Thursday, 22 June 2017

Inside My Hand Luggage

As a nervous flyer I think my hand luggage is one of the most important aspects of travelling to me. It's always at the forefront of my mind and it's a priority to me that I feel comfortable, calm and occupied on a flight. I definitely can't risk being left alone with any 'what if' thinking that's for sure! 

We're off to Santorini this weekend so a lot of this week has been spent prepping, planning & packing for going away (*as well as organising our upcoming house move in a heat wave!). To say things have been busy would be an understatement! Anyway, as I was getting my hand luggage bag ready I thought it may make for an interesting blog post to share what's inside this bag and all the things which help to reduce my travel anxiety.

My Phone

My phone is always on me so there's no surprise that it's also in my hand luggage. Whilst wifi on budget airlines ceases to exist there isn't a huge amount I can do on my phone that i'd like to but it still has its uses. I often like to download travel books beforehand which I can browse to get some inspiration for the destination we're travelling to. There is of course the option of also listening to music or podcasts from my phone. I sometimes find that meditation podcasts really help to distract my mind and keep me calm. If I ever get really bored up in the air I also like to flick through my photo album.


If I do want to listen to music, podcasts or watch a movie on my laptop then headphones are a must! I absolutely love my new(ish) ones by Satechi which are faux leather and vegan friendly. They're so comfortable to wear and the sound quality is excellent. I much prefer headband headphones like these to earbud ones which I find really uncomfortable and difficult to stay put inside my ear.    

Vlogging Camera

So you may have seen that I've started a new series of weekly vlogs on my YouTube channel which means I shall be vlogging my way around Santorini too! Travel vlogs are probably my all time favourite videos to make and they always capture so many fun memories. Vlogging whilst travelling also takes my mind off other things which helps to alleviate any anxiety. I am currently using my Canon G5X to vlog with as it's such a great quality camera and pretty lightweight to carry around with me in my bag. 


I think it would be fair to say that I am absolutely rubbish at reading books when I am at home and I always seem to be distracted by other things. I therefore tend to save up any new books for upcoming trips away. I've had We're All Mad Here for quite a while now and still haven't even opened the first page so I'm looking forward to hopefully finally making a start on this. I also recently bought Ice Cream For Breakfast as it sounds like a really fun book and exactly like the kind of book I love to read when on holiday. Not only do I plan to enjoy these on the flight but also when we're by the pool relaxing too.

Zip Coin Purse

I always take a little zip coin purse away with me opposed to my entire handbag just to carry the minimal essentials that I need like my bank card, ID and a few coins. