Tag Archives: Malta

Finding your happy place – the power of positivity

At the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island, off the coast of Malta

At the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island, off the coast of Malta

With everything that has been going on lately, I’ve really learnt the value of having a happy place that I can escape to in my mind when things get a bit too much. I was always one of those lucky ones before whose happy place was everyday life and I didn’t need to think about somewhere to escape to, but as happens to us all over time, it has become my haven of late.

I haven’t been the best-tempered person lately and have really lost my patience with a lot of things and people – perhaps a sign that I let people get away with too much or that I did far too much extra work before now and that I was just realising that I gain nothing from this. Perhaps just me getting annoyed at things that shouldn’t bother me because of my situation, but either way  – I have noticed the affect of my changes in behaviour on the people around me.

It is interesting to watch how people react to you differently when things like this happen. I am usually the brightest, most cheerful and upbeat person around who will do anything for anyone, is endlessly patient, will take on extra work with no complaints and who is always on hand to cheer people up or help them out. Since all my drama I have been a lot less patient with people, in fact its like my patience has snapped and I have been a lot less inclined to do special favours for people or to take on their workloads as well as my own. I’ll be honest, I have been snappy and sometimes outright rude, which has angered me further because I hate to be like this with people. However, I have had my eyes opened to quite how many people were abusing my kindness by getting me to do extra work for them simply because they were lazy. Now they just do it themselves rather than asking me – which is good and fair.

But after seeing how colleagues, friends and family were tiptoeing around me, I realised just how much my positive attitude affected others. It is astonishing the power that good manners, kindness and showing an interest in people can wield. Especially if it comes naturally to you – these people will in turn show interest and be happy and polite to both yourself and others and the chain carries on. It grows further and further until it affects everyone in the office, or family or friendship group. It really is amazing to see how a kind word or action to one person creates this ripple affect and the way that you become known for starting it off – eventually it may even find its way back to you.

It was this thought that made me realise that I needed to get my act together. That my behaviour affects too many people and that I am sending out these negative waves to the people around me which are just spreading further. I don’t want to be the sort of people that spreads negative energy or makes others unhappy – so I changed my behaviour and am trying to get back to that chipper individual who spreads light and laughter – even if I don’t feel like it inside.

How am I doing this?

Well, it’s simple. I’ve been making plans for the future that are giving me plenty to look forward to and plenty to keep my mind busy with planning. I’ve been creating new, happy memories with friends and family that keep me smiling. And I’ve been remembering good times, holidays and memories to get me through the days when things aren’t as bright.

One of these has become my happy place. See the picture at the top? It’s from what was one of my favourite holidays – out of all the tropical or adventurous holidays around the world, this was from a holiday with my boyfriend to Malta. On this day in particular, we went on a boat trip to the Island of Comino, where we sunbathed, rock climbed and explored the Blue Lagoon, even walking across the bay, through the waters with our bags held over our heads. We jumped off the boat and swam in the crystal clear waters and generally had an amazing day together. It was one of the best holidays for exploring and travelling around and it has become my go-to place for escaping reality for a little bit.

When you’re feeling blue – what happy place do you escape to?

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Childhood sweethearts: Me and my beau

I don’t often write about my relationship – perhaps this is why it has survived so well through our teenage years and until now despite the demons that are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogging… But now I just feel it is time to introduce one of the most important people in my life to my readers.

I met Mark when I was just 16, we met through our sixth form where we both ended up in the same groups for our Gold Duke of Edinburgh and CSLA Leadership courses. At first, we didn’t really get on, in fact he really bloody annoyed me! But after a lot of winding each other up and flirting, we finally went on a date and as they say the rest is history! The funny thing is that at the time I had just been on a date with one of his pals – I think that was what sparked him into making a move to be honest, but I’m glad he did because by that point he was all I could think about.

We were together all through sixth form and despite several people warning me about Mark, I had never met a funnier, sweeter, more romantic guy. We were crazy about each other, still are, and spent all of our time together. Despite skipping a few lessons to spend with him instead, I still made it out with an A and 3 B’s! But then came the real test – it was always on the cards. I had been dead set on my own plan of going to university as soon as I finished school and I couldn’t wait. I chose the University of Hertfordshire, and unlike many I refused to make this decision based on my relationship – I simply loved the university and the course.

I’ve been asked by many people in the last few years about how we coped, and I’ve since bumped into old school friends who were amazed we had survived university – but I never saw it as much of an obstacle. I don’t know if perhaps it was just because we were so crazy about each other, but still more mature, that we realised we had the rest of our lives to be together and that being apart for a short time didn’t matter! He came to visit nearly every other weekend, sometimes we had a longer break, but we spoke every day while he worked at home as an engineer.

In my second year I lived at home (mainly because I was only in university twice a week and I wanted to work as well) so we were back in each other’s lives full time. Finally last year was amazing – I was so busy with work and revision, but still had time to party. He was driving and training to see me, and I had my car at university so I could easily hop in and be home two hours later. It was a great set-up and we never gave each other any reason to be jealous because there was no need!

Coming home was a struggle because we were used to living without each other, but we soon fell back into a routine and the last two summers we spent touring round festivals and travelling to Malta and Croatia. We always have the best time with each other and have never let a relationship stop us from living life to the absolute full like some couples do – we still want to go raving and dancing all night long. Sure we have our nights snuggled up in bed watching a good DVD, but neither of us can stand doing that all the time! And why go raving with others when only we can keep up with each other?

I hope there are some other couples out there like us – all the ones we know seem to be quite tame in comparison. But I’m grateful just to have my best friend and to still feel like this six-and-a-half years later! And looking forward to raving together again this weekend at Sub Focus.

Exploring Malta, Gozo and Comino – from hidden caves to edible delights

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately about one of my favourite holidays ever – my 2012 trip to Malta with my boyfriend. Despite not being the most exotic, or the longest-haul journey I have ever been on, it was definitely up there as one of my favourites because there was quite simply so much to learn and explore.

We settled on Malta after realising that we could not afford to go to Italy with everything else we had planned and from our research we believed that Malta held many similarities, at least enough to keep us happy and not feel like we were sacrificing our summer holiday. Being a very inquisitive pair, we get bored easily and although we wanted to come back feeling refreshed and relaxed, we also wanted to have the opportunity to learn about a different culture by exploring the history and sights. Well, we certainly picked the right place because Malta boasts a rich heritage and culture that had us out almost every day walking across the rocky shores and through the bustling city of Valletta.

We stayed in Mellieha – an area more often chosen for holidays by Italian, Greek and German families as we found out, but which worked well to our advantage as we hate to go abroad and find ourselves surrounded by English people. It was beautiful, very hilly and incredibly traditional – the building pictured above was at the top of a steep hill leading down to the sea and the view at the top of this post is from the very top of the hill looking across the bay. Here we are enjoying a nice cold local beer (Cisk) at a tiny bar for locals we discovered after walking right to the top of the hill.

The fantastic bus services and ferry service (far superior to the UK in every way!) meant we were able to get out and about independently, even organising ourselves on to boat trips out to nearby islands Gozo and Comino. The size of the islands also meant it was very easy to travel right across the island several times during the day as you went between the sights.

I loved the boat trip over to the nearby islands – we travelled around the bay to see the caves surrounding the island and into Gozo harbour, then on to Comino where were able to get off the boat for a few hours.

This is me standing at the top of a rock looking over the Blue Lagoon on Comino – stunning clear waters between the two beaches that enticed us so much we decided to walk across the shallow bay and carry our bags above our head – it was deeper than I expected and being a shortie I did have to swim some of the way while my boyfriend laughed at me.

During the 10 days we spent in Malta we also took a trip to Valletta where we explored the cake shops hidden in the winding streets, explored the harbour and the cathedral, the Grandmaster’s Palace, museums, the forts and library. It was an incredible day packed with history and culture, but unfortunately you were not allowed to take pictured in all of the places we visited so I only have the following:

It was a great day and I would heartily recommend that anyone visiting Valletta makes sure to pop into the Grandmaster’s Palace to watch the changing of the guard, the fortifications, and St John’s Co-Cathedral is nothing else – make sure to wear clothes covering your legs and arms out of respect.

Our hotel organised an evening visit to a Festa in a nearby village – a Saturday night packed with food, live music and entertainment, and fireworks. Perfect.

We had dinner at a restaurant overlooking the harbour in the village, fresh pasta and seafood – delicious, before heading round to the festa.

It was a lovely evening and one I would really recommend – the music was great and the fireworks were VERY impressive!

Then we spent a day trekking around Gozo and visiting all of the sights, we didn’t make it to the temples unfortunately but managed to see a lot of other sights. One of my favourites was the Citadel which surrounded the town. Here I am standing at the top in the baking heat.

Then we moved on to the Azure Window – another favourite. Amazing to see the crashing waves powering through the window while we swam in a small tidal pool beneath – I loved visiting this spit and didn’t want to leave, especially when we discovered a secret beach behind it and locals sitting by their “beach huts” next to the lagoon. This was the reason we missed the temples, but it was worth it.

This was followed by a trip back across the harbour as the sun was setting.

Malta was definitely one of my favourite countries I have ever holidayed in because there is just so much to do, but it is still a spectacular place if you just want to sit by the pool and relax – we did plenty of both, but my absolutely favourite thing we did there was EAT!

The food was incredible everywhere we went, from the local bakery where they sold spinach and cheese pastries, to The Arches restaurant which sold the finest quality (expensive but worth it) venison, lamb and wine – so good we went twice! If you ever travel there, be sure to eat and drink for it will make you very merry!

Pictures are all my own.