down to 27 adoptions in 2014 and only 18 last year. So far this year, there have been no registered adoptions, although Family Minister Michael Farrugia recently announced that five children from Slovakia, six from India and one from Albania were being matched with prospective parents from Malta. “But the children are still not here. We are already seven months into the year – the statistics are not good, especially when compared to the rate of adoptions up to four years ago,” says Desiree. In fact, up until 2013, adoptions, particularly from Russia, were relatively easy and the process did not last more than a year. But then, the scenario changed: with the civil unions’ law, which allows same-sex couples to adopt, Russia became difficult.

At the same time that Russia became difficult to access, a number of other countries – namely Cambodia and Ethiopia – closed their adoption borders too. An MoU has already been signed with Cambodia, so if they decide to open their doors for international adoption again, Maltese parents will be one of the first in – but that is of little consolation to couples and singles who are craving to adopt. “As an agency, we tried to explore new pastures and went to Bulgaria, which, like Malta, is also part of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. This is an international agreement to safeguard intercountry adoptions and, therefore, it should be easier for adoption possibilities. “We visited Bulgaria in 2014 and 2015 and even went round the orphanages,” says Desiree. However, they encountered a hitch: Bulgaria’s child medical report, which conforms with the Hague Convention requirements, does not include the Hepatitis C test, compulsory for Malta to accept a child to enter the island. “We worked hard to sort out the issue by trying to reach an agreement for the test to be carried out privately, and we managed to get this sorted in Bulgaria. But then, the process was stalled once again locally, for some reason, and we are still waiting for feedback from the Maltese authorities in order to continue,” says Desiree. With the doors of Bulgaria firmly stuck ajar, they are now looking at working with Poland and Ukraine. Increasingly, parents wanting to adopt have to be flexible in particular when it comes to the age of children. “You cannot really adopt babies anymore,” she says. The only country that is open to infant adoption is the US. Adoption Opportunities is partners with Adoption Arc in the US – an “NO MATTER HOW UNFIT FOR PARENTHOOD organisation that has successfully facilitated THE BIOLOGICAL PARENTS ARE, UNLESS THEY many an adoption in Holland and Ireland. GIVE THEIR CONSENT FOR ADOPTION, Recently, the director, Tara Gutterman, came CHILDREN END UP LIVING IN ORPHANAGES to Malta and also had a meeting with the MalRATHER THAN WITH A STABLE FAMILY” tese Central Authority, which is the department in charge of international adoptions. It was very “Although the Russian authorities decide on the encouraging as it is the only programme that offers children prospective parents of a child to be adopted, they fear as young as babies and is also open for singles and same-sex that, in the case of re-adoption – when something hapcouples, not only married, heterosexual couples. pens to the original adoptive parents – the child could be “Tara was very positive and was ready to adapt the US given to same-sex parents,” says Desiree. programme to Maltese ‘requirements’. However, we are The issue could be solved by the strike of a pen – when still awaiting a reply about this programme from the MalMalta signs a bi-lateral agreement with Russia. Countries tese Central Authority,” Desiree continues. “Dare we hope like France, Spain and Sweden, which also have same-sex that we can work together with them too?” adoption, signed this agreement and immediately ironed The ideal situation, says Desiree, would be for local out problems arising from re-adoption. adoption to be a tangible possibility. However, the Russian signature for Malta remains allu“In Malta, we have a lot to work on. The adoption laws sive: it’s been pending for almost two years, despite conare not in the best interest of children. For example, no tinuous ministerial promises that “it will be signed in the matter how unfit for parenthood the biological parents coming months”. Rumour has it that the EU’s support are, unless they give their consent for adoption, children towards the sensitive Ukraine situation against Russia is end up living in orphanages rather than with a stable also causing this reluctance in signing the agreement. family,” she says. 18 ∫ Pink September 2016



There are more than 50 couples wanting to adopt and few seem to be managing. What keeps her going, she says, is the fact that “Malta can offer 50 homes for children without a family. I wish that whoever is reading this article would experience visiting an orphanage. The last time I did, a bunch of children rushed to hug me. They were longing for stability and security and a loving home, which Maltese prospective adoptive parents can definitely provide”. Instead, couples have to resort to international adoption – which can cost anything from €10,000 to

A non-profit organisation that offers intercountry adoption, giving children an opportunity to live in a loving and safe family environment through adoption. The agency’s responsibility is to guide, prepare and assess prospective adoptive parents prior to and after adoption takes place.

“I WISH THAT WHOEVER IS READING THIS ARTICLE WOULD EXPERIENCE VISITING AN ORPHANAGE. THE LAST TIME I DID, A BUNCH OF CHILDREN RUSHED TO HUG ME. THEY WERE LONGING FOR STABILITY AND SECURITY AND A LOVING HOME, WHICH MALTESE PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS CAN DEFINITELY PROVIDE” €60,000. The majority of the money goes towards legal fees, translation of documents, opening of dossiers, flights, accommodation, medical tests… Once you get a match, you need to spend one week or 10 days with the child under observation of a social worker, subject to the requirements of the country. “No one is complaining about the financial side, of course, although I do think adoption should be a possibility for all and not only for the ones who can afford a lump sum,” Desiree says. In other countries, for example, there is some sort of compensation as assistance, like tax rebates. However, so far, this is not part of the Maltese scenario. Prospective adoptive parents are not just people who cannot have children of their own – some opt for adoption to give someone a chance for a better life. “For the prospective adoptive parents, it is the waiting that is a killer. You think you have a child; then you are told there is a technical hitch. The emotions are too strong,” Desiree says. The wait affects the whole family – there are the prospective grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. “Some prefer not to say anything anymore when they are told of a possibility of an opening because the disappointment is too crushing for everyone,” Desiree says. “To get approved as prospective adoptive parents, we have to go through psychological assessments, medicals, criminal record checking, financial assessments etc… and all this just to be found fit to adopt. These documents expire every two years, so we have to go through the process and its related costs all over again.” 20 ∫ Pink September 2016

OVERSEAS ADOPTIONS 2005: 39 2006: 59 2007: 63 2008: 52 2009: 35 2010: 47 2011: 49 2012: 58 2013: 43 2014: 27 2015: 18 2016: none till August *Malta Public Registry

COUNTRIES Slovakia open Albania open Russia limited, pending bi-lateral agreement Czech Republic MoU signed Cambodia closed but MoU signed Vietnam MoU in the pipeline Bulgaria still in talks to iron out administrative issues at a political level Burkina Faso in ministerial talks Brazil in ministerial talks Chile in ministerial talks India open Ethiopia closed Poland in talks Ukraine agency is working to open this programme US agency is working to open this programme

The lifestyle of some prospective parents changes too. “Do you go on holiday? What if the call comes in and you won’t have enough money? What if you don’t have time off work available then? It’s not easy to live life like you’re holding your breath,” she says. “And the clock is constantly ticking. We are all growing older. Are we going to be too old when we finally manage to adopt?” Sadly, many couples are losing hope, she says, trailing off. “We simply have to keep working on it – I have to believe that it will happen. These are people who deserve to be a parent.”


A change of life The average age for menopause is 51.6. That means, with today’s life expectancy, that the average woman is expected to live almost a third of her life without the hormones she needs. Oestrogen plays an important role in the body, but in the last 20 years, scaremongering has caused two generations of women to lose out on the benefits of HRT. ANDREA FAYE CHRISTIANS is vocal about the fact that they don’t need to suffer in silence. Today’s women have greater expectations as to their quality of life during the post-childbearing years. And they have an option available to alleviate and prevent related problems.


or years, we’ve been hearing the old adage that 50 is the new 40 and so on, but it does have an important message. Historically, we are now living longer than ever before. In Roman times, life expectancy was a mere 25 years for a woman, while in the Elizabethan era, it reached 36, and by 1900, it had risen to around 50. Disease and death in childbirth were major contributors to these statistics, but in today’s world, most of us are expected to make it past our 80th birthday, with 83.7

years old being the average life expectancy for women in Malta. Encouraging as this may be, it also makes sense to help this ageing population live healthy and productive lives for as long as possible. In a normal scenario, somewhere between the ages of 45 and 53, there comes a point in a woman’s life where certain physical and psychological changes present themselves. Perimenopause is a phrase that has been coined by the medical profession in the last 20 years to describe symptoms that are caused by hormonal fluctuations as Pink September 2016 ∫ 23


women move towards menopause, which is defined as the time when menstruation has ceased for 12 consecutive months. The symptoms are varied and the journey will be as inextricably individual as we are. There are a lucky few who claim to have floated nonchalantly through it, while others have described it as a road to hell and back. Logic suggests that, for most, it will be a middle road, but symptoms generally include – to a greater or lesser degree – hot flushes and night sweats, breast tenderness, a loss of libido, mood swings, anxiety and irritability. All are indicative of a drop in oestrogen levels. But there are also other more insidious and long-term changes that most people are not aware of. In years gone by, there was a certain reticence to refer to the “M” word, with ladies of a certain age merely referring to menopause as “the change of life” and having little choice other than to just grin and bear it. Recently, however, this attitude has changed, largely because women today have greater expectations as to their quality of life during the post-childbearing years and also because there is an option available that can help alleviate and prevent many of the symptoms that menopause brings.


