Haul, Personal Style, Travel

Wardrobe Refresh

I don’t consider myself to be a particularly fashion-savvy young lady, but I do appreciate personal style and people who put time and care into their image. Far from being something purely superficial, I’ve come to see it as a form of self-respect or good manners, as a dear friend of mine once put it. That being said, my wardrobe did need a bit of updating, and what better place to inspire me than stunning Italy? (To be read: I shopped quite a bit and I think that this is some sort of justification. I have no regrets.)

I mainly stuck to good old H&M and Zara, keeping an eye out for pieces which were simple and easy to incorporate and mix into different outfits. Look at me, all focused and grown-up! I plan on preparing an outfit post later on, but for the time being here are just a few of my favourite pieces from Italy:

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H&M 

Do you hear that? No? It’s the sound of my bank account pleading with me not to shop so hard again for a while. Whether or not I’ll be able to listen to it is another matter entirely.

Have a great Sunday,

-Kelly

 

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Books, Travel

Bella Italia: Books I bought.

Buongiorno a tutti! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve spent the last week or so shamelessly gallivanting around Italy, eating all of the food and drinking all of the red wine. Despite going through 5 years of secondary school Italian, I have a bit of a confidence problem when it comes to actually speaking to someone and reading a few pages takes forever.

That’s a problem for another day – preferably one to be solved while sitting in a bustling piazza sipping cappuccino and reading something in Italian. Until then, I’m perfectly happy hunting down small but very well-stocked English sections in librerias dotted around the cities.

La Feltrinelli

I made my first purchase at La Feltrinelli in Pisa – a treasure trove for those of us who are as obsessed with pretty stationery as we are with books. I almost didn’t care what this particular one was about, I just knew the cover was beautiful in its simplicity. Then I saw the title, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Sold.

IBS.it

My only ‘problem’ with this bookshop is that I actively have to stop myself from popping in every time I walk past it – it’s 2 minutes away from the Duomo. Oh well! It was a tough call, but I exercised serious self-control and only bought one book – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned. Honestly now, would you be able to resist a book that looks this good? Didn’t think so.

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The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Galileo Galilei Museum

The first time I visited Florence, I bought a Thames & Hudson book about Greek and Roman Mythology from the Uffizzi Gallery. This time around, I hit the immensely interesting Galileo Galilei Museum and (of course) had to buy something from the gift shop.

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The Great Scientists in Bite-Sized Chunks by Nicola Chalton and Meredith MacArdle

I have a few books to get through before I read these beauties but I’ll be posting a review on one of them soon enough. Promise!

What are you guys reading right now?

-Kelly

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Adult Life, Food

I tried to bake

In an effort to find out what a non-student, post-dissertation Kelly might be, I’ve taken up a few hobbies to varying degrees of success:

  • Growing herbs
  • Re-learning Italian
  • Cooking

The herbs became nothing more than a nondescript dried-up mess after I went away for a weekend without reminding my parents to water them, and I’m still too shy to speak to Italian people in Italian. Cooking is going surprisingly well when I can be bothered to do it, and as far as baking goes – I had never so much as tried to move past boring cupcakes and Betty Crocker chocolate cakes. It almost sounds like I’m having a mid-life crisis in my 20s, but with a messier kitchen and more burnt fingers and floury floors than one would expect.

Tangled chocolate chip cookies

My most recent attempt at being a functioning adult involved baking a much-loved classic: chocolate chip cookies. Here’s the recipe I used, but I substituted regular chocolate with a massive bar of Cadbury Bourneville chopped into delicious dark-chocolaty gems:

chocolate chip cookies

Considering that my digital scales were dead and I had to substitute baking soda for self-raising flour (apparently that’s a thing you can do), these turned out pretty good. Batch number three was way better because I had the timing down – I struggled with that because I’m not used to the idea that I need to take the tray out of the oven while the cookies are still ‘soft’ in the middle. Incidentally, just ‘soft’ is really too vague. How soft is ‘soft’? How soft is ‘too soft’? How soft is ‘not soft enough’? Panic!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

They weren’t quite as soft as I’d have liked, but they were so perfect and comforting when dipped in tea that I’m willing to forgive them for that. Bring forth the next culinary challenge!

-Kelly

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Super Mario Land
Video Games

3 Reasons Why You Should Be Gaming

Here we are, a revamped blog and a solid vision of what this is going to become. Welcome!

Super Mario Land As you can probably tell from the title of this post (and my About me section), I like video games. The word ‘like’ is a bit of an understatement; I’ve been hopelessly in love with gaming ever since I got my hands on a hand-me-down Gameboy and a Super Mario Land cartridge. Over a decade and countless games later, the experience has not lost any of its magic, and while there will always be naysayers and frantic anti-gaming groups, let’s just take a moment to look at some of the positive effects of gaming and why it could actually be something we should encourage.

So why should you play video games?

1 | Because they’re not the root of all Evil

The psychological effect of violence in video games and notion that they are to blame for addiction are highly sensationalised in the media, most likely because it sells papers and gets page views. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the people who report on this sort of thing in mass-media have hardly ever actually played games before – but of course I could be wrong. Parents and other concerned parties might read these articles and, backed by a lack of knowledge on the subject, are filled with a mix of outrage and blind panic. There have definitely been cases where addiction led to some tragic ends:

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Terrible parents are terrible parents regardless of their propensity for playing games.

