Giana Spiteri

Giana Spiteri has 21 articles published.

10 Experiences on my Travel Bucket List

in Features/Travel

There are a few things I’ve ticked off my travel bucket list in life – seeing the northern lights in Sweden, surfing in Australia, sailing across Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. There are still plenty of travel experiences I want to have and these are just some of the ones up there. 

See the Pyramids of Giza 

The Pyramids of Giza have been around for approximately 4,500 years and were built as tombs for the pharaohs, along with smaller pyramids surrounding them for their family members. I’ve heard mixed reviews about Egypt and a lot of people found the pyramids to be underwhelming, but it’s still a wonder of the world I’d like to experience for myself.  

Walk along the Great Wall of China 

This is something that I could have ticked off my bucket list in 2020, but alas after covid broke out we had to change our travel plans and come home after Vietnam instead of travelling to Beijing. Of course walking the whole wall is quite an impossible task as it spans over 21km, but there are tours available where you get the chance to walk through parts of the wall. 

Explore Petra

Petra is an ancient city located in present-day Jordan. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. What makes Petra unique and awe-inspiring is its architecture and the way it was carved into the rose-coloured sandstone cliffs. 

The city is accessed through a narrow gorge called the Siq, which opens up to reveal iconic structures such as the Treasury (Al-Khazneh), the Monastery (Ad-Deir), and numerous tombs, temples, and dwellings. I remember seeing Petra in the movie ‘Death on the Nile’ and was immediately fascinated by it.

Ride in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia

This is definitely something that I only discovered through social media a few years ago and I had to add to my bucket list. The views look breathtaking and for this unique experience it will only set you back £120. I haven’t given much thought to whether I’d find flying in a hot air balloon scary, so if you’ve done this before I’d love to know your thoughts!

Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Visiting New Orleans has been at the top of my ‘countries to visit’ list for a long time, and what better time to visit than the Mardi Gras festival? The festival takes place every spring and involves parades, parties, music, dancing and the wearing of colourful costumes and lots of beads! 

Eat beignets and gumbo in New Orleans

To follow up on my previous point, I’m also obsessed with NOLA food. Gumbo is a hearty stew made from combinations of seafood, meat or vegetables that’s served hot over cooked rice (and can be quite spicy). I’ve tried gumbo before but would love to have the authentic experience. Beignets are not as sweet as a traditional doughnut and are slightly puffier and square in shape. If you’re a fan of the Vampire Diaries and spin-off shows then I bet this place is also on your bucket list!

Trek to Machu Picchu

There are a few ways to experience Machu Picchu. You can choose to trek to the top on a 4 day excursion known as the ‘inca trail’ or you can take the easier option which involves a train journey and then a less intensive walk to Machu Picchu. Either way you still get to experience the beautiful landscapes. 

See Angkor Wat in Cambodia

This is another experience I missed out on because of covid as I had to cut my trip short, but I am determined to make it happen in the next 5 years! Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia and is considered the largest religious monument in the world. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and apparently the best way to see the temple is with a sunrise tour in the morning. 

Relax in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland 

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a popular geothermal spa known for its milky blue waters and natural beauty. The lagoon can be visited year-round, but the weather and crowd levels vary throughout the seasons. The summer months of June, July, and August offer longer daylight hours and milder temperatures, making it a popular time to visit. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so the Blue Lagoon can be quite crowded.

If you prefer fewer crowds and don’t mind colder temperatures, visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (April and May) or autumn (September and October) can be a good option. The weather is still relatively mild, and you may have a more peaceful and relaxed experience.

I don’t do very well in the cold so even though going at Christmas would probably be beautiful, I don’t think I’d find it a particularly fun experience! 

Have a true American road trip 

The first stage to ticking this off my bucket list, is getting my drivers licence! If not, I can always rely on my boyfriend whilst I’ll be in charge of snacks and the aux cable. When I was a teenager I was always fascinated with America (probably because of the movies I grew up watching) and wanted to experience places like Las Vegas, Nashville, Chicago and of course California. I was lucky enough to spend 5 months living in Orlando when I was a student and managed to visit Miami and New York in my time there. Hopefully I can explore more states in the near future. 


in Features/Travel

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal behind Lisbon, and in my opinion just as beautiful and quaint. One thing that they both have in common is the amount of hilled streets you will come across whilst you’re here! If you’re looking for a place that has culture, sun and affordable food then this is the place for you. Here are 10 things I
recommend doing whilst you are in Porto. 

1 – Go on a Portuguese food crawl 

Portugal has some great food, and after doing some research I found that this city in particular has a few local specialties. The most famous is their ‘francesinhas’, a meat filled sandwich covered in cheese and tomato sauce. Secondly you have ‘bifanas’, which are similar to montaditos de lomo but covered in a delicious spicy sauce. This had to be my favourite! Cachorro hot dogs and cod fish are also popular options in this region. Lastly, you can’t leave Porto without trying a few pastel de natas (custard tarts). 

