Tuesday 29 January 2019

I feel like January has flown past and I've been so busy that I haven't even had time to make 'New Year resolutions' and all that jazz. We're all familiar with the usual new year, new me promises people make, so I thought I'd make a list of things that we can all actually stick to and will actually benefit us in the long-run, and not just in the month of January. Here are 10 ways in which we can all better ourselves and our lives in 2019. 

tea with gi better 2019

1. Give time to things you actually care about. 

I wrote a whole post about making time for the things you actually care about, but in a nutshell life is too short to be doing extra-curricular activities you don't enjoy, being stuck in a 9-5 job you hate, and saying yes to coffee with people who you don't particularly want to spend your afternoon with. So take charge of your free time and fill it with things you actually want to do. 

2. Find a diet/fitness lifestyle that works for you.

Instead of saying 'this year i'm going to go to the gym 5 times a week and not eat carbs after 6pm' take some time to figure out what actually works for you and what you enjoy doing. I tried classes and found I suck at following moves and prepare to do my own thing with my own music, whereas my friend loves going spinning 3 times a week. The key is to finding a healthy balance so you can follow a eating lifestyle that is sustainable.  

3. Spend more time with actual people. 

I admit sometimes socialising can be exhausting, especially if you work in customer service. That being said I think we've got so used to texting and communicating through social media that we don't even like talking on the phone. Try and spend more time with your friends IRL and please, put your phone away when you're in company and try to actually enjoy the other persons company. 

4. Do more things that require nothing in return. 

Not every good deed you do has to be posted on the internet guys, but once in a while do something selfless and the reward is that it will make you feel great about yourself (for a little while). Whether it's helping your friend with something, doing someone a favour and asking for nothing in return or paying for someones coffee (just not in a creepy way ok). 

5.  Get a proper skincare routine. 

So if you read my last post on my review of iS Clinical, I briefly mentioned how after a skin analysis I was told I have signs of rosacea. Which never would have occurred to me and I would have just kept using the products I was using or going back to soap and water and hoping for the best. I think it's important to identify your actual skin type/concerns and develop a skincare regime which is suited for your particular needs. Also, use SPF sunscreen all year round guys. 

6. Learn to enjoy your own company. 

I'm quite good at this because, I'm a blast. Ok jokes aside, I think it's so important to be content with yourself and not depending your happiness on things or someone else - maybe this is why I have been single for so long? I love being home alone, cooking with a glass of wine in my pink robe whilst listening to Elvis on my record player pretending I'm a 1950's housewife. There's a big difference between being lonely and being happy alone. 

7. Take care of your teeth.

I did want to be a dentist, so I thought this deserved a point of its own. Now that I'm out of school I don't get free dental care anymore, but I still make it a point to go for regular check-ups, take a trip to the dental hygienist twice a year and floss. No matter your age, your teeth are usually what people notice first (at least I do) so it's good to keep on top of them. Whether you're just keeping your teeth healthy, need dental implants or a whiter smile - do whatever you need to do to make yourself happy.  

8. Get a hobby. 

I was having a discussion the other day with my friend about how we both wanted to learn to play chess, although sadly I don't think we're actually going to go through with it. Either way, before I had my blog when somebody would ask me what I liked to do in my spare time the only thing I could say was 'eh watch a lot of TV shows' and I felt pretty unfulfilled. So having something to do that's 'yours' outside of your other commitments is always good. 

9. Tell people what you actually think about them.

I was having this conversation with a friend the other day, about how people only say nice things about you when you're dead. Instead we should get into the habit of letting the people around us know what we appreciate about them, and what we don't. In the same way if someone is being a shitty person you should tell them they're being a shitty person because they might not think they're being a shitty person, you get me? 

10.  Write something positive about your day, everyday. 

So this is something I've started doing on a draft email in my inbox where I'm writing down a positive/pleasant thing that has happened on that day. Not only will it be nice to look back on at the end of the year but it encourages you to see something positive out of the most mundane days. Like yesterday, where my highlight was trying Halo Top ice cream for the first time. 

How are you improving your life this year? 


* This post is written in collaboration with BlueLight Dental London but all words and opinions are my own *


Monday 28 January 2019

Not going to lie to you guys, during the end of 2018 my skincare routine consisted of me washing my face with water and then massaging a layer of aloe vera gel on. I do enjoy trialling new skincare products, and although I'm too lazy for a 8 step skincare routine I can just about manage to stick to a cleanse, tone and moisturise routine. The brand I've been using this month is iS Clinical* and DermaCare Direct kindly sent me over their cleanser, eye youth complex and active serum to try and see how I got on. 

is clinical review

About iS Clinical

iS Clinical provide a range of high quality cleansers, treatments, moisturisers and sun protectants that are powered by the most innovative ingredients on the market. They offer products for most skin types and their formulas encourage dramatic visible improvements in skin health and appearance. Whether you're looking for anti-ageing, acne or a gentle skincare product there is something in their line to suit you. iS Clinical is particularly popular in the United States and with celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley , Jessica Alba, Shay Mitchell and Chrissy Teigen. 

My thoughts on iS Clinical 

So I have quite mixed thoughts on these products, and I can see how for certain skin types this trio can work wonders. I have quite an oily T zone, and funnily enough before writing up this post, I went to have a skin analysis done (more on that soon on the blog) and the specialist told me that I had signs of rosacea. Even though my face isn't bright red (what you usually see when you google rosacea), it's always been sensitive and after using treatments I do notice my face stays quite red on my nose and cheeks. So now taking that into account, this is how I've found each of the products: 

Cleansing Complex (£32) - This product is designed to cleanse deeply without drying the skin, diminish the size of pores, reduce acne breakouts, soften the skin and remove dead cells. It's main ingredients include salix alba (willow) and bark extract (salicylic acid). It's a gentle cleanser to use if you have normal skin, or can also beneficial for acne prone skin. 

As mentioned my skin is on the oiler side, so I find this dries my skin in a good way. However I have broken out quite a bit on my chin since using this product. They do say with a lot of skincare products that your skin gets worse before it gets better, and I've been using this for around 3 weeks so I am not sure if this is the best product for my skin type. 

cleansing complex
Photo Credit

Active Serum (£66) - This tiny little bottle is meant to be a holy grail for treating acne, Hyperpigmentation, and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. It contains lactic acid and is designed to be used once a day. 

As you can see from the above, it's quite a pricey 'bottle'.  I was given a sample in the kit and used around 3 drops per day and the bottle lasted me about 7 days (so make sure you don't knock it over).  The 15ml bottle should last around 4 weeks. I did notice it dried out the spots that were coming out, but they were still visible. When I first used it I could feel my spots stinging so I thought this must be doing something but then after a few days I didn't feel anything anymore. 

active serum
Photo Credit

Youth Eye Complex (£80) - As the name suggests,  this powerful cream is full of antioxidants to prevent signs of ageing, visibily diminishes dark under-eye circles, reduces the appearance of fine lies and wrinkles, increases collagen production and increases hydration and elasticity of the skin. 

I'm only 24 so wrinkles isn't my main concern at the moment, but it's always good to prevent right? I'm quite enjoying massaging this around my eyes, and I do feel like my skin is brighter and I don't have visibly dark circles under my eyes. It doesn't leave the skin looking greasy and can also be used around the lip area. 

youth eye complex

Final Thoughts

So after my skin analysis consultation, the dermatologist said that iS Clinical is a good brand, but is probably not suited for my skin type. Instead this brand would be good for people who have 'regular' skin i.e. oily, dry or acne prone. As these weren't designed to target rosacea it might explain why I didn't have great results with it. I will however continue to use the youth eye complex as I haven't had any adverse effects with them. 

If you are interested in purchasing products from DermaCare Direct, they currently have 10% off their kits in January with the code JANSALE.

What's your skincare routine currently like? What products are you loving at the moment? 


* I was gifted these products from DermaCare Direct for review but words and opinions are my own *


Tuesday 22 January 2019

As much as I love travelling and I am really excited to be heading on a one way journey to Asia and Australia next week, one thing that I'm worried about is trying to fit my whole life into a backpack. Ok technically we aren't backpacking, we're travelling with nice 20kg suitcases and a hand luggage backpack and hopping from hotel to hotel so it could be worse. That being said, there are going to be times when we will be living out of a backpack and these are some of the items that I think should be a must have in everyones luggage. 

backpacking tips

1. A reusable bag 

Not only will you be helping to save the planet guys, but they can come in handy for many things - carrying your food shop, your lunch, or even double as a beach bag if you don't carry a lot with you (that's what I plan on using anyway). 

