Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Reasons why I'm putting myself on a shopping ban

During the last couple of weeks, I've been telling myself I need to STOP shopping. The problem is, I obviously couldn't keep my word and I ended up buying way too many clothes, and yet waking up every morning to 'I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!'. So I decided to put myself on a shopping ban. I've been reading a couple of blogs and realized quite a couple of bloggers go on a shopping ban, some for a month, some for even a whole year. So I decided to contemplate about this and I finally came up with a couple of reasons why I should REALLY go on a shopping ban for at least a month, starting today:

1. Because I'm flat broke 

No SERIOUSLY. Being a student with no part-time job and a shopping addiction is one of the deadliest of combinations. Anyone with the same problem can probably relate to being in a shop and having to choose between buying those pair of shoes and spending that money on alcohol or food and choosing the former. I've been there, way too many times.

2. Because I need to save up 

I think I finally arrived to the point where I'm starting to choose memories over materialism... HOORAY. So I really need to quit buying things I don't need and start saving up for other things, obviously that includes more travelling.



4. Because it's an incentive to finally take up sewing properly 

I've vowed to myself that anything I wear must either be something I already have or something I've made myself. One hour of sewing a day will hopefully keep shopping and stress at bay.

5. Because it's an excellent motivation to lose weight


Festive season
Exam period
Final year at University (Including Thesis and Finals)


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until mixture is dense and fatty. Very very dense and very very fatty.

 No SERIOUSLY. In my case, stress (and celebrations) make me gain quite a lot of weight - so knowing none of my clothes fit as good as they should, and knowing I can't buy new ones should ultimately result in losing weight. Well, I should hope so.

Have you ever been on a shopping ban yourself? Are there any tips to keep it up?


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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Bologna - The metabolically challenged (Pt. 1)

I like to think of Italy as and old man, face etched with wrinkles, silver grey hair hidden underneath a brown fedora. Eyes hidden behind penny-round glasses, wearing a green coat, grey trousers and a flannel shirt - the look of a poet and an artist. All this makes me want to hug Italy. In my opinion, as far as the arts are concerned, it cannot get better than Italy.

So naturally I try to visit Italy as often as I can. A couple of weeks ago I booked a low-cost flight from Malta to Bologna. Since I barely had time to even BREATHE during these past exams, I found absolutely no time to plan it out properly. So on the eve of our flight, me and my friend Michela still had no clue of what we're doing or of any places we were visiting - so we decided to improvise.

If there's one thing that characterizes ALL of my holidays is my ability to get lost...everywhere. This has led me to one of the highlights of this holiday:

1. Discovering sinistra means left and destra means right

No seriously. I've lived all my life thinking the opposite, even though I consider myself a fluent speaker of Italian.

2. The University and the night life 
Our hotel was right amidst the bustling university life of Bologna - students drinking beer and coffee in coffee-shops situated on campus, sitting in the piazze,  and students graduating and wearing the strangest of hats to do so. The area around the University is full of life - all the time. What I liked particularly about it was the way coffee-shops became bars in the evening. One thing I regret not doing was trying the aperitivo, that is the Italian version of happy hour. Basically instead of discounted drinks, Italian bars raise the prices of their beverages between 6pm and 9pm, but instead give you the opportunity to sample a number of appetizers ranging from tiny pizzas to meat on skewers. I swear the inventor of this concept is my spirit animal - for choosing food over alcohol.

The university district by day 

3. Shopping, or rather the lack of it
Living in Malta means being very limited to the range of shops from which to shop locally. If there's one thing I ALWAYS do when I'm abroad is shopping. If there's one thing I didn't do in Bologna was shopping. Even though there's plenty where to shop in Bologna, mainly Via dell'Indipendenza, I finally came to the conclusion that I might, just might, have enough clothes for now. However I did shop for other things mainly for books and decor items.

4. Books 
If there's a heaven I'm sure it looks something like this. This is La Feltrinelli - a bookshop found throughout Italy selling all sorts of books in all sorts of languages. I remember visiting La Feltrinelli in Firenze and falling in love at first sight - people from all age groups were sitting on the sofas inside the shop reading books they had just bought from the shop. Apart from the vast choice of books, I'll always and forever love the decor of these shops. There are quotes of the sort all around the shop and photos of famous authors which made me want to pretty much give up everything here in Malta and move to Italy just to have everyday access to a la Feltrinelli outlet.

Another thing that made me want to do this was yet another bookshop. I'm starting to doubt myself but I'm pretty sure this a bookshop found in Bologna's Eataly. Once again, the decoration of the shop was lovely - however it was really busy at the time we visited. But what really grabbed my attention was this board below. Basically people visiting the shop are invited to write down the name of their favourite book or a book they'd like to recommend and stick it to the board. Needless to say, I had to put The Great Gatsby.

One other highlight related to books was DEFINITELY purchasing my first Moleskine ever! I bought this from Florence because I believe Florence is the epitome of the arts and I still long to be a lost soul walking around Florence to seek inspiration for my new novel.

5. The Tourist Attractions  

I swear everything in Italy distinguishes itself from the same thing found elsewhere just because it's Italian. Cruising through the streets of Bologna and Florence, I swear I could have cried at any given moment. Everything about Italy screams art and poetry. We visited Piazza Nettuno by day and by night and I still believe it looks ever in artificial light.  There are a number of tourist attractions in Bologna. The number of Porticos spread throughout the city give Bologna a unique feel. And this city does live up to it's nickname - the RED city.
Nettuno's shadow

More Porticos 

Piazza Nettuno

I apologize for taking AGES to write up this post - I've been extremely busy (and somewhat extraordinarily tired). Stay tuned for part 2!


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Vintage treasure box

My sister always insists that one needs two kinds of nights after they finish their exams - the one where you get wild, and the one where you wear your pyjamas and hide. Since I've had my fair share of wild nights, my friend Michela invited me over for some catching up over Nutella fondue and cookies.

THE luggage!
However the highlight of this night wasn't the Nutella fondue. Nor the cookies. The highlight was THIS LUGGAGE. Michela told me that this luggage belonged to one of her late relatives and that is was supposedly full of clothes. Curiosity killed the cat - or in this case, bruised my hands beyond repair. We couldn't find the keys to open it, so to cut a long story short we somehow managed to get the clothes out of this luggage without opening it. (P.S. googling 'How to open an old luggage without keys' isn't really helpful). 

Blouses underneath sweaters
are the best. Seriously. 

If there's one thing I love about vintage clothing is that each item is really unique. You don't run the risk of going out and finding someone wearing the same thing as you are. Michela was such a sweetheart to give me some of the jumpers we found. Some of the clothes needed some touching up, such as a gorgeous electric blue sweater (which will soon feature in one of my OOTDs, that's for sure). Lint shavers are the best! My favourite is definitely this mint jumper which I decided to wear this morning on top of this New Look sheer blouse. 

AND all convinced me that I really need a vintage suitcase in my life - in my opinion they make perfect storage boxes.


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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Yours truly

I'm a firm believer that people shape their identity around the things they love and the activities they enjoy doing. This is why I tend to describe myself as a 20 year old coffee addict with a passion for travelling, literature and fashion. I'm also into DIY and photography, and anything creative really.

Travelling for travel's sake
I believe I was born in the wrong country (and maybe even in the wrong era). Since changing the latter has been proven impossible several times, I'm on my way to change the former - I'm on my way home. Where to? I still don't know. I like being a traveller, not a tourist. I like taking the side-streets. I'm also very fond of coffee-shops and bookshops. Actually, fond doesn't even begin to describe it. So combining these three is ultimate bliss.

I have a thing for cold cities, which is why I really want to go to Paris. Which leads me to my next point: I really want (and need) to learn French. Hence the French blog title which translates itself to 'spotted coffee-shop'. Since I'm currently during my final year at University, writing up a thesis and what not, this is the only exposure I'm getting for now to the French language.

Of Creativity and DIY 
I was brought up in a family where DIY was always considered the best alternative. Creativity was also encouraged especially since I spent the majority of my childhood thinking I'd grow up to become the next Michelangelo.

So needless to say I'm an avid DIY fan, especially when it comes to house decoration (and organization!) and fashion. Currently my mother, an ex-seamstress is trying to find some time to teach me how to use a sewing machine, so  I'm still trying to learn learn the ropes in this sector.

Beauty is in the eye of the person seen wearing the right outfit. As Mark Twain puts it "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society". Style is the key. I once heard that fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it. And those are #wordstoliveby.

If cooking can be considered as a creative outlet, then I can include it in this section as well. My newly discovered fancy for cooking is something I go proud of - considering I was to cooking as E.L James is to literature until a couple of years ago.

Finally, photography. Since I grew up and realized I was extremely far away from becoming the next Michelangelo, I needed to find a way to capture snapshots of the real world in another way. Naturally, I turned to photography. This year, I vowed to make full use of my Nikon D3000 which has been waiting for its potential to be unleashed for way too long.

(n.) the love of books.

Ever since I can remember, I've always been an avid reader. Even though I might have tried to deny this in the past, there's no fighting the nerd inside. My lifetime aspiration is to get published, and someday write my own novel. In the meantime, I hoard books like a madman, in hope that one day I'll  have the time to read them all.

I'm more into classics than contemporaries. Being an Arts student, reading for a degree in Maltese, has given me the opportunity to appreciate Maltese literature - something I had previously looked down upon. I think anything written in Italian is pure poetry and anything written by F.Scott Fitzgerald can make me melt like an ice-cream in the scorching heat typical of a Maltese summer.

I also believe people are meant to be discovered, not written about. Which is a perfect excuse to stop writing about myself.

Oh, I forgot. My name is Christa. Pleased to meet you.