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April 2017 - Issue 88

DARE TO SEDUCE Get the seductive, all-black look this season

A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH Inside Icelandʼs lava tubes BOOST THOSE ANTIOXIDANTS 5 foods to nuke free radicals

Editorial Issue 88 - April 2017 VIDA Magazine is a monthly lifestyle magazine distributed with MaltaToday on the first Sunday of the month. It aims to empower the people to lead a better, healthier and happier life. Publisher

EDITOR’S NOTE There is no time better than spring. Even though Maltese winters are no more than a few weeks long, the change in weather, the crispness of the light, the fruit and veggies now in such abundance put a spring in everyone’s step. Sunshine and bright colours take over during Easter weekend celebrated this month. Though we are all familiar with our local Easter celebrations, how much do you know about how Easter is celebrated in other parts of the world? Find out right here. April brings with it Festa Frawli, being celebrated today, which sees throngs of Maltese making their way to Mgarr to get their hands on some of Malta’s best strawberry products – be it the fruit or anything made from the fruit. If you’re heading up to the festival today, then have a look at some of our favourite strawberry recipes and put this harvest to good use. The spring sunshine suits our island and there is no better time to enjoy the great outdoors than in spring. Breathe in the fresh air at some of Malta’s local fresh water spots while you have the chance, before the summer sun dries up every last drop. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a HAPPY EASTER and hope your holidays are filled with fun, family and chocolate eggs. We hope you enjoy this edition of Vida magazine and we look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions.

Focused Knowledge Ltd Pitkali Road, Attard ATD 2214 Malta, Europe Tel: (+356) 2339 2238 Fax: (+356) 2339 2247


Rachel Zammit Cutajar Advertising Tel: (+356) 2339 2232 (+356) 2339 2234

It is understood that all material supplied by agents (printed or otherwise) to promote their products is supplied with all necessary permissions for reproduction. Whilst great care and attention has been taken by the editorial team to ensure accuracy of text, advertising and other published matter, we disclaim all responsibility for any omissions and errors. The editor and publisher do not necessarily agree with views expressed in articles, adverts, letters, or other content appearing in this publication.

April 2017 Issue 88


Contents Steve Hili is unbalanced

Get the low down on going mirrorless


Exploring the banks of Lake Eyre in Australia


The foods that fight free radicals


Rebecca Bugeja has gone bananas


Making the most of strawberry season


Raising the red flag. Fashion must-haves for the spring season


Get the hottest make up looks this spring


Going denim


Get by the water this spring


Easter celebrations around the globe


Mandy Farrugia journeys to the centre of the earth


The war of the elbows


What’s on this April


Book review: The Raven’s Table by Christine Morgan


Avoiding gastric flu


2017 is a go for motorsports


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Column STEVE HILI You may have seen him on stage, heard him on the radio, or laughed at his lack of colourcoordination (he’s the one walking down the street with the orange shorts and pink shirt). He is loud, hairy, controversial and… well… different!


I was walking down the street the other day with Kat when we passed a shop selling skateboards. ‘I had a skateboard once.’ I told Kat. ‘Really?’ she said. ‘I would never have guessed.’ ‘Why not? I am cool enough to be a skateboarder.’ Kat annoyingly suppressed a smile. Before following up with the equally annoying ‘But you have no grace or balance. Everyone knows that.’ This was news to me. Granted, when I did own a skateboard, I wasn’t very good at any actual skateboarding. But surely that was just because I was a kid. Kids fall off skateboards. That is what they do, right? I mean, it is hardly like my life since childhood has been full of episodes of losing my balance. Of not having poise. Of failing at dainty movements. Although… The three times I tried to learn how to ride a motorbike I gave up because I used to slip off every time I took a left turn. And when I played ‘walk the plank’ at my nephew’s pirate birthday party last year I came joint seventeenth with a four-year-old who had a sprained ankle. But those were just little things. I never thought that not having balance was something that everyone knew about me. And what did she mean everybody knew? Is that how our friends described me? Was there actual concern amongst my mates that I might fall over at any given time? If there was a task that required someone with steadiness and equilibrium did people say ‘better not ask him’? If my acquaintances had more than one Steve on their phone was I down as “Steve No Balance”? ‘It is because I have got a lazy eye’ I blurted out. ‘You know my left eye is lazy and so my head compensates by tilting slightly. That is why people might think I am slightly offkilter. But I am not.’ ‘Look. It doesn’t bother me’ she said. I gasped. It didn’t bother her? Since when was it a thing? I had a realisation. For my wife my lack of balance was something big enough for her to have thought about and decide that she wasn’t bothered by. ‘You shouldn’t even know about it!’ ‘Why would you want to hide it from me?’ ‘I am not hiding anything because I have nothing to hide. It is not a thing. I’ve got balance. I can balance anything! Give me your bag’.

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And with that, I stopped in the middle of a busy London street, and I proceeded to take my wife’s handbag and, arms stretched out wide, balance it on my head. For thirty whole seconds. ‘See?’ I told her as I was picking up all the contents of her bag from the pavement.



‘Good.’ She said. ‘Good for you’. And that was when I made my decision to show her. To prove to my wife (and to all those people who doubted me) that I was as capable as anyone else when it came to being able to balance. So I marched to the skateboard shop. And bought the coolest

board I could find. It had a skeleton on and everything. ‘Right’ I said to Kat as I put my helmet on. ‘Let’s see what you think of my balance now.’ And I proceeded to jump onto the board and fall off within thirty seconds. The plaster cast comes off next week.

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Photography BY CLAIRE CIANTAR Claire has a BA Degree in Communications. She is a model with a passion for design, fashion, sports and photography. She also features on Xtra TV.

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If you haven’t been sleeping under a rock in Top of the World, you have probably noticed the rise of the digital SLR camera trend. Point-and-shoot just doesn’t cut it anymore (I mean we have that on our phones and they’re pretty damn good). We want all the bells and whistles, we want to look and be different. Photos are the keepers of our precious memories and with technology being so accessible these days, it’s time to step up our photography game. But DSLR cameras are bulky, big and heavy. What if there was a smaller, lighter camera, with all the benefits of a DSLR? Meet our new love affair: Micro Four Thirds. A micro four thirds camera is the perfect compromise between the two worlds. You have a compact, lighter camera, but you can exchange lenses like an SLR and take breathtaking photos with manual controls.

Micro Four Thirds was first seen as a way to build compact cameras that would rival DSLRs. As Olympus and Panasonic moved forward, higher end u4/3rds bodies began appearing, including Panasonic’s Lumix GH3 and the Olympus OM-D EM-5. Even retro-rangefinder style bodies had high end options, like the new Olympus E-P5 and Panasonic’s spiffy looking Lumix GX7. DSLRs are bulky, because they require substantial interior space for the flipping mirror and the pentamirror, which aren’t present in a micro four thirds. It’s true that companies have been putting DSLRs on a diet, like Canon’s EOS SL1, but the SL1 is a fairly stripped down, entry level camera. Enthusiast or pro DSLRs tend to be more bulky, like the Canon EOS 5D Marks. Good photography is all about being in the moment and having a way to record and share it. To do that, quickly and less painfully, a lot of people started testing Micro Four Thirds cameras that

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are smaller, lighter and more mobile, had wireless capabilities, looked less conspicuous, and didn’t kill their back and neck. One seriously underrated benefit of Micro Four Thirds cameras is the ability for the photographer to fly under the radar. If you’re a serious shooter, you’ve most likely experienced some anxious moment, like an authority figure questioning you at a park or a gate guard stopping you from bringing a large lens and camera to a concert, game or any other number of venues that restrict professional or serious photographers. You won't have to compromise on features with Micro Four Thirds. Expect to see in-camera image stabilisation, touchscreen LCDs, 4K video, 4K photo mode, post-focus, focus stacking, panorama mode, silent shutter, wireless uploads and many other great new features for all of us camera enthusiasts. Other advantages of the Micro Four Thirds include; • Greatly increased sensor size (5–9 times larger area) gives much better image quality (e.g. low light performance and greater dynamic range, with reduced noise). • Interchangeable lenses allow more optical choices including niche, legacy, and future lenses. • The smaller sensor size gives deeper depth-of-field for the same equivalent field of view and aperture. This can be desirable in some situations, such as landscape and macro shooting. • Viewfinders can be used when filming videos. In continuous mode the smaller sensor can be cooled better to avoid the increase of image noise.

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Th e Micro Four Th irds is a user friendly and powerful camera that straddles the line between a compact / bridge camera and a DSLR without any noticeable defi ciencies on either side. For that reason, a Micro Four Th irds camera is one of the best choices for someone who is new to photography but wants to take top notch photos and progress towards a more professional shot. Th e full manual controls and ability to

exchange lenses ensure tons of innovative possibilities and overall utility. In the end, photographs are about telling stories, not about cameras. Whether you’re using a full frame DSLR, a Micro Four Th irds or simply using your mobile phone, try to tell a story. Capture a moment. See the world through your lens, whatever form that takes.



€30 to spend on photo printing material. Prize money must be spent in one purchase.

Lent is a time for penance and self-reflection, but it is also time for deliciously colourful figolli, which we can't stop ourselves from eating way before Easter Sunday comes around. We have already been seeing figolli on people's newsfeeds for the past few weeks, but now we want to see yours! Send us a photo of your creatively decorated figolla on If we're really impressed, we might even feature you on our blog later on this month. Photos can be taken with any camera, as long as they are at least 2 MP (approx. 1600 x 1200 pixels). There is no limit to the amount of photos you send in. However, make sure you do not attach more than two photos per email.

Palmyra Building, Naxxar Road, Birkirkara, BKR 9046

T: 2149 7335 • 2148 2734

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Travel MARC CASOLANI is a freelance photographer and a chronic traveller. Bitten by the travel bug several years ago he has failed to recover. www.marcandvanexplore.

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LAKE EYRE, AUSTRALIA Astronaut Scott Kelly, from aboard the ISS, had this to say about Lake Eyre in Australia: “#Lake_Eyre #Australia. You are very beautiful. Thanks for being there to brighten our day”. When an astronaut says that about a view from above, pointed out from the many awesome views one must see from up there, then you have to think to yourself: what is this place? This place is very special, to say the least, and only in a few other areas on earth can you find anything similar to the ecosystem found at Lake Eyre and the surrounding region. The basin itself covers 1.2 million km², which would cover one-sixth of the entire continent of Australia. It is up there as one of the world’s largest internally draining river systems, and at its lowest point at 15.2m below sea level lies Kati Thanda, the fourth largest terminal lake (one that does not flow into the ocean) in the world. The basin also contains some of the world’s last wild river systems, making it a pretty unique spot on the planet. I’ve only described its size and not its contents, now I’ll give you an idea on why it is truly unique. Just like the salt plains in Bolivia, this massive area is also covered in salt and rare minerals, hence the importance of this ecosystem which greatly impacts the high volume of wildlife and unique flora in the area. Wildlife such as bilbies (think Crash Bandicoot) and Lake Eyre dragon (which are more like lizards) are only found here. There is more flora that thrives on

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the lake than fauna, but it’s the wildlife and birdlife around the lake that attract the photographers to the area. Lake Eyre generally floods every three years when the lake fills to a depth of 1.5m. At this stage the water is reasonably fresh with fresh water fish like the bony bream being able to survive in it. This is a magical time when a variety of wildlife flock to the lake; long dormant marine creatures multiply and large flocks of waterfowl arrive to feed and raise their young. The water usually evaporates by the end of the following summer, with the water increasing in salinity as the volume decreases. In strong La Nina years, the lake can fill up to a maximum depth of 6m. The only accessible areas of Lake Eyre by land are on the southern parts in an area called Lake Eyre – South. This is the main accessible area; however there are other parts that you can explore but only a few of these reach the main lake, called Lake Eyre - North. These would be offroad tracks only accessible by offroad vehicles. Some are easy to navigate whilst others would definitely

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Travel need a GPS device to help you get in and out. Take this warning lightly and you will get lost and potentially run out of fuel, and unless you have an emergency locater beacon you will most likely not see anyone for days if not weeks. When navigating these kind of territories always make sure that you advise someone of your movements and let them know when you plan to make contact so that in the worst case scenario you will have emergency services notified of your disappearance. The north lake is usually filled with water but it takes some exploring of the southern parts to get this far. So unless this year is particularly wet, and becomes a flood year – bear in mind the southern part of the lake has only flooded three times in the last 150 years – you will need to get your exploring boots on and check your GPS for old tracks that lead to the northern part of the lake. Witnessing the lake, with or without water, are both majestic in their own ways – reflections from the sun, the contrast of the blue skies and the extreme white of the salt, and the textures that the mud and other minerals around or underneath create. The best way to witness it all is by air, there is no doubt about it, and if you have the funds you must catch a small plane and ready yourself to be gob-smacked. A quick Google search of images by the renowned photographer Julie Fletcher will give you a good idea of what I mean about the textures. When you are going so deep into the outback, the most feasible way to do it would be with your own set of wheels. However there are outback tours that operate to the southern part of the lake starting from $1,000 (just over €700). These would include other parts of the outback and South Australia. Costs for having your own transportation would vary from $300 (€200) per week to a max of $700 (€500) per week, depending on how much four-wheel driving you do and where you refuel. Whenever exploring the outback with your own wheels, always take as much spare fuel as you can fit in your car. Lake Eyre is without doubt one of the last frontiers for south Australia and no matter how you explore it, this will be cemented in your memory for a lifetime. Until next time, let the world be your playground.

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Eating & Drinking REBECCA BUGEJA is a Home Economics and English teacher with a passion for cooking and eating. Having to follow a gluten and dairy free diet she is bound to experiment with various foods so as not to miss out on the good things in life. She occassionally shares her creations on her blog

Bananas are nutritious and versatile. They can substitute sugar in a number of recipes and can help keep any dessert moist. Being a fruit, they are naturally high in fibre which we need to maintain a healthy digestive system and avoid constipation, haemorrhoids and the onset of certain bowel cancers. They are also a rich source of carbohydrates


in the form of natural sugars. The riper the banana, the more natural sugar it contains. The sugar is a source of energy and that’s why we shouldn’t eat bananas late into the day, so we can use the energy it provides, otherwise any extra carbohydrates consumed will be stored as fat. Bananas are a rich source of potassium which helps lower high blood pressure

and protect against heart disease. They are also rich in various plant compounds which help protect the body from various diseases including heart disease and cancer. If one look at the desserts does not convince you to try them out, I am sure that the nutritional value of this tropical and much-loved fruit will. So go bananas this month and try something different!

BANANA OAT PANCAKES Makes 2 pancakes TIME: 10 minutes preparation and 30 minutes cooking time Ingredients  1 ripe banana  2 eggs  1 to 2 tablespoon gluten free oats (as desired) Method 1. Cut the banana into slices and set aside. 2. Crack the eggs in a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork. 3. Put the eggs, bananas and oats (if using) in a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. 4. Use some spray oil on a non-stick pan or pancake pan, fry a spoonful of batter until golden on the underside. Approx. 1 min. 5. Flip over and cook for another 30 seconds 6. Top with any ingredients of your choice. I suggest forest fruit and honey.

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Eating & Drinking



 4 dates, pitted


Line a small dish with the crust.

 50g rice fl akes


Blend the ingredients for the cream together until smooth.

 1 tsp maple syrup


Pour the cream onto the crust.



In a small bowl mix the chocolate for the topping: honey, cocoa powder and coconut oil. Mix with a spoon until smooth.


Drizzle the chocolate on top of the pie, or spread to form a chocolate layer on top.


Sprinkle the fl aked and whole almonds on top to decorate.


Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted


 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder


 2 tsp honey

 2 bananas  100g cashew nuts, raw  4 tbsp coconut oil, melted  1.5 tbsp maple syrup

 1 to 2 tsp coconut oil, melted  Flaked almonds  Whole almonds

 6 large dates, pitted


 2 tsp natural vanilla essence



Blend the ingredients for the crust together until it starts to come together in a dough-like form.

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Health DANIEL PETRE is a nutritionist with the Council for the Professions Complementary to Medicine. He runs his own clinic, Karma Clinic, and has collaborated with the Fortina Spa for over 10 years.



Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralisation in the form of antioxidants. Antioxidants are the health and beauty industries’ hero, selling billions of dollars worth of supplements, products and foods, all claiming to hold the fountain of youth. Sadly many have never questioned what a free radical even is, where it comes from and if the products we are consuming even have significant enough levels of antioxidants to combat them. So let’s break it down – most of us have observed the effects of oxidation in our day-to-day lives regularly. If you’ve ever thrown out a browning apple or fixed a rusty pipe you’ve seen the destructive effects of oxidation when there’s nothing counteracting it. In our bodies on a daily basis we are oxidising carbohydrates (glucose) and converting them to carbon dioxide



and water to make energy for our muscles and brains to run on. This process can get messy along the way when the types of foods we consume don’t naturally come equipped to detoxify our systems during oxidation. The result is a body full of free radicals. A body overloaded with free radicals isn’t a happy place. A pro-oxidative environment not only adds additional stress to your body when it’s trying to heal from workouts, but also over time promotes a host of other ailments from aging skin, chronic inflammation, and kidney disease. That’s only naming a few.

The relationship between oxidation and free radicals is like a scale. You need to be taking in an equally proportionate amount to counteract normal everyday oxidative processes . Unfortunately, much of our modern day processed diet lends itself to high free radical production. For instance, studies have shown drinking and eating processed sugar (glucose in its most refined form) like a soft drink, sends free radical production skyrocketing up. Why would our most basic and most easily utilised form of fuel cause such a negative reaction in our bodies? It’s because our bodies for thousands of years April 2017 Issue 88



were used to receiving their glucose in a plant based form, prepackaged nicely with the required antioxidants to combat the free radical byproducts of them being broken down. Any food that is not plant based and in its most basic and whole form will not be “packaged” optimally for you to safely oxidise without adverse effects along the way. The bad news is that this cancels out most of the food you pick up at the grocery store but the good news is you can start reversing the oxidative stress you’ve put on your body rapidly with simple diet changes. Your body is actually capable of building up a surplus of antioxidants to keep on reserve in order to prevent you from ever entering a pro-oxidative state. A few all-star players of the antioxidant world can probably be found right now in your pantry. Spices actually pack a powerfully potent punch with levels far

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outweighing their more glorified antioxidant cohorts, berries. Just a teaspoon of cinnamon on your oatmeal can increase the antioxidant level of your meal by nearly 10 times. Dark leafy and deeply coloured veggies like beetroots and purple cabbage come in as a close second and should be made a staple in everyone’s diets. A couple of helpful rules of thumb tips for spotting high antioxidant foods are: the darker the better and if you cut it open and it doesn’t turn brown you’re good to go. On a closing note, antioxidant supplements have been found not to be nearly as effective as consuming actual whole plant foods and rank poorly when going up against just about any spice or vegetable by volume. So next time you’re reaching for that pomegranate juice consider the oxidative effects it will have on you without its seeds and fibre, then head back to the fruit section.



vitamins and minerals that help fight disease as well as being rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium. They help dilate blood vessels and have cancer-fighting properties.



Spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric, mustard and paprika, have all been touted as highly antioxidative, with higher antioxidant levels than berries. Spices have been known to relieve symptoms of everything from motion sickness to inflammation, joint pain, asthma, bronchitis and diarrhea.

DARK BLUE, RED OR PURPLE FRUITS Blueberries, beetroots, grapes and red cabbage contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that have been known to protect the body against cancer and heart disease whilst boosting the immune system.

DARK GREEN VEGGIES Popeye was onto something with his muscle boosting spinach snacks. Spinach, broccoli, kale and collard greens are rich in

Red berries, particularly raspberries and strawberries are rich in ellagic acid which has been known to help protect against cancer-causing agents both in the environment and in the diet.

NUTS Nuts are a great balanced food with plenty of good fats as well as a small amount of protein. They are rich in reservatrol and plant sterols that helps to lower cholesterol. Each type of nut has a different profile of minerals and phtyochemicals, with walnuts being the highest in omega-3s and Brazil nuts containing the highest amount of selenium. This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many other food groups that are rich in antioxidants, some of which are fish, tea, sweet potato and orange veggies, beans and whole grains.

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FOOD PIPPA MATTEI has years of experience in the kitchen. She is the author of the Gourmand award-winning cookbook Pippa’s Festa as well as 25 Years In A Maltese Kitchen.


The strawberry season has started with beautiful, oversized strawberries filling up sections in supermarkets as well as vegetable trucks. Although, at this time of the year, strawberries are great just as they are, perhaps with a little bit of sugar and cream, there are plenty of ways we can put this crop to good use. Head over to Mgarr today to pick up some strawberries at Festa Frawli 2017 and try some of these recipes.

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13. Pour the mixture into a plastic container and freeze. 14. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving and serve in glass goblets topped with a fresh strawberry and a sprig of fresh mint.

Ingredients  250g fresh strawberries, hulled  2 eggs  125ml fresh cream  75g icing sugar Tuiles  ½ cup sugar  ½ cup flour  Vanilla extract to taste  1½ large egg whites  2½ tbsp finely ground almonds Method 1. To make the tuiles, pre-heat oven to 200°C. Grease a baking tray. 2. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly. 3. Using a spatula dipped in cold water, spread mixture thinly in small round shapes on the prepared baking tray. 4. Bake in the preheated oven for 6 minutes or until golden brown around the edge. 5. Remove with a spatula. Form into tuile by gently and quickly folding the biscuit over handle of a wooden spoon. 6. Remove from handle. Push centre of unfolded edge downward to form tuile shapes. 7. Allow to cool. 8. To make the ice cream, wash and dry prepared strawberries and purée in a food processor or liquidiser. Do not over process – leave some texture. 9. Separate the two eggs and beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. 10. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and gradually beat in the sugar, a spoonful at a time. 11. Lightly whip the cream. 12. Add the beaten egg yolks, whipped cream and puréed fruit to the egg whites, folding in lightly.

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in the pan and cannot be stirred down. Allow to boil for 4 minutes exactly then remove from the heat. Working quickly, pot in sterilised jars and cover with waxed paper circles, then cling film or jam covers. Label and date. Let stand in your storecupboard for at least 3 weeks before using.


 Juice of one lemon  Knob of butter

Method 1. Wash, dry and hull the strawberries then crush, using a potato masher (for a jam with a smoother texture you can put the fruit into a food processor). 2. Put the crushed strawberries in a large saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice. 3. Heat very gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar dissolves. Do NOT allow to boil at this stage. 4. Add the butter, still stirring. 5. Increase the heat and bring to a vigorous boil that rises

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8. 9.

To sterilise jars wash in hot water and place in very low oven to dry. Use straight away.


JAM TART Ingredients  100g plain flour  50g tbsp margarine  25g tbsp caster sugar  1/8 cup water  8 tbsp jam Method 1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the margarine, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 2. Stir in the sugar and add enough water to form a firm dough. 3. Roll out on a lightly floured board and use to line a 20cm/8inch flan dish. 4. Spread the jam over the base, and decorate with thin strips of pastry in a lattice design. 5. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden.

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Photography Nicky Scicluna Styling Bianca Darmanin Make Up Zoe Muscat Model Anastasia @ Models M

Dress Stradivarius â‚Ź25.95

RED FLAG Dare to seduce in a total black look contrasting with sheer fabrics and casual wear

Jacket Pull & Bear €39.99
 Belt Stylist’s own

Jumper Pull & Bear €17.99
 Skirt Stylist’s Own

Top Pull & Bear €19.99 Skirt Pull & Bear €25.99

Top Stradivarius €25.99 Trousers Stylist’s Own

Top Stradivarius €19.99 Corset Belt Stradivarius €17.99 Trousers Stylist’s Own

Jumper Stradivarius â‚Ź25.95 Jeans Stradivarius â‚Ź25.95

FASHION JADE ZAMMIT STEVENS At the tender age of 21, Jade already knows what makes her tick. She loves anything fashion which makes her a compulsive shopper. Get more of her fashion and beauty advice at her blog www.



When thinking about what fashion item I’ve always been obsessed with, denim is definitely the first thing that comes to mind. Throughout the years, the items have changed from denim skirts and jeans to denim dresses and denim shirts and jackets. What I’ve always liked about denim, is how diverse it is. From sleek jeans to super ripped jeans, you can change the whole dynamics of an outfit just from the denim pieces you choose. For instance, an edgy look can be easily created by pairing a plain black tank top with rip jeans and strappy heels. Although denim is a classic wardrobe staple and so it never goes out of style, the particular style of denim changes over time. In the 50’s and 60’s baggy dad jeans were the ultimate look. In the 70’s jeans got wider! It was all about flares and bell bottoms, while in the 80’s the classic mom jeans were in. This latter era was all about the high-waist, with a baggy fit in the thighs and a tight fit at the bottom. The 90’s were an extension of the 80’s style but with lighter colours and more rips. The 2000’s (my least favourite era in terms of fashion) was all about low-waists and heavily faded thighs! What I love about the current era, is that we incorporate all these past trends into present fashion. You find everything from

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LOVE OF DENIM high-waisted to flared and distressed denim on the runway. In my opinion, everyone should own a few staple denim items. They are an easy way of transforming simple outfits into completely different and stylish ones. A classic denim jacket is definitely number one on my list. Whereas, in the past years it may have been a tightly fit one, the 2017 trend is all about the effortless and casual look with a boyfriend-fit, oversized jacket. You can recycle one of your parents’ old jackets from the 80s or do what I did and just buy one a couple of sizes bigger than your usual size. Throw it over a plain black dress for an effortless, off-duty chic outfit.

