Tuesday 27 November 2018

Well guys, it has been a hot minute since my last evening rant. I think the last one was about how 'life doesn't have to be exciting all the time' back in July, and now I'm here to talk about how it doesn't have to be a competition either. Once you hit your 20s or have finished university, it feels like it's a race to the finish line on who can snatch up a husband or wife first, who can land the best job out of uni, who can have the most unique travel experience and/or whatever other life experience can be reduced to a 'check - done that'. I'm here to tell you, that nobody is keeping tabs because we don't all want the same things out of life. 

tea with gi

For me, the biggest stressor in my life right now is getting my driving license. Not because I've necessarily felt like I can't live without it (because I can walk mostly everywhere I need to and I have nothing against public transport) but because 80% of my circle have theirs and the question that always pops up is 'when are you going to get your license?' or 'you're 24 and still don't know how to drive' and I hate feeling like I need to rely on people or being 'the only one who hasn't got their license'. I think a part of me just wants to get the test over and done with so that I can say I've checked that off my 'grown-up list' and not because I am dying to go and drive around in circles in my tiny country. I admittedly also hate being bad at things, and me and reverse up hill parking just don't go well - so I'd rather keep prolonging taking the test rather than failing. Even though only 47.1% of people pass their test first time (yes I just Googled that to make myself feel better) so failing wouldn't mean the end of the world.

Sorry I went off on a bit of a tangent there guys - back to the point. We all know a bit of competition is healthy, in sport and things where it actually matters. When it comes to the way we live our lives the only person we should be competing with is ourselves. If we're constantly trying to outdo one another then we're never going to be happy or satisfied. Whether it be trying to weigh less than your friend who is 20cm shorter than you, not being happy in your job just because you're earning less than your friends, or feeling frustrated because you feel things aren't falling into place for you as soon as it is for others. Just remember what your personal goals are and what is important to you.

I'm at the age where some of my friends are married, two are pregnant, one has landed her dream job, one has found a girlfriend after being single for 25 years, some are about to go travel the world and one has just bought her own house with no help. Do I want all of these things? Yes, but I'm not expecting them all to happen overnight and I'm ok with that. I'm happy to just ride along and we should all be happy going at our own pace, we all get to finish line eventually, tortoise and the hare and all that.



Monday 26 November 2018

November has been an exciting month for me - in between one thing and another I don't think I've worked a full working week this month! Since 2013, me and my friend Sarah-Jane have been meeting up for 5SOS gigs, and since it was going to cost me £250 to fly to London I thought, why don't we meet in Milan for £40? I'd previously visited other parts of Italy on a cruise but this was my first time visiting the fashion capital. Milan is definitely one of those cities that you can escape to for just a weekend, as we did everything we wanted to do. Here's my guide to a girly weekend in Milan, Italy. 

Where to Stay in Milan, Italy. 

We stayed at the Antica Locanda Leonardo which was a 15 minute walk from the Duomo and a couple of minutes away from the church that houses The Last Supper painting. We actually didn't get round to seeing this because tickets sell out months in advance, so if you are interesting in seeing it make sure you check early. There are also ways of seeing it if you book onto it as part of another tour.

The boutique hotel was very quaint and had cute little patio and the best part was, there was sockets next to the bed woo!! We paid around 140 euros each for 3 nights which isn't too bad for the centre of Milan. My only issue was that my first night the room got very hot and an open window or turning the aircon on didn't seem to help - so I just slept in my underwear starfished on the bed.

antica locanda leonardo

Getting around in Milan, Italy. 

I flew in to Malpensa airport, and from there I took a direct 45 minute train to Cardona station and I then had a 6 minute walk to my hotel. There were two trains every hour and start from 5am. There is also another direct route from Malpensa airport that takes you to Milan Centre.

Once you're in the city, you can pretty much walk around to all the sights of interest or get the metro. A single journey on the metro will cost you 1.5 euros. 

Castello Sforzesco


Breakfast - Colonial Cafe

We started off our day with a coffee and chocolate croissant at the Colonial Cafe. One thing I found with most places is that 'to go' coffee isn't a thing - perhaps because paper cups ruin the coffee and in Italy it might be quite insulting. Either way I was happy to sit and drink my latte in the cosy cafe whilst catching up with my friend Sarah-Jane who I hadn't seen in over 3 years. 