The bottom line is that people who are predisposed to violence or addiction will become violent or addicted to something regardless of whether or not they play video games. The link between increased violence and video games is questionable; a long-term study revealed a ‘correlation between falling youth violence and the popularity of violent games.’ Let’s face it – even the most stressful of Mondays can be softened by a few rounds of gaming, whatever the genre.

2 | Because it’s actually quite a social activity

While it’s worth mentioning that many video games are created with multiplayer/Player to Player experiences in mind, I’d like to focus on actual face-to-face interaction for the purposes of this post.  

Gamers - not all like this South Park version

Contrary to popular belief, people who play video games aren’t pale, blob-type men with an overwhelming desire to stay indoors and forgo bathing from time to time. Simply having this one interest in common can make socialising and meeting new people a breeze; I actually met one of my oldest friends around 8 years ago by asking for help with Final Fantasy X.

3 | Because it’s actually good for you

Like many things in this life, moderation in gaming is key. Numerous studies have shown that playing age-appropriate games has a direct link to good cognitive development and other mental functions – here’s a quick look at some of the benefits associated with gaming:

  • Cognitive Development – greater neural processing, help with pattern recognition
  • Ability to handle failure – video games allow children to experience and cope with failure in a ‘safe’ environment
  • Morality – games like Fallout 3 attribute good or bad ‘karma’ to certain actions in-game; this encourages the user to consider the impact of their actions and reinforces the fact that decisions carry weight
  • Improved eyesight (yes, you read that correctly)
  • Sharper problem-solving skills
  • Better multi-tasking skills

So the next time you hit play on your favourite game, spare a moment to think about the impact it may have had on your life. You might be surprised.

– Kelly


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Adult Life

Eventually.

There’s something about Maltese summers which I find stagnant and stagnating. It could be the humidity; the sticky heat which surrounds us each year without fail, making hair ‘poof’, make-up run, and tempers flare. It could be the small size of our little piece of the mediterranean (or rather, the concentration of people on it). It could just be me. It’s probably just me.

Recently, I’ve found myself using (and thinking about) the word ‘eventually’ a lot. I’ll go live abroad – eventually. I’ll decide on what I want to do after I graduate – eventually. I’ll learn a new language – eventually. I’ll get that job I’ve always wanted – eventually. I’ll cut down on chocolate – eventually. The list of promises thus far unfulfilled is indeed endless. Why the endless postponement? Why don’t I just ‘do’ instead of ‘plan’? Whenever I bring myself to ask and answer that question, I keep coming back to the same answer. Thesis. University. Thesis. Graduation. Thesis. Deadlines. I feel like it’s the last checkpoint on the border between student life and ‘real’ life, between who I am and who I’m going to be. It’s a big, scary, monster standing in the way of me and my freedom.

Or is it?

Will things be any different once I’ve submitted this thing? Will I actually do anything or will I return to the persistent postponement or complacency which I see all around me?

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Uncategorized

[Exit, pursued by a hunter]

Inhabitants of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo are currently in the run-up to a referendum. The subject? Spring hunting, yay or nay? We do love a referendum here on the Maltese Islands, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that any political decision comes with a whole lot of trash-talk. Let me premise this post by saying that I, for one, don’t see any logical reason to allow hunting during the season where birds are supposedly meant to be reproducing. I only studied biology at O-level, but I’m about 99.9% sure that you birds  need to be alive to reproduce. Even if I were in favour of hunting (which I’m not, at all) the logical thing to do is not hunt at this crucial time in order to allow the ‘stock’ of birds to be replenished, but who has time for common sense these days? The fact that we even need a referendum about something means there’s a divided opinion on the matter. Fine, you have your opinion, I have mine. I’ll explain, in a civilised and diplomatic way, why I think I’m right and you’ll do the same in turn – right? Wrong. It’s difficult to put Maltese politics into an easy-to-understand nutshell, however I do think that the following extract from a 2006 article by The Times of Malta sums up the ‘Pro-Spring-hunting’ side of things rather well:

“BirdLife and co. will feel the full weight of the wrath of FKNK and Maltese hunters and trappers”. […] In an aggressive statement, Mr [Lino] Farrugia said anyone who wanted to abolish traditions like hunting and trapping would first have to step “over a lot of dead bodies”. 

It has to be said that ‘dead bodies’ may have been a tad too dramatic on his part. How can I be certain that this aggressive tone persists even in 2015? Well, for the most part you’ll have to trust a girl actually living on the island in question. This more recent article from the official SHOUT (Spring Hunting Out) page might persuade you – or it might not. The official FKNK Facebook page and website do seem quite tame and generally respectable, but let’s be practical. There’s a vast difference between the PR-endorsed side of the Pro-hunting debate and the ugly day-to-day reality – the ‘dark underbelly’, if you will.

Sign (in atrociously bad Maltese) reads: ‘Hunters – treated worse than criminals). Poor lambs. Being confronted by this group of gentlemen wouldn’t be threatening at all, would it?

The bottom line is this – they’re the Federation for Hunting, Trapping and (though they seem to forget) Conservation. If they want the rights afforded by the first two activities, then they need to be able to perform when it comes to the third, because quite frankly conservation isn’t just about rebuilding stone huts and walls. 

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