A FIRST TIMER'S GUIDE TO THE FIJI ISLANDS.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Fiji is one of those places that I never thought I'd actually get round to visiting. It's just so far away from Europe and I don't think I could have justified spending £1000 on flights just to go relax on a beach. Luckily, me currently living in Australia means a birthday trip to Fiji only set me back $500 (flights and accommodation). I've met lots of Australians who take yearly trips here as it's only a short 3 hour flight away. If like me this will be your first time visiting the archipelago of more than 300 islands, here's my advice on where to stay, what to do and of course, where to eat!

tea with gi fiji guide

NADI


When you're flying into Fiji you will most likely arrive at Nadi International Airport, which is a short 10 minute drive to the centre of Nadi and where you will find most of the hotels. I'd recommend staying in Nadi 2 nights and having that as your base for your excursions and tours. 

Where to Stay 


Budget - Bamboo Backpackers

We stayed here on our last night in Fiji and we were pleasantly surprised. We opted for a private bunk bed room with a shared bathroom (as we were getting up at 5am) but the hostel also offers shared dormitory rooms. The hostel is located right on the beach, and hosts kava ceremonies every evening. The hostels restaurant is backpacker price friendly and was probably one of the best meals I had in Fiji.

bamboo backpackers


3 Star - Mercure Nadi 

We started our trip off here and we were in a great location (Queens Road) where you'll find an abundance of restaurants and Fiji's best nightlife. The hotel features pools, hammocks and its own on site restaurant. I thought the piƱa colada toiletries in the bedrooms were a nice touch. What I wasn't a fan of was that the restaurant/bar didn't have a happy hour!!

mercure nadi


Luxury - First Landing

I say luxury, but this resort was actually quite affordable.  Our driver took us here for a quick look before we carried on with our tour as it's the location where the first man stood on the land. The resort has its own private beach, and a happy hour!!

first landing fiji


What to Do


Garden of the Sleeping Giant


So we actually skipped this because plants bore me we planned to go on Sunday and the gardens actually close at 12pm then and we woke up too late. If you are a flora and fauna fan, then this garden features over 2000 types of orchids and plants. It gets its name because if you look at the area from far away, it looks like you guessed it, a sleeping giant. 

Mud Pools


Next to the gardens you will find two mud pool areas you can visit. Sabeto being the newest establishment, and Tifajek being the original. Our driver took us to Tifajek as he told us it was slightly cheaper, and better in his opinion. You cover yourself with mud from head to toe, then move from pool to pool (hot to less hot) washing away the clay and then come out feeling like a goddess.

mud pools fiji

Have a boogie


We didn't plan on having a night out, but once our driver hyped us up about Ed's Bar we thought, yolo it's my birthday weekend. This place is popular with locals and tourists alike, although the place didn't start getting busy until 12pm, so you should go have a few drinks at The Bounty Bar first. 

Visit a Fijian Village (and go chasing waterfalls)


This was probably my favourite part of the trip. We booked a tour through Viator with Discover Fiji Tours that included a visit to a Fijian village, swimming in a waterfall and river rafting. We were picked up in a small coach at 6am and it took 3 hours to reach our destination (don't worry you get a toilet break!). We first took a boat ride to the waterfalls where some of the more adventurous members of the group jumped about (I wasn't feeling as brave as when I was canyoneering in the Philippines). We then head back through a raft and our guide explained to us this is how their ancestors used to travel along the river.

waterfalls fiji


After we head to the village and our guide was incredible - him and the people from the village made us feel so welcome, and he was really funny. We were treated to a kava ceremony, danced with them, had the children of the village sing a few songs for us and best of all, had an amazing typical Fijian buffet lunch prepared for us. My vegan friend was very excited that the vegetarian dishes weren't just salad.

fiji village

Where to Eat 


Masala Twist 


We head here on our first night as it was just opposite our hotel. The restaurant serves a variety of indian and thai dishes. I opted for two side dishes - tandoori chicken and palak paneer. We also shared nan bread with a variety of dips (although we didn't rate any of the dips sadly). 

Tu's Place


This was definitely one of those cases where my eyes were bigger than my appetite. This place serves traditional Fijian dishes at affordable prices. It looked popular and there was only around 10 tables, so make sure you get there early! I tried the creamy moca soup (local spinach soup flavoured with paprika) and the kokoda starter (marinated fish in light coconut milk, similar to ceviche). I couldn't finish this, probably because we had a snack of cassava chips two hours earlier at our hotel. The starter kokoda size was also plenty!

tu's place fiji

Bounty Bar


Bounty serves a variety of seafood, grill and pasta. Prices are slightly higher than normal for Fiji but it's what you would expect to pay for steaks etc. in western countries. Of course, I went for the bounty pineapple boat (chicken cubes with capsicums, mushrooms and pineapple in a white wine and cream sauce served in a pineapple). 

Bulaccino Cafe  


My google maps was acting up this morning, so what we thought was a 10 minute walk to the cafe ended up being a 25 minute walk in 30 degree heat. The viti bowls were worth it though. The cafe has plenty of vegan options and their cake selection looked delicious. I opted for a Votualevu bowl (Organic soursop, jackfruit, starfruit and bu).

bulaccino fiji




MAMANUCA ISLANDS


In this group of islands, you will find the island where the movie Castaways was filmed. So it is appropiately called Castaway Island. A short 30 minute ferry ride from the Denarau port (20 minutes from Nadi town) you will find the tiny island of South Sea Island. A further 15 minutes takes you to the popular backpacker island Beachcomber, which is where I spent my birthday! Since that's the only island we got to visit, I'll go into a bit more detail about it here. 

Where to Stay


Beachcomber Island Resort 


Unless you plan on spending your night sleeping on a hammock, the only place you can stay on the island is in Beachcomber Island Resort, and I wasn't complaining! We had our own private 'bure' (bungalow) amongst the trees and our rooms had air conditioning which was a great plus. They also offer dormitory type rooms, with 26 beds! There are several happy hour offers during the day too. 

beachcomber island fiji


What to Do 


Seeing as you are technically stuck on an island, there isn't a plethora of things you can do. If lying on the sand reading a book with a cocktail is your thing then go ahead and skip to the next section, you're sorted. If not, there are a variety of activities the resort offers. 

Kayaking


We paid $10 each for a 30 minute kayak session, and half way through a massive wave came and we capsized on the shore lol, at least looking back they make for funny stories right? 

kayaking fiji


Snorkling


You can either bring your own snorkeling gear or rent some for $10. It's free to go out on the boat and snorkel, or if you're like me and Nicole and you assumed they'd give you stuff on the boat, you'll get to feed the fish bread. 


Beach Volleyball


I think I spent most of my time here playing beach volleyball with some of the staff members - I have the bruises on my wrists to prove it


Dance in the sand


Beachcomber Island has become the 'party island' and even though there were only 10 of us young folk in the evening, the staff members still made sure we had a great time. They made us all participate in a beer drinking competition, and for someone who doesn't drink beer my competitive side still pulled through.

Where to Eat


There was a compulsory meal plan with your booking which came to 99FJD per person per day. This included breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner.  The food was ok - we still went up for seconds because when you're paying for it, you want to get your moneys worth hey? The vegetarian options were mainly limited to pumpkin and veggies and there'd usually be 3 type of meat dishes. 

beachcomber island fiji

Cloud 9 


Cloud 9 is Fiji's floating bar? restaurant? boat? It's a great place for groups as there's music playing, people jumping off the boat and they also sell oven baked pizzas if you fancy a change from the island food!


YASAWA ISLANDS

We didn't actually have time to visit the yasawa islands, but I did do some research prior to my trip when we were deciding where to go! I also didn't really fancy sitting on a ferry for 4 hours to reach the Blue Lagoon, even if it is meant to have one of the best beaches in the world. Here is a rough guide to what islands to visit if you are island hopping!

Nacula 

The third largest island in the yasawa group. It's one of the most remote islands and has a pristine beach called Navola Bay.

Waya


Octopus Beach is one of the best islands for snorkeling in the region!


Barefoot Manta


Complete with its own resort, as the name suggests here is the best place to go swimming with manta rays! Don't worry, they won't sting ya.

Blue Lagoon


If you've got the time, and want to find the bluest water and the whitest sand then head to Blue Lagoon. Make sure to bring plenty of swimsuits to get all your #goals Instagram photos!


SOME PRACTICAL TIPS FOR FIJI

  • Fijian Dollar is the official currency of the country.
  • Try and exchange your money in your home country, as we found most ATMs charged $10 for a withdrawal, and when you paid with card there was usually a surcharge too. 
  • Bula is how fijians say hello, be prepared to here this very often!
  • Vinaka means thank you. 
  • It's easy to find a driver in Fiji who will take you to all the sites or specific places you want to see, wait for you and then bring you back. Usually for cheaper than the tours you see online! If you are interested drop me a message and I can give you my contact Ali we met whilst we were out there who was great. 
  • Denarau port is your access point to most of the other islands and where you will find more of the bigger resorts. 
  • Make sure you try some kava! It's a 'mildly narcotic drink' made from the powdered root of the pepper plant. It leaves a numbing feeling around your mouth/tongue and is meant to make you feel all relaxed and zen. 
  • As with any group of islands, there are hundreds of possible itineraries for your trip! This is just what we got up to in 5 days, but make sure to do your own research too. 

What's the best island you've ever visited?



tea with gi fiji guide


25 THOUGHTS ABOUT LIFE ON MY 25TH BIRTHDAY.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Writing this post has made me realise just how long I've been blogging for, as this is the 4th edition of realising thingz on my birthday. After writing this post I had a look back at what I wrote previous years, and turns out 22 year old me pretty much felt the same way about life that I do now (although I probably put up with more crap back then). This year I felt incredibly lucky to be spending my birthday in Fiji, and started compiling this list on notes on my phone whilst sunbathing on the beach. I was so into it that I didn't realise my legs were turning a nice shade of Heinz ketchup. Anyway, here's the post! 

tea with gi


1. Don't compare where you are in your life to others, your goals and the things you want may be very different. 

2. Don't skip out on the high factor cream on your holiday, or you'll be a burnt gamba (prawn) on your first day and have to sit in the shade for the rest of it. 

3. You shouldn't need to double text anyone, if they're not giving out the same energy as you then drop them/let them go. 

4. Learn to be comfortable doing things by yourself - going to the cinema, a restaurant, a concert. Don't miss out on things you want to do. 

5. You don't need to speak to your friends everyday to be a good friend, but a 'how are you' goes a long way. 

6. Your worth is not equivalent to the number of likes you get on Instagram. 

7. It's ok if you still haven't figured out what you want to do for the rest of your life.

8. Don't settle - even if that means being single until you're 30! You've hopefully got another 40 years of being committed to someone so make the most of the time you have with yourself. 

9. If you want to go somewhere or try something new, NOW is the time. Don't wait around for someone else to do it with you because you might be waiting forever. 

10. Accept your friends' annoying habits, you have some too. 

11. Party as little or as often as you like, there's no age limit on having a good time. 

12. Moving away won't solve all of your problems if you don't change your mindset. 

13. Just because someone you fancy is tall doesn't mean they're over 21, always ask for their ID. 

14. Use your disposable income on experiences, when you're on your death bed you won't be thinking about all of the designer shoes you have in your wardrobe. 

15. Learn to do nice things for people without expecting anything in return (or having to post about it on the internet).

16. Compliment your friends and strangers more often. 

17. Being the friend that's 'always late' isn't a cute quirk, stop wasting people's time. 

18. Tell people how you actually feel.

19. Pay attention to the people who bring out the good sides of your personality (and those that don't). 

20. Say 'I love you' more often to the people closest to you, not just your significant other. 

21. Remember to bring your reusable bag to the supermarket!

22. Don't be afraid to repeat an outfit, your bank account and the environment will thank you. 

23. Stop trying to please everyone, you'll end up letting more people down. 
.
24. It's still possible to make new friends as adults, branch out of your social circle once in a while. 

25. Nourish your body, do your cardio and drink your water. Say yes to birthday cake, dinner with friends and it's totally ok to go for seconds and thirds at a buffet when you're paying for it. Speaking of cake, the lovely people at The Mason Baker sent me a bunch of jar cakes to celebrate my birthday with and I might have tried all of them in one evening. I don't think I could pick a favourite. The Sticky Date Pudding was a nice surprise! Although The Cookie Jar went the quickest!!

the mason baker

A RELAXING AFTERNOON AT THE LOFT BEAUTY.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

I rarely ever get facials, in fact I have probably only ever had 5 done on my 25 years on this earth. I have friends who are at a salon on a monthly basis and count spa day under 'necessities' in their  monthly budget. If you read my blog, you know a lot of my disposable income goes on travelling, so I like saving things like massages, facials and other treatments for special occasions, and since I do them less often it does feel like I am really treating myself. Luckily for me, The Loft Beauty treated me this time to a new treatment I'd never experienced before.

loft beauty west end


The Loft Beauty is located in the West End, one of the busiest hubs in Brisbane. So if you're looking to get something done within your lunch break or straight after work, you don't have to go far. They offer cutting edge treatments from Light Therapy to IPL Skin Rejuvenation and use well known Australian skincare products such as Ultraceuticals

I loved the interior design of Loft Beauty, and the waiting area kind of made me hope my appointment was late. There are two loungers to lay on and there are magazines to read whilst you wait. I was particularly fond of a little book of motivational quotes and life advice that I was making my way through swiftly. 

