ONE FOR THE BOYS, LET'S TALK ABOUT WINTER FASHION.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Last night whilst I was out having cocktails with my friend, the topic came up on 'what top 3 qualities we look for in a man'. We all like guys who fit the tall, dark and handsome criteria (especially when I'm standing at 5'8), but for me the way a guy dresses can be an instant attractive quality. This doesn't mean they have to be dressed to the 9's to go shopping in town or for dinner at Nando's, sometimes a pair of fitted jeans and a cool jumper does the job! Here are a couple of winter trends that I love on guys. Big thank you to my best friend Jonathan for posing for this post!

winter mens fashion

Turtlenecks


I think mostly every guy can get away with wearing a black turtleneck. Bonus if you wear glasses, you'll instantly look like you're working in the creative industry or read a lot of books in your spare time. They're so easy to dress up or down and you won't need to wear a scarf to keep the cold away - double win! 

Shirt | Asos (£20)



Neutrals 


Browns, nudes, whites, greys, and everything in between. When you pair your neutrals well it's so easy to look 'put together' and well, aesthetically pleasing. Great thing about wearing neutrals in winter is that they never go out of fashion. So if you're trying to spend less money on clothing or want to invest in a couple of high quality pieces that will last you a couple of years, then neutrals are the way to go. 

Jacket | Asos (£42)  



A good winter coat 


If there's an item of clothing that you want to make sure is fashionable but also good quality, it's your winter coat (especially if you live in the UK). For this you can never go wrong with a black, grey or nude coat, as they will go with most of your outfits. I once saw a guy in a white coat with a fur hood with matching white pants and he looked like he'd come out of that 'Stay Another Day' Christmas music video. Urban Apparels 4bidden winter jacket collection would suit just about anybody and their colours are very wearable. 

Coat | Urban Apparel (£90)


Block jumpers 


Remember the days where there was nothing sexier than a man wearing pink? Well now there's nothing sexier than a man wearing a pink jumper. Admittedly I do have a thing for boys who dress slightly alternative or 'hipster' as you might say. Wearing a block coloured jumper with just about anything, automatically makes your outfit that little bit cooler. 

Sweater | Bonds (£20)



What are some of your favourite winter trends for men? 

G


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




MY ADVICE FOR CUTTING COSTS WHEN TRAVELLING.

Friday, 20 September 2019

How many times have you said to yourself or a friend about someone on social media 'omg they're always on holiday! Sometimes it might just be down to them having a lot of disposable income or rich parents who pay for everything, but travelling frequently can actually be cheaper than you think. Most of my money definitely goes on trips (or eating out), and at the moment I'm currently saving for a 10 week trip through Asia. Here are some of the ways I'm cutting costs when planning my trip, and  my advice on minimising costs when you're actually out there. 

cutting costs when travelling



1. Use price comparison websites 


I don't think I've booked any flights or accommodation anywhere other than through Skyscanner or Booking.com in the last few years. I've even earned 'Frequent Traveller/Genuis' status through booking which gets me 15% off some hotels, for using them so many times! The great thing about Skyscanner is you can also set up price alerts so you'll be emailed when there has been a change in the fare price. 


2. Book at least three months in advance. 


Or if you're anything like me, you'll have your hotels booked (free cancellation of course) a year in advance! If you're planning on travelling in peak season or around holidays, then it's probably best to book even earlier. The app Hopper lets you know when the best time to book your flight for a destination is, and whether you should wait or go ahead and book. Apparently Thursdays are now the cheapest day of the week to book too, whilst weekends being the worst. 

3. Create a budget and stick to it. 


Part of the fun of planning a trip for me is creating spreadsheets and itineraries (lame I know). But it makes things a lot easier if you know how much exactly you need to save for your trip, for fixed items (flights/hotels) and for activities and spending. For each city I'm visiting I'll make a list of things I have to pay for in advance, and then divide the rest of my allocated 'trip' money between activities and eating out. 

4. Use cash. 


It's so easy to overspend when you're just tapping your card left, right and centre. When you're actually physically holding money and spending it you'll become more accountable and be wiser with it as you can actually see how much you have left. It will also save you money to change all your currency at once, instead of constantly withdrawing from an ATM.


