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Tuesday, 6 April 2021

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

Is it just me, or does everyone love to come across as being stressed and busy all the time? I feel like all these Netflix shows we've seen growing up have made us aspire to always have a coffee in hand and a full social calendar, but the truth of the matter is that it gets tiring.  I love doing social things and I don't think I can spend more than a day just sat on the sofa all day watching TV, but I also feel the strain it has on me when I'm jumping from thing to thing and not giving myself any time to just relax. With it being stress awareness month, I wanted to touch upon what effects stress actually has on us, and the best ways to deal with it. 

tea with gi stress

So why is being stressed a bad thing?

A lot of people (me included) actually thrive off being stressed. I remember I'd do by best work at uni when I gave myself a week to do an assignment, because I knew if I didn't stick to my deadlines then I wouldn't get it done, meaning there was less time for procrastination and I just had to focus. I also hate having 'little pockets of time' between activities, so I always try and plan things back to back. Which works for a while but then it just leaves you feeling burnt out, unmotivated and just plain tired. 

Aside from the toll it takes on your body, not managing your stress whether that's at work or in your personal life can lead to more psychological affects like anxiety and depression. It can also keep you up at night and you might make more irrational decisions when you're not thinking clearly.

So how should we deal with stress?

 If you do find that the stress in your life is taking a toll on your mental health then speaking to your doctor might be beneficial, but here are some other steps you could take to prevent and control it. 

Write out everything that needs to be done

If you know you've got a lot on your plate during the week, write down everything that's stressing you out and what the solution for each task is. It's also important to think realistically how long each task is going to take and usually, if you get the thing that scares you most out of the way first, you won't be left with that feeling of dread the whole week. Things are a lot more manageable when you see them on a list in front of you, and we all know how good it feels when you get to tick things off a list!

Prioritise 'you time'

Whether that means going to the gym, painting, writing or whatever hobby you enjoy. Make sure you make time for yourself to do the things that you enjoy. A lot of people struggle to find that 'work/life' balance but it's important to make it a priority to block out time for yourself. I know a lot of people who 'work through lunch' at their own expense, but at the end of the day that is your time. So even if it means going out for a walk to get some fresh air, make sure you use it. 

Try natural remedies like CBD oil

For me when I'm feeling stressed or anxious about something, I usually find myself tossing and turning in bed until 3am. Which isn't ideal when you have an 8am start the next day! For me CBD oil has been great before bed as it helps calm me and fall asleep easier. Our Remedy specialises in CBD oil for women. Their formula contains essential oils such as clary sage and geranium, which is known to have their benefits for period pains and easing anxiety. They also infuse their CBD with different essential oils like peppermint and orange so it can be a great addition to your bedtime hot drink!

our remedy
Photo Credit


This is something that is often easier said than done, I know when I'm anxious or stressed about something coming up I probably think about it every day until the day comes. It's important to get in the mindset of 'not worrying about something that hasn't happened yet' and just trying to be present for everything else. I do that by either reading a good book (The Midnight Library currently), or going to yoga classes. Meditation and breathing techniques is something that works for a lot of people, it's just something I personally haven't got round to trying yet.

One thing to take away from this post, is to listen to your body. Remember it's ok to take breaks, and to ask for help. A lot more people are in the same boat than you think!



Tuesday, 9 March 2021

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

The day has finally come where I'm talking about buying a houses and mortgages on my blog - how time flies! It's crazy to me that we never got taught anything at school about 'real life' situations about how mortgages work, stamp duty and all that other adulting stuff. Luckily, both my mum and step-dad work in a bank so they have constantly been giving me the 411, and how important it is to start saving as soon as you can. Whether you're single or have a partner to purchase a house with, the important thing is to assess your own situation and what is financially going to work for you in the long-run. I am currently in the process of *hopefully* purchasing a house, and these are some of my tips:

tea with gi house buying

1. Open a separate savings account. 

I now have two: one for travelling and fun stuff, and the other for all things house related. You'll need to consider that apart from paying a deposit, you'll also have to pay a lawyer for the conveyancing, stamp duty, and of course to furnish it! I have mine on Natwest, and they offer me 1.5% interest as long as my balance at the end of the month is £50 higher than it was the previous month. 

2. Find out how much you need for your deposit and what you can borrow. 

In most cases, the money you will have to put into buying a house is at least 10% of the full price of the house. So if you want to buy a house that's £200,000, you'll need to save at least £20,000. Most banks will offer you 4X your salary, and will look at your current spending habits before agreeing if they're going to lend you the money. 

3. Find the right estate agent. 

Buying a house can be stressful, so sometimes it's easier to let someone else do all the hard work for you. GrowProperty help you understand what you can afford, and will be with you for every step of the process. They can advise on how to negotiate and making the best offer, arranging all the legal work, and help with all the paperwork. 

4. Be realistic. 

If I could, I'd love to buy a 4 bedroom house with a pool and a garden. The fact that I'd be having to do that on 1 salary means that is highly unlikely unless I won the lottery this year. Being a first-time home buyer means that the house you purchase won't necessarily be the house you live in all your life. It is however a good way to get on the 'property ladder' and have a place that is yours. In time your situation may change and you may need to upgrade or down-size, which you can do when the time and need arises. 

5. Make an expenses plan. 

I love spreadsheets, and I make one every year showing what my 'fixed' spendings are each month and what I'm putting aside for adult things/travelling. It's a good way to visually see what you're left with at the end of the month, and what you can actually afford to save every month. I've also been using Revolut 'Vaults' a lot to have separate savings for individual trips, luxuries and birthday/Christmas presents! 

6. Choose what's right for you. 

Not everyone is going to have the same 'goals' or things to tick off in life. A lot of people are fine with renting, or don't want to have roots in just one city. The same way as others may prefer to have a smaller apartment but have more money to spend on experiences, and others have always envisioned owning their dream home by 30. It's always useful to hear advice and tips from other people who have done it, but in the end the decision is yours! 

I hope this post has been useful, and whatever stage you're at it's important to not stress or compare. We're all on individual journeys! 



Thursday, 4 March 2021

 [This is a collaborative post but all words are my own.]

You're probably thinking, Giana why are you writing a wedding themed blog post when you're very much single? Even though that's the case, one of my best friends is getting married soon! So we've been busy talking everything wedding related (and the hen night of course). Having a degree in events management also means that I've always enjoyed thinking about 'out of the box' themes and creative ideas for celebrations. If you or somebody you know are tying the knot soon, here are some ideas to consider for the special day. 

1. Make your own wedding invitations.

If you want to make your invites feel a lot more personal, then why not try making DIY wedding invitations? This way you can bring them to life however you want, and if you're not exactly fond of your own handwriting, invite your bridesmaids over and have everyone do their part for creating the perfect invites! 

2. Invent some signature cocktails.

I'm sure by the end of the night, most guests will be ordering beers, G&Ts or vodka redbulls. To keep things interesting at the beginning of the reception, have some unique cocktails to choose from. You could have fun with this and have some 'inside joke' cocktail names. 

3. Put disposable cameras on each table. 

Even though most individuals will take loads of photos to remember the day on their phones, having pictures on disposable cameras means you'll have something to take away from the night, and you can add them to a wedding photo album the old fashioned way!

4. Hangover relief kits for the adults. 

Even though your grandmother might only have two glasses of champagne, I think most people would appreciate a bag of snacks and goodies at the end of the night! I'd include a little bottle of mouthwash, an eye mask, some electrolytes and a bag of crisps. 

5. Have a guest icebreaker question or 'dare'. 

Under each guests' place card, write a dare or question they must ask someone at the wedding during the reception. The great thing about this is that you'll be able to personalise each one to the person, which makes it a great way to try set up your single friends or at least get conversations flowing! 

6. Send a collaborative playlist for the guests. 

Want to make sure nobody complains about the music on the night? Set up a collaborative playlist on Spotify and share it with your guests to add songs. Before the wedding you can choose to make this private again and edit the playlist as you please, as WAP might not go down very well at 9pm with your family around!

7. Set up a karaoke area.

There's always going to be guests who will say they 'don't dance', so how about they sing instead? You can hire a karaoke machine and keep everyone pleased. I can already imagine everyone hogging the microphone to sing High School Musical. 

8. Have a sweet cart for the kids (and peckish adults). 

A fun idea would be to have a pick and mix cart for guests either in a corner or going around the tables during the reception. If you'd rather have a gin cart, I'm sure that would also go down a treat! 

9. Create a # for social media for the wedding. 

Since you'll be too busy having fun on your big day to see all the photos you've been tagged in on Instagram, the best way to have all the photos from your wedding in one place is to create an official hashtag! You can have signs around the reception reminding guests what it is, or making it something simple like #AandBsWedding

10. Theme your centrepieces. 

I always said I wanted to have Disney movie themed centrepieces, but now that I'm a bit older and my interest have slightly changed. I would love to theme each table on a different city me and my 'future partner' have been to or places of importance. It's your day, so have fun with it!

With a lot of weddings being postponed due to the global pandemic, it is exciting that things are slowly getting back to normal and we can start looking forward to things. I hope you find any of these ideas interesting and consider them on your wedding day!



Monday, 8 February 2021

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

The last year has been a challenging time for many of us, and I really feel for those who are still in complete lockdown and who live on their own. A lot of people do tend to enjoy their own company, but we also know that human interaction and socialising is needed for our happiness and wellbeing. We know that we're all staying home to help beat this virus and save lives, but your mental wellbeing should be just as important as your physical. With that being said, I wanted to include a few ways to make sure that you're taking care of yourself during lockdown. 

tea with gi

1. Try and think of the positives in your life. 

We all know that the way you perceive a situation and how you think about it has an outcome on your moods and how you handle things. So instead of thinking, how horrible it is being home everyday or all the things you can't do, try and flip the situation. Instead think, I get to have all this extra quality time to myself or with my family, I have time to read more books or finish series, I'm saving money by staying home and not buying a Costa coffee every morning! 

2. Try and schedule social things with friends 1-2 a week as you would in 'real life'. 

I know the novelty of Zoom quizzes kind of wore off after the first lockdown, but my group still love it! If it's not your cup of tea then you can also virtually watch a movie with friends or your partner through Netflix Party. Or buy yourself a bottle of wine and play some drinking games on FaceTime! I have a post on 40 things to do in lockdown if you need some more inspiration. 

3. Make future plans. 

Personally, I think the key to being happy is always having things to look forward to. Which obviously isn't very plentiful right now! With the vaccine being rolled out, we are looking at things slowly getting back to normality around Easter time. So get on SkyScanner and start planning that post-covid trip you'd like to go on at the end of the year, get yourself excited for something. Just make sure your flights are refundable if you plan on booking everything. 

4. Find a way to exercise that you enjoy. 

I bought myself a FitBit last month, and it has actually made me more motivated to work out at home as you can actually see the results of it. Before I always thought that my home workouts weren't really doing anything, but my FitBit proves otherwise. If you have a Nintendo Switch, then I recommend buying Just Dance! It's fun and an hour of dancing burns around 350 calories. 

5. Go on your walks. 

I know it's cold, and a lot of days staying home in your pyjamas seems more appealing. But you need your fresh air and a change of scenery too! Download a podcast or listen to an album that you haven't listened to in ages. Or if you're allowed to walk with a friend do that. If the weather truly is horrible outside, then something to consider is using oxygen cans or an Oxygen Concentrator UK which is also becoming popular with a lot of athletes. 

6. Talk to people about how you're feeling. 

I know a lot of times it's very easy to feel like you're alone with this or how you're feeling. A quick look on Twitter or anywhere else shows that a lot of us are feeling more anxious, down and like life just isn't very exciting at the moment. The worst thing you can do when you're feeling like this is keeping it to yourself and being alone with your own thoughts, so reach out to a friend or family member and tell them about what's worrying you or what you need. 

As much as the situation sucks right now, just think how far we've all come from when this started. The light at the end of the tunnel also feels a lot closer now, so it won't be long until we're all drinking in the bar with our friends! 


Sunday, 7 February 2021

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

As I'm sure most of you feel, I can't wait to finally be able to buy an overpriced coffee at the airport, get on a plane, look out the window listening to my music pretending I'm in a music video and arriving in a new country. That day is getting closer, but for now the safest thing to do is explore your own backyard. I always find we tend to want to tick off all these exotic locations and then end up neglecting the closest places around us because we can 'go any time'. So here are a couple of trips to consider once restrictions ease and we're allowed to travel again, that are a big closer to home!

1. Edinburgh

I took a trip here back in 2012 when I was checking out a few universities, and although I loved the city for a holiday, I don't think I could have survived the harsh Scottish weather on a daily basis! Here are some of my recommendations for a visit:

  • Stay close to Princes Street, the heart of Edinburgh.
  • Put your trainers on and take a hike up Arthur's Seat.
  • Scroll through the Old Town.
  • Eat an 'infamous' deep fried Mars Bar.
  • Find out some horrors about Edinburgh with the 'Edinburgh Ghost Tour'.
  • Explore Edinburgh Castle.
  • Have a picnic from Calton Hill.

2. London

I think no matter how many times you take a trip to London, there's always new things to discover and quirky restaurants to visit (or take pictures for Instagram in). I even wrote a 
London bucket list back in 2016, and it definitely needs updating! When in London:

  • Get a central London hotel, or you'll spend most of your day commuting between places!
  • For some vintage finds, head to Camden Market or Notting Hill. 
  • Get your museum fix, my favourites are the Tate, Science and Natural History Museum. 
  • Visit Neal's Yard for some quirky photos for your Instagram feed. 
  • Take a Ghost Bus Tour around London and hear stories about the infamous British characters like Jack the Ripper. 

3. Belfast

This is on my bucket list and I'm really hoping I can make a trip there this year. I'm sure anyone who is a Game of Thrones fan wants to come here for the filming locations, but the scenery and landscapes also look breathtaking. I've also never been to Northern Ireland or Ireland, so this one is high on my list! When in Belfast:

  • Take a visit to the Titanic Museum
  • Have drinks in Cathedral Square for the best atmosphere
  • Walk around Belfast Castle
  • Take a Game of Thrones guided tour around the city
  • Go on an official 'Irish Pub Crawl'
  • Climb your way up Cave Hill

4. Gibraltar 

So geographically you won't be in the UK for this one, so you'll have to catch a flight to get to this overseas British territory (also my home!). Gibraltar is a popular tourist destination located on the southern tip of Europe, bordering Spain. The great thing is you don't need to practice your spanish before your trip because english is the first language here! When in Gibraltar:

  • Get the best views of Morocco and Spain by taking a walk up the Rock of Gibraltar. If you're feeling up for the challenge walk up the Mediterranean steps to the top of the rock.
  • Go and see the dolphins on a dolphin safari.
  • Have a picnic in Alameda Gardens.
  • Try some local favourites - calentita, torta de acerga, croquetas and torta de patata! Sun-Cola drinks are also a favourite with locals!
  • Spend an afternoon at Sandy Bay beach
  • Celebrate National Day by wearing your best red and white attire, and joining in the all-day festivities on 10th September. 


Tuesday, 29 December 2020

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a weird year for everyone. In January I was flowing down a stream in Taupo, New Zealand looking at the sky and thinking to myself, 'wow life is good right now' and before I knew it I got caught in a rapid and almost drowned. So that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the year lol. That being said, it doesn't mean all 365 days of the year have been bad, just different. I've still laughed until I've cried, had great people come into my life, and made it my personal mission to try every flavour of gin at The Yard. This year I didn't write my yearly birthday post about 'realising thingz' so I thought I'd write one now before the end of the year. 

tea with gi

1. Not everything is a sign from the universe. 

2. Rental prices in Gibraltar are the highest I've seen anywhere I've lived (including London). Listening to my mum rallate everyday > paying £800 a month to live in a shoebox. 

3. There is really no point worrying or stressing over things that are out of our control. 

4. The grass isn't always greener on the other side, it's greener where you water it. 

5. Your life doesn't have to be exciting and full of plans all the time, appreciate the downtime. 

6. The best way to enjoy life is always having something to look forward to, even if it's family game night or a Zoom quiz with friends. 

7. You really don't know what you have until it's gone, like the cinema. 

8. It shouldn't be a battle to keep anyone in your life, friendships and relationships should flow naturally. 

9. Don't base your life decisions on what you think is expected of you by society, if you don't want to get a mortgage and would rather travel or move around then do so. You're the only person who knows what's going to make you happy. 

10. Surround yourself with positive energy and vibrations. If someone is giving you the opposite don't feel guilty for cutting them out of your life or limiting your time with them. 

11. When a pandemic keeps you stuck at home the only thing that really matters is human connection and interactions, even if it's over FT. 

12. Turns out I actually like olives and ketchup. 

13. The only person you should be competing against is yourself, so stop measuring your success by where other people are on their journey. 

14. Just because you're in your late 20s and still single doesn't mean you are doomed to be a spinster, life doesn't stop when you turn 30. 

15. I do believe everyone that comes into your life (whether they stay or not) does so to teach you a lesson or at least, builds character. 

16. Don't let anyone stop you from doing things that bring you joy just because of peoples negative comments or closed mindedness, especially coming from a place with a 'small town mentality'. 

17. Take that trip of a lifetime. I had so many people tell me I was stupid for leaving my job to travel Asia/Australia for a year, and I came back and found a good job again. It was probably one of the best years of my life. 

18. Open up two savings accounts, one for adult things like saving for a house and dental appointments and one for making memories. Becoming an adult doesn't mean you have to stop travelling or doing the things you enjoy, you just have to manage it better. 

19. If you ever need any dental work done, plan it around a holiday in Asia. I got my emergency root canal done in Vietnam for £50 and it was probably the most modern clinic I've ever been in. It would have cost me more to claim it on my insurance!

20. As lockdown probably showed most of us you don't need the gym to stay healthy when there's Youtube, but the gym is also so great for your mental health. 

21. When your friends send you song recommendations, actually listen to them. You might actually end up discovering your new favourite artist. 

22. It's ok to admit to your friends when you're feeling sad or lost in life, chances are they're probably going through stuff too and waiting for someone to talk about it too. 

23. You're allowed to change your mind about what you want to do with your life, no matter your age or circumstances. As long as you're not going to ruin anyone else's life by doing so.

24. Become comfortable with doing stuff by yourself, don't miss out on stuff just because no one else wants to do it with you. 

25. In some situations, no amount of closure is ever going to answer all your questions. Sometimes for your own peace it's best to just let things be. 

26. If this year has taught us anything, it's that no ones time on earth is guaranteed. So cherish the people around you, and don't put things off because 'you have time'. 


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