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Adult Life, thoughts

New Year, Same Me

Happy New Year, ladies and gentlemen! Now that the festive season and all the food, parties, and self-indulgence it brings with it are fading away into your Instagram feed, we can finally sit down together for a little 2017 chat. Tea? Check. Biscuits? Also check. Alright let’s get started.

new year's resolution tea

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I can be a little very cynical when it comes to the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ mantra. What’s wrong with ‘old’ you? And what’s so new about ‘new you’ just because you’ve changed your hair colour, bought yourself a fantastic new handbag, or started going to the gym? These are all fine, noble pursuits and pretty exciting on a personal level, but they’re not really ‘profound’ enough to actually change your already-great self, are they? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a case of ‘New Year, better me’, by which I mean you continue to work on being the best version of yourself you can be, no matter what that thing you’re working on may be. It might sound a tad cheesy, but hey – some cheese is good.

So rather than giving you a wishlist of all the things I’d like to start doing this year, I’m going to change things up a little with a look at 4 things I want to continue doing this year. Here we go.

1. Learning how to cook

learning to cook

A fair few posts ago, I talked about learning how to bake. It’s not that I don’t like baking, but actually cooking a full meal is way more satisfying to me (and generally less naughty). Right now I’m trying to learn a little more about Japanese dishes like ramen, onigiri, and omurice, but I also love trying different Italian recipes. It’s a slow process, but I’ve got some willing test-subjects to help me along the way and taste my cooking. Poor things.

2. Reading more

reading

For a while I would scratch my head, wondering where all my reading time had gone. When I was doing my A-levels, I could devour an entire book in one day, so what happened? Here’s what happened – Netflix and social media. Oops. In 2016, I worked on getting things under control and made time for my beloved books, and there’s no reason to stop this year. I own almost 400 books – it’s not like I’ll run out of reading material any time soon.

3. Choosing quality over quantity

new year's resolution

And I’m talking specifically about clothes, shoes, make up and accessories that might cost more, but last longer and usually feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good bargain and will never stop hitting Primark as long as I live and breathe, but there’s no way in hell that you’ll catch me spending hours trawling through the place and leaving with 3 or 4 bags of socks and (future) regret. These days, I tend to make it out of there with one bag of goodies and zero pounding headaches, and I try to invest in better-quality brands for my wardrobe staples.

4. Keeping it simple

new year's resolutions

I generally try to use this approach in most areas of my life – writing, recipes, relationships, and even my personal style. When it comes to writing, I’m positively ruthless when it comes to editing and chopping off entire sentences or paragraphs which add nothing to the work. When it comes to recipes, well I just don’t have the skills to try more complex cooking – but we’ll get there eventually. Relationships – no games, tell the truth, and always say what’s on your mind (even if you might be wrong). When it comes to what I wear – as I’ve grown into a semi-functioning adult, I find simpler cuts and colours more appealing than the patterns, prints, and slogans of my teenage years – but I won’t shy away from the occasional over-the-top necklace, though. Keeping things simple is liberating. 

That’s all for today – have a prosperous year, guys.

-Kelly

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hades disney funny
Adult Life, Funny, thoughts

5 Things Maltese Atheists are Tired of Hearing

As our charming yet construction-ridden slice of the Mediterranean is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century (barely), atheists  in Malta feel that they can be a little more open about their views, both online and in their day-to-day lives. I should probably take a minute to clarify my understanding of the term ‘atheist’ here, just to avoid any confusion:

atheist (noun)
  1. a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. Not particularly a fan of Satan either.

I’m not entirely sure if you experience something similar where you’re from, but here in Malta saying you’re an atheist is basically like saying ‘I just sacrificed a goat to Beelzebub before coming over’, and you get the look. That being said, non-believers all over the island have to deal with some pretty ridiculous questions and comments – and those questions make for some pretty good laughs. When you’re done weeping for humanity, that is.

1. Imma…your parents know? 

Translation: “But…do your parents know?” 

Wait, is this even any of your business? Why shouldn’t they know? Will they disown me? The fact this is an actual ‘concern’ is a concern.

things atheists tired hearing house of cards

2. But how can you have morals without religion?

Look buddy, if you need to be afraid of an omnipotent figure and the threat of eternal damnation to put you off killing people, then there are bigger things to worry about than someone’s atheism. Having morals and being a good person is more about how your parents raise you and who you are than just doing it to avoid hell. Hell – also known as the place kids are taught to be terrified of. The one with the fiery abyss. You know the one.

the office things atheists tired of hearing

3. Aren’t you worried you might go to hell?!

This is awkward because you need to believe in heaven and hell to be concerned about the matter…

hades disney funny

4. Why don’t you come to my prayer group?

I appreciate the offer – but no thank you. Because you don’t see me recruiting you into my (non-existent) atheist group. Let’s go have some tea instead.

tea gif atheists

5. Ara tgħidx lin-nanna ta!

Translation: “Don’t you dare tell your grandmother!”