The treatment I had done was the 'Healite' Light Therapy with reflexology, two things I had never tried before! The Healite has two functions to target different areas and can benefit all aesthetic treatments, they can even be useful to help speed up injury or procedure recovery. I had the 633nm (red light) treatment which helps stimulate collagen production, cellular energy, serotonin to the brain, natural hydration and blood flow. The other option was the 830nm (yellow light) which provides pain relief to muscles and joints, tightens skin and helps reduce the appearance of deeper lines and wrinkles.

loft beauty west end


Maria started off by cleansing off my make-up and preparing my skin for the machine. This was probably the most relaxing part! The machine is then placed over your face and you will feel some heat, but it is not painful or uncomfortable. Whilst she let the Healite work its magic, she performed some reflexology on my feet (not for the ticklish!). 

From the moment I stepped in to the salon until I left, I felt like I was taken care of and all my questions or skin concerns were answered. I'd love to go back and try one of their skin peels or body wraps, as these are treatments I've never tried before but sound very beneficial. I asked Maria, the salon coordinator a couple of questions regarding skincare and her own personal regime.



What's your own personal skincare regime like?

I'm extremely strict with my skincare. I use a wide range of active ingredients that caters to my own personal skin concerns, the right routine starts with knowing what kind of skin you have and what concerns you would like to target. Rain, hail or shine I will never leave the house without applying sunscreen, will always take my makeup off before I go to bed regardless of the time and don't pick at my skin during the day as that causes bacteria to spread. 

For someone in their 20s, what facial treatment would you recommend?

I believe starting at an early age as a prevention, a light enzymatic peel and healite (LED) will do benefits to your skin regardless if you didn't have any skin concerns. As it will increase cell turnover and rejuvenate the skin. 

What's your favourite product from the salon and why? 

My number one favourite is B2 by Ultraceuticals, my main concern is hydration and anti-ageing so this product works best for me. It helps restore vital moisture balance and produces hydration, combined with hyaluronic acid for plumpness which helps increase the hydration levels of tired and stressed skin. 




Thank you to The Loft beauty for inviting me in to the salon for a treatment! 

G



Book your treatment now at either of their salons: 

Loft Beauty 
69 Boundary St
West End 
QLD 4101
Tel: 07 3846 0062

Studio Luxe
1/16 Chester St
Newstead 
QLD 4006
Tel: 0410 460 804












REALISTICALLY STAYING ON 'TRACK' WHILST TRAVELLING.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

I want to start off this blog post by saying - holidays are made for trying new foods and 'indulging' just a bit more than you normally would at home. However, that doesn't mean that we need to order dessert with every meal and drink mojitos like they're going out of fashion. I do try and eat relatively well and work out 5 times a week blah blah blah so that when I do go on trips, I can eat sachertortes, pastel de belems, trudelnik and all the other wonderful desserts I've come across in Europe. That being said, I'm soon to be off galavanting Asia for two months and I don't think any number of sit ups before that trip will be able to justify me pigging out the whole trip. Here's a couple of ways to make the whole situation easier:

lilybod
Leggings | LilyBod




1. Don't eat everything just because it's there.


How many times have you been sat at dinner on holiday, full after your meal and thought 'f*ck it I'm on holiday I'll get dessert too!'. Even though you're not really feeling hungry. If you're in a city that specialises in certain meals/desserts then of course, have it. Just don't feel like you need to have a cheesecake every night because you don't at home, at the end of the day there will always be other cheesecakes. 

2. 10,000 steps. 


This might be a bit harder to do if you're staying in a resort, but in that case most resorts do come with gyms so you have no excuse! If you're travelling somewhere in Europe this is usually quite easy to do when you're sightseeing. I'm definitely that friend that says 'we can walk, it's not that far!' when it says 40 minutes on Google Maps (but that's only ok on holiday because you're exploring). 

3. Don't eat out every meal.


If I'm staying somewhere more than 4 days I usually try and stay in an apartment or somewhere that at least has a fridge/microwave. Not only will you save money by doing this, but you'll also be able to a. save your calories b. actually have an appetite when you go out for dinner c. it won't feel like a chore to go out to eat again and it will feel like more of a treat. 


4. Don't forget your supplements.


This doesn't mean you have to bring your protein powder, BCAAs, iron, multivitamin, probiotic and all your other usuals (unless you really want to). I often tend to skip on taking my supplements when I'm away cause it just seems like hassle (and I'm scared they might think I'm smuggling drugs at the airport). But, I do try and bring my iron tablets with me as I have anaemia and often feel fatigued so this at least keeps my energy levels moderate and I don't feel like I have to eat more/drink more coffee to feel better. 

