How to Survive Long Haul Flights

Long haul flight

Long haul flightsHow to survive long haul flights and still feel human.

This week I’ve been thinking about when I might be able to go back out to Australia. The problem for me is the flight; it takes so long to get there, I can’t really justify going for less than 2.5-3 weeks. So then I started thinking about long haul flights generally…

Long haul flights are the worst. I mean, they’re the best because you end up somewhere amazing at the end of it. But the flight itself can be hell and it can take you a couple of days to feel human again.

1. Comfy Clothes

This one is the most obvious. But if you’re going to be confined to one seat for 10+ hours, those high-waisted jeans that dig into your belly when you sit down probably aren’t the best choice.

Personally, I like to wear clothes that are as close to pyjamas as possible. This generally means hareem pants, a loose t-shirt and an over-sized cardigan or hoodie – basically anything that isn’t tight fitted but that will keep me warm even in all that air conditioning.

2. Clever Footwear

I don’t mean in the sense of investing in trainers that have some sort of AI built in. I mean, think about your footwear before you leave the house. The first rule is to pick something that you can take off and put back on again quickly and easily. A lot of airports will ask you to remove your shoes at security and you really don’t want to be that person who holds everyone up because you’re not ready despite having been in the queue for 45 minutes.

Secondly, think about your destination. When you get off the plane at the other end, is it going to be the middle of the day and baking hot or is it going to be chilly and wet? You’ll probably want flip flops for one but not the other.

There is an exception to these two rules though. The one thing that overrides them both is specialised footwear. If you’re heading off for a month long trek in the Himalayas or to climb Kilimanjaro you want to be travelling in your walking boots. This is for two reasons: 1) they probably weigh a ton and will push you over your baggage limit, and 2) you will be screwed if they go in your hold luggage and your bag doesn’t make it to your destination.

Long haul flights3. Socks

No matter what you decide on in respect of your shoes, pack your biggest, warmest, comfiest socks in your hand luggage. You’re going to be on that plane for a while so you might as well kick off your shoes and get comfy. Everyone knows it gets insanely cold on planes and having cold feet is a nightmare. So, even if you board the plane in glorious sunshine and you’re heading towards even more sunshine, don’t forget the socks.

4. Refreshments

Most long haul flights are really good at looking after passengers but it’s just so much easier if you take your own snacks and water. I’m not saying don’t take advantage of the food and drinks offered as part of your in-flight service but there’s nothing worse than taking a nap and waking up to find you missed the midnight snacks.

Also, it’s really important to stay hydrated whilst flying. Even though your flight attendants will happily provide you with water, sometimes you don’t want to get up and wander to the back of the plane half asleep. So keep a bottle of water nearby just to keep you topped up.

Long haul flights5. Toiletries

That mean, old industrial air conditioning will dry your skin out like nothing else. The basics I love having with me on a long flight are a good lip balm, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste and a heavy duty moisturiser. I also don’t like to wear much, if any, make up but that’s your own preference.

It’s also nice to have some wet wipes (like a moisturising face wipe or similar), perfume and some make-up for when you get off the plane. Oh, and don’t forget a hairbrush too!

6. Entertainment

As a writer, long haul flights are great for getting some reading and writing done. I always ensure I have my laptop, notebook and some reading materials for research and/or inspiration. I know a lot of people like to have some sort of tablet with movies, books, podcasts etc. on too. Whatever it is that’s going to keep you entertained, make sure you take lots of options so that you can chop and change if you get bored of one!

And that’s basically how I get through long haul flights. Don’t get me wrong, these things aren’t going to stop you from getting jet lag but hopefully they’ll help the time pass by slightly quicker and leave you feeling less gross at the end of the flight.

Sublime Sundays – A Night Out and a Productive Day

Sublime SundaysThis weekend has been B.E.A.UTIFUL!

As you will have gathered from my Friday Thought’s post I headed to Portsmouth straight after work on Friday for a long overdue night out with my best friend. And it did not disappoint. Too much Prosecco was drunk and lot of really bad dancing was done. Not only was it the first night out we’ve had in ages but it was also the first time I’ve been out in Portsmouth since I graduated 6 years ago! 

besties-1So that got me thinking about what I’ve achieved since I graduated. I’m usually really harsh on myself as I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anywhere near as much as I should have. But on the train home, suffering with the worst hangover I’ve had as an adult, I tried to cheer myself up by thinking of awesome things I’ve done since I graduated. My list boiled down to these few things:

  1. Completed the LPC, got a Training Contract and qualified as a Solicitor
  2. I’ve completed 2 half marathons, a full marathon and numerous obstacles courses including Rat Race dirty weekend…twice!
  3. I’ve spent three summers in Ghana working with the wonderful Raising Hope Foundation and the gorgeous kiddies in Santrokofi
  4. Launched two blogs (this one and Flourishing Freelancer)
  5. Completed the Three Peaks Challenge
  6. Climbed Kilimanjaro
  7. I’ve travelled quite a bit – Greece, Turkey, Ghana, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Belgium, Australia, Switzerland, and Denmark
  8. I’ve moved from Portsmouth to Guildford to Manchester to London

So, despite the crippling hangover I managed to cheer myself up a little bit. It also made me feel quite positive about things moving forward.

Today started out quite slowly as I was still exhausted from yesterday (clearly I’m too old to drink now)! But this afternoon has been super productive. I’ve got four blog posts drafted and cleared some of my million unread emails.

Right now I’m sat in bed with a Nandos watching Brooklyn 99…life doesn’t get better than this.

Hope you’ve all had an awesome weekend too 🙂

8 Reasons Why You Should Travel When You’re Still Young

travel

travelI try not to “regret” things I have or haven’t done in my life. Travelling however, is one of those things that I regret not doing. I wish I’d gone travelling straight out of university. But I didn’t. And now I’m almost 30 and feel like I haven’t seen or experienced anywhere near as much as I’d liked to have done.

Personally, I don’t feel “too old” to travel and still plan to do it before I settle down and start a family. I do however, think there’s some huge benefits to travelling whilst you’re still young…

1. It Makes You More Independent…

There’s nothing like packing a bag and setting off on an adventure alone to help gain independence. It’s about making decisions, whether good or bad, for yourself. From choosing the next place to visit to what to eat at a street market, those decisions are all yours. Sometimes you’ll make the wrong decisions but you’ll learn from them and that’s important.

Whether you travel alone or with other people, you will learn to look after yourself (and probably others too!)

Copenhagen
Copenhagen

2…at a Time Where You Have Little Responsibility

Your twenties is the best time to travel. Before you have a “real job”, before you have children, before you have a mortgage…basically, before you have any real responsibilities. Like I mentioned above, your independence is a huge part of this, not only are you learning how to be independent from your parents/family/primary school friends but you’re also independent in terms of those depending upon you.

Now is one of the only times you can be totally selfish and spontaneous. Want to spend 6 months travelling around Europe? You can. Want to change your flight to Sydney to Rio instead? You can. There’s nothing stopping you from doing whatever you want to apart from yourself (and maybe money).

Zermat
Zermat

3. You Have the Energy

Travelling might sound like an extended holiday but it’s not. Okay, well it is kind of but it sure as hell isn’t relaxing. Constantly moving from place and place and exploring every mile of every country is hard work!

A lot of people will need to work whilst they travel too to sustain their nomadic lifestyle. Energy is a must if you plan to be out on an adventure all day, working in the evening and partying all night – definitely something that works better in your twenties! I’m fairly confident I could keep up with that for a fair few more years but I certainly wouldn’t be too happy about it.

Manly Beach
Manly Beach

4. You’ll Make New Friends

Possibly one of the best parts of travelling is meeting new people and hearing about their adventures. I mean this one isn’t age specific really but as I’ve got closer to 30 I’ve liked people less! Haha!

