Tomorrow is 14th February but unlike most, I have been thinking about Women’s Day, and not Valentine’s. I like celebrating Valentine’s, don’t get me wrong, but the man and I are always celebrating something or other so it feels like the year is full of Valentine’s Days.
This Valentine’s I am thinking about the fulfilment of women. I am thinking about whether all the women seen as the woman behind the successful man are content being that. Granted, there are women who are successful in their own right and have supported the successful men in their lives too. In that sense, it may be okay to be seen as the woman behind the successful man. Not behind in the sense that the man is successful at the woman’s expense, but behind in the same way that we could say a mentor is behind their mentee’s success. As in the force that propelled them forward.
I am not against women being a propelling force to success for the men in their lives; spurring them on, supporting them, advising them, lifting them up. I am against women being behind men in the sense that women sacrifice their potential, opportunities and aspirations in the process of helping others thrive – children, husbands, partners.
All dreams are important to the one that holds them
I do not dispute that dreams are different for every woman. Some dream of being homemakers, some dream of being groundbreakers in fields outside the home, and others dream of both. All dreams are important to the one that holds them. My desire is that women are complete, and that the men in their lives do not thrive at the expense of women’s aspirations and potential being laid aside. Everyone should thrive. Together.
What’s your take on the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman?” Share your thoughts!
I’m always happy to see snow! 🌨🌺 As long as I’m warm, that is. I was about to say this was the first time I went to Oslo by myself, then I remembered I did take a work trip there in August last year. It was a 24 hour’s in-and-out trip, but I get better at navigating the public transport each time. The trains, the tram, the bus, the apps – I am quite proud of myself.
When I’ve been there with Ian, I’ve been more than happy to have him take care of the navigation. He is the native, after all. Who needs independent woman mode when traveling with your very capable man – like, please! 😅 I am happy to take a back seat now and then.
But when I’m by myself – haha – I’m on full alert, eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head, independent-woman mode. So many ways to travel! More power to all you solo female backpackers out there!
There’s nothing like being out there in the wild with these incredibly graceful creatures!
We went for a morning safari drive at dawn and another drive in the late afternoon when we got a chance to get out of the car and get up close and personal-and somewhat slightly terrified-cause giraffes have got very strong hind legs, so you don’t wanna mess!
But it all went well. They were as curious as we were, moving farther away as we approached, but not too far, and turning around to have a look at us, these strange beings trailing them.
This safari was definitely one of the best ways to start the year, my face was so lit up with joy – as you can see in the pic of the au naturel, unabashedly-me version of myself.
And then there was the mother elephant that roared us out of her sight, being protective of her baby. She trumpeted so loud, and made as if to charge at us! We revved that engine so fast to get away! You don’t want to be chased by an elephant, trust me!
I can’t wait to go back! I’m told the animals are more playful at night, so maybe we’ll do a night time safari drive.
The highlight of Birgu Fest is that the whole city is lit up with candles. The city dwellers turn out the lights in their homes, and light hundreds of candles both inside and outside their homes. If you happen to be in Malta during October, Birgu Fest is must-see!
Birgu, also called Vittoriosa, is one of Malta’s oldest cities. It is one of the “Three Cities”: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua.
They originally held the festival to showcase Vittoriosa’s historical architecture; now they have renamed it to Birgu Fest and it includes a concert, reduced museum prices, mini cruises, screenings, and food stalls.
The candlelit streets looked quite beautiful! People actually opened their homes so you could see their candlelit hallways.
There was music and artsy screenings in the side streets, and revellers stopped to watch and take pictures.
The Maltese are known for their love of sweets and pastry. And what’s a festival without food stalls!? I completely identify with this little girl in yellow, looking at all these sweets and thinking: decisions, decisions, decisions!
Having already had my quota of sweets for the day, I did not buy any here – it took great will power!
There was a mulled wine stall though and I did try that, but let me tell you this: it is a waste of your money. There was barely any wine in that thing! And I’m not even much of a drinker, but even I noticed!
Would I go back to Birgu Fest?
I would have loved to spend more time in at the festival, but my company wanted to retire early, which was such a bummer! That is a case for solo travel right there, I guess. However, I just think it is such fun to have company to share the good times with.
I returned to Vittoriosa a couple of weeks later, so as to see it by day. We took the ferry from Valletta this time, it’s only 1.50 Euro, and then took a guided tour around. It was quite lovely.
If I am in Malta around the same time next year, I will definitely go back for Birgu Fest. I loved it!
