Whether or not Christmas is your thing, it’s hard to resist a hot glass of mulled wine, especially in this chilly weather. Mulled wine is great for sharing with friends or family, or as I like to do sometimes, have a glass while in bed watching a movie. It helps me keep warm and sleep better. Mulled wine is a traditional alcoholic Christmas drink which is easy to make and also very enjoyable. It is served hot, and it is by far the easiest way to survive the winter. It is very rarely served in wine glasses, as one runs the risk of cracking them because of the high temperature. Instead it is usually served in thicker tumbler glasses or chunky mugs. Do not bother buying expensive bottles of wine for this recipe, you can use the cheaper kind. The spices and orange can work their magical goodness on anything. I am constantly making mulled wine throughout the winter, and not even a sip was ever left in the bottle. Even a couple of my friends who are not really fans of wine find this recipe easy to drink as it is quite sweet. Ingredients 750 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon 1/2 […]READ MORE
Today’s sketchbook chick is ‘the foodie’. Who doesn’t appreciate a foodie? We might not all love making food, but we sure love eating it! So being around a foodie is never a bad thing, unless she’s the lecture-giving type, then it’s kind of annoying. I’m no foodie myself, although I do enjoy cooking (and who doesn’t in this reality-cooking show era!) but a foodie is someone I aspire to be should I have more time on my hands. Foodies enjoy cooking the trickiest of foods, are constantly baking goodies for friends and family, and usually grow their own herbs and greens, and if not, will look for the freshest possible produce. I imagine their kitchen to be quite rough around the edges, the Jamie Oliver kind, or perhaps similar to the illustration above; an overload of Cath Kidson prints on the surrounding fabrics. Are you a foodie yourself? You might like.. http://foodgawker.com/ an endless supply of user submitted delicious recipes, in a grid form; the beautiful pictures are enough to deserve a bookmark in my browser http://www.thekitchn.com/ a food blog containing anything from collections of recipes (of course!) as well as inspiring kitchen designs, decor, etiquettes and other food & […]READ MORE
What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.
There is no better time to delve through your literature classics than during the magical time of Christmas. Our Mystery Literature box for this special day holds some rich surprises, and a thoughtful reflection about the real meaning of Christmas. Have you guessed? It’s of course A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Full Description: “Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean, miserable, bitter old man with no friends. One cold Christmas Eve, three ghosts take him on a scary journey to show him the error of his nasty ways. By visiting his past, present and future, Scrooge learns to love Christmas and the people all around him.” (Source for Book Description and Purchase) Related material that you might like: A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books By Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol (2009) Directed by Robert Zemeckis (movie) A Christmas Carol (1984) Directed by Clive Donner (movie) Scrooge (1970) Directed by Ronald Neame A Christmas Carol: The Musical London Musicals Other books by Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist Great Expectations Suggested place to read: On a comfy sofa next to a warm and cosy fire place Suggested time: On a cold winter afternoon (maybe after Christmas lunch) Suggested food/drink: A glass of mulled wine or a cup of tea accompanied with a Honey/treacle rings (Kaghak tal-Ghasel translated in maltese) or a […]READ MORE
The Reasons Why Handmade Became Cool
In the last couple of years it has been difficult not to notice a rise in interest surrounding handmade items. Even those who least care about ongoing trends have surely noticed that such items are, for lack of a better choice of words, simply in. From handmade jewellery, to altered clothes and hand printing, the influence is vast and ranges in every sector imaginable. Even locally in Malta, where everything is somehow milder and belated, the effect is felt to such an extent, that we have specialised artisan markets, such as Patches. It is a sort of a new revival of the Arts and Crafts movement, somewhat similar to that of William Morris in 1860s. I believe that just like the reaction against the new industrial world at the time, this is a reaction against a society which relies heavily on mass production. In a world where everything is essentially created by programmed machines, there is no place left for man to be the creator. The satisfaction of creation is lost. Man sought perfection which was only obtainable through machines, and in an attempt to make the world a better place, man metaphorically exiled himself from the productive world. I […]READ MORE
Life Size Crib at the Verdala Gardens
One of the many challenges that I have experienced as a lecturer at the art college where I work (MCAST Art & Design) was during last year’s Christmas. I was given the task to coordinate a project that was quite different from our usual artistic and academic activities, and instead revolved around our religious traditions. His Excellency the President of Malta, Dr George Abela, had entrusted us with the design and production of a life size crib. The President decided to greet visitors of the Istrina 2011 entering the Verdala premises with the truest symbol of Christmas – a life size crib representing the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus Christ. Personally it was an experience that took me back in time and I could experience some of that Christmas spirit which was always present in my childhood, especially through my grandparents. It reminded me of a time when I used to help my grandpa in his workshop to prepare the plaster moulds to produce the nativity figures. So the journey started in the beginning of October 2011 when we began to come up with the first ideas. My colleague Sarah and I came up with some initial sketches and developed […]READ MORE
Screw the end of the world…love is what makes it go round.
It seems that there is no rest for the wicked, especially for this one very particular director: Terrence Malick (who coincidently is one of my favourite directors ). After having stunned us with The Tree of Life earlier this year, for which he has also won the prestigious Palme d’Or in Cannes last April, it seems he’s releasing more films this upcoming year. Today, just a few days before the world is supposedly ending, we have the release of the very beautiful trailer for his new film To The Wonder – during which the first words we hear are Javier Bardem’s: “You shall love – whether you like it or not.” To The Wonder is a romantic drama about a “beautiful account of love through memory” (Raup, 2012) and stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko and, as already noted above, Javier Bardem. This film looks as visually stunning, just as much poetic and equally strong in emotions as its predecessor The Tree of Life. Those of you who are already familiar with Malick’s films will definitely notice his signature flowing camera movements, introspective voiceovers and non-linear narrative. To The Wonder is to be released in 2013 but in the meantime, we […]READ MORE
Revamp of old unwanted garment
Hey hey! Here’s our first Guest Post by the talented Elisha Camilleri, enjoy! Christmas is on its way and with so many good offers around it is so easy to get lured into buying irrational items – many gifts end up in the closet unused. Twentieth-century technology has made it possible to mass-manufacture cheaply. A study revealed that as much as 700,000 tons of textiles and 100 millions pairs of shoes are being disposed of every year in the United Kingdom. This fact alone should be enough to motivate us to ponder about our purchases. There are many ways to contribute to our environment and this should not be limited solely to garments. Updating your winter wardrobe doesn’t necessarily mean buying new garments which will last just one season. Firstly most of us have overlooked some of the pieces bought last winter – try by putting pieces together in different combinations. I promise this can just have as powerful an effect as something new. Visit your local charity shop and savor upon pieces that can be worn or customised. While you’re at it grab those unused pieces in your wardrobe and hand them over. Customising garments could be an enjoyable process, especially when unpicking the […]READ MORE
Our Gift Guide caters for three different types of creatives; the socialite, the technophile, and the Artsy Fartsy. We tried to keep our selection on the low-cost side, giving you three sets of gifts for each creative; Under 15 Euros, Under 40 Euros, Under 100 Euros, and luxury gifts. Each and every gift that you see here, we chose because we would want this for ourselves, we hope you find them just as lovely 1. Topshop Hair Bow 2. French Women Don’t Get Fat 3. New Look Handbag 4. Accessorize Necklace 5. New Look “I’m not a paper cup” 6. Topshop Earmuffs 7. Etsy Necklace 8. Zara Vase 9. Debenhams Hat 10. Benefit Jet Set Beauty Box 11. Next Handbag 12. Asos Sweater 13. Diane von Furstenberg Clutch 14. Etsy Vintage Brass Mirror 15. Topshop Heels 16. Tiffany & Co Charm 1. Midnight in Paris Movie DVD 2. Grapefruit: A book of instruction and drawings (hardback) by Yoko Ono 3. Homemade Gifts (homemade jams and mince pies) 4. 2013 Lichtenstein Masterpieces Deluxe Diary (Domberger Calendars) 5. Marks and Spencer Frankincense & Myrrh Fragrance Candle 6. Guise and Dolls Pin 7. Sharp Image Pencil Sharpener 8. Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarell 9. ASOS Book Clutch Bag With Metal Corners […]READ MORE
Hey hey, miss us? We got together a few days ago to discuss a special post that we’ve got in store; a cliche’ that for some reason no one can get enough of; This season’s Gift Guide Don’t worry though, we’re making sure you can afford most of the stuff, and that of course, you will love all of the stuff we put there. So stay tuned for that this weekend, and in the meantime if you’re looking for something easy-ish to cook to make you feel cosy during these chilly days, here’s something which doesn’t require a lot of effort, isn’t expensive to make, but takes a bit of time… like most delicious winter food. Beef stew! Looks yummy right? Here’s how to do it: fry two medium-sized onions in some oil or butter, then add chopped beef to the pan. In the meantime chop a few carrots and potatoes. When your beef is brown, throw it in the casserole, then mix in the carrots and potatoes. Rather than stock, here I used a beef casserole mix with wine (not water!). Throw this in the casserole, and basically cook for around an hour and 15 minutes. The more you […]READ MORE