But seriously, travelling helps you to meet other people that you might not otherwise have the pleasure of meeting. Once you finish uni, you usually only meet new people through work or through sports clubs etc. Travelling doesn’t confine you to these things. You’ll be surprised by how many, completely different, totally lovable people you’ll meet.

Making new friends isn’t something that you can only do whilst you’re still young but it’s something I would recommend doing as early on as possible so that you can make the most of those friends in the years ahead of you!

Alanya
Alanya

5. You Learn a LOT

About Yourself – At different points during your travels you will be faced with tough decisions and forced to confront some of your fears (if not all). Going to new places and meeting new people shows you who you really are and what you are truly capable of. You’ll find yourself spending long periods of time alone (like overnight flights) just thinking about things. Things you’ve done, things you want to achieve…the list goes on and it’s wonderful!

About Others – This is kind of covered above (making new friends) and below (learning about different cultures). You will learn a lot about other people, partially due to the huge range of people you will meet and partially due to the time you’ll spend with them. Travelling gives you the opportunity to essentially live with people you’ve never met before without the stresses of living with people you’ve never met before! You’re not tied down and there’s no pressure. You can just enjoy each other’s company, explore and learn together.

About Life – Yeah. This one’s a biggie. It’s also really hard to explain. You’ll learn so much about everything when you’re travelling. You’ll learn through mistakes you make. You will pick up hints and tips from others along the way. You’ll draw inspiration from pretty much everything you see in some way or another. You will think about your future plans and change them on a weekly basis and it will be amazing. And so, so, so good for you!

Zanzibar
Zanzibar

6. You Get to Explore Different Places and Learn About Different Cultures

I’ve said this a million times before but travelling is good for you. Getting to learn about, experience and appreciate different cultures is amazing for self-development. You’ll gain a whole wealth of knowledge that lots of people won’t even get close to in their life time.

Experiencing new cultures and learning about different ways of life is not only eye-opening but it’s empowering too. It gives you a whole variety of new ways to look at things, approaching situations and even dealing with problems.

Santrokofi
Santrokofi

7. You’re (Usually) Less Fussy

Bunk beds in a dorm room are usually acceptable…not so much when you’re in your 30s and 40s! As is sleeping on the floor of a friend of a friend’s apartment and taking a 24 hour bus rather than a 2 hour flight. If you decide to travel before you get “comfortable” and stuck in your ways, you’ll enjoy it so much more. Generally speaking, you’ll be much more open to different opportunities and ways of doing things. I know that younger me would have been perfectly content in a dorm full of drunken 20-something-year-olds, whereas now, that’s my worst nightmare (well, not actually my worst but it’s close)!

Amsterdam
Amsterdam

8. You’ll Appreciate Things

The memories and experiences of travelling will stay with you for life. You’ll be grateful for the things you learned and people you met. You’ll also be grateful for what you had at home, the people and the things you missed whilst you were away.

You’ll appreciate things no matter what age you decide to go travelling but your angle will be different. The earlier you go, the longer you’ll have to appreciate it and apply it to your every day life and decisions.

I feel slightly hypocritical writing this given that I don’t plan on going travelling until well into my 30’s. But these are things I have learnt from the travelling I did do in my 20’s and the reasons I wish I had travelled more earlier.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your passport and go explore!

Kilimanjaor
Kilimanjaro

Things That Help Me Stay Positive

Stay Positive

Stay PositiveIt can be hard to stay positive. It can be hard for us all. This week’s posts have been about mental health but I’m quite conscious of not being too negative or seeming like I’m just having a good old whinge. But, in the same breath, I want to keep the Mental Health Awareness series going. So today I thought I’d share with you some of the things that can help me to stay positive when I’m not feeling great:

1. Family and Friends

Let’s face it, they’re the best for pretty much anything. But all it can take sometimes is just a simple message saying “I love you” or a text out of the blue asking how I’m doing. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there are people out there who care about you when you don’t really care about yourself.

