Life, lately - sunsets, open spaces and the flu

It's been a strange winter - very mild with hardly a drop of rain. The last time it rained properly, aside from a sprinkling or two, was on December 13th. I remember it distinctly because my son was camping and I was worried that he and his friends would get cold and wet. It's been, mostly, a very mild winter all over Europe, until storm Ciara wreaked havoc across a number of countries yesterday. But the forecast for Malta remains fair.
Blue hour in Valletta's  Merchants' Street - Sincerely Loree

Leaving the disappointingly mild and dry weather aside, here's a little of what I've been up to lately.

The January sales
I  went to Valletta one evening after work, right after the new year, ostensibly 'to shop'. The sales were a flop, as they usually are in this country, since the most recent merchandise seems to disappear off the shelves on the day the discounts start and is replaced by old stock. After halfheartedly traipsing around a couple of stores, I decided that Valletta was much more interesting and walked around snapping a few photos with my new phone. It's a Moto G7 plus and it's a great budget phone with an excellent camera that gives good results in low light. This window display at Grain restaurant really caught my eye. It's made out of menus which I thought was really original and the final effect quite stunning.
Window display at Grain restaurant, Valletta - Sincerely Loree
The weekend after my failed 'shopping spree' in Valletta I did buy 2 sweaters from Debenhams at The Point in Sliema. One, from Danish fashion brand ONLY, is black, fluffy, tight-fitting and reminds me of cat fur (!). The other is black and ivory, chunkier and by British brand Principles. Principles went out of business some time ago but was revived by Debenhams and designer Ben de Lisi in 2010. Principles is a great brand and I have a couple of sweaters that are about 10 years old but look as good as new. My intention this year was to donate an item for every one I buy but, so far, I've only managed to remove one item from my closet.
A quiet street in Valletta - Sincerely Loree

Open spaces
On one windy Sunday afternoon we drove to nearby Fomm ir-Rih to enjoy the open vista of the Mediterranean sea. It's a sight I never tire of and which always calms me down. We are so transient and the sea is so everlasting that, just by looking at it, all my petty problems become insignificant.
Fomm ir-Rih - Sincerely Loree

On a different Sunday at the end  of January, I took the road that leads out of our town to the valley beneath. In the late 19th century, the British had built a series of reservoirs and dams in the valley that feed off of the water that runs-off from the nearby fields and hills. They are named Chadwick Lakes after the British engineer that designed them, Osbert Chadwick. The place is pretty enough in winter, although all non-indigenous trees have been recently uprooted and it's looking rather bare and forlorn at the moment. The stream and reservoir are full of water at the moment but, by June, not a drop will be left, unless we have a particularly wet spring (which is unlikely, but hope is the last to die).
Chadwick Lakes - Sincerely Loree
Chadwick Lakes - Sincerely Loree

The dreaded flu
My son got sick right at the end of January. He ran a very high fever for around 3 days and had the most nasty cough but, thankfully, he recovered just in time for his exams. Luckily, my company offers the option to work from home when the need arises, so I was able to nurse him. And he can be quite demanding as he loves to be pampered. Most of my friends seem to agree that boys (and men) are like that when they are sick, so I guess he's no exception.

Keeping it simple on Sunday
Without meaning to, I started a new hashtag on Instagram #keepingitsimpleonsunday. My aim is to share a photo of a flower accompanied by a quote or a piece of poetry to try and brighten up everyone's Sunday - including mine, since the thought of the looming work week usually dampens my spirits. Please feel free to use it. Sundays should be about the pursuit of simple things and I would love to see what you come up with.
Almond blossoms - Sincerely Loree

Reading update
By the end of January I had read 4 out of the stack of 24 books that I aim to read in 2020, which means that I am well on track. I also started a fifth book 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' by Thomas Hardy but am finding it hard going. So I've decided to just read a chapter or two a day from 'Tess'. I'm about half way through and I hope I will finish it by the end of March.

My birthday
As you all know, I celebrated my birthday in January and my husband and I had a great date night out and a delicious meal at Guze' Bistro. Other than that, it was very low key, but I was blessed with a few very spectacular sunsets in the days leading up to my birthday. I happened to be peeling vegetables when I looked up and spied this beauty.
Fiery January sunset - Sincerely Loree

Reducing plastic
If you've read this post you'll know that reducing plastic is one of my targets and, although it's not as easy as I thought, I managed to find a shop in Rabat, Usasfuso, where clients can take their empty detergent bottles and get them re-filled. It's a generic detergent but it's getting the job done so that works for me.

I didn't really mean to ramble on for so long but when I started to write, the words just seemed to flow. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing when to stop. But that's not always a bad thing. With January behind us, the days are getting longer and the promise of spending more time outdoors gets more enticing. Was your January pretty uneventful, like mine? Do tell. I'd love to know.


  1. Loree your photos of the sea and sunset is just awesome. I can so identify in how one can lose themselves in just looking out on that lovely water. Sorry to read your son had the flu - it has certainly been happening here in the U.S.A. - in fact some schools have closed for a few days because of it. Wow that dress of menus is fabulous - someone certainly had a creative spark when they put this one together. By the way - I love an uneventful January. Gives one time to catch their breath after the holidays. Wishing you a blessed week end. Hugs!

    I tried to read that book TESS couldn't finish it..........
    I would say you are well on your way to completing your GOAL of books!
    I will try and use YOUR HASHTAG!!!!!!!!!!!HOW WONDERFUL YOU STARTED A TREND!!!

  3. Shopping, in a way, replenishes confidence no matter what I find. Your sweaters sound like a smile creater.
    Glad your son is doing better.

  4. @Debbie, thank you for your sweet comment. I agree about that window display. It was a real eye-catching.

    @Elizabeth, let's see whether the trend catches on 😉 I always think my photos look 'meh' but glad you see some magic.

    @Salty Pumpkin, yes the sweaters were a nice find.

  5. Loree,
    I love your photos. You always seem to capture a mood in them. It really does look gorgeous in Malta and I love learning more about in on your blog. I was looking at it's exact location and you are pretty far out there. Do you always fly or sometimes take a boat when coming and going other places? Our January was kind of slow, but I did like the downtime to regroup and sort out the home a bit after the chaos of the end of the year.

    I am rereading a few favorite books I found when I was cleaning out, one is The Shell Seekers. It is one of those very compact paperbacks and when I read it 20 or so years ago my eyesight was a lot better. The first thing I thought when I began on it was are my readers strong enough? Sad. SO far I am not nearly where you are on book goals. I just can't stay awake at night so need to find a break time to read in the daytime. I also just bought, Without Reservations, The Travels of an Independent Woman on recommendation from Jen Lawrence's blog. Looks like a good escape.

    I hope your son is better. So true about men.. I have three and they do NOT rally like women when they are ill.

    Wishing you a lovely February. It's dry here too..and no rain in sight . Seems like it's the same all over.
    Hugs, Kim

  6. Kim, thank you for your lovely, long comment. I am glad that you are a little intrigued by Malta. It's very small and can feel very crowded sometimes. We generally fly out if we're going anywhere. A boat would take too long unless we're taking a trip to Sicily. It takes around 2 hours to get there by catamaran but just 20 minutes by plane.

    I remember I had read The Shell Seekers but it was a long time ago. Yes, I know the feeling of having better eyesight. I somehow thought I'd never need reading glasses but things got rather bad last year and now I have to wear them whenever I'm reading. It's a bummer.

  7. What a gorgeous site!!! I love your sunday idea, it's rather heartwarming.

  8. It's true your phone does very good pictures ! We also had no winter at all, it is as if autumn lasts, except that the trees are naked ! We also had quite a lot of damages in Belgium, fortunately not us ! Our house resisted but many lost their roofs. My son is in Austria skiing with his family I hate snow !

  9. Wow! I am very happy to read this. Actually Fantastic. I am also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work. malta shopping

  10. Wow!!!

    This is a beautiful life you live!

    My goodness, the scenery! Your words are a pleasure to read, as well!

    Can’t wait to read more.

    Love, Ann


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