2. Packing cubes 

I spoke about these on my blog post on gifts to buy travellers but thought I'd mention them again because they are so practical. These bags allow you to organise your belongings into different compartments, so that you're not searching for your black strappy camisole in a bottomless pit of clothing in your bag. They're pretty inexpensive as well so you can get around 6 of them for 10 pounds from amazon here

3. Mosquito repellent (a good one)

Sadly a few sprays like you'd do with your body spray won't do in Asia because these little f*ckers mean business there. In India I literally covered myself from head to toe, and then I ran out and literally in that one day I got bit 10 times. Jungle Formula are usually good for this sort of stuff. 

4. Biodegradable food packaging.

If you're trying to make more eco friendly choices, then carrying your own biodegradable food packaging can be handy. From coffee cups to bags to take away containers this company has a range of products you can personalise. I have set of bamboo straws I've been taking with me when I travel because you never know when you're going to be served a gin and tonic without a straw on holiday. 

5. Probiotics.

I've been trying to take two a day in the month leading up to my trip but I'm very bad at remembering to do so. If you're travelling to new places where the food is going to be completely different to what you're used to, then it's a good idea to get into the habit of taking these to prevent you from getting ill or an upset stomach. 

6. Imodium tablets.

In other words, tablets you're going to wish you brought if you drink some dodgy water/eat some bad food and need to run for the toilet. When I went to India I was even brushing my teeth with bottled water so didn't need to make use of mine, but I did have to share my tablets with a couple of people who weren't so careful. 

What are some of your travel necessities? 


* This post is written in collaboration with TakeAway Packaging but all words and opinions are my own *


Sunday 20 January 2019

It's been two years since I finished university, and as much as I miss having a 4 day weekend, student nights and pub quizzes I definitely do not miss being on a tight budget because I didn't no how to manage my money (or just went out too much). I complained about being short of money at the end of the week but then would go and spend 30 dollars on a Kylie Jenner lip kit. So seeing as my sister is currently enrolled in university (and probably some of you), I thought I'd share what I'd have done differently in terms of being smarter with my money at university. 

tea with gi saving money

1. Put something away each month. 

Simple, but yet a lot of people don't do it. If you get £500 a month putting aside £20 a week won't make much of a difference but you'll have some money to fall back on if you find that you have an unexpected expense to pay (or a TV license fine to cover). Opening a savings account with your bank is simple and that way you don't have to keep all your coins in a piggy bank, unless you're old fashioned like that. 

2. Make a realistic budget. 

Being the nerd (Virgo) that I am, I actually started a spreadsheet to see what I spent most of my money on (Nando's, double vodka cranberries at Cameo, Odeon) and then started splitting my allowance into how much I should keep for bills, food, fun and emergencies. Doing this means that you won't feel guilty about going out twice a week if you know you can get your weekly shopping down to £25 or whatever. 

3. Don't be a supermarket snob. 

Speaking of weekly shopping, you don't have to shop in Waitrose just because everyone else in your flat does. During first year we had an Asda just across from halls which was perfect, but for the rest of my university experience we had Lidl and Waitrose across from each other. I never understood why people would choose to pay more for avocado's, milk and other 'staples' by shopping at Waitrose. 

4. Don't buy things just because everyone else is.

I know this can be hard, but the older you get the more you realise you don't need to buy things because they're in fashion/everybody else is getting them. When I was at uni it was Kylie lip kits, and to be honest I can name several cheaper brands that I'd go for before purchasing another one of those. Another hype now seems to be Gymshark, and as nice as their stuff are if you're a student on a budget you don't need £45 leggings when you can get equally good ones at Sports Direct for £20. 

5. Pre drink. 

Not that I am here to say you need to get wasted every time you go out, but pre drinking instead of bar hopping will save you a lot of cash on a night out. I've had so many nights where the pre drinks were actually more fun than the night out, and if you're a fan of drinking games then you should bookmark my drinking games for students post. 

6. Ask for a loan or overdraft. 

My first year of uni I did pretty well, and only used £300 of my student overdraft with Natwest. Then I went and did an unpaid placement year in London and well, was quickly changing my limit online to £2000, oops. Even though it took me 6 months to pay it back after university I was glad I had it as a backup because we all know London is expensive enough when you're getting paid, so it was a bit of a struggle. You could also look at taking out a loan of up to £5000 over the maximum of 34 months - all depending on what you need it for and when you realistically think you could pay it back. 

7. If all else fails, get a job! 

I know in Gibraltar we are very lucky that our university fees are covered by the government and we receive a grant, but if you still find you cannot afford to live the lifestyle you'd like to live or just need an extra injection of money coming in, then its time to put an apron on and start making coffees in the uni canteen. When I lived in London I signed up to an agency called RE Hospitality, where you could choose to work when you wanted to at events all over the city. I became a regular popcorn girl at Wembley on Sunday's where I could watch the footie/gigs for free after, served drinks to rockstars at the Kerrang Awards, served Twiggy a 3 course meal and made Jeremy Irvine a Moscow Mule. So all in all it was a pretty fun job.

Were you/are you good at managing your money at university? What would be your tips for managing money as a student?


* This post is written in collaboration with iLoans but all words and opinions are my own *


Monday 14 January 2019

In 2018, I went on my fair share of trips around Europe - and a question I've got asked repeatedly is 'how do you have the money to travel so much?'. There are a lot of misconceptions about the cost of travelling, and sure if you're flying to Dubai, first class and in peak season you're going to be paying more than if you were to do a road trip through Spain in October. I earn a normal income (from my job and blog) and although at University I was horrible at saving and only managed to afford a trip to Budapest, over the last year I've found a couple of tips and tricks to make travelling more affordable and doable - and I am here to share them with you. 

tea with gi travel

1. Be realistic. 

If you earn 1000, pay 600 in rent and go out every weekend, you're probably not going to be able to afford to go away every other month. Make a budget to see how much money you could realistically put away for travelling every month, or if you know your plane ticket to Amsterdam is going to cost you £80, consider staying home for two Fridays if you know that you'd usually go out and spend that money. 

2. Use price comparison sites. 

Whenever I book flights the first two places I look are Skyscanner and Google flights. Skyscanner because it scans all the different airlines and agency websites (and you can also set up price alerts). The great thing about Google flights is that it shows you a calendar with the prices to fly out on each day so you can see if there is a better time to go. 

3. Take the road less travelled. 

Some of my favourite trips this year have been to places that aren't the first cities you think of when you're trying to pick a city break destination. Whilst Amsterdam, London and Paris are all beautiful and buzzing with things to do, they also tend to be a bit pricier. Whereas places like Bucharest in Romania and Krakow in Poland are both beautiful, packed with history and things to do and are both relatively inexpensive in terms of accommodation and eating out. For my birthday I decided to go to Bratislava partly because we thought it would be interesting to see if it was the same as the movie Eurotrip depicted it, and because the flight and 3 night hotel stay cost me a total of £150. 

4. Try and monezite your hobby.

I'm going to assume not everyone reading this is a blogger, and so trying to make money from your website won't be an option for everyone. That being said, if you have a social media platform (or a facebook account with friends) then affiliate marketing can also be a great side hustle. I have an affiliate partnership with Booking.com where every time someone books through my link (at no extra cost to them) I get 10% commission. Even if you're making bookings for yourself you can make some of your money back. 

5. Ask for (short-term) help.

If you're really struggling to save up for a trip that you have planned for the near future (i.e a friends destination wedding) then using a short term loan company such as CashLady* could be a good option for you, as long as you know you'll be able to repay in the future. Their daily interest rates are capped at 0.8%, their services are free and they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority so you know you're not being scammed and you are in good hands.

How do you make travelling more affordable? What country is at the top of your bucketlist? 


* This post is written in collaboration with CashLady but all words and opinions are my own *


Monday 7 January 2019

My health and fitness has come a long way in the space of a year. Last January I was taking part in veganuary, and as much as I would have liked to attempt it again this year I like cadbury too much and my stomach doesn't agree with a diet that was 50% beans for me. Throughout 2018 I was kind of testing the waters to see what diet lifestyle worked best for me, I tried intermittent fasting, macro counting on MyFitnessPal and carb cycling. In the end I think I've implemented things from each one which I am taking on board this year. 