Embroidery has also recently made a comeback, and with that, embroidery on denim has also become a massive trend for this season. Looking at all the high-street shops, you’re guaranteed to find a number of denim items with elements of embroidery and badges. Some brands have also offered the possibility of buying plain jeans and choosing your own iron-on badges. It’s a great way of personalising your clothing while simultaneously showing off your personal style. I personally love this trend, I think it adds a softer look to more edgy items. What are your favourite pieces of denim? Do you love it as much as I do?

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We often tend to consider everything we do as a result of a natural choice; something that is done, and should be done, by everybody around the world. Easter is no exception. We’re accustomed to the same celebrations year after another; the fasting and abstinence throughout the day, the sacred, artistic exhibitions, reminding us of the grim fate of Jesus Christ, the veneration of the cross in the afternoon and particularly the typical grand procession on Good Friday in the evening. The latter takes place in 14 towns around the islands featuring elaborate costumes and accessories alongside life-size statues carried on the shoulders. Then there is Easter Sunday, with the procession of a resurrected Christ doing the rounds in the village core to a lighthearted audience now gladly munching on figolli. However, if this sums up the typical traditions of many Christian devotees in Malta, it gives no insight whatsoever about the traditions of many other countries around the world, which in many instances have got nothing to do with ours.

PASSION PLAYS With the turn of the century we’ve seen a surge in the number of realistic plays reciting the last hours of Jesus Christ. Producers of local theatre have taken their work into the streets, outside the typical theatre setting, in an attempt to symbolise Jesus Christ’s way towards Golgotha. Despite efforts to come up with a high-quality production though, ours are easily forgotten when compared to that of Oberammergau for instance, which runs once every 10 years, seven days a week between May and October. Performed on open-air stages in this municipality of Bavaria, the passion play has been going

on since 1634, right after the year when the plague threatened to wipe out the whole village. The production, considered as one of the most fundamental sources of money for the community, encourages many from around the world to visit Germany just for it.

PENANCE No meat, no chocolate and no soft drinks; this has pretty much been our interpretation of how one should do penance during lent. It is considered by the Maltese as the principal way how to demonstrate repentance for one's sins, and to a certain extent it is true, because we are surely avid eaters. This might be interpreted as an extremely

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EASTER prizes and traditions varying slightly depending on the country. In the United States, for instance, the said egg roll takes place every Easter Monday at the White House, on the South Lawn, with children aged 13 or younger rolling their egg through the grass with a long-handled spoon. Then there is the egg fight, a competition that is also known as egg tapping. It consists of teams of two tapping each other’s hard boiled eggs until the one with the highest number of accomplishments – and with an egg still whole – wins. The game, as any other, depends on the country within which it is played; some sort the competing eggs in colours whilst others demand that the broken egg gets reclaimed by the owner of the winning egg. Bulgarian Christians take things to the next level by preserving the winner-egg for the next year as a token of good luck and a successful year ahead. light and convenient way of how to go about expressing remorse, especially when contrasting all this to what happens in Pampanga, Philippines. Every year, the San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites see participants either whipping themselves with bamboo sticks tied to a rope or getting actually nailed until they feel cleansed of their sin. The same occurs in Spain, at the San Vincente de la Sonsierra, where participants dressed in white can be seen whipping their backs in what is deemed to be one of the holiest days of the entire year.

EASTER SWEETS It would not be a decent Easter without a figolla or a chocolate egg, especially for us Maltese, but some nations beg to differ. The real egg, the one that is often associated with the more-savoury experience, can still carry a legion of Easter implications in many countries. The Easter Egg roll is an annual event in the form of a race of decorated, hard-boiled eggs, with

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POTS AND KITES Easter Sunday celebrations in Corfu, Greece, tend to get hysterical. Forget the jubilant crowds filling your typical square, with the figolla ready in hand to get it consecrated prior to eating it. Forget the cheering crowd thronging the narrow streets on Sunday morning, hinting at the resurrection of Christ. Things might not get that noisy here, but the clay pots smashing ceremony from balconies on Easter Sunday surely makes it a spectacle for many, both for Greeks and those coming from abroad just for it. Religious and symbolic undertones apart, this custom is nowadays a fun event for many, even though they may not know for sure why they’re doing it. But if smashing pots sounds bizarre and brutal to you, don’t flying huge, colourful kites make a pleasant scene? The skies of Bermuda on Good Friday get all dotted with numerous, colourful, multi-sided kites as families from all over the island spend the day together.

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When the words ‘water’ and ‘Malta’ appear in the same sentence, we tend to find ‘crisis’ nestled between them. It is well known that Malta has a crisis of fresh water due to its lack of natural resources such as lakes and rivers. Despite this, there are still a few places scattered around the island where we can enjoy the presence of fresh water. Over the next few weeks, make sure to scan the sky for grey clouds. One last rainfall is our final hope to view water trickling down valleys before the scorching summer months dry everything up.

small 14th century chapel dedicated to The Annunciation of Our Lady. The tranquil feeling you get walking along the paths listening to the rustling trees is only amplified by the sound of rushing water from the natural springs. The highlight of this picturesque valley is a large fountain, also known as Għajn il-Kbir, which was erected in 1698. Water flows from the springs into the historic fountain, which is surrounded by a number of carob and olive trees.

Wied il-Għasel, Mosta Wied il-Għasel has been immortalised in one of our favourite Maltese songs, L-Aħħar Bidwi f’Wied il-Għasel, but perhaps not many people have actually been to the picturesque valley in Mosta which has an impressive length of around 15km. Although folklore has it that the bees populating this valley used to produce so much honey it spilled out of their hives and trickled along the valley, this is not the only thing that flows through this peaceful place. The valley is known for its presence of pools and streams supplied from the Rabat plateau. While you’re at it, visit the three wayside chapels found along this valley.

Lunzjata Valley, Kerċem The Lunzjata valley in the quaint village of Kerċem is considered to be one of the most scenic valleys in Gozo, complete with a

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Buskett, Siggiewi



Chadwick Lakes, Rabat

Chadwick Lakes, Rabat While not exactly a ‘lake’, this area is the most well known in Malta for its presence of water, as a result of the series of dams built alongside the valley by the engineer Osbert Chadwick in 1890. The water floods over the dams and brings about the artificial effect of a small waterfall. Unfortunately, it starts to dry up as summer approaches, which is why you need to get to it before the sweltering hot days. It’s a perfect area for walking and trekking or even a simple picnic.

Buskett, Siġġiewi Buskett is a hugely important ecological site for a number of reasons, including the presence of Punic Catacombs, Bronze Age cart ruts and underground flour mills. It is also one of the only wooded areas in Malta and has a stream going through which makes it essential for local ecology. The watercourse has recently benefited from a rehabilitation project where walls have been reconstructed and the course has been cleared of invasive species and excess silt that was obstructing the flow of the water. This means that it’s one of the best times to visit the Buskett watercourse.

Wied Għollieqa, San Ġwann

Lunzjata Valley, Kercem

Wied Għollieqa is a little green lung lying between University and the San Ġwann area, also known as the valley that a lot of students go through every day when they park at Kappara and have to get to University. Few of these students stop to appreciate the ecological importance of this valley, which hosts a number of maquis trees including carob trees and almond trees. Wied Għollieqa is particularly picturesque after a large rainfall, as a freshwater stream flows to the valley, where it eventually collects into a depression which forms a freshwater pool. However, this pool tends to quickly evaporate due to sunlight and porous bedrock which means it’s only available during specific months.

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BEAUTY LEANNE MALLIA is a VTCT qualified makeup artist specialising in wedding, editorial and TV makeup. leanne.mallia.5




Since contouring isn’t really a trend anymore, it’s time to highlight your best features. Apply a liquid highlighter to the top of the cheek bones, bridge of the nose and above the cupids bow and set the liquid highlighter with a powder highlighter to intensify the look.

This spring, opt for a glowy, natural complexion and use foundations which have a light to medium formula but are buildable so you can add coverage to the areas that need it. Don’t forget to lightly set the foundation to make it last longer on the skin.



For an updated look, try applying a coloured kajal liner. This trend is very popular on the runways at the moment. A baby blue or jade colour on the lower waterline will add a colourful twist to the eye look and this will look great on blue, brown, green or hazel eyes.

This spring, there are two major lip trends: pale pastel or gothic… two extremes. This all depends on how adventurous you are and what look you’re going for. If you’re going for a pastel look, try a rosy pink light lip or opt for deep berry lipstick if you are tempted by the dark side. Tip: always use a lipliner to help outline the lips and stop your lipstick from bleeding from your natural lip line.

BIG LASHES Big bold lashes are always on trend! Try a mascara which is buildable so that you can easily add 2 coats to your natural lashes without it looking clumpy or flaking off.

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The world of eyeliners can be a confusing one. Aren’t they all the same, I hear you ask? From different ingredients to different staying power different types of eye liner will give you different effects. Here are some of the basics. KAJAL EYELINER This is mainly made with a combination of natural ingredients and soot. It is organic in nature, making it soothing for the eye; it also helps protect eyes from infections. KOHL PENCILS These are typically made from powders, pigments and waxes. They have the smooth glide of kajal, but they are not as messy. EYELINER These can be found in liquid, gel or pencil form, and can be harsher on the eyes compared to kajal since it is not generally made from organic ingredients. It doesn’t have as soft a texture compared to kohl and kajal, or that silky finish.



A 28-year old willing to speak out, Stephanie finds contentment in her daily duties, but is searching for more in life. She considers everyday surroundings as her muse.


Family is all about Christmas dinners and Sunday lunches; jokes that you have heard for decades but you still laugh so as not to break granny’s heart. When you get yourself in mishaps, there is always someone for financial and emotional backup. We also observe fathers making a bed for their son or daughter to lay in, and be present in the running of day-to-day work, eventually continuing a family business with their parent as a partner. Coming from a broken family I observe these things when looking at my colleagues and friends. As they discuss mummy’s

cooking, the wife’s ironing and the son who is coming from abroad with a souvenir in hand, I think to myself: Is this what a family should do for each other? Is this what it is supposed to be about?


Being a young adult when my parents’ marital dissolution took place, I believed that I could handle it more effectively than a child ever would. I was wrong; separation at a tender age is

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have some more exciting ways to get more beetroots in there, including Michael Diacono’s chocolate cake!


brutal, but believe me, it is worse as a grown up. You end up listening to what really happened to dissolve the marriage, instead of them trying to bury the hatchet and trying to be your hero to win your heart over and keep you on their side. Then it starts to hit you like a whirlwind: the abandonment that emanates when trying to reach your mother but she is unreachable as she is on a date; or trying to reach your dad but he is abroad with a couple of friends. The struggle is to make it on your own, instead of depending on them, since they are trying to start their life again - from nothing. After 28 years of marriage it kind of takes a toll, who can blame them. So you start to question, is this how my life is going to end up? Am I going to love someone with all my might, build a home, a family and a life, only for them to leave when I am 50 and take everything with them? So you start loving a little less and neglecting a little more. The values that you had of that ideal family are all swept away with one slam of the door. When all this happened I had a child of my own, now on the way to having the second one as we speak. So how did I get over my fears of being left on the curb 20 years from now? How was I able to trust again? To be honest, I think I might never get rid of the negative images and thoughts in my mind, all the good memories deteriorate into bittersweet ones. However, with some hard work you start to laugh a little harder and shine a little brighter.

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You have to remember the good times and rejoice like they are the only things you have. Fulfill your life with dreams that you know are not legitimate for now but still do your best to make them happen. And most of all love, hope and trust. Love like it’s the last day of your life. Not just your partner but your colleagues, the confectionary owner next door, the old man who waits for you to park your car before you head to the office. Show gratitude when you deem fit. Hope that despite all the wrongdoings, you are doing something right; and have faith that it will all work out in the end. Laughter is the key to a brighter day, for just two minutes of laughing, all the blood , sweat and tears you are dealing with would seem so far away. That is what keeps you going and hanging in there. Most importantly talk about it, with friends or even a therapist if needs be. A separation does change who you are and how you interpret love and marriage, but I kept one thing in mind; I do not want my children or my partner to feel neglect the way I felt. So bring the genie out of the bottle in order for you to face it and put it at rest, with the latter you will see that living life the way we see in movies and read about in books is achievable. Happiness is within us, but you just have to search long and hard for it. In the end it will be worth the effort; believe me!


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Travel Mandy Farrugia Following her studies in business and languages, she had the opportunity to work and travel for international companies in the tourism industry. Since then, she indulged in her passion for photography, travel writing and scuba diving with lots of destinations yet to discover.

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Iceland is a mystical land, once inhabited by fairies, elves and trolls. Icelandic folklore is riddled with tales of mysterious creatures; a figment of imagination of the inhabitants, who were lost in oblivion to the harsh power of the forceful nature around them. As hinted by various local writers, fables were the only source of entertainment. Not just a pastime, such stories, passed from generation to generation, reflected the conditions faced by Icelanders who struggled to survive devastations as a result of volcanic action, frozen seasons and ferocious winds. Nowadays, detailed and interesting reports about the formation of the island and the accompanying contrasting natural phenomena are being proven. One scientific theory states that since Iceland is situated in a strategic geological-activity position subject to volcanic eruptions, earthquake activity and geysers, one cannot exclude the

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principle that it was created due to the volcanic activity through the mid-Atlantic ridge. Pockets of magma sitting beneath this land gave way to very hot lava which rose to the ocean surface, cooled and gradually accumulated, forming this island. This was a very long process, estimated to be as long as a couple of million years. In the meantime, it continues its evolution through the same processes that created it, with volcanoes erupting every so often and new fissures appearing along their slopes. Quite surprised by the weather conditions, expecting it to be much more colder than it actually is, I learned that Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic circle is balanced by the tail end of the

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Gulf Stream, which flows up through the Atlantic Ocean bringing heat from the tropics. Despite the vast, harsh landscapes, a good 25 % of the island is habitable, mostly along the southern and eastern coasts. And so that is where I set off! After the first three weeks trapped in Reykjavik, due to the continuous storms, some of which saw the complete closure of the main roads, together with my partner, I soon start to explore the island. Invited by Basecamp Iceland and accompanied by our exceptional guide and university professor Eric, we head towards the Blue Mountains in the South West part. We stop to explore a 2000-year-old lava

Travel tube cave; Leidarendi cave, one of Iceland’s most spectacular. It immediately reminded me of the marvellous underworld of Jules Verne and his novel about discovering the Centre of the Earth inside an Icelandic Volcano. We did not quite get to the centre of the earth though, as we only reached 59 metres into this subterranean world, consisting of a whole network of tunnels much deeper, beneath the snow-covered lava fields. We descended through tight holes almost entirely covered in snow. The first part is quite slippery and one has to be careful avoid injury even before starting the expedition. Once descended, shining a torch into the darkness reveals forms of colourful old dried lava flows, hues of magenta and burnt orange, frozen rocks and glistening natural ice sculptures. Sunlight disappears, footsteps echo, spaces become tighter and we hear only our guide, who occasionally emphasises the need to pay attention to the surroundings by treading lightly between the gaps so as not to break the crystallised water which took so long to form. The name Leidarendi means end of the road, and was so called with reference to the skeletal remains of a lamb that was found when the 900-metre, circular tube was fist discovered. This is an impressive scene, especially when I just realise that under these fields there’s a hidden underworld of caves with their walls polished by lava streams along with stalagmites and stalactites. Over the next few days we continue travelling down south to the east, through the surreal ever-changing sceneries. Mere words cannot describe the extraordinary views the southern part of this country offers. It has some of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes I have ever set my eyes on. As yet I have found nothing as intoxicating as the contrast presented by this bygone land. Places which have been frozen in time, for thousands of years, contrasting with powerful waterfalls. First in the series is Skógafoss. Undeniably one of the countries’ most iconic waterfalls, it is also very much commercialised due to its ties to a widespread ancient legend, dating back to the era of the Vikings, where it is believed, that they hid a great treasure in a cave behind the torrential waters. One of the highest waterfalls I have ever seen, its waters run 62 metres high, dropping dramatically off a rugged cliff creating a meteorological phenomenon on ground level, just a few steps where I was standing. A thick dreamy mist pierced by the strong sun rays, refracting and dispersing when in contact with the droplets, creates a spectrum of multi-coloured light; the rainbow. Dressed in proper waterproof clothing, I decide to walk further and step into a new dimension to my surroundings. It was quite easy to detach from reality, at least for a few minutes. Seljalandsfoss, another sight to behold, is where water drops from 60 meters high and where you can literally walk behind a curtain of water and see the sun shining through it. This route eventually takes you further south east with views of glaciers, and haunting black sandy beaches. Vik, the southernmost village, is the best area to stop overnight. Surrounded by fantastic black beaches, framed by dramatic and imposing stacks of basalt rock, local folklore has it that these were former trolls who tried to drag their boats to the shore only to be caught by the rising dawn and turned into rocks. Rated as one of the ten most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world it is a must to stop there.

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The Star of Strait Street

Production on the 'Morning Star' – the legendary Diju Balli concert/cabaret Hall – at the Splendid, Strait Street, Valletta at 21:00. Polly March and Larissa Bonaci star in this new musical play, which retells a true love story from the Second World War. She was Christina Ratcliffe – singer and dancer at The Morning Star in Valletta… He was Adrian ‘Warby’ Warburton, known as ‘the most valuable pilot in the RAF’. Bookings: APRIL 4-6

Campus Book Festival

Book festival will be held at the University of Malta. Featuring literary workshops, book stalls from local publishers and other activities. Featuring special guest author Caroline Smailes. Opening hours: 10:00-15:00 and 17:00 until late. More information: 2340 2340. APRIL 5-14

The Passion

Exhibition of mixed media paintings by CS Lawrence at CS Lawrence Open Art Studio, Bormla. In this new collection, Lawrence has created modern contemporary interpretations of timeless classics; recharging their universal relevance with a fresh potency. Doors open at 10:00.

Caroline Smailes APRIL 6

Teatru Salesjan Jazz Sessions: The Briffa/Suzuki/

Bothenius Jazz Standards Trio The Briffa/Suzuki/Bothenius Jazz Standards Trio will be performing at Teatru Salesjan, Sliema at 20:30. The Trio consists of: Emiel Bothenius Lohman (piano), Hajime Suzki (upright bass), Luke Briffa (drums). On the night the trio will play a vast selection of Jazz/Latin standards and will also perform original compositions. Drinks and snacks offered at the bar. Tickets are €8 at the door.

Tchaikovsky and conducted by Michael Laus and violinist Carmine Lauri. Bookings: mt. APRIL 7-9

Craft Beer & Live Music Festival

Open air festival of craft beer and live music at Strait Street, Valletta at 20:00. Featuring over 30 beers from around the world and six top live acts. Organised by Stretta Craft Beer and Offbeat Music Bar. APRIL 8


Earl Okin at Eden Cinemas

Evening of jazz, bossa nova and comedy with Earl Okin at Eden Cinemas, St Julian's at 20:30. Okin has headlined under the by-line ‘Musical Genius & Sex Symbol’. He has been entertaining audiences worldwide with his unique brand of music and wit for almost five decades now. APRIL 7, 8

Russian Masters II Lucys Last

Classical concert at the Manoel Theatre, Valletta at 20:00. Featuring works from Rimsky Korsakov, Glazunov and

Missa Pro Defunctis (Music for Passiontide) Requiem Mass of Orlande de Lassus at the church St Mark (Tal-Agostinjani) in Rabat at 19:30. The concert, held on the eve of Palm Sunday, will feature a cappella polyphonic choral music appropriate for the start of Holy Week. APRIL 8

Plato's Dream Machine: GUF (album launch)

Launch of the alternative folk-rock band's second album ĠUF at the Valletta

The VIDA team does its utmost to publish the most updated information in these pages. We cannot, however, take any responsibility for details omitted or changed by third parties after goin 50 Issue 88 April 2017

Events APRIL 16

Handel's Messiah

RIDT presents a fund raising concert featuring Handel's most loved and popular work - The Messiah - performed by the Goldberg Ensemble under the direction of Michael Laus. The Performance will be held on Easter Sunday at St Paul's Anglican ProCathedral in Valletta starting at 19:00. All proceeds will go towards medical research. Bookings: 7941 2139. APRIL 21, 22, 23

Carmine Lauri Campus Theatre (MITP) at 20:00. Bookings: https://shop.trackagescheme. com/. APRIL 8, 9

Fort Manoel open weekend

MIDI plc will be hosting an open weekend at Fort Manoel to give the public an opportunity to view the restoration works to date. There will be scheduled tours in English and Maltese by experienced guides. A series of lectures will be held by experts in the field with a focus on the history of the fort throughout the ages, the philosophy behind the restoration methodology and the restoration process itself. Entrance to the open weekend is free and parking space will be available on Manoel Island.

Fort Manoel

APRIL 8, 9


Following last year's success by the Senglea Drama Group, this year they will be hosting the new play, 'Iesus', during Holy Week at the Sede Azzjoni Kattolika, at Senglea. The play starts at 19:30.

Rock the South 6th Edition APRIL 8, 9

Rajt, Smajt, Qtilt

Passion play set in contemporary times produced by ŻAK Birżebbuġa and taking place at the Primary School Hall, Birżebbuġa at 19:30. Tickets are being sold at €6 at the door. APRIL 9


Immersive and bi-lingual passion play by DWALĠodda at the Għargħur pjazza and streets, taking place in various sequences from 16:30 until 21:00. More information:; 7909 2624/9928 8288. APRIL 11-13

Il-Mixja 2017: Agnus Dei

For the fifth year in a row, some of Malta’s most established actors will be getting together to form a formidable cast in aid of charity. Vermiglio Theatre Productions will be taking the Passion of Christ to the grounds of the Verdala Palace in Buskett making it an interactive experience for all those who decide to attend in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation. The cast, for the first time, also includes a neo-classical Chorus choreographed by Michelle Zerafa. Bookings: APRIL 15

Spots & Stripes: Easter Party Indie pop and alternative rock party at Beachaven, Xemxija from 22:30. Featuring Djs Bob and G for Gustav. Entrance is at €5 at the door.

Latest edition of the alternative music festival at ZION, Marsascala at 18:30. Featuring CEERA, NAANGS, Beesqueeze, WakaTa, Dusk, Cryptic Street, Lois, Bass Culture, Massacre House Party, Canvas Wall, nosnow/noalps, Kingdoms Of Dusk, Super Sponge Trio, The Ranch, Sdang! (feat. Colin Edwin), Lucy's Last, EXPLICIT, Jack's Fusion, The Voyage and Jesper Ejrup, Nick Jones, Oxygyn, Eyes to Argus, CRUX, YEWS, Double Standard, BILA, RAGE Against Society and Norm Rejection, Kill The Action followed by a live set from LVX. More information and bookings: https://rockthesouthmalta. com/. APRIL 23-26; 27, 30; MAY 1, 2

Twelfth Night

WhatsTheirNames Theatre production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at The Pub, Archbishop Street, Valletta at 20:00. There will also be morning performances on April 22, 23 and 29 at 10:00. Spaces are limited to 20 places for each performance. Directed by Philip Leone-Ganado. Cast includes Joe Azzopardi, Nathan Brimmer, Becky Camilleri, Joanna Wills and Joseph Zammit. Tickets: whatstheirnames.; 7734 5207 or 7905 2522.

Feasts in April 4th April – The Annunciation, Gudja 7th April – Our Lady of Sorrows 9th April – Palm Sunday 14th April – Good Friday 16th April – Easter Sunday 30th April – St Publius, Floriana

after going to print. April 2017 Issue 88


TRAVEL BY CLAIRE CIANTAR Claire has a BA Degree in Communications. She is a model with a passion for design, fashion, sports and photography. She also features on Xtra TV.






In this day and age, where aeroplane seats are decreasing in size and armrests are becoming more like everything else on the plane... smaller, it has become an automatic instinct in us territorial humans to try to claim as much space as possible. It’s one of our traits to adopt personal ownership of things that really don’t belong to us, like our chair in the office, or our seat on a plane. It brings out the warrior in us. And we’ve all been there – the never-ending battle of territory rights on the aeroplane. It’s game on as soon as you board your flight. But back to the armests, who is entitled to them? The armests are a part of the chair but technically part of both chairs when it comes to a three across seating situation. Should both armrests be left intact to the centre seater’s sole advantage? And what do you do when your seatmates on either side start hogging?

The battle of the armrest is an eternally hot topic. The painfully small shared armrest was most definitely invented by a twisted being who wanted to see these ongoing battles of who gets the luxury to occupy each armrest, just for fun. Most people take it for granted that there is a ‘rule’ that the middle-seater gets the luxury of both armrests since the window-seater has the view and the window to lean up against and the aisler can lean towards the aisle and get up without any problems (and without any awkward bathroom breaks waking up your sleeping neighbour). On the other hand, others believe that trying to claim both armrests for yourself is the height of bad manners. I don’t think you need to start an elbow war in order to claim your territory. A compromise I have taken up is occupying different

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Books TRAVEL parts of the same armrest. It’s best to have my elbows really far back, that way there’s still a whole lot of space on the armrest for your temporary neighbour to use. In this situation, I totally agree with splitting a difference. Etiquette is all about compromise and not being selfish after all. So who owns the armest? I believe that it should be shared, with each person having the opportunity to use it at different times throughout the flight. Perhaps if the person next to you is larger in size, elderly, or with a child, then, as a gesture of good will, you should give it to them. A company was so concerned about this problem that they

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actually created what is called Soarigami. This invention could finally bring a peaceful end to the great arms race in the sky. Soarigami is a light foldable plastic divider that allows airplane passengers to comfortably share an armrest. The makers of Soarigami say the device will encourage new relationships rather than animosity and is a great conversation starter... unless it’s an unwanted conversation. In that case, make sure you bring enough distractions, ensure your phone has the latest tunes and quickly reach for the in-flight shopping magazine and pretend you’re interested.



Though the Norse side of the equation hasn’t penetrated the Western cultural imaginary as thoroughly as the Ancient Greek and Roman equivalents, it’s safe to say that Vikings and the tales they carry with them retain a firm grasp on our collective consciousness. You don’t have to venture very far to spot how appealing both historical narratives of Vikings and associated Norse mythology remains to this day. Just this month, Neil Gaiman — arguably the most popular and celebrated fantasy writer of our time — released his own take on some key stories from that domain, and the History Channel TV show Vikings appears to be trotting along rather nicely into a new season thanks to healthy ratings

and online buzz. But against this backdrop of an audience ever-hungry for more stories of the hardy men and women of the North, and the fantastical stories that sustain their sanguine worldview, a new player arrives on the scene to offer a shade of the weird and the majestic to that already rich weave. Released in the coming days from the ever-dependable American indie publisher Word Horde, Christine Morgan’s The Raven’s Table presents 18 examples of ‘Viking Stories’. Given Word Horde’s standing as an exemplary publisher of off-the-beaten track genre fiction, one would expect Morgan’s collection to take a ‘genre’ tack to the history of the Northmen

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BOOKLS — and true to form, Morgan’s stories certainly take a liberal approach to both history and the parameters of reality, with all the stories featuring at least some element of the supernatural. Happily, however, this broadens out beyond a predictable association with the Sword ‘n Sorcery genre — the logical, obvious generic frame for Viking stories — to encompass a rich array of styles and storytelling modes. But beyond the make-up of the individual stories in and of themselves, a feature that remains a running thread throughout is Morgan’s deft grasp of pacing and tension; ensuring that readers turn the pages while always being at the ready with a surprise. This is complemented by Word Horde’s consistently clever editorial approach, and once again the stories are grouped together in a way that complements their tone and approach. In fact, The Raven’s Table opens with a grisly flourish, as the inaugural tale, ‘The Barrow-Maid’ spins a lurid yarn of treachery and vengeful resurrection that uses some fundamentals of the viking lifestyle — or rather, death-style — to give way to a zombie story with a hugely satisfying catharsis. This is perhaps the story that most clearly recalls Morgan’s association to the Bizarro genre-cum-movement; with its freewheeling embrace of the violent and the grotesque. While it certainly makes for a great opener and a hugely satisfying story in its own right, it made this reader happy to discover that it wasn’t really there to set the tone for the rest of the collection, which gives way to more varied — and even gentle — stories in this otherwise unforgiving milieu. Along with tales of battles and their aftermath, there are stories of metamorphosis that clearly draw on a rich mythic and folktale tradition; whose sense of pacing and dramatic irony Morgan manipulates into the viking world with great effect. Among these is the heartbreaking ‘The Mottled Bear’ which, once again, comes with a hard-earned catharsis that will make the reader whoop with vindictive joy through their tears. But there is also ‘To Fetter the Fenris Wolf’, whose metamorphosis comes late in the story to give full bloom to the theme of marginalised women in a patriarchal society. That story also deals with the power of storytelling itself, and is one among many examples in the collection of Morgan using the poetic idiom of key Norse texts such as the Elder Edda to insert stories-within-stories in which the characters reiterate the key

56 Issue 88 April 2017

folk narratives of their time. Some of these poetic interludes are stand-alone entries — ‘At Ragnarok, The Goddesses’, ‘The Shield Wall’, ‘As We Drown and Die’ — but more often they are framed by a wider story, as in ‘The Vulgarity of Giants’, where an imprisoned band of vikings recall the story of Thor vs the giant Geirrod in a desperate attempt to boost their morale. Horror also features heavily in the anthology, which is hardly surprising given Word Horde’s predilection for contemporary weird fiction in general and — as it happens — Lovecraftian fiction in particular, with Morgan channeling the sometimes controversial but enduringly popular pioneer of cosmic horror in not one, but two stories. My favourite from this bunch has got to be ‘With Honey Dripping’,

BOOKS a gloriously perverse depiction of a pagan ritual to ‘Ia SibNjurath’ that is far more sexually explicit than anything Lovecraft would have dared to imagine, with Morgan thankfully going all-out to depict a shocking ritual that achieves a kind of grotesque, orgiastic splendour by dint of being entirely unfettered. On the other hand, ‘Aerkheim’s Horror’ gives a viking spin to the Lovecraftian fear of miscegenation — particularly the ‘fish men’ of ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ — with Morgan evoking a sharp sense of dread as the oblivious viking crew washes up on a seemingly arid island whose ancient inhabitants will not leave without a sanity-shattering fight. There is more traditional horror too, with the vampiretinged ‘Sven Bloodhair’ and the folksy siren tale ‘Njord’s Daughter’. Also noteworthy is ‘Nails of the Dead’, narrated in a voice that would make Edgar Allan Poe proud and whose central image — a ship made entirely out of human nails — will certainly stick in the mind. All of which is to say that The Raven’s Table may not be the revisionist viking story anthology you’re perhaps looking for — though male : female representation is pretty solid, it remains limned by the political realities of the period it depicts, and by a general desire to spin gripping yarns evoking traditional narratives — and neither is it a fl inty, historically accurate portrayal of viking life as it was lived. But Morgan’s collection certainly is a gripping read throughand-through. It takes all the things we find appealing about vikings and their world — the propensity towards righteous violence, a kind of vaunted machismo as a way of life and a mythic world that’s both weird and epic — and distributes them evenly across a tonally rich and inspired set of stories. Morgan certainly taps into the raw nerve of the ‘viking imaginary’, but not in a way that feels mercenary. Rather, this is a labour of love about a period and a people we all seem to find very easy to love, despite their violent, rough edges.


This month we are giving out a copy of DEATH DO US PART by STEVEN DUNNE. What is the original name of the book sequel to Trainspotting?

Send your entries to

by no later than 15 April.

1. Ecstasy 2. Porno 3. Reheated Cabbage

April 2017 Issue 88



Available from John Bull Tel: 21571025, 99448738

started competing in local motorsport in 1964 with a Mini Cooper S. Joe also took part in numerous races in Sicily, including the famous Targa Florio, winning on seven occasions. Now retired, Joe helps Malta's young drivers to compete in Motorsport events in Sicily.

Plenty of silverware for the Malta boys at the post race presentation 58 Issue 88 April 2017

2017 IS ALL

Motor Sports

L GO The 2017 Maltese motorsport season has really gotten off to a great start. Local hill climbs by the ICC galore, drag racing by the MDRA at Hal Far, racing in Sicily, and car and motorcycle off road events by the ASMK at Ta’ Qali. But perhaps the cherry on the cake is Duncan Micallef, officially the fastest man on four wheels in Europe, and Malta’s newly-crowned sportsman of the year. Well done Duncan. You deserve every bit of the glory. Maltese motorsport is proud of you. Three months gone, and three great events with Maltese participation, and indeed plenty of Maltese success in Sicily too. The first round of the 2017 Time Attack championship held at the Autodromo Valle dei Templi, Racalmuto, in early February gave every indication of what was expected for the new season, with a great entry of cars from Sicily, mainland Italy, and of course Malta. An entry of a dozen Maltese cars in February was well beyond expectations, but over 30 cars from Malta alone for the second round in March was just amazing. Add to that a further 100 Italian entries, and the Autodromo Valle dei Templi was like a veritable “who’s who” of Mediterranean motor sport. But as if the Racalmuto organisers didn’t have enough on their plate with 130 cars for the Sunday Time Attack, the track was also brustling with activity throughout Saturday when, at my request, the directors of the autodromo put on a timed “track day” which was well attended by both Maltese and Italian drivers. A number of local single-seater drivers snapped up the opportunity to enjoy a full day of testing at the 2.6km circuit in the beautiful valley of the temples, and these were joined by a good number of Sicilian and Italian drivers who also snapped up the opportunity to do a final bit of tuning to their race cars in anticipation of the first round of the Trofeo Racalmuto scheduled for the last weekend in March. Among these were a good number of FIAT 700 Minicar drivers, and a handful of Formula car drivers. The 700 Minicar race may not be the fastest race at any race meeting, but it is by far the most popular with both competitors and spectators alike. The great thing about this formula of racing is that with the limitations in the regulations it provides very close and evenly matched competition. An average Minicar race will produce a grid of more than 20 very evenly matched cars, so that at the end of an eight-lap heat the gap between the first and the last competitors will be less than the length of the main straight. Now that’s what I call close racing. It looks as though the Campionato di Velocita at Racalmuto, now known as the Trofeo Racalmuto is well and truly coming back to life. Promotor Nando Salerno may have his defects, as we all do,

April 2017 Issue 88


Motor Sports

Daryl Borg is now a regular at Racalmuto Time Attack events with his superb Nissan GTR.

but one of them is certainly not his capability to attract entries for his events. Unfortunately Malta will not be represented at the first round of this championship this year, as our sponsors Virtu Ferries will not be operating during that period, but I expect an entry bursting at the seams again. Hopefully we will be able to make round two in May. The March track day at Racalmuto will stand out and be remembered for more than one reason. For a start it saw the return of six competitive, Maltese, single-seater racing cars in Sicily after an absence of over four years. It was also to see Joshua Anastasi’s lap record for a Maltese driver – 1.02.99 – broken after five years. And the man who did it was none other than Chris Xuereb driving his beautiful ex-Formula 3 Dallara, prepared impeccably by that great enthusiast Noel Galea. Chris shaved precisely nine thousandths of a second off Joshua’s previously-held record. The Sunday Time Attack, the second in this years eight-round series also saw plenty of high speed activity with young Ryan Mangion, his father Jesmond, Daryl Borg, Simon Camilleri, and Daniel Vella among the fastest Maltese production car drivers present. There was plenty of new blood too, which augurs well for local motorsport, and shows clearly what thirst and frustration there is for this popular sport in Malta. But Maltese motorsport doesn’t start and end with the racing. Most of the Italian spectators present couldn’t help but admire the excellent craftsmanship of the Maltese enthusiasts and their cars. Ivan Paul Deidun produced the second fastest time of the weekend in a car he designed and built completely himself.

60 Issue 88 April 2017

His latest creation, IDR2 is not just a good-looker, but it also goes as well as it looks, and is a credit to the young Mosta driver and constructor. Joe “Doda” Borg was also present with his latest creation, a very much modified and improved Radical, now fitted with a monstrous Honda 3 litre V6 engine. This car too is a work of art and a credit to its creator. Unfortunately a number of niggly little problems prevented it from running throughout the weekend, but from the little bit it ran, it certainly showed promise. The car was driven by owner Nikolai Degiorgio. Other single-seater drivers present were young Joseph Caruana who covered over 50 reliable laps with his Yamaha 1000 powered Formula BMW car, Steve Borg who was giving his recently acquired Reynard it’s first outing, and improving as he got used to it with every lap, and Gordon Farrugia who finally had a trouble-free couple of days racing with his Suzuki powered OMS. My little John Bull Mini as usual spent the weekend working overtime, for this time it wasn’t just me driving, but son Josh took his turn at the wheel and, as expected, beat my time in the process. We seem to have finally sorted the bugs on the 16-valve engine which is now indecently quick and reliable, but a couple of experiments that didn’t work in the suspension department meant that the lap times just weren’t there. Back to the drawing board! So what’s next on the programme? For me it’ll be my second visit to the Autodromo MBR near Palermo for round one of the lovely little circuit’s Campionato di Velocita. I raced there for the first time last April and thoroughly enjoyed it, for the circuit suited

Motor Sports

Chris Xuereb drove his Dallara to a new Malta record at Racalmuto

5 of the 6 Maltese single seater drivers present pose for resident photographer Gerlando Sciortino

the Mini perfectly, with its complex fast corners, dips and climbs. Last year the 16-valve engine was still on its very first event, with still a number of bugs to sort out. This year that department should be sorted, so I’m looking forward to a good weekend of close and competitive racing. My friend the great Matteo Vasta

will also be making his comeback with his ballistic Renault Clio after his frightening accident last year, and no doubt we will be sharing a pit garage again, so the Mini will be spending the nights at the circuit in good company, just as it did last year. Roll on the 9th of April.

April 2017 Issue 88



is the Superintendent of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Malta and is active in the field of public health. T: 23266000



Around this time of year, it is quite common for people to suffer from gastroenteritis. The most frequent pathogen for this is Norovirus. This small virus is highly contagious between humans. Even a very small dose is enough to cause infection. Many people refer to this virus as the gastric flu. Usually, people get this virus by ingesting material contaminated with small amounts of infected faeces or fluids. Food and water can be contaminated during processing or handling and this infectious disease is highly transmissible from one person to the other. Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in Malta, similar to other countries. Worldwide, about one out of every five cases of acute gastroenteritis is caused by norovirus. Globally, norovirus is estimated to be the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis. It is responsible for



685 million cases every year, 200 million of these cases are among children younger than five-years-old. This leads to an estimated 50,000 child deaths every year, nearly all of which occur in developing countries. The most common symptoms include vomiting and watery diarrhoea or both and illness usually lasts two to three days and usually resolves by itself. An infected person with vomiting or diarrhoea can contaminate their environment directly or indirectly spread virus particles through aerosolized droplets when vomiting; however, the main route is by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Contamination may also occur in food and/or in water, which has led to infection spreading widely in restaurants, institutions or aboard cruise ships. Outbreaks of norovirus illness occur in nursing homes, hospitals, schools, banquet halls, summer

camps, and even at family dinners. These are all places where people often eat food handled or prepared by others. In fact Norovirus causes about half of all outbreaks of foodrelated illness. Food workers cause most reported norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food. Norovirus may have a prolonged infectious period that starts even before a patient gets sick. There is a short incubation period (up to two days) between the time that people acquire the virus and the time they get symptoms. People may be contagious during this period and whilst they have symptoms. When the symptoms resolve and the person appears to have recovered completely after a norovirus infection, he/she may continue to shed the virus for weeks in their stool and hence may be a source of infection to others directly or through food.

April 2017 Issue 88



Blood saves lives More information may be obtained from: E: T: 220 66 209 | M: 79 307 307

Blood Donation Centre

i n G u a r d a m a n g i a o p e n s 7 d ay s a w e e k f r o m 0 8: 0 0 t i l l 18: 0 0 .

2nd April

23rd April

Qawra ‒ in the building next to parish church (Block C) from 8:30am till 1:00pm

Paola ‒inside the Parish Hall in u è Damato Street (on the right side of the Christ the King Church) from 8:30am till 1:00pm.

Gozo - General Hospital ‒ Inside Outpatients Department from 8:00am till 1:00pm. 9th April Cospicua ‒ inside the Day Centre / Old People s Home close to the Bus Teminus from 8:30am till 1:00pm. 14th April (Good Friday) Naxxar ‒ inside the building next to the Divine Mercy Church from 8:30am till 1:00pm. 16th April (Easter Sunday)

Gozo - General Hospital ‒ Inside Outpatients Department from 8:00am till 1:00pm. 30th April Rabat ‒ mobile team ‒ inside the Agostinian s Convent, next to St. Mark s Church from 8:30am till 1:00pm. Gozo - General Hospital ‒ Inside Outpatients Department from 8:00am till 1:00pm.

M'Xlokk ‒ mobile team ‒ inside Parish Home Hall, in the main square in front of church, from 8:30am till 1:00pm.

w w w.facebook .com/bloodmalta

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus. Anyone can get infected with norovirus and get sick. Also, one can get norovirus illness many times in life. One reason for this is that there are many different types of noroviruses. Being infected with one type of norovirus may not protect against other types. There is no specific treatment or medication for norovirus. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral (not a bacterial) infection. It is important that infected individuals remain well hydrated, drinking plenty of fluids. Although most cases of norovirus infection are mild, complications may occur. Complications are related to the degree of dehydration. People who cannot keep up with fluid losses may require hospitalization for intravenous fluids. Once a person is sick, it is important for all members of the household to use good hand hygiene. Hands should also be washed before preparing food or touching the face. Many studies have shown that washing hands with soap and water is the best and most effective way to reduce infection transmission. Many people do not wash their hands properly so it is wise to emphasise the proper washing of hands. PROCEDURE OF HAND WASHING: • • • • • •

Use running water (not hot) to wet hands Use enough liquid soap to cover all hand surfaces Thoroughly rub over entire hand surface (palms, backs of hands, between fingers and thumbs, nails) Rinse Use disposable paper towel to dry hands Close tap

WHO recommends that hand washing should take 40 to 60 seconds. Cutlery and dishes should not be shared. Diluted chlorine bleach (five to 25 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water) may be used to clean solid surfaces. Other disinfectants can help decontaminate some surfaces. Fruits and vegetables should be washed carefully before eating them. A common source of norovirus is seafood. Seafood such as oysters and other shellfish should be cooked thoroughly before eating them. Studies show that noroviruses are relatively resistant. They can survive temperatures as high as 60°C and quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish. People who are sick should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare. This also applies to sick workers in settings such as schools and daycares where they may expose people to norovirus. It is also important to wash laundry thoroughly. If items are soiled, handle them carefully without agitating them, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after, and wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry them. With the spread of norovirus, many people can be effected however simple steps can prevent the spread of this virus and other infectious diseases. For more information contact the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate on 23266000.

64 Issue 88 April 2017

Vida Issue 88 - April 2017  
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