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Making the right choice is important and Hormone Replacement Therapy [HRT] is one that should most definitely be considered, according to Prof. Mark Brincat, director, consultant professor and head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Mater Dei Hospital and a leading authority on this subject. As Prof. Brincat explains: “The average age for menopause is 51.6 years old. That means, with today’s life expectancy, that the average woman is expected to live almost a third of her life without the hormones she needs. The sharp decline in oestrogen has a significant impact on the body and it is far more complex than just hot flushes and the cessation of mensuration. For 75 per cent of women, hot flushes continue beyond menopause, but what many women don’t realise is that there are many other symptoms that can have farreaching effects.” Insomnia, anxiety attacks often resulting in depression, lack of concentration and irritability can all be traced to a fall in oestrogen, along with breast tenderness, lack of libido, incontinence and vaginal dryness. Then there are also other long-term effects such as osteoporosis, which causes a decline in peak bone mass and in time can lead to hip and vertebrae fractures, along with cardiovascular changes that are irrefutably linked to these hormonal changes.


HRT has been around since the 1960s and was initially widely prescribed to alleviate the symptoms suffered by menopausal women, Prof. Brincat points out. However, in the early 2000s, it received a certain amount of bad press when research revealed that taking it could lead to a slightly increased risk of diabetes, breast cancer and strokes. The news resulted in the number of women taking the drug halving in the early 2000s as doctors were reluctant to prescribe it.

“REANALYSES HAS SINCE REVEALED THAT THE RESULTS RELIED TOO HEAVILY ON DATA FROM OLDER WOMEN, FOR WHOM HRT WAS NEVER INTENDED, AND THAT THE DOSES GIVEN WERE TOO HIGH” Reanalyses has since revealed that the results relied too heavily on data from older women, for whom HRT was never intended, and that the doses given were too high. Last year, a long-term study confirmed that many of the risks were overrated as research conducted by New York University scientists found that women who had been taking HRT for up to 25 years were no more at risk than any other woman after a decade of checks. “If you look at the statistics, the effects are minimal and, as people who take HRT are checked regularly, realistically, the advantages far outweigh any disadvantages. Oestrogen plays a very important role in the body, but in the last 20 years, scaremongering has caused two generations of women to lose out on the benefits of HRT as they believe it is just something they

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have to suffer when, in fact, there is a treatment available that can alleviate the problems,” Prof. Brincat states. “To me, it seems logical that if you have bad eyes, then you wear glasses, and if you have difficulty walking, you use a crutch. The same applies to HRT. It is a naturalbased approach, which chemically replaces a hormone that already exists in the body. It is not a one-drug-fitsall scenario – far from it. Above 55, there are tailormade treatments to help women get the best out of life.” Moreover, different forms are available – from gels to patches and creams, as well as the traditional tablets. The benefits are felt within a short timescale, and in most cases, menopausal symptoms disappear, or are radically reduced. “Research also indicates that HRT is a preventative against primary heart attacks in women, as well providing greater protection against strokes and Alzheimer’s. The increase in oestrogen levels can also lead to improvement in the skin, with that of an HRT recipient looking on average two years younger as a result. The day-to-day aches and pains in joints that many women experience usually disappear with the increase of oestrogen.” While no one is promoting HRT as an elixir of youth, it is nonetheless a means of eliminating the more miserable effects of menopause and one that should not be dismissed lightly. As the pendulum of opinion seems to be swinging back in favour of HRT, it must also be said that it is not for everyone. Whether you choose to go au naturel, or take the HRT route, it is an important personal decision that should only be made after careful consideration and consultation with your GP, or consultant. What is becoming more apparent than ever, however, is that the days of suffering in silence have passed and this is, ultimately, about making informed choices about your future well-being. As we become more inclined to talk openly about this phase of life, attitudes towards menopause are changing, and for many women, rather than representing doom and gloom, its onset has come to signify greater personal freedom and an opportunity to embrace the next chapter. Furthermore, we are not alone. If it’s any consolation, men also suffer from hormonal changes – in their case, the decline in their testosterone levels is more gradual and takes place between 40 and 60 and may well account for the increasingly grumpy old man you live with.


Behind the


Behind Marilyn Monroe’s image of a blonde bombshell was an intensely unhappy woman; a woman intent on suppressing and hiding her insecurity, unease and fear. MARY GALEA DEBONO strips off the layers to unveil the real story of the Hollywood icon.


n the relatively short span of her acting career, between 1949, when she was discovered by 20th Century Fox, and 1962, when she was found dead on her bed in her Los Angeles home, Marilyn Monroe had been photographed countless times at Hollywood parties, film premiers, press events and photo shoots. They were images that focused on her beauty, her astounding figure, her glamour and her sex appeal and are proof of her talent in projecting herself. “I can make my face do anything,” she

once declared. And it was true. Photographers recognised and appreciated this innate quality in her. It was as if, they said, she was able to establish a personal rapport with the camera lens. Yet her most iconic picture – the one with which everyone is familiar – is a screen shot from the 1955 Billy Wilder comedy, The Seven Year Itch. Many

photographers were of the opinion that her real genius lay in modelling, where she felt in control, rather than in acting. But this screen shot proves them wrong. Marilyn Monroe could transmit her exuberance in both. In this famous picture, she is standing in her high heels on a subway grille in New York’s Lexington Avenue, wearing a white halter-neck dress with a wide skirt. The air current from the grille lifts the skirt to reveal her beautiful legs – the dress was designed by William Travilla to produce precisely this effect. Marilyn’s attempt to hold her skirt down can, at best, be described as halfhearted. In contrast, her broad smile sends the message that, far from being embarrassed, she is relishing the moment. There is a certain timelessness about this image. Although by today’s standards, it would be described as innocent, and even perhaps naive, it manages to exude a subtle eroticism. Durability is, after all, the best test of any great work. If Marilyn did actually have more genius for modelling than for films, why would she have been so set on making her name in Hollywood? The answer is simple. In the 1950s, acting was far more prestigious than modelling. And Marilyn was ambitious. She needed to prove herself, and what better vehicle to assert herself in the late 1940s than fame on the big screen? She set about pursuing her career with determination and perseverance, and to reach her goal she left no stone unturned. This ambition, this urge to succeed, had its roots in her unhappy childhood, the effects of which were to shape the rest of her life. It is precisely this aspect of her personality that is not immediately apparent in her photos and films. Behind the body-hugging dresses, the plunging necklines and flashy jewellery; behind the exuberance and the provocative pouts; behind the image of a blonde bombshell, there was an intensely unhappy woman; a woman intent on suppressing and hiding her insecurity, unease and fear.


WOMANKIND Marilyn was born on June 1, 1926, in LA. Her real name was Norma Jeane Mortenson. She never knew her father; she did not know that she had a stepsister and stepbrother; and the only thing she remembered of her mother was that she had been driven away to a mental hospital when she was six years old – a fact that haunted her for the rest of her life. Her grandmother seemed to have made several psychotic attempts to kill her. There was no one in her extended family ready to substitute parental love; nobody offered to take responsibility of her upbringing. In later life, rather than admitting that she was born into a dysfunctional family, she pretended she had been an orphan and she avoided any reference to her earlier years. Neglected and unloved; shuffled from one foster home to another – there were 11 of them and one orphanage – Marilyn found no peaceful refuge. Life was a series of mental, physical and sexual abuse. In 1942, when she was 16, her last foster parents, constrained to move to a different state, suggested she marry 21-year-old Jim Dougherty, the neighbour’s son, to avoid being sent back to an orphanage. Marilyn was not unhappy in this marriage; at least now she had a house of her own and she could work and earn some money. But the relationship was not destined to last. The following year, Jim joined the merchant navy and Marilyn, realising that she was capable of attracting attention by her seductive looks, decided that her physical assets could be put to good use. She made up her mind to embark on an acting career. To achieve her aims, she enrolled as a model with Blue Book Modelling from which she was later sacked for having “too much sex appeal”. She took lessons in singing and dancing as well as in drama. To perfect her beauty, she had cosmetic surgery to improve her nose and jawline. She herself admitted that, in this period of her life, she was willing to do everything to fulfill her dreams: “There was a period when I… slept around too much thinking it could help my career.” When she was discovered by 20th Century Fox, she was at first given sixmonthly contracts, but after the film The Asphalt Jungle, these were upgraded to 30 ∫ Pink September 2016

Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe at Miller’s house in Roxbury, a few hours before their wedding in 1956.

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio in 1953.

incompatible. DiMaggio, although famous, was quiet and introverted and he was not at ease with Marilyn’s popularity as a sex symbol. They separated in October of the same year. In 1956, she married the famous playwright, Arthur Miller. Miller’s leftist ideas had attracted the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee and Marilyn was advised to drop the relationship as it could harm her career. The FBI opened a file on her. But she refused to abandon the playwright perhaps also

“TO PERFECT HER BEAUTY, SHE HAD COSMETIC SURGERY TO IMPROVE HER NOSE AND JAWLINE. SHE HERSELF ADMITTED THAT, IN THIS PERIOD OF HER LIFE, SHE WAS WILLING TO DO EVERYTHING TO FULFILL HER DREAMS” seven years. After a series of disagreements with the studio, she created her own production company. Although at first she was only given walk-in parts, her sex appeal was such that she quickly became an icon and often received more fan mail than the leading stars. “Men wanted her and women wanted to be her”, but few suspected that behind this facade of popularity was a profoundly unstable and vulnerable Marilyn, who only craved success on the big screen as her way out of her despair. Marilyn never found real happiness in her private life. Her first marriage came to an end in 1943. In January 1954, she married Joe DiMaggio, the legendary baseball player, but the two were clearly

because, aware, as she once confessed, that she was being “sold to the public as a celluloid aphrodisiac”, she hoped her marriage to ‘an intellectual’ would make people take her seriously. She wanted to prove that besides sex appeal she also had brains, which her ability to express herself clearly indicates. Miller based the main character of his play The Misfits, in which Marilyn played the leading role in the film version, on her. It revealed her weaknesses in a cruel way and she justly felt used. This brought to an end her third marriage. Insecurity was not the only thing she had to battle with. There were miscarriages and various gynaecological problems. She was constantly in pain. With time, she became addicted to painkillers,

Former US President John F. Kennedy turning away from the camera as his picture is taken next to actress Marilyn Monroe and his brother Robert Kennedy.

downers and uppers. She also began to drink heavily. At least twice, she attempted to commit suicide. On set, she was unable to remember her parts and was always late, keeping other actors waiting for hours. Every take had to be done dozens of times. She became incapable of dealing with criticism and lashed out at anyone who contradicted her. She became irritable and created tension on set. Tony Curtis, who co-starred with her in Some Like it Hot, said that kissing her on set “was like kissing Hitler”. She herself admitted that one man she had kissed had remarked he thought she was a lesbian, which prompted her to admit: “I did not contradict him because I did not know what I was.” In the 1950s, admitting sexual ambivalence was quite shocking. After The Misfits, Marilyn left New York and moved into Frank Sinatra’s Beverly Hills house. Realising that she was in bad shape, he introduced her to a psychiatrist with whom she had a daily session. Through Sinatra, she entered a new kind of world – the shady world of LA casino managers and people close to the Mafia. It was also this singer who introduced her to John and Robert Kennedy. There were several secret meetings with John, but it was with Robert that she was in love and the Kennedy family knew about it. Already in a fragile mental state, this glimpse into a new life hovering between politics and criminality was too much for her. Life became a burden she could not cope with. She was sure she was being surveilled and started making her personal calls from a pay phone. This was not the product of a fertile imagination; in 1977, a workman repairing the roof of her last house found the rusted remains of the wiring and transmitters that were estimated to date back 15 to 20 years. There were then her personal problems. Again she was pregnant and again her hopes of motherhood came to nothing. Bobby Kennedy understood she had become a liability and stopped answering her calls. In despair, she threatened to blow the affair “wide open” in a press conference. Two days later, she was dead. Not surprisingly, all this gave rise to many conspiracy theories. There were many versions of her last night and scraps of information, sometimes contradictory, kept surfacing In all probability, Marilyn died of an overdose, but the mystery surrounding her death remains. Her relationship with the Kennedys may have contributed to her lonely death, but it also secured her a place in American history. All she needed was Warhol’s portrait, now in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, to seal her fame.

SHOWSTOPPER Photography Marvin Grech ∫ Styling Marisa Grima [] ∫ Hair and make-up Lisa Schembri @ Aura, using 3ina ∫ Model Gabriella @ Supernova Model Management ∫ Location Progress Press, Mriehel ∫ Dogs Borg Cardona & Co. Ltd.

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Dress, €75, Oasis ∫ Ice-Watch, €99, Ice-watch Shop.



Let your wardrobe trickle into winter as the dog days are over and you move from brights to more subdued hues, without losing the colour in your spot-on style.

Top, €53; cape, €99; shorts, €60, all Miss Selfridge.

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SHOWSTOPPER Dress, €180, Miss Selfridge.

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Top, €65; trousers, €65; trench coat, €109.95; necklace, €29.95, all Marks & Spencer.


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Blouse, €57; skirt, €51, all Oasis ∫ bag, €25, Marks & Spencer.

SHOWSTOPPER Dress, €59.99; necklace, €25.99, both Mango ∫ Ice-Watch, €99, Ice-Watch Shop.

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SHOWSTOPPER Dress, €199; bag, €119, both Tommy Hilfiger ∫ Ice-Watch, €99, Ice-watch Shop.

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Top, €105; skirt, €170; bag, €140, all Karen Millen.


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VERY TOMMY, VERY ME! Model and TV personality Gigi Hadid takes the plunge in co-designing a fashion collection, adding her own twist and leaving her own mark on the iconic American feeling of Tommy Hilfiger. These are pieces she would truly wear.

Gigi Hadid with Tommy Hilfiger.

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hat does your Tommy Hilfiger collection represent or mean to you? This is the first collection I’ve ever co-designed, so it will always be very special to me. Creatively speaking, it’s something that’s really true to my style – most of the pieces are things I would wear all the time. I wanted that when people look at it, they know I was the one who designed it and that it’s something I would genuinely wear. I’m very happy about it. What’s your favourite piece? It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I love the green bomber jacket and the sweater-dress because they are super comfortable, but still chic. Have you always had an interest in designing your own clothes? I think every girl wants to design clothes at some point, and it’s something I’ve become even more passionate about as my career has developed. This was a really good way to start designing because I could trust in a team that I know is amazing. I could ‘get my feet wet’ creatively and focus on design; it was a very special experience. How did you work on the collection and design inspiration? We began by looking at Tommy’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection, which had a lot of nautical influences, and our ideas grew from there. Then we looked back at Tommy’s archives for inspiration from vintage pieces. The whole experience was really collaborative, and as an artist, it came really naturally to me. What was your design inspiration? I’m a big fan of vintage pieces – especially nautical and military-inspired – so a lot of the inspiration came from things I’ve worn myself and that I’ve found at vintage stores. The idea was to make special, authentic designs that feel fresh and exciting, but also timeless and classic – those are the pieces I am drawn to the most. All of the fabrics and textures were kept really true to our inspiration.

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What was your favourite part about collaborating with Tommy Hilfiger? I think it was taking the iconic American feeling of Tommy Hilfiger and putting my own twist on it. We did really fun patches and added elements that we loved from our initial inspirations, but then we added our fresh twist. It’s still young and fun, still very Tommy, and very me! How would you describe your style? I’d say causal chic because I always like to be comfortable. I try to keep it simple – I love statement pieces, like great coats and great boots, and then pairing those stand-out pieces with simple jeans and a T-shirt. Who do you see wearing this collection? I feel like there’s a piece in the collection for everyone; I designed it with so many of my friends, family and role models in mind. I think people will have a lot of fun with the collection and especially the patches; we’ll see a lot of different ways that people are going wear it and that really excites me. What was your reaction when Tommy Hilfiger asked you to collaborate on a collection? I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to express my creativity through design, and it was amazing to have an opportunity to partner with such an iconic designer and brand. Why do you think that a brand like Tommy Hilfiger chose you to work on a collection? I am really honoured. I think I connect well to his brand and sense of style – classic, but still modern and cool. What does the Tommy Hilfiger brand represent to you? I think it is the ultimate American brand, and so many of his designs have become iconic. He’s known all around the world and is a trailblazer in the fashion industry.


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THE LOVE FOR ORIGINALITY 7UP is the original lemon lime soft drink since 1929. It contains 100 per cent natural lemon and lime flavours, with no colourings, preservatives, or caffeine for a crisp, clean and refreshing taste. 7UP celebrates everyday people around the world, who share the love for originality. It has always been authentic and original, and is as fresh and original today as it ever was.

BRITISH DECADENCE AS INSPIRATION F&F blends classic British characteristics with contemporary details to bring a sense of regal heritage to its women’s, men’s and children’s wear collections. A/W 2016 brings a more elegantly refined style to women’s wear. Formal wear receives a Victorian touch, with lace panelled dresses and high necked blouses in rich autumnal tones, while contemporary pieces are given a vintageinspired edge. Deep plums, plush mahoganies and crisp whites form the base of this season’s palette. Floaty mid-length dresses and fluid wide-leg trousers are elegantly ladylike and extremely wearable. The bomber is a prime investment piece this season. Grey Leopard print, panelled velvet and embroidered satin are some of the key styles of the new, must-have jacket. Soft pussy-bow necks and polished pyjama separates give a subtle nod to the omnipresent 1970s trend, making way for a more contemporary feel for the new season. Fresh white shirts and casual bombers are decorated with strikingly intricate floral embroidery, a key trend for the season.

Gallarija Darmanin and Darmanin Footwear are offering a wide selection of back-toschool shoes that can be washed in a washing machine. These shoes are from top-quality Spanish brands Gioseppo and Titanitos. Shoes are made in real leather and are manufactured in Spain. Customers can benefit from a 20 per cent discount introductory offer on Titanitos and a free water bottle or gym sack with every back-to-school shoe purchased.

A SMOOTH USER EXPERIENCE Vodafone is introducing a reliable fixed internet and telephony service for instant browsing and unlimited calls to all local landlines and Vodafone mobile numbers. Specifically targeting small households, small offices, or freelancers working from home, Vodafone’s new internet connection is very simple to install, with no need for drilling or wiring. Customers can choose where to have it delivered to at no added cost and need only plug in and start browsing. They are welcome to try out the internet service for two weeks prior to committing to a two-year contract. Vodafone’s fixed internet offers a smooth user experience, with a download speed of up to 30Mbps, an upload speed of up to 15Mbps and an extensive data limit of 350GB per month.

SEAING MALTA FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE Azure Ultra recently hosted an exclusive event on board its luxury Sunseeker yachts, introducing its tailor-made charter experiences. As Malta’s premier luxury yacht charter provider, Azure Ultra is acclaimed for its signature high-end service, which elevates it well above the local charter scene. In addition to offering guests an elite service experience, Azure Ultra leads the market in innovation, evidenced by an exciting new range of tailor-made packages complementing its award-winning portfolio. Together with the assistance of a knowledgeable yacht concierge, guests are able to craft a unique experience to suit their individual schedule, priorities and budgets. From romantic bed and breakfast staycations, with overnight berths along the picture-perfect Vittoriosa Waterfront, to private sundowner charters with a group of friends, there is a wide array of options available to suit every budget. Guests can simply sit back and relax on board Azure Ultra’s Sunseeker fleet, which includes Don’t Ask [Sunseeker Manhattan 56], Miss Moneypenny [Sunseeker Portofino 46], and the latest addition to the family: Mio Amore [Sunseeker Manhattan 64]. 46 ∫ Pink September 2016

REACHING FOR THE ORIENT Infinitely Xara’s fine dining restaurant, de Mondion, has been home to several gastronomic adventures, and this time, it embarked on a journey into the flavours of the Orient. The collaboration between Kevin Bonello and Kazunori Otowa was a match made in heaven. The combined skill and passion for fine dining cuisine of the two chefs resulted in a mix of classic French cuisine, using local produce, with an Asian twist. Infinitely Xara shared this unique gastronomic experience with members of the local press and the de Mondion terrace was the ideal setting for the al fresco occasion, where the trademark Relais & Chateaux cuisine and hospitality met and epitomised l’art de vivre. The menu for the evening included a choice of quality ingredients, harmoniously balanced, with a minimalist presentation.


FOR A BRAVE COLOUR MOMENT 3ina is the brainchild of retail industry veterans, Mark Eve and Pablo Rivera. For these guys, the biggest mistake people make when applying everyday make-up is getting into a routine that has stopped making them smile in the mirror. If it doesn’t bring a grin to your face, then it’s time to hunt down some more fun. And they are here to provide that in brilliant rainbow colours.


ou sell make-up. What do you feel about people who never use it? 3ina believes beauty is an attitude – make-up just happens to be a fun tool for expression and lots of people love to play. As men, do you prefer the natural look, or do you feel every woman could do with a touch of makeup? Whatever makes you feel good is the most important thing! Is it ever too much? That’s for the customer to decide.

You’ve created the unique 3ina business model, which brings new products to market exceptionally quickly. Can you elaborate? Part of the answer is operational; when you start a business from scratch, you get to ask the question “why” at every step of the process,

and through that, discover faster, more effective ways to deliver ideas to market, leveraging new manufacturing techniques, methods and supply chains. The other is cultural; a start-up has an inherent energy and challenger mindset that drives innovation and pace, which is totally different from businesses that have built up red tape and processes that can delay the development of new products for over a year from getting to the customer. Do you actually know anything about make-up, or is this mainly a business concern, and really, you could be selling anything? 3ina is a passion project for our creative sides, which has been more than two years in development. We felt there was a huge space for an exceptional brand experience at an honest price that delivered an amazing product of the highest-quality ingredients that just wasn’t being met, and we wanted to bring it to life in brilliant colour.

“GOING INTO AUTUMN, THE BRONZERS ARE ALSO A HIT FOR CHEATING AND KEEPING THE SUN GOING A LITTLE LONGER” If you do, of all the make-up products that women apply, what do you think is the single most important item that none should really do without and that should always be in their handbags? That’s definitely going to be different for everyone, but we can tell you the products flying right now are The Pen Eyeliner – it’s been the global #1 bestseller every day since launch – and the long-wear lipsticks are also so popular. Going into autumn, the bronzers are also a hit for cheating and keeping the sun going a little longer. Pink September 2016 ∫ 49

BEAUTYPARLOUR Today’s life is fast. What do you suggest to women who are pressed for time, but still don’t want to forget their own grooming completely? What is the bare minimum? Whatever makes them happy… But a great prime and prep is so empowering – feeling great in your skin is always confidence building – so the Revitalizing Primer is a brilliant start. Combine it with a flash of shimmer smudged onto your lids with The Cream Eyeshadow and a swipe of The Lip Gloss and you’re ready to run in minutes.

Mark Eve and Pablo Rivera

“IT’S GOING TO BE A DARK CHRISTMAS; LOTS OF GORGEOUS PRIMED AND PREPPED FRESH SKIN, WITH DEEP LIPS, OR SMUDGY METALLIC DEEP HUED SHADOWY EYES” What’s the biggest mistake people make when applying everyday make-up? Getting into a routine that’s stopped making you smile in the mirror – if it doesn’t bring a grin to your face, then it’s time to hunt down some more fun. Do you believe all women should undergo training on how to apply their own make-up at some stage in their life? Inspiration is always a good way to feel confident in application, and social platforms like You Tube, Instagram and Snapchat are full of the new-school way to find out how, but it doesn’t need to be prescriptive. Which celebrity would you most like to see wearing your make-up? We love artists like Grimes. What are the colours, the look and the trends of the season ahead? It’s going to be a dark christmas; lots of gorgeous primed and prepped fresh skin, with deep lips, or smudgy metallic deep hued shadowy eyes. Who is your target market? Who is most into make-up out there? The 3ina girl is bold, she is brave, 50 ∫ Pink September 2016

she’s confident and she’s creative. She’s always lived in the world of social media, so she’s inspired by the world and she craves newness to fuel her creativity.

Do you think men should wear make-up too and will there come a time when they all will? There’s an amazing community of #3inamakers using our products and it’s inclusive of all genders and identities. The time is already now that everyone can be welcomed into our stores. Your aim was to create a product that is “both luxury in feel and honest”. How is make-up honest? We are delivering a product that delivers on the promise of luxury – which means super rich pigments, high-quality ingredients, packaging, service and everything you’d expect. The difference is you will be taking home a bagful of goodies, rather than one or two items, guilt free. Is there really such a thirst for so many make-up brands and shops – in this case, all practically under the same roof – or could it be overkill. Are customers loyal, or do they flit around? A make-up bag full of a multitude of brands is the reality. Almost every customer of every brand is a repertoire shopper and we’re part of that mix for her priming, prepping and brave colour moments.


MOON TIME HELEN RAINE has just discovered the Mooncup as an alternative to tampons, cutting out that horrible sanitary waste, as well as avoiding having to run to the loo every few hours. From an environmental point of view, she says it’s a winner, but it’s also cheaper in the long run. So far, so good... apart from the first removal. Perhaps she should have read the instructions better.


ampons have been around for thousands of years. The Egyptians, always ahead of the curve, were using soft papyrus at the time of the pyramids, and in 15BC, Roman women were mopping up Aunty Flo with a wool plug; women in Japan used paper tampons, held in place with a bandage, while the rest of Europe was still making do with rags. Tampons have done us proud up to now; but in an age where we ought to be leaning towards zero waste rather than piling Maghtab [or worse, the sewage system] ever higher with ‘feminine products’, it’s time for a revolution. Enter the DivaCup and its competitor the Mooncup.

It’s basically a silicon cup on a little stem. Pop in it your hoo-hah [we’ll come back to the ‘popping’ part in a moment], and it removes most of your period worries in one handy little bucket. You can leave it in for between eight and 12 hours [a heavier flow may need more changes]. You can swim with it without feeling like you’re soaking up half the Mediterranean; you can do even extreme sports with it; and nighttime use is fine too. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t have to run to the bathroom every few hours only to discover that you forgot to buy more tampons and now you’re going to flood on your skirt during the office meeting.

And there are environmental benefits too. In Europe, billions of tampons get thrown away [ending up in landfill], or worse, going down the loo every year. They don’t break down in the sewage system, so they either cause blockages, or go through to waste treatment, where they need to be removed and taken to landfill. Or not… Many us will have experienced swimming past a bobbing tampon at one of our otherwise lovely beaches. Worried about adding to our waste problem and fed up with shelling out for a variety of tampon sizes every month, I was persuaded by a friend to give it a go. There are two sizes: size one for women under 30, who have never had children; size two for 30+ ladies Pink September 2016 ∫ 53

INTHEPINK and/or those of us who have chuffed out a child [vaginally or C-section] and will never be quite the same again. The instructions are pretty straightforward – squish the cup in half and then insert; twist a little to ensure the seal is complete. I can’t pretend it was a pleasant experience [and channeled my yoga teacher’s ‘breathe… relax’ voice], but then neither are tampons; it’s just that we’re used to them. Some proponents recommend a glass of red wine before first-time use. So far, so good… During the maiden voyage of the cup, I couldn’t feel it at all and it didn’t leak, which is surely all any of us care about. But I urge, nah, implore you to read the extraction instructions carefully. Because I didn’t, and let me tell you, pulling on the stem alone is not going to get that sucker out unless you want to remove the rest of your internal organs at the same time.

After a couple of tries, I started running through the options; hospital [embarrassing]; assistance from husband [he’s seen me give birth, but this is surely beyond the pale if we wish to continue having a sex life]; phone a friend [just to yell at her for giving me the idea in the first place]; limp to the cupboard and reread the instructions.

and reinsert [in a public toilet situation with no private sink, it’s OK to skip the washing]. While the Mooncup and the DivaCup are the best known, there are a variety of different brands out there. Their various websites vaunt the same virtues: lack of dryness [tampons soak up your natural lubricant too]; respect

“PULLING ON THE STEM ALONE IS NOT GOING TO GET THAT SUCKER OUT UNLESS YOU WANT TO REMOVE THE REST OF YOUR INTERNAL ORGANS AT THE SAME TIME” I went for option four. The instructions helpfully pointed out that after a little tug on the stem, you need to “pinch the base of the cup” to release the seal. And voilà, it worked, in a surprisingly messfree way. Then simply pour the contents in the loo, wash the cup with a non-scented soap

for your natural balance [having a wadge of cotton up there can breed bacteria and change pH levels]; and lack of smell [everything is kept on the inside]. They sell for between €10 and €24 and will last for around a year [although they could go for much longer]. That’s perhaps a quarter of what you’d spend annually on sanitary products. So get yourself onto the web, buy a cup and join the sisterhood. We can save the planet and howl at the moon together.


