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It's All About Love

Valentine's Day is all about love and while most of us tend to celebrate it with our better halves, this year I choose to share the love with my hometown as well (Mario, if you're reading this, please don't be jealous). Let me explain myself. This February, it will be two years of me moving out of Cospicua but my love for my city has never ceased - I dare say it grew stronger. I have always been proud of hailing from this charming city in the south of Malta, even though I sometimes get looked down upon for it. I never miss Easter Sunday celebrations which are probably the most sought-after in Malta (and if you've ever visited, you know I'm not exaggerating) or our beloved festa in honour of the Immaculate Conception. Going for a walk along Dock 1 is a breeze in summer and the old part of the town has a magical aura surrounding it that I truly cannot put into words. 

Yet, unfortunately, there is this stigma that surrounds Cospicua and its inhabitants, from other locals but that is mostly because they have never experienced the true essence of being a Cospicuan. It pains me to see the name of my city being plastered across news headlines only when something bad happens, but luckily, the cards seem to be turning in our favour lately and our city is finally getting the glory it deserves.

It seems that other Maltese are finally beginning to see Bormla for what it really is - a city inhabited by people with a heart of gold, beautiful landscaping and old streets you can make you forget the rest of the world. Entrepreneurs are investing in this largest of the Three Cities and boutique hotels are opening their doors to guests wanting to experience the true essence of Malta. One such entity is BOCO Boutique, a lovely boutique hotel in the heart of Cospicua; and yes, it is as fancy as it sounds! I've had the pleasure of teaming up with BOCO Boutique for this project to bring you some outfit ideas just in time for Valentine's Day which I will, of course, celebrate with my better half, the first one for us as an engaged couple.

About BOCO Boutique

BOCO Boutique is a 6-roomed hotel, situated on one of the picturesque streets of Cospicua, just a short walk away from the recently renovated Dock 1 area. The majestic 400-year old town house, overlooks the town and provides guests with breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour, Valletta and even Mdina, the former Maltese capital, from the penthouse suite on a clear day.

The name BOCO is derived from the two names of the town - BOrmla (in Maltese) and Citta' COspicua, the title bestowed upon the city by Grandmaster Fra Antonio Zondadari in 1722. The Grandmaster's wish was that Bormla thrives along with Birgu and Isla which together make up the Three Cities but his wish lay unfulfilled for almost three centuries. Thankfully, Bormla is finally getting the glory it deserves and places like BOCO further elevate its status as a grand town in this picturesque part of our island.

BOCO strives to remain faithful to Grandmaster Zondadari's wish and this is reflected in the decor of the house where traditional features and modern works of art adorn all six rooms and the rest of the house together in harmony. The hotel is full of quirky objets d'art co-ordinated in winning combinations which are bound to leave a good impression on guests for years to come. 

Valentine's Day Outfit Ideas

Red is the colour of love and at the moment, it is one of the hottest colours to be seen in. I chose this top and skirt from River Island which combine red and flowers - can it get more symbolic than this? I doubt it ;) The flouncy sleeves work well in creating an interesting silhouette which is balanced with the skirt's cut. I opted for high shine rose gold metallic heels and accessories to really bring out the metallic details in the skirt.

Top, skirt & heels - all River Island | Star stud earrings - Tommy Hilfiger
Ring, Victor Azzopardi Jewellers

For the second outfit, I opted for a classic black ensemble. As soon as I saw this tuxedo playsuit, I knew it had to be mine. The fluted sleeves add a modern touch to this classic and the green tassel earrings lend it a bit of colour. I love how the Gianvito Rossi plexi pumps work with this outfit, giving the illusion of longer legs. I chose to wear a strappy bralet underneath it for a sexier edge and to lend the outfit some more femininity.

