Internet Detox Week

See ya later, internets!

Next week Charlotte and I are on an ‘Internet Detox’. That means no internet from Monday to Friday.

Usually when we go on holiday we don’t take our computers, but since we’re travelling and working, we’re constantly connected to everything and I feel like it’s important to hit the ‘off’ switch once in a while. Get back to basics, let the mind recover from some information overload.

Everything is coming together now.

My email’s out-of-office (lol, office!) reply is set.

We have films at the ready.

Books on the Kindle.

Cameras at the ready.

Let’s do this. Wish me luck. I may never return.

Eating & Exploring in Rabat

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Yesterday Charlotte and I visited Rabat. Rabat is the village just opposite the silent city of Mdina and a great place to play around with my clip-on fisheye lens on my humble iPhone 4S (still going strong)!

When we arrived by bus, it was a short walk across the road before entering the village. Straight away we saw a little sign directing us towards a cafe called Toffee & Co. We went there for some food, after a 45 minute bus ride we needed something! Toffee & Co. was a quaint family run place with outside and upstairs seating. We picked up a couple of menus and took a look at the wide selection of food. When we were ordering I noticed a family photo on the fridge which was nice.

Charlotte and I both ordered the Turkish Chicken Wrap. Man, that was a good wrap! Cous Cous, loads of chicken, coleslaw a bit of veg, all tightly rolled together in a roasted wrap. On the side were crisps and a dressed salad. I also had a latte, a cup of tea and some Toffee and Apple cake. It’s making my mouth water just thinking about it again. The best bit was that all of it, including Charlotte’s food, drinks and cakes came to something like €12 – less than a tenner in the UK and the portions were massive!

We sat outside, and enjoyed the tranquility of the place. If you’re ever in Rabat, make sure to visit Toffee & Co. It was so nice that we went back again before going home. The lady was really friendly and she even gave us our tea on the house. She was very kind. The feeling you get compared to a coffee shop in London, it feels less like a business focused on the profit margins and more like a business focused on family, good food and the community.

After we filled up, we went exploring. The streets are similar to Mdina in that they’re very tight with buildings and walls making you feel like you’re walking through a maze in Game of Thrones.

We ended up at a museum that let you freely walk through the underground catacombs and WWII shelters. Squeezing though the dimly lit tunnels we got lost. It was kind of spooky but also quite inspiring to see where people lived, died and fought for their lives and countries. The shelters were really interesting, one small room with a door number above the entrance hole. Some of the rooms were just a hole, but others had decorative tiles on the floor and a step for sleeping or sitting carved at the back or on the side.

After going up and down stairs (some that led into darkness, but was actually just because it was closed off) we managed to figure the way out. Coming out we went through St. Paul’s church. It started underground. We saw a little cave with St. Paul’s statue (there were shawls for women to use to cover up as it was a sacred place). We carried on up the stairs which we’re took us into a beautiful church. I love looking at old churches, they’re always grand with incredible attention to detail. We soaked up the atmosphere and left got a move on.

Outside we carried on walking and ended up in Miami. Not really, but the houses looked just like those from films set in Miami. Not sure where they were exactly because we got lost.

We carried on walking, saw a landmark and headed for that.

Back in a recognisable place, we head for some tea and cake (again) at Toffee & Co. Lovely.

Café del Mar Malta

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On Sunday we went to Café del Mar Malta. I didn’t realise but there are Café del Mar places located in a few other locations around the world. If their views are as nice as the one in Malta – sign me up!

During the day there are three types of sun loungers set around a beautiful infinity pool with a view overlooking the stunning Mediterranean sea with Comino and Gozo in the distance. We had the basic sun loungers, which were comfortable and definitely better than those you’d usually find on the beach, but their other ones were literal sun beds. Seriously, one was like a folding single bed and with an accompanying parasol resembling a photographers diffuser, and the third looked was a four-poster bed with a waterproof mattress. Luxurious.

There was of course a restaurant, dance floor with a DJ booth/stage and a bar, but don’t worry about getting up as there’s a pretty decent waiter/waitress service that’ll serve you while you’re soaking up the sun. We got up to eat though and the food looked really good. I ordered a Shrimp Salad. If I’m honest, I was expecting a nice refreshing salad, but when it came out it was essentially that but everything was covered is a prawn mayo type sauce. Still very tasty though but I’d probably get their hummus wrap next time like Charlotte had. That looked really good.

The pool was good. It was refreshingly cold, like, once you’re in, you’re not cold anymore, just refreshed. The best part of the pool was definitely the view which IMO is where Café del Mar really shines. Not a bad place to pop my infinity pool cherry!

The only real downside of the place was the organisation and layout of the normal sun loungers. They’re all squashed together quite tightly and it’s hard to actually sunbathe. If you moved or took down one of the parasols, because of how close everyone is, you’re likely to upset a few of the people around you. The reason for the congestion is obvious though. Mo’ beds, mo’ money – but as Biggie says; “mo’ money, mo’ problems”.

We stayed until the sun began to set (which looked amazing) and finished the day off with Gelato. Obvs. And in case you’re wondering, my awesome striped swimming trunks were from River Island.

Oh, and something that my brother told me which initially I didn’t believe; Gelato and Ice Cream are two completely different things. It’s all to do with the fat content, air and serving temperature. True story. Look it up.

15 Photos from the Sliema Street Art Festival 2014

Sliema Street Art Festival

Single woman dancing to the live band

Onlookers from the walkway above

Looking through an optic on a tripod placed by the roof artists through it

Charlotte enjoying the art through the optic

Street artists doing what they do along Sliema promenade

A police officer smiling after looking back at the the live painting

One of a few trucks being spray painted

Temporary Skate Park set up along Sliema beach front

Publicity material on a fully hand-painted car

Painted Cling-Film - Add More Colors

Beach party from above

Light suit - the party is about to begin

Spicy Chickpea Burger

Behind the band

At the weekend, Sliema hosted its annual Street Art Festival. I went down with Charlotte, Steph and Yana to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the art.

Sliema’s promenade is usually a nice place to be in the evening as everyone is out enjoying the food and drink. The festival just amplified that atmosphere. Stages were set up for live bands, singers and DJs, and walking down the beach front were artists spray painting cars and vans (with incredibly detailed artwork), live floor, roof, and wall paintings, some healthy and not-so healthy food stalls, beach parties, a temporary skatepark and small markets where art and crafts were being sold.

For dinner, Charlotte and I stopped by The Grassy Hopper’s Food Van. They offer a selection of vegetarian delights, we ordered the Spicy Chickpea Burger and the Beet n Bean Burger. I’m not usually one for vegetarian meals, especially burgers, but damn, it was so tasty and filling. They fried ’em up just like normal burgers, added the cheese and whatever else, stuck it in a fluffy wholewheat bun and served it on a bed of salad. Then we ate them on the beach.

To end the evening we went to get ice cream but the queue was huge, so we left it.

I filled the void with yogurt and honey when we got in.

Yesterday I stepped on a Sea Urchin. Twice.

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Original photo by Pavlo Boyko

What’s an Urchin even doing in the Sea? At first I was like, ow, and then I was like, oh man I gotta get those spikes out.

Whilst having a paddle along the seafront in Sliema, I had unknowingly (at least the first time) stepped on a sea urchin. I thought it was a sharp rock at first – one leg sharply raises, the other one sharply drops, that’s when I figured it out. Right heel, left toes. Impaled.

The general consensus on the internet is to remove all spikes (I think I still have one or two buried), soak the area in hot water or vinegar. I soaked in vinegar because apparently it dissolves the spikes left in. I’m not sure about this, but it stunk the place up. It’s like i’m living in a bag of Salt & Vinegar crisps.

I couldn’t sleep last night because I went on the internet to see what damage those cute little hell balls could really do. You know, some life preserving research.

Well.

I’m going to die.

I’m experiencing none of the symptoms and the areas didn’t and haven’t swell up, get red, go pussy or anything. Yet. But after reading about a guy in the exact same situation that just removed the spines and then a month later ended up paralysed from the waist down (which was the good outcome!), it kind of freaked me out. That and the stories from people say that their injury healed perfectly but then 3/4 weeks down the line there were complications. I don’t want any complications! How can a doctor even diagnose a future complication?!

There’s nothing I can do and that freaked me out. Today I’m a bit sore, but most likely that’s from me playing surgeon.

Let’s all take a minute to look at some of these creatures with a quick Google search.

Damn my will for seafaring adventure.

Quitting my job: the story so far

Quitting my job: the story so far

It’s been over two months since I threw caution to the wind, quit my job and set out to travel the world with Charlotte. Let me catch you up on the story so far and living in Malta.

Riki-Rewind back to May. It’s my last day at work (and coincidentally everyones first day in our new office), I handed in my equipment the previous week to the office move so with nothing to work with and everyone busy unpacking their stuff and settling in, I had the day to get tweaked on ‘Goodbye Coffees’, frolic around the new building (which btw was a fantastic upgrade to the previous office) and check out the area.

It was a good last day.

That evening I had strategically planned (after wrongly assuming my office was still going to be in King’s Cross…) a trip to Paris on the Eurostar. I figured if I’m going to leave work, I’m going to leave in style. Going from a full time job in London to being unemployed in Paris within the space of a few hours felt incredible. Charlotte and I were on our way to the world’s most romantic city.

We stayed for three days and walked EVERYWHERE. Like, 8-10 hours a day exploring kind of walking. It was great, but man, that’s too much. Still, we unintentionally saw all the main sites and had a Nutella crêpe by the Eiffel Tower. We loved every minute of it, even if we were staying in the sex district, a 5 minute walk from the Moulin Rouge.

The feeling of not having to go back to the UK was a feeling of freedom. There was nothing stopping us from carrying on round Europe, but alas, we headed back to the UK, stocked up on chocolate that didn’t make it past the border… because we ate it. All of it.

A few weeks pass, we bought a one-way ticked to Malta and we’re packing only hand luggage for a three month stay. We figured just taking hand luggage would be good practice for backpacking South East Asia. And it was. Most of the stuff I thought I’d need I haven’t touched, so that’s good to know.

I have a Brother living with his girlfriend, Yana, in Malta. They’ve been enjoying our company for about a month now and I got to say, Malta is an amazing place and for short holidays from the UK, return flights for under £100 per person is a no brainer.

An all day bus-pass here is €1.50 and I recommend going to Valetta – Malta’s capital city and Mdina – Malta’s old capital (walled) city which has a population of less than 300 people and they put rubber horse shoes on their horses to reduce noise. While in Mdina, have lunch Fontanella, their cakes are as good as the view.

So anyway, in Malta we were going to spend time preparing for our travels and sorting stuff out, though we haven’t really planned anything yet, I’ve definitely ticked some things off my list:

  1. Finished my portfolio website (mobile responsive and super sexy, of course).
  2. Got this blog up and running again. Still working on the look and feel.
  3. Topped 10,000 points on Treehouse (where I learn programming).
  4. Built Sweat Roulette, a simple fitness web-app with Charlotte.
  5. Had a press interview about Sweat Roulette.
  6. Made the news (half a page!) with Sweat Roulette.
  7. Joined some freelancing websites to make money while travelling.
  8. Got a tan.
  9. Read some books.
  10. Jumped off a cliff. Everyone else was doing it.

And that’s all taken place in Malta within the space of a month when I’m not at the beach – there’s something to be said for having time to do things.

And that brings us up to now.

I’m still looking for potential revenue streams so I can become location-independent, being a designer/developer is a good start due to only needing a laptop, prime for remote work.

Being ‘always on’ is taking its toll though, so I’m probably going to take a week off from the internet soon which I’m definitely going to blog about.

I’d love to hear comments about what you want to hear more of – my travels, making money travelling, the geeky bits – let me know below, yo!

Not everything makes the blog, so follow me on Twitter and Instagram and say hey 🙂

To be continued…

Malta’s Grand Harbour Marina Polyscape

Malta Grand Harbour Marina Polyscape

Malta Grand Harbour Marina Polyscape

So this is pretty fun. It’s not original and yes, I’m late to the polyscape party – but hey, if nothing else, I’ve made a couple of cool new wallpapers for my laptop.

The photos were taken from the boat as we were coming out of The Grand Harbour Marina in Malta. The angle of the wall leading all the way down to the lighthouse was incredible.

How to build a one page personal website

Website Showcase

This is a walkthrough tutorial, with code examples on how to build this one-page website that you will be able to customise with a text-editor. I’ll also talk you through buying a domain name (http://example.com), web-hosting (where your website is stored), how to point yout domain to your web-host and upload your website.

I’ll make this as easy as I can and will assume you have no previous coding experience. You might want to bookmark this page because it’s quite long.

Ready? Let’s go.

Before you start building your website, you should have a clear vision of what you want on your website and how you want it to look. You can sketch something on a napkin or make it pretty in Photoshop. Either way, it’s a lot harder without some direction.

Continue reading “How to build a one page personal website”