My winter body has been cut short this year because next month, I am moving to Australia!! So I am officially 4 weeks out from living in a swimsuit 24/7 and in a hurry to burn off all those quality streets and polvorones from the Christmas period. After a bit of trial and error, I've more or less found what works for me so here are a couple of things I'll be trying to stick to this month (and hopefully year). 

1. Intermittent Fasting in the morning. 

As much as I love gluttonous breakfasts when I'm travelling or eating out, I've never really been a fan of eggs in the morning or porridge and such. And so, breaking my fast at midday isn't that much of a challenge as long as I have a coffee in the morning to keep me going. In a nutshell, IF is fasting for a certain period of the day and then eating during a certain window (12pm-8pm) - if you want a bit more info on the benefits of intermittent fasting and my experience with it last year i've linked the post.

2. Keeping my carbs low at dinner.

We all know that carbs aren't the enemy, and if you want to eat a plate of home-cooked pasta for dinner there is nothing wrong with that if it's within your 'recommended' daily calorie intake. I just don't like the feeling of going to bed bloated/with a full stomach so prefer to eat my carby meals at lunch time and then have proteins and healthy fats in the evening (and by 'healthy' fats I mean mayo and cheese lol). 

3. The occasional Saturday cheat meal. 

I've come to the conclusion that if I've gone out on the Friday evening, I am going to slip up with my eating on the Saturday. Even when I have a night in my Saturday nights consist of movie nights at my friends house who always has a fully stocked snack pantry. As you can imagine, it's pretty hard to sit through 2 movies with just a bottle of water and grapes when there is Crunchie bars, Ben & Jerry's and popcorn available. 

4. Eating chocolate everyday. 

Because I'd rather have two after eights every night than deprive myself of chocolate and then attack a 500g bar of cadbury at the weekend. 

5. Not going ape-sh*t with the cardio.

Like most people, I have a love hate relationship with cardio. I don't think I've ever done more than 20 minutes on the cross trainer and won't stay longer than half an hour on the treadmill. My usual plan for this month is starting off with 15 mins CT (150 kal) then weight training on a particular area and finishing off with 10 min sprints on the treadmill (another 150 kal). My holy grail for getting me through this has been using C4's Pre Workout* (I got gifted two tubs and I've continued to use it as it works great for me). 

If you're not familiar with pre workout, it is designed to give your body that extra pump of energy, focus and motivation before you hit the gym. I had mine in the flavours pink lemonade and orange burst and I think next time I'd like to try the cherry limeade. I started off using one scoop but after a while found the effects weren't as strong so I've started doubling up. I've tried several other pre workout brands before and have found that this one tastes the nicest (not like fake flavours), is the most economical and gives me the best results in the gym.

c4 pre workout

6. Sticking to a 45/35/20 macro ratio.

Obviously this is just a guideline and I don't think i'll ever be one of those people who weigh out their food and stuff, but sticking to a higher amount of protein, medium carb and low fat (50g) seems to work for me in that it keeps me satisfied and allows me to enjoy the foods I like (don't think I could eat my protein and veg at dinner without a teaspoon of mayo too). There are lots of tools online that can help calculate your macros depending on your current weight and what your goals are.


This year I want to focus more on building muscle and getting stronger, and less on losing 'weight' on the scale. I don't think I'm ever going to be 100% happy with my body (is anyone?), I wish my thighs were slimmer, my boobs were bigger and that my bingo wings were non existent. That being said, I am proud of the progress I have made last year and I just want to keep pushing myself to get a more defined body and shiz, but I won't be saying no to any dinner parties, nights out or cake, after all those extra lbs on your body are the result of you living life. So my list of goals are:

  • get proper abs
  • get toned arms 
  • build my shoulders a bit (so my bags stay put when I try to carry them here)
  • eat less dairy 
  • stay within 5lbs (either way) of what I weigh now. 

What are your fitness goals for 2019? 

* This post contains gifted items but all words and opinions are my own*

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