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…

BATHING IN HISTORIC CHARM

 

As I potter down a cobbled street lined with unique shops that exude an individuality so charming that I can’t help but feel drawn to explore, I hear the faint strum of a guitar and the low melody of a street performer, just a short distance away.

Surrounded by the welcoming sounds of bells ringing as people enter shops and the glorious sight of geranium-filled hanging baskets decorating the elegant 18th century Georgian architecture, I find myself in the wonderful city of Bath, Somerset.

Famous for well-known marvels such as Jane Austen, William Herschel and Thomas Baldwin, whom of which was the respected architect of Great Pulteney Street and Bath Guildhall (and probably not a relation), the Georgian city is steeped in fascinating history and rich character.

Over the years, Bath has shone in being an exceedingly clever city, more so now than when it first rose to fame, when founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD. For it has retained most pleasingly, its natural history, elegance and quaint atmosphere, whilst in turn moving with the times and becoming one of the most stylish, creative and sought after places to live.

There is an eclectic feel towards almost every street I turn down in Bath. One second I could walk past a building which has been a firm favourite in the city for many many years like Jolly’s, and the next I’ll be walking past Santoro’s only shop in the world.

Which brings me nicely onto Milsom Street. Understandably seen by many as the most fashionable street in Bath for many years, it offers a wide range of independednt and intriguing shops, such as Waterstones, India Jane, Vinegar Hill, Santoro, Paperchase, Hobbs and Café Rouge. There are also a couple of banks, a card shop and Milsom Place which takes you through a sweet passage, away from the bustle of main street Bath and eventually leads you to the likes of Jamie’s Italian, Cath Kidston and other little shops dotted around each curve and corner of tranquil.

Moving away from Milsom Street, there are an overwhelming amount of attractions still to cover, each and every one of them, a true delight and offering a unique experience for all. The Roman Bath’s is of course, compulsory, as is the Thermae spa itself; and attached to that is The Pump Rooms. It is in that room you will experience quite simply the true taste and atmosphere of the elegance and charm Bath holds within its heart. I have been most fortunate to visit there twice and both times I have enjoyed the three-piece orchestra playing softly in the back of the room, offering a welcome background melody while I sipped the best hot chocolate and nibbled the best cream scones I think I’ll probably find in the whole of Bath.

Onward’s now to the Parade Gardens. A firm favourite of mine, especially in the summer. Just around the corner from Pulteney Bridge, entry to the gardens does incur a fee, but for about £1.50, it is completely and utterly worth it. As I walk down the slope (there are steps but I always forget as I’m too excited by this point), I leave the cars, pedestrians and shops behind me as I walk towards the idyllic setting of paths and lawns and flowers and benches. To some, this may do absolutely nothing, to me, it calms me instantly as I wind my way through topiary hedges and majestic flower beds poised to thrill the influx of tourists and visitors. Once out of the magical entwining of leaves and paths, the view which I am then greeted with and the feeling it creates is something I assume to be very close to a child discovering Narnia in their wardrobe. Stunning views of Pulteney Bridge, the weir and the River Avon envelop my eyes and melt my heart. And if all of that wasn’t the most pleasing thing since tea with jam and bread, there are even some sneaky views of Bath Rugby ground and the big screen, so in the summer, the sports enthusiasts can take a peek from a distance at the games in full swing. Also in the summer there are picnics to be enjoyed, deck chairs to be lounged on and the occasional wedding to wonder at. From April to September the garden café opens for all to enjoy and hydrate. Concerts are also held in the bandstand in the centre of the lawn during summer months, which I’ve heard are events not to be missed if you’re in the area.

Just watch out for little teams of ducks which gather at unsuspecting feet while one eats a sandwich on a bench, waiting in earnest to be fed. Cheeky but sweet.

Other highly esteemed places to indulge in while in the area are, Sally Lunn’s, The Royal Crescent, The Circus, The Jane Austen Centre, Victoria Park, botanical gardens, Bath skyline and the really very good, ghost walk. I’ve done this a few times and it’s a real treat. Best done in the Autumn when nights are darker and the mist descends…

There are, of course, a myriad of other truly wonderful places to visit and things to do in Bath but I will leave you with this, an excellent website to navigate and plan your adventures around this beautiful city.

Bath, a true necessity for the mind, soul and body.

NORWAY • DAY ONE|PLANES, LAMA’S & PAVLOVA

Friday 29th July 2016 – Day One

Having been approached by a homeless drunk  asking for money (who turned out to be very pleasant), and being glared at by the girlfriend of a man I’d previously asked for help, I boarded the National Express from Bath 20 minutes late and began the 4 hour journey to London Gatwick.