2 – Book a port wine tour 

This was such a fun experience, just make sure you have a big meal before this because you will end up tipsy! We booked our tour online through GetYourGuide and it lasted around 3 hours. Our guide was informative and funny, we tried 3 different port varieties and by the end of the tour we had 9 glasses of port and one table wine of our choice. My personal favourite was the ruby port, I’d love to know your thoughts if you do this tour! 

3 – Visit the Duoro Valley

If you’re a real wine enthusiast, then I recommend a visit to the Duoro Valley. You can either take the train from Sao Bento yourself, or book a guided tour which arranges the travel for you too. There are even tours where you can pick and stomp on the grapes yourself! 

4 – View the city from the Torre dos Clerigos 

The Clerigos Church Tower is also a great navigation point if you lose your way around the city, but the view from it is also lovely! There’s plenty of cafes and restaurants surrounding it, so it’s also a good place to sit and have a coffee and people watch.

5 – Visit the charming Livraria Lello Bookstore

We didn’t go in ourselves because there was a pretty long ticketed queue to enter the bookstore, but if you’re a book lover then you don’t want to miss this place. It has a charming red staircase and resembles something out of Beauty and the Beast. Tickets to enter cost 5 euros, but if you buy a book inside they will deduct this from the price of the book. 

6 – Cross the D Luis I Bridge and walk along the Nova de Gaia area

When you cross the bridge and head down the very steep hill to the Nova de Gaia promenade, you’ll find a range of bars, restaurants and port wine cellars here. You will also find the Mercado Municipal de Beira here which offers lots of different food stalls. There is a stall here that sells ‘brigadeiros’ which are Brazilian fudge balls and they are delicious! Along the promenade you can also try a cod and cheese croquette at the Casa Portuguesa.  

7 – Snap some pics in the Sao Bento Railway Station

This is one of the prettiest stations I’ve been in (after the Toledo station in Naples), and even if you’re not planning on travelling anywhere it’s something worth seeing. As mentioned earlier in this article, you can catch the train to the Duoro Valley from here. 

8 – Walk along the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal

The Crystal Palace Gardens are free to enter and is the biggest and largest green space in Porto. Here you’ll find different gardens with fountains and sculptures scattered around the park. It’s a great place to take a walk through or if the weather is nice, bring a picnic. 

9 – Enjoy happy hour at one of the many bars at Galeria de Paris Street

I don’t think I’ve ever paid 5 euros for an Aperol Spritz anywhere, and this is what you’ll find here when it’s not happy hour. If you do like your fancy cocktails and cool interiors, then I suggest grabbing one at The Royal Cocktail Club. A lot of these bars have dance floors in the evening, so if you’re looking for a night out this is where you want to be. 

• Try and catch a festival whilst you’re there!  

The main reason for our visit to Porto was for the Primavera Sound festival, and I would definitely go again. The organisation was great, an Uber was only 10 euros from the centre and we didn’t have to wait too long, and the range of artists they brought catered for all different age groups and music tastes. 

I hope you have found this article useful, and if you have been to Porto yourself, I would love to hear what your highlights were! 

A Guide to Geneva

in Features/Travel

Geneva was never a city that was high on my bucket list, especially when the first reaction that people have when you say you’re going there is ‘nice, but Switzerland is so expensive!’ If you live in the likes of Gibraltar or London, then the prices there won’t scare you much and there are always ‘hidden gems’ where you can get a cheap deal or at least value for your money. If you’re planning a trip to the swiss city, here are my recommendations on where to stay, what and where to eat and what to do in Geneva. 

Where to stay

Geneva is relatively small, meaning that as long as you get a hotel in the city centre you will be able to reach most points of interest by foot. We stayed at the Auteil Manotel Hotel, which was a few minutes walk from the main train station and about 5 minutes from the bus station.

The 4 star hotel cost around £160 a night during the spring season and my favourite thing about our stay had to be the bed and pillows. I felt like I was sleeping on a marshmallow! I also love hotels that do a bit extra for their guests (in the form of treats) so it was great to find a bar of swiss chocolate, some fruit and a bottle of red wine was left for us. Our room also had a big terrace facing the train tracks, which we thought might have been too noisy but to be honest with the door shut we didn’t hear anything. 

What and where to eat

I could just make this article about cheese and chocolate, but we actually did eat other things which I will share. One thing has to be said, we did not have a single bad meal in Geneva. The only thing I was disappointed with was my £8 oat shaken Starbucks latte (self-inflicted for spending that at a chain coffee place).

For breakfast, head to the Cottage Cafe nice and early and grab yourself one of their ‘open sandwiches’ and a coffee for under £10. It’s a very quaint little place and you get great views of the city and river behind you. If you want to splash out a bit more, I had a ‘Oui Monsieur’ at Birdie Cafe which was lovely and cheesy, but also cost me £16. 

For cheese lovers, I 100% recommend you make a reservation at Cafe du Soleil for their cheese fondue. This place was filled with tourists and locals, and if we wouldn’t have pre-booked we would have probably been waiting outside for a while. The menu says that the cheese fondue is priced at around £20 per person, but we thought surely it isn’t going to cost us £40 to eat melted cheese if there’s two of us. We asked the waiter if we could just order one portion and that was fine, and they still gave us 10 slices of bread and a pot of fondue to share. We also split a steak and chips and this was also delicious, this got dipped into the cheese too! 

Another place which is known for their cheese is Restaurant Les Armures. This is found in the old town and you will be able to try swiss cheeses like gruyère and raclette. 

If you fancy something a little different, then Masala House do really good indian food. You’ll find that Geneva is a melting pot of cultures, and as you walk down the streets you’ll see there is a bit of everything when it comes to cuisine!  

What to do 

Geneva hasn’t got a long list of landmarks to see, but some points of interest which you might want to mark on your Google Maps are: 

  • Jet D’Eau
  • Temple de Saint-Pierre
  • Jardin Anglais (English Garden)
  • Place du Bourg-de-Four
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Quai du Mont-Blanc

The main event of our trip to Geneva, was a 3 hour chocolate tasting tour with Local Flavours Tours. If you select the 2:30pm tour, then I suggest you just have breakfast and treat this tour as your lunch because you will end up very satisfied. 

This tour will take you through some of the best artisan chocolate shops in Geneva, and of course let you try a range of chocolate in all different forms. We had hot chocolate, truffles, unique flavour creations, ruby chocolate, a chocolate patisserie and then got to select some on our own. What’s great about this is not only is it an immersive way to learn about the history of chocolate in Switzerland, but it’s also a great way to get your bearings around the city with a walking tour! 

The tour is slightly on the pricier side at 98CHF (around £87) per person, but if you factor in all the chocolate you eat you’d probably be spending over half of that buying them individually at the shops.  

I know this article is titled ‘A Guide to Geneva’, but if you find yourself with time to spare then I really recommend catching a Flixbus to the French town of Annecy. The trip will only set you back 10 euros and you will get there in under an hour. If you haven’t heard of Annecy, just think Venice mixed with Beauty and the Beast! It really is one of the most picturesque places I’ve been to. Here you need to try a raclette baguette from La Fermette and try a tartiflette (a dish made of potatoes, cheese, bacon and everything delicious). You can find this dish on almost every menu in Annecy. 

I hope you have found this article useful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me a message on one of my socials! 

How to plan the Perfect Holiday

in Features/Travel

I’ve been writing travel guides for a few years now, which has got me into a good habit of making sure I plan my holidays properly and that I’m getting the most of my experience abroad!

Unless you’re going on a really complex trip and you’re the type of person who likes everything planned for them, 9/10 times you don’t need a travel agent to book your trip for you. Here are my recommendations for planning the best holiday, as well as some tips for saving money and getting the most out of your experience.

  1. Use incognito mode when searching for flights

This is one that a lot of people know about but some are still surprised by! When you search for flights on the likes of Skyscanner on your browser, your ‘cookies’ are tracked meaning that you might even find that the price increases in price the more you look at it. My advice is to open your browser in ‘incognito’ mode to avoid this, and you’ll likely find that prices are cheaper.

2. Combine destinations

When planning your trip, it is also a good idea to see how much it would be to travel to a neighbouring country. Sometimes you’ll find that the cost of flying home from a completely different city or country, is cheaper than flying back from your original destination! It’s a great way to see multiple places on one trip. As an example, Bratislava in Slovakia is less than an hour coach away from Vienna, and a Flixbus ride will only set you back 10 euros.

3. Store everything in a cloud

If you’re travelling with other people, the best thing I recommend is using something like Google Drive to store all the documents for you and the rest of your passengers. This means that it can be quickly accessed from anywhere and by the people you choose. I always put a copy of the itinerary here, boarding passes, tour tickets and of course, passport copies just incase!

4. Create your itinerary on Google Docs

Anyone who’s ever travelled with me knows how obsessed I am with google docs. You get real time updates on a document, multiple people can edit it online at the same time and of course it’s great for jotting down all the details of your trip. I usually put the dates of travel in, add the flight details and then usually get my friends to put down all their ideas on there for us to come up with a plan for our trip.

5. Use social media

I can’t remember a time where I just went on holiday without having any idea what to expect. I know that is sometimes the beauty of discovering somewhere new, so I try not to look into too much detail on what to expect in a new city. I do however love to use Pinterest and TikTok to find ‘the best local eats’ or ‘photo spots’ in a place.

6. Pin your landmarks on Google Maps

I swear this article isn’t sponsored by Google, but their products are very handy when it comes to trip planning! If you open google maps you are able to ‘create a trip’ and then save all the points of interest. Whether it’s restaurants, your hotel or landmarks you want to save. The good thing is you can also view these without data and you will still be able to navigate around.

Make the most of bank-holidays to extend your trip

If you have Gibraltar bank holidays, then March/April is the best time to have an extended holiday. Last year I went to Thailand for 3 weeks and only had to take 10 days of annual leave thanks to the Easter holidays, May Day and Workers Memorial Day. If you’re short on days for the rest of the year, then why not plan a trip over the New Year? That way you can also pull days from the following year.

8. Find free things to do

One of my top activities to do in Europe is a ‘free walking tour’ of a city. These are always a great way to see and learn about a place and get your bearings. Even though most of these are usually free to take part in, it is expected that you give some sort of tip at the end of it.

9. Plan your activities before hand

My go to for activities and excursions is either GetYourGuide or Klook, and it’s great for removing the hassle out of organising outings. A lot of the activities listed on here come with free cancellation just in case your plans change, and you can also see customer reviews below to see whether the activity is worth doing.

10.  Don’t overplan

As much as I love doing things in advance, there is also such a thing as planning too much. We know things can always go wrong, so It’s important to go with the attitude that if something doesn’t go as planned, it’s ok and most of the time these things are usually funny to look back on. It’s also good to just leave some time to get lost around a city and see what hidden gems you discover yourself!


in Features/Travel

Spring is my second favourite season, not only do the days start to get longer but we also have a handful of bank holidays to look forward to. I usually use every chance I have to get on a plane, but I also want to use this time to explore Spain a little more. If you’re looking for a short-haul weekend away, here are some of my recommendations.


Growing up whenever I said I was going to Marbella, really we all meant a night out in Puerto Banus, but Marbella town also has a lot to offer. Here you can either spend a whole day shopping in the centre or at the nearby shopping centre of La Cañada or treat yourself to a spa weekend at Marbella Club Thalasso Spa or the Six Senses Spa at Puente Romano Beach Resort. If you are looking
for a bit more of a party, then nightclubs like Pangea and Olivia Valere are good options.

Marbella has no shortage of good places to eat, and depending on your budget these are some I’d recommend. If you’re a meat lover, then head to Dani Garcia’s restaurant Lena. You can buy a tasting menu here for 75 euros, so it makes it a great place to go for a special occasion. Nobu hotel also has a great japanese restaurant but it’s on the more expensive side. Wabi Sabi is a cheaper option that has funky interiors and serves Hawaiian food, so expect poke bowls, unique burgers, bao buns, tacos and more!


Cadiz town is a quaint place, it has lots of cobbled streets and it can be easy to get lost here! We spent a night here and we had such great food that I’d go back just for that. Restaurant Balandro is always fully booked, and has a range of fusion tapas and dishes. We walked passed earlier in the day and managed to book a table for the evening, although the seatings are only for an hour and a half. If you go here, I definitely recommend the truffle tagliatelle and the tuna tartare. I have sushi pretty much everywhere I go, so if you’re the same then book a table at Feng Shui Street. If you fancy finishing the night with something quirky, there is a bar called La Chupiteria that has over 100 shots on the board, and only cost 2 euros each!

In terms of sight-seeing, make sure you stop and look at the Catedral de Cadiz, the Teatro Romano, the Parque Genoves and Torre Tavira for the best views in the city.


If you’re looking for a few photo opportunities in Mijas, then head to the Old Town. You’ll find it is full of white houses, flower pots, cobblestones and the Plaza de Torros. Which is also a great place to grab a cerveza and some tapas! If the weather permits, you can also visit the Aquamijas water park. After spending a couple of days in the Spanish heat, throwing yourself in pools is exactly what you’ll want to do. The park is open from June until late September and they also have discounted tickets for children.

If you’re a fan of quirky museums, then pay a visit to the Museo de Miniaturas. As the name suggests, the museum is full of hundreds of miniature items picked up by the hypnotist and magician Juan Elegido Millan. One of the most interesting pieces is a painting of the Seven Wonders of the World, on a toothpick, yes a toothpick.

In the evening, take a walk through the Paseo Maritimo, where the atmosphere doesn’t die down until after midnight, even on weekdays! I recommend eating at Timollo Limon here.


Seville, or Sevilla is a firm favourite for many. My primary reason for visiting Seville was because I wanted to pace around Real Alcazar, which if you’re a Game of Thrones fan you’ll recognise as the place where the Kingdom of Dorne was set. This place is beautiful and only sets you back 12 euros for a ticket to the palace and gardens, just make sure you buy these online prior to your visit because the queues for this get very long. Within its walls and gardens you can see a mixture of the cultures and religious influences that have helped make the palace what it looks like today.

Parque De Maria Luisa is a very picturesque walk where you can rent bicycles, cycling carts and take a ride on a horse and carriage. In here you’ll also find the Plaza De Espana, where you can row boats and admire the architecture and these murals dedicated to all of the Spanish provinces.

Some scattered landmarks that you might want to check out are the Seville Cathedral, Torre de Oro (a gold tower) which was built in the 13th century and used as a prison; it got its name because apparently the reflection on the water looked gold. The Giralda (a renaissance-style gothic tower) is also a site of interest.

We stumbled upon El Papelon for lunch and we all ate really well. They specialise in meat and cheeses, but definitely try the carillada here! If you’d like to stop for some coffee and cake, then La Creme de la Creme and Santagloria are good choices and have tons of breakfast options too. For dinner we found la Taberna Del Torneo which got very busy very quickly, which means they serve you quickly and pretty much want you to move quickly after finishing your meal to make space for the next guests. The food here was delicious and cheap. We had honey glazed aubergines, mini burgers and a whole bunch of other tasty tapas. Triana is quite a hip area and there is plenty of restaurant and cafe choices on your doorstep. The Mercado de Triana is a good spot to find everything from paella to oysters to croquettes.

According to locals the best restaurants in Gibraltar

in Features

With Gibraltar  being such a small place, one of the most common ways to spend your weekends here is eating out and going for drinks. Whenever I’m travelling to a new city, I find myself searching across social media channels for the best places to eat. Which is why I wanted to find out what restaurants the people in Gibraltar would rate the best, to help tourists but also for locals to discover some new places. Over 400 people took part in this survey, and these were the results!

For Breakfast

My Wines

Coming in first place for breakfast is My Wines. This was actually my vote too as I love the variety. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savoury, or having breakfast with your family there’s something for everyone. I recommend the pancakes, bacon eggs benedict or a simple mollete with tomato. If you visit around autumn/winter, they also have pumpkin spiced lattes on the menu. I need to go for breakfast soon to try their latest edition to the menu, the ‘breakfast hunger killer’. This combines their famous lemon chicken fingers in a warm mollete with melted cheese. 

Hustle n’ flow

In second place we have Hustle n’ Flow, which is a very convenient 2 minute walk from my house. This place combines nutritious food with an instagram worthy aesthetic. Here you can find a variety of smoothies, acai bowls, classic toasts and a few lunch options such as wraps and burgers. My recommendations here would have to be the french toast , the blue eyed girl bowl and the ‘honey we’re all nuts!’ toast. Whilst you’re here, finish off with one of their super shot elixirs! 


In third place we have Aquaterra, which hadn’t been on my radar until this. This place is usually known for their meats and cool cocktails, but they also have a very cheap and cheerful breakfast menu. It also looks like it’s packed every Saturday morning so you’re best off booking a table in advance! I had their Andaluz breakfast which included bread with tomato and olive oil, topped with jamon serrano. You also get a tea or coffee included for a total of £3.90! 

For Tapas

 La Tapilla Sixtina 

In first place for tapas we have La Tapilla Sixtina, located in Chatham Counterguard. This is probably the closest you’ll get in Gibraltar to a typical Spanish tapas menu, and the prices are reasonable. Here you’ll find a variety of montaditos, tostadas, croquettes, meats and more. My staples when eating here are the huevos rotos, the pork with truffle oil, the carrillada (pork cheek) stew, and the prawns pil pil. To wash it all down, have a tinto de verano with liquor 43!

Vault 13

In second place, we have Vault 13, an asian-mediterranean fusion tapas restaurant. I’ve never had a bad meal here, and I’ve pretty much tried 90% of the menu. My favourites are the asian prawns, the octopus with potatoes, the pork belly, the mini chicken brioche sliders and all of the bao buns! 

My Wines

Making another appearance on the list, in third place for tapas is My Wines. I always like coming here in a big group because there are a lot of things on the menu that I enjoy. I recommend booking a table on their terrace in the warmer months too. My recommendations here are the goat’s cheese salad, the jalapeno wontons, lemon chicken fingers, puchero croquettes, and the duck nachos (a lot of my friends are 50/50 on these nachos, but I love the oriental spin on them!) My favourite wine here is Anahi, if you’re looking for something semi-sweet to pair your food with. 

For a date night

Little Bay 

In first place for date night or a meal out, is the Indian restaurant Little Bay. This place is always full so expect to wait a while for your food, but it is delicious. The go to order for my boyfriend and I when we go is the chilli cheese naan, the pomegranate aloo tikki chana masala, the anardana jhinga which is a prawn dish, and the chicken murgh makhani. For dessert, the pistachio kulfi is lovely. I also recommend checking out their signature cocktail menu!  

4 Stagioni 

This is my favourite Italian restaurant in Gibraltar, mostly because of their very cheesy garlic bread calzone and the pumpkin ravioli. 4 Stagioni is located a bit further away from town but the fact you have to make more of an effort to get there almost makes it feel like an even better spot for a special occasion. If you’re more into pizza than pasta, then I recommend the tropical pizza which comes with ham, pineapple and mango chutney! Our favourite wine to have here is Satinela. 

 Vault 13 

Also making a second appearance is Vault 13, so I thought I’d save some of my other favourite menu items for this section of the article. The whipped feta with honey, the hummus and the beetroot & goat’s cheese mousse are all great plates to start with! 


If after you’ve checked out one of these restaurants you fancy going for a few drinks, then these are the best cocktail spots according to locals. In first place we have Las Iguanas, which probably has one of the largest cocktail menus in Gibraltar. My go to here is the Pornstar Martini or the Guava Colada. In second place is Little Bay, and my favourites here are the Masala Mule and the Ancient Routes. In third place we have Bruno’s, which is famously known for their 24 hours 241 cocktail special. I usually have a Singapore Sling or a Pornstar Martini here, or an Aperol Spritz when the sun is out! 

10 Good habits for 2023

in Features

1. Make realistic resolutions

I personally didn’t participate in dry January because I knew I had my work leaving do, and two birthdays that I wanted to celebrate with my friends and champagne! I did however decide that I would limit my drinks to just the weekend instead of catching up with a friend over wine on a Wednesday for example. 

2. Learn to say no 

I’ve learnt that just because you have a free day in your diary, doesn’t mean you should automatically consider yourself ‘available’. I’m often guilty of having things planned for almost every day of the week, and it can get tiring when you don’t give yourself enough time to do nothing.  Personally, I’m trying to keep Mondays free so I know I can just come home and relax for the rest of the evening. 

3. Perfect a meal

Instead of promising yourself that you’re going to become the next Gordon Ramsay this year, start small by perfecting a dish. On my trip to Thailand last year, we attended a cooking class and we all said we would come back home and make everything we learnt. It took me about 5 months before I actually got round to making a thai green curry. That being said, I’ve made it a few times now and can confidently say, I make a good one!

4. Do more things

If you look back on your 2022, how many things do you think you missed out on because no one wanted to do it with you? Whether it’s trying out a new restaurant or going to the cinema for a new movie only you’re interested in, try and find comfort in doing things alone. I actually went to a gig on my own a few years back and I had a blast. 

5. Make a positive change in your diet 

If you started the year by telling yourself that you’re not going to eat any more chocolate, will never order a takeaway and will only eat keto, then you’re setting yourself up for failure by restricting yourself too much. Try and implement one thing at a time and that way it will become more of a lifestyle than a diet. One thing that I started doing again the last few months is intermittent fasting, where I keep my eating window between 12pm – 8pm. There are lots of benefits to doing this, but I suggest you do your own research on it to see if it is right for you! 

 6. Make a positive change for the world 

Whether this means taking the bus to work instead of driving, or cutting down your use of plastic, implementing just one good habit can make a lot of difference. If you feel like you’re already doing your bit for the environment, maybe focus on a different way you can help. Try volunteering for a charity or join the corporate social responsibility team in your company, if this is available. 

7. Practice gratitude

I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and it really does help you see the positives in even the most mundane days. I have a note on my phone called ‘365 days of happiness’ and at the end of each day, I write down the hghlight of my day. Sometimes this could be something as simple as the french toast I made myself for breakfast, or something funny my boyfriend said. 

8. Save more money than you did last year. 

Last year I did the ‘penny challenge’ where you put 1 extra penny a day to a vault or savings account and by the end of the year you would have £674 saved. This is great for saving for Christmas presents or just to treat yourself at the end of the year. This year I’m trying a new challenge where you add in 1 extra pound at the end of the week. As an example, on week 1 you would add £1, week 2 you would add £2 and so on. 

9. Invest in your relationships 

Sometimes we take for granted the people we have in our lives, and I know we are all busy but there’s always time to check-in. Spend more time with your family, call your grandparents more often and don’t forget to ask your friends from time to time how they’re doing. If you’re in a relationship, one thing I also recommend doing together is finding out what your love languages are (there’s plenty of tests online that will be able to do this for you). This is a great way to bring you closer together and understand each other better. As one person might prefer quality interrupted time and another might require more words of affirmation in the relationship. 

10. Practice self-reflection 

Finally, use this time to look back at how you have grown as a person over the last 12 months, and areas that you think you could improve on. If you’re brave enough, you could also ask the people closest around you. How could I be a better partner? What do you think are my best personality traits? When do I seem my happiest? Are all questions you could be asking. 

Gift Ideas For Frequent Travellers

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‘What do you want for Christmas?’ is a question I find myself asking some of my family and friends every year. As we get older you start to realise there’s not many things that people ‘need’ but some presents can always be useful. I remember when I went travelling for a year I got a number of practical presents that I still use to this day. If you have someone in your life who is constantly travelling, here are some gift ideas they’ll enjoy! 

1. Suitcase

Depending on what your budget is – then a matching set of suitcases would be a perfect gift for someone who travels often. I purchased the American Tourister Bon Air Spinner case and found that I actually prefer a hard shell case. It’s lasted me 4 years so far! I like the number of compartments, the 4 wheel function and that it has a built in code lock. 

2. Gift experience

If you know your friend has a holiday coming up, take a look on a tour website like GetYourGuide and see if there is a fun experience or activity you could surprise them with. My friend bought me a ‘flower bath’ experience when I went to Bali a few years ago and I loved it. My mum also bought me a bungy jumping activity for my time in New Zealand which I had mentioned I wanted to try. Make sure you find out if your friend is the adventurous type before booking something like that though! 

3. Packing Cubes

These have been a game changer for my trips and I have a number of friends and family members who now use these too. They’re essentially ‘cubes’ or zipper bags of different sizes that can be used to store all your travel items. They’re great for keeping all your items organised, and if they often travel with a backpack it will definitely make finding things 100 times easier. 

4. Luxury hotel

This could be a great present for yourself too if you’re planning a trip with a significant other or friend. One experience that I’ve been recommended and I’m hoping to go myself next year, is the Nomading Camping in Ronda. You essentially sleep in a ‘bubble’ dome under the stars, and have your own private area too. If my boyfriend is reading this, take this hint! 

5. iPad Cover

Because what good is taking your Ipad to entertain yourself on a 4 hour flight when you can’t get it to sit properly on the tray table? I made the mistake of not checking the reviews when I bought my cover two years ago and the flap doesn’t actually hold the weight of the iPad, so I end up having to balance it awkwardly and hope the passenger in front doesn’t move his seat too often. The ‘Moko Ipad Cases’ (£12.99) are available on Amazon and will hold your iPad up so you can watch your shows on any surface!

6. Backpack

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who likes to travel hands free then these are always useful, and this one in particular is very practical and inexpensive. Cabin Max’s (£30) backpacks come in over 20 colours and are designed to maximise hand luggage allowance on most airlines with its size of 55x40x20cm (44L). It features 3 main lockable zipped compartments, and an organisational pocket featuring 2 zipped internal compartments.

7. Eye-Mask

Especially for long-haul flights, it can be hard to fall asleep if the passenger next to you wants to pull an all-nighter on the flight and get through a whole season of The Crown. This would make a great stocking filler or for a secret santa present. 

8. Travel Journal

If like me you know someone who likes to document their trips in one way or another, then the Travel Listography (£20) book which you can purchase on Amazon or Urban Outfitters, is a great gift idea. It features over 100 pages of travel related prompts such as ‘interesting people you’ve met whilst travelling’ to ‘places in Europe I’d like to visit’ to ‘lakes, rivers and oceans that I’ve swam in’. 

9. Kindle 

I’ve been known to take two books with me when travelling because I’m worried I’m going to finish one and then have nothing else to read on the flight. That’s the beauty of a Kindle (£69.99) – you can read as many books as you like and they’re all kept in one compact device. These range from the original Kindle, to the Paperwhite and Kindle Fire – depending on what your needs are. 

10. Flight voucher

With most airlines charging you for your overhead luggage now, even a gift voucher of £25 would come in handy to take away the frustration of all the added flight expenses. I recommend choosing an airline like Ryanair or Easyjet that fly quite frequently from Malaga. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even include some flight destinations that you’d recommend! 

My winter wardrobe staples

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October time is usually when we say goodbye to all our sun dresses and t-shirts and say hello to hoodies and jeans. This year I feel like that keeps getting prolonged because the warm weather doesn’t seem to be leaving us just yet! Living in Gibraltar means that we don’t get such a drastic change in our wardrobes from one month to the next as people in the United Kingdom. Meaning that layering clothes is usually the first transition for us before we commit to sweaters and polo necks. That being said, I have purchased a number of items for the season that I know I will be making a lot of use of over the next few months. Here are some of the staple items that you should have in your wardrobe this winter. 


These have come full circle from the early 2000s and have come back into fashion the last couple of years, and it’s easy to see why! They’re comfy and are perfect for a casual weekend brunch or to go shopping in Main Street. I’ve had a black pair for a few years and this year have added to my collection with a beige pair from Zara. 


Growing up I never saw much use for these as I always thought to myself, wouldn’t your arms get cold? However in Gibraltar, these kind of make a lot of sense. They’re perfect for when it’s too cold to wear a denim jacket, but not cold enough to wear a puffer coat. Neutral colours are best for these as well to make sure they go with most of your outfits. 

White staple trainers 

I remember when I lived in London and would see people on the tube wearing trainers with anything just to get to work and then they would switch into their heels before getting to the office. Now these have become more athleisure wear than just to wear to the gym. Not only are they comfy, but they can sometimes be the statement piece if you’re wearing a simple outfit. Some of my favourite trainers at the moment are the ‘Nike Air Force 1 Shadow trainers in soft pink and pastel mix’ and the ‘Nike Zoom Air Fire trainers in pearl white and lilac’

Leather flares

Flares of any material have been part of my wardrobe for years now, so it was only a matter of time before I added some leather ones into the mix. Low rise leather flares have been on trend this season, but if that’s not for you there are more high waisted options you can find in stores like ASOS. They’re perfect to wear for a night out with a crop top and some chunky boots with a leather jacket. 

Chunky ankle boots 

I learnt my lesson last winter that suede boots weren’t as ideal to wear to work when there are high chances of rain. Some leather chunky ankle boots are perfect to dress up any outfit when you don’t want to wear heels or have your toes out on a night out. 

Suit trousers

These are perfect for when you need to go straight to after work drinks from the office and don’t fancy changing. When I think of suit trousers the first thing that would come to mind would be grey striped office trousers that you would see in the movies at corporate of•Oversized Blazers

These can be perfectly paired with your suit trousers or for a more casual look, with your denim jeans. If you want to be a bit more daring, then choosing a bold block colour like blue or green will add more boldness to your outfit (as long as you keep the rest of the look relatively neutral!)


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This summer I embarked on my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, and I can say my experience visiting as a teenager and as an adult were very different but both very memorable. A cruise is a great way to explore different cities/countries in a short space of time, and due to there being no coverage, also a great family bonding experience. If you still haven’t embarked on a cruise or are in the process of planning one for 2023, here are some of my tips. 

Book in advance

We booked our Royal Caribbean cruise a year and a half in advance of our sail date, and we managed to save £400 with an ‘early bird’ discount. We did take a bit of a risk as we didn’t know what the travel situation with covid was going to be like, but it worked out in the end! Booking in advance means you also get a larger choice of staterooms, and if you get seasick you’ll want to ensure you bag one of the top deck rooms. 

Look at the port terminal before you book your flights 

Our cruise departed from ‘Venice’, but what they really meant was a port that was two hours away from Venice airport and in the town of Ravenna. Make sure you research your terminal ports first, as you may need to give yourself more time to travel. If you arrive a day before it’s also a great way to explore another city! 

See which stops you can do at your own leisure

It’s no secret that cruise tours are usually double the price of those you can get via other agencies or from the tourist office when you arrive at one of your stops. There will be times where it’s worth booking a tour with your cruise as it will include transport and all the highlights a place has to offer. If you’re stopping at a smaller city or a beach town then it’s easier and more cost effective to do so at your own leisure. 

Take advantage of the drinks package

Cocktails on most cruise lines are expensive, so if you’re really looking to splurge on your first day at sea it might be worth purchasing a drinks package. On Royal Caribbean a drink package of unlimited cocktails, soft drinks and speciality coffees was around £45. Which would just about get you 4 or 5 cocktails otherwise. The only thing to note was that this offer was only available the first two days of our cruise. 

Pack your swimsuit in your carry-on bag

Just like in the airport, you will go through a check-in process before you’re allowed to board. The cruise staff will keep your suitcases and then throughout the day they will have them taken to your stateroom. This means that you might get on the ship at midday, but won’t be reunited with your luggage until 5pm. So bring your swimsuit, towel and other essentials in your carry-on luggage! 

Make the most of the drinks allowance

As mentioned above, alcoholic drinks onboard aren’t the cheapest. Most cruise lines allow you to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom with you, which is great if you want to enjoy a glass or two on your balcony as you’re watching the sunset! You are also allowed to buy drinks in the port stops but the staff might keep this aside and give it to you when you check-out on your last day. 

Keep your phone in aeroplane mode 

Even if you’re embarking on a Mediterranean cruise, there is a chance you will sail past non-EU countries where you will be charged for data roaming. My brother learnt this the hard way when he woke up and saw a ‘welcome to Albania!’ text message. Wi-Fi on the ship usually starts around £20 a day, so in my opinion it’s not really worth it. You’ll still get coverage when the ship is docked, and chances are the people who you really need to speak to will be on the cruise with you! 

Download the cruise app

Most cruise lines will have a dedicated app to make your journey a lot smoother. On our Royal Caribbean app we were able to check-in, book excursions, see how much we’d spent onboard, and see all the daily activities taking place. We also got the full menu for evening dining for the whole week, and obviously we couldn’t help ourselves in looking beforehand. The app is also a great way to plan your day as you can add activities to your calendar. 

Opt to pay for the tips beforehand 

I remember the first time we went on a cruise my parents had to dish out tips left right and centre at the end of our trip, which usually amounts to hundreds. Some cruises now give you the option to pay for the gratuities when you pay for your remaining balance before the cruise, and I believe this was around £120 per person. 

Dining vs Buffet 

On your cruise you will usually have two options for dinner each night included in your package. You can opt for a more formal dinner in the dining room, where there is usually one or two gala nights and you are given a 3 course menu every night. The other option is to eat in the buffet restaurant which usually has themed nights too. It’s worth checking on the app beforehand to see which menu appeals to you more! 

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