God forbid you should tell your adorable grandmother/aunt/in-laws/5th cousin twice removed/Joey tal-ħaxix that you’re a heathen. (See what I did there?)

i am lord voldemort gif atheists malta

That’s all from me for today, folks. Remember – no matter what your views on religion/atheism are, remember that they’re your views. Don’t try to force it on other people, and don’t be a hypocrite.

-Kelly

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Adult Life, thoughts

Positively Body Positive

“The Body Positive Movement is a feminist movement that encourages women and/or female-identifying people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being.”

– The Body Positive Organisation 

I remember a particular moment when I was young – around 13 years old. It was summer, and I was sitting down in my characteristically ungraceful way, when I suddenly felt a sense of absolute horror at the way my thighs filled the seat when I sat down. Why do they look like that? The ladies on TV and in magazines didn’t have legs that did that. Look at them! They’re huge (they weren’t). I must be fat. I’m definitely fat and ugly. That’s why that boy in class doesn’t like me. And my TEETH – they’re not straight enough! Oh my God this is a disaster. My hair never looks right either. I don’t want to go to the beach with the boys, my tummy has rolls when I sit down! 

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Above image is not the same Kelly I’ve just described

And then came the inevitable comparison against my friends’ bodies (especially the petite ones), not just that day but for quite a few years to come. The thing is that, despite being a healthy weight for my age and height, I’d repeatedly find myself staring at my reflection and sucking my stomach in to see what I’d look like, or physically flattening my stomach to see how it must feel to look like girls ‘should’ look. This sort of thing happened for years and year and influenced what I wore, how I felt and to a certain extent, how I acted.

It’s only around 3 years ago that I slowly started pulling myself out of this damaging yet widespread mindset. I did start exercising regularly (later taking up kick boxing), and that did help me feel better about my body, but losing weight didn’t necessarily mean that I felt positive about how I looked. I could wear the clothes I wanted to wear, and shopping completely stopped feeling like a trial by fire in the changing room. There was still, however, that obsession with sucking it in and comparing myself to the other beautiful women around me.

Enter, BodyPosiPanda – aka the stunning and vibrantly-coloured Megan Jayne Crabbe. I don’t know how I discovered her on Instagram, but I’m glad I did; she describes herself as a ‘body positive feminist ed warrior’ – and she certainly is. I’ve learnt to be kind to myself and be positive about my body; to change the horrible things being said in that inner-monologue. To resist looking at myself through the eyes of someone being paid to photoshop the hell out of an image of a woman into what society has taught us is right.   We are so much more than numbers on a scale, or calories in a chocolate bar. Be healthy, but also be happy. If there’s one thing I regret, it’s the outfits I didn’t wear and the time I spent agonising over bits of my body that I had been taught to hate and wished I could just cut out with a big pair of scissors.

 

That’s why I want need to share this with you – because we need body positivity to be everywhere, and this is just how I’d like to do my bit. Do follow bodyposipanda and spread the body-posi-love.

Kelly

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Adult Life, thoughts

The Importance of Being (Okay) Alone

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Over the last year or so I’ve probably written and re-written and deleted this post a dozen times; maybe that’s because I know the whole subject of being alone versus loneliness is quite a sensitive one to many. I’ve been away for a while, busy flitting between work and a trip to the UK to visit family, but I’ve had some time to myself to think about this. Let’s give this a shot. 

The world is saturated with quotes and films which lead us to think that we’re perpetually in search of some other half, implying some sort of lack on the part of the single person. There’s a sense that you should be looking for someone to complete you because as things stand you’re incomplete. You need to go out and hunt that ‘other half’ down before all the available men and women are taken by more fortunate parties. If you’re alone, then you damn well better be feeling lonely because that’s just how things work. Right? Wrong.

Now before I start to sound cynical, here’s a quick disclaimer to let you know that I’m all for the romance and the fluttering feeling you get when that guy you like looks at you, talks to you, or likes your latest selfie on Facebook. And don’t get me started on when the date happens – I’m a sucker for all of that good stuff (especially if said date involves excellent food).

What I’m not a fan of is perpetuating the idea that a person isn’t complete unless they’ve got a significant other. The anxiety and misery that this type of thinking creates is not just unfair but bordering on the ridiculous – and I regret not having realised this sooner (which explains why I’m writing this, hoping that it might help someone else realise this earlier on in life than I did). If you’re constantly in search of an ‘other’ to complete you, you’re walking around feeling like you’re not good enough, like there’s a big hole in your chest; that’s just not right and definitely not healthy. Instead of embracing the notion that you should be out there looking for ‘the one’ why aren’t we helping people realise that being okay alone is what comes first, before getting into a relationship? Why aren’t we helping people value themselves as whole, complete human beings who don’t need someone else to function on a day-to-day basis?

