Archive of ‘Malta Life’ category

10 Shops with Everything You Need For Halloween in Malta

women dressed up standing against decorated fireplace for halloween in malta

 

Love it or hate it, the spookiest week of the year is around the corner and Halloween in Malta has become a BIG deal the last few years.

We now see numerous events held across the island over the last week of October, house parties galore and ‘mass’ trick or treating in various residential areas (with certain households going to town in their decorative efforts) on the day itself. Yes, Halloween in Malta has turned into a large scale celebration.

It’s a far cry from when Halloween on this little island was nothing more than a few children wanting to mess around with makeup/dress up slightly on October 31st or events at the American Embassy and the International School!

Of course this means that more and more shops are providing a range goods to help both young and old enjoy Halloween in Malta to the full.

skeleton, sweets, witches cauldron for halloween in malta

Image courtesy of Flying Tiger, Malta

 

Whether you’re a newcomer to Malta who needs a entire range of Halloween goods or an ‘old timer’ like me who just needs to add a few bits to their existing stock of paraphenalia of costumes and decorations:

 

It’s good to know where to go the in the run up to the spookiest week in the calendar. So I’ve compiled this handy list of 10 shops that will help you get ready for Halloween in Malta!

Shops are listed alphabetically by geographical location

1). Spells, Attard 21421172

Spells is one of Malta’s best-stocked toy/stationery shops, housed over four floors. You’ll not only find idea items for trick or treating but also a decent range of tableware and decor. A loyalty card offering 10% discount is also available.

2). Ta Lira, Iklin (superstore) and various locations

Ta Lira (Malta’s equivalent of the common pound store concept) goes all out for any major occasion and Halloween is no exception. Costumes, trick or treat items and more, at seriously affordable prices.

3). Lidl, Mosta (superstore) and various locations

Depending on the year (sometimes it’s hit and miss), the quality of Lidl’s Halloween items can be hard to beat. Although some of the stores on this list have a larger range of Halloween goods, Lidl often sells items not found elsewhere (at better prices) and of course has the sweets/food side covered too. It’s also rather convenient being able to pick up your Halloween bits and pieces along with your weekly grocery shop!

4). Once Upon a Time, San Gwann 21385006 / 79993226

A party supplies and rental store, this is probably one of Malta’s better known stockists of Halloween items, alongside Mecca. Their Facebook page claims their range of Halloween costumes is MASSIVE (yes in capitals) and they offer items from decor and tableware to outfits and accessories.

5). Flying Tiger, Sliema

Reminiscent of quirky stores that popped up in the UK such as the now long gone Covent Garden General Store, Flying Tiger is a haven for people who like Scandi style design. This store is well worth a visit (although you may want to leave the kids at home as they will go NUTS in here and beg you to buy the entire shop). These folks have some unusual goods in specially for Halloween you’re unlikely to find elsewhere, that are sure to make you smile.

Halloween in malta

Image courtesy of Flying Tiger

6). Mecca Carnival and Toy Centre, St Pauls Bay 2157 3278

One of Malta’s oldest most established toy stores, Mecca has pretty much everything covered in terms of dressing up for Halloween from costumes to wigs to makeup as well as accessories. The layout isn’t open or bright and airy like some of the stores listed but more of an old curiosity shop packed from floor to ceiling. It’s worth a visit and it’s highly unlikely you’ll come away empty-handed!

The following may or may be useful and you may need to call in advance to find out what they have:

7). Toyland Mosta 21411152

8). Bow and Ribbon Naxxar 2141 0382

9). Bemania, Mosta 21419580 / 79373214

10). Party Time,, Rabat 2740 2205

 

Additional Places to consider:

  • It’s also worth considering actual clothes stores such as Kiabi in Burmarrad and Qormi as they often offer outfits for special occasions or at the very least sell accessories near the checkouts.
  • The supermarkets in Malta have come a long way since only selling sweets for Halloween. Toys, masks, decorations and table decor are now available at certain of the larger stores such as: Smart Supermarket and Pama. It looks like Greens Supermarket, Ibragg are getting in on the act although judging by how they wrote this board, it looks like they may be selling something else 🙂

Happy Halloween!

Malta, The Sunny Paradise With Dark Secrets: Caruana Galizia Murder

daphne caruana galzia murder image of journalist smiling against sunny backdrop

The despicable murder (and make no mistake: ALL murder is despicable) of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has confirmed what many of us already knew: that democracy in Malta is a dangerous dream and freedom of speech is a bad joke.

‘Be careful what you write’ I was warned by a close relative who called to express their shock.

And there you have it.

If freedom of speech really does exist in Malta, why should anyone watch their words when talking about one of the most shameful atrocities to take place in Malta?

If Malta – an EU member – is a democracy, why did the Caruana Galizia murder happen?

Be careful what you write… Well I’ve written about my views on self-censorship before. This time, however, I don’t even know what to write!

I’m sitting in front of the keyboard as a human, woman, mother, wife, daughter, writer feeling as sick as I did when I went to bed last night and when I woke up this morning.
I feel horrified over the actions of the people who felt they had the right to take her life, heartbroken for her family and more than a little scared for this country.

 

Forthright, outspoken, controversial, fearless, fierce? Yes Caruana Galizia was all of these things, whether your liked her or not. 

These were traits that clearly made her troublesome to the individuals she investigated in the political/commercial/legal spheres; individuals on whom she unearthed information in her relentless quest to rid Malta of the disease of corruption and the sense of unquestionable entitlement that has infected it for so very long

Whether one read her blog or not, one had heard of her.

Whether one appreciated her direct (many would say ‘confrontational’) style of writing, one had to admit she had nerves of steel that most of us do not possess.

 

I know all too well how defensive people get about Malta.

Any writer who gets a reaction to their work knows the power of words is immense. I learned this when I published a serious piece about my adoptive home a while back.  I took on every commenter one by one. And whilst it is still one of my most viewed posts some two years later (and received just as much of a positive response as it did negative), the sad truth of it was that it really did show me that this sunny country has a very dark side.

One wonders:

how many other ‘inconvenient truths’ she would have uncovered?

how many other people she would have terrified who wanted their illegal activities kept in the dark?

how many youngsters wanting to go into journalism, opinion writing etc are now discouraged after this hideous tragedy?

how being an investigative journalist (she is not the first to have died for what she did) could become this dangerous?

As the myriad of tweets that filled Twitter have said, how is this happening in 2017? How is this country going backwards so dramatically instead of forwards?

How do people like Ramon Mifsud – who expressed his happiness over Caruana Galizia’s assassination with the shocking comment: “Everyone gets what they deserve, cow dung! Feeling happy.” – make it into the police force? Worse: how do they stay there?

Let that sink in for a minute:
a policeman whose job
(or at least to my knowledge this is what the police force in any country is supposed to do)
is to uphold the law and protect its citizens, is rejoicing over the premeditated murder of a civilian who sought the truth.

This is someone’s son and worse still: someone’s father. Does he want his own son growing up in a country whose citizens can’t trust their government, law enforcement representatives and so on?

 

Many have been saying on social media since the awful news of the Caruana Galizia murder broke: that democracy in Malta has fallen along with the deceased journalist.

Galizia’s bank accounts were frozen and she had even been arrested for her work. Was democracy was ever allowed to soar in the first place?!

One just has to look at how people conducted themselves during this year’s Malta elections. People were torn to shreds by others for simply putting forward their opinions in a mature manner on their own social media profiles. Debate between so called adults turned into outright volatile hostile arguments. And let’s not even go into how the supporters of the winning party behaved after they won. You think Brexit brought out the nasty side of people…

Mexit was no better.

Freedom of speech in Malta? Please.

As Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew (who discovered his mother’s obliterated car and body after hearing the explosion) wrote in his heartbreaking searingly truthful Facebook post:

Yes, this is where we are: a mafia state where you can now change your gender on your ID card (thank God for that!) but where you will be blown to pieces for exercising your basic freedoms.

As I end this piece, I am well aware that someone somewhere (and as you know from the aforementioned Dear Malta post, I know this from experience) will probably say I have no business writing about this because I’m not Maltese.

Yes, that’s democracy and freedom of speech in Malta for you.

RIP Daphne Caruana Galizia.

 

HAVE YOUR SAY! by using the Facebook or website comments box below.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons below.

DON’T MISS THE NEXT POST! just pop your email address in the orange top banner.

TO FOLLOW my pearls of wisdom entertainment on social media check out: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks Muchly!

12 Sure Signs You’ve Become Maltese…a Bit

title on malta flag background for ways to know you've become maltese

So 9th October 2017 marked my 12th anniversary of living in Malta.

Can someone please tell me how have I survived this long ha ha. I say that both in astonishment and with great affection!

Recently I shared some funny anecdotes of my life in this unique corner of the Mediterranean, over on my Facebook page captioning it ‘#YouKnowYouveBecomeABitMalteseWhen… Some of my followers based in/originally from Malta commented with hilarious anecdotes of their own (more on that in a sec). I kept these in mind and voilà the theme of this year’s Malta anniversary was born!

So as is now annual AbPrab tradition, I thought I’d take another lighthearted look at this mad dusty rock.  

Please leave any Malta sensitivities at the door, get your laughter hat on and read on, without taking this too seriously!

Here are 12 scenarios that happen commonly in Malta and signs you know you’ve (well I know I have anyway!) become Maltese (a bit). Oh and remember what I said about my AbPrabbers commenting on the various Facebook posts? Well some of their comments have made it into this post. Look out for the quotes in large font.

 

1. You see an open-ended cable hanging from the ceiling right down to the floor in a supermarket/cafe/etc…

If you still lived in your home country, you’d be horrified and ask for the manager and…wait…you wouldn’t see this in your home country…

via GIPHY

Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit): you don’t even notice it as you walk past the first time and automatically just step around the cable.  I mean it’s just an open-ended cable in a public place and could merely electrocute someone right? MELA.

2. Talking of which…the Maltese language!

You think the terms Mela and Uwejja are the Best. Words. EVER

3. You see a bunch of tourists wearing a vest and shorts in October…

If you still lived in your home country: you’d be in a vest and shorts if it was 25 degrees too.
Hell, if it was 25 degrees in October in your country, you’d go to work in swimwear if you could.
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit): You chuckle to yourself at how cute these tourists ‘who never see the sun’ are. You’re wearing jeans. Because it’s Autumn. Yes it’s 25 degrees outside but it’s Autumn.

4. You’ve waited patiently for your turn in a queue only for the cashier to serve the person behind you, without even consulting you.

When you first moved here, you literally Could. Not. Believe. This. Happens. Your blood just BOILED. You didn’t stand for it and would insist the other customer waits their turn.
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit): You say nothing. You don’t even get annoyed by the other customer not thanking you. It all just feels quite logical. Or as one AbPrabber put it:

You know you’re Maltese when you begin to think that people who obsess about forming an orderly queue need to just chill out a bit.

5. You get stuck in traffic trying to reach the end of a road, only to find it’s closed and that the traffic was just caused by the 20 poor sods now trying to turn their car around to go back the way they came BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SIGN at the road’s entrance.

When you first moved here, you’d get angry about this for days. Seriously DAYS.
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit): You forget about it 30 minutes later. On your next trip home, your brain nearly falls out in amazement when a friend shows you some SciFi-like actual APP that alerts drivers to road works and diversions!!

6. Talking of driving (okay I know the driving thing is a WHOLE separate book but…): you stop your car in the middle of the road to chat to a friend coming the other way.

If you still lived back home: well…people just don’t do this back home. It’s a crime as severe as high treason.
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit):
You’ve no idea why you even mentioned this in rage to people back home when they would ask how you were settling in, the first year.

7. You see the new larger security hall at Malta airport…

If you were still new to Malta: You’d think ‘About blooming time they joined this century’
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit):
You are SO impressed you take a picture of one of the signs and actually congratulate one of the security hall agents on the improved facilities. Oh…just me?

airport signage in signs you've become Maltese post

 

8. You want to go out for a walk/run/other outdoor exercise mid August.

When you first moved to Malta: You thought this was irresponsible and googled the risks of exercising in a hot climate and slapped on a bottle of suncream (even though it was 8pm)
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit): You’re really happy it’s finally ‘cooled down only’ 30 degrees.

9. You see some fruit/veg fall out of a box at the farmers’ market/supermarket/vegetable truck and roll to the ground. The assistant picks it up and throws it back in the box.

If this happened in your home country, you’d be disgusted, start shopping somewhere else and the shop would close down within weeks after someone reports their hygiene standards.
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit): you say nothing, carry on with your shopping and just wash it when you get home. I mean it’s just rolled around on a germy surface; what’s the big deal? Mela.

10. You go to Gozo for a Summer break.

When you first moved to Malta: You thought this was utterly hilarious and couldn’t believe people considered this a holiday, when they hadn’t even left the Maltese islands.
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit):
You are SO ridiculously excited about getting off the rock and er…going to another rock – you actually Instagram about it (a lot).

11. A waiter/shop assistant/someone in the service industry says “Yes” instead of “Next please” or “How can I help?”

When you first moved to Malta: You flinched in absolute horror at such abruptness and mannerless customer service.
Sure sign you’ve become Maltese (a bit): You don’t bat an eyelid and wonder why your visiting guest is staring open-mouthed at the assistant.

12. Another shop-related one and probably my absolute favourite from a blog follower:

You stop the car outside your local grocer, shout in your  shopping list from the comfort of the drivers seat and ask him to bag it up whilst you go and park!

via GIPHY

Joking apart, we all know there are things that need to change about Malta. But then there are surely things about your home country that drive you totally nuts and make you glad to be on the mad rock. Nowhere is perfect.

So for now, let’s just put it all down to the charm of the Mediterranean.

Mela!

You can read the previous Malta anniversary posts here:

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
side profile of Prabs looking out to sea

Where Is Home?

woman in atlas swimsuit home is where

20 Crazy Things About Malta

 

ARE YOU A NON-MALTESE LIVING IN MALTA? WHAT’S ON YOUR LIST?

HAVE YOUR SAY! by using the Facebook or website comments box below.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons below.

DON’T MISS THE NEXT POST! just pop your email address in the orange top banner.

TO FOLLOW my pearls of wisdom entertainment on social media check out: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks Muchly!

20 Crazy Things About Malta I Thought I’d Never Get used To!

20-things-about-malta-featured

Disclaimer: if you’re one of the people who took offence to ‘that post’ or you have a habit of skim reading, please note:
1) this post is written with affection for Malta and the term 20 crazy things about Malta should be taken with a pinch of salt as I had to pick a short snappy title
2) I choose my words respectfully and carefully when writing…so if you intend to comment I request that you do the same
3) if you think this post is meant to insult, it’s a good idea to come back hereand reread this bit.

So….it’s that time of year again.  The time of year when I suddenly realise marks yet another anniversary of my arrival in Malta

(which I have written about previously from different angles in Should I Stay and Home is Where).  A time of year when my disbelief at still living on ‘the rock’, is at its greatest.  Yes, this 9th October was eleven years since I left loving family, interminable traffic, the vibrant culture and the relentlessly grey clouds of the UK (sorry but that’s usually the first thing that strikes me when I land at Heathrow) for the endlessly sunny blue skies, bumpy roads, simpler  lifestyle and 1970’s supermarkets of a country I couldn’t even point out on a world map.

I actually forgot today was the exact date (despite spending the last two months telling people I’d lived here almost eleven years) until I bumped into a couple of friends on the beach (both of them expats).

One of them told me about a woman who has given up trying to make a happy life here as she has found the adjustment too hard for various reasons

which I won’t go into here as this post is not about bashing Malta as already explained at the start.  I got to thinking about the number of people I’ve known who left the island for the same reasons as this woman and I couldn’t help wondering why we have stayed for nine years longer than we planned (!) and what we like about it.  Inevitably, I also thought about some of the unusual stuff you see here.  I think our longevity in Malta has been partly due to our capacity to endure the rough with the smooth, partly our ability to just have a good laugh at the daft bits and mainly our steadfast refusal to go back to the blooming rain and high prices we left!

Anyway, I can’t let a Malta anniversary go by without writing something.  So after the hard-hitting but honest Dear Malta You’re Breaking my Heart and the pensive How Has it Come to This?

I think it’s time I take a light-hearted look at life on the rock based on my experience.

There is so much I’ve got used to (admittedly a lot of it reluctantly) over the last 11 years to the point where I often don’t realise, until guests come over and express total shock at this that, just how much of the Mediterranean madness has become second nature to me!  If you had told me 11 years ago that I would find ANY of the following ‘normal’, I would have thought you were out of your mind. Here is my list of 20 Crazy Things About Malta that I never in a million years believed I’d actually do myself or get used to (and yes the original list was longer but I narrowed it down for everyone’s sake because sometimes Netflix is more important).  Oh and er…remember the disclaimer.

I never thought I would:

1. Go to a new furniture store..not because I need furniture…but because it’s a day out. (I think I just blushed.)

2. Get stuck behind a lorry/rubbish truck/car driver who has not broken down but is merely chatting to someone they’ve seen on the pavement…and that I would just sit there…without getting out the car or hooting in good old 1990’s road rage style (must be going soft in my old age).

3. Get used to the sound of fireworks.  Every day.  For three months.

4. Ask at a grocery store if I can just leave the money for my one item instead of waiting behind that woman with the large trolley. I’d NEVER do that in the UK for fear of getting lynched.

5. Read a headline in the local paper about a sulky driver, think “Oh my God what a rude way to describe that poor driver” before realising they meant the driver of a vehicle known as a sulky…not that the driver of a car was in a bad mood.

picture of sulky driver in Malta

This is a sulky (noun NOT adjective!) driver

6. Say ‘I’m ready” when I mean “I’ve finished”.  This is quite possibly the biggest surprise of them all considering how I wanted to Rip. My. Own. Ears. Off. every time I heard someone say this the first few years here.

7. Go to Lidl!  Never mind the blooming furniture store.  Ruddy hell, I never thought I’d go to Lidl. (Gold star to those of you who follow my Facebook page and have just worked out this is what I refer to as ‘the shop that shall not be named’.)

8. Complain about the traffic…when there are in fact only twelve cars in front of me.  Talking of which:

I also never expected to hear a  radio DJ guess the state of play on the roads because his particular radio station does not have an official traffic update service (in the form of helicopters with reporters hired to provide actual real time info).  This happened about two weeks ago and I almost had to park up, I was laughing so much.  He just hypothesised about how many cars may or may not be on the roads and which areas may or may not have traffic. Funniest thing I’ve heard in ages.

9. Feel perfectly comfortable walking down the street in a sarong and flip flops behind three barely-dressed children (my kids, not some randoms).

10. Accept it when a cafe only offers ham and cheese sandwiches or cheese and ham sandwiches or cheese sandwiches or ham sandwiches.

11. Park on double yellow lines (sssssshhhhhhh).

12. Get charged 2.50 euros for a cappuccino and think ‘ooh that’s expensive’.  I mean it’s twice that in my home town!

13. Avoid enrolling my children in a particular sport because the location is a whopping 15 minute drive. You really do have to live here to get that one!!

14. Sing high praise for the excellent customer service and wonderfully friendly staff at such and such a place…when actually all they did was say please and thank you and serve me within ten minutes of walking in, you know, their job.

15. Leave my car key with a total stranger instead of waiting for a space in a car park and taking my key with me.

16. Go into raptures over an ‘amazing new’ cafe/hotel/shop, baffling a guest visiting from abroad who looks at me as if every brain cell has fallen out of my skull because in actual fact said cafe/hotel/shop is nothing special and I’ve simply lowered my expectations.

17. Have the following exchange (more than once)
Me: “Please can I have still water?”
Waiter:  “Yes, still or sparkling?”
and not want to scream.

18. Pay 4 euros for a tiny broccoli head. I mean actually pay it.  Without asking if it was grown in  gold soil.  And leave with my broccoli.  Without whispering a breath of complaint. Or sarcasm. Never thought I’d see the day…miracle.