5. Don't do it alone. 


I remember when I went to Portugal last summer my mum, sister and me all said we were gonna try and hit the gym every morning at our hotel. I think me and Alex lasted 3 days before we decided sleeping in was more appealing. Whether you're travelling with friends or family, if you have someone who's also trying to stay on track then you can motivate each other. If not, there are also certain weight loss programmes that can aid you on your journey without being focused on dieting and instead is more about changing habits and your mindset. 

6.Mindset 


So speaking of mindset, it really all depends on what you want to do on your holiday and how you want to feel after. If you go in there thinking 'I'm going to eat whatever I want, I'm on holiday!' chances are you will, but then when you arrive back home you're going to feel like crap if you find you've piled on a couple of pounds. If instead you think 'I'm going to treat myself here and there, if I feel like I really want to' you'll feel better at the end.


G


* This is a collaborative post but all content posted on Tea With Gi is suited to the blog and audience.


GUEST POST | THE BEST TIME OF THE DAY TO CONSUME COFFEE.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

If you are one of the millions of coffee lovers around the world, you’re probably happy to learn that coffee is great for your health and that it can extend your life. In fact, coffee can help reduce your risk of cancer by 20 percent; risk of heart disease by 5 percent; risk of Type 2 diabetes by 30 percent; and risk of Parkinson’s disease by 30 percent.

Coffee offers all these health benefits by repairing your DNA, providing your body with natural antioxidants, improving insulin and glucose regulation, and calming stress-caused inflammation. A fact that many find surprising is that drinking coffee may even help you live longer.

With that being said, there’s a right and a wrong time to drink coffee and caffeine in general. Keep reading to learn when it’s the right time to grab a cup and indulge in all the benefits coffee has to offer.

coffee




Source: Pixabay

Early Morning Coffee isn’t Ideal


Your body’s circadian rhythm runs on a 24-hour clock that’s regulated by your environment. For example, daylight is a main regulator of this rhythm. When the sun is out, you feel alive and awake. If it’s cloudy outside, you may feel slow and lazy.

Hunger, your sleep schedule, and other things are determined by this internal clock. This includes your hormone production schedule.

When you wake up in the morning, your circadian rhythm orders your body to produce cortisol, which is commonly called the “stress steroid” because it increases when you are stressed or have a boost of adrenaline. Cortisol increases alertness, helps you wake up, and can manipulate several biological processes.

You experience a natural cortisol boost during the day. You have a daily peek of cortisol between 8 AM and 9 AM (for most people). If you consume caffeine at this time, you are wasting it, because you are already at your alertness peak for the day (even if you don’t feel it).

Also, drinking coffee during a cortisol boost can eventually lead to a tolerance to caffeine, as it’s not providing any real benefits at this time regarding alertness.
The Best Time to Consume Caffeine

Just because you don’t need coffee in the morning, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it at this time. Consider choosing a decaffeinated option for early morning consumption.

According to the study mentioned above, to get the most out of the caffeine in coffee, drink it right after a cortisol peak. This means between 9 AM and 11:30 AM 

You experience other cortisol peaks later in the day, usually one between 12 and 1 PM, and another one between 5:30 and 6:30 PM. This means having another cup between 1 and 5 PM is advised.

The time between your natural cortisol boosts is when the jolt of caffeine will be most beneficial. Rather than crashing between your peaks, you can maintain your alertness.


Source: Pixabay

Getting the Most from Your Coffee


If you are a coffee drinker, you probably already know that not all brews are created equal. If possible, choose fresh ground coffee to get the best “boost” from the caffeine. Also, mind the right equipment with this guide about coffee makers. After all, how you make your coffee impacts its taste and texture.

When to Reach for a Cup of Joe?


For many people, coffee is an essential part of their day to day routine. If this describes you, use the tips here to ensure you are getting the most from your caffeine boost. By drinking coffee at the right time, you can avoid the all-too-common energy-drops in the afternoon.


* This is a guest post, but all content published on Tea With Gi is still kept relevant to this blog. *

THIS IS HOW WE (MILLENNIALS) CHOOSE TO WORK NOW.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Us millennials get a lot of stick for the way we choose to live our lives - you should have seen the reaction I got from some people when I explained that I was leaving my stable, well paying job in Gibraltar to go travel and spend a year living in Australia. The thing is our generation thinks differently. we no longer feel like we have to take the first job that comes our way straight out of school/university and stay there until retirement so we get a good pension and can afford a mortgage and house. I think nowadays there is more importance on our mental health and pursuing careers that make us happy and fulfilled, instead of chasing higher salaries. In a perfect world, I'd love to open a cafe/book shop where I could also sit in a corner and write away. So what do us millennials look for when choosing jobs? 

tea with gi work


Office environment


Interestingly, a study by Free Office Finder has shown that a third of employees put more focus on the office environment than their salary and benefits. When I worked for a gaming company (and like most are) the office just consisted of a big open space and rows and rows of desks and computers. It was almost as miserable as those little cubicles you see in American movies. Luckily in my last job, we were at the top floor of the World Trade Center and had large glass windows and was nice and airy. Some companies have even gone as far as to add pool tables and gaming rooms to their offices (not for everyone I guess). 


Location 


The great thing about living in Gibraltar is that I would literally wake up for work at 8:15am to be out the door by 8:45am, grab my coffee from Costa and be in the office by 9am. I'm currently working as an Au Pair in Australia and my commute to work has got even shorter, change out of my pyjamas and walk up the stairs. I don't think I could go back to living in London and having to wake up at 6am to go commute an hour each way in a jam packed tube. 

Team environment


Most of us spend 8 hours a day working with the same people, so if there's a cold environment in the office it's going to make going to work dreadful. Companies that encourage things like team building events, open plan offices and have a manager who isn't tucked away 1000 miles from everyone else usually have a more connected and in turn, more productive and motivated staff. 

Flexibility


9-5 jobs are not for everyone, which is why a lot of people are now choosing jobs that they can do from their laptops or freelancing. As long as you're not working in customer service, some flexibility should be allowed as long as you're getting your work done. When I worked in London we had the choice of working 11am - 6pm, which meant we missed the morning rush and also qualified for off-peak train journeys. 

Benefits


Who doesn't love cupcakes on their birthday? Funnily enough the study only found that 9% of millennials looked at benefits when picking a job, whereas '19% of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Z' did.  In my last place of employment we got free smoothies and office yoga on Thursdays and monthly team lunches - and not going to lie that made going into the office exciting. I think another thing to note is that we're not necessarily looking for costly benefits, sure a bonus is great and being rewarded for hard work. But instead things like extra holiday allowance or social activities seem more attractive. 


What things do you look for when looking for a job?

G

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


ASIA | WHERE TO EAT, STAY AND VISIT AS TOLD BY OTHER TRAVELLERS.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

When I travel to a new country or city, I always search through Pinterest before hand to find hidden gems, the best cheap eats and of course, where to party. I love sharing my itineraries on my blog and when I come across places or restaurants on my trips that leave me going back for a second visit, I love telling you guys about them too. Sadly, I haven't yet managed to travel everywhere (I must be the only millennial who still hasn't been to Bali) but luckily, I have a lot of friends and mutuals on social media who have been to countries I haven't. So I thought, wouldn't it be a great idea to have a blog post with a list of restaurants, hotels and spots recommended by you guys? So first up, here's Asia. 

asia tea with gi


Cambodia


angkor wat
Photo Credit: Wandering Danny

Phnom Penh


Eat
Happy Phnom Penh Pizza - despite the name serves more than pizza (Myer)

Experience
Genocide museum (Myer) 
The flicks movie theatre (Myer)


China


Cyprus 


India


Indonesia

Bali 


Stay
Beji Ubud Resort (Daniella)

Eat 
Taco Casa - Mexican (Daniella)
Batubara - Argentinian Grill (Daniella)
Yoghurt Republic (Myer)

Experience
Tirtta Gangga Temple (Daniella)
ATV ride through rice fields and villages (Daniella)
Traditional coffee tasting (Jaylan)
Waterbom Bali (Myer)
Mason elephant park (Myer)


Israel


Hong Kong


hong kong
Photo Credit: Daniella Stanley

Stay

Eat
Yum Cha 

Experience
Lantau Island
Montane Mansion

Japan


kyoto tea with gi

Kyoto


Stay

Eat
Nishiki Market (Giana)

Experience
Philosopher's Path (Giana)
Fushimi Inari Shrine (Giana)

Tokyo


Stay
Ici Hotel Kanda (Daniella)

Eat 
Yakinuku - found around Tokyo (Daniella)

Experience
Harajuku - we went back every day! (Daniella)
Animal cafes (Daniella)
TeamLab Museum (Daniella)



Laos


Malaysia


kuala lumpur
Photo Credit

Kuala Lumpur


Stay 

Eat
Gravy Baby (Myer)

Experience 
Batik Class (Myer)

Langkawi 


Stay
The Anderman - luxury (Myer)
JC Space - budget (Myer)

