10 WAYS TO SURVIVE A FLIGHT

You know how it is; You’ve just sat down in your seat after being battered by crappy British weather, while standing on the aeroplane steps waiting for the diva a few passengers ahead to find space for her three over-sized cases.

You’ve been pushed, shoved, brushed up against and had numerous pieces of luggage get to know the side of your head very well and the struggle to find your aisle seat is real.

So, hiding your exhausted glee when your seat number magically appears in front of you like a handsome dark-haired knight on a white horse, the next round of horror appears when you see who you get as a plane buddy.

Now, this could be a grumpy middle-aged person who smells of coffee and cigarettes, being very obvious with their disdain at being in such close proximity with youth. Or it could be a stuffy businessman with his bluetooth tusk attached to his ear and has already ordered three double whiskey’s before the plane has even taken off, and smells only of the whiskey’s the night before and the mint gum to ‘mask’ it.

But you know realistically it will never be a sexy doctor with the face of an angel, the scent of a Dior male model and the personality of someone with actual social skills.

Never.

So, feeling like an expert at this having spent the whole of yesterday plane hopping and travelling around Europe, I thought I would share my sanity (and health) saving tips to make any plane journey, a little more enjoyable.

No matter who you’re sat next to.

1. Windeze

I mean, I know it’s probably tempting to release your intestinal gasses freely if you’re sat next to the world’s most awful person, but the air is circulated so… What goes around, comes around.

When I fly, I find my stomach often bloats due to air pressure or thanks to the excessive amount of air I’ve over-breathed during a period of panic about the left phalange. (Cue Friends nostalgia)

In short, pop a Windeze just before the flight and you and your plane bud will enjoy the air you breathe, a little more.

2. Keep Hydrated 

And I don’t mean with alcoholic beverages, free or not. Alcohol only ever dehydrated you and will serve no purpose whatsoever. The effects of alcohol are increased at high altitude so you’re at risk of getting drunk very quickly, having a shocking hangover and/or acting a total k-nob on a plane. Which, lets face it, aint a smart move.

So, buy a bottle of water after security or on the plane and get drinking. It will help keep your skin hydrated too, as flights are prone to dry out skin. If you’re not keen on neat water, you could carry a small fruit juice squeeze bottle in your carry on as they’re under 100mls and are very compact. Most supermarkets sell them.

3. Wear Roomy Layers

If, like me, you suffer from bloating or the odd roll of extra stomach when sat in the worlds most uncomfortable chair, wearing loose-fitting clothing is the best thing you’ll ever do. We all know that those plane lap-belts are positioned in the very unflattering area just under your belly, and despite efforts to yank it up and push one’s stomach under the belt, you still end up looking like you’re on your way to audition for the next docudrama for The Worlds Fattest Woman.

Also the temperature on planes is more unstable than the current UK markets, so wearing layers will definitely keep you comfortable and covered.

Win win. (I hate that saying)

4. Anti-Sickness Tablet

But don’t do what I did and take it too soon before the flight and dramatically stumble to the toilet as soon as the belt sign light turned off just after take off, and heave loudly into the metal loo. In a room the size of a coffin. During turbulence. Then have to make your way back to your seat looking worse for wear, rummaging around for mints.

No, take the tablet at the time stated on the packet like a sensible human being and it’ll work a treat.

*Always read instruction leaflet before taking because safety first.

5. Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel/Wipes

Airlines are very open these days on admitting planes are not the most hygienic of places.

If you’re flying with a budget airline or with an aircraft that does multiple flights a day, it is well-known that thorough cleaning is not always guaranteed, therefore, many germs will still be around the aircraft and on your seat/ table.

So pretty simple, use hand gels or wipes regularly and before eating. And you should remain fairly healthy.

6. Headphones

Audio books, music, downloaded films… The list goes on for the many uses of a pair of headphones. But there, for me, is nothing worse than the annoying sound you get with sitting in close proximity of someone you don’t know.

Chewing gum, noisy eating, low murmuring, snoring. ARRGHH!!!