20. Not be in the slightest bit surprised at returning to a local beach restaurant, months after a visiting friend fell off the back verandah due to inadequate safety standards (breaking her leg and requiring surgery) only to see that NOTHING has been done to erect a protective railing since then.  Shame on you Las Palmas.  [Clearly this is one not-at-all-funny point in this list.]

As I finish writing this at 11pm, someone is sitting in a car hooting their horn instead of getting out and ringing the doorbell of the person they’re visiting…and all my lights have gone out.

Well it is in the Mediterranean Darling!

Mela.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE…DO YOU KNOW MALTA WELL? WHAT WOULD BE ON YOUR LIST OF CRAZY THINGS ABOUT ISLAND?

HAVE YOUR SAY! by using the Facebook or website comments box below.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons on the side.

DON’T MISS THE NEXT POST! just pop your email address in the orange top banner.

TO FOLLOW my pearls of wisdom entertainment on social media check out:
Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks Muchly!

My Sunday Photo 10th April

my-sunday-photo-10-april

So this is the first time I’m posting a photo for the #MySundayPhoto series hosted by Photalife! Can’t believe it really, considering how much I snap away on that most advanced complex skill-demanding photographic instrument, the iPhone.  Anyway, despite having a mountain of DIY projects and ever-neglected chores to do around the house, we headed out for a quick walk to the stunning Ghan Tueffieha Bay, known locally as Riviera.  I say quick because we slept in til super late o’clock, had to rush Cheeky K to a birthday party and by the time we’d had a late breakfast, didn’t have much time left til we had to be back home again for a super important event: Manchester v Tottenham….snoooooooore.

Anyway, I really struggled to pick one photo for My Sunday Photo 10th April because I have to say of all the pictures I’ve taken over the time we’ve lived here, today was quite possibly the day where I took THE most stunning ones.  We walked up the top of Ghan Tuffieha, above the beach, along the beautiful open rocky terrain, to a stunning rock that looked like something out of a breathtaking film scene (hardly surprising when you consider that Malta has been used in the making of numerous films such as Count of Monte Cristo, Troy and most recently, By the Sea (with Brangelina).  I got some incredible shots of the kids, paddle boarders, surfers and landscape in general. This picture was taken whilst downing a quick cappuccino before racing back home, you know, for that match that was much more important than spending quality time with one’s kids (ugh).  If you look closely, you can see a surfer in the waters.

[She let out a happy sigh.]

OneDad3Girls

Dear Malta, You’re Breaking My Heart

The weekly blog series #effitfriday by Modern Dad Pages and Life With Baby Kicks showcases posts by bloggers who want to have a bit of a rant – funny or serious – about anything they want. Up til now, I’ve dug up something from my archives but this time I wrote something specifically for #effitfriday. Will it bring on some haters? Maybe. Do some things need to be said instead of always being politely suppressed out of fear of offending? Definitely. So if this loses me a few readers, so be it.

Here’s the thing. Many people know how positive I am about Malta. I’ve sung her praises in 30 Things That Make Me Happy, Should I Stay or Should I Go, my instagram pics and Facebook posts. Overall, I am grateful for the life I am able to live in Malta. An average of 300 days of sunshine, a safe environment, a house 100 metres from the sea…we left London behind and have never regretted it. I am blessed. I know this. And frankly, I think, when you choose to live in a country that you did not grow up in, you try to show respect towards and appreciation of that country. After all, I guess if you don’t like it…

I know no country is perfect. Every country has its negative aspects. But the negative aspects are starting to get me down a bit. You can’t tar an entire country’s people with the same brush of course. There are wonderful reasonable open-minded level-headed people here. So I’m sorry if I put anyone’s few noses out of joint, but it’s time for an #effitfriday rant about my adoptive country, this mad dusty little rock I’ve called home for almost ten years:

Dear-Malta

Dear Malta, when you leave a pushchair/washing machine/rusty bike/plastic bottles etc on the side of a road or on a picturesque path or you get up from a beach/picnic area leaving coffee cups, beer bottles, plates and napkins strewn across the area where you were sitting, you depress me with your utter disrespect for the environment when your own houses are spotlessly clean.

Dear Malta, when the fishmonger at that supermarket shouts at me, brings the whole shop to a standstill, reduces me to tears in front of my girls, causes the manager to get involved begging the fishmonger to serve me and begging me not to make a formal complaint (!), you make me question how some people are just so damned pigheaded and horrible.

Dear Malta, when your drivers, knowingly come the wrong way down a one-way road towards me, refusing to reverse even though they are stopping me from driving the correct way up the road and become aggressive when I point out their ‘error’ – day after day after effing day – you test my ability to understand humans who cannot/will not acknowledge their wrong doing.

Dear Malta, when I go to a wedding and a friend makes no secret of her distaste at ‘the immigrant’ situation and complains loudly – from her privileged vantage point over champagne and canapés – about how she has stopped going to her favourite vegetable shop as it is full of “****ing Arabs”, you make me question how humankind is so unable to empathise with others who endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy that causes them to flee their own country.

Dear Malta, when I finally get to go out for a much needed night out, drive around for ages and grab what seems to be the only parking spot only to get verbally abused by a Neanderthal shouting “Move your car” – and then once I’ve moved on to another spot get abused again by the same driver slowing down to yell “This is MY country, not YOUR country”…you kill me with your racist narrow mindedness.

Dear Malta, when I stand in a queue at the supermarket, shortly before I need to collect my kids, and a women in front of me who had only one basket in her hand then calls her husband over who rocks up with an entire trolley (and I start to ask “Ah which queue were you in?” only to get as far as “Ah” before said woman jumps down my throat in the ugliest most aggressive mannerless way, you make me wonder how the younger generation will learn how to conduct themselves.

Dear Malta, when your customer service is so lacking that the customer feels like they are a burden and you are doing them an enormous favour by eventually giving them a menu/stopping your conversation with your colleague to bark “Yes!” instead of “Hello how can I help?”/slamming their change down on the checkout ignoring the customer’s outstretched hand, you puzzle me as to how you still have soooo much to learn, years after you got into the EU and years after you might have learned something from us foreigners’ reaction to such customer service.

Dear Malta, when you constantly use the word ‘foreigner’, not realising how offensive it is to every expat living (and spending money) on your island (and when you try to get away with charging me “foreigners’ prices for my fruit and veg etc) you dishearten me and make me wonder why you insist on encouraging this divide.

Dear Malta, when you ignore sense, humanity and the conservation issue and let a referendum through that allows the barbaric shooting of birds during a two week period in their critical breeding season, where the poor dears are merely passing through your country as they migrate to other places, you leave me speechless at your cold-heartedness.

Dear Malta, out of respect, I’ve written nothing like this in 19 months of blogging. But respect is a two way thing…and it needs to be earned… So please, Malta, stop breaking my heart.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE…DID YOU LIKE THIS POST?

If so go tell everyone about it! Just use the share buttons below to give it a shout out.

You can leave a comment in the box below too!

Thanks!

Linked these to:

Life with Baby Kicks
Domestic Momster

 

The Dad Network
My Random Musings
Modern Dad Pages
Best of Worst

And Just Like That…She’s Gone

 

Image courtesy of Eloise Robbertze Photography

Image courtesy of Eloise Robbertze Photography

Summer was a-coming…A.C. units were a-humming.

Then Summer was here, yay!

We put away the jeans, got out the sun cream and

“Hope it’s not a scorcher” we did say.

 

And then…

Fruit and Veg Carts

Image Courtesy of Eloise Robbertze Photography

 

Carts piled with melons, strawberries and peaches,

Buses with tourists all heading to the beaches.

Milk shakes, iced coffees, wine coolers and ice creams,

Barbecues, Valletta views and poolside kiddie screams.

And Just Like That...She's Gone

 

Girls on their deck chairs under sun umbrellas,

Lads and their long stares…fellas will be fellas.

Super yachts, cruise ships and glorious white sails,

Boiling hot days, Golden Bay, rosé and cocktails.

And Just Like That...She's Gone

 

Blazing sun and intense blue skies; the drivers become even more crazy,

No rain for months, the fields are dry and everyone’s tired and lazy.

Empty playgrounds, semi full cinemas but all the beaches are packed,

One day in this heat, the kids are beat and every mother is whacked.

 

Banana boats, pedalos, snorkellers, bikinis and jet skis,

Paragliders, intrepid divers, the Maltese summer is about the sea.

Painted toes + mojitos = nights out with girlfriends,

Festas and hot balmy nights and humidity with no end.

And Just Like That...She's Gone

Image courtesy of Eloise Robbertze Photography

 

Strapless dresses, sun hats, shorts, vests and flip flops,

Essential summer clothing…but some time late October it will all stop.

Then suddenly from sun block and sand and swimming off the rocks,

It will be hoodies, rain macs and winter socks.

And Just Like That...She's Gone

 

Hunters shooting, car horns hooting and months of deafening fireworks,

In the Med, you need pills for your head because the noise just drives you beserk.

Crickets chirping, children splashing, these are the sounds of our summer.

But put away the sun hat because just like that…

And Just Like That She's Gone

…she’s gone. Man…what a bummer.

LIKED THIS POST?

Then tell your people about it! It’s super quick and easy. Just use the share buttons below to give it a shout out on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest etc.

And why not leave a comment in the box below too?

Thank you my lovelies!

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

So October 9th this year, it was exactly nine years since I arrived in Malta

with a 15 month-old Musical M to join my hubby and embark on a life in the sun (well…actually we thought it was going to be two or three years in the sun). Nine years, two more kids, many near misses on the roads and a few sun-induced wrinkles later, we’re STILL here. We’ve hummed and hawed over the years about leaving and flirted with various possiblities including more than a mere flirtation with the idea of moving to the States which didn’t materialise after being turned down twice for the visa (their loss I say). Yet, here we still very much are. A friend of ours said during our trip back to London this Summer “So nine years in Malta…wow really guys, what’s the appeal?!” For me, Hubster’s reply really hit the nail on the head and I couldn’t have put it better myself; but more on that in a minute.

This year is Musical M’s last year of elementary school.

She started age three…and next year she’ll move to Middle School. I can hardly believe it. It’s the only school she and Dreamy D have ever known and Cheeky K just started too. I’ve had some of the teachers twice because of three kids at the same school so we’re part of the furniture by now. We’re in no rush to leave Malta as it really has become home but I can’t help wondering sometimes if it’s time to move on. I’ve never seen myself settling in one place forever as I’m a bit of nomad at heart but when you have kids in the mix, it changes things a bit. So what does one do when trying to answer the question of ‘should I stay or should I go’? Draw up a list of reasons to stay in Malta versus reasons to leave course!

Should-I-Stay-or-Should-I-Go-featured


REASONS TO STAY IN MALTA vs REASONS TO LEAVE

They Are in No Hurry to Take My Money…
I can turn up at the hairdressers/restaurant/doctors without my wallet (I do this rather a lot) and I can still get a haircut/meal/appointmet and just pay next time I go. What’s more, I can borrow items from certain stores to try out/show Hubster and then just return them at a later date without even leaving so much as my phone number or a deposit.

…But They Seem To Be In A Big Hurry to Take My Life
They routinely drive through red lights as I”m coming through my green, overtake on double lines on a tight bend with zero visibility and ignore no entry signs driving straight at me. (FYI apparently their misdemeanours are not their fault; they’re mine.)

 

It’s So Easy to Get to Know People…
I know the guy who runs the car park at Golden Bay, the staff at our local beach restaurant, the owner of our local convenience store, the chap who comes round with his fruit and veg truck, the fishmonger at the supermarket – all by name. This is a big deal when you come from London where you can live next to the same person for ten years and never know their name.

…But Not If They Are in The Medical Profession
We’ve had the same doctor for a few years and he still looks at me like he’s never seen me or any of my kids before. Meanwhile the staff of the state hospital look at us like we built a boat and rowed all the way from India to seek refuge in Malta and one of the nurses I had at the birth of Cheeky K clearly thought I’d had one too many children and simply couldn’t find it in herself to be civil at any point during my five day stay in hospital.

 

If You Need to Look Good You’re Probably in the Right Place…
I have never seen so many hair salons, nail bars or beauty salons before.

…If You Need Decent Shopping, You’re In The Wrong Place
So you’ve got perfect hair, neat nails and you’ve been thoroughly ‘defluffed’ (oh come on…you didn’t really think I’d let this post go by without a tiny bit of Prabulous humour did you?). Now try finding great shoes and amazing clothes to go with it. Good luck with that. This ain’t New York, Paris or London baby…

 

The Weather…
Clear blue skies, infrequent rain and an average of 300 annual days of sunshine. What’s not to like?

…Erm…The Weather
It may not be Dubai or India but the four months of intense heat and two months of slightly less intense heat but awful humidity can be unbearable…not to mention all that sun on the skin… And when it does rain, they are shockingly ill prepared for it.

 

And the Water!
Apparently we have the most turquoise waters in the Mediterranean! I mean just look at these scenes! These were all genuinely taken with my phone during various days out around Malta and not from a tourism site. And the one bottom left really is down the road from where we live and I can stop off and fit in a cheeky half hour of snorkelling there.

4-pic-collage-for-blog

By the way, if these photos make you want to come here, then these guides might inspire you:

 

Safety and The Simpler Life…
They may moan about how the island is changing and blame most of the ‘negative’ change on their favourite ‘f’ word…(’foreigners’) but it is still one of the safest places to live…a major consideration when you have kids. It’s a simpler life here. There is a beauty in that.

…Safe and Simple Isn’t Always Fun
Much safer and fewer things to do also means way less buzz. Nope, this sure ain’t New York, London or Paris.

 

It’s Lovely How Everyone knows Everyone…
There’s no need to be nervous if you’re going to a social event on your own because there is a 90% chance that you’ll walk in and know at least five people there, it’s such a small island.

…It’s A Nightmare How Everyone Knows Everyone
You have to seriously watch what you say. It will ALWAYS come back to bite you if you don’t, it’s such a small island.

 

You Don’t Have to Book Way Ahead For Events…
None of this months in advance nonsense…partly because they only advertise concerts or events about a month before the date. Well it is the Mediterranean Darling.

…Unless The Event is a Beauty Treatment
Women would rather go hungry here than not have tidy nails or fancy hair.  Luckily I can call my magician lady at 4elements and she’ll squeeze me in for an emergency appointment even if she’s fully booked (I’m Indian. We have hair. I’m not being superficial. Believe me, it’s an emergency.)

 

A Night Out Doesn’t Cost a Fortune…
Crazy transport prices, exhorbitant parking costs, insane drinks prices…nope…don’t have that.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

…But You’ll Always End up Going to the Same Places
Boring.

 

A Tiny Island Means Short Distances…
Nothing is more than a 15 minute drive away. The kids’ school is a five minute drive away and my daily/weekly life pretty much takes place within a two mile radius. It’s liberating.