The journey was fine, I slept on the coach and quietly ate my breakfast. It was still sinking in that I was on my way to an airport and I wasn’t coming home later that day. Twelve years on since my last trip abroad, I was not used to getting into the mindset of leaving England and my family, for such a long time. And to be honest, the whole feeling was rather exciting.

Arriving at Gatwick Terminal South, I slung my over-filled rucksack over my shoulder and clutched the handle on my suitcase and set off in the direction of check-in.

Going through security and check-in at Gatwick was single-handedly one of the most stressful experiences of my life. And I’ve been through a lot. Walking up the stairs to security, having ditched my water bottle and leaking banana, things felt reasonably calm. A feeling I would soon realise to be a false sense of security.

With the scene in front of me resembling what I imagine to be something quite similar to a Syrian border office, I was met with a wall of people queuing, bags and suitcases in hand, pushing and shoving each other. Each face had its own concerned and troubled expression, with eyes like a rabbit in headlights. I fear it wasn’t long before I looked pretty similar.

I spotted a free inch or three on a table where people were shoving liquids into a clear plastic bag provided by the airport, and becoming unusually territorial, I trotted like a kicked-up-the-arse-cow over and nabbed those precious free couple of inches. I had been organised enough before I left home to separate the liquids I was taking into a clear bag, but I noted here was a size limit on the bag’s provided by the airport. So conscious of not making my first criminal offence, I adhered to procedure’s and transferred it all into their own bag.

It was at this point the zip on my new (new) rucksack decided to break. The panic and fury that started to build inside me put me rapidly at risk of looking even more like a nervous wreck, so I did a pretty thuggish kick of my rucksack along the floor in order to keep my place at in the packed queue. There I was, juggling a passport, boarding pass, plastic bag of liquids, a broken rucksack and trying to fish out my ipad so I didn’t hold said queue up, I already looked dodgy as hell.

After about 5 minutes of being bumped into, shoved and stared intensely at by a 7-year-old boy holding a teddy, clearly trying to work out in his head how airlines allow twitchy human beings such as me to get on the same plane as potentially him, it was suddenly my turn to go through the beep machine.

Putting on my “I genuinely have nothing to hide and I was once a member of GirlGuiding” face and placing my belongings neatly in the trays, I proceeded to nonchalantly wander through the beep machine.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!!! 

“Oh Holy Jesus” I screeched as what seemed like every alarm in the building went off following my emergence from the beep machine. Before I knew what I’d done, I was immediately told to stand to one side and take off my shoes. I did a little prayer that my feet hadn’t acquired any fluff since 6 hours ago.

What occurred next can only be described as a necessary evil. Not only was I now bearing skin (feet and ankle) in public, I was then frisked (by actual hand) by a woman officer. Legs, waist, arms. And then I was shouted at for having something in my pocket. Upon being told to remove it, and noting that the officer had stepped back for the removal, I did a mini prayer that the passport I’d previously shoved in my left pocket had not suddenly turned into a pound of class A drugs. Fortunately and unsurprisingly, it was still my passport, and after more frisking, I was waved on. Shaking and with the driest mouth since chewing on a plain Rivita, I hurriedly collected my things and walked through duty-free in a frenzied daze. Completely bypassing anything ‘discounted’.

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The rest of the morning went fairly smoothly and without drama. After trailing around the airport looking at the shops with hiked up prices, I acknowledged my rumbling tummy and went to a place called Wondertree for brunch.

It was good, but what really made everything great; I could see the planes landing and taking off. There were a couple of incidences where a man thought I was taking a deep interest in his face but I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a very fast KLM had just taken off out of his left ear. Essentially. He was sat by the window…

When asked what I would like to order, I indulged in being quintessentially British for one last time, and felt compelled to order avocado on toast with tea. It was yummy.

Ok, a million hours later and 11.20am finally comes around. Boarding time!

Clutching my passport and boarding pass, standing in line grinning to myself like Mr Bean on his first holiday, I catch a glimpse of the massive creature that’s about to fly me 37,000 feet in the sky. I’m talking about the plane, not the pilot. I didn’t see him but I’m sure he’s very slim. He had a nice over-the-tannoy-voice too.

Settling myself into my seat (17c for those closet plane enthusiasts), I spot the man I’m sitting next to and launch in with introducing myself. “Hello, I’m Amy. This is my first plane ride by myself so if I start getting freaked out, don’t panic!” I say with far too much enthusiasm in my voice.

