HOW TO CREATE A BUDGET FOR THE YEAR, AND WHY YOU NEED TO.

Thursday, 16 December 2021

I love creating budget spreadsheets and savings vaults on Revolut. Whether I always stick to them is another thing, but at least the intention is there! As we get older you’ve probably realised that there are suddenly a lot more things to pay for, and your take home salary isn’t the same as soon as you start paying things like your pension and life insurance etc. Here is why creating a budget is important and some tips for how to create one and stay on track of your finances.



Why create a budget?


For the simple reason, that nobody likes to be struggling with money. We also know life is full of unexpected costs and it’s better to be prepared than have debts to pay left right and centre. It’s important to live within your means and to understand the difference between wanting and needing something. To learn more about creating the perfect budget and why you need to, click here.


How to start a budget


Create a spreadsheet


It doesn’t have to be complicated and full of formulas, but the ‘equal sum’ one will come in handy and means you won’t have to manually add up figures or whip out your phone calculator. The way I organise mine is having a table for each month and keep my total income at the top and another row for money I might have coming in from my blog. I then list all my fixed spendings such as my pension and the gym, and then I can see what’s left to arrange into savings or disposable income for the month.

Have multiple savings accounts


Any kind of savings is always great (and better than being in debt). I have 3 savings accounts opened in Natwest just so I don’t feel guilty if I pull from my savings for a treat or a holiday for example. My first savings account is dedicated to furnishing my house when it’s eventually ready, and this I hope to not touch until then. Especially when I’m getting 1.5% interest with Natwest Savings Builder. My second savings account is for ‘fun stuff’ like holidays and festival tickets. My third being ‘adult stuff’ like dental appointments and unexpected expenses.

Pay yourself first


It can be easy to spend as you like and then put away ‘whatever’s left’ at the end of the month, but doing that makes it very easy to be left with nothing and just living from paycheck to paycheck. When your salary comes in, pay everything you need to and save and then see what you have left for the month. I usually move my monthly disposable income to Revolut and keep that as my budget for the month.

Plan ahead


December ends up being an expensive month for everyone with all the Christmas shopping and social gatherings, but it doesn’t have to leave you scraping pennies and using up half of your next salary by the end of the month. What I did at the beginning of January is I calculated all the birthday and Christmas presents I had to make this year and then I divided that sum by 12. I then set up a recurring transfer to a ‘Presents Vault’ on Revolut each month so that I had the money saved already. I can say that’s definitely helped!


G



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

GUEST POST // HOW TO CHOOSE A UNIVERSITY COURSE

Thursday, 9 December 2021

How to choose a university course depends on what you’re planning to do with your degree. For example, if you’re a mature student (that’s a student over the age of 21), you might have already had your career and now you want to study for fun.

In that case, you could choose a university course that aligns with your hobbies. For example, if you’re a bookworm, maybe a degree in English literature would be perfect for you or, if you’re an animal lover, how about a degree in animal science?

But if you’re a teenager currently studying for your A-Levels and about to start the rest of your life outside high school, you will need to choose a university course carefully as it will impact your future. 

Photo Credit


What do you want to be when you grow up?


Of course, the job you want to obtain after graduating will have some bearing on your chosen degree. But your degree doesn’t necessarily have to be that close to what you want to do for a job. Some, if not most, employers will be happy with any degree - especially if you get a good grade - rather than only hiring graduates with degrees that correspond closely with their industry.

Obviously, for some careers you will need a relevant degree. For example, if you’ve got your heart set on being an astronaut but you don’t own the world’s biggest online store and can’t pay to be shot into space, a performing arts degree probably won’t get you very far. Not as far as the moon and back, anyway.

On the whole though, it’s better to get a 1st class degree in a subject you enjoy than a 3rd in something more relevant.

A 1st class degree shows you have intelligence, dedication and self-discipline and those are qualities that are high on any employer’s list of priorities.

While you may well have the intelligence to get a 1st class degree in any subject, you will struggle to find the dedication and self-discipline to be engaged enough to gain a 1st in a subject you find boring or have no interest in. 


Where do you want to live?


If you’re a mature, mature student (i.e. someone who hasn’t been in their twenties for a long time), you probably won’t be upping sticks and moving far away from home for the first time. 

If that’s the case, your choice of university course will be more limited as you’ll be restricted by the courses that are on offer at your local university. However, for the youngsters just finishing their A-Levels, the world is their oyster. 

So, if you’re an extrovert who likes a big, buzzing city full of bars, clubs and restaurants, you’ll need to find a course where you can get student accommodation in Southampton, London, Brighton or similar vibrant city that will cater for all your nightlife needs. 


Does the course offer what you want?


If you’ve seen two courses with the same title and you choose the course that’s in a more desirable place to live, be careful. Just because the courses have the same name, it doesn’t mean you’ll be studying the same subjects. 


Universities draw up their own courses based on their own particular staff and facilities, so courses can vary wildly between universities. 

With that in mind, if you see a course you think you like the look of, study the course outline carefully to make sure the course contains modules you’re interested in (or to make sure it doesn’t contain modules you don’t want to do). 

Along with the actual course content, also check if the course offers other elements you were hoping for such as work experience, placements or a year abroad. If these things are important to you, again, make sure you research the course carefully. 


Visit universities and attend open days


Your degree will take three or more years out of your life that you’ll never get back, so you need to be sure it’s the course for you. 

A big part of university life is the actual campus, so visit the universities who have courses you’re interested in and see what they have to offer. 

Walk around the campus, talk to students there and get as much info from them and the tutors as you can. 

While you’re there, you can check the campus out and see if they have the facilities you’d ideally have access to such as a theatre, library or music venue, etc. 

Knowing how to choose a university course can be daunting. After all, there are thousands of courses to choose from and you need to be sure you choose the right one. 

Taking some time to think about what you need from a university course will help you to make the right choice.



RENTING VS BUYING IN YOUR TWENTIES.

Monday, 15 November 2021

 Buying a house is something that most of us dream of doing or at least have on our 'life goals' list from a young age. I didn't give it much thought until after university and even then, I knew I wanted to go travelling and live abroad for a while so saving for a house wasn't really going to be feasible. I am now 27 and have just signed for one of the '50/50 affordable houses' that won't be complete for me to move in for quite some time. So right now my predicament is whether to rent or save by living with my parents until it is ready! Everyone's situation is different, which is why renting may make more sense for you than buying or vice versa. Here are a couple of things to think about when deciding. 


Photo Credit


When to buy a home 


I think there are a couple of important factors to consider when purchasing a home - your financial situation, your long-term plans and your current living arrangements. 

Financial situation


Buying a house requires quite a few up-front costs and a deposit to secure your house. The average for a first time home buyer in the UK is around 15% although there are now mortgages that accept 5% deposits (BBC News). It is important to remember that the more you pay with your deposit, the lower your monthly instalments will be when it comes to paying your mortgage. 

You can use a website to calculate your payments to see realistically what you will be able to afford and how much you can save. So for example, if you wanted to purchase a house for £250,000 and deposited £50,000, you'd be looking at a monthly mortgage of around £876 for 25 years. Which brings me on to my next point!

Current living arrangements


I know we see lots of success stories on social media of buying a house on your own, but unless you're earning a really good salary paying a monthly mortgage of £900 won't leave much room for other fun things in life! If you're trying to buy on the open-market and earn a regular salary, my advice would be to save as much as you can by living with your parents until you can afford to put a good deposit down, or wait until you're in a stable relationship and can purchase something together. After all two salaries are better than one. (and paying half the mortgage!) You can also work out what mortgage you can afford to borrow depending on your combined income. 

Long-term plans 


Another point to consider is where you see yourself in the next 5 years or so, because if it's not where you currently are then maybe buying a house won't be the best option for you. Although if you can afford to buy and do plan on returning to the area then buying might be a good investment as you can rent out your home in the meantime to cover your mortgage payments. 

Another thing to remember is that your first home doesn't have to be an 'insta-worthy' 3 bedroom flat in central London with a pink door. It's better to buy something you can actually afford now and then upgrade down the line when your situation changes than try buying your 'home for life' at 21 and being up to your throat in payments and not be able to enjoy your 20s! Plus, renovating can be fun and IKEA hardly disappoints. 

When to rent 


Renting is usually better as a short-term solution, or if you're someone who doesn't stick to one place for very long. Here are some reasons why you might want to rent instead of buy.

Flexibility


Choosing to rent makes it easier to move house once your lease has finished, and in majority of the times you won't need to worry about furnishing the place or replacing furniture (unless you want to) as the landlord will deal with that. It's also a good option if you work remotely or are somewhat of a digital nomad who doesn't stay in one city for too long. 

Less Risk 

As long as you don't breach your contract, you can leave most of the issues for your landlord. So you won't have to stress about changes in the property market or dealing with a leak in the kitchen!


Cheaper (in short term)


Renting an apartment can be a pretty quick and easy process, especially if you choose to do a house share through a website like SpareRoom which only asks for the bond, a reference and one month's deposit (in most cases). If you're new to a city and plan on sharing with friends this could be a good option as you could find yourself paying £400 rent a month. Which is great if you're just going to be in London for a year etc. 

One good thing to come out of the Covid pandemic is that flexible/hybrid working has become a lot more common. So the need to live near the city centre isn't as necessary, meaning you can rent something a lot nicer and cheaper by being on the outskirts. A study by Metro listed the cheapest places to rent in London which included Manor Park (E12) and Forest Gate (E7). 


So, to rent or to buy?

In a nutshell, if you're settled in one place and have a stable job, then my advice is to save as much as you can in the next few years and buy your own property. In the end you'll have something that is yours and it's always good to have some collateral. If you're someone who moves around a lot for work or buying a house has never been what you want to do, then renting it is!


G



* This is a collaborative post but all words are my own. All collaborations are kept relevant to Tea With Gi and my audience *








10 THINGS TO EXPERIENCE ON YOUR TRIP TO NAPLES, ITALY.

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

I didn't know much about Naples (or Napoli) before our trip, except for the fact that it's where pizza was 'invented' and that it was a gateway to other places of interest like the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. Because of Covid we had actually changed destinations a number of times before settling on Italy because it was one of the cheapest places we could change our Ryanair flights to! If you're looking at spending a couple of days in the Campania region of Italy, here are some things I recommend doing. 



1. Eat pizza, every day. 



We set ourselves the challenge of eating pizza and pasta every day whilst in Italy, because why wouldn't you? Even with that we didn't have time to try all the iconic pizza places in Naples. I even accidentally ordered one without cheese (marinara) and it was still delicious! For some quirky toppings head to Pizzeria Imperatore 1906. For a Michelin star experience without the price tag, eat at Sorbillo Restaurant, but expect to queue! Finally if you'd like to follow in the footsteps of Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, head to L'antica Pizzeria da Michele. Another typical thing to try in Naples is 'fried pizza', which I wasn't the biggest fan of but there are people out there who are, so why not try it for yourself! 




2. Visit the archaeological museum 



One of the main reasons people visit Naples is to explore the nearby ruined city of Pompeii, but if you want to get the full historic experience and see relics and excavations from Pompeii then this should be on your itinerary. The museum is currently open and entry is permitted to EU citizens who have a valid 'green pass' or others who can present a vaccine certificate. 


3. Stroll through Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara



Santa Chiara is a religious complex that consists of a church, a monastery, tombs and an archeological museum. You won't need to spend more than an hour here, but the beautifully painted pillars are worth the walk so you can get a good photo for your Instagram! 



4. Catch a ferry to the island of Capri



If you're from Gibraltar, then Capri probably won't be that breathtaking to you as it has a lot of (limestone) similarities with Gib. Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy were all big fans of the island and regularly spent summers here. For us regular folk, you wouldn't want to spend more that a day as a peach iced tea will set you back 6 euros. Whilst you're there, I do recommend taking the Funicular to the top of the island for the best view, or walk if you want to brave the heat! We had lunch with the best view at La Palette followed by gelato at Buonocore If you fancy visiting one of the cheaper islands, Ischia is a 50 minute ferry ride away from Naples.

Day Trip to Capri from Naples (£98)




5. Try some local sweet treats like Baba and Sfogliatelle 



I have an Italian friend who spent a few years living in Naples so I asked her for the best place to try Sfogliatelle and she recommended Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio. To explain more about what it is, it's a shell-shaped pastry that has lots of thin layers so when you bite into it you'll deffo hear the crunch! The standard one comes filled with custard but you'll find many varieties. Baba, is a little sponge cake soaked in a rum like citrus syrup. 



6. Hike Mount Vesuvius 



When we booked a tour to Mount Vesuvius we didn't actually think we'd be going up Mount Vesuvius. I think we just assumed we were going to get close enough to see the volcano via bus. Firstly, you can actually see Vesuvius from pretty much anywhere in Naples, and we managed to get very up close and personal meaning that we could actually go look inside the crater. The bus does leave you fairly close to the top so you only have to hike up 1.5km (40 minutes). Just make sure you wear appropriate footwear or you'll find yourself frantically wondering round the streets of Naples at 6pm trying to find trainers (like us).  



7. Visit the remains and learn about the history of Pompeii



Personally I don't think it's worth visiting Pompeii without a guide, or else you're just going to be marvelling at a bunch of rocks with no meaning behind it. If you are planning on visiting Pompeii I suggest you don't go in July or August, as you'll be waiting in long queues and standing in the heat. Luckily, since we went end of August and tourism was still relatively low, we didn't have to wait anywhere so we were in and out of the place in around 2 and a half hours. The most interesting thing we saw was a 'brothel' that had paintings you could see of the different types of 'services' they offered, which is how archeologists figured out what the room was for! 

You can actually visit Pompeii and Vesuvius in one tour and I've linked the one that we went on below. 


Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii Ruins Tour (£77)



8. Explore the Amalfi Coast and the picturesque town of Positano. 



The town of Positano is a short 1h30 min drive from Naples, and it's definitely worth the trip. You will definitely have seen photos of the colourful Italian style houses on social media and it's just as quaint in person! Again if you're from Gibraltar, it might look a bit like Caleta to you but on a bigger scale. Once you get to Amalfi, I recommend taking a boat trip around the island. There'll be plenty of companies offering private and group services once you get there.

Positano and Amalfi Coast Day Trip (£64)



9. Take a free walking tour of Naples



If you've been reading my blog for a while then you were probably wondering why I hadn't mentioned this already, because I do love a good free walking tour. Naples can be a bit of an intimidating city at first, and you'll find a lot of people don't speak English. That doesn't mean it doesn't have its charm and it's always great to find out more about the history of a city and its people. Even though these tours are advertised as 'free' you are expected to tip something at the end!

10. Snap a photo at Toledo Metro Station



The metro system is super easy to use in Naples, although from what we experienced the trains were never on time. Nevertheless, if you want to save money on taxis and snap some cool shots of possibly the most artsy station in Europe, head to the Toledo stop. 

Toledo Station (Photo Credit)


Naples has a bit of a history for being a bit 'rougher' than its neighbour Italian cities but it's definitely got better over the years. It might not have as many landmarks as Rome or be as romantic as Venice, but it still had its charm and is known for having the best Italian food in the country!If you'd like any more tips for Naples you can reach me on my socials below.




* This post contains affiliate links which means if you book through me I receive a small % of commission, at no extra cost to you *

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tea with gi naples guide





GUEST POST // RURAL VS URBAN LIVING

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.

5 TIPS FOR STARTING A BLOG AND IMPROVING SEO.

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! 

G




5 ADVENTURES TO TAKE YOUR GAMMA JACKET ON.

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





G

HOW WE CAN ALL BE LIVING A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE.

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. 



G

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


25 TIMES MEN HAVE HAD THE COMPLETE AUDACITY.

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



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