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When that special person does come along, then what you’ve got is a really great partner to go on adventures with. I don’t mean Indiana Jones style adventures (but I’m not discouraging that) – I mean life in general with all the possible experiences waiting at every turn, whether it’s trying out that new Indian restaurant or planning your next trip together.  What we need to look for isn’t another half, because we’re already whole. What we’re looking for is another whole to complement your own complete self. And when that happens, it’s beautiful and you are ridiculously happy.

But don’t forget that you are okay in solitude. Your time alone with yourself is valuable – use it well. We spend so much time giving our energy to the world out there that we need the down-time to recharge and build ourselves up as individuals. It’s about having time to read a book, do something creative, exercise, unwind, or simply reflect on the week’s events and write a few lines in your journal. Invest time in yourself. Be kind to yourself and be okay alone because you deserve to feel whole and there’s nothing wrong with it. At the end of the day, you might end up giving yourself the space you need to see that you’re not really as alone as you felt in the first place.

That’s my 2 cents, anyway.

Kelly

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Reasons to Travel
Adult Life, Travel

Arguably Abroad: My Reason to Travel

Reasons to Travel

As a girl who has grown up on a tiny island with just barely (and that’s being generous) enough room for around 450,000 inhabitants, I can’t think of anything worse than spending a lifetime living in the same country indefinitely. Take away the promise of yearly holidays, and it becomes plain terrifying.

It’s dangerously easy, I find, to get too comfortable; to become lazy and almost forget that just beyond our little trio of islands is a whole world to explore and a wealth of memories to be made. It’s terribly easy to forget that we’re a WiFi connection and a few clicks away from your next great adventure at any given moment. For some, that might mean a 1-2 week holiday; for others, that holiday might stretch into a month. Others – a year. Two years. Why not?

Reasons to Travel

Looking out over Ponte Vecchio, Florence

I guess one of the key points I’m trying to make here is that travel (real travel, not overgrown shopping sprees) is the way to develop as a person. It’s always interesting, rewarding even, to find out what ‘you’ are when you’re removed from the people and places that have been constants in your being and becoming. For some, it’s more frightening than anything else. But that’s okay (do it anyway).

Some might comment and ask how  you could possibly be planning another holiday, how you could spend your money seemingly without a second thought when there’s other things your could buy or save up for. Some will be surprised you’re not saving up for no specific reason other than to save up. Honestly, at the end of it all, what’s more valuable? Do I want things or do I want memories? I know which one I choose. Be self-sufficient, save up, get your own place (or rent) – but please, travel. See things and meet people; try new types of cuisine and see what it means to be you without the things which usually serve as the backdrop to your life.

At the end of it all, you might have less money in your account, but you’ll be so much wealthier. Life is entirely too short to be spent working solely to have lots of things  to fill the house on the island you’ll never leave.

So where to next? What are your top travel destinations? 

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Adult Life

Netflix: What’s on My Watch List?

NetflixBlog

I wouldn’t call myself a TV junkie (though others may disagree) – I just really love stories and their telling across different media. Storytelling is an intrinsic part of what it means to be human; even as we sleep, our minds continue to tell stories. Translation: I like TV shoes and I’m not sorry.

thingy

Having Netflix in Malta is a pretty big deal, mainly because people do seem to forget about us here on this patch of the Mediterranean (see Christa Boffa‘s post Welcome to Malta Netflix to find out more). From childhood gems like Pokemon and Goosebumps to countless documentaries and award-winning TV shows, Netflix (practically) has it all. Without further ado, here’s a quick glimpse at what’s on my list less than 3 days into my membership.

TV Shows

  • Suits
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Jessica Jones
  • Narcos
  • Arrow
  • Gotham
  • DareDevil
  • Jane the Virgin
  • The IT Crowd
  • Archer
  • Pokemon Indigo League
  • Fresh Meat
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Californication
  • Penny Dreadful

Documentaries

  • Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
  • The True Cost
  • Atari: Game Over
  • Iris
  • Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
  • Making a Murderer
  • Henry VIII’s Palace
  • We Are Legion
  • Henry Ford
  • Page One: Inside the New York Times

Now I must confess that I binge-watched and became emotionally invested in Making a Murderer. If you’ve been on Facebook at all over the past few weeks, you’ll have definitely seen something about this fascinating (and quite frankly upsetting) 10-part documentary. If questions of crime, justice, and wrongful imprisonment interest you at all, this is one to watch.

Do you have any Netflix suggestions for me to add to my list? Leave them in a comment below.

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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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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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