Jumpsuit - River Island | Bralet - ASOS | Heels - Gianvito Rossi
Earrings - Stradivarius | Ring - Victor Azzopardi Jewellers
This was indeed a project I thoroughly enjoyed working on with all the people involved in making it possible, but my favourite part was definitely having the opportunity to step into the stunning and unique BOCO Boutique in the city that stole my heart right from the start :) How will you be celebrating Valentine's Day? Any plans on what to wear already?

Location: BOCO Boutique, 65, Triq l-Oratorju, Bormla
Outfits and rose gold heels: River Island
Bralet: ASOS
Black shoes: Gianvito Rossi
Tassel earrings: Stradivarius
Star earrings: Tommy Hilfiger
Ring: Victor Azzopardi Jewellers
Lenses: Dailies Total 1 at Optika Opticians
Fashion Photography: GoRaw Photography
Makeup: Daniela Ebejer at Melita Health & Beauty

BOCO Boutique forms part of a chain of curated boutique accommodation and is operated by The Guest Experience Company.

'Together Is Better' | First dance video launched by Blog by Grazielle

One of my favourite local bloggers and friend, Grazielle has launched her first dance video with a message that I think is truly what the world needs right now. I'm happy to support this project of hers, thus I am sharing it here with you.

In Grazielle's own words, it [the video] is the first of hopefully a series of videos aimed to spread love, messages and good vibes out into the world and we see many more people and companies getting involved with us for good causes on this planet! 

The inspiration behind this video is what the family of a friend of Grazielle's (Francesco, the other dancer in this video) are going through in Venezuela (you can read her emotional post here for all the details) and together, they figured dancing is the way to go as it is one of the most relatable forms of communication between all nations - no language barrier and inhibitions!

The video was possible with help from choreographer Kristina Bianco at Dance Project Studios, Byron for filming and editing and NIKE (Hudson Group Malta) for the clothing. Grazielle's wish is that this video will hit over 1 Million views on Facebook and will automatically kick start a series of other dance and music videos open to international participation, all with the aim of spreading messages, love and good vibes. We are hoping that You and the universe will make it happen and we are ready to dance with you!  Let's help her turn it into reality by sharing the love and the message this video aims to convey:

Although we all live independent lives, it is when we join forces towards a common goal, that we are heard better and results achieved are better.
Help Each Other
To Achieve Your Goals
We Should Unite More
To Make The World A Better Place

Just Do It

Cold Weather Beauty Essentials

If you live in Malta or a country with an extremely humid climate, you would know we cold weather is a killer here - for me at least. We don't get snow or sub-zero temperatures mind you, but when it's cold it can wreak havoc on my skin, making it dry and lack-lustre all over.

In this post, I will be sharing my absolute must-haves to beat the effects of cold weather as voted by you on my Instastories ;)

I will start with the one product that I don't leave the house without - hand cream. My favourites are from L'Occitaine and The Body Shop not only because they smell nice and do an excellent job at keeping chilblains at bay, but they come in the perfect size to put in handbags, which is why I make sure to stock up on them as I literally keep one in every bag. My personal favourites are Argan Oil, Almond Milk & Honey and Coconut from The Body Shop (I currently have the Christmas trio which is shown here), while from L'Occitaine, my favourites are the three shown in the picture with the Radiant Balm being my absolute favourite - it leaves a subtle shimmer on your hands + smells amazeballs!

Hydration is key all year round but I do tend to switch formulas according to season. For my face, I am currently loving Lierac Hydragenist Moisturising Gel Cream and Moisturising Serum. They both have light textures that are easily absorbed and don't cause my skin to turn oily while doing a great job at hydrating my skin. To prevent my lips from getting chapped, Eau Thermale Avene lipbalm is my best friend. It doesn't leave a white residue on my lips and keeps them moisturised for a long time.

For the rest of my body? Human+Kind Family Remedy Cream does the job. It is suitable for a ton of skin conditions, is all natural and is great for use by children and adults alike! Lastly, to beat cold weather's number 1 ailment - colds, I have resorted to ImmunAction and PropoliEVSP by Erba Vita. You can read my full review about both products here but they have really helped me in beating colds this year.

What are your trusted ways of beating the cold?

Review | Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Range

If you're looking into taking better care of acne prone skin, then this post is for you. I have been trying out the Cleanance range from Eau Thermale Avène to deal with a couple of nasty breakouts due to eating way too much fatty food during the festive season. I was actually introduced to the range a couple of months ago, when I was invited for a presentation about Cleanance at Villa Mdina in Naxxar.

Dr. Lawrence Scerri, one of the leading dermatologists in Malta delivered a very interesting presentation about the different types of acne, what causes acne and the medical treatment available to treat it. Anyone who has suffered from acne at any point in their life knows the impact it has on our day to day life and activities. Women tend to pile on layers and layers of foundation in an attempt to cover up the pustules and scars. Men are also badly affected and this can impact work and their social life.

As you know, I have tried and reviewed skin care products for oily skin from other brands before which I still find them to be very effective and use these products on a daily basis. However, being a beauty blogger, I still like to try similar products to see how they compare. Today I have some products from this same Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance range which were given to me at the event.

Products from the Cleanance range suit my skin type, which is oily to sensitive where I get occasional pimples. The foundation of any great skincare regime is an effective cleanser. I am favouring the Cleansing Gel to remove all traces of makeup and dirt from my face at the end of the day without my skin feeling dry. I have also used the Cleanance Micellar Water and it is just as effective if you want something milder. I generally use micellar water for a quick clean in the morning while I tend to reach for a gel cleanser in the evening.

Cleanance Expert and TriAcnéal Expert are your best bet to take care of blackheads and stubborn blemishes respectively. Both products have a light texture that is rapidly absorbed and don't feel greasy. I like to use them even under makeup to protect my skin and prevent spots from getting inflamed. In fact these two are my favourites because I can see the results within 2 - 3 days.

Lastly, I have Cleanance MAT Mattifying Emulsion which is a light moisturizer that keeps skin shine free for longer. I sometimes use this as a makeup primer because it gives makeup an excellent hold and I don't need to touch up during the day.

What makes Eau Thermale Avène products different from other brands is that all of their products are packed in a sterile environment making them a sterling choice for people with sensitive skins. Eau Thermale Avène products can be bought from all pharmacies in Malta and Gozo.

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New Year, Same Me, New Glasses! - Meet Ralph!

You all now how the drill goes - new year, new me. Well I'm going with new year, same me, new glasses! Those who follow me on Facebook and Instagram have already caught a glimpse of my new pair of Ralph Lauren glasses which I got from Optika Opticians in Sliema. Technically I got them last December but I guess they can still count as something new to look forward to getting loads of wear out from in the new year, no?

I love my D&G's to bits but sometimes we all need a change - the little details make all the difference and these Ralph Lauren glasses are just what I needed to change up my look a little. For starters, I have been wanting a pair of tortoiseshell glasses for as long as I can remember but somehow, I never found the perfect pattern for me - it's either too dark, too light, too busy, but the pattern on this pair is, well, perfect! The very front of the glasses is black though so the tortoiseshell colour is most notable on the temples.

My favourite part of these glasses are in fact the temples - understated yet full of details! There's the Ralph Lauren logo on the brushed gold-toned metal end piece and a bit of leather that 'connects' the end piece to the temple. The lenses are the perfect size for my face and I like the fact that the nose pads are in-built. I always tend to favour such models more.

The sales assistants at Optika always go out of their way to help me choose the perfect frame for a) my very demanding tastes and b) my small face. With the vast choice they offer, I always find it difficult to narrow down my choice to just one pair but with their professional help and advice, I somehow manage and I am always satisfied with my final choice :) Finally, to keep my lenses clean and scratch-free, I use Kler Spectacle Lens Cleaner and the provided cloth to ensure my glasses are always kept in tip-top condition.

For ideas on what Optika have to offer, go ahead and check out my gift ideas post for it doesn't have to be Christmas to give gifts! Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead!