Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Are you a city slicker who yearns for the country life? Or perhaps you’re a country bumpkin since birth, now bored and long to be where the buzz doesn’t just come from bees. There are pros and cons to both rural and country living, of course. We’ll have a look at them here to help you decide whether the city or the sticks is for you.

The pros of rural living

Price - You get more for your money in the countryside. For the price of an apartment in London, you could buy an entire village. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, especially if you’ve got your heart set on one of the posher villages, but in general, you get bigger houses for less money the more remote you go.

Improved standard of living - Having more space will improve your standard of living. You won’t feel so claustrophobic and cramped, you’ll likely have a garden (maybe even one out the front too, woo hoo), off-street parking and a garage.

All that clean, unpolluted air is healthier, too. No more black gunge up your nose (Londoners will know all about this)!

You’ll be at one with nature - You’ll be surrounded by countryside and can spend your spare time walking in fields and forests and growing your own fruit and vegetables in your garden. If you’ve got a dog or cat, they’ll love all the outside space too.

Sense of community - People will say hello to you when they pass you in the street (or lane, if you’re really in the sticks). If you’re from London or a big town, you’ll probably find this quite disconcerting at first. But don’t panic, people are just friendlier in the countryside, they’re not being weird or about to mug you.

It’s quieter - If you’re living in the middle of nowhere, it’s quiet. Like, pindrop quiet. No traffic, no neighbours a few inches away on the other side of a thin wall you can hear arguing about whose turn it is to put the bins out. No drunks falling out of nightclubs at 2am on a Sunday morning chucking chip packets and bits of kebab into your front garden.

The cons of rural living

Expenses - Yes, you get a bigger house for your money but if you’re still working in the city, your commuting expenses are going to be massive. And if you want to go out at night, unless you drive, be prepared for taxis costing a lot more than they do in the city.

It’s remote - The remoteness might be the sole reason you fancy the countryside. Perhaps you fantasise about living the hermit life, never having to see anyone ever. Or hardly ever. Just you pottering in the garden tending to your homegrown fruit and veg while cats, dogs and chickens bask in the sun.

This is all very well, but what about when you run out of milk? Unless you’ve got your own dairy cow (do not buy a dairy cow), you’ve got a long drive or walk to the shop. Which, being the countryside, probably isn’t even open when it says it will be.

Public transport is irregular and expensive - People in cities are spoilt with their public transport system. Buses, tubes, trains and trams will get you wherever you want to be all day and all night. And it doesn’t even cost much.

In the countryside, however, buses are irregular, there’s no such thing as a tube, and if you do manage to get on the one bus a day that runs, it costs an amount that will have you raising your eyebrows the first time you buy a ticket.

To be fair though, you’ll get a lot further in a lot less time in the countryside than you would in the city. For example, five miles on a bus in the countryside will take about ten minutes, as opposed to the three hours it’d take you in London.

You’ll get snowed in - You know how in London when it snows, you look out the window, exclaim at how pretty it is, then by the time you get out the door to go to work, it’s all gone? In the countryside, when it snows, it sticks around for weeks. You can’t go anywhere because the roads and pavements (if you even have pavements) are icy, no one can get to you because the roads are icy, and snow is no longer the pretty thing it once was but is now just a load of cold and icy inconvenience.

The pros of urban living

More job opportunities - Although COVID heralded a new wave of remote workers, plenty of companies still want their workers to show their faces at the office now and again. Fine, if you’re within commuting distance but if you’re not, you might get passed over for someone who lives nearer.

And if you’re not a remote worker, there are obviously far more opportunities in big cities and towns than in the countryside.

Entertainment is aplenty - If you’re a bit of a culture vulture, you can’t go wrong with city living. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything is there for you to enjoy. Cinema, bars, restaurants, theatres, museums, galleries - whatever you fancy doing, you can do it in a city.

No need to have a car - You don’t need a car in a city. Even if you do drive, you’ll have nowhere to park it and you’ll only travel at an average of 4mph anyway. But that’s okay because you can get rid of the car and walk, bus, train, tube or tram wherever it is you need to go quickly, easily and relatively cheaply.

The cons of urban living

Price - We all know how expensive it is to live in a city. London, especially, is so expensive now, would-be homeowners feel they’ve as much chance buying a house on the moon as one in London.

It’s not just the price of houses that’s eye-wateringly high. Have you seen the price of a pint in London lately? Eek.

Noisy and crowded - Cities are crowded. They’re also noisy. There’s traffic and people everywhere. Houses and flats are all bunched up together and you may well have people not only living next door to you on both sides but above and below you too.

Higher crime rate - Of course, there’s going to be a higher crime rate where the population is higher but it’s not simply a question of percentages. Crime rates are higher in cities and if you live in a city or big town, if you haven’t been a victim of crime yourself, the chances are high you know someone who has.

Of course, you don’t have to live at such extremes as in a city centre or in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of suburbs that will give you easy access to the city or perhaps semi-rural will prove to be the best of both worlds.

Whatever you decide, make sure you consider all the pros and cons of urban and rural living before making the move.


Tuesday, 29 June 2021

It's been over 5 years now since I started writing on Tea With Gi. I remember I started because I was doing a semester abroad in Florida and wanted to keep my friends and family updated with what I was up to. I then soon branched out from that and started writing lifestyle posts, and then writing travel guides. I've had a lot of great opportunities come from my blog and I definitely didn't expect to have any success with it when I started writing (I thought I'd only have 10 readers!). If you're looking at starting a blog, these are some of my tips. 

1. Make it look as professional as possible.

I've never purchased a blog 'theme' but spent ages toggling with the blogging template, adding html's and widgets to customize it and make it mine. I'd also recommend buying a blog domain, as brands are more likely to want to work with you if you seem established and don't have wordpress/blogger etc. in your webpage link.

2. Try not to limit your self.

Finding a niche is great, but the blogging world is pretty saturated as it is. The key is to writing about stuff you're actually passionate about and not just because it's what everyone is doing. I used to do beauty posts when I first started my blog but found it's not really what I enjoyed writing about, so I stopped doing it!

3. Make sure you make every post 'SEO friendly'

SEO stands for 'Search Engine Optimization' and there are a number of ways you can make this happen. One way is making sure you use keywords that are relevant to the post and what people might be searching for. If your post is on 'Gibraltar travel tips' make sure you're using keywords such as 'things to do in Gibraltar' within your blog post. Make sure you also add text to your images and put in a post description! I wrote a whole blog post about improving your blog SEO here.

4. Social media is essential for growing.

I luckily had a few thousand followers on my main twitter account before I started my blog, so it was great to have a platform there to promote my blog in the first place. I now have a Twitter and Instagram account dedicated to my blog (teawithgi) and twitter is a great way to follow other bloggers, interact with them and promote your stuff. I definitely recommend scheduling tweets to promote your posts, just don't make your feed seem like spam! Comment on other blogs, interact with your audience on Instagram and stay relatable!

5. Collaborate with people in the industry!

One of the best ways to improve SEO and your page visibility is by improving your back-links. This means having other people and websites linking back to your website. The higher their Domain Authority, the better it will affect your ranking. You could always reach out to publications you enjoy and ask if you can post a guest post on their website. 

The key for growing your blog and social media presence is to be consistent, and keep working at it. Aqueous recently published a post on ranking factors of a website which will be a useful read for things to take into consideration. I hope you guys have found this post useful! 



Monday, 21 June 2021

I must say, dressing appropriately for the weather isn't my forte. I remember last year when we did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in NZ all I had on was a vest and a Primark jumper, not the best when you're in minus numbers at the top! If there's one item of clothing I'll be packing on my next excursion, it's the Gamma jacket. It's a durable, lightweight, insulated jacket that doesn’t compromise function or fashion. It comes in black meaning you can wear it with pretty much anything. It's infused with graphene which is the strongest and thinnest material on Earth - impressive! As a backpacker you know how important it is to pack light, but also pack smart. Here are 5 adventures to make sure you pack your Gamma jacket for. 

1. Tongariro, Taupo (New Zealand)

I did this day trek in January, meaning that it was still summer in NZ but we were also at a higher altitude, so naturally it was going to be cold (and windy!). It's known for being one of the best hikes in New Zealand, and i'd say a difficulty of 3/5. It will take you an average of 4-5 hours to complete and for me the hardest part was coming down the volcano because of the terrain. If you studied geography GCSE, you'll be familiar with the red crater, blue lake and hot springs on the route! 

tongariro alpine crossing

2. Mount Batur, Bali (Indonesia)

Bali is quite a humid city, with occasional rainfall. This is a sunrise trek that starts at 2am so you might feel a bit chillier, so bring your jacket! I'd say this was a 2.5/5 in terms of difficulty, mostly because you have to navigate in the dark with a torch so you don't trip on a rock. You'll arrive at the top just in time for sunrise, and you'll be served eggs and toast! 

mount batur

3. Sapa, Vietnam 

We actually had to buy new shoes and a raincoat when we arrived to Sa Pa because we didn't pack adequately. Sapa is a small mountain town to the northwest of Hanoi, and a lot of people choose to stay 1 or 2 nights here. Here you'll find local tribes, rice paddies and forest treks. You'll be taken by a guide and stay in a Home Stay, so you really get a taste of the local culture. 

sapa, vietnam

4. The Inca Trail, Peru

This is one that I still haven't ticked off my bucket list, but I will one day! The Inca Trail is usually done over several days, which means that you want to make sure you've packed light, but also have everything you need. Here you can experience a lot of different weather depending when you go, which is why this jacket is great. It offers temperature control and is windproof. 

inca trail

5. Druk Path Trek, Bhutan 

This one is a little bit longer, so you want to come prepared! The Druk Path trek is the most popular one in the country. It takes 6 days and passes through a variety of different landscapes, including forests, ridges and lakes. You'll also come across ancient monuments and villages. This one is fairly easy as the distance between rest camps is fairly short, and the altitude isn't too high. 

Whether you're travelling for 2 weeks or 2 months, no one wants to be carrying around a heavy suitcase with unnecessary stuff (I think we're all probably guilty of overpacking). Even if you're travelling through SE Asia and expect everywhere to be hot and sunny, it usually won't so it's best to be prepared! 

WearGraphine is currently crowdfunding for the gamma all climate jacket and any support would be great. Whether you're looking for a jacket for skiing, hiking or walking to work in the British weather - it's the jacket you need! 

gamma graphene jacket

gamma graphene jacket

gamma graphene jacket



Thursday, 29 April 2021

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

A lot of the time when we talk about being more eco-friendly and living a sustainable lifestyle, we always jump to the basics like recycling and using a reusable water bottle (if you still aren't, what are you waiting for?). A lot of the time it's small changes we can make that will help the environment, and it's just a case of forming good habits and sticking to them. Here are a couple you could implement into your life to do your part.

tea with gi environment

1. Every few months re-evaluate your wardrobe, then donate!

Who's guilty of buying something and 6 months later it's still hanging in your wardrobe untouched? *raises hand* I'm guilty of keeping things just because they hold 'sentimental value' or I think that I'm going to wear it one day. If you also find that you're a reckless buyer, ask yourself 'will I actually wear this' before purchasing anything. 

2. Buy a re-usable bag.

I'm the first to say there are many times where I'm in the supermarket and I've forgotten to bring mine with me. So unless I'm only carrying 2 apples I'm gonna have to buy one (but they are reusable!). I bought a cute one from ale-hop for a couple of euros and I use it most days to carry my food to work and other bits. 

3. Consider your packaging. 

We actually changed our coffee pod supplier at work because we found they were wasting too much plastic, each individual pod came wrapped in plastic packaging and it was unnecessary to be honest. On the flip side, if you own a little side hustle, consider using a bespoke packaging manufacturer to send your goodies out. 

4. Try and cook with what you have first.

The amount of food we waste is incredible, so a good habit to get into is cooking with the stuff you have in your fridge and pantry before you go and do another Asda shop. When I was in uni I'd try and be really healthy and buy loads of veg and then by the end of the week I'd have to throw half of it because it had gone bad - so that's another thing to watch out for. 

5. Be more digital.

40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used for paper (look at me bringing in facts), and really a lot of the time we don't really need to take things back to old school paper and pen. I always find it such a waste when businesses print all these brochures and flyers when we know that we consume stuff better through the digital world. This Christmas, sending cards via Paperless Post might also be a good alternative. 

6. Make the most of public transport.

I mean I do this anyway because I still don't have my driving license, but even if I did I think it would be more hassle to take out my car, drive for 10 minutes, and have to find a parking space on my way home than to just take the free bus system that Gibraltar has. Or, if the sun is shining and the birds are singing, walk! (if it's less than half an hour away of course).

7. Eat a little less meat (and dairy).

I'm not vegan, although I did take part in Veganuary in January and I'm hoping to do the same in 2019. The Environmental Working Group found that red meat is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse emissions as common vegetables and grains - so we could do with cutting it out of our diets for a day or two. If you need a little bit of inspiration I asked 15 vegans what their favourite recipes were

8. Participate in clean-ups.

Now and again my family take part in beach clean-ups and it makes for quite a rewarding day out. I'm not saying you have to go picking up everyones rubbish you see on the street because, gross - but giving something back to the community now and again is good. 

9. Become a shower person.

To be honest I've never been much of a bath person - I get bored easily and it's horrible getting out into the cold once the water has gone cold. I much prefer a sing in the shower with boiling water to wash away my sins. 

10. Turn off the bloody lights!!

That's all. 



* This post was written in collaboration with UKE but all words and opinions are my own *


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

 So I was having drinks with a friend and we started chatting about all the 'hilarious' things men we've dated in the past have done. To be honest I could probably write this whole post from my point of view, but I thought it would be a lot more interesting to ask this question to my readers and boy are some of these good! This was originally meant to be 20 stories, but I had pretty good feedback on this so here's 25 times men (well, boys) have had the complete audacity

1. "He ghosted me for two weeks, and then messaged me asking how I am followed by 'I wouldn't usually do this but can I borrow £60 until the end of the month." - Anon

2. "I was once seeing this guy who was also seeing this girl and when he drove me home after a date night he drove me to her house instead of mine..." - Anon, his name starts with a J, says enough.

3. "I was once seeing a guy and I was having my wisdom teeth taken out, and when I told him I can’t wait to eat properly again he said "you better not put on weight." - Anon

4. "Me and my bf at the time were heading out for drinks and bumped into his friend, and two girls who they'd both previously had a fling with a few years back. I decided to be mature about it and the 5 of us went to the bar together, it was two for one cocktails and the 4 of them ended up splitting and I had to get MY own drink whilst my ex split his with the girl he once dated!" - Anon

5. "Only lasted 20 seconds during a one night stand, didn't walk me home, goes to an afters and tells everyone that we had just slept together." - Anon

6. "Asked me to climb out his bedroom window to leave because his parents came home and he was grounded.... 😂" - Anon

7. "I was at the gym many moons ago, in the 'men's' weight lifting area. I was using the squat rack, facing the mirror (so my back was to the main floor). As I began to grip the bar and lift, this guy walked by, 'brushed' his hand against my bum and walked on. I almost dropped over 90kg of weights from the shock. The worst thing is a personal trainer saw it happen and said nothing. I complained to the company about this instance (and a handful of other, smaller ones), but nothing was done. I ultimately left the gym." - Nixie

8. "Told me I was “quite attractive for an ugly girl” 🙃" - Ashleigh

9. "Okay so a while ago I started seeing a guy I worked with, but we had to keep it a secret as he was my manager. Anyways, one night we closed up the restaurant and went home together and after a really lovely night together he even changed both our shifts so that we could spend more time in bed.

Later on we walked into work together and after about an hour he was already cosied up with another girl right in front of me whilst I mopped his floors. On top of that, I even had to serve them drinks!! At least he was nice enough to let me go home early because I was in so much pain from the UTI he had just given me!" - Anon

10. "It was my exes graduation the next day and I was up all night with the worst food poisoning ever...after about the 6th time that night I had to go throw up he turns to me in bed and says “can you stop making so much noise, it’s my big day tomorrow.- Anon

11. "My husband asked me to create an Instagram account for him, which I did. I then went on to follow him as no one else was following him, but he had blocked me!! 😂" - Mehr Israan

12. "When I still lived with my parents, I was chatting to a guy I knew, and our relationship was moving towards seeing each other in a romantic way. We had never been on a proper date, so he asked me out for dinner one evening.

I got ready - hair and make up, and put on a cute outfit. When he arrived to pick me up, he was wearing a dirty T-shirt and jersey tracksuit shorts. As I'd mentioned in passing that my parents were out for the evening, he decided that instead of going out for dinner, he would just eat at home and invite himself into my house for 20 minutes of extra curricular activities 'because he had to be somewhere else'.

I was livid. Told him to do one and ordered Chinese instead!" - Georgia 

13. "We had been seeing each other during the first lockdown for four months. Everything was going well, and things seemed like they were going in the right direction. I got invited to the same house party he was going to be at, and this would be the first test to see whether he was as interested in me as I thought he was. Red flags started appearing as soon as I walked in the door, he basically ignored me the whole night.

Ended up going to an afters with him, and this is where his true dickish behaviour showed. A girl we were both chatting to asked if we were dating... he turned around and very firmly said "No". In hindsight I should have upped and left, but I stuck by him only to get heartbroken days later when he admitted he didn't want anything serious. Moral of the story, men are trash and lockdown relationships ain't real 😂." - B

14. "A guy I dated always liked to tell me how I’d gained weight and should go to the gym (I’m 9stone)... even though he was overweight and went to slimming world with his mum?! Clearly taking his own insecurities out on me... " - Alice

15. "I got with this guy after a night out and after a few weeks of just messaging he says “we should see a movie this weekend.” For a split second I thought oohh he wants to take me on a date to the cinema. However, reality kicked in as it can be rare for a Gibraltarian guy to suggest a date. I decided to try my luck and play along so I replied with “ah what to the cinema?.” He replied with “no to your house” Too good to be true!" - Anon

16. "He had THE AUDACITY to invite me on a date, 'forgot' his wallet, so I had to pay for the entire meal. Then he ghosted me for a month. Then he had THE AUDACITY to text me at around 5am one morning to ask if I'd come over and help clean his house, because he'd had a house party, made a mess and his parents were due back. He didn't even invite me to the party!" - Rachel

17. "A friend of mine’s ex hubby sold all her belongings and house contents on eBay during divorce as she was having to stay at her parents home at the opp end of the country prior to buying another home. He had promised (since he was living in London with his girlfriend by this point) that the furniture and contents would remain put until she had her new house sorted, but alas, he even sold her then four year old’s belongings furniture and Disney toys that his grandparents had bought from the US. Not very nice, but she is in a far better place with far better people now" - Anon

18. "When I was like 16 there was this guy who I was friends with who sometimes used to walk me home on Friday's to make sure I got home safe which I thought was sweet. One week he was kinda drunk and when we got to my block he looked frustrated and said "I don't get you, I walk you home and I'm a good guy and I don't even get a kiss from you at least." - Anon

19. "I had been speaking to this guy from tinder for like 4 months, we arranged to finally go on a date and met up in London. He took me to McDonald's and after he asked what I wanted, he asked me to transfer him £5 for my meal lol." - Anon

20. "I had been sleeping with this guy and we were lying in bed one morning and says, 'I mean you're the prettiest girl I've slept with, but you are beautiful you know' and kissed me on the forehead. Backhanded compliment or what?!" - Anon

21. "A guy I was sleeping with for a month asked me if I could text him less as his girlfriend didn't like it. I had no idea he was in a relationship" - Anon

22. "This guy I met from a dating app, I had already told him I wasn't interested in that way so just wanted to hang out as friends. He was 2 hours late because he left his bag on the train from GC to Brisbane! Asks me to pay for his drinks because he has no money (I didn’t pay of course), tells me a story about why he doesn’t have money because he has a court hearing for drunk driving the next morning. Also proudly tells me he was drinking and driving in India as well and killed a horse by mistake... I blocked him everywhere because he’s crazy— I have 12 missed calls from 4 unknown numbers and 3 No caller IDs all HIM (figured it out later)" - Jinal

23. "My boyfriend at the time sent some gifts with me for his friend in India when i was going home. I never realised until that girl and I spoke on insta about how are we related to him. Apparently he was dating both of us plus another girl at that time and I couldn’t kick his ass because he was in Canada." - Simone

24. "I'd been seeing this guy for about 2 weeks and I was leaving the city to go travel the east coast for 10 days on my own. He said it would be cool to come with me if I wanted him to, so I thought f*ck it why not? I gave him my rough plans and told him it would roughly cost him $1000 (£500). He then turned to me and said, "oof I don't think I can afford that right now, could you pay for me and I'll pay you back?" Fair enough if he was my boyfriend but I had known this guy for TWO WEEKS." - Anon

25. "My boyfriend at the time told me I couldn't get mad at him for liking other girls bikini photos, because other boys liked my photos on insta…where's the logic in that?" - Anon

Last minute bonus submission!

26. "After moving to a new city and starting a new job, I was so happy to have finally met a nice group of friends. One in particular I got really close with and thought it had developed into something more. So after a while I decided to invite him over to watch a movie and have some wine. Then one thing led to another.. But just as we were lying there cuddling in my bed, he just drops the bombshell that he had had sex with one of our other new friends in that same bed, MY BED, the week before when I had had a house party 🤯" - Anon


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

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

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

tea with gi stress

So why is being stressed a bad thing?

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

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

So how should we deal with stress?

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

Write out everything that needs to be done

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

Prioritise 'you time'

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

Try natural remedies like CBD oil

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

our remedy
Photo Credit


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

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



Tuesday, 9 March 2021

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

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

tea with gi house buying

1. Open a separate savings account. 

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

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

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

3. Find the right estate agent. 

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

4. Be realistic. 

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

5. Make an expenses plan. 

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

6. Choose what's right for you. 

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

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



Thursday, 4 March 2021

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

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

1. Make your own wedding invitations.

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

2. Invent some signature cocktails.

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

3. Put disposable cameras on each table. 

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

4. Hangover relief kits for the adults. 

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

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

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

6. Send a collaborative playlist for the guests. 

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

7. Set up a karaoke area.

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

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

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

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

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

10. Theme your centrepieces. 

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

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



Monday, 1 March 2021

[This is a guest post, all content published on Tea With Gi is kept relevant to my audience and style.]

The great thing about being a teacher is that you can do it anywhere in the world. With so many organisations and British international schools across the globe looking to hire, it shouldn’t be too
difficult to find a teaching job overseas. While challenging, teaching abroad can be extremely
rewarding and enlightening. Read on for some of the benefits of teaching abroad.

Gain Professional Experience and Enrich Your CV

Teaching in a foreign country is a completely unique experience that will give you the chance to
work with different kinds of school communities who have their own approach to education. You
will need to adapt, which will make you a more flexible and accommodating person. You will build
relationships with new teaching staff and students, which will not only help you become a better
teacher yourself but will also allow you to grow as a person.

The experience will be a challenge like no other you will have to be committed, but this will be great
for our personal development. All of these skills and qualities will give your CV a well-deserved boost
that will help you progress in your career.

Learn About Other Cultures

Although you might miss your homeland from time to time, being immersed in a new culture is the best way to learn about it. Every day you will have exciting opportunities to try something new, whether it be tasting a new food, learning a new language, or celebrating a different tradition.

Meeting people with different cultural backgrounds will allow you to see the world from a new perspective and you will be able to share your knowledge with your friends and family from back

Learning about a new culture may even help you appreciate your own that much more. You will be
able to teach your students about some of your own cultural traditions and how they differ and they
will be able to share their own thoughts and ideas.


Monday, 8 February 2021

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

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

tea with gi

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

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

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

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

3. Make future plans. 

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

4. Find a way to exercise that you enjoy. 

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

5. Go on your walks. 

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

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

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

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


Sunday, 7 February 2021

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

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

1. Edinburgh

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

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

2. London

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

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

3. Belfast

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

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

4. Gibraltar 

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

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

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