Hair loss By Sahra Haji from the Malta Medical Students’ Association


NIGELLA SEEDS I’m packed with good stuff Nigella sativa, often called black cumin, is an annual flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to south and southwest Asia. It grows to 20 to 30cm tall, with finely divided, linear leaves. The flowers are delicate, usually pale blue and white in colour, with five to 10 petals.

My nutritional information Commonly used as a spice, these seeds are loaded with health benefits. Also referred to as black caraway, black cumin and Roman coriander, they pack a powerful punch, offering protection against MRSA and cancer, and have even been called the remedy for everything but death.

How to use them The seeds of Nigella sativa are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The black seeds taste like a combination of onions, black pepper and oregano, and have a pungent bitter taste and smell. Part of the mixture of five spices, dry-roasted nigella seeds flavour curries, vegetables and pulses. In some cultures, the black seeds are used to flavour bread products, most recognisably in naan bread.

In our beauty-obsessed world, imagine waking up and seeing large clumps of hair on your pillow – your shiny curly blonde locks, or silky smooth ebony waterfall, or that rough afro that forms part of your identity slowly falling out. Losing all your head hair is medically known as alopecia areata totalis. If the entire body hair is gone, this is alopecia universalis. An autoimmune condition, it is when your body stops recognising its hair as its own. It proceeds to attack the hair – you do not feel it, but you see the effects as patchy hair loss. While it can happen to anyone at any age, people at higher risk are those who have a family member with a similar hair loss condition, or with other autoimmune conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes, lupus, or thyroid disease. The hair can grow back on its own, or can be treated with steroid creams and injections into the scalp. Hair loss is common in those who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

This is not permanent and it will eventually grow back after the treatment stops. Hair is affected because its cells grow very fast when compared to other cells of the body. The chemotherapy works by killing fast-growing cells. When it is stopped, you stop killing the hair cells and they recover. Male pattern baldness is another hair loss condition. It occurs because of the complex effects of a hormone in the blood known as testosterone. Affected men end up with thinner hair, receding hairlines and bald patches, which can lead to low self-esteem and anxiety about appearance. It is mainly caused by genetics so there is no cure. Antitestosterone creams such as Minoxidil can be used to slow it down. Severe stress, some drugs, long-term medical conditions and infections like Tinea capitis [ringworm] can also cause some hair to fall out. Another reason for hair loss is Trichotillomania, which is a neuropsychiatric condition. Sufferers pull out their own hair, sometimes in large amounts. Many products claim to regrow hair after severe loss. But these must be prescribed by a GP, or a dermatologist. More expensive options include wigs and hair transplants.


less women took HRT in the early 2000s as doctors were reluctant to prescribe it, following the bad press when research revealed it could lead to a slightly increased risk of diabetes, breast cancer and strokes.

[See WomensWorld on page 23]

56 ∫ Pink September 2016

MONTHLY MUSE "I knew what drugs were all about by the age of five, so at school, I didn’t gel with younger children. I was on a different wavelength. I was 11 when I started drugs…” A 24-year-old mother of two, who is currently undergoing the New Hope female drug rehabilitation programme, run by Caritas and recently relocated to San Blas. [See PrivateEye on page 10]

THINKPINK NEW CHAPTER IN THE MILLION SAGA A surprising and adrenaline-filled chase awaits you in this brand new chapter in the Million saga. 1 Million and Lady million are the couple of the decade: shining and fascinating. Eternally bold and radically unexpected, with 1 Million and Lady Million Privé, Paco Rabanne explores a new facet of gold. The precious metal is reinterpreted in captivating amber and bronze tones. The emblematic gold bar bottle is adorned with this distinctive amber gold. The back plays with transparency to unveil a denser fragrance with warm copper reflections. 1 Million Privé becomes more intimate and insolently powerful with the addition of an intense apple-cinnamon duo, magnified by the ultimate addictiveness of tonka beans. The striking diamond bottle is even more dazzling, also clad in a deep bronze gold to fully express its nobility. A genuine object of desire reinvented, its fragrance is enhanced with orange and copper reflections, giving it a matchless luminosity. Lady Million Privé explores a new and thrilling intensity, astoundingly feminine. The luminous facet of heliotrope-vanilla is enhanced by an intense floral heart and lifted by a touch of juicy raspberry. They are exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd [2133 1553].

THE ESSENCE OF CAVIAR For centuries, caviar has been known to be a magical source of dense, rich nutrients. Scarce and coveted, caviar is a precious ingredient, sought after for its prestige and for its power to enrich and regenerate skin. The phenomenon of caviar, at the heart La Prairie’s iconic collection, is today reinterpreted in a new, delicate and luxurious way. Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion is made with exclusive caviar water, the distillate obtained through the steam distillation of caviar beads. This technique allows for a different blend of components than the ones obtained from a classical extraction. Developed to be the prime step of the skincare treatment regimen before applying serum, Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion breaks the codes of skincare lotions. It enhances the skin’s tone and helps to immediately improve its hydration and elasticity, offering women a new exquisite experience. The treatment lotion also features La Prairie’s extraordinary cellular complex, at the heart of each La Prairie skincare formulation for four decades, providing nutrients, energising factors and age-fighting ingredients that help with age delaying, moisture retention and revitalising dull skin. Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion is the ultimate indulgence to firm and lift skin for a suppler and smoother skin. For further details, contact A.M.Mangion on 2397 6000.

GIVING SLEEP A HELPING HAND 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 have 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.


A REMOTE PARADISE ALL TO YOURSELF Karl Lagerfeld’s limited-edition Ocean View eau de parfum is inspired by the idea of escaping to a luxurious hideaway – a remote paradise all to yourself. Intoxicatingly light and fruity, the fragrance bursts with top notes of pineapple. Karl Lagerfeld fragrances are exclusively distributed by Chemimart [2149 2212].

IDEAL WHITE Vichy introduces its revolutionary new Ideal White Meta-Whitening Essence, containing active ingredients, such as PhE-Resorcinol to promote brightness, ellagic acid and edenosine as whitening agents, as well as LHA as an exfoliant to target hyperpigmentation. Together they work to help women achieve a brighter, more even skin tone. The Ideal White line offers a three-step solution against hyperpigmentation and dark spots. For optimal results, use Ideal White Brightening Deep Cleansing Foam, Ideal White Meta-Whitening Essence, and Ideal White Replumping Gel Cream. Remember to also use Ideal Soleil SPF50 to help protect skin from further hyperpigmentation. The product is available in pharmacies. For more information, send an e-mail to

I LOVE RED Red is the colour of life and death, love and desire, innocence and experience… Contained within this colour of extremes are many metaphors for the emotional dichotomies of life. And it is those emotional extremes that Lucia Pica, Global Creative Designer for Make-up and Colour at Chanel, seeks to evoke in her debut collection for Chanel Beauty. For Fall 2016, Le Rouge Collection N°1 explores the abstract and expressive resonances of the colour red, while reconfiguring its role in beauty. At times, Pica seeks to transform the traditional role of red, at once celebrating and subverting its classic status as the preeminent colour for lipstick, blush and nail varnish. While still partaking in the search for the iconic and classic in each area of the collection, Pica also confounds expectations and takes the red into unexpected realms, particularly that of eye make-up, evoking emotion and passion here too. It is no surprise that red is one of the power colours of Chanel Fashion and a foundation colour of Chanel Beauty. Introduced in 1924, Chanel’s red lipstick, both a signature of Coco Chanel’s personal style and an icon of the beauty house, has never been out of fashion, or out of production. Through its many incarnations, it has been used from the beginning for both its attractive and combative qualities, with Coco Chanel saying: “Mettez du rouge et attaquez” [put on lipstick and attack]. Chanel is distributed by Alfred Gera & Sons Ltd.

BRIGHTER SKIN Anesi Crème Luminescence is formulated to target age spots, blemishes and pigmentation. It is available from leading salons and spas in Malta and Gozo. For more information, call Beauty Culture Group in Santa Venera on 2144 0424/2744 0424. Pink September 2016 ∫ 57

PINKSHRINK requires time, honesty and humility to be able to support ourselves in a better way.



What qualities lead to self-compassion? Prof. Kristin Neff derives three qualities from Buddhist scholars that may lead to self-compassion: MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is the ability to find an equilibrium when we have uncomfortable feelings. It is the ability to manage those aspects of ourselves that we are not too fond of without the need to obsess or ignore them. SELF-KINDNESS

This is about learning to be good and caring towards ourselves, cleansing our mind from any self-critical talk or harm that could lead to our unhappiness; choosing to be kind, comforting and accepting towards our own destiny. A SENSE OF COMMON HUMANITY

An essential quality of self-compassion is coming to terms with our imperfections; accepting that we are all human and can make mistakes and learn from them.

Self-compassion is the art of ‘cuddling’ rather than criticising yourself. Dott. EDWARD CURMI busts the myths and builds the strategies surrounding it.


ost people choose to be compassionate towards others. However, they hardly practise this virtue on themselves. Self-compassion is the art of ‘cuddling’ rather than criticising ourselves. According to Prof. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion, when we do this, the body releases the hormone oxytocin, which we often associate with well-being, love and trust. Also, people who use self-compassion are less likely to be stressed, anxious, or depressed. So what exactly is self-compassion? And how do we practise it?

Strategies to develop self-compassion CREATE YOUR OWN MANTRA

Find a word or statement that can support you through difficult times; something short and sweet that reboots your negative emotion and turns it into a positive frame of mind; an emotional support that allows you to deal with a situation in a calm and composed manner. PRACTISE MEDITATION

Especially through the power of breathing, teach your body and mind to slow things down when they are getting out of hand. Create your space and quiet time where you can see the bigger picture. WATCH HOW YOU ARE TALKING TO YOURSELF


Keep a journal and write down your self-talk. Analyse your own introspective thinking. How are you choosing to talk to yourself ? Are you being too self-critical?

There is nothing selfish about choosing to support ourselves. Self-compassion is the ability to introspect and notice what we might need to change in order to achieve happiness.


Myths about self-compassion


Caring about ourselves is in no way an insinuation that we are looking for pity from others. It’s about redefining ourselves by understanding the negative cycles of self-sabotage. It is the ability to see ourselves and notice what changes need to be made to lead a healthier and happier life. SELF-COMPASSION IS INSTANT GRATIFICATION

Self-compassion is anything but a quick fix to feel better immediately. It is a deeper understanding of ourselves and the ability to learn from our mistakes. It’s a process that

One clever way of understanding self-compassion is to literally imagine what you would tell your best friend if what is happening to you happened to them. This technique gives you great insight and allows you to be less impulsive and think outside the box. Another option could be to write a letter to yourself, but imagine you are writing it to a friend who has the same problem. Dott. Edward Curmi is a registered clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and author of the book Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, and its sequel More Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, available from Agenda Bookshops.

Pink September 2016 ∫ 59



being faced with. And self-compassion tends to be one way to help children cope with the pressures that life places on them.

Self-compassion has been found to be key to promoting a child’s resilience and strength of mind in the face of increasing pressures and demands on them. Educational and child psychologist Dr STEPHANIE SATARIANO says parents should model this behaviour.


he new school year is approaching. New uniforms, school bags and stationery are all being bought to help children prepare for the year ahead. But how do we help our children prepare for the pressure and demands that school brings? Homework is ever increasing, standards are ever rising, while play and fun are constantly on the decline. Self-compassion is being found to be key to promoting a child’s resilience and strength of mind. A new study has found that children of parents who practise and model being selfcompassionate have children with lower rates of anxiety and depression. Most people would probably respond to that with: “What do children have to be anxious or depressed about?” Well, the truth is, the causes of mental illness and reduced mental wellbeing are still being debated, but what is evident is that it is an ever increasing reality that more and more parents are

So what is self-compassion? Often misunderstood as self-indulgence, self-compassion is defined by pioneering researcher Kristin Neff, of the University of Texas at Austin, as having three aspects: • mindfulness of your own thoughts and feelings • a sense of a common humanity • treating yourself kindly What can parents do to promote it in their children? • A large-scale Dutch study found that one way is to model it. It found that parents who were less self-critical and who engaged in less self-blame fostered such characteristics in their children. Through being non-judgemental, you create a home environment of openness, warmth and kindness that spills over into your children. • Help children ride the storm of suffering and disappointment, rather than think it’s a failure and something to be avoided. Suffering and disappointment are an inevitable part of life that make us who we are. Respond emphatically with phrases such as: “that must be tough”; or “that is frustrating”. Then learn positive ways to cope with them, such as seeking help, taking a timeout [not as a punishment], or doing something they enjoy and that soothes them.

“HOW YOU RESPOND TO YOUR CHILDREN’S FAILURE TEACHES THEM HOW TO RESPOND TO THEMSELVES IN THE FUTURE” • Help your children feel worthy and important regardless of their accomplishments and failures. Openly and honestly critique a child’s behaviour – not them! Rather than “you are naughty”, say things like: “when you snatch a toy, it hurts X’s feelings.” • How you respond to your children’s failure teaches them how to respond to themselves in the future. Punishing or criticising your children for not getting straight As in exams, or not doing their homework straight after school teaches them that when they fail or make a mistake they need to criticise or punish themselves. Such a response saps energy and motivation. Rather, teach them alternate behaviour; discuss with them what went wrong and what they need to do [and can realistically do] to change it the next time round. The ultimate goal is to build healthy and positive habits in your children that will help them grow and move forward – no matter what life throws at them. Pink September 2016 ∫ 61



The phenomenon that is Facebook


he only thing worse than being a slave to Facebook and sharing intimate details of your private life – from your profound love for your husband to the latest smoochy selfie with your partner, or your mid-week date night, all accessorised with an explosion of emojis – is being one of those frightening people who continuously knocks Facebook, claims not to have an official account, but who knows everyone’s Facebook move, with a maniacal serial-killer-like obsessiveness. In much the same way that serial killers in movies have always been depicted as people who pore over facts and statistics with forensic precision, carefully cutting and pasting newspaper articles onto scrapbooks, or their bedroom walls, and profiling their victims and targets, I’m equally sure there’s the modern-day Facebook equivalent; the sinister serial Facebook user, who constantly lifts things off other people’s Facebook accounts. I’m not just talking photographs, but also status updates, exchanges, replies and all sorts of information they will store away and use as ammunition at a later date. But this article is not just about that part. It’s about the whole Facebook thingamajig – the good, the bad, the sick, the pathetic, the funny, the ugly, the dangerous and the truly liberating. I was recently having a Facebook chat with a friend of mine [we rarely 62 ∫ Pink September 2016

call nowadays; most of our conversations take place online], when I casually mentioned that I had recently gone on a blocking spree, which was almost as fun as a shopping spree and left me feeling quite empowered. You see, there was a time when I thought the act of ‘unfriending’ someone was the height of uncool and infantile; that sort of negative attention was far too much attention to pay to someone who clearly didn’t deserve another second of your time. But when you consider that all it requires is the click of a button and no effort whatsoever, I think there are times when ‘unfriending’ can actually be quite useful.

and cutting. It’s making a statement without saying anything. So when my friend mentioned that she had been completely put out by some guy she knew, who had behaved like the total charlatan I always thought and knew he was, I urged my friend to block him. She had no idea

“ BLOCKING ISN’T PARTICULARLY RUDE. IT’S DETACHED AND CUTTING. IT’S MAKING A STATEMENT WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING” Blocking is, of course, a notch up and the ultimate in negative attention, but again, it really is quite liberating. It’s the virtual way of wiping someone out of your orbit completely and telling them to piss off, without having to say it in so many words. If someone has behaved badly, blocking puts that person in his place without the need to be vulgar and spell it out. [Because that, of course, would be saying more about you than it did about the other person, so it’s never a good idea to be rude, however tempting.] However low someone stoops, it is never a good idea to retaliate in kind. But blocking isn’t particularly rude. It’s detached

how to, and as I guided her through the process, she mistakenly ‘added him as a friend’ instead, which, of course, was rather hilarious and maddening. When you ‘unfriend’ or block someone, you see, chances of him finding out immediately are very rare unless he happens to stalk your page. So there is nothing quite worse than a random accidental friend request, which will only serve to show him that you had ‘unfriended’ him and immediately regretted the error of your ways. And this, of course, is where Facebook becomes just a little petrifying and it can happen in a variety of different ways. Asking someone to be your


friend accidentally is just one of them. If you’re stalking someone and poring over his page, the fear that you may inadvertently ‘like’ a picture that you should not be liking and one that you don’t like at all is also very real. There are so many other danger zones and people should be careful. I recently came across a post where someone declared they had used their bosoms to get out of a parking ticket. I happen to know this girl and she’s wonderful. Her comment was as natural and unthinking as she is, and most people would not think of ever reading into it, or using it against her. But, unfortunately, we are living in a world where horrible people do exist and where things you say on Facebook can be lifted off, even before you have had the presence of mind to rethink the post and delete it yourself. And once they are lifted off your page, they will henceforth be lifted out of context and used against you. So don’t go there. Don’t give people the pleasure or any fodder for their fact files and profiles. Just don’t!

Instead, use Facebook for your benefit. It’s actually a great tool when used properly. You don’t have to tell everyone what you’re up to, where you’ve just been, where you are going, or how much you love your spouse. But if you must reveal details about your whereabouts, then do it ex post facto. What good can possibly come of knowing you’re on a date, or that you’ve flown to the South of France?

What is there to like? And the people who dutifully ‘like’ are as silly as the people posting. I suppose some people can’t help themselves. It’s almost as if, if they don’t announce it on Facebook, then it isn’t really happening to them; that unless they tell everyone what a relaxing time they had on holiday, or what a great meal they had, then the meal wasn’t great and their trip was not relaxing.

“IT’S ALMOST AS IF, IF THEY DON’T ANNOUNCE IT ON FACEBOOK, THEN IT ISN’T REALLY HAPPENING TO THEM; THAT UNLESS THEY TELL EVERYONE WHAT A RELAXING TIME THEY HAD ON HOLIDAY, OR WHAT A GREAT MEAL THEY HAD, THEN THE MEAL WASN’T GREAT AND THEIR TRIP WAS NOT RELAXING” For a Facebook status to be interesting to everyone else it has to hold some sort of universal appeal – either because it is informative, or educational, or because it is entertaining. But most people are not particularly enriched by seeing you smooching your boyfriend, or hearing about your wonderful husband, or boyfriend. How can a selfie of two people out to dinner, or smooching, benefit me in any way?

I have always operated in a different way. I am not at all turned on by what I can see. Seeing people posting pictures of the great time they are having always makes me slightly suspicious and makes me wonder whether they’d stop and think of Facebook if they really were having the time of their life.

Pink September 2016  ∫ 63


Pump up the onion jam MARIA CACHIA’s tasty tart is topped with Datterini tomatoes and an onion preserve. METHOD INGREDIENTS 200g cooked butternut squash 1 tsp soft brown sugar 1 tbsp tomato vinegar I sheet puff pastry 1 egg white, lightly beaten 1 tbsp olive oil 400g red onions, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise 1 sheet puff pastry 1 egg white, lightly beaten 4 toast size slices of mature Cheddar 450g Datterini tomatoes, or any other ripe tomatoes A few fresh sprigs of marjoram

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For the onion jam Heat the oven to 170°C. Wash and rinse one whole butternut squash of about a kilo and place whole on a roasting tray lined with baking paper. Roast the butternut squash for an hour. Switch off the oven and leave the butternut squash in the oven as it will continue softening with the residual heat. Once it is cool enough to handle, it should come apart and the skin should be tender enough to break. Reserve 200g for this recipe and the rest can be used in risottos, curries, or even frozen for later use. Blend the butternut squash in a food processor. In a separate pan, pour the butternut squash, add one teaspoon of sugar and 50ml of water mixed with the tomato vinegar. Cook on moderate heat for a few minutes until the mixture starts to caramelise. Sauté the onions with the olive oil until translucent. Season with freshly grated salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once they are cooked through, add the

butternut squash mixture and allow it to come to room temperature. For the tart Heat the oven to 180°C. Gently open the puff pastry on to a cold surface, preferably marbled. Cut it into the desired shape: round, square, or individual portions. Score the pastry very lightly with a sharp knife about 2cm in from the edge. Brush it with the egg white. Roast in the oven for five minutes at 180°C. Allow to cool and place two tablespoonfuls of onion jam onto the inner pastry square. Spread it evenly. Add a few slices of mature Cheddar, or any other sharp cheese to cover the jam. Prepare the tomatoes by cutting the tops and bases so that they can be placed snugly onto the tart. If using DatterinI tomatoes, cut them in half, width wise. Place the tomatoes on top of the cheese. They need to be tightly packed as they will shrink with cooking. Roast in the oven for an hour. Check the tart and turn it halfway through the cooking process. Garnish with fresh marjoram leaves.



FOR A CAR ANDREA FAYE CHRISTIANS drives down memory lane as she tries and tests the new Opel Astra a decade after she owned one in the days when she was a “mummy taxi”.

Ours was one of those households that liked to give names to cars and this one was christened Greta for some reason. This likeable car was reliable and economical and was able to handle whatever came its way with ease – be it bicycles in the boot, or camping gear, saddles and muddy shoes. I later sold Greta to a friend, who kept her for another couple of years until an unexpected encounter with a tractor on a country road led to an untimely demise. Not surprisingly, I was enthusiastic and rather intrigued when, a decade later, the opportunity came to drive the latest model. When it comes to looks, the new Opel Astra is a lot sleeker than its predecessor and, weight wise, seems like it has been on an extreme diet as it is lighter and smaller. However, it is just as roomy on the inside, with lots of cubby holes for storage, plenty of leg room and an abundance of boot space that can swallow a seemingly huge amount of luggage, or a large buggy, without folding the seats down flat. Overall, there is generally a good standard of finish, with the large touch screen being notably user friendly.



wonder how many people would agree when I say: forget the mobile phone, the dish washer and the washing machine. If I had to do away with everything, the one thing I couldn’t be without is a car. I’ve owned a number in my time – each signifying independence and liberty, with my first being a definite life changer when I passed my test at 17. I liked them all – some, admittedly, more than others – and associate each with a particular phase of my life. Take the Opel Astra. The Brits have had a long love affair with this car since it first appeared in 1979, and in 1980, it was voted European Car of the Year. My Astra will forever hold a special place in my heart as it came into my life at a time when I was a “mummy taxi”.

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I’m driving the mid-range 1.4T Petrol Enjoy version, and very nice it is too – although at first glance, there wasn’t much that reminded me of my old car! Out on the road, the Astra is alert and lively and was a joy to drive. Maybe I’m biased, but it was then that I truly felt I was behind the wheel of an old friend – only one that had morphed into something with state-of-the-art looks and performance, a bit like the ugly girl at school, who got bullied, but ended up being a model! Indeed, everything about the Opel Astra seems to be wholesome and good, and furthermore, you won’t be in for any nasty surprises when it comes to running costs and repairs. Starting at €17,999 for the Essentia version, the new Opel Astra offers unmatchable value for money. Cars International have several versions available, with a choice of engines to suit everyone. I have no doubt that if you are looking for a reliable family vehicle, you’d do well to seriously consider this combination of the best of the past and the present. To prove this point, 26 year later, the Astra has just been awarded European Car of the Year again, leaving no doubt that it is an ongoing success story, embodying all the attributes of modern-day driving while, for me at least, still retaining the essence of Greta as she once was.



PINK ARIES MARCH 20-APRIL 18 One of your strengths is your capacity to confront a challenge or turn an exciting idea into action. Yet with your ruler Mars in cautious Capricorn until early November, you’re facing lifechanging decisions, so you need to move slowly or work closely with others. This seems tedious. Yet by mid-month, your facts and priorities are clear. Don’t be surprised if you’re unexpectedly emotional about changes. If you’re to move ahead without the burden of baggage from the past, you must acknowledge these deep feelings.

CANCER JUNE 20-JULY 21 For months, there’s been debate, planning – and setbacks – regarding exciting changes in your domestic or working life. While, finally, things come together, arrangements don’t go as anticipated. If worrying initially, you soon realise both circumstances and your own requirements have changed. While this means rethinking certain arrangements, your efforts will lead to an improvement. This means venturing into new territory or overcoming others’ doubts. Set aside worries. Be bold. Plunge in. You won’t regret it.

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 21 While there’s no arguing the positive influence of Jupiter’s presence in Libra from September 9, the potential of events and encounters won’t always be clear. Since it’s there for over a year, there’s no rush. For now, focus on exploration. Also, recognise seemingly disruptive events are triggering timely shakeups. If you must commit, ensure it’s understood arrangements are a trial run. Then take chances. What you learn or those individuals you encounter now could transform your life, and in wonderful ways.

CAPRICORN DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 19 Since early 2016, you’ve been forced to leave crucial decisions up to others. This seemed unfair, but it’s now clear these experiences broadened your horizons. Consequently, you’re superbly equipped to take advantage of the dynamic cycle triggered by Mars’ move into Capricorn on September 27. This lasts six weeks, so urgent as things seem, explore every option, including what seems unappealing. And keep plans flexible until after October 20. After that, both circumstances and your priorities will be clear enough to commit.

According to astrologer SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL… TAURUS

APRIL 19-MAY 19 Ordinarily, you dislike others making decisions for you. Judging by October’s unsettling and ongoing changes, you’ll be relieved to leave such matters to others. What’s more, because things remain unsettled for several months, this allows you to learn more about what and who these new arrangements will involve. And be bold. Venture into situations you regard as unappealing or even unrealistic. Once, they were. But with both times and your priorities changing, you’ll be excited by the most unexpected things and people.

LEO JULY 22-AUGUST 21 When you look back on the series of sudden and often unwelcome, if not truly unsettling, changes that began in late September and continue until early November, you’ll recognise them as timely breakthroughs. Because your initial reaction is unlikely to be positive, you could unwittingly battle promising developments. Knowing that, make no swift decisions but, instead, explore everything. That process of questioning could mean you embrace new ideas and alliances you might otherwise have dismissed.

SCORPIO OCTOBER 22-NOVEMBER 20 Planning ahead may be wise. But because October ushers in changes, many unsettling but most worthwhile, you’re urged to adopt a flexible approach. This applies to long-standing arrangements and habits you rarely think of as much, as well as to future plans. Disruptive as rethinking things seems at the time, the resulting review is also preparing you for the insights that come with the Scorpio New Moon on October 30. These clarify what should go and where your focus will be for the coming year.

AQUARIUS JANUARY 20-FEBRUARY 18 Getting rid of clutter may be trendy, but it’s also what life’s all about. Understand that, and you’ll stop worrying when you’re forced to review long-standing arrangements, rethink habits and even edit your possessions. This, then, leads you to reconsider what and who comes first in your life. As important, it’s preparing you for the move by Mars, planet of ego and energy, into Aquarius, in early November, which ushers in changes that, as October began, you’d never have considered possible.

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GEMINI MAY 20-JUNE 19 Because September was unsettling, October is about gathering facts, clearing up confusion and rethinking plans. These involve necessary but dull matters. However, you’re restless and increasingly drawn to developments that involve intriguing people and exciting pursuits. While, in reality, most aren’t anything new, a few are as thrilling as they are unexpected. Explore everything, but out of curiosity. Ignore pressure to make swift commitments. Bide your time until you’ve experienced enough to say you’re well informed.

VIRGO AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 21 Being a practical earth sign, you’re careful about the wise use of your money, time and efforts. Yet recent exciting developments have shaken things up. Knowing that, review certain long-standing arrangements and habits so deeply ingrained you’d never consider changing them. Spotting and dealing with some will be easy, while others will be puzzling. This, in turn, leads to a review of certain alliances, habits and objectives. Rethinking these will pay off handsomely, now and in the future.

SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 20 Sometimes, obstacles are just that. But those you encounter during October are forcing you to rethink certain arrangements and habits so deep that you wouldn’t otherwise have noticed them. While some changes are major, seemingly modest shifts could lead to miraculous breakthroughs in areas of your life, love or finances that have seemed hopelessly stuck. Bizarrely, you could be anxious about doing things in a new way. These are taking you out of your comfort zone, but bringing new excitement into your life.

PISCES FEBRUARY 19-MARCH 19 Recent unsettling events made it clear you need to rethink elements of your life you’ve regarded as unchanging. While you’ve already reorganised a few things, as the weeks of October unfold, you’ll discover others that are holding you back. Some involve long-standing, but outdated, commitments. But as important are arrangements involving others, some of which you’re struggling to keep afloat. Letting these go may seem a defeat. However, the moment you make these changes, you’ll realise how wise it was. Pink September 2016 ∫ 69


Bridging the divide Lawyer Stephanie Soler, member of Y4J, one of the organisers of the upcoming Christian concert Undivided, says the event, a first of its kind, is aimed at bringing Christians together to feel encouraged that there are others who understand them and who are on the same journey as them. You’re a 25-year-old lawyer. What made you join a prayer group and continue to find the time for it? I joined Y4J in sixth form out of curiosity. A couple of my friends there used to go and they always spoke about how much they loved it, so I thought I’d give it a go. The first time I went to a meeting, I was so moved by the way the people there had this very evident joy, how they were really passionate about God and how they prayed in this fun way with loud, vibrant music. It really changed my perspective about what it means to have a relationship with God; that it can be fun and exciting, and not just about going to Mass every Sunday and repeating prayers. Finding time for meetings is difficult as we all lead very busy lives, but I try to make it a priority as much as I can. If I have a dinner, or a party, I’ll go to a meeting first and then go out afterwards. The meetings really help me in my relationship with God as they provide me with a space to just be with Him and I find praying through music really helpful. In a fast, modern world, where religion and prayer seem to be sidelined by many, and probably especially persons of your age and generation, what makes you different from your peers and how do those who have no time for this react to your involvement? Do they accept your interests, or do you feel you are in a minority? I definitely think that, nowadays, it is very easy to get caught up in all the stress of life and the day-to-day activities that take over. You need to work hard at ensuring your spiritual life doesn’t suffer in the process. This is something I struggle with as I’m always very busy, so being disciplined and

allocating time for daily prayer, for Mass and for working on my spiritual life is something I find difficult. However, it is something so essential; at the end of the day, I believe that if I’m not growing in faith and in my relationship with God, then all the other things I fill my day with are of no value anymore. People’s reactions to the fact that I take my spiritual life seriously are mixed: some make fun of it, others are curious and ask a lot of questions, and others just respect it and accept that it’s part of who I am. I do often feel like I’m in the minority, but being part of a community like Y4J is helpful as you know you’re not alone and that there are others who understand you and support you. Pink September 2016 ∫ 71


“PEOPLE’S REACTIONS TO THE FACT THAT I TAKE MY SPIRITUAL LIFE SERIOUSLY ARE MIXED: SOME MAKE FUN OF IT, OTHERS ARE CURIOUS AND ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS, AND OTHERS JUST RESPECT IT AND ACCEPT THAT IT’S PART OF WHO I AM. I DO OFTEN FEEL LIKE I’M IN THE MINORITY, BUT BEING PART OF A COMMUNITY LIKE Y4J IS HELPFUL AS YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT ALONE AND THAT THERE ARE OTHERS WHO UNDERSTAND YOU AND SUPPORT YOU” What is the importance of prayer in life and what is your message to those who have lost touch with God? I think many people have a misconception of what prayer is about. Most think it is just about reciting the Our father, the Hail Mary and other prayers. To me, prayer is about so much more: it’s about meeting God on a personal level; it’s about spending time getting to know God, to understand what his purpose for you is, to ask him for help and just being yourself with him. It’s like any other relationship really; you can’t have a relationship with someone unless you spend time talking to them. In the same way, the only way to develop your faith and your relationship with God is by getting to know Him and allowing Him to speak to you. That’s what prayer is. My message for those who have lost touch with God is that it’s never too late. Just start now. Find a method of prayer that you feel comfortable with and just try again. God’s always ready to give us a second chance. 72 ∫ Pink September 2016

How can people be taught to pray and what does it give you personally? You can pray in many different ways, be it through Mass, the rosary, music, dance, art, writing, reading, etc… You just have to find what works for you and dedicate time to your prayer life. I personally find music really helpful. There’s some great Christian music; for example, modern, beautiful worship songs by Hillsong, or Bethel. Just listening to them and to the lyrics really helps me connect with God. Praying is essential to me. When I go through a long period of not praying, I feel disconnected from God and I don’t feel at peace. People seem to have lost all of sense of spirituality. What are they missing out on? I used to think that being a Christian was just about going to Mass on Sunday, saying my bedtime prayers and obeying the Church’s rules. It’s so much more than that. We have a God who wants to have a personal

SNAPSHOT relationship with us, who loves us unconditionally, helps us when we are in difficulty, guides us to make the right choices and takes us on a fun, exciting journey. However, it is up to us to open up to him and give him a chance. Tell us about Undivided, the upcoming Christian music concert. Why was it organised and who do you think would/should attend? Is it a way to reach out to an audience that may not normally be interested in religion? Undivided is a Christian celebration being held at SmartCity on October 2. It involves music, talks, testimonies and dance. It’s going be fun, exciting and full of energy – like any other concert really. People of all ages and all denominations are welcome. Bring your kids and grandparents! We really encourage people, even if they are not very religious, to come and give God a chance to speak to them in a different way through this event.

cultures and musical styles will be created, blending and flowing together as one. Africans, Filipinos, Italians, Messianic Jews, English, Maltese, Eritreans and Spanish will be taking part. This should emphasise unity not only in our belief, but also between nations and ethnicities. Professional contemporary dancers will also bring to life, through choreographies by Marisha Bonnici, the main theme in a clear example that prayer is also expressed through dance. The speakers also come from different nations and denominations: Fr Rob Galea is a Catholic priest, singer and songwriter, who was born in Malta but currently serves in Australia; Mike Pilavachi, an Anglican and founder of the global youth ministry Soul Survivor, is from the UK; and Fabian Grech is a Pentecostal, born in Malta but currently in Iraq on mission work, together with his young family.

“WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT IS, IN MANY WAYS, MOVING AWAY FROM RELIGION, AND CHRISTIAN VALUES ARE BEING SIDELINED. IT’S EASY TO FEEL DISCOURAGED BY THIS AND TO FEEL LIKE YOU ARE ALONE” Do you feel that Christian values are being threatened and is the concert a way to reaffirm them and reach out? This concert is about coming together as Christians to celebrate our faith. We live in a society that is, in many ways, moving away from religion, and Christian values are being sidelined. It’s easy to feel discouraged by this and to feel like you are alone. So we wanted to create this event to bring Christians together for them to feel encouraged that there are others who understand them and who are on the same journey as them. Undivided has been described as “entirely Christian, but not the usual religious fare you may expect”. In what way? This event isn’t the usual Christian event people are used to. The concert is going to feature contemporary and rock Christian music, led by, for example, Y4J band and Pilgrim & King, who are one of Youth Fellowship’s bands. Their members include Gianluca Bezzina and Raquela Dalli Gonzi. The underlying theme is unity in diversity. Is this inspired by the fact that there is so much animosity in the world, stemming mainly from religious and ethnic differences? Do you really believe that a concert can bridge this big divide? Yes, this concert was partly inspired by the fact that there is so much division in the world, so much suffering and such a lack of peace. This concert is a way for us to come together, despite our differences, to be a visible sign that we are one body with Christ as our head, and that together we can get through whatever difficulty is thrown at us. How is this unity theme going to be put across at the concert? Unity in diversity will be displayed through an international version of a song called How Great is our God by the famous Christian singer, Chris Tomlin, where a fusion of languages,  ∫ Pink September 2016

The event will also be attended by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, as well as many representatives from the different Churches. Andrea Bocelli will also be featuring in the show. In what way? The world-famous classical crossover tenor has another engagement in South America on the day, but he will be sending a video message attesting to his faith – something he has never done publicly up to now – and expressing his personal thoughts on why Christians should be united. He will then dedicate a song for the evening. The foreign guests will not be giving talks or teachings, but will just be sharing with the audience their experiences of God’s power in their lives. What is your own experience of God’s power in your life? God has been very faithful to me throughout my life, be it in big ways during difficult times, or in small ways when I least expected it. Having God in your life is fulfilling, however often challenging. I often feel like He calls me out of my comfort zone [like with this interview], and although it’s scary, at the end of the day, it’s very rewarding. The peace that you feel when you know you’re fulfilling your purpose and doing God’s will is indescribable. And what is the power of music? Music is a form of communication, which allows us to connect with God and each other on a different level. It also unifies us. When you are in a crowd and everyone is singing the same song, that sense of unity is incredible. This is why we chose to focus the event around music – no matter who you are, where you come from and what you are currently going through, we can all come together to praise God through music. Tickets for Undivided – a Christian celebration – cost €5 and are available from; or by calling on 9911 7195.

Pink - September 2016  
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