5. Choose overnight transport. 


For my east coast Australia trip at the end of the year, I've got 2 overnight coach trips which means I won't have to pay for hotel stays that night. Especially if you're in beach locations, even if your flight isn't until 8pm you can check out that morning, leave your bag in storage at the hotel and just go lounge at the beach instead of paying for another nights stay. 


6. Ask yourself what you actually want to spend your money on. 


The first thing most of us do when travelling to a new city, is research the tourist spots and sight seeing attractions. One mistake we often make is visiting spots just because 'it's what you do there' even if you haven't got the slightest bit of interest in museums, gardens or the Opera. If you're a foodie and eating out twice a day is what you look forward to, then allocate your spending to that. If you love photographing 100 types of flora and fauna, then definitely go to Singapore or Fiji

7. Consider a short-term loan. 


If there's a trip you really want to take (friends wedding? hen party?) and aren't currently in debt as it stands, then asking for a loan could be an option. CashLady.com offers short-term loans and their services are completely free to use. You can choose anything from £100 to £1000 and can pay it back over 12 months, so it really is quite manageable. 

8. Don't splurge everyday! 


Admittedly I still haven't got very good at this myself. It's so easy to say to yourself being you go away - 'ok I'm going to pack my snacks for the plane, only eat out once a day and walk everywhere instead of getting taxis'. Next thing you know I'm sat in Starbucks at Gatwick Airport with a white chocolate frappucino and a bag of Maltesers. Obviously you're on holiday to have fun and spend a little more than you would back home, but be smart about it. Don't order dessert every night at dinner, share starters, use a refillable bottle of water, and so on! 


What are some of your money saving tips for travelling? 

G


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

how to save money when travelling



HOLY GRAIL BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR SURVIVING LONG-HAUL TRIPS.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Over the past couple of years I've got pretty good at only taking the essentials on my trips. Most of my Europe breaks are now hand luggage only so minimising the amount of beauty products to a little ziplock bag has taken some work (yet you can bet there'll still be around 5 lipsticks in there). When you're flying for an extended period of time there are a couple of things that are useful to keep on board with you, because as we all know that that cabin air does not do wonders for your skin. Whether you're flying or taking a long coach trip, these are some of my favourite products to keep handy when travelling. 

beauty products long haul flights




1. Eye Mask 


A couple of years ago, I would have been too embarrassed to be sat in a plane full of people with an eye mask in case I looked like Sharpay from High School Musical. When I started travelling longer distances I went to the other extreme and pulled a 'f*ck off' eye mask over my eyes (it was a gift) and I haven't looked back since. This way if the person next to you decides they want to keep the window open or their light on at night to read a book, you can still try and sleep for some of it.

Image Source


2. Nakin Eye Cream Complex [Gifted]

Before you go and pop your eye mask on, make sure to apply this and you'll arrive at your destination looking like you've had a nights sleep at Premier Inn. This product is weightless so won't take up much space in your luggage, and has natural anti-ageing ingredients. It helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, puffyness and dark circles. I've found this product to be quite hydrating and just a dot of the cream can cover your eye area and more. 

nakin skincare


3. Nakin Lip Treatment Balm [Gifted]


I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've found a lip balm that I'm now more loyal to that Vaseline (I finally had enough of those hard to open tins). It's an anti-ageing product to help with lines around the lips, but honestly I'm just loving the glossy and plump look it gives my lips. There's barely a day that goes by where I don't wear lipstick but this actually makes it look like you've got something on. It's made with shea, mint, argan and baobab oil and I love the ever so slight tingly effect it has.

4. This Works In Transit No Traces Cleansing Pads

How good does it feel to wash your face after a long trip? My skin is on the oilier side so these pads are great for removing excess oil and brightening my complexion. Or for when removing make-up when the plane has boarded and your potential future husband hasn't sat next to you. 

