You love your mother. She’s the one who wiped your nose, fought tooth and nail to get you into a Church school, and dealt with your teenage indiscretions without murdering you. As you’ve gotten a little older, she’s become more of a friend than an authority figure. Someone who you only just realized has her own stories to tell, her own private heartaches, her own ambitions. Nobody will ever love us like our mothers.
Which is why it kind of sucks when you’re broke and can’t really afford to treat her to the expensive meal or the beautiful jewellery you would like to give her on Mother’s Day. Not to worry kids! Here are a couple of things you can do with your mum that won’t break the bank but will still make for a great day out and some priceless memories.
Bouquet? Pfft, amateur.
One of Malta’s best hidden oases is tucked away right in the heart of Floriana, usually only in the limelight once a year when it hosts Għanafest.
Argotti Botanical Gardens is free to enter and at this time of the year should be lush and green and full of shrubbery. Pack some sandwiches and explore the garden, and don’t forget to take in the breathtaking view from the bastions. The garden is part of the University of Malta and there are sometimes tours organized, if your mum is interested in gardening, foliage, and the history of this beautiful place.
To make this day out a horticulturalist’s dream, walk down to the Sa Maison Gardens, also known as the Tal-Milord Garden. Very few people actually know about this place and it is a little more unkempt than Argotti, but it makes for a great couple of hours of exploration.
Food tour on a budget
Want to leave your world behind without paying an arm and a leg? Head to Gozo and spend the day touring the many foodie hotspots the sister isle has to offer.
Beer fans should head to the Lord Chambray brewery for a pint (on tap, of course) and a tour of the facility. For that essential carb-loading, call and order a Gozitan pizza from Maxokk. Visit Ta’ Mena Estates and pick up some treats to take home – sun dried tomatoes, ġbejniet, wine, jam, marmalade, olive oil and that famed Gozitan honey we’re pretty sure can cure any ailment under the sun. Sate that sweet tooth with an ice cream in Xlendi or get a sugar high just by walking into Marsalforn’s Candy Café.
If you do find it in your budget to eat out, there is no shortage of good restaurants in Gozo. Two favourites are Il Gabbiano and Patrick’s Lounge but don’t be scared to try other places – there’s been a renaissance of sorts in Gozo, with chefs finally making full use of the wonderful local ingredients at their disposal.
Puppies and ponies and kitties oh my!
If your mum loves animals, this budget option will definitely make her day. There are a number of animal shelters and sanctuaries around the island, many of which take care of cats and dogs, but some horse sanctuaries also need help. Call ahead and ask if they could use a few volunteers. Put on some old jeans and help out by walking a shelter dog or two, grooming a rescue horse or even just lending a hand with cleaning up.
You may return home tired and muddy, but you will have helped make life that little bit better for a shelter animal and the caring souls that look after them. You don’t always need money to make a difference. If you do have some cash to spend, make a donation to a sanctuary of your choice in your mum’s name or sponsor one of their animals on her behalf.
Make a gift!
Sure, homemade presents are sometimes looked upon with disdain, but put some thought into it and you have a kickass gift for Mother’s Day.
This particular one works best if you can rope your siblings in. Rally the troops and have them recreate your funniest childhood photos. Print them out (cheap as chips through most online printers) and put them in an album, side by side with the originals. Fun to make and, I promise, she’ll have a blast looking through your old pictures.
Baked goods are never a bad idea. Embrace your inner Nigella and make some cupcakes, or try your hand at something a little more challenging – I hear crème brulee is fancy af and you get to use a little blowtorch in the kitchen. What’s not to love? And if you fail, your mother loves you enough to look past the disaster and appreciate the effort. Win-win!