…But It Also Means Cabin Fever
When everything is reachable so quickly, you start craving the chance to let rip on long smooth open roads and actually drive. Problem is if you let rip on the roads of Malta and drive, you’d just end up in the sea. Not so liberating.

 

Life’s a Beach…
Whether it’s a full day relaxing at Golden Bay on the weekends or just delaying the reality of homework/dinner/evening routine by stopping off after school at our local beach for a cooling midweek swim, the beach is never far away. Heaven.

Should i stay beach collage

…But Sometimes The Beach Is The Only Thing To Do
…especially during those four blisteringly hot months of the year when It is just too hot to do anything not involving a cooling swim.

Still, you can’t do that in New York, Paris or London.

Or as Hubster said to our friends, “When you start the conversation about where to move to ‘next’ and you sit down and try to make a list of countries that have what Malta has, you end up with a very short list.”  About a year after we moved here – once I’d got over my ‘rock shock’ – I realised it’s not about what Malta doesn’t have; it’s about what it does have.

Think we’ll stay a little bit longer then.

Phew. I’m glad that’s decided.

LIKED THIS POST?

Then tell everyone about it! It’s super quick and easy. Just use the share buttons below to give it a shout out on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest etc.

Thank you my lovelies!

28 Reasons Why You’d Hate To Go To The Beach With My Family

Right, so we’re back at school but here in Malta we still have at least a month of this hot humid ‘What’s the point of even showering cos I’m just gonna need another one in about five minutes’ weather to go. Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather have this than a start stop ‘is the sun coming out – ooh look there’s a ray of sun – oh no I can hear rain coming’ type of summer. But what goes hand in hand with hot humid Mediterranean weather people? Beach trips.

Ah yes…beach trips…

You'd-Hate-to-go-to-the-Beach-featured-image

Basically, I reckon we pack more stuff for an afternoon on the beach than most families pack for an entire vacation. I swear it’s enough to make your teeth ache. I was going to pick another part of the body for that last sentence but this is a family show. If it’s not enough to make your teeth hurt, it is definitely enough to put you off ever wanting to come to the beach with me and my kids.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself. This is the sheer arse-ache inducing (whoops…there goes my family show status) amount of crap we take:

*****************************

Obligatory beach towels with garish Hello Kitty, Spiderman and Monster High designs: Check.

Snacks (which started off as “let me whip up some home-made hummus and wholemeal wraps and four different fruits and get some low salt crackers and freshly squeezed orange juices while I’m at it” at the start of the summer and ended up more like “I know it’s out of a packet and full of salt and sugar but frankly if I never have to step foot inside a kitchen ever again I’ll pee myself with happiness so put it in the bag NOW and we’ll just order milkshakes when we get there” rubbish: Check.

Toilet paper (yep…this is the Med…take your own toilet paper folks): Check.

Kids’ individual water bottles: Check.

Waterproof low-on-pesky-chemicals sun cream which cost me a fortune: Check.

Non-waterproof organic sun cream which cost marginally less than the waterproof one: Check.

My book The Day I Realised There Was Too Much Sand in My Life by Ivana Manservant Towashitov (which I ironically won’t get a minute to read because I’m at the beach with kids): Check.

Baby wipes (because God forgive me, I know there are mountains of the world’s used wipes  contributing to criminal amounts of environmentally hazardous waste but occasionally they come in useful and I swear I don’t use them much): Check.

Talc to help rub the sand off their bodies because my youngest gets her mini freak on when her feet get sand on them (I know…it’s a beach…there’s sand…lots of): Check.

9 buckets, 11 spades and way more beach toys than three kids could possibly need for one afternoon: someone sedate me and Check.

Towel swim-robes still damp from yesterday’s swim: Check.

More snacks: Check.

Cooler bag: Check.

Beach mat: Check.

Inflatable swimming ring. No not for the kids…for their mother in case she accidentally orders a mojito (what? I need something ice cold on a steaming hot day alright?) and she almost sinks afterwards: Hell yeah, Check.

Lilo which I bought, praying it wouldn’t puncture less than one month after buying it: Check.

Arm bands: Check.

Snorkeling gear x 4: Check.

Useless ineffective tape for the lilo because the buggering thing did in fact puncture less than one month after buying it: bloody flipping Check.

Sun umbrellas which threaten to fly off and injure innocent tourists x 2: Check.

2 portable sun loungers: Check.

Few more snacks…just in case (just in case what? just in case they never see food again?): Check.

Swim goggles: Check.

Spare swimsuit for little one: Check.

Extra water to refill kids’ bottles: Check.

Beach chairs (which I just had to buy in case I couldn’t face cajoling and coaxing and eventually breaking the damned sun loungers out of the back of the car and therefore needed something smaller and more manageable to sit on) x 2: Check.

Umbrella bases which I succumbed to buying after a few too many innocent tourists were in fact injured: Check.

Brown paper bag to hide the bottle of gin I’m gonna need after packing all this shit and carting it down the beach: CHECK.

*****************************

Right, we’re ready to go to the beach.

For crying out loud, now where are my sunglasses?!

P.S. No I’m not going back in the house to put a jellyfish first aid kit together. Let’s just GO.