Image Source


5. Verso Deep Hydrating Mask [Gifted]


This feels so good on. I wouldn't recommend putting it on whilst you're flying as you'll scare the cabin (I was laughing for a good 5 minutes because I looked like squid ward). These masks provide 120 hours of moisture so they're perfect to use the night before your trip. They provide a good cooling effect and you can feel the hyaluronic acid working. The grapefruit extract helps to encourage collagen production and helps give your skin a healthy complexion.

verso hydrating masks



6. The Body Shop Rose Dewy Glow Facial Spray

I first picked this up whilst on holiday in Malta when we were dying in Valletta in the 40 degree heat. I've never used a lot of spray on beauty products before because I flinch a ton before actually getting the product on my face. That being said this product has been a life saver for refreshing my skin. 

body shop rose mist


7. Dermatec Personal Light Therapy Device [Gifted] 


I was only introduced to Light Therapy last month when I had a treatment done at The Loft Beauty. It's hard to believe shining a red/blue light on your face can have real results hey? But the reviews and benefits of light therapy has been great. In a nutshell, the red light can help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, calm rosacea, calm inflammation and stimulates collagen production. Whilst the blue light kills acne bacteria and calms the skin. This device has a head that includes both light functions. I love how compact and easy to use it is, and what better way to use it than when you're passing the time on your flight whilst watching the in-flight movie?

dermatec personal light

8. A Water Bottle 

Most of us (myself included) tend to drink lower amounts of water when flying, probably because we don't want to pay the extortionate airport prices for more than one bottle of water. The best thing to do is carry an aluminium water bottle with you and have a member of the cabin crew fill it up for you. Just try and make sure you're sat on the isle, or you'll be asking your neighbours to move a lot when you need to run to the toilet every hour. 

Image Source


What beauty products do you take with you on your travels?

G


beauty products for flying




GUEST POST | FOCUS AND DISCIPLINE: HOW LEARNING MARTIAL ARTS CAN BREAK BAD HABITS.

Monday, 16 September 2019

One way to deal with digital overload is to decompress and learn martial arts online.

martial arts
Image Source


In our digital and hyper-connected era when many of us are glued to our gadgets and can't seem to put them down for a second, it can be hard to retain concentration and focus on what we're doing. For children, it can be particularly difficult, as parents battle to keep smartphones and tablets out of their little ones' hands so they can do their homework, get ready for school or go to sleep.

It's no wonder a growing number of people are putting aside their gadgets, at least for a while, and undergoing a mind-clearing digital detox. It's not always easy, however, especially with endless thoughts of what your friends are up to on social media and who might be messaging you right now with something you’ve just got to know. 

Taking a breather from our attention-seeking devices can certainly be an exercise in refreshing and clearing the mind, and in doing so allow us to focus on things that really matter, whether at work, home or play. But how to go about it?

Martial Arts to the Rescue


It turns out that there's a lot we can do to kick our bad online and other habits, and learning something like the ancient sport of martial arts can go a long way towards instilling much-needed discipline in people of all ages, according to a leading kung fu practitioner and star of many Asian martial arts films. 

"Practicing Chinese kung fu not only gives you the ability to learn the combat skills and techniques, but [it] also keeps you healthier physically and mentally," Bruce Leung Siu-lung, who displayed his martial arts prowess in Hong Kong films in the 1970s and 1980, said. The 71-year-old said that these days, many children are overindulged by their parents and addicted to their smartphones and other devices, and are so wrapped up in the online world that they often find it hard to cope when they go out into the real world. 

"There are a lot of children who are spoiled by their parents and lack independence in real life, and there are some who struggle to face setbacks and even commit suicide," said the retired martial arts actor. "Chinese kung fu is more than just a set of skills and techniques. It is full of profound Chinese philosophy and core values, which focus on the spirit of love, kindness, tolerance, perseverance and strong will."

Learn Martial Arts Online


Due to the popularity of the many forms of self-defence and attack disciplines — which also include karate, judo, Jeet Kune Do, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, jujitsu, sumo, kendo and others — it is now possible to learn martial arts online and find out everything you need to know so that you can become an expert, and way more disciplined in every aspect of your life. 

One of the benefits of learning martial arts online is you can have a look at and study several before deciding which one is best suited to you. And whichever discipline you choose, you can be happy knowing that it will help you to develop a healthy lifestyle and positive outlook on life, as well as giving you lots of self-confidence.

You'll get in great shape while enjoying the many moves of martial arts and will most likely lose weight too. What you'll also get is an appreciation of everything around and a strong sense of stillness, awareness and focus — you'll see and hear things you might not have noticed when you were stuck to those digital devices that are no longer the centre of your universe.


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

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) and there are always a couple of ways to cut costs when travelling. 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


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