Copenhagen

2. Running

Well, exercise generally. One of the first things every doctor I’ve ever seen about depression and anxiety has asked me, is how often I exercise. Now I’ve heard people saying that they’ve been to their doctors for help only to be “prescribed” a nice, long walk. This is unbelievable and not an acceptable way to treat people. Mental illnesses need to be taken seriously and certainly aren’t something that can just be “walked off”. But, sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly anxious or I’m worried about something, running really does help. It’s by no means a cure but it can take the edge off the overwhelming feelings sometimes. Regular exercise also helps with health and energy levels generally which is always a bonus. Even more so when one of the things I struggle with most is low energy with depression.

3. ASMR Videos

I came across these by reading a random blog post about them. I can’t remember which blog but I want to say thank you to that person for introducing me to them. ASMR itself is an odd one to explain and I don’t fully understand it. What I do know is that I can put a video on, with my headphones in and be asleep within 30-45 minutes. They have an unbelievable calming effect on me (I’m a big fan of the make up ones, as well as the Reiki ones too). A word of warning though, they’re really not for everyone and I know a few people who really cannot stand them. The beauty is that the variety you can find on YouTube is huge so there’s plenty to choose from.

camera

4. Writing 

It probably comes as no surprise to you that I love writing. I have two blogs that are up and running. I have three major projects in the pipeline – two books and an online course. The books are years off being finished but there’s something very cathartic about picking up my notebook or laptop, finding a nice cafe and writing bits of an imaginary story whenever I need an escape. Writing more seriously, like for Flourishing Freelancer can be great in a different way. I have to focus on research and the content being correct so much that I can often forget about other things.

5. Travel 

It makes me sad to write this as one of the things that helps me because I don’t get to do it anywhere near as much as I used to or would like to. But travelling is amazing. It really helps me a lot. I think partially it’s getting away from everyday things. It’s also partially the distraction of exploring somewhere new and partially the space it gives me to think and figure things out. There’s something about travelling that’s eye opening, humbling and exciting all at the same time. I know a lot of people who fight depression and anxiety (particularly the latter) worry about travelling. Especially travelling alone in case their symptoms worsen whilst they are away. Like everything mental health related, it’s personal – what works for someone, might not for another. But, for me, packing my bag and setting off on an adventure, whether alone or with someone else, brings me so much happiness. AdventureSo, there you have it, the top five things that get me through the tough times. Let me know what yours are.

My 5 Favourite Things to See and Do in Copenhagen

Copenhagen

CopenhagenIn yesterday’s post I said that I wanted to get some of my old travel posts finished and published. So here’s my first one, and it’s about Copenhagen (no shit, it’s in the title!)

I’ve been to Copenhagen twice, both times have been in the past few years. Last time I went, I started a blog posts which never made it any further than a couple of notes in a draft post format. Earlier this week, someone on Twitter was asking for recommendations of where to go and what to see which got me thinking about my favourite parts of the city.

So, without further ado, here’s my highlights of the beautiful Copenhagen:

Nyhavn

Copenhagen
Nyhavn

Probably the most iconic part of Copenhagen, this little harbour is usually the “cover photo” for Copenhagen. With it’s pretty colourful buildings, variety of restaurants and cute little market stalls (well at least around Christmas time, there are markets lining the streets), it’s easy to see why.

Nyhavn is best early in the morning before it gets super busy. The streets are lined with sparkling fairy lights and little market stalls around Christmas which means that evening strolls by the water are really pretty too.

The restaurants by the harbour are nice but pricey as it’s one of the most popular tourist places in the city. Most of them do have outside heaters and blankets in the winter which makes them super cute places to have a nice warm gløgg (at any time of day).

Tivoli Gardens

I’ve only ever been to Copenhagen around Christmas time when Tivoli Gardens is home to the cutest Christmas markets. Every year, the gardens get transformed into a winter wonderland that is truly magical! From the sparking Christmas lights, to the tiny Nordic Christmas grotto huts selling a variety of gifts, decorations, snacks and drinks.

There’s also an amazing light/laser/water show on the main lake every evening (sometimes twice an evening during busier times).

My words can’t really do it justice so here’s some of my favourite Tivoli photos.

Copenhagen
Nimb Hotel, Tivoli
Copenhagen
Tivoli Christmas Tree
Copenhagen
Entrance to Tivoli at night
Copenhagen
Me, mum and sister
Copenhagen
Fire pits to keep us warm, Tivoli
Copenhagen
Nordic Markets
Tivoli Light/Laser/Water Show
Light show
Copenhagen
Tivoli Lights

Christiania

Copenhagen
Christiania

Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous freetown which was established in 1971 in an abandoned military camp. It’s full of whimsical DIY homes, some delightful craft shops, cafes and bars. Christiania is famous for the open sale of cannabis on its main street, Pusher Street and for it eviction of “hard drugs”. This is something that made me slightly apprehensive about visiting Christiania but it was nothing to worry about at all.

My visit to Christiania was eye-opening and enjoyable. That’s it really, it was pleasant enough and definitely worth a visit but I wouldn’t recommend more than a couple of hours there.

You aren’t allowed to take photos or videos in Christiania but you can take photos around the “entrance” area like this cute pic that my sister took (above).

Pretty Buildings

Rosenborg Castle, Christiansborg Palace, Frederiks Kirke, Amalienborg and Copenhagen City Hall are some of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen! Seriously though, Copenhagen is full of absolutely stunning architecture. Everywhere you turn there’s another wonderful, ornate building. There’s lots of tours available in Copenhagen but nothing beats grabbing a city map and just exploring at your own pace.

Copenhagen
Rosenborg Castle
Copenhagen
Christansborg Palace
Copenhagen
Frederiks Kirke
Copenhagen
Amalienborg
Copenhagen
Copenhagen City Hall

Shopping

Copenhagen is home to Strøget which is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets and it’s full of shops! Personally, I’m not a huge fan of shopping but this is a nice area to just wander around, with plenty of cafes and bars on the side streets.

As I’ve mentioned (a few times) I’ve only visited Copenhagen around Christmas time. There are so many Christmas markets dotted around the city that bring you everything you could possible want from a festive market. Definitely worth a visit.

Copenhagen
Christmas Markets

Eating and Drinking

Copenhagen is a haven for quirky little bars and amazing food. My favourite bar has to be Mikkeller & friends – the bar is small and cosy and their range of beers is insane! The best part is that you can buy sample sized glasses of the beers so you get to taste a whole range of them without drinking pints of each (I mean, you can get pints if you want). Another favourite bar of mine is the Lord Nelson bar which is opposite Tight (see below). It’s a pretty dark pub just below street level but they have a great range of beers at good prices and the atmosphere is always lively but friendly.

The Coffee Factory does amazing – you guessed it – coffee! Also really good pastries. I went here a few times as it was just round the corner from my hostel. It’s reasonably priced and not too far away from Nyhavn.

A rather odd choice, but a favourite of mine is Tight which is an Australian restaurant apparently! I say apparently because there’s nothing on the menu that really stands out as particularly Australian. The food here is really good quality, the atmosphere is great and it’s reasonably priced. It’s always been completely packed every time I’ve been so I would definitely recommend booking in advance.

I also loved foderbrættet which was a hot dog and champagne bar but I think it closed down recently (or so Google tells me) which is really sad because it was so underrated.

It goes without saying that Christmas markets have great food and drink. I would highly recommend gløgg which is the Nordic version of mulled wine and also the Christmas edition of Tuborg if you can find it.

Copenhagen
Glogg
Copenhagen
Mikkeller
Copenhagen
Christmas Tuborg

That’s my list of top things to do and see in Copenhagen. Is there anything you’d add to the list?