Give me a plane-ful of screaming children or a crying baby any day but noisy eaters and crisp packet rustling is my petest hate, as my mother would say.

So, on top of entertainment, headphones are very useful for drowning out the inconsiderate.

7. Pay Attention To Instructions

When I said in the title “10 Ways To Survive A Flight”, I didn’t just mean surviving the annoying, germy bits.

Those safety instructions demonstrated by the flight attendants are for a good reason. And what better reason than your safety.

If you’re a frequent flyer you may assume you know all the safety procedures and therefore, may not pay attention. But safety procedures can differ slightly between airlines and it’s always good to be fully in the know of where your life jacket is and how the oxygen masks work.

For example, it was only this flying trip that I fully understood you have to tug on the oxygen pipe to activate it when putting the mask on. I didn’t need to thankfully, but it was helpful to know.

Don’t be that person on their phone or already with your sleep mask on while the flight attendants are ensuring your safety.

8. Smelling Salts/Olbas Stick

So, the worst thing possible (apart from crashing) has happened.

You’ve sat next to someone smelly. They either haven’t taken a Windeze or they haven’t washed in three years and now you’re sat next to them with air circulation and stomach protruding lap belts and your nose literally feels like it’s about to die.

Ah ha! But you have brought along a small jar of smelling salts or =, my favourite, the Olbas inhalant stick and you can use this essentially to block out the hideous smell next to you. All the while pretending you have a cold, so you’re not blatantly obvious that you can’t handle the odour.

Also good for congestion if the air pressure is getting you right in the sinuses.

9. Move Your Legs

Because deep vein thrombosis.

10. Lip Balm

Unless you have an unfulfilled desire to look like you have just trekked the Sahara Desert, I strongly suggest you invest in a lip balm. It doesn’t need to be a million pound one from Diptique (or whatever), but just a simple lip balm with good moisturising goodness will keep your lips smooth and hydrated.

So there you have it. 10 ways to survive a flight.

A couple of disclaimers:

  1. This post is not sponsored by Windeze
  2. Yes I do bloat, I did vomit and my tolerance levels to vile noises is unhealthily low.
  3. I’m not glamorous. But I don’t smell, drink or eat noisily so 10 Gryffindor points to me!

Safe travels…

10 HAND LUGGAGE ESSENTIALS|NORWAY

Oh hai friends,

On Friday I leave for a week in Norway and I thought I’d start my travel blogging off with a lil’ post on the things I’m taking in my hand luggage on the plane.

Despite having a carry-on sized suitcase, I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit clothes, toiletries, shoes and hand luggage stuff in there – like iPad, snacks, books and notepad – so I decided to check my suitcase (something I’ll no doubt end up regretting), and taking a rucksack on the plane with me.

Deciding what was going in my rucksack seemed quite the challenge about a month ago, but since getting my quite big rucksack, filling it  has been all too easy!

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  1. Ok, so top left is my blush pink rucksack made of what looks and feels like faux leather. I bought it from Amazon for about £15. It has two side pockets, a front zip pocket and a large space inside. I’ve never owned anything with leopard print, but that’s definitely what’s occurring inside. It’s bearable, but not me at all.
  2. Bottom left, fluffy sock! There will hopefully be another in there by Friday, if not, at least one foot will be warm. I hear from every YouTube video on flying there is in the world, that in-flight socks are more vital than pilots.
  3. Top right, BOOKS! So they weigh a ton and are very bulky, but there was absolutely no way I was going away without books. I’ll not only have a lot of time travelling but while I’m there I’ll have time to myself during the day. So what better way to keep me company than Michael Palin in the Himalaya and studying Journalism?
  4. Bottom right, waterproof (because there’s every chance of rain when I land), a spare top and spare underwear. Incase the hideous happenstance occurs of my luggage rocking up late to the party, I am taking two essential changes of clothes with me. Top and knickers!

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5. iPad Mini + keyboard. This needs zero explanation.

6. Power Bank – Anker. So this also cost £15 from Amazon but it’s a great investment. I take my plug charger everywhere I go and it’s a bulky thing to carry in small bags. Cue Anker power bank. For an iPhone 6s it can fully recharge up to two times (yet to test but that’s what it claims) and it pretty compact. Great for re-charging on the go and on the plane. I’m probably late to the game with having one of these, but I’m glad I got one in time for Norway.

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7. Document holder. But not just any old document holder. The cutest document holder! My friend from Devon sent this to me in the post last week and it’s the perfect addition to my travels. I can store my passport, currency, travel papers and card in here, and there’s pockets for other papers too. Oh, and it has a tiny coin section for loose change. I even slotted my iPad mini in one of the pockets, just as an experiment. It will now be flying with me forever in my future travels.

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9. Keeping clean. Now, I’ll be travelling for about 14 hours and during that time I will most definitely want to freshen up. So, I’m taking some deep cleanse wipes, some Baylis & Harding hand sanitizer, some hand cream and lip balm for keeping my lips as moisturised as possible. I’ll also stay smelling fresh with my roll on perfume by L’Occitane – Pivoine Flora Eau De Toilette. I’ll be taking a roll-on deodorant too.

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10. Medicine. Ok, working in a pharmacy can have it’s perks when it comes to travelling, as I can buy my in-flight medicinal essentials last minute. Given my nervous disposition, I’m definitely taking Bach’s Rescue Remedy gum with me for pre-flight anxieties, and Olbas nasal inhaler for any sniffles or congestion on the plane – also a good way to block out any unpleasant smells that may be wafting around – a pack of Nurofen, some Paracetamol, Dextro energy tablets for moment’s when I’m feeling less than enthusiastic and finally, the best invention since the iPhone. Listerine cool mint breath strips (other brands are available.) In case I end up sat next to a complete and utter hunk on the plane, I won’t be huhhing food breath all over him as we converse about the beautiful view. In a more likely scenario, I’ll be able to just keep my mouth fresh feeling. No hunky men, I’m sure…

Other things I’m taking but not shown are toothpaste, snacks (plenty of the snacks), phone, sunglasses, notebooks, pens, tissues, glasses and my purse. Oh and earphones.

I think that’s everything. I’ll be live blogging (providing there’s signal) the whole trip so keep up to date with my travels here.

Amy x

Book Wish List 2016

  
One of my many wishes for this year is to read more books and not just look at them on book shelves in shops and day-dream about how wonderful I’m sure they are.

I adore books; when I allow myself the time and space to read them. That’s the thing these days isn’t it? We’re always too busy with something else, or too near a deadline to be sitting around with a cup of tea, becoming absorbed in a story, another world. It’s sad and it’s going to stop. For no one should ever be too busy to sit down and read.

I’ll never forget that one summer when I read a whole book in one weekend. It was incredible and for the entire two days, I was transported into this wonderful and magical world. The book, you ask? A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly, and it truly was…

The sky is looming over in all it’s grey and dramatic glory and there looks to be a shower of rain on the hills in the distance, no doubt heading this way. I’ll leave you all with the list of books I would really love to read this year. Let me know which books are on your wish list for 2016.

              2016 Book Wish List

  • The Jane Austen Collection
  • The Rose Girls – Victoria Connelly
  • The Secret Garden –  ‎Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Alice In Wonderland – Lewis Carrol
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
  • Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  • Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen
  • Agatha Raisin Collection – M.C. Beaton
  • The Little Paris Book Shop – Nina George & Simon Pare
  • The Angel Tree – Lucinda Riley
  • Te Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
  • Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy – Helen Fielding
  • Sex And The City – Candace Bushnell

For the month of February, I am setting myself the challenge of reading over my lunch breaks at work, and ignore the distractions of more important stuff.

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10 Ways To Survive A Messy Breakup

 

If you’re reading this with a broken heart, whether it’s fresh, old or in the process of breaking, know you are not alone and that everything, despite how it currently feels, will be ok.

I wish I had believed that when I had a freshly broken heart. For I lay sobbing into my duvet convinced no one else had ever felt pain the way I felt it and that nothing, nothing was worth living for anymore.

A freshly broken heart is one of the most painful experiences next to loosing a loved one and it is often sorely over looked by friends, family and colleagues with how damaging it can be. 
I was lucky in a sense when I had a freshly broken heart, in that I had a fairly supportive family and very supportive friends and colleagues who told me I was doing well and made me see that life wasn’t over. But I was also fortunate in that despite the crippling pain that soared around my body like a deadly virus, despite the constant ache to run back to my lost love and beg a second go at things and despite the back-stabbing self doubt that crept into my mind and slowly began to take over my self-esteem, I fought against it best I could and rose above the immediate heartache and fear. And I taught myself, (as hardened as this sounds) to not miss him.

The days following a messy break up are (hideous, granted) the most crucial in the sense that how you approach them, how you deal with them, will shape the way you handle the later days to come. It seems such an impossibility, I know from experience, to imagine life without the person who has just parted ways with you, to imagine living a life without their love, without their friendship, and at first it’s all too easy to dismiss the fact that’s happening and that’s how it’s going to stay; but if you can find it within yourself to have a little faith in you, trust that deep down you know you can get yourself through the next few weeks to come, then my dear, you’re doing great and you’re already fighting half the battle, even though it doesn’t feel like it.

So, what does one do in the immediate days following a messy breakup? There’s a few options, some I wouldn’t wholly endorse but will still list for the purpose of shits and giggles; and I’m guessing right now, we could all do with a bit of that! Minus the shits.

  1. Go out and get completely rat-arsed with your gal friends and declare hatred for all mankind.
  2. Decide on a total change of style, dye your shortened hair green and go all punk to rebel over how reserved and suppressed you were while you were with that man.
  3. Quite literally bust the windows out his car because even though it won’t mend your broken heart, he’ll feel lucky that’s all you did. Yeah the piece of steaming poo!
  4. Run a campaign on being single and promote that women shouldn’t dread it, they should encourage it.
  5. And lastly (because I don’t want to be responsible for any more anarchy) say “Sod the lot of you” and bugger off to Tibet for 8 months on a “How to be a Tibetan Nun and find your life’s true meaning” course. Then come back 12 months later, head still shaved, married to a man called Yin with a mountain donkey and the mud hut equivalent of an unpaid mortgage.

But in case you’re at all like me (you poor dear) and you just want to take things easy and ‘heal slowly’ like I did, then read on for some sensible ways to cope, that works a tad better than the crap above.

EAT, TREAT, REPEAT

I lost a stone in the two weeks following my breakup and trust me, it was not a good look and it only added to the awful way I was feeling and dealing with things. I suggest, you don’t do the same thing. Hell, you’ve just gone through the most painful, sad and litteralay hideous thing, the least you deserve is a bag of jam donuts every day and a bag of chips every hour, on the hour. And if anyone even so much as tries to intervene, like they did with me; remind them who has the broken heart. I personally recommend tea (because it’s Britain for goodness sakes), chocolate, pasta, Brioche, ice cream (naturally) and anything with a higher calorie average than a deep fried mars bar.

*Disclaimer as the world is reaching morbid obesity lock down* It has to stop at some point but it’s totally fine for like the first month! After that, treat yourself to superfood salads, yummy sugar free smoothies and seeds and nuts which will build you back up to the goddess you always are.

PAMPER YOSELF AND FEEL ALL THE BEAUTIFULS

So you have no one to look beautiful for but yourself. “Tragic”, I hear you scream louder than than the woman off Psycho? No, just because you don’t have a guy to look a million bucks for now, just because no one will be able to feel how smooth your legs are after using that new Gillette for women razor followed by a shea body butter application and just because that one guy won’t be able to see that perfect new shade of lipstick you have on, does not mean you don’t look beautiful. Girl, you’re more beautiful than ever, because you’re you. Just you.

It may take a while to shine on the inside, but we must still take care of ourselves even when we’re hurting. Don’t stop shaving, washing, painting your nails and wearing eyeshadow just because you’ll be the only one to notice it and think it looks great. It’s time to stop doing those things for someone else, and start doing them for you.

They say the best way to get over a broken heart is to fall in love with someone else. Fall in love with yourself. It’ll be the best relationship you ever have.

MAKE A GIRL POWER PLAYLIST AND DOWNLOAD FEEL GOOD SONGS

One of the things which seriously helped me stop feeling mopey and sorry for my unrequited self, was listening to the likes of Beyonce and Gloria Gaynor. I created my own playlist (called Girl Power) and played it on repeat for a good few months. Here’s a few songs to get you going.

  1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
  2. Single Ladies – Beyonce
  3. Survivor – Destiny’s Child
  4. I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan
  5. Single – Natasha Beddingfield
  6. Bulletproof – La Roux
  7. I’m On My Way – The Proclaimers
  8. Respect – Aretha Franklin
  9. Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves – Girl Power
  10. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life – Monty Python

All at their best when sung along to 😉

VISIT SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

I swear to this day, the main reason I coped as well as I did after my break up, was being able to escape the clutches of everything and abscond down south and take refuge with my hilarious and supportive friends. Before then, I had never really embraced spontaneous solo travel, but as soon as it was suggested, I packed a rucksack, announced I was off to the seaside and boarded a train all by myself. Proudest moment ever! It was very empowering actually; suddenly going from thinking “I can’t function and don’t want to live without this man” to “I’m leaving  town and don’t know when I’ll return and I’m doing it by my self.” And while you’re away, let your friends help you. Let them take you out, make you laugh, make you see that you have a wonderful life still to lead. Not all is lost because someone has broken up with you. I didn’t believe them at that point of course; I still believed that my love would be waiting for me on the platform when I arrived back in town, but of course he wasn’t and that was a huge wake up call.

Being away is also a great time to write down some feelings. Take a journal, sit by yourself (either in your room, or by the sea or in a summery meadow if you’re really that cliché) and let the words just pour out. When you’re somewhere different or new, you take notice of many things around you, and you may just find yourself more aware of feelings you didn’t know you had.

REMOVE ALL PHOTOS & KEEPSAKES OF THE RELATIONSHIP

And in other words, don’t do what I did. Do yourself a favour and take down every single last picture of you two together and put them in a box in the wardrobe or in the spare room. Box away everything related to him away and revamp the areas he’s been in. I don’t mean get in pest control and fumigate the place, I just mean spray Oust, burn some sage and hire an exorcist for a few hours…

BUY FEEL GOOD BOOKS AND READ THEM

When you’re confused and hurting and feeling like the worlds most despised girl, it’s important you surround yourself with people or things which tell you otherwise. Best friends are perfect for this, but they’re not always on tap 24/7 for words of reassurance and wisdom. Therefore, buying books on how to deal with breakups and self help books are great to carry with you and have by your side, for the times you’re by your lonesome and need reminding that you’re not alone, that there are things you can do to help yourself and that everything, in the end, will be OK. 

I picked up It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt whilst having a minor self-pity attack in town, a couple of weeks after my breakup. Standing there, sniffling loudly into a tissue, convinced I would never laugh again, I saw a colourful book and pounced on it and read the back…

“From how to put yourself through ‘He-tox’ to how to throw yourself a kick-ass pity party, Greg and Amiira share their hilarious and helpful roadmap for getting past the heartache and back into the game.”

And I smiled. Chuckled and did a victory punch. Right in the middle of Waterstones. 

JOIN A GYM OR FITNESS CLASS

So you’ve stuffed your face with necessary crap, binge-watched Pretty Little Liars to your hearts content, and bulk bought baggy clothing to hide the yards of fat-rolls you’re happily donning. Girl, it’s time to get yourself to the gym! 

One of the first things I did the week after I was dumped, despite loosing pounds of weight by the second and not eating an awful lot, was re-join my local fitness group. Ok, so it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do in my unwell state, but it worked wonders for my mental state and meant I wasn’t moping around my parents house every single night feeling sorry for my situation whilst getting hideously fat.

So get yourself to a gym or better still, a local fitness class like Jazzercise or Zumba to make new friends who you can feel great with and to boost your mental and physical state out of Miss Self-Pity At Your Disposal. 

Under note, it’s also very satisfying, whilst you’re punching the shit out of the air in front of you to “I’m Sexy And I Know It”, to think you’re going to look a damn sight fitter than and a damn sight stronger than you were when you with that guy. And, should he ever accidentally bump in to you in town, then whoops, he’s going to see just how bloody gorgeous you are and he’ll walk away realising what a complete and utter knob he’s been. But do it for you, mostly! 

KEEP REMINDING YOURSELF IT’S NOT THE END OF YOU

Let’s be honest with ourselves. When someone we’ve loved with all our hearts and whom we assumed loved us just as much back, breaks up with you and breaks your heart too, the rest of our lives may feel like an impending sense of doom with nothing but loneliness and a bunch of cats to look forward to. (I thought that).

And whilst the cats aren’t a bad part of that, the loneliness aspect of it might be. At first I felt lonely as hell despite being around my parents. Now, I can’t wait to embrace being single and have a place of my own, by myself. See, there are plenty of great points to living by one’s self; Being able to decorate how you want, having your posessions where you want, being able to eat what you want, when you want, the list is endless. But one very important aspect which I am certainly looking forward to when I live by myself, is learning about me. Understanding how I work when I’m by myself, enjoying the peace of my surroundings and feeling comfortable in them, having the chance to grow and develop, uninterrupted by someone else’s perceived idea of how I should be.

And to travel to the hidden places of the world, to learn something new, take a course in something. The possibilities now you’re single are my dear, endless. And yes, that’s scary at first, but trust me, soon they will become an exciting prospect you can’t wait to get those kitten paws on!  

DON’T HOLD ON TO TOO MUCH HATE AND ANGER

You’re hurting, you’re broken and you might be having flashes or mad. Fair enough. The man’s broken your heart, and whether or not he’s got a good enough explanation, it’s just not sitting well. As previously mentioned above, in my not so top tips, you may have feelings of wanting to bust the windows out his car and declare mutiny on his existence, but holding on to that kind of hatred and ill feeling is going to not only damage you short term, but it may leave an unpleasant taste for a long time to come. 

After a few compulsory weeks of hating his guts, calling him every name under the sun and listening to “O Fortuna” on repeat, day dreaming about the revenge you could reap, have a cleansing evening and decide to leave all ill feelings you have towards him and the break up at the ‘hate door’. Light a few white candles, have a long and scrumptious bath and play some relaxing music (sounds a bit chliched but girl, does it work), and meditate your way out of hate. Visualise as you deep breathe, the hateful feelings inside you leaving your body in a dark mass and in replacement, calm waves of bright light shining down into you, filling you with peace and closure. Acceptance is key to moving on, and creating a little under stated ceremony like this will enable you to calmly and peacefully leave behind the hurt and welcome in the new, cleansed and positive you. 

Only do this when you feel ready. Forcing closure is never a good idea and will never properly work. But feel happy and proud of yourself when you do achieve it.

PLAN NEW DREAMS

So, you’ve eaten you’re own body weight in mac & cheese, traveled to see friends, joined the gym, read books and sang songs; What more could there be to do on your journey?

Make new dreams. It’s highly likely you’ll have made a ton of dreams and wishes with the person you were in a relationship with and now you’re not with them it may feel like there is nothing else to dream for. I thought this, but it wasn’t until I sat down on the beach with the sea washing in and out, that I realised I had a myriad of dreams I could make come true by myself, and in fact, would be much more enjoyable done by myself. 

Re-Decorate, move to a cute chic city apartment, go on holiday, get a cat, dye your hair, take that course you’ve had you eye on, volunteer, see your friends more, take that promotion, try new hobbies, write that book… So much is now waiting at your door, and you can do it by yourself because you’re smart and beautiful and you never needed anyone but yourself to get you to the places you truly deserve and want to be in life.

Leave behind hating, regretting and forgetting and move on with grieving, accepting and healing…

Go get em girl! And don’t let anyone or anything stop you from being happy. 

 

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