AM | See the sights (or get your Instagram shots)

The obvious place to start is at the Duomo Milano. This cathedral is covered with more than 3400 statues and really is one of the most beautiful work of architecture I have come across. We only saw it from the outside but you can buy tickets for the Duomo online for 14 euros to take a tour from the inside and see the great views of the city. If you're very comitted to the IG cause you're going to have to get here before 8am - or else you'll be surrounded by tourists and an equal amount of pigeons. 

Next up, you'll come across the shops in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to the left of the Cathedral - which is where you will find Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace and all your other high end stores. Even if you don't plan to do any shopping it's a beautiful passageway to explore. Every shop opened here has to have the same black and gold shop sign, so even McDonald's had to comply, until it was moved outside the gallery and reverted to its original logo. The Gallery was built in 1865 and sadly the architect, Giuseppe Mengoni died a couple of days before the opening, because he was checking something on the roof and slipped.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

A short 8 minute walk from here, you'll get to the San Bernardino church, but the point of interest here lies in the Ossuary - a room full of bones and skulls. This might not be for everyone but it was quite an interesting sight to see. 

Another 20 minute walk, will lead you to the Castello Sforzesco which isn't that big so again it's just a nice walk through to feel like you're in an episode of Game of Thrones. This will also lead you to Parco Sempione which is Milan's version of Hyde Park (kinda) and then eventually the Porta Sempione (triumphal arch).

San Bernardino

Lunch | Fisherman Pasta 

After seeing all the morning sights we wanted to head towards the Brera district as it's quite quirky and has some nice cafes, restaurants and shops. On the way we came across Fisherman Pasta and it stood out to us because of its nautical interior and well, who doesn't want pasta when they're in Italy? I got a plate of black ravioli filled with seabass for 10 euros (you can choose two portion sizes) - although I always make the mistake of ordering ravioli/tortellini because usually they only bring 4-5 large ones and well, I like my carbs.

fisherman pasta

PM | Explore some of the other districts

Milan hasn't got a ton of things to do, so you'll have time to venture out and explore some of the other areas. Brera is only a 15 minute walk from the centre and we also stumbled upon Rosa&Co which to be honest is a bit overpriced but it's a great place aesthetically. I payed 5.50 euros for a matcha bubble tea.


From here you can take the nearest metro to Porto Genova to reach the Navigli district which is where you'll find the picturesque canals, buzzing atmosphere and cute little shops. Here you can see the Washerwoman’s alley and the Basilica di San Lorenzo church.

Dinner | Aperitivo in Navigli 

In Italy, an 'Aperitivo' is a drink and small meal had in the early evening to get you ready for all the festivities after. We'd run out of stuff to look at so we ended up having ours at MoMo at the slightly British time of 5:30pm. Most places offer this 'Happy Hour' between 6pm - 9pm and for 10 euros you can buy a drink of your choice (Aperol Spritz for me) and access to a buffet. Make sure to walk down the canal first and see which one draws your eye the most!


Afters | Old Fashion

A girly weekend to Milan obviously wouldn't be complete without a boogie in Italia. After extensive research, I trusted the internet with Old Fashion and we had a blast. If you go on the website 24 hours before you can get a complimentary guestlist, and once that sells out tickets for women are 10 euros and that also gets you a drink (drinks inside cost 10 euros too). It's quite a fancy looking club but there were a range of people there, not just the snobby. There was one room playing house and chart music and another playling RnB and Reggaeton, so of course we didn't go home until 4:30am. 


AM | Walking tour of Milan 

Assuming you're not hanging too much from the evening before, then Walkabout's free Milan walking tour  is a great way to learn about the history of the city, see the sights and learn about the culture and stories that the guide books don't tell you. I do a 'free' walking tour in almost every city I visit, and this has to actually be in the top 3. Despite being the longest (3.5 hours), I was actually switched on the whole time and our guide Marco was very enthusiastic, flamboyant and funny. Whoever I'm with I always 'test' them at the end by asking them to tell me 3 facts they learnt and vice versa. I won't tell you about anything I learnt so that if you take this tour you're not listening to it for a second time!

milan walking tour

Lunch | Pizza Meucci 

We were this close to just stopping at one of the tourist traps near the Duomo because it was 2:30pm and we were hungry. Thankfully we walked a little bit further and stumbled upon Pizza Meucci. It's a tiny place and you can tell that it was somewhere that's popular with the locals. A pizza here cost us 5 euros and they had quite an extensive variety (including Hawaiian but I decided to opt for prosciutto e funghi as to not insult the Italians.

pizza meucci

PM | Shop, nap, or get the train to Lake Como

So the main reason we came to Milan was for a 5 Seconds of Summer concert, which meant we used this window to pop into a few shops (Bath and Body Works, Tiger) and then have a quick power nap before getting ready for the show. If you don't fancy doing the walking tour or want to fit it into day one, then I'd also recommend using your second day to take a trip to Lake Como as it's only a 45 minute train ride away and it's apparently beautiful.


Dinner | Pomet Burger

I never usually opt for burgers when eating out at home, so when I travel I do try and find the quirkiest burger place around. SJ helped me out with this and found POMET Burger. There were a lot of websites claiming they had the best burgers in Milan and to be honest, they were pretty good. Prices were around 12 euros for a burger and fries.

Milan is definitely a city you can fit in a weekend break without using up any of your annual leave, or it's fairly easy to get to if you want to do a tour of Italy in two weeks or so! Have you ever been to Milan or other parts of Italy? What were your highlights?



Monday 19 November 2018

Last weekend I was kindly invited to Sunday Brunch with my friend Gabby (so thankfully I didn't have to go for a lonely meal for 1) at the Sunborn's new restaurant - The Barbary. This was my first time dining at the Sunborn and although it might be a little pricier than your average Sunday brunch, the quality and variety was worth it. The Barbary is located on the 7th deck of the Sunborn Yacht which means you get some great views and it was only when I went to use the bathroom I remembered I was on a boat because I could feel the movement more. Now on to the food, here's a little story about my dining experience. 

the barbary gibraltar

Upon arrival, we were showed to our table and a waiter explained to us that the brunch included an all you could buffet for £24 per person (kids under 12 eat for free). For adults this also included a welcome drink and some very lovely jazz music. If you've got a big appetite then you are also given the option to order a meat or fish platter for an extra £14 per person, we had the meat and the rib meat literally fell right off the bone, very delicious. Although unless you're trying to hit 400g of protein in a day then the buffet should be more than enough. 

the barbary gibraltar

I'd consider it more on the lunch than breakfast side of the spectrum, because the buffet included (just to name a few) - salmon rolls filled with cream cheese, nuggets, burgers, a variety of hummus, sushi, your standard full english, prawn cocktails, salads, a wide selection of cheeses and ham and my favourite part - a white chocolate fondue with marshmallows to dip. Dessert also included passion fruit cheesecake, pancakes, chocolate cake, caramel cake and Haribo sweets - I think these were aimed for the kids but who doesn't love a gummy fried egg

The service was impeccable, the staff was attentive and pleasant and made everyone in that room feel like a VIP - at least we felt like it. I think the only downside to my visit was that I had eaten a bowl of cornflakes at 11am, and thus I couldn't sample all the desserts and stayed dreaming about the chocolate cake for the rest of the day. Overall, it might not be very economical to go there every weekend (unless you're part of The Real Housewives of Gibraltar and need a gathering spot), but I think it's a great place to go for a special occasion or now and again, as for the amount of food you get £25 isn't that bad (if you're just paying for yourself). 

Have you ever been to any of the restaurants on the Sunborn? Are you more of a breakfast or lunch person? 



Wednesday 14 November 2018

Anyone who's ever been my travel companion knows that food and snacks is probably one of my priorities when travelling. I can't be the only one who likes going into supermarkets and trying to find weird and wonderful local treats. Living in Gibraltar means we get a couple of things that are almost exclusive to us - such as our unofficial national drink Suncola. Our proximity to Spain also means that we're not far from another world of treats. I've come across a study from data-label about food/brand label names around the world and how they differ. I think the most common one that I see often is 'Walkers' and 'Lays' crisps or 'Dove' and 'Galaxy' chocolate, but there are a couple more that I've discovered through them and probably never clicked when travelling. Keep reading to see what I learnt and what some of my favourite food and snacks have been around the globe.

bread bagel


There are probably a ton of snacks that I enjoy from Spain and luckily some of them aren't available in Gibraltar or my waistline would be doomed. To mention a few:

Tropical Pasqual - A tropical juice drink made with fruit and milk (and vitamins). I could probably get through a litre of this by myself in a day. 

Fantasmikos - These are probably marketed for kids, but I grew up having these ice lollies and they're still a firm favourite. They're 5 mini ice lollies that come in a bag in a range of flavours (the best being pineapple) that are coated in a thin candy layer (I'm still not quite sure what kind). 

Ruffles Jamon - I'd say this was Spain's answer to Walkers but that's what Lay's is for - but these ruffled up crisps that taste like jamon serrano are heavenly

Pink Panther Cake - Every time I see these they remind me of twinkies but covered in pink icing. Probably not ideal to be eating these often because they're probably high in additives, sugar and calories but they are tasty. 


Pastel De Belem - You don't have to travel all the way to Portugal to get these, you just have to pop in to your nearest Nando's. However, I was lucky enough to have some authentic pastel de nata's on my trip to Lisbon - in a cafe where they've been serving these since 1837. 

pastel de nata

Czech Republic 

Trdelnik - These were everywhere in Prague, and my only regret was that I bought the first one I saw in the market stalls (a long hollow doughnut filled with Nutella spread). I then continued down the street and found they were selling these with even better fillings - like Nutella and strawberries. 



I lived in Florida for 6 months, and I used to have quite the obsession with Coco Pops beforehand. I thought that when I arrived in America I was going to have to say goodbye to them, but then I found out that they're also available there - just under the name Cocoa Krispies. Data-label outlined some of the reasons why brands go by different names - it could be 'the language, existing brands, translation issues and previous connotations'. The one I found the most oh my gad is that in Canada KFC is known as PFK (Poulet Frit Kentucky), and to be honest I think it sounds a lot cooler. 

Back to the US, there were a lot of snacks I loved which is probably why I gained 5lbs whilst I was there, but something that I went through every week was this duo:

Blue Corn Tortilla Chips and Mango Salsa - I have good memories of walking in to Publix and going through a bag and dip of this whilst watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S on Netflix. They're supposedly a healthier alternative to regular tortilla chips and taste just as nice.  


Sachertorte - I'm not usually a big fan of chocolate cake but this had just the right amount of flavour, thickness and moistness. It went great with ice-cream and a cappuccino. 


Me and my friends pride ourself on always trying local food and treats whenever we're on holiday, but more than once we have found ourselves in McDonalds or Burger King - usually after a night out, concert, or when you're in Oslo and have 10 euros left and that won't even cover your starter. Another interesting bit of information I read on the research by Data Label is that Burger King is known as Hungry Jack's in Australia! I tried to impress my family with this at the table, but my little brother knew the answer as one of the gamer vloggers he follows is from Sydney. Have you come across any food brands that go by different names in your city? What are some of your favourite snacks that you've tried around the world? 


best europe snacks

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


Sunday 11 November 2018

About a month ago I found out I was selected to be a part of the Experience Bucharest project, and whoever I shared this news with all responded with a slight variation of the same line - 'Ah the place where Dracula lives!' Yes, Romania (specifically Transylvania) is where Vlad The Impaler resided, but Romania is also a country of great contrast, beautiful architecture and well, amazing nightlife. Bucharest is quite a big city, but if you plan yourself around the city centre then you won't have a problem managing everything in this itinerary. Here is my guide and tips for spending 3 or 4 nights in Bucharest, Romania. 

tea with gi bucharest

Day 1

AM | Get to know the history behind the Arcul de Triumf

Not to be confused with the one in Paris, although it was very closely modelled to it. The first wooden arch was built in 1878 after Romania gained their independence, so that the troops could march under it. Then in 1935 it was built again in much more reliable stone. If you're in to your history and architecture then you can walk around (and up) the Arch with a tour guide who will explain to you in more detail about it and what all the sculptures and stuff means. The tour lasts around 1 hour, so if you've started this late because you fancied some extra Zzs then you can head to lunch after!

Arcul de Triumf

Lunch | La Mama 

As with most cities, there are always the 'tourist trap' restaurants around the centre, usually the places with people standing outside shouting at you to come in and eat/have a beer. After a little google search for 'best authentic Romanian restaurants' on Google I found this gem in the Old Town. It serves traditional Romanian dishes such as Sarmale (cabbage rolls), Mici (grilled minced meat rolls) and Ciorba (sour soup). They also offered 3 course menus for like, 12 euros. 

PM | The Story of Bucharest 

This walking tour is provided by Walkabout Free Tours and is a great introduction to the city and for you to get your bearings.  The 2.5 hour tour takes you through 500 years of history from Vlad the Impaler to the 1989 Communist revolution. Our guide also recommended restaurants, some popular food and drink dishes and was happy to help with and questions we had about the city. As with all free walking tours, they are free to join but are based on a tipping basis. 

Dinner | Nomad Skybar 

If you're travelling in a group and not everyone is inclined to sampling new foreign food, then this place will have something for everyone. From Italian to American to Asian dishes. They also boast an impressive cocktail menu from around the world - I recommend the Moscow Mule with a dash of mango. This place gets pretty busy so it's also a great place to start the night if you're planning on exploring the nightlife in the old town after. We passed through Intrarea Nicolae Serari street on the way home after hopping through another few bars and it was packed with people inside and on the lane.

nomad sky bar

Day 2 

AM | Rroma Heritage Tour

When I was picking my tours for this trip I was very intrigued by this one as I had never heard of the Rroma community in my life. It was definately an interesting experience as it isn't something you'd get to learn/witness if you were just wandering around the city on your own. The Rromas (or 'gypsies') are still a minority in Romania and account for 4% of their population. We had a visit to the Rahova neighbourhood and got to interact with the locals, visited the impressive flower market and visited a contemporary Rroma design shop featuring some of their crafts. This tour is provided by Open Door Tours and lasts around 3 hours.


Lunch | El Torrito 

The atmosphere in this place was great. As the name suggests, they serve authentic Mexican cuisine, with Mexican staff, and Mexican music - and of course it's also acceptable to have Margaritas at 2pm when you're on holiday. They put on a lovely show for us and I was filled to the brim with quesadillas, tacitos and guacamole and nachos. 

PM | Alternative Tour of Bucharest

This is another tour provided by Open Doors and it was actually the first alternative tour I've done in a city. I don't know why it took me so long because this sort of stuff does interest me and I also enjoy learning about the non-touristy kinda stuff. We got to explore some new districts, learnt about the street art and graffiti (I now think of myself as a connoisseur) and hears stories about urban myths in Bucharest. One artist that stuck out for me was Jace, who created all these little face sculture type things and hid them around the city (and other cities too).

alternative tour bucharest

Dinner | Manuc's Inn 

This Inn served as Bucharest's oldest operating hotel and was first built in 1808. It housed a popular restaurant, several bars, a coffee-house, several stores and an extensive bar. It's courtyard was popular for many fairs and performances. Nowadays there is still a restaurant in the courtyard and it really is a beautiful location (and perfect for your Instagram stories). 

Afters | Fratelli's Nightclub

We all know part of exploring the culture of a new place is, partying like the locals do. Maybe I should make a new Tea With Gi List on partying around the world - what do you guys think? Either way, I think Bucharest made it in to my top 5. If you were following my Instagram stories then you might have seen this club transformed into a carnival for a week - complete with men on stilts, clowns, candy floss, popcorn, confetti cannons and of course a mary-go-round. The music was varied - there was old rnb hits, house jams and a bit of techno thrown in now and again so it was really an all round club. There isn't really much of a dance floor, so most people here had tables with drinks and danced around them.


Day 3

AM | Communist Tour

I'm not going to lie to you, I thought after 10 minutes of this my head was going to be day dreaming of what I was having for lunch or something. But actually, I was switched on the whole way through and even managed to retain quite a few facts from the 1989 revolution and Nicolae CeauČ™escu and his wife. I won't give away the details because then there's no point in you going on the tour!

Lunch | Gastronomika 

If it's a sunny day then this is a great choice as the courtyard is lovely. They serve a range of fish and meat, pasta and salads. We were treated to a range of appetisers from Eastern Europe and then a lot of nice meat. Of course to finish off there was also cake.


PM | The Jewish Trail Tour 

So I've had a look and the tour we took is only offered in the mornings so this was an exception, but I'm sure there are other providers that do afternoon tours or you can always swap and pick whatever appeals to you most. We walked around and saw some of the abandoned and restored Synagogues,  districts, learnt about the history of the Jewish community in Bucharest and Romania, and about the Romanian Jews during the Holocaust. 

Dinner | Garden Hop

See the name suggested that this was going to be some sort of vegan restaurant, but when we arrived and I saw the pig spit-roast I knew I was mistaken. They did however provide a lot of vegetarian/vegan options that went beyond a salad. This is where I also witnessed the biggest burger I have ever seen. The restaurant is a bit out of the way but the setting is great if you're planning a special dinner etc. 

Day 4

However long you want | Relax at Therme Bucharest

After all those walking tours, when we found out about Therme Bucharest I thought it would be the perfect way to end my trip. My friend Diana suggested it and since it was last minute, I went in search of a swimsuit and by some miracle H&M had 1 swimsuit left on the sale in their store and it was exactly my size. We took an Uber from the centre which took around 20 minutes and cost us 15 euros in total. 

This was probably one of my highlights as for just 15 euros you got access to: 3 thermal pool areas and slides, all the saunas (one had pink himalayan salt everywhere, the other was showing a David Attenborough documentary, and the other felt like you were in a rainforest and made you sweat b***s after 2 minutes), mineral pools, red light beds and even some massages. They also have a pool bar and a restaurant.

therme bucharest

Dinner | Caru' cu Bere 

We finished off our trip by having dinner in the oldest beer house in Bucharest. It's very popular with locals and tourists so you might need to wait a bit for a table (we waited for 10mins). They serve traditional local food and other classics, the decor inside is beautiful and there was even live folk music when we were there. I had a bowl of Hungarian Goulash for 5 euros, followed by papanasi (Romanian doughnut filled with jam, soft cheese and cream).


I had the pleasure of staying at the Radisson for my trip and I don't think I can go back to staying at cheap hotels now. I don't ask for much when choosing accommodation - a clean room, Wi-Fi, good location and charging sockets next to the bed. My favourite thing about this hotel had to be the bed. It was lovely to have a nice comfy double bed to myself with a ton of pillows and it was very tempted to skip breakfast in the morning just so I could lay in it a bit longer. The breakfast included continental, english and some other bits and bobs because there was salmon and a lot of ham and cheese. 

I did check out the gym and pool but didn't make time for either, but if you're someone who wants to stay relatively fit whilst on holiday then this is a good choice for you. The hotel is a 10 minute walk away to the old town and you can reach pretty much everywhere by foot, except for the airport of course (that's 25 mins away)

Budget | Pura Vida Hostel

I had to extend my stay for an extra night as direct flights from Malaga were only on Thursday's and Tuesday's. So the organisers of Experience Bucharest (thank you Anda & Maxim) kindly let me stay at their hostel on the Monday evening. I've stayed at two hostels before (read about my experience here) and this was probably the most chilled and nicest one I've stayed in. For me sharing bathrooms isn't a big deal as most of the time when you go for a shower there's nobody else in there so it's the same as showering in a gym, pool etc. I stayed in a room of 4 and it only ended up being me and my friend Diana as the other participant must have come in when I was asleep and left before I woke up to catch their flight. 

Each room has it's own big locker so you can store away all your valuables, free Wi-Fi and clean sheets, just remember to bring your own towels! The hostel is situated right in the heart of Bucharest Old Town and boasts its own rooftop sky bar and the views are fantastic. 


Bucharest have some of the cheapest taxis in Europe, but as with most airports some taxi drivers might try and take advantage. When you exit the terminal there is a machine where you can pre-order a taxi from several different companies which will save you some money. Uber and Taxify are also available throughout the city.

Bucharest was a lovely city full of history and charm, and I'd definitely like to make it a point to go back and explore more of Romania. As mentioned, I was invited on this 'press' trip on behalf of Experience Bucharest but all words and opinions are my own. 

Have you ever been to Bucharest or Romania? What are your thoughts on the country? 


bucharest travel guide

© TEA WITH GI. Design by FCD.