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A GUIDE TO A WEEKEND IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Geneva was never a city that was high on my bucket list, especially when the first reaction that people have when you say you're going there is 'nice, but Switzerland is so expensive!' If you live in the likes of Gibraltar or London, then the prices there won't scare you much and there are always 'hidden gems' where you can get a cheap deal or at least value for your money. If you're planning a trip to the swiss city, here are my recommendations on where to stay, what and where to eat and what to do in Geneva. 


 a guide to geneva switzerland


Where to stay


Geneva is relatively small, meaning that as long as you get a hotel in the city centre you will be able to reach most points of interest by foot. We stayed at the Auteil Manotel Hotel, which was a few minutes walk from the main train station and about 5 minutes from the bus station. 


The 4 star hotel cost around £160 a night during the spring season and my favourite thing about our stay had to be the bed and pillows. I felt like I was sleeping on a marshmallow! I also love hotels that do a bit extra for their guests (in the form of treats) so it was great to find a bar of swiss chocolate, some fruit and a bottle of red wine for us. Our room also had a big terrace facing the train tracks, which we thought might have been too noisy but to be honest with the door shut we didn't hear anything. 



What and where to eat



I could just make this article about cheese and chocolate, but we actually did eat other things which I will share. One thing has to be said, we did not have a single bad meal in Geneva. The only thing I was disappointed with was my £8 oat shaken Starbucks latte (self-inflicted for spending that at a chain coffee place).

For breakfast, head to the Cottage Cafe nice and early and grab yourself one of their 'open sandwiches' and a coffee for under £10. It's a very quaint little place and you get great views of the city and river behind you. If you want to splash out a bit more, I had a 'Oui Monsieur' at Birdie Cafe which was lovely and cheesy, but also cost me £16. 



For cheese lovers, I 100% recommend you make a reservation at Cafe du Soleil for their cheese fondue. This place was filled with tourists and locals, and if we wouldn't have pre-booked we would have probably been waiting outside for a while. The menu says that the cheese fondue is priced at around £20 per person, but we thought surely it isn't going to cost us £40 to eat melted cheese if there's two of us. We asked the waiter if we could just order one portion and that was fine, and they still gave us 10 slices of bread and a pot of fondue to share. We also split a steak and chips and this was also delicious, this got dipped into the cheese too! 


Another place which is known for their cheese is Restaurant Les Armures. This is found in the old town and you will be able to try swiss cheeses like gruy√®re and raclette. 

If you fancy something a little different, then Masala House do really good indian food. You'll find that Geneva is a melting pot of cultures, and as you walk down the streets you'll see there is a bit of everything when it comes to cuisine! 



What to do 


Geneva hasn't got a long list of landmarks to see, but some points of interest which you might want to mark on your Google Maps are: 

  • Jet D'Eau
  • Temple de Saint-Pierre
  • Jardin Anglais (English Garden)
  • Place du Bourg-de-Four
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Quai du Mont-Blanc

Map thanks to Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

The main event of our trip to Geneva, was a 3 hour chocolate tasting tour with Local Flavours Tours. If you select the 2:30pm tour, then I suggest you just have breakfast and treat this tour as your lunch because you will end up very satisfied

This tour will take you through some of the best artisan chocolate shops in Geneva, and of course let you try a range of chocolate in all different forms. We had hot chocolate, truffles, unique flavour creations, ruby chocolate, a chocolate patisserie and then got to select some on our own. What's great about this is not only is it an immersive way to learn about the history of chocolate in Switzerland, but it's also a great way to get your bearings around the city with a walking tour! 

The tour is slightly on the pricier side at 98CHF (around £87) per person, but if you factor in all the chocolate you eat you'd probably be spending over half of that buying them individually at the shops.  



*We were kindly invited by Local Flavours Tours to review this experience


I know this blog post is titled what to do in Geneva for a weekend, but if you find yourself with time to spare then I really recommend catching a Flixbus to the French town of Annecy. The trip will only set you back 10 euros and you will get there in under an hour. If you haven't heard of Annecy, just think Venice mixed with Beauty and the Beast! It really is one of the most picturesque places I've been to. Here you need to try a raclette baguette from La Fermette and try a tartiflette (a dish made of potatoes, cheese, bacon and everything delicious). You can find this dish on almost every menu in Annecy! 




I hope you've found this travel guide to Geneva useful, and if you have any more questions feel free to send me a message on my socials! 

