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Trials & Tribulations: Turning 25


When I was little, I decided that I would get married when I was 24. I don't know why - it just seemed like a good age.

Love locks on Brooklyn Bridge, New York

This week, I proved beyond all doubt that that wasn't going to happen. How? I turned 25. In the words of Marilyn Monroe (Some Like it Hot): That's a quarter of a century. Makes a girl think.

Of course, my plans and aspirations have changed quite a lot since I was little. It isn't as though I turned 24 and thought, 'Right, now I have exactly 365 days to find someone, fall in love and get married. Better start looking!'

But Marilyn was right: turning a quarter of a century old really does make a girl think. It's made me think especially about where my priorities lie, and where I see myself in 5 years time. (Yes, that is when I turn 30, and yes, that does terrify me a little.) 

And guess what? My plans no longer include getting married.

Ok, so if I meet the perfect somebody, I haven't ruled it out - especially if they happen to be a multi-millionaire. (Any takers?) But failing that minor miracle, I have other much more achievable goals to focus on. Career goals. Writing goals. 

Here's the catch: I'm not going to tell you what those goals are. This isn't because I'm afraid I won't achieve them, and I don't want to tie myself down to them. 

It's actually because of a piece of advice I received from a novellist a long time ago, about not sharing your work too early. She said that if you share a piece of work before it's ready, you can kill it accidentally, like bursting a bubble. I definitely agree with this: share your work too early or with the wrong person, and it deflates before your eyes. 

She was actually talking about poems or works of fiction in this case, but I think the same applies to life goals. By keeping my goals a secret, they become special, and they stay mine and magical. Now what better incentive than that to achieve a goal? 

So I won't say much about my goals. Only that, by the time I'm thirty, I hope to have a lot more words under my belt, and for me, that's a much more important goal than a wedding ring. 

Sorry, 8-year-old self, but my priorities have changed.

Saturday Beach: Kaikoura

Kaikoura Beach

A gloomy day on the rocky beach at Kaikoura, New Zealand. 

It's a fantastically dramatic place, and normally would be exactly the sort of place I would love. Unfortunately, it was in Kaikoura that some of the cracks in our tour group really started to show. It made for quite a bit of tension in the group, which rippled through the remainder of the tour. But at least I can appreciate this beautiful beach retrospectively.

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Saturday Beach is a series of weekly posts celebrating beaches around the world, whether cold and rocky or tropical with white sand. I love water; I love lakes; I love the sea. But most of all I love the edge of it: the boundary between the water and the land; where one thing turns into another. This is my weekly excuse to share that love with you.

Tips for visiting Malta


Maltese Cross: travel advice for visiting Malta - photo by Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog

Before my recent trip to Malta, I had no idea what to expect. 

Luckily, it wasn't too much of an issue, but there were a few things that I definitely wish I'd known beforehand. Fortunately, there were also some things that we did right, which I would pass on as advice to anyone heading to this little country in the Mediterranean:


1 - Get the bus 

At just €1.50 per day or €6.50 per week, buses are regular and a bargain. Sometimes they can be a little crowded, so if you're getting the bus from Valletta, it's worth getting to the bus stop a little early if you want a seat.


2 - Book in advance for the Hypogeum 

Billed as 'Malta's most interesting building', the Hypogeum is an underground temple complex which has a very limited daily visitor capacity. This means you need to book in advance if you want to visit. And I mean really far in advance. We tried to book on the Friday, and there was nothing for the whole of the following week, and not much for the week after that, either - and this was low season. My recommendation: as soon as you've booked your flights, book your tickets for this.


3 - Don't order Kinnie 

Kinnie is to Malta what Irn Bru is to Scotland, or what L&P is to New Zealand: kind of an unofficial national soft drink. By all means buy a bottle to try, but unless you're positive you like it, don't order it as your main drink somewhere: it has an incredibly bitter aftertaste and is one of those things you probably have to be Maltese to like. 


4 - Beware of Sundays 

Like a lot of religious Mediterranean countries, Malta pretty much closes down on Sundays. People tend to go to church in the morning, then (on sunny days) go to the beach in the afternoon. Unless you're doing the same, or spending the morning at Marsaxlokk Sunday Market, don't expect many places to be open. 


5 - Snack on a pastizzi 

Delicious pastry filled with cheese, peas or chicken, pastizzi are the best kind of snack: yummy, filling and cheap. I had several while I was there (the cheese was my favourite); the most expensive was 50c, and the cheapest was 35c. At a similar price, Imqaret (fried biscuit-wrapped date slices) are also a good cheap snack if you're after something sweet.


6 - Pack layers 

I think this is true for every destination, but it's particularly relevant for Malta. It's Mediterranean climate means that it's often warm and sunny (though of course, they do have their winters). But it's also an island, which means that everywhere is on the coast, and so everywhere has the potential for a sea breeze strong gust of wind.  


And there you have it: my top advice for visiting Malta. Have you been to Malta? Anything to add? Let me know - I'd love to hear it! 

Monday Wisdom: Look Around the Riverbend



Today's Monday Wisdom comes from none other than Disney's Pocahontas

For me, it's a reminder that anything could be just around the corner, and I have no idea what the future holds. Yes, I love to make plans, and sometimes it's great to have a plan and stick to it. (For one thing, having a plan for the future helps me save and budget in the present.)

But this song reminds me that sometimes it's best to let my plans shift and evolve, and not become to tied down to one course of action. 

I also just love the song. :-)

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Saturday Beach: Lake Rotoroa

Ducks on Lake Rotoroa

I know. Hard to believe this isn't a photo of the Lake District, isn't it? At least, it was for me. 

When we got off the bus at Lake Rotoroa, my first thought was: home. It just reminded me so much of Cumbria in England - right down to the trio of ducks by the rocky beach. It made me smile, and made me not a little bit nostalgic. I couldn't not include it in this series.

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Saturday Beach is a series of weekly posts celebrating beaches around the world, whether cold and rocky or tropical with white sand. I love water; I love lakes; I love the sea. But most of all I love the edge of it: the boundary between the water and the land; where one thing turns into another. This is my weekly excuse to share that love with you.