Monthly Archives: May 2010

Pastures new…

I’m moving to pastures new…

Well, no, not really…

This blog is, though!

Yes, you can find the new and improved blog at www.daviniahamilton.com

See you all there 🙂

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Eurodidn’t

So Malta didn’t make it to the final. But were you really expecting anything else? Let’s forget for a moment about the bloc voting. The songs we send are consistently pretty awful. Yes, Thea has a lovely voice; yes, she’s cute. But really? Have you heard the lyrics?

This is my dreeeeeeeam
I want to make it really happen
And make my dream come true.

I mean, if I had a five-year-old kid and they wrote lyrics like that, I would yell at them, ground them, and give them some Pink Floyd to listen to. They’re unacceptable, absolute drivel.

Face it, Malta: nobody wants to hear your crap ballads anymore. I say write something freaking awesome next year. Or better still, send Xtruppaw.

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Paint it Black

Since I graduated university I’m not reading nearly as many books as I used to. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading; that’s not it at all. I read English at University, which meant we had some 25 odd novels to study every year, as well as plays, poems and essays. I guess after that anybody would need a break from it. I remember saying to myself, when I was studying, ‘once I’ve graduated I’ll finally get down to reading all the books I want to read’.

But then life catches up with you. Now I’m a sub-editor and it is my job to read. All I do is read, read, read at work – which means that when I get home the last thing I want to do is read. Still, I try to find time for it. I try, when I can, to read at least a chapter of a book before I go to bed.

The last book I read was Paint it Black, by Janet Fitch. I have to say it took me a lot longer to read it than it should have, but that’s because I was busy and not because the book was not interesting.

I remember having watched the film adaptation of Fitch’s White Oleander when I was younger and enjoying it, although I had never read the book. And I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but, well, I do. And the cover of this book attracted me.

It tells the story of Josie Tyrell, a teenage runaway and artist’s model/actress living in punk rock 1980s LA. Her life is a cocktail of sex, drugs, rock n’ roll and she lives with her lover Michael Faraday, who is her opposite. His mother is a pianist of international repute, he was educated at an Ivy League college. He is dark and moody and is happy to let Josie work three jobs to support them while he paints.

One day, however, he tells Josie he is going to his mother’s house for some solitude; instead, he goes to a motel in the middle of nowhere and shoots himself in the head.

Josie is left to pick up the pieces. She repeats scenes in her head, wondering what could have driven Michael to do such a thing and is absolutely devastated by it. She also has to deal with Michael’s mother, Meredith, who believes Josie stole her son away from her.

The plot is pretty thin, but I’ve come to pay more importance to character development and writing style and this book is rich in both. Fitch fleshes out her characters with nuances and thoughts, giving them all unique stories. They are very believable. And her prose verges on poetry. It is sensual and visceral. She draws heavily on themes and moods from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, with recurring motifs such as the tarot, the desert – even the kitsch interior of Meredith Loewy’s house draws strong parallels with the poem’s second movement – ‘A Game of Chess’.

Definitely not light reading but certainly a book I would recommend – right up there with the likes of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides.

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Beef teriyaki stir fry

I am on a diet. Yes. It’s true. I lost a bunch of weight back before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease last October. Then I had to go on a course of corticosteroids (off which I am still weaning myself) which, among a plethora of other side effects, led me to put on about 10kg.

Now, I’ve never been small. I’ve got a large frame and I’m okay with that. I even like having curves to an extent. But now that I’m almost off the steroids I feel I need to start being healthy again and lose the excess weight.

Last Saturday I was surfing Facebook and came across the profile of a girl who was in my university course. She’s been on a healthy eating regime for a few months now, and has lost 14kg. She’s looking wonderful and also feeling wonderful about herself. I started reading her blog and decided, there and then, to follow suit. Pizza is lovely, but so is fitting into your favourite pair of jeans.

So I’ve been eating more consciously and healthily since Monday. I want to increase my intake of fruit and veg and limit my complex carbs.This means I’ve replaced most of my fatty snacks with apples and yoghurt and have stopped eating complex carbs at night.

That’s not to say I don’t crave a good plate of chips (I do! So much!) but I’m a woman of my word and I am sticking to this one.

It’s hard, though, to come up with ideas for complex carb free supper recipes for myself (but with which I can make some rice or potatoes for Andrew if he wants them). I’ve managed so far, but if you guys have any ideas I’d love to hear them.

Anyway, this is what we had for supper last night. Andrew had it with rice, but I had it as is and was perfectly satiated afterward.

How you make it
Marinate your beef in three tablespoons of teriyaki sauce and add two teaspoons of sesame seeds. Chop two large onions, a handful of mushrooms, fresh garlic, fresh asparagus, one carrot and a large green or red pepper.
Heat some olive oil in a wok and cook the onions and garlic a bit. Add some beef (I used minute steak, sliced into bite-sized pieces but I guess any cut will do). When it starts to brown, add the vegetables, a handful of peanuts and a splash of soy sauce. Sprinkle some dried ginger and stir-fry it until the beef is cooked. Add a bit of fresh coriander and mix through, then serve and enjoy.

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Patches

Two Maltesers – Denise Scicluna and Jimmy Grima – have come up with an awesome idea: an outdoor market for artisans to sell their handmade objects. It’s going to be held at Upper Barrakka on Sunday, May 30, from 4 p.m. onwards.

I’ll be there too, selling my handmade jewellery.

Here’s my Patches page: Davinia

Hope to see you guys there. It’s a great way to support local talent and also get yourselves something lovely.

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The fun theory

What a great idea. I think I would have taken the stairs, too.

What a great way to look at life. Let’s all try to shake up the mundane by making it fun.

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Making it up

I love make-up. When I say love I mean absolutely, unequivocally and obsessively, I love make-up. I feel more naked without make-up on than I do without trousers on and, well, if it weren’t for those silly little public decency laws, I would gladly forfeit wearing trousers and keep my eyeliner on instead.

Egyptians were using make-up as early as 3500 BC. Thankfully, make-up today doesn’t contain mercury and lead, like it did back then. And good old Queen Vic isn’t around to ban its use by anyone but actors and prostitutes.

This is a list of my must-have make-up items. I’ve experimented with so many different brands and products and I think I’ve managed to narrow that down to a list of my go-to items.

1. The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream
The Body Shop is awesome. They promote community trade, are against animal testing and are socially active. They also have good quality products for good prices, with attractive packaging. Moisturiser is something every person (no, not just women) should have. I personally don’t believe in long beauty rituals which have you spending half an hour a day sanding down your face. I get my clear skin from drinking over two litres of water each day, and from moisturising. Yes, every morning after my shower I moisturise. And this is exactly the product I use. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and also protects the skin from ultra-violet rays – which is important when you live on a sunny island. It also has anti-ageing properties as it reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles and, best of all, may help protect against skin cancer. Oh yeah, and it smells nice too. Not bad for one tub of cream.

2. Benefit That Gal primer
I know not everybody uses primer. Sometimes I don’t use it either. But sometimes I do and I’ve found this to be pretty good. I’m going to be honest: I freaking love Benefit. I would buy anything Benefit made just as long as it was in that fantastic packaging of theirs. And this primer is no exception. As somebody with yellow undertones in my skin, having a pink primer is good as it evens out my skintone. You may not love this product so much if you have pink undertones to begin with, and then I would suggest something like this. But, back to Benefit: I love the smell of the product. It smells like fruity candy. It also helps my foundation glide on fairly easily. Here’s a secret: sometimes I wear ONLY primer. No foundation! This primer gives you enough of a glow that you can get away with that. Bliss.

3. Diorskin Eclat Satin foundation
Everyone needs a good foundation. A good foundation will make your skin look radiant and flawless, and will provide the perfect base for the rest of your make-up. It will match your skin tone and it will not be streaky, or leave you feeling dried out. I will gladly fork out a little bit extra for some good foundation and that is why I buy Dior foundation. Dior is one of my favourite designers. The brand exudes class and beauty. Wearing Dior foundation is a little like wearing sexy underwear under your everyday jeans. Nobody else may know you’re wearing it, but it makes all the difference and makes you feel like a million dollars. This particular foundation lasts all day and moisturises your skin (yes! more moisturiser!). It camouflages blemishes and spots but it’s also quite glossy and leaves your skin looking quite radiant. Use transclucent powder with this if you prefer your face to look more matte. Sometimes, I mix a little bit of this product into my morning moisturiser, effectively creating a tinted moisturiser.

4. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat highlighter
Ahhhhhh yes yes yes yes yes. Alright, yes, I know this isn’t cheap either; but oh my god does it work miracles! It’ll make your skin look so bright and will practically make dark circles disappear. It’ll look like you get eight hours of sleep every. single. night. It’ll also look like you never drink alcohol, eat a gazillion portions of fruit and veg every day and have never spent a night of partying ever.

5. Benefit Erase Paste concealer
Yes, Benefit again. I know it’ll seem like you’re spending a lot for such a small tub of product, but this concealer is so thick and creamy that a little goes a long way with it. My first tub lasted me about a year, and that’s almost daily use. It comes with instructions, which you should follow to guarantee the best results. Really, though, don’t be tempted to use too much of it because it really is so thick that you’ll find yourself having to throw some away if you pick up too much. You can use a brush if you like, but the best way to do it is to pick up a little using the scoop (which comes with the concealer), putting it on the back of your hand and rubbing it with your finger a bit so it’s warm and easy to apply.

6. Body Shop Brush On Beads bronzer
If, like me, you are almost always in desperate need of a tan despite living on an island, then this product is for you. Now I like having fair skin so I don’t want to orangify myself. These bronzer beads will give you a healthy shimmer. You’ll look as though you’ve just spent fifteen minutes in the sun. Use a big brush to apply this. Start from your nose, forehead and chin – where the sun would likely hit you first – then blend outwards. Be careful not to cake it on – just swirl it around to give you a lovely glow. If you like, you can also use it to create a shadow under your cheekbone, then use Touche Eclat to highlight your cheekbone.

7. Bourjois Blush
I am a sucker for packaging. I know it’s not right but if you sell me an image I like, then I will buy. Bourjois are obviously trying to tell me that if I use their stuff I will be French and glamorous and I can drink red wine and eat great cheese all day and still have a teeny-tiny waist and my hair in a stylish chignon and a gorgeous poodle in my handbag that doesn’t yap but just makes eye-contact with strangers in a way which is tres chic. Ahem. Anyway, this blush is quite heavily pigmented and also shimmers to give you a lovely glow. Apply it to the apple of your cheeks to give you a slightly flushed look, like somebody’s just told you something very risque.

8. Benefit 10 bronzer and highlighter
If you can’t be bothered to figure out where on your cheeks to apply bronzer and where to apply highlighter, then this product will do it for you. It’s divided into two contrasting colours and comes with a brush, so all you have to do is sweep it over your cheeks to make your cheekbones look so high people will think they’re on drugs.

9. Collistar Silk Effect Loose Powder
This translucent loose powder also doubles up as a beauty treatment as it is enriched with Vitamin E (yes, that again). It will keep your base in place and also has golden flecks so it doesn’t make you look sallow. Make sure you apply it after you’ve applied all your creamy products as otherwise it will look like you are trying to make your face into dessert.

10. Benefit Benetint
I promise I do not get a commission from Benefit for mentioning them so often. What can I say? I like Benefit. And I like this product. It’s great to have, especially when you’re on the go as it is both a blush and a lip tint. I like products that double up as they will save you space in your makeup bag if you are travelling. Using your fingertips, rub the liquid into the apple of your cheeks to make you look like you’re blushing. Or use the brush that comes with it to apply it to your lips. Let it dry then apply a second coat (and a third, depending on how red you want to look). When you’re done, go over your lips with balm or gloss, or a lip plumper.

11. Mac eyeshadows
This is where it gets colourful. I’ve tried so many eyeshadows over the years but I’ve found Mac really do make the best ones. They’ve got such a huge range of colour. Also, the powder is very highly-pigmented, so if you want electric blue eyeshadow, you really do get it. I use Dazzlelight as a highlighting shade, Grain as my base shade and Quarry in the crease in my eye socket, and that’s my everyday palette. Then, during the evening or on special occasions I go a bit crazy and pump up the colour. You’re certain to find shades that work for you for any occasion, and once you go Mac you won’t go back.

12. Mac Pigment
When you need to turn the colour up to 11, pigments are great – and Mac reign supreme in this area. You can either use the pigment on its own as eyeshadow, or dilute it and use it as a paste. They are pretty expensive but it takes FOREVER to go through one of them. So if you really can’t afford them, Barry M do some great shimmer powder for a fraction of the price.

13. Primark’s eye pencil
I can’t even find a photo of this. But it’s dirt cheap and it does its job well. No need to splurge on eye pencil.

14. Sephora Eye Liner
Liquid eye liner, when applied properly, means instant glamour. There are some great tutorials on YouTube showing you how to get different eye liner shapes. Check them out.

15. L’Oreal Volume Shocking mascara
Mascara is really important. It will darken and add volume to your lashes, opening up your eyes and giving you lashes you can bat to your heart’s content. This particular mascara will REALLY build up the volume. I couldn’t believe it the first time I used it. Just make sure you use enough of the black liquid, otherwise you’ll end up with white lashes, and you don’t want that.

16. Inglot lipstick
I love red lipstick. It’ll instantly make you feel like a 50s movie star. Inglot’s lipstick contains Vitamin E (YEAH!) and will moisturise your lips and keep them from cracking. When I’m having a bad day and I want to feel pretty I wear my bright red lipstick.

17. Body Shop Born Lippy lip balm
I don’t wear bright lipstick to work because I can’t be bothered to have to touch it up. Instead, I put on lip balm to keep my lips moisturised and healthy. This product comes in a range of scents, which all smell so good you want to eat them for breakfast, is cheap and gives you a little bit of gloss.

18. L’Oreal Glam Shine lip gloss
Does what it says on the box – it will make your lips shine. It comes in a range of colours and you can wear it on its own or over your favourite lipstick for some va-va-voom.

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