latest on the blog


Tuesday, 10 March 2020

As some of you know, or many of you because we all know how fast rumours  news spreads in Gibraltar, I have spent the last 14 days in quarantine in my bedroom to see if I developed any corona-esque symptoms. I think if you handed me a paper with 100 shades of blue I could probably tell you which one is the same colour as my walls because I've spent so many hours looking at them. I was in this position because last month I was travelling around Vietnam, and on my flight home my 2 hour layover in Bangkok, Thailand landed me a ticket to self-isolation for being on the 'high risk countries' list. Vietnam has had a total number of 20 cases of coronavirus and Thailand has had 43, but let's not talk about how those of us with no symptoms have had to be quarantined meanwhile passengers from UK (273 cases) and Spain (430 cases) have come in and out as they please. 

Anyway, it wasn't the end of the world. I felt like I was in a VIP prison - I had unlimited Wi-Fi, home cooked food brought to my door, unlimited phone calls and wine, which doesn't sound as lonely as I made my friends have a drink with me via FaceTime. I know there are others who are currently in quarantine (thanks to the frequent updates on social media), so if you're worried about going insane or finally sick of watching Netflix, I'm here with 40 things to do to keep yourself occupied.

NOTE: I wrote this blog post before Gibraltar went on semi-lockdown, so I have added a further 20 things to do in self-isolation/quarantine. I know being indoors sucks. A lot of my joy comes from having trips, festivals and social activities to look forward to, but this is not the time to be selfish. ⁣⁣You know what sucks more than cancelling holidays and not being able to go out partying? Losing people you love. Missing out on stuff for a few weeks or months is nothing in the grand scheme of things, especially if it will help slow down the spread of the virus. I also know a lot of people depend on routine and social activities to help with mental health, so that's why I've compiled this list. Just think about how great it will feel to celebrate once all of this is behind us.

40 things to do whilst you are in quarantine

1. Binge watch a TV series - I finally finished Power, and then my mum suggested I watch Toy Boy para 'practica tu espaƱol anda'. 

2. Go through your drawers and find letters, diaries and other stuff you wrote when you were younger, and cringe all over again. 

3. Download tik-tok, learn tik tok dances and then send them to your friends for their entertainment. 

4. Make a playlist of all the songs you're going to dance to when you're out of quarantine. 

5. Organise your wardrobe - find stuff you want to give away and stuff you want to bin. 

6.  Find out how long you can hold a plank for. 

7. Try not to think about how much fun everyone else is having in other countries where they're still allowed to go out, I suggest avoiding Instagram stories from the hours of 8pm-3am on a Friday night. 

8. Face Time people you haven't caught up with in a while, wine is optional. 

9. Come up with a new gym routine. 

10. Then make a new gym playlist. 

11. Think about what you want to get out of the rest of the year. 

12. Write a love letter, and then throw it in the bin when you realise how embarrassing and mushy you sound. 

13. Download The Sims. 

14. Go online shopping for all the significant events or nights out you're going to have once you are released from captivity to the outside world. 

15. Find a new recipe you can make once you have the luxury of going to the kitchen. 

16. Unsubscribe to the annoying emails you get. makes this pretty easy to do. 

17. Plan what you're going to go as for Halloween - it's never too early right?

18. Plan your future holidays. There's nothing I love more than creating a new google doc itinerary, ooft. 

19. Sleep in. You don't have anything important to wake up for anyway.

20. Think about how whilst you're lying in bed eating snacks and watching trash TV, some people still have to go to work.

21. Look at houses on RightMove in random places around the world that you know you'll never be able to afford.

22. Make a 'future' Pinterest board full of clothes, hairstyles, furniture or whatever you want to purchase once the world returns to normal.

23. Listen to albums you used to listen to in your teenage years, it's an instant mood booster.  Currently listening to All Time Low and I'm air guitaring around my room.

24. Wish everyone on your Facebook a happy birthday, now that you have the time to.

25. If like me you find quizzes and trivia amusing, head to Sporcle

26. Have a movie night with your friends via Netflix Party - whatever you're watching will be synced and there's a pop up chat on the side to discuss.

27. Learn a language - now you don't have the excuse that you don't have enough time (I must have redowloaded Duolingo 3 times).

28. Get your friends together on Skype, put some music on and play some drinking games as if you're heading out after, but instead you're going to collapse in bed.

29. Watch all 236 episodes of Friends, by the time you're done this will hopefully all be behind us.

30. Call your grandparents.

31. Fill up a 1.5 litre bottle of water every morning and make sure you've drank it by the end of the day.

32. Take 10 minutes a day to stretch or do yoga poses, or you'll be walking like Quasimodo once you can go outside again, trust me.

33. Find out if you could be the next Taylor Swift by attempting to write a song.

34. Try and learn a new skill online - Photoshop, coding, SEO etc.

35. Read some self-development books, here's 25 of the best.

36. Help where you can - if your country still isn't on total lockdown, help the elderly with their shopping or volunteer where you can.

37. Keep a gratitude journal. Since the beginning of the year I've been writing a highlight of everyday and it helps to focus on the positive or the little joys.

38. Have a family games night. If you don't have any board games download the Heads Up app.

39. Go through your camera roll and delete all your useless photos and screenshots.

40. Try and limit your talk about the virus, unless it's breaking news. Hearing all the negativity, panic and rumours surrounding the virus on social media will just make things and your mental health worse. Stay safe and informed, but don't let it control your life.



Sunday, 8 March 2020

New Zealand had been high on my list for a long time, although being from Gibraltar means that it isn't the easiest or cheapest place to get to. But after doing a working holiday in Australia, planning a trip to the neighbouring country suddenly seemed a lot more doable. I spent 10 days travelling around the North Island of New Zealand with the help of skip bus. Stopping in Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo and finally the capital, Wellington. These were my favourite 'must do' experiences. 

teawithgi tongariro crossing

1. Hobbiton Movie Set (Rotorua)

Probably the most visited attraction in the whole of New Zealand, is the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit movie set. The attraction is in Matamata but there are tours running from Auckland and Rotorua and tickets are priced at $84NZD (£40). This includes transfers to the site and a guided tour around The Shire. Between us, I've only ever seen the first LODR movie so me and my friends just watched the trailers to the rest of the franchise films the night before.

hobbiton movie set

2. White Water Rafting (Rotorua)

This was super fun aside from the 2 minutes I got stuck in a rapid and my life flashed before my eyes. I'd never gone rafting before so I wasn't quite sure what to expect, apart from there was a high chance of us falling into water, in January. The team at Kaitiaki Adventures were so much fun and full of energy and it definitely added to the whole experience. We got to slide down the world's highest commercially wafter 7m waterfall, and none of us fell out of the raft! (the same can't be said for everyone).


3. Tongariro Alpine Crossing (Taupo)

Doing this trek first made Mount Batur in Bali seem like a walk in the park. This trek isn't for everyone, it's challenging and cold but the views are amazing. We made the stupid mistake of only bringing a t-shirt and jumper and forgot to factor in that the top of the mountain was going to be significantly colder. We were walking so fast to warm ourselves up that the 0 degrees temperature didn't hit us as hard. The track is 19.4km long and takes around 6 hours to complete. The best time to visit is between November and April, otherwise you'll need alpine skills to combat the snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures (definitely not for me). 

Even if you're not the fittest, you are given plenty of time to complete the hike at your own pace, as you're picked up at 5am. Just make sure you bring at least 1.5 litres of water, layers, a ham sandwich (never has the reward of a ham sandwich tasted so good) and waterproofs. 

tongariro alpine crossing

4. Bungy Jumping (Taupo)

Some people go on holiday to relax by the pool or get a massage done, and others voluntarily throw themselves off a cliff. I don't know if I would have been able to do it if the jump was over ground, instead it was over Waikato River. It's a 47m jump which you can do by yourself or tandem, and although their website states that you can 'touch the water with your fingers' I was dunked like a doughnut. As you can imagine the video was quite entertaining for my friends and family to watch. I think the scariest part was actually jumping off the edge, I felt like Wendy when she's made to walk the plank in Peter Pan but then once that's over you kind of want to get up there and do it again. The Taupo Bungy costs $185NZD. 

taupo bungy

5. Eat ice cream (Auckland) 

I'm not talking about a regular scoop of ice-cream - this is a unique, overpriced and gluttonous experience. Giapo's serves a range of unique ice-cream flavours and there's a variety of ways to have it. Including on a weird octopus chocolate cone, a set of lips and on a 'selfie' cone. There's usually a queue for this place, as once you're in you're talked through the process and get to sample all 12 flavours before you choose which one you'd like to go for. I chose the 'hokey pokey' flavour which is unique to NZ (vanilla ice cream with honeycomb pieces) and had it 'a little bit melted'. 

giapo ice cream auckland

Which of these activities would be up your street? If you've been to New Zealand, what were some of your favourite things to do?


what to do north island new zealand


Monday, 2 March 2020

[This post was written in collaboration with Bathrooms Direct Yorkshire who provide modern bathroom accessories and all other bathroom fittings at affordable prices.] 

I've been travelling around for two months and I'm finally back home, and it feels so good to just be able to do nothing and not feel guilty about it. This generation is so obsessed with being constantly busy, when all it does is wear us out and empty our pockets. I'm currently in self-isolation for two weeks because I had travelled to Vietnam (no symptoms, don't worry) so I've definitely had to think of creative ways to keep myself occupied or entertained. Here are a couple of ways I'm working on myself lately. 

tea with gi

1. Take a day to do whatever you want without feeling guilty about it. 

I spent yesterday in bed watching Power for 6 hours, eating a bag of twirl bites and learning Tik Tok dances on Youtube. If this was my life everyday then yes it would be worrying, but it was a Sunday and sometimes you just need a day to do nothing productive and just give your body what it needs or craves, and on this particular day it was an excessive amount of chocolate. I can now go a few days without eating it and all will be good. 

2. Get a skincare routine (or don't). 

I know every self-care article tells you to go run a bubble bath and put on a face mask, but that isn't everyones ideal way to relax. Personally, I have a lot more fun using those floss sticks to floss between by braces or cleaning my ears. 

3. Use your hands. 

I always find writing in my journal therapeutic. If writing isn't your thing then drawing, painting, colouring. Anything that allows your brain to work in a different way than it does when you're just scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. 

4. Have a highlight of the day.

I started this last year and it's so nice to look back on, but it also allows you to find a moment of joy in even the most insignificant days. I have a note on my phone titled '365 days of happiness' and just as it sounds, every day I write a line on what the highlight of the day has been. Even if it's something as small as having a really nice coffee at breakfast. 

5. Learn to say no. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, being busy isn't always the best thing for us. That also means learning to say no to plans that you're not really interested in, or saying no to catching up with people who don't interest you at all or bring negative energy. It doesn't make you mean, it just means valuing your time and choosing to spend time with people who uplift and inspire you. 

6. Disconnect. 

It might not be as easy to go on a holiday or climb a mountain but just taking sometime to disconnect from social media and just be present does a world of good. Go to the beach, go on a walk or find some good trekking spots in your area. 



Saturday, 29 February 2020

[this is a collaborative post but all words and opinions are my own]

I've always been one of those people who feel the need to move furniture around in my bedroom every couple of months, because it seems to bring me a new sense of motivation for work and life - anyone else? with spring being just a month away, most people will start get into 'spring cleaning' and revamping their personal space. Here are some ways you can give your room a fresh look without breaking the bank.

Image Source

1. Get some wall art. 

Back in the day my room was covered with Justin Bieber and One Direction posters that I'd pull out of magazines, at 25 that isn't really acceptable anymore is it? One of my favourite websites for finding high quality prints for your house is desenio, and they'll cost you a quarter of the price of finding a wall art in a store.

2. Get a new carpet. 

Depending what kind of flooring you have in your house, this can be easier said than done. If you've got carpet floors these can sometimes need updating more often as they can start to fade. Cream carpets are always nice but if you drink a lot of red wine it's always a risky choice isn't it?

3. Make a working space. 

Right now I'm writing this blog post sat in bed, because I've got too much stuff on my table at the moment to sit my laptop down. If you're also a blogger, or study or generally do any work from home then create a space in your room where you can sit down and do this. Get some nice stationery, some motivating quotes on the wall and a desk planner and you'll actually be looking forward to sitting down and working.

4. Get new bedding. 

One of my favourite parts of moving into a new place is buying new bedding (especially at university). For the time being, I'm staying put so it just means buying new bedding for the season. Primark always has a variety of options at very affordable prices. 

5. Add some life into it. 

I always find having a house plant or flowers just makes a room look more homely and well, fresh. You don't need to overdo it especially if you don't think looking after plants or flowers is for you, as having a room full of dead flowers will have the opposite effect. If that's the case just get a fake plant, no one will know the difference but you!

What are some ways you give your room an update?



Thursday, 27 February 2020

[this post is written in collaboration with NiaWigs but all words and opinions are my own.]

So in 2019 I read my fair share of self-help books - how to be a badass, how to attract the things you want in life and just generally how to do you. I've just spent the last two months travelling through New Zealand and South East Asia and it's involved a lot of time on planes, trains and buses to (over)think about life. I wouldn't say travelling has made me 'find myself' but it has made me wonder what I can do this year to be the best version of myself. 

tea with gi

1. Compete against yourself. 

There's no point trying to match the success of your friends or people in the same industry as you. It's easy to become complacent in life so it's always good to push yourself that little bit further whether it's with your fitness goals, career or personal growth. 

2. Just start. 

Sometimes it takes me so much energy to start writing a blog post. I make myself a coffee, walk around the house a bit, get distracted and start texting people on Whatsapp and then end up saying 'it's too late I'll do it tomorrow' when to be honest if I just open a new blog post and start writing it's easy to get into the flow of things. 

The same goes for starting anything, a marathon, joining the gym, writing a book or learning to play an instrument. We spend so much energy thinking about doing these things and everything that can go wrong when the best thing to do really is just start

3. Have something that is yours. 

I think as we get older we start questioning what our 'purpose' is in life right? Most of us end up working for someone else and it can be hard to feel fulfilled in life. That's why I like having my little space on the internet, it's something that is mine and that I can work on and that has also given me a lot of wonderful opportunities. I think having a side hustle however big or small is a great way to have a sense of purpose and to put your energy into. For other people, having something that is yours can be more literal - like having babies

4. Learn to accept yourself. 

No matter what age you are, we're always going to have insecurities, regrets, things that we would like to change about ourselves and things we wish we could do. Instead of spending time dwelling on the negatives, it's important to look at the things you have achieved, and your own qualities. I've accepted I'm never going to look like all the fitness bloggers I see on my feed, and I'm ok with that. 

5. But it's never too late to reinvent yourself. 

I never thought I'd see the day I got rid of my red hair but last year I took the plunge and stripped my hair and went lighter. If you don't want to commit to a drastic haircut or change of colour then take a page out of Kylie Jenner's book and use a wig. NiaWigs provide a range of high quality wigs for all types of hair, including lace front wigs

6. Have a vision. 

This is where I'm going to bring a little thing called the law of attraction into this, and well a bit of planning. I basically wrote down everything I wanted to achieve in life and how I was going to get there. As well as what qualities I think the best version of myself would have (probably to be a bit less messy). I know people who go one step further and make a 'vision board' by drawing things too but it's all up to you. Then vision yourself having these things. That's basically how the law of attraction works and there's a ton of articles and youtube videos on manifesting the life you want. 


Friday, 7 February 2020

[this blog post is written in collaboration with Clickstay but all words and opinions are my own.]

Growing up in Gibraltar meant that taking a summer holiday to Spain was the norm several times a year as we are literally a stones throw away from the Spanish border. The great thing about travelling up the coast is that each town or city has it's own unique character and even though I was never that far from home it still allowed for that feeling of escapism and fun (and hotel buffets). One place I spent a lot of weekends in was Mijas. Mijas is located on the Costa Del Sol, around 1hr 20 minutes drive from Gibraltar or 35 minutes from Malaga Airport. It's quite a quaint little town filled with white houses, beaches and great tapas. If you're planning a vacation to Andalusia, here's my guide on spending a weekend in Mijas, Spain.


Where to stay 

Mijas is one of the Costa Del Sol's more relaxing towns, so why not take full advantage of that and stay in a villa. Clickstay offers a large variety of Villas in Mijas and there's a good selection whether you're travelling with your friends, family or partner. I prefer this kind of accommodation if you're travelling in a group, as it means you can take advantage of the outdoor space and have BBQs, wine nights or even a game of Monopoly.

Photo Credit

What to do 

1. Walk around the Old Town (Pueblo).

If you're looking for a few photo ops then this is the place to go. The old town is full of white houses, flower pots, cobblestones and the Plaza de Torros. Which is also a great place to grab a cerveza (beer) and some tapas. 

2. Visit the Aquamijas water park. 

When I was younger this would always be one of the highlights of my summer. Whether you're travelling with kids or just fancy some water fun yourself (you're never really too old for this are you?) it's a great day out option and after spending a couple of days in the Spanish heat, throwing yourself in pools is exactly what you'll want. The park is open from June until late September and they have discounted tickets for children.  

3. Visit the 'museum of miniatures'. 

As the name suggests, the Museo de Miniaturas is full of hundreds of miniature items picked up by the hypnotist and magician Juan Elegido Millan. One of the most interesting pieces is a painting of the Seven Wonders of the World, on a toothpick, yes a toothpick

4. Take a day trip to Gibraltar. 

Since you're already that close to it, why not tick another country off your bucket list? Gibraltar is a British overseas territory situated on the most southern tip of Europe. It is separated from Spain by a border so make sure you remember your passport! You'll find people here speak English and Spanish, and you'll be able to find a mix of cuisines and influences here. Here's a complete list of things to do in Gibraltar

5. Visit the Castillo de Colomares

Another great photo spot, the Castillo (castle) was built in the 80s and is a ode to Christopher Columbus. 

6. Take an evening walk through the 'Paseo Maritimo' 

One of my favourite things about Spain is that the atmosphere usually doesn't die down anywhere until midnight, even on weekdays. Most Spanish families will have dinner at 9pm, and you will still see children out and playing at this time too around the restaurants. The paseo maritimo (promenade walk) is usually filled with little shops that stay open late, ice cream stalls, restaurants and chiringuitos (beach bar).  

What to eat

I couldn't write a post without sharing some of my favourite Spanish meals (or tapas) with you guys. So here they are

Patatas Bravas - fried potatoes that are covered in a slightly spicy tomato based sauce.

Berejenas en Miel - aubergine/eggplant that are cut into chips, fried and then drizzled in honey. 

Croquetas - croquettes are small round breadcrumbed rolls that come with different fillings. My favourite being ham or spinach. 

Tortilla de Patata - basically a very thick omelette, with potatoes mixed in too. 

Ensaladilla Rusa - a cold potato based salad that is mixed with mayo, tuna, olives and peas. 

Have you ever been to Spain before? What parts have you visited?

© TEA WITH GI. Design by FCD.