Sunday, September 26, 2010

Farewell, but not Goodbye

Dear Readers,

I have truly enjoyed posting my adventures on this blog for the last 2+ years. Since I have been writing this blog I have got praise and perks from readers who liked my writing. I also got words of encouragement from friends and readers. I am really happy you joined me throughout this experience.

However, I shall be leaving this blog for pastures new. Cherie Noire or Black Cherry was an identity I adopted in my teens. A symbol amongst my girlfriends. I'm not a teenager anymore and certain twists of fate have opened my eyes to my destiny.

Many of my posts here were very personal. I am looking to create a more professional identity. That's not to say I won't include personal anecdotes. However, I am interested in talking more about different issues and topics namely marketing, media, journalism, inspiration, motivation and creativity. I will also be adding a portfolio of my published works and private collection of essays and poems. The rest you will have to wait to find out!

So this is farewell, but not goodbye. I will see you all over at tamarachetcuti.com.

Hope you had an awesome summer and that you're getting ready for a new winter.

Much love and gratitude,
Tammy xx

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"There will be, ups and downs, smiles and frowns" - Snoop Dogg

Sometimes you need to slow down. Sometimes you need to pick up the pace.

Summer hasn't been kind, which is usually the case for me. I tend to overwork during the holidays. My golden hours are those spent at the end of June/beginning of July and those last summer weeks of September. After the first week of January until the last week of August I experience what can only be described as 'mental breakdown' season.

It's happened to me now for three summers in a row but the last two were unbearable. I get really exhausted and mentally unstable. Then I get really sick and that's when reality hits me and I take a break. It's always the same pattern. I'm always working really hard or doing nothing at all.

I quit my summer job over a week ago. The gradual realisation that I was going to be set free from the confines of a terrible workplace led me into delusional ecstasy. I started going out everyday and drinking a lot until I crashed and burned. Then I got sick again. I've been falling ill quite often, this last year. I got seasonal allergies and every time the weather slightly changes I develop a cough and a cold and heavy breathing. The weather got cold and windy in anticipation of a Friday 'storm'. My body reacted to the change.

The funny thing about getting sick is that it can be sometimes counted as a blessing. Although I had to cancel plans with friends and stay indoors for two days, it really helped me get back on track:-
  • I've started my 'Little Brown Book'. I love stationery and cannot live without notebooks to organise my life (Fuck iPhone and Blackberry!). In it, I'm detailing my finances on a daily basis. I'm on Day 4 at the moment and it's really helping me keep track of my money. I'm not known to save and my recent no-more-summer-job euphoria led to some unnecessary food and alcohol spending.
  • I finished listening to my Gala Darling's Love and Sequins Chapter 5 audio file about 'Finding Happiness' and took down notes to help me get through my final degree year and the dreary task that is my thesis. Gala Darling is an amazing woman who is very well-read and organised, who gives advice on life, love, fashion, travel, finance and so many other things. In fact, one of her articles inspired the title of my thesis. She has an audio script collection which she calls her book. Every month, she posts a new chapter on her site. You can buy them individually or as a set. She has two more chapters to go if I'm not mistaken. They are truly lovely. I bought another two chapters to do with business and manifesting the life you want to achieve. You may think it is a waste of money but is a good read, includes quotes and sources, provides examples and even gives tasks to put the words to practice. This woman has really changed my life.
  • As soon as I recovered a little I took my little brother out for his birthday. I love my brother so much. He is my 'rock' and I don't think he even realises how important he is to me. He turned 16 yesterday and I took him out to the capital city of Valletta. I bought him two pairs of shoes which he really wanted and then bought us lunch at this cool restaurant called 'Luciano's' in Merchant Street. When we were young, we used to hold many family events here with cousins, aunties and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers! We hadn't been there for a long time but as soon as we entered the memories came flooding in. We sat by a wall full of vintage soft drink bottles and an old guitar. The place is full of old memorabilia of times gone by. The walls are made out of old Maltese stone and the interior is rustic, cosy and inviting. I was surprised when my brother started mentioning particular memories of his childhood that I had indeed forgotten myself. That kind of nostalgia is comforting when you share it with someone who was there with you when it happened. On the way home, the rain started to fall which was fun. But when we got home we were exhausted. I stayed in that Friday night watching 'Desperate Housewives' and listening to the rain fall and feeling happy.
  • I work with a student media organisation called 'Insite'. I think you've heard this one a gazillion times! hehe. Well, those two days indoors got me all pumped up to catch up with some work that I had been holding back. I felt so amazingly productive right after. I almost finished four proposals and I have a few articles and proposals to write but finishing something you kept procrastinating over feels awesome. Now I just need to do the same with my thesis! This week I was talking to a friend of mine and told him I think the reason why I'm so obsessed with organising myself is because I have a very bad habit of procrastination which I have fine-tuned to perfection from a young age. In response, he told me something which really stuck with me: ' You know, they say it takes six weeks to develop a habit. Why don't you set your goals, pick at least one to focus on for six weeks and don't falter on it for not even a day!' It makes sense. If you practice something for a long time it becomes habitual like smoking or learning to drive. I have taken this advice and am actively focusing on achieving it. No more procrastination! God help me.
  • I wrote my daily GOALS routine which I hope become habit by the end of the year. This is how they go: Wake up at 6:00 every day and walk/jog for at least 30 minutes and then end up at the beach for a 7:00 dip! (at least until winter starts), Sleep by 23:00 everyday (I've developed a bad case of insomnia the last month and I need to fight it!), DON'T PROCRASTINATE, Create positivity and hope for family and friends, Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, Practise your driving skills at least three times a week, Do at least 2 hours of university work a day, Drink 3 litres of water a day, Don't obsess over everything, Save money!
  • I went for my driving theory test and passed. Now I start my first driving lesson on Monday (tomorrow). The day I was sick in bed was the only chance I had to study for it.
So that was what I did this week. And on this lovely Sunday morning I started my new routine. I got up at 6:00 and went for a walk. By 7.15 I was at St. George's Bay having a little dip and then sitting down on my beach towel to look at my surroundings. I wasn't the only one there. The usual old couples were there early. Every few minutes a new couple would arrive with folding chairs and sun-hats and join the rest of the group. It's like all the oldies know each other. Must be a daily routine for them. It was nice to watch. Then there was an African guy cleaning the private part of the beach (Intercontinental Beach Club) for the hotel guests. The morning cleaners were just packing up after tidying up the public beach area and a group of Spanish youth were having a good old time splashing about and rushing back to shore now and again to swig from a bottle of Jack. (The sound of crashing waves is extremely therapeutic to me). The water was cold and there were a lot of clouds so the sun couldn't warm me up. I sat there with my towel wrapped around me after coming out of the water. The sea was not so calm so I got to hear the wonderful sounds of the sea. Hardly any cars were driving by and there were only a few souls up that early so it was perfect. Despite my list of goals, I might not keep up the early morning beach swim every single day because it will lose it's appeal. I will do it a couple of times a week after my walk and next time I'll make sure to take a notebook with me. I have been known to come up with amazing ideas, projects or even instantaneous poems in moments like these. I'm a daydreamer so I contemplate a lot. Crashing waves are a great source of inspiration.

And so comes the end of my week and the start of something new, I hope. At the moment I'm just blogging and listening to music but I got inspired and baked my brother a cake and hope to host a little party as soon as all the family is home. I'll get back to partying on Tuesday and am hoping to entice my friends to do something random like go swimming right after a night clubbing and have a breakfast picnic at sunrise on the sand. If there's one thing I learned from Gala Darling is that you should try and do something truly random and magical as often as you can because even though routine is a good thing that increases your productivity, too much of it can wear you down!

And if you follow the advice in the following music video then that won't hurt either:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI

But always remember, know your limitations and be aware of the areas were you can improve. Most of all, be aware of the areas were you excel! Adjust your pace of life accordingly through the highs and lows. Always know your goals as they keep you alive no matter how far-fetched they may be. And start a blog. It's fun! :)

I hope that you all have a lovely Sunday.

Tammy

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stressed? Read these summer tips.

The moment I realised summer had truly started was when all the local buses I started to catch had nowhere for me to sit, most passengers before 4pm were tourists, the bus was painfully slow and ready to break down any minute and everyone's body was emitting offensive odours! These are some of the downsides of summer.

Then again there's always a bright side. You can walk your dog at night with your lightest clothes on and feel cool and comfortable under the clear summer skies. You can spend days splashing about in the sea and enjoying outdoor BBQs with family and friends. You can guzzle down litres of ice cold water without getting a brain freeze, slurp ice lollies and get that undeniably relieving feeling when you step into a shop with air conditioning.

Personally, I'm a winter person. I love the cosy moments I can enjoy to escape the cold rather than the cool-off moments I search for because of the heat. However, I appreciate this season for all the good things it brings anyway.

For those who are busy in the summer like me, I have some words of advice:-

  1. Take a day off! And when I say day off I mean a week or at least a weekend! If you're like me summer means busy, Busy, BUSY!! Usually, my first two weeks of summer are pure bliss where I try and avoid all forms of responsibility and then it goes downhill from there and picks up again for Santa Maria Weekend in Malta and the last three weeks of September. I know you may have a busy life but try and take a minute to say 'TIME OUT! I need some ME time now." This is very hard for me to do but I do try and fit in these moments. If you're always on-the-go and can't always afford nights out or weekends off then at least dedicate a whole 24 hours to yourself. You can book a day at a local spa or try out a new sport. Alternatively, if you can spare a weekend off but can't afford to go abroad then spend it in a top quality hotel in Malta or rent a villa/apartment in Gozo! Seriously, it beats working all the time no matter how much of a workaholic you are.
  2. Go on holiday! This is only for those who can afford it. Surprisingly, I don't like leaving Malta in the summer. There are too many good things going on here. Sometimes I don't understand the people who say there is nothing to do here in the summer. Just look around you. The amount of festivals, shows, parties, beach bbqs, festas going on is enough to last you all year! I think the only reason I would travel in the summer is to go to a foreign festival which I have not had the opportunity to do as of yet. Winter months are my favourite months to travel because you're bound to meet more locals for sure as they travel less and I prefer shopping, sightseeing and partying than spending time doing absolutely nothing. In fact, I prefer sleeping in a shared hostel room than finding a room at some posh hotel! That said, summer travel is great too. Good weather is bound to improve your chances of getting around and visiting different places. Since it's high season too you may be able to visit certain attractions that are not available in the winter too! It doesn't really matter though. If you can afford it travel at every opportunity you can find. A change of scene can really revitalise you. Just make sure you settle any bills, conflicts or your cluttered bedroom before you go abroad so that you return to a clean and clear environment. Nothing ruins a holiday more than finding a spiralling mess you have to sort out when you get back.
  3. Flirt! This need not only apply to the single crowd. Summer means less clothes. Less clothes mean more skin. More skin means more sex. Don't deny it. It's true! I'm not telling you to go out and have loads of sex here. I'm just saying that you should let loose a bit and discover your sensuality. Some people don't feel confident in these months. I'm one of those people. The idea of showing the world yourself in swimwear can be daunting to some individuals. This applies to both men and women. Don't be shy to show some skin. Just choose the right swimwear that doesn't draw attention to your problem areas and make sure you hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself. If you have a partner who doesn't feel confident make sure you tell him/her that he looks sexy in that bikini/those swim shorts. He/she will really appreciate it and won't feel so self conscious. Of course, the beach is not the only place to get flirty. There are so many outdoor places to meet someone especially during this World Cup summer. Even if you're not looking for love, a little bit of summer flirting can definitely boost your morale or help you let off some steam after a long week of work. For optimum flirting success, always make sure you're clean and fresh. I take at least three showers a day in the summer! All the sticky and stinky bodies in a club can cause you to hallucinate and hit on the wrong person or even worse, you may put off the right person. And practice some eye contact and funny pick up lines too. Funny pick up lines work because humour is a great way to break the ice! Take advantage of the fewer clothes worn in summer too by 'accidentally' brushing your bare shoulder as you pass by that guy or girl you've had your eyes on. He/she will look back. Turn your head and wink. If you do end up ruffling the sheets though, please use protection!
Enjoy 'Summer Twenty-Ten' my friends.

Much love and sun-tan lotion,

Tammy :)