G


geneva travel tips



geneva travel guide pinterest




THE BEST PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN GIBRALTAR, ACCORDING TO LOCALS.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

 With Gibraltar being such a small place, one of the most common ways to spend your weekends here is eating out and going for drinks. Whenever I’m travelling to a new city, I find myself searching across social media channels for the best places to eat. Which is why I wanted to find out what restaurants the people in Gibraltar would rate the best, to help tourists but also for locals to discover some new places. Over 400 people took part in this survey, and these were the results! 




For Breakfast



1. My Wines

Coming in first place for breakfast is My Wines. This was actually my vote too as I love the variety. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savoury, or having breakfast with your family there’s something for everyone. I recommend the pancakes, bacon eggs benedict or a simple mollete with tomato. If you visit around autumn/winter, they also have pumpkin spiced lattes on the menu. I need to go for breakfast soon to try their latest edition to the menu, the ‘breakfast hunger killer’. This combines their famous lemon chicken fingers in a warm mollete with melted cheese. 





2. Hustle n’ flow


In second place we have Hustle n’ Flow, which is a very convenient 2 minute walk from my house. This place combines nutritious food with an instagram worthy aesthetic. Here you can find a variety of smoothies, acai bowls, classic toasts and a few lunch options such as wraps and burgers. My recommendations here would have to be the french toast , the blue eyed girl bowl and the ‘honey we’re all nuts!’ toast. Whilst you’re here, finish off with one of their super shot elixirs! 





3. Aquaterra 

In third place we have Aquaterra, which hadn’t been on my radar until this. This place is usually known for their meats and cool cocktails, but they also have a very cheap and cheerful breakfast menu. It also looks like it’s packed every Saturday morning so you’re best off booking a table in advance! I had their Andaluz breakfast which included bread with tomato and olive oil, topped with jamon serrano. You also get a tea or coffee included for a total of £3.90! 





For Tapas

1. La Tapilla Sixtina

In first place for tapas we have La Tapilla Sixtina, located in Chatham Counterguard. This is probably the closest you’ll get in Gibraltar to a typical Spanish tapas menu, and the prices are reasonable. Here you’ll find a variety of montaditos, tostadas, croquettes, meats and more. My staples when eating here are the huevos rotos, the pork with truffle oil, the carrillada (pork cheek) stew, and the prawns pil pil. To wash it all down, have a tinto de verano with liquor 43!





2. Vault 13


In second place, we have Vault 13, an asian-mediterranean fusion tapas restaurant. I’ve never had a bad meal here, and I’ve pretty much tried 90% of the menu. My favourites are the asian prawns, the octopus with potatoes, the pork belly, the mini chicken brioche sliders and all of the bao buns!





3. My Wines


Making another appearance on the list, in third place for tapas is My Wines. I always like coming here in a big group because there are a lot of things on the menu that I enjoy. I recommend booking a table on their terrace in the warmer months too. My recommendations here are the goat’s cheese salad, the jalapeno wontons, lemon chicken fingers, puchero croquettes, and the duck nachos (a lot of my friends are 50/50 on these nachos, but I love the oriental spin on them!) My favourite wine here is Anahi, if you’re looking for something semi-sweet to pair your food with. 





For a date night



 1. Little Bay 

In first place for date night or a meal out, is the Indian restaurant Little Bay. This place is always full so expect to wait a while for your food, but it is delicious. The go to order for my boyfriend and I when we go is the chilli cheese naan, the pomegranate aloo tikki chana masala, the anardana jhinga which is a prawn dish, and the chicken murgh makhani. For dessert, the pistachio kulfi is lovely. I also recommend checking out their signature cocktail menu!  





2. 4 Stagioni 


This is my favourite Italian restaurant in Gibraltar, mostly because of their very cheesy garlic bread calzone and the pumpkin ravioli. 4 Stagioni is located a bit further away from town but the fact you have to make more of an effort to get there almost makes it feel like an even better spot for a special occasion. If you’re more into pizza than pasta, then I recommend the tropical pizza which comes with ham, pineapple and mango chutney! Our favourite wine to have here is Satinela. 





3. Vault 13 


Also making a second appearance is Vault 13, so I thought I’d save some of my other favourite menu items for this section of the article. The whipped feta with honey, the hummus and the beetroot & goat’s cheese mousse are all great plates to start with! 






For Cocktails
 

If after you’ve checked out one of these restaurants you fancy going for a few drinks, then these are the best cocktail spots according to locals. In first place we have Las Iguanas, which probably has one of the largest cocktail menus in Gibraltar. My go to here is the Pornstar Martini or the Guava Colada. In second place is Little Bay, and my favourites here are the Masala Mule and the Ancient Routes. In third place we have Bruno’s, which is famously known for their 24 hours 241 cocktail special. I usually have a Singapore Sling or a Pornstar Martini here, or an Aperol Spritz when the sun is out!


Iguanas 241 Guava Colada's

The Yard came in 4th for their cocktails, but if you're looking for the biggest variety of gin in Gibraltar then this is the place to be!



Want to see more of what these places have to offer? Check out my reels for what we ordered on Instagram!


G



HOW TO CREATE A BUDGET FOR 2023 AND MAXIMISE YOUR SAVINGS.

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

I love creating budget spreadsheets and savings vaults on Revolut. Whether I always stick to them is another thing, but at least the intention is there! As we get older you’ve probably realised that there are suddenly a lot more things to pay for, and your take home salary isn’t the same as soon as you start paying things like your pension and life insurance etc. Here is why creating a budget is important and some tips for how to create one and stay on track of your finances. 




Why create a budget?


For the simple reason, that nobody likes to be struggling with money. We also know life is full of unexpected costs and it’s better to be prepared than have debts to pay left right and centre. It’s important to live within your means and to understand the difference between wanting and needing something. 

How to start a budget


Create a spreadsheet


It doesn’t have to be complicated and full of formulas, but the ‘equal sum’ one will come in handy and means you won’t have to manually add up figures or whip out your phone calculator. The way I organise mine is having a table for each month and keep my total income at the top and another row for money I might have coming in from my blog. I then list all my fixed spendings such as my pension and the gym, and then I can see what’s left to arrange into savings or disposable income for the month.

Have multiple savings accounts


Any kind of savings is always great (and better than being in debt). I have 3 savings accounts opened in Natwest just so I don’t feel guilty if I pull from my savings for a treat or a holiday for example. My first savings account is dedicated to furnishing my house when it’s eventually ready, and this I hope to not touch until then. Especially when I’m getting 1.5% interest with Natwest Savings Builder. My second savings account is for ‘fun stuff’ like holidays and festival tickets. My third being ‘adult stuff’ like dental appointments and unexpected expenses. You can also use a savings calculator to see the value of your monthly investments, depending on how much you choose to deposit. 

Pay yourself first


It can be easy to spend as you like and then put away ‘whatever’s left’ at the end of the month, but doing that makes it very easy to be left with nothing and just living from paycheck to paycheck. When your salary comes in, pay everything you need to and save and then see what you have left for the month. I usually move my monthly disposable income to Revolut and keep that as my budget for the month.

Plan ahead


December ends up being an expensive month for everyone with all the Christmas shopping and social gatherings, but it doesn’t have to leave you scraping pennies and using up half of your next salary by the end of the month. What I did at the beginning of January is I calculated all the birthday and Christmas presents I had to make this year and then I divided that sum by 12. I then set up a recurring transfer to a ‘Presents Vault’ on Revolut each month so that I had the money saved already. I can say that’s definitely helped!

Plan a savings challenge

For the last few years, I've been doing a 365 'penny' challenge. Where you start by adding 1p on the 1st January, and go increasing the amount by a penny as the days increase. This means that by the end of the year you would have saved £672. You can also do a weekly challenge, where you put in £1 at the end of week one, £2 at the end of week two, and so on. This gives you a total saving of £1,378 at the end of the year! 


I hope you have found these tips useful, and want to wish you all a happy new year!

G


A REVIEW OF INAMO'S UNLIMITED ASIAN SUSHI & TAPAS AND BOTTOMLESS DRINKS.

Monday, 17 October 2022

If you follow me on my Tea With Gi Instagram page you might have seen that I just got back from a weekend in London, and probably wondered how I manage to fill so much food into 48 hours. Eating good food when I travel is probably at the top of my priority list, and London has no shortage of this! For me Italian and Japanese are always my top choices, so of course one of our meals was at Inamo in Soho. 


Inamo consists of pan-Asian cuisine which includes asian tapas and sushi, and also has the world's 1st interactive table ordering system. They are located both in Soho and in Covent Garden. We booked our table through the OpenTable website, which allows you to browse through over 100s of restaurants in London (and other major cities). Here you can make reservations, read reviews and earn points towards free meals. One of my favourite features of the website is that it allows you to search for 'experiences' at restaurants, so it's easy to find a bottomless brunch or unlimited buffet option!



At Inamo we opted for the 'unlimited asian sushi & tapas and bottomless drinks' which cost £45 per person, plus a 10% service fee that we were charged at the restaurant. When we arrived we were promptly shown to our table and our waitress explained how the interactive concept worked. Using a touch pad on the table you could:

  • order your food
  • check what you had already ordered
  • call the waiter to refill your drink
  • play games
  • watch the chef in the kitchen
  • and see your total

We were given an hour and a half to order food and drinks (beer, wine and prosecco) and we were only allowed to order 3 dishes at a time before ordering the more plates. Between me and my partner we managed to get through 16 sushi/tapas dishes - not a bad attempt! The food arrived quickly and we found that we didn't really have to call the waiter to top up our drinks as they were attentive, and would fill up our glasses before we'd even finished! We did call them 5 minutes before our time was up so we could finish off our meal with a cheeky quick glass of prosecco. 


For me the best dishes were the rose salmon sashimi, Szechuan Chicken, bang bang cauliflower, yuzu pork belly, korean BBQ ribs and the yellowtail roll. I was slightly heartbroken that the dragon roll wasn't included in the unlimited menu, but in hindsight i'm sure we could have ordered this as an extra if we wanted to!


Overall, we had a great experience and would definitely return in a few months to try some different dishes if they change up the 'unlimited menu'. There are probably no more than 15 tables in here, so booking beforehand is necessary to get a spot. The dim lighting makes it a great place for a date night, or even just for a get together with friends. 




G

10 TIPS FOR FIRST TIME CRUISERS ON ROYAL CARIBBEAN.

Monday, 26 September 2022

This summer I embarked on my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, and I can say my experience visiting as a teenager and as an adult were very different but both very memorable. A cruise is a great way to explore different cities/countries in a short space of time, and due to there being no coverage, also a great family bonding experience. If you still haven’t embarked on a cruise or are in the process of planning one for 2023, here are some of my tips.


1. Book in advance



We booked our Royal Caribbean cruise a year and a half in advance of our sail date, and we managed to save £400 with an ‘early bird’ discount. We did take a bit of a risk as we didn’t know what the travel situation with covid was going to be like, but it worked out in the end! Booking in advance means you also get a larger choice of staterooms, and if you get seasick you’ll want to ensure you bag one of the top deck rooms.


2. Look at the port terminal before you book your flights



Our cruise departed from ‘Venice’, but what they really meant was a port that was two hours away from Venice airport and in the town of Ravenna. Make sure you research your terminal ports first, as you may need to give yourself more time to travel. If you arrive a day before it’s also a great way to explore another city!



3. See which stops you can do at your own leisure



It’s no secret that cruise tours are usually double the price of those you can get via other agencies or from the tourist office when you arrive at one of your stops. There will be times where it’s worth booking a tour with your cruise as it will include transport and all the highlights a place has to offer. If you’re stopping at a smaller city or a beach town then it’s easier and more cost effective to do so at your own leisure.



4. Take advantage of the drinks package



Cocktails on most cruise lines are expensive, so if you’re really looking to splurge on your first day at sea it might be worth purchasing a drinks package. On Royal Caribbean a drink package of unlimited cocktails, soft drinks and speciality coffees was around £45. Which would just about get you 4 or 5 cocktails otherwise. The only thing to note was that this offer was only available the first two days of our cruise.



5. Pack your swimsuit in your carry-on bag



Just like in the airport, you will go through a check-in process before you’re allowed to board. The cruise staff will keep your suitcases and then throughout the day they will have them taken to your stateroom. This means that you might get on the ship at midday, but won’t be reunited with your luggage until 5pm. So bring your swimsuit, towel and other essentials in your carry-on luggage!


6. Make the most of the drinks allowance



As mentioned above, alcoholic drinks onboard aren’t the cheapest. Most cruise lines allow you to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom with you, which is great if you want to enjoy a glass or two on your balcony as you’re watching the sunset! You are also allowed to buy drinks in the port stops but the staff might keep this aside and give it to you when you check-out on your last day.


7. Keep your phone in aeroplane mode



Even if you’re embarking on a Mediterranean cruise, there is a chance you will sail past non-EU countries where you will be charged for data roaming. My brother learnt this the hard way when he woke up and saw a ‘welcome to Albania!’ text message. Wi-Fi on the ship usually starts around £20 a day, so in my opinion it’s not really worth it. You’ll still get coverage when the ship is docked, and chances are the people who you really need to speak to will be on the cruise with you!



8. Download the cruise app



Most cruise lines will have a dedicated app to make your journey a lot smoother. On our Royal Caribbean app we were able to check-in, book excursions, see how much we’d spent onboard, and see all the daily activities taking place. We also got the full menu for evening dining for the whole week, and obviously we couldn’t help ourselves in looking beforehand. The app is also a great way to plan your day as you can add activities to your calendar.


9. Opt to pay for the tips beforehand



I remember the first time we went on a cruise my parents had to dish out tips left right and centre at the end of our trip, which usually amounts to hundreds. Some cruises now give you the option to pay for the gratuities when you pay for your remaining balance before the cruise, and I believe this was around £120 per person.


10. Dining vs Buffet



On your cruise you will usually have two options for dinner each night included in your package. You can opt for a more formal dinner in the dining room, where there is usually one or two gala nights and you are given a 3 course menu every night. The other option is to eat in the buffet restaurant which usually has themed nights too. It’s worth checking on the app beforehand to see which menu appeals to you more!



G


5 SIDE HUSTLES TO CONSIDER IN 2022 TO BOOST YOUR INCOME.

Monday, 8 August 2022

Nowadays it feels like every other person is making a second income in some sort of way, and social media has made it easier than ever to create a second revenue stream, and to promote it! I'm lucky that through my blog it has allowed me to earn money in different ways, but that didn't come until after 2 years of establishing myself as a blogger and building up my SEO and following. If you're looking for a way to earn money from the comfort of your own home (mostly), here are 5 side hustles to consider to increase your income. 




1. Monetise your blog 



If you already have a website, one of the ways in which you can earn a passive income is with affiliate marketing. Depending on your niche, you will find plenty of websites which allow you to earn commission every time one of your readers books through your unique link. Since my blog is mainly travel, the two best affiliate programmes for me are Booking.com (around 15% commission) and GetYourGuide (10%). 

Another way to earn money through your blog is with sponsored content. Once you have built up a good domain authority (your Google ranking, basically), brands will pay you to have a link to their website within one of your blog posts. They do this in order to improve their own DA. I have a blog post all about improving your Domain Authority and SEO here


2. Start your own small business



Every time I log into TikTok I see unique products that small business owners are selling, to the more popular items like bar soaps, bespoke cakes and candles. You don't have to re-invent the wheel to start your own small business, you just have to get a bit creative and have a unique selling point. 

One thing that a lot of people are conscious about is products being eco-friendly, this also means choosing bespoke e-commerce packaging that minimises waste. Here you have a selection of envelopes or boxes to package your product in. You can then pretty much use sites like Canva to create your logo and all the graphics for your business. 

3. Write an e-book



If you have a particular skill, why not make some money from it? The good thing about this is, you have to put the work in at the beginning and then once it's written you can keep making money from sales. It'll just be your job to keep promoting it. I know of people who have made nutrition guides, SEO guides, guides on how to start a blog, manifestation guides, and have managed to make some money from it. 

All you need for this is Microsoft Word (or Google docs), your knowledge, and friends to help promote the product on social media once it's done! 


4. Teach english online 



TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses are popular with people who want to go live abroad and teach English at a school. However, it's also a good option if you have spare time in the evenings and want to teach English classes to children in Vietnam for example. Most courses require 120 hours to be done to be able to teach english. 

If you're a school teacher and have the summer off, why not use the time to go on a working holiday in South East Asia with this? 

5. Sell your unwanted items



If you look around the room right now, I bet you can spot 3 items that you haven't used in ages. You won't earn loads with this, but it's a great way to declutter your house, and give something a second home. 

You could also offer to do this for friends and relatives by agreeing to take the photos, write the descriptions and arrange deliveries. Just agree on the % you'll be taking beforehand! Etsy, eBay and Facebook Marketplace are all great places to do this. 

Do you have any current side hustles? Feel free to leave your links below! 




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