Category Archives: Vida

2012, you’ve been quite a year

As we welcome the new year with the traditional excessive amounts of food and drink, I find myself looking back at the past year, and how formative it has been. Here, before I wave 2012 off properly, I round up a few noteworthy developments from the past 12 months.

A full-timer
2012 is the first full year in which I’ve worked full-time. Whereas I felt the change quite dramatically, particularly because it left me with less time to work on The Secret Rose, I cannot go so far as to say I dislike it. I find my job as editor of a local publication, despite being stressful at times, satisfying, and even though I could do without the hassles it sometimes entails, I do enjoy co-ordinating fashion shoots, feature writing, meeting interesting people & learning new things.

A trip to Dubai
In March, my dad and I travelled to Dubai to visit my brother Ryan for his birthday. Ryan and I have always been close, and since he works as an air steward for Emirates and is based there, I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like. It was nice to experience his world for a little while and get a taste of life in Dubai, and I’m really looking forward to our ‘siblings holiday’ in Thailand in 2013!

After putting it off for as long as I could, and two failed tests, April 2012 saw me getting my driving license. I have since been a menace on Maltese roads and loving it. It’s so great to finally be able to have the freedom to zip around at my leisure and transport bulkier things (which I seem to accumulate) with ease.

Participating in the promo video for V18, alongside Maria of Babettopolis, was certainly a highlight, and I was very flattered to be asked. Setting up our pretend atelier was fun, and the result was great. Now that Valletta has been declared European Capital of Culture for 2018, I’m excited to see what happens next!

London calling
Everyone who knows me knows how I feel about London, so it’s no surprise I fit in another short visit in summer 2012. Air fare is cheap and my boyfriend and I have the added bonus of being able to stay with a sweet couple who are friends of ours, so its just the ticket when I feel the need to get my creative juices flowing again.

Summer fun
After the previous year’s summer being overshadowed by my MA dissertation, I was determined to make the most of this one, and I did! Having my own car meant I was able to go to the beach and other events whenever I liked. Besides this, I swam, snorkled and paraglided my way to a great summer indeed.

Girly time 
Despite my perceived ladylike persona, I have never been one to have many ‘girlfriends’ with which to have ‘girly time’ in the past. In recent years though, I’ve been lucky enough to bond with a number of lovely like-minded ladies whose company I really enjoy. 2012 saw a sweet birthday picnic which I was really touched by, as well as a fancy high-tea at Palazzo Parisio among other girly get-togethers. Roll on our festive luncheon, for which I really must decide what dessert I’m making!

Despite my main endeavour being crafts and embroidery, I have always loved playing around in the kitchen, especially when it comes to sweet treats. Even though this year’s been a very busy one on both VIDA and The Secret Rose fronts, I’m happy I still managed to find some time to bake. When I have my own home and kitchen (which, fingers crossed, I’ll be writing about in next year’s yearly round-up) I look forward to many baking adventures indeed!

Me, a model?
Having worked as a stylist and shoot coordinator for three years now, I had gotten used to that hat. For this reason, it was quite interesting to get out of my element and model for a shoot for Hey-Birdie Pie – a friend’s vintage venture – along with a couple of other glamorous girls. It took some getting used to, but I warmed up to it in the end, and have since even been involved in another – the results of which have yet to be made public, so shh!

© Elaine Bugeja

Creative collaborations
Having worked with Maria from Babettopolis on a wedding dress in the past, this year had us working together again on a pretty jacket with custom embroidery. The result is one I’m very proud of, and if I can help it, it certainly won’t be the last time I collaborate with this talented lady.

December saw the staging of dance production The Death of Snow White, for which I collaborated with costume designer Luke to design and carry out custom embroidery on the title character’s costumes. It was exhilarating seeing them on stage, and I’m still in the process of collecting photos. Once I do, I promise a full post dedicated to that! 

© Charles Paul Azzopardi

I took part in the summer and Christmas editions of Patches in 2012, with the latter being the most successful, both in terms of market sales and custom orders, in the Secret Rose’s journey thus far. Besides market success, I was also *very* excited to have my first celebrity customer in the form of Dame Helen Mirren – jeweller to the stars, anyone? Here’s hoping it just gets better in 2013!

Happy New Year everyone!

At the risk of being a douche…

Do you know that feeling you get when you do something you’ve been meaning to do for ages? Or cross something off your wishlist that’s been there for the longest time? That’s the feeling I have right now – so much so that I’m going to risk looking like a douche to the handful of people that read this blog. This is, in effect, a post declaring my love for a material item that I have recently acquired – namely a pair of sunglasses from Prada’s Minimal Baroque line.


After that long-winded intro, I feel the need to explain myself. Having recently joined the ranks of full-time employment, I wanted to mark the occasion of having more than a few euros in my bank account at any given time (yes, I have grown accustomed to being a poor student) by purchasing something completely frivolous for myself.

I had first happened upon Prada’s covetable Minimal Baroque eyewear line when researching for my fashion page on Vida magazine last summer. Of course, they went into the ‘Label we love’ section. Several months down the line and they remained toward the top of my wishlist, so when I spotted them across a crowded shop (yes, I do have a penchant for the dramatic, so sue me) I simply had to try them on. I did, they looked great (if I do say so myself) and that was it – match made in materialistic heaven.

my new babies & I, gone out for lunch 🙂

Friends and Felicitations

Welcome one and all to the first post of 2012! A lot has happened since I’ve last posted, and I feel I must apologise for the prolonged absence… still, I intend to make up for it (it’s one of my resolutions – one of the long list actually).

These past couple of months have brought many happenings and changes, all of which have kept me so busy that I’ve barely had time to shut my eyes and take it all in. That’s where the resolutions come in. I’ve never really been one for resolutions, but this year it seems strangely apt. I’ve started working full time at Vida – have been for just over a month now! – and following the departure of our much loved editor Richard Muscat Azzopardi, it now falls to me to take on the role (at least for the foreseeable future), and I intend to give it all I’ve got.

Other resolutions have come via natural progression, including the ‘Great Spring Clean’ which I’d been putting off (you never know when you might need those JC physics notes…); getting my driving license (after numerous lessons and one failed test, the time is NAO); saving up now that I have full-time wages (one hopes that by this time next year I’ll be in a position to go house hunting!); not sacrificing that which makes me who I am for the benefit of others, even if I may be perceived as weird or, as I prefer to put it, eccentric; and generally being more organised and self-sufficient (this goes for The Secret Rose too, for which I intend to go onwards and upwards!)

And just so this post doesn’t become too text heavy, I thought I’d regale you with some pretty photos taken at yesterday’s posh girlie lunch at Maria’s – a belated seasonal gathering of some of my favourite like-minded ladies! Instead of buying each other gifts as we normally do, we each contributed a monetary donation to the supremely capable host, who in turn provided us with a meal fit for a queen. Not a bad way to start the year…

Cream of chicken soup Seafood vol-au-vent

Duck breast in soy & citrus sauce Rhubarb crumble

Rachel & Carla, looking delightful

Alex, avec daisies

Gustav samples the crumble…


Wonderful Life

dress zara, bangles monsoon

I think it’s about time for another fashion post, fellow bloggers! As usual, it’s late – but I really have been too busy, honest! Vida goes to print this week, and with deadlines come heightened stress levels (and good old fashioned man hours) at the office – please forgive!

top new look, skirt zara, shoes mango

Here are some of my favourite shots from July’s fashion story, inspired by the clean lines and moody sound of Hurts’ Wonderful Life. The model is the gorgeous Ben Azzopardi of Supernova Models, and the photographer this time was our very own editor, Richard MA.

skirt & shoes, zara

I’m very pleased with the way they turned out overall, despite almost having a melt down when affronted with a forced change of location at the very last minute (i.e. that morning)… the beautiful newly-finished flat in Portomaso we were going to use managed to get flooded due to a pipe bursting so ‘ooh er damage control’ was necessary! Despite the setback however, the team handled it admirably and I think that really shows in the final product!

dress zara, bangles accessorize

Bathing Beauties

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Still, circumstances beyond my control dictated that it was not meant to be (as I’m sure you can tell by my slightly rambly insistence on using long words to say something relatively easy, I’m currently writing my MA Thesis) so, do forgive!

The premise behind my post this time is to unashamedly show off Vida’s June shoot, for which I was creative director. I had wanted to do a 50s-style beach shoot for a while, and not just in order to have an excuse to feature a pair of old-school bathing caps!

So, here you have it, fellow bloggers – Bathing Beauties for Vida June 2011. Photography by Jacob Sammut Carabez. The bathing cap shot is extra close to my heart because they are my doing, and the product of a few hours of bonding time between my scissors myself – precious little time at the moment, what with the shackles of academia holding me captive! Apologies for the low resolution of the photos – my computer hates me!

Enough of the drama for now folks, till next time 😉

Fashion as Distraction?

Hey all! Lots has been happening in the world of the secret rose lately, what with uni assignments having had to be written and work taking up the rest of the time, orders were left to pile up in my newly purchased ‘orders’ book – seemingly unloved and alone. Alas, now that the deadline is behind us, they have been taken to hand, and this week marks the beginning of what I hope to be quite the creative frenzy!

To start, some photos I’m particularly proud of from Vida’s February & March fashion shoots, for which I am creative director. Especially when I’m busy, these are what I use as my creative vent, having no time to pick up my needle and thread!

Vida’s February Shoot had a ‘modern vintage’ theme, inspired by whats happening over at Louis Vuitton and Prada. The wardrobe is from some of my favourite shops, including Blush n’ Panic vintage boutique, run by the adorable Sam, as well as fav high street brands Topshop and Mango. It was shot at the gorgeous Castello Zamittellu and the model is one of my favourite new local faces, Madeleine.

The March Shoot was rather different, playing on the theme of Carnival (which is quite big here in Malta) and giving it a fashion twist. The masks are handmade by yours truly – yes I gave myself an excuse to get crafty in the midst of assignments, what’s not to love? The model, Mandy, was so professional bless her, working hard to get the shot in the blistering cold at Isla – and, at least I think, it was worth it!

As for crafty ventures from the secret rose, many are currently underway, and I promise a post showing off the latest offerings sharpish! Have yourselves a good weekend y’all 🙂 Oh, and before I forget, those on the fair isles should really get there arses down to Patches Market tomorrow at Valletta’s indoor market – I won’t have a stall myself due to aforementioned assignments, but there’s sure to be lots of talent on show!

On the Third Day of Christmas

I thought of the importance of my diary…

With the new year coming up, I started thinking about my insane schedule (mostly made up of work at Vida, my MA course and crafting as well as meeting the odd friend here and there!). Coupled with my rapidly deteriorating short term memory, it really necessitates one pillar of hope: The Day Planner.

If you, like me, have to have your diary with you at all times, ready to scribble down every single meeting and appointment, it becomes akin to your best friend. Now your best friend doesn’t have to look pretty, but won’t it just make you feel better if it was? Wouldnt it just be more fun to jot down your dentist appointment in? I can’t guarantee that it will take away your childhood fear of dentists, but as they say, every little helps…

November Shoot & Latest Projects

In an arm-chair, with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see. She was dressed in rich materials – satins, and lace, and silks – all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels lay sparkling on the table.

I proudly present the shots from the latest VIDA shoot inspired by Dicken’s Miss Havisham. The shots are portrayed alongside quotes from the original text above, and I’m very pleased with the result.

The usual suspects were behind it, with styling by me, photography by Jacob, hair by Julian and makeup by Marian. Special thanks also go to Richard and Claire (especially for taking my constant slew of moaning on board) Well done all!

As for crafts this past week, it’s been a busy one, despite the inevitable melancholy in the house. I always try to keep busy so that I don’t have to think about things I don’t want to think about, so that fact really reflects in my work at the moment – making it quite prolific.

I’m a total junkie

Finallyyy here are the photos from this month’s Fashion Story for Vida Magazine! I really must say, this is my favourite shoot to date – everything just came together so well and I’m so pleased with the final product. Well done to all involved, let’s keep this great energy going 😉

Styling by ME 🙂 Photography by Jacob. Model is Sophia. Hair by Mandy. Makeup by Marian.

Gozo & Birgu

Time has really been flying lately, and what with deadline week at Vida and the craziness that that implies (as much as I enjoy it), I’ve barely had any time to post! *sob*

Well, almost two weeks ago now my friends and I went on a mini trip to Gozo – the motherland (literally – it’s where my mum comes from)! We did some more touristy things than normal, visiting the Citadel and the Azure Window at Dwejra – places I haven’t visited since my childhood – seeing as some foreign friends accompanied us. It really reminded me of the beauty and tranquility of the little island – two things I miss terribly from my childhood summers.

cat love
Last weekend, the boy and I headed off to the Birgu jumble sale (something I also haven’t done in a fair while) and, despite the heat, enjoyed it (and my staple cheesey toast from the nearby kiosk) tremendously. I picked up some fabric, embroidery thread and ribbon (not that I needed it, but just couldn’t resist the vintagey goodness), an old coin purse and an crumbling book on The Animal World to add to my collection. Teo, unsurprisingly, bought some dusty old books 🙂

As for creative ventures, I’ve spent most of the last week working on *something* a friend ordered. Unfortunately, I can’t post any pictures of the finished project yet, because it’s going to be a birthday present, but I promise I will as soon as the surprise has been had! In the meantime, my desk: