2016 Goodreads Challenge WON!

During the past four years, I admit that I haven’t been as voracious a reader as I used to be in the past. This is mainly because:

  1. I moved house 3 times in 3 years, meaning that my books were hidden in boxes for long periods of time at a stretch.
  2. Living alone means that one has more responsibilities and more time needs to be dedicated to house chores, meaning that when I finally have some free time, I mostly end up mindlessly vegetating and watching some T.V rather than reading.
  3. Me and my bf bought our own place in 2015, which also meant we had to restore, furnish and do quite a number of maintenance jobs, which left me exhausted both in mind and body.

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Finally however, I was all settled in 2016 and could re-start focusing my life once more. This is why I took part in the Goodreads challenge with the premise of reading at least 75 new books during that year. I don’t know whether to you 75 books sound like too many, but for me, it is the bare minimum I had to read to restore the real ‘me’ to myself, taking into account the enormous number of books I used to read and enjoy before. 

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I am happy to say that I more than passed the test. I read a total of 116 books in 2016, passing and topping the challenge I had set myself. Which is what I actually wanted really. I must also add that I didn’t make an effort or check myself constantly in any way to push myself to read. I didn’t do it because I HAD TO. I read effortlessly, lovingly, having fun and choosing books I liked or those I was curious about.

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2017 brought along a new Goodreads challenge. This time, I am promising myself I’ll read at least 100 new books this year… which means that I’m reading at least 150… haha. Call it my New Year’s Resolution.

Also on this note, I’ve decided to start writing a blog entry each month, reviewing briefly the books read during the previous 30/1 days. So looking forward to that!

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Confession! Sorry dear bloggers!

FINALLY a moment of peace! Been so busy these past few weeks! In a good way though! Lol actually in a VERY good way.

And here I must admit to something. Something which actually I am not ashamed of, since it makes me reflect about how amazing my life really is. The confession is this – unfortunately this blog is not a priority in my life. Shocked? Well it’s the pure truth. Yes I adore venting and communicating random feelings and thoughts here. I love making friends and i’m flattered by the numbers in the stats section which show the popularity of my little random tit-bits of writing. Yet these past few weeks have made me realize how much is actually going on in my life and cherish the fact that I have so many vibrant priorities to continue fostering.

What have I been doing? Well apart from finally travelling extensively within the Scottish Highlands, the Hebrides and Scotland itself and enriching myself in the process, I have been writing like mad, taking amazing photos in order to hold such memories forever, updating my home and abode and also getting more and more writing commissions… which apart from being fun to research and write, are also starting to bring in some concrete cash (more than the usual tiny sums I mean).

You may notice that I referred to writing twice. This is because mentally, i tend to divide my writing into 2 different categories. Creative writing and commissioned writings. I enjoy them both but in truth it is creative writing which lets me give vent to my imagination and inspiration. After all, this is what writing is all about! And as another writer once said ‘A writer HAS to write’ (referring to Lucy Maud Montgomery) – it is not something one does to follow some agenda, have followers, or appear in the lime light. A writer cannot NOT write if you get my drift. About everything. Every day. Which is why i feel that this blog is not a priority. I never publish any of my pieces here – not the original real writings which reflect my heart and soul. That’s because there is no real copyright on publicly hosted blogs. I also actually rarely put on articles which i have written under commission, and when i do i always paste the original newspaper or magazine link too. So, after all my creative writing + commissioned writing (more and more such jobs are cropping up lately), I admit that I hardly have time to dedicate to this blog. Though sometimes, like today, i actually glance in here a bit 😜

Going back to my latest travelling adventure – each thing learned, historical place visited and experience made, only served to further inflame me, birth new ideas and inspire more writing. All is stored up in my head and heart for now, but will come out soon enough! P.S all the photos interspersed throughout this post are ones I took in Scotland.

And of course, all this emotion, passion, curiosity and fascination with life, is all wrapped up together with my love for my soulmate. That all pervading, mysterious, funny, ever-growing love, which makes all the days and nights so much richer. In the end, what can be better than seeing and travelling the world? Doing that with the one you love of course! And what can be better than writing? Writing while knowing that the one you love is there, in the next room, waiting to cradle you in his arms and kiss your lips when you are done. 

So, confessions apart, if you are reading my blog – this is what you will get. The wild meandering crazy thoughts of a girl who’s too busy and mashed up for comfort, but who nonetheless is prepared to offer an honest and clear-cut opinion and perspective. Not in an effort to attract attention or appear as something she’s not, but in the pure desire of being herself and reaching out to like-minded creatures.

P.S For those who were wondering, though I did sail on Loch Ness, unfortunately, Nessie was not to be seen 😛

Between Happiness and Doom

I’m not going to write paragraphs and paragraphs about how sorry I am that I haven’t written in ages. To be honest, I am not sorry. This is because, literally, I was too busy living to write during the last couple of months. To sum it all up:

  1. Me and my bf bought a new house.
  2. We re-painted said house, re-arranged the electricity and plumbing. Fought with said plumbers and electricians over issues, problems, mismanagement and parts to be bought and exchanged.
  3. We bought furniture, fought with furniture stores when the orders did not turn up, ran after stores when furniture turned up with missing parts, arranged the furniture to our liking.
  4. We spent money and wailed about it.
  5. Finally we packed all our stuff and moved in, discovering more problems as we went along.
  6. After all this, breathless and wrung-out, we went on a ten-day holiday trip to Wales (which was splendid btw) BUT
  7. Left us completely tired-out again. After which we
  8. Re-started chasing more stores about more furniture… realizing that for the next year or so, this would be an ongoing thing… *sigh*

And more or less, that’s it.

Much more ‘more’ than ‘less’ really lol.

Anyways, totally went off writing for a bit. Strange as that may sound. I was to tired. Too colourless. Too weak. Etc.

So here we are. I promised not to write paragraphs about why I haven’t written lately, and yet I did. Kind of. Hehe.

BUT when I find myself cozily sipping some tea on my new L-shaped sofa in front of our new 55″ screen TV, watching ‘Downton Abbey’ while my one and only hugs and tugs at me playfully (and no I’m not talking about my dog here lol), seriously, I ask myself, ‘Could it get any better?’ And the answer is totally NO, it can’t.

I just hope nothing happens to spoil this. I’m finally happy, blissfully and exceptionally so. And in that moment of realization, a tiny kernel of terror always spirals in my stomach, telling me that once everything is perfect, the only direction one can go is down, and that it won’t last.

Is it my emotional scars tugging at me once more? Or just, a feeling propheticizing some immentionable doom? Thing is, if I continue to be afraid that I will loose this, I will never really enjoy it. Never savour the moment. Never fully taste my dreams coming true. I try to let it go.

And yet, I can’t.

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Where was I?

Allo?!… Allo?!… YES I’M STILL ALIVE!

Truly, I haven’t written anything on my blog in such a long time, and I am kind of ashamed of myself. The usual story applies – I was too busy! Ah but, you ask me, too busy doing what?

Well first of all, after me and my other half bought the town house (or maisonette actually), we started the job of refurbishing it. True – it was supposed to be ‘finished’ in Real Estate jargon – meaning that there were ‘perfectly good’ walls, a roof, a kitchen (which I must admit, is swell), and two bathrooms, and we could just move in with our furniture in a jiffy. Well, guess what? It actually wasn’t.

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First of all we had an electrician check out all the kaboodle. Needless to say, we found LOTS of stuff that needed doing and changing. Even had to dig into the walls in some places. Secondly, we got a plumber and checked out all of that too – after a while we realized that almost every piece of plumbing we would come into contact with on a daily basis, needed to be fixed too. The shower nozzle and the flushing in the main bathroom had to be changed, the ones in the ensuite had to be changed as well, as did a couple of taps. Last, but not least, last week the kitchen sink got blocked. When we changed the pipe and poured down some sink-clearing acid, this fell through the pipe, threatening to spill everywhere and corrode furniture. We managed to clean it, but for now we cannot use the kitchen sink at all, since the plumber is currently abroad… achhh it never ends.

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Electricity and plumbing aside, we hired an Irish guy to paint the whole house, because quite simply, it was terrible. Not only were the walls not sanded and so quite rough, but the people who lived there before us were, apparently, colourblind. Would you believe that each room in the house was painted a different colour? Each room represented a colour of the rainbow, I KID YOU NOT!

So, the stairs leading to the main entrance were blue, the living room was dark green, the kitchen was light green, the main bedroom was red, the second bedroom was pink, the third one was purple, the main corridor was a weird salmon colour, and the washroom on the roof was orange!!! It took us almost three weeks to get the darn colours out!!! Of course, we did not do the painting ourselves, since we have no experience in the field and while an experienced painter took 3 weeks, we’d probably have spent 3 months trying to figure it out… and it was difficult for the painter too! Some colours, like the orange, just wouldn’t come out! He had to paint the same washroom 6 times for it to disappear!!!

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In the meantime, although we were not the ones painting the place, we took time off from work, and when we actually did go to work, ferried ourselves straight to the new home afterwards. We already have some furniture (not to mention all my books) there, as well as a new 55″ T.V set already installed, and to be honest, though the painter seemed like a nice sort, we did not want to leave him alone with the stuff. Mostly though, we realize that certain workers/mice tend to take long ‘breaks’ when the cat is away… so, better safe than sorry.

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To cut a long (very long) story short, the paint-job is now finally done. We also ordered a lot of furniture, the main bedroom, and the parquet flooring, which should be delivered next week. Let’s see how that goes.

The most stress-inducing issue of them all however, is the Maltese mentality. Why? Because every time one needs some kind of works done, or some kind of service, even though one is offering money, one has to literally chase said manufacturer/furniture store/woodworker all over the place. You call him a million times  only for him to tell you to go talk to him in person, then when you actually do, he either tells you he does not provide that kind of work, or that he needs to come to your place to verify the measurements for a simple quotation. Later, he forgets he had an appointment and does not come, so you call him again. And again. When he finally comes, he’s late, takes the measurements, and tells you he will ‘let you know’ about the quote later. A couple of weeks go by and nothing. You send emails and call some more. Until finally he calls you back and tells you the store is on shut down for the summer months… OH FOR FU**’S SAKE! And this is not an isolated incident – it’s EVERYBODY!!

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How the hell can I not be irritated? So many setbacks just because people do not want to earn money and do their actual job!

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Anyways, yes – this is what I have been doing and where I have been. There is much work to do yet, but we are, very slowly, getting there. I had hoped we’d move in before leaving for our ten-day holiday to Wales in September, however at this point, I doubt it very much…

Still, I believe all of this will be worthwhile in the end. Our ‘Castle’ will be just the way we want it – a refuge, a haven, a dream-house – I can’t wait!

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