If you’re thinking of going to Malta, you can find some great deals here and can read more about which tours you can get here. I definitely recommend a trip to the Three Cities!
I would like to go for a little excursion myself tomorrow, and I am thinking of this quad tour. There is so much to do in Malta, unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to doing it all. If you do make a trip to Malta, you will certainly have plenty to choose from.
I am obsessed with buying house plants. All I can think about right now is all the twenty five plants I want to buy – to add to the ten I already have, the textured vases they will stand in, and the elegant stands that will carry those vases.
All I see is green. And yellow, and purple and white, amidst all shades of green.
Last week I looked up plants that grow in the dark. Yes, plants that grow in the dark. And it turns out there are quite a few! The hallway is not always well-lit with natural light, and I want to colour that green too. I am obsessed. So I might buy some of those, and I will tell you about it. I am looking forward to finding out for myself how well such plants fare.
So listen. Here’s a bit of trailing off into the woods a.k.a ramblings of the mind. I am taking a little break from my thesis work to write this.
There is a notice on the wall a few meters to my left that reads “This kitchen is not available for PhD candidates from DepartmentXXX.* You can use the kitchen in the other end of the corridor.” (*Name changed to maintain anonymity of subjects. Smile. Eye-roll.)
We have been sent two emails about this before that notice came up. But I’ve seen a couple of people ignore this sign. They smile and say hi as they go by to the forbidden kitchen, and I smile and say hi back.
For now, I am assuming they have not seen the notice directed at us, even as they walk past it, because … well, maybe because the wall is white and so is the A4 paper on which the notice is printed in blank ink. I don’t know, I’m just trying to think well of my fellow humans. I mean I’ve been known to not see things that are right in front of me a few times in the past.
This one time my sister and I spent a lovely day in Bath. We needed to do one more thing, have tea at Pulteney Bridge. We had read that this was one of Bath’s attractions. So we walked right up to where the map and sign posts said it was, but we could see no bridge.
We went back and forth along this stretch of road about three times, until, a few minutes later, confused and exasperated, we stopped and asked a kindly gentleman, “Where can we find Pulteney Bridge, sir?” And he said, “You’re standing right on top of it.”
See, it didn’t look like a bridge from where we were standing. And from some TripAdvisor reviews I‘ve read, we weren’t the only ones that could not tell there was a bridge in that spot. Sometimes things are not as obvious to everyone as we might think.
In the meantime, if you do know of some plants that do alright in dim-lit spaces, do let me know!
Today I’m exactly midway through my Norwegian language classes. It has felt like home in Norway since March, but learning Norwegian makes it feel more like home even more each week.
The language class teacher is nice, kind and patient, and altogether we represent 9 countries.
We all are like toddlers learning to walk, our shaky Norwegian sentences thick with our native accents as we try to adopt Norwegian inflections. Every shaky sentence is a step towards a confident new life in a new language. We all can’t wait to be fluent!
There were so many sunny days this past week that I sort of forgot how used to the rain I had become over the winter.
The rain is now back in bucket loads! Fall is definitely here, no doubt about it. This city has more rain than any one city needs for an eternity, but I have stocked up on wool underclothes so I’m happy as a lark. When the sun comes out from behind the clouds though, Bergen is the loveliest city you ever saw!
On a whole other random note, or not really, since today is Wednesday, I like Wednesdays. I think I’m at my best on Wednesdays.
I’ve noticed that on Wednesdays, somewhere in the middle of the day, a fireball of energy overtakes me. I want to bake, spring clean, lay out the next week’s clothes, and go meet new friends, all in one Wednesday evening after work. I bet there are people able to do this. Are there? What kind of food do these people eat? Seriously, give me some recommendations please!
Tap water contains different things in different parts of the world, and this sometimes affects skin and hair quality. When you go on holiday, you want to come back home glowing, with your skin looking sun-kissed, and fabulous. You don’t want to go back looking dull.
The tap water in Malta has a not so ideal mineral content, in fact, sometimes it is too salty to use to make tea in some parts of the island I’ve lived. At work, they all always use water from the water cooler to make tea.
Back to my main topic though, skin and hair: I actually know two ladies that have noticed that their hair gets more dull when they’re in Malta, and they notice more hair loss. They believe it’s the water, and I tend to agree.
So here is a list of things I use to help keep the glow in case the water is a bit harsh where I’m going.
I use this to remove makeup and cleanse my face. You can buy micellar water or micellar wipes. I swear by micellar wipes, I never want my supply to run out! I prefer wipes because they’re sort of 2-in-1, you don’t have to buy cotton, the wipes are enough. Time effective, coat effective, bam! When you use micellar water/wipes, you don’t have to use water on your face. I am not saying you never wash your face with water, haha, but that’s what the manufacturers say so you have the option.
Argan oil is great for treating dry skin and scalp. It makes hair look shiny and real healthy. It’s got Vitamin E and is a good moisturiser.
I’ve been having some concerns with my hair though, and it’s been breaking more than it should so I went to see a dermatologist. I want every bit of me to be healthy!
The dermatologist made some recommendations, and gave me a prescription. I am eager to see how one of the medicines she prescribed works. It’s called Regaine. I think in the US it’s called Rogaine. Anyway, it’s supposed to limit hair loss and help regrow my hair.
So if you seem to be having crazy hair loss, make an appointment with a good dermatologist. They’ll examine your scalp and give some professional advice.
I previously wrote about how to keep the glow when you travel here.
What essentials do you travel with to keep you in perfect form at your destination?
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After the recent Isle of MTV music festival week in Malta, I have gone in search of new music and new sounds I haven’t heard before. Younger me did better than current me at finding and enjoying music new and old. But guess what is in time to help remedy this? Amazon’s Prime Day!
11th July is Amazon’s third annual Prime Day, a.k.a the day of thousands of deals
Between now and July 11, you can get 4 months of unlimited streaming and downloads for a few pennies per month, literally pennies. This is music to my ears! Amazon Music Unlimited has a selection of over 40 million songs that you can stream or download, free of ads.
Let me start from the top though.
Amazon Music comes in 2 packages. Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited. Both sound real good to me, but see for yourself first.
Amazon Prime Music
Prime Music is included with a Prime membership. As a benefit of Amazon Prime membership, Prime Music features a curated streaming catalogue of two million songs, always ad-free and on-demand. With a Prime membership, you also get Unlimited One-Day Delivery, streaming of movies and TV shows, and a bunch of other hard-to-say-no-to stuff.
Amazon Prime is even sweeter now than I remember when I first tried it a couple of years ago. It was a 30-day free trial that I cancelled at the end of the month, but they’ve got such enticing add-ons now.
Prime members have access to unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, thousands of playlists and stations with Prime Music, a rotating selection of e-books and current magazines with Prime Reading, unlimited photo storage and more. I feel that that one-day delivery deserves extra mention though! Ever wanted a dress on Thursday for a party on Friday? Or wanted an extra duvet on Sunday for guests arriving on Tuesday, yet you do not have the time on Monday to run to IKEA because you’ll be at work? This one-day delivery is a dream!
Read more about the perks of Amazon Prime Membership here.
Amazon Music Unlimited
Amazon Music Unlimited costs a bit more at 9.99/- but you can start a free 30-day trial, streaming from 40 million songs! With the 30-day trial, you will be able to download songs and albums to listen offline wherever you are, free of ads.
Amazon Music Unlimited is available to everyone, even if you’re not a member of Amazon Prime. However, Amazon Prime Members can sign up a discounted rate. Amazon Prime is looking a lot more attractive to me now though.
The Isle of MTV is one of the biggest annual music festivals in Europe. It is organised by MTV Europe and has been held in Malta since 2007. It was previously held in France, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
The main show is preceded by the Isle of MTV Malta Music Week, featuring several events across the island.
This year’s line-up included Jonas Blue, Raye, DNCE, and The Chainsmokers. Last year’s line-up had Wiz Khalifa, Jess Glynne, Steve Aoki and Clean Bandit. Certain parts of the night were less than music-festival festive, but DNCE did not disappoint! I really liked them!
Two of DNCE’s members
Jonas Blue’s act was good too, and Raye had some fabulous moments. I am still not so sure about The Chainsmokers, I have to admit.
The Chainsmokers’ act
If you would like to visit Malta and need some practical tips, search my blog for ‘Malta’ or start here or here.
Did you know that travel weight gain is a real phenomenon? If you have wondered why your clothes seem tighter than you left them pre-holiday, you are not alone. Travel weight gain happened to you, like it does to many other happy travellers.
The food back home does not make me fat, but every time I travel, I gain weight. The struggle is real. I have been away from home for so long and the pounds have definitely piled on. Yes, yes, I know what my friends are thinking. Every time I say I need to lose weight, people tell me ‘no you don’t need to. You look just fine.’ Thank you for those kind words, friends. But I wish it were that simple. It’s not about what everyone thinks I look like. It’s about how I feel in my own skin.
Tell me more about these weight-gain during travel woes of yours
It’s actually a real thing. When you travel, a lot of your usual rhythms and practices are off. You eat at different times, sleep at different times, eat different things, and so on.
Interestingly, I instantly lose weight every time I return to Uganda. Within a week, pretty much. In many respects it’s true what they say, a fish thrives best in the water. My skin magically takes on new life too, every time I return home to Uganda. Of course my skincare regimen helps too, but there’s just something about home.
So what do you think is the cause of your weight-gain during travel?
I have a theory that is more than just a theory. Western food is more calorigenic than African food. I’m born and bred in the tropics. I will snack a hundred times in Uganda and stay at my usual weight, but once in Norway or Malta, or anywhere away from UG, I gotta eat less. I do not want to eat less! Haha. No, truly. I do not want to eat less, I love eating!
My barometer for weight gain is 2 things: do my clothes still fit and 2) am I sluggish or am I still agile? If the answers are no my clothes are tighter and yes I ‘m more sluggish and less agile, then I know it’s time to get back to my old size.
Also, I was a certain dress size for so long and suddenly I can feel I’m moving toward another. This causes me to panic because regardless how great anyone else might think I look, my body is not feeling like my body. I feel like I am wading around in a borrowed body. It helps that I am so tall because then my height disguises my weight gain.
My face disguises nothing though, haha, and my family is quick to remind me how round my cheeks have gotten, and how I look just like I looked as a child. These comments amuse me more than anything else. The real motivation for me is when my very lovely dresses that cost me quite a sum start not to fit. And the other big motivator is when I start to get breathless just going up a few flights of stairs. If that happens, I know I am not fit and need to fix things asap.
Have you tried fixing this travel weight gain?
Yes. I like running.
I was also very into yoga. Still am, just not at the same level. I taught myself off of a DVD, the internet and Instagram. There are many good DVDs out there. You get a lot more than you paid for it in the end.
It also comes in handy if you would rather work out at home, or if you don’t have many yoga studios in the neighbourhood. Which was my situation in Uganda. There are yoga studios in Malta and Norway, but I haven’t felt the motivation to go quite yet.
So, how do you actually avoid travel weight gain?
Here is how I like to avoid travel weight gain and stay fit, while still enjoying food on holiday, cause I just love to eat!
1. Stay active!
This for me, I feel, is the most important aspect. Here’s why. If I am having a lovely holiday, I’m likely going to be eating many things I don’t usually eat, trying new foods, and I most likely won’t be the one making most of meals. I will probably be spending much more time at breakfast, what with all the breakfast buffets most of these hotels tempt is with!
So to make up for all the extra eating, I’ll try to stay active, and resist the urge to laze about like a cat. Which is unlike me anyway, I don’t even like naps! Here’s how you can stay active on holiday.
Walk to as many places as possible, whenever you can. This way, you get to see more of your destination and save money on transport costs too!
Take advantage of your hotel’s gym, if they have one. You’re more likely to work out in the mornings of your days tend to get busy or you like to have dinner out. I know it sounds counterintuitive not to have a lie in when on holiday, but trust me, you will feel so good at the end of your holiday if you’ve been taking some time to work out in the mornings.
Do some yoga. This you can even do in your hotel room, just a half hour in the mornings or at the end of the day will make a difference.
2. Choose your food wisely.
Let’s be real. If you consistently opt for the wrong kinds of food, your body will work with you’re giving it.
I try to go with a predominately protein diet when I am trying not to gain weight, or to avoid travel weight gain in particular. My breakfasts will consist of eggs, yoghurt, beans and other protein-rich foods.
I carry fruits to snack on. Listen, I am such a sweet tooth person, it’s so hard for me to resist chocolate. But I once realised that a craving for something sweet will be satisfied by anything sweet. And I am very serious about fighting travel weight gain. So I make sure I never run out of fruit. Now this doesn’t mean I won’t buy the occasional bar of Cadbury’s, but I stay disciplined about it.
Dessert will definitely feature, but remember, I am walking at least 5km a day!
With the above tips, I am able to keep fitting into my clothing and that’s how I avoid travel weight gain. Every time I travel to Malta (which I do quite often), I actually lose weight because for some reason I am always motivated to not go back home thicker than I left. This one time I actually lost 12 pounds in 6 weeks! I will write about that some time.
How about you? Do you ever experience weight gain during travel? How do you stay fit when you travel? Give me some tips in the comments section below.