“I’m sure you’ll be fine.” He says with a slightly nervous smile on his face, and without even looking at me, plugs his earphones in to his ear and ‘reads’ something on his phone. We didn’t exchange a single glance or word the entire flight. Take off was bloody scary and how I didn’t inadvertently clutch the man’s leg or scream, I don’t know.

For the majority of the flight I kept dozing. Or at least I think that’s what it was, and not passing out. I’d taken travel sickness pills which cause drowsiness, so I was thankful I had a solid reason for occasionally missing chunks of the flight. I hope to god I didn’t dribble.

The fun came when we started our decent into Norway. I decided then would be a fabulous time to put some make up on so I didn’t resemble an extra from The Walking Dead when I greeted my friend at arrivals. Maneuvering the small space, ear pressure and a heavy rucksack, I retrieved my make up bag and started to line things up on my fold down tray. Well, anyone would have thought I’d started to unload little toy bombs and missiles given the amount of tut’s and sighs I was getting.

Apparently ladies, making yourself look pretty for arriving in a new country is off-limits. Who knew?

Landing was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. After bumping the back wheels like a kid on a new bicycle, the pilot then whacked the brakes on, what I considered to be far too early, and there was a sort of metallic grinding sound as we continued to bump along the tarmac.

Disembarking from the plane was relatively easy, as was customs and baggage reclaim. Very speedy and with such a small airport, there was no option for getting lost.

Before I knew it, I was walking through the doors of arrivals and when I saw my friend standing there, I don’t think I can explain how happy I suddenly felt.

The adrenaline was soaring through me and we chatted and chatted in the car, on the way to where she lives with her husband. I could barely stop smiling. We stopped briefly at a place called Aksla, in Alesund, where the following pictures were taken.

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And after chatting quite a lot more about the last 3 years of our lives, we arrived in the town of Tresfjord, where they live. And where I would be staying for the next week.

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As you may be able to tell from the above picture, I was introduced to some lama’s. This was my first encounter with a lama outside of a zoo and without a mesh fence as a barrier. It went well, but given the look on my face, a Vallium would have gone down well before the meeting.

Only a month previous to this, my friend posted a picture of one of these Lama’s on her front doorstep.

There was so much to look forward to already…

Their house is beautiful. Set basically in a forest, every window I looked out of were either trees or mountains. The view from their living room was fresh out of a fairytale.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Ewelina presented the most delicious looking Pavlova she’d made for my arrival. It was spectacular and very yummy indeed!

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My first evening in Norway was spent eating delicious food, in the company of great friends, having a good old catch up.

Being able to visit friends after three years apart and just pick up where you left off, as though time never really moved, is a very special thing.

I went to bed with a huge feeling of happiness and excitement for the week to come.

 

 

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

The Secret Life Of A Morbidly Obese Lunatic

This is my 5th attempt at typing this post. (Insert facepalm emoji here)

It was meant to happen Wednesday evening after the day from hell, then at numerous times throughout the week, but many things have stopped me from finishing the whole thing; from re reading it thinking it sounds to wingey, to feeling too tired to complete it to feeling way too ill. So, now I have about 4 drafts of this waiting for me to get my act together. My first draft (on Wednesday), contained far too many swear words for my liking and I wasn’t sure how that would go down with any readers I had, so hopefully, now I’m in a calmer state, I’ll only drop a couple of naughty words here and there:)

The week that has just gone by has been so incredibly stressful with illness (mine and my parents), having to literally take charge of everything while my dad couldn’t leave the house, get through a week at work and my trip to Devon last weekend. It’s been a crazy week and now I’m suffering with the ME. I really resent that after a week of basically doing my duties as a daughter and looking after my parents and running errands and doing chores, that I fall ill myself and am confined to bed with sickness and dizziness and extreme tiredness. Pathetic. I hope it doesn’t make people think I can’t handle things, because I can, deep down, it’s jut my stupid ME that overrides all of that.

In other joyful news, I am officially awful at blogging. It’s ages since I last posted anything and I’ve half considered packing the whole thing in, but then I remember how much I’ve spent on getting it right and suddenly the want to continue returns. Plus I have realized in the past few weeks just what I could do with my blog if I really make an effort to focus on it. But to be perfectly honest, by the time I get to sit down in front of my laptop in peace and quiet, I’m so exhausted I can’t bring myself to type or think! I’m unsure how I’m going to get round this but I am determined as there is much more to come in the story of What Amy Did Next and I really want to share that with readers.

A lot has been happening in the world of Amy lately, and there’s one massive piece of news I have which I’ll be sharing in a blog post very soon! My diary is and has been pretty full I’m pleased to say, but there’s always that part of me which feels guilty for leaving my family to go off and do things. They don’t mind at all, but they do rely on me somewhat so it’s always a bit daunting telling them I’m not going to be there for a weekend. I spent last weekend in Devon to see my friends and celebrate a late birthday with one of them. It was a fun weekend and I managed to do new things which had previously been way out of my comfort zone. But I survived and have come out the other side having learnt things so I see this as a positive.

I have a work meeting coming up next week in a place I’ve never been before and I have to get up at stupid o’clock to leave the house by 6 am to get a train by 7 am. It’s also on the day my mum goes for a dental operation so I’m now feeling guilty about that and will be having numerous amounts of kittens while I’m so far away. The operation was originally booked for the day after the meeting but they’ve changed it last-minute. Poo bags to that!

At the end of the month I have a spa weekend with my best friend from Devon, which is a seriously new experience for me and one I am slightly dreading. Not only does it mean exposing an awful lot of my body I’m really unhappy with at the moment, it also means letting strangers give me a massage and a facial (?) while my friend holds me down and ensures I don’t kick and scream my way through it. I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it and not be all self-conscious and prudish, but there is that streak in me. I’ll probably appear on the 6 o’clock news with the headline: “Hysterical Lunatic Sectioned After Kicking Masseuse In Shins In What Staff Are Calling Their Worst Client To Date”.

I’m also on a diet. God help my poor starving, confused, depressed soul. Enough is quite enough now and having reached the ghastly point last week when upon showing my mother the swimming costume I’ve bought for the spa things, she goes “My god Amy, that could fit the bloody gas works”, I have decided that I am sufficiently over the bastard break up to finally stop stuffing my face with anything edible with the excuse of, I sodding well deserve it OK?

Now I’m a very good two stone heavier than I was after said break up and about two dress sizes up, I figure now’s the time I stop with the comfort eating and get my arse in shape before I end up on one of those ridiculous reality tv shows for the obese and useless. God, I’ll probs feature on the next tear jerking series of “Too Fat To Leave The House” where steaming hot firefighters are craning me out of my room through the roof while I’m there, donut in one hand, takeaway menu in the other… Plus, I need to get immensely fit for this big thing that’s happening in July which I’ll tell you about in a post coming very soon! So, not only does this whole healthy diet thing benefit my health, but it means my roof won’t need to be ripped off a few years down the line.

Yay me!

 

My Holiday In Devon & The Tragedy Of Dining Alone…

20th June 2015

Yesterday, I returned home from my week in North Devon with my wonderful friends.

The train journey there had started off rather dramatically, and I always welcome drama, when on the opposite platform, a man was taken away by police… It attracted, as expected, quite a lot of attention from fellow train-riders and I pretended to be absorbed in my book about Bletchley Park, but peeped over my glasses the whole time to gawk at the welcomed altercation!

That was all over fairly quickly, which was a shame but in hindsight, quite fortunate as if it had carried on until my train arrived, I probably would have stayed to carry on spying!

So yes, I got on the train a couple of minutes later and the hoards of loud people in groups also boarded too, much to my disappointment. A group of men in there 30’s and 40’s had been gathering round on the platform, clearly excited for whatever rowdy, drunken event that was about to take off.

And only a few meters apart from them, was an age matching group of women, dressed in matching t-shirts, making just as much noise, just as excited and also getting on the same train…

I reluctantly boarded a carriage and made my way in true disgruntled fashion down the narrowest alley way I’d ever known in a train.

The carriage was packed and so was the luggage rack, so with weekend bag and rucksack in hand, I squeeze messily into a seat by the window, and begin to pray I’m not going to be joined by any of the rowdy lot or a pervy letch!

I thought my luck had been chucked at me 10 fold when it seemed like everyone had found their own seat successfully and I was left with a whole seat next to me! My thoughts were confirmed when the train started moving slowly out of the station and a small, smug but victorious smile crept on to my face as I proudly placed my own luggage into the seat beside me.

Chuffed with my unexpected solitude, I decided that then was a good point to eat my egg sandwich I’d bought, as let’s face it, no one wants to be sat next to anyone eating an egg sandwich on a small train… And that was when it hit me, when I was at my most smug… I was travelling backwards…

That’s when my hand grasped egg sandwich came to a halt mid munch, a churning feeling in my stomach appeared and the words “only I could travel backwards on a train while trying to eat an egg sandwich” came into my head.

And then, just to add to my horror, my head slowly turned round, egg sandwich still planted in my mouth, to see this young girl smiling gleefully back at me, with not a smile of amusement, but a smile of no holds barred pity.

So after dealing with apparent trespassers who were somewhere between where the train was and the next station, the driver picked up full speed and I arrived a little calmer than when I started, just after lunch and waited for my friend to pick me up.
The first evening was spent on the beach with Prosecco, music and lots of giggles and I felt as free as a bird. We were listening to music from The Zac Brown band, who I found a few summers ago and their music fitted so perfectly for our evening on the beach and the words in the song rang so true for me at that moment.

For a girl who has never had more than one and a half glasses of wine before, the three Prosecco’s I’d had by the time the sun was setting on the beach, we’re definitely taking hold of me and the evening danced by with a light hearted frivolity. Pictures, giggles, dancing, singing and spending time with two of the nicest people I know. I felt truly lucky and very grateful for that evening and its San be perfect start to my week.

The rest of the week there passed very well, with explorations of the town and shops, a spontaneous trip to the local museum which turned out to be very interesting and I had a lovely chat with one of the ladies who volunteers there. I went to the beach again by myself and wrote my post cards, thought at one point I was going to be gobbled up by a dog, who just wanted to say hello, managed to get half the beach on my skin after caking myself in sun cream, and was sat there for a good two hours with my late grandma’s tartan umbrella to keep the sun off me. I must have looked like something from The Darling Buds Of May!

 


However, things took a bit of a nose dive on Tuesday lunchtime, when I found myself in a restaurant for lunch, in town…
I’d walked in the door and was greeted by a young girl who had rings on all fingers, red hair and was thin as a rake… Who promptly blurted for all the restaurant to hear, ‘Table for one?’

And that’s when it hit me. I hadn’t actually prepared myself for dining alone and the tragedy that comes with it.

No, I had been used to walking in proudly with my beau, waiting to be walked to a table for two and then going on to enjoy having company while I ate and moaned about everything I didn’t like with where we were. A favourite pass-time of mine.

But now, in a frenzied, tear-filled gaze, I was being led to a massive table at the window which felt like it played a part in the Banquet in Macbeth. All the time, I was being paraded to the village outside and my loneliness and raising level of uncomfortableness was being cast in an exhibition titled, ‘The Tragedy of Heartbreak’.

So, I sat there, sipping my new favourite drink Elderflower Bubbly, waiting 45 minutes for my food to arrive.

During that time, I had to endure every table in my sight containing smug couples, one table of which right opposite me, acting very loved up and kept looking my way in confused pity. I had to stop myself from glaring at them but their brazen public displays of affection were getting the better of me.

And then my distressed brain tuned into the music that was playing through the speakers. A medley of sad songs continued to pour out all the time I was there and I spent the entire time fighting back tears in public, once again.

There was no escaping, I’d ordered food, hadn’t paid for my drink, not to mention starving. I was trapped in the love torture pit of hell and I felt like everyone could see me squirming, everyone knew how sad and low I was. Horrifyingly humiliating, but in recent months, not something I’ve been a stranger to.

After a hideous wait, 45 minutes later, my food arrived and I was bitterly disappointed. It was a linguini carbonara and it was swimming in oil. By that point I had lost my appetite anyway, and with the amount of oil I was having to consume, I plonked my fork down mid meal, huffed loudly and sunk back into my seat tearing up and feeling queasy.
After paying and being polite enough to not moan about the quality of my experience there despite it bringing me to tears and queasiness, I made a hasty retreat and fled back to my friends house where I spent the afternoon feeling incredibly sorry for myself and yes, I watched The Jeremy Kyle Show.

One of my lowest points.

And it began to dawn on me that the more time I spent by myself, the more I was starting to think about him again, the lower I was feeling.

By Thursday night, I was a teary wreck again and needed to get things out of my system. Which I did thanks to my heroic friend who drove us up a hill at night to view the sea and talk. It lifted me so much by the following lunchtime and I returned home feeling a lot more at ease and settled again with my feelings.
The things I learnt while on my holiday, are pretty different to what I thought I would. I learnt that being by yourself at home isn’t always a good thing, I learnt that dining alone really isn’t something to launch straight into if you’re newly single with a broken heart, I learnt that friends are your life line sometimes and I am incredibly lucky to have some that care about me along with my family, and I also learnt that caking yourself in that much sun cream will only ever result in looking like a colourful version of the sand man.
An enlightening week which ended perfectly by being greeted at the station at home by my dad who took my bags from me and gave me a hug:)

I should be keeping a Gratitude diary from now on as I really am starting to notice the little and big things people do.
Not a changed woman yet, but a woman who is doing things she didn’t think she could do and who is getting stronger by the day.
Amy 🌸