Eat 
Build your own burger place (Myer)

Experience
Langkawi cable car
Sky bridge
Seven Wells waterfall


Maldives


Philippines


philippines

El Nido


Stay
Cuna Hotel (Daniella)

Eat
Trattoria Altrove (Daniella)

Experience
Kayaking (Daniella)
Island Hopping (Daniella)


Singapore


singapore


Stay
Marina Bay Sands - luxury (Daniella)
Yotel Orchard Road - budget (Daniella)
Q-Loft (Myer)

Eat
Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Marina Bay Sands (Daniella)
Satay By The Bay Hawker Center (Daniella)
China Town street food (Daniella)
Lavo - got to experience sky deck of MBS without paying for it (Myer)

Experience
Gardens By The Bay (Daniella)
Little India (Daniella)
Chinatown (Daniella)
Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands (Daniella)
Universal Studios (Myer)


Sri Lanka


sri lanka tea with gi
Taken by Sadie Lucas

Sigiriya


Stay

Experience
Sigiriya Rock which is known as the 8th wonder of the world. (Sadie)
Village tour in Habaran (Sadie)
Safari at Yala National Park (Sadie)
Rock temple in Dambulla (Sadie)

Bentota


Stay

Experience 
Local cooking class (Sadie)

Turkey


United Arab Emirates


Vietnam 


If you've been to any of these countries, would love to hear your own personal recommendations!

G



GETTING RID OF BAD HABITS - EASIER SAID THAN DONE?

Friday, 9 August 2019

We all have bad habits - whether you're aware of them or not. I had a bad habit of sucking my thumb until I was 10 years old, which in the end led to me having corrective jaw surgery at 16 (ok so they're not all that extreme). I also leave tissues everywhere (most unused, I just seem to grab one to use it and then forget). Some habits are easier to break than others, and sometimes it just takes a change in outlook or routine to break them. Here are just a couple that can be easier to manage than we think. 

tea with gi



1. Social Media 


There's a lot of negativity that surrounds social media and the impact it has on our mental health. Personally I just think it comes down to how and how much you use it. I love that Instagram in Australia has removed showing the number of 'likes' on photos as I think people will focus more on posting pictures they like and then get disheartened when it only receives 10 likes. For me Twitter has to be my favourite platform as It's usually the most entertaining and insightful and you know, there aren't pictures of people in bikinis every other post. 

I have friends who are constantly checking the feed on IG that shows you what photos your followers have liked, and that never ends well - you're just asking to see things you know are going to annoy you. I just ignore it all together and to be honest I don't spend a lot of time scrolling on IG. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others on the site, or see things that tend to bother you or get you down - unfollow (or mute) them or don't look. Instead follow pages that will motivate you! I love Charli Howard's body positivity on her account, and I could spend ages scrolling through Emily Malice's tattoo art work. 

2. Gossiping 


We're all familiar with the phrase 'small minds discuss other people' right? How draining is it when you're around a group of people who spend their time discussing who X is with, how much weight X has put on/lost or how annoying X is because they keep posting pictures in Bali, when really you're saying that because you wish it was you on that holiday. 

There are two ways to go about this, if the majority of your friends are constantly discussing other people in a negative light, either don't partake in the conversation or if you don't agree with what they're saying, maybe even stand up for that person - even if your friends will be less than impressed. 

3. Smoking 



I can't write a list about bad habits without mentioning smoking can I? Smoking is something that has never appealed to me, even when I've tried one after two puffs I've pulled a face of disgust and thrown it on the floor (much to the annoyance of the person who gave me one). So as a non-smoker I thought, surely it can't be that hard to quit? As my smoker friends have pointed out, yes it is. 

Luckily there are other methods now like e-cigarettes which has been found as the most effective way to give up. Switching to vape kits can make the process of quitting easier as they bring everything you need (and they smell great) to make the switch. More so you don't even have to leave your bad and can have a browse through an online vape store - because who actually goes out to buy anything anymore? What's interesting is that England plans to be smoke-free in the next decade - wouldn't that be nice? You can all go on a night out/for a meal without having half the people leave to go have a smoke every 15 minutes! 


4. Sugar

I've got pretty good at cutting out sugar when it comes to my tea and coffee - I've managed to bring it down to half a teaspoon which I think is quite an achievement. If you spend a lot of time with me, you'll know my weakness is chocolate and sweets which is why in the lead up to my Fiji trip I'm having to boycott 7/11 all together because I have no will power whatsoever. 

I've found the best way to stop sugar cravings is to just cut it out all together for the day. If I tell myself I'm just going to have 'a chocolate' from the bag I know I'll end up getting 3 or 4. Whereas if I agree that today I'm not going to have anything sweet, and then I'll treat myself to something tomorrow I can control my cravings a lot better. 


5. Being late


This is definitely one of my pet peeves, I really don't understand how people can be late every! single! time! There's times that being on time are out of your control - the bus is late, you're stuck in traffic or you got your foot stuck in a bear trap or something. 

On the other hand, if you know you're someone who takes ages to get ready, or you're a slow walker or you just simply don't care about wasting other people's time, then just pretend you have to get there 30 minutes earlier than the actual time and, you know try and aim for that. 


What do you think are some of your worst habits?

G



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




THE POWER OF A SMILE AND THE KEY TO BEING HAPPY.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

When you walk down the street in your hometown and make eye contact with strangers, are you the kind of person who smiles or says hello? Or are you one of those people who stare intensely as you walk by but your mouth doesn't move an inch? One thing I've noticed since moving to Australia is that people here are a lot friendlier and have a warmer approach. Every morning when I walk to the gym I frequently hear 'how you goin!' from people passing by and end up having conversations with people as I wait for the traffic light to turn green or when I'm sunbathing at the park. It's something so simple, but I find just smiling at people who I cross paths with (not in the city, or I think my muscles would be permanently stuck like that) has a positive effect on my day and mood. 

tea with gi

So are Australians just happier people in general and that's why they're like this? Surely it's because there's constant sunshine, Tim-Tams and lots of money to go round. Then again, I have been to places in India and the Philippines where the people have 1/4 of the luxurious that we have, and they have the same positive, smiley outlook to life. So what is the key to being happy and smiles all round? 

I think the main principles are accepting yourself and those around you, being mindful and kind to all living beings and the most important but hardest one - being content with what you already have.

We grow up always wanting the latest gadget, trainers, expensive cars and annual trips to Disneyland and sometimes when we can't afford those things or they're not in our grasp we get all sad and in a hump about it. We become envious of people who have all those things and make the mistake of placing our happiness in the hands of things instead of experiences. 

Whereas when you look at communities in Asia, for example on my trip to India. The kids looked so happy just playing football with us and just being amongst friends and family. I shed a tear when I brought some chocolates for them and one girl wanted to give me half of hers. Obviously they have their share of hardships and not being able to pay rent or your bills is depressing and will no doubt make you sad. But I think living within your means is the key to being happy. I'm currently earning half of what I was earning last year when I had a full-time job back home, but I'm still feeling content and investing my money in things that actually bring me joy (like more trips and festivals). There are some other simple ways to feel more content with life.

1. Spend more time doing things you actually like doing. 


And with people you actually like spending time with. If meeting up with someone for coffee seems like more of a chore than a fun way to spend your time, then don't go. If you feel most 'alive' on the weekends when you're on the dance floor, then go out every weekend - who cares what anyone else thinks. As long as you're not harming anyone! 

2. Help out. 


Fulfilling your own personal goals is all fun and stuff, but have you ever done something to help someone out without getting anything in return? Feels good doesn't it. Whether that's volunteering to build schools in Africa, or helping your friend move out of their house. It feels good to make others feel good. 

3. Get rid of limiting beliefs. 


Can you tell I've been reading a lot of self-help books recently? Limiting beliefs are the reasons you tell yourself you can't do or achieve something. "I'm never going to lose weight" "nobody loves me" "I'm a pain in the ass and nobody wants to be around me". The sooner you cut those out and start believing in yourself and what you are capable of the better you will feel about yourself. Or as the books say, 'raising your frequency and energy'. 

4. Let things go. 


I know, there's nothing more annoying than when people are late, cancel last minute or take your food from the fridge after you've been thinking about getting home and eating it all day. But it takes so much more energy to be annoyed at people or situations that you can't really do anything about anymore. You can't change what they did, but you can change how you react and how you let it affect you. 

5. Stop complaining. 


How many times have you said 'urgh I can't be bothered to go to work' and even though most of us would rather be sunbathing on a beach drinking mojitos, keeping a positive outlook and state of mind is key. Instead think of all the good things that might happen today. I might meet a really nice customer. I'm going to earn X today which means I can justify buying tickets to X. If that doesn't work, you'll have peace of mind knowing it will be over in 8 hours and you can go home and watch Netflix in bed. 

I hope by the end of this post you'll try at least one of these things, or if not just go and smile at yourself in the mirror and say 'today is going to be a good day. I've collaborated on this post with The James Clinic who are helping everyone have a smile they are proud of by offering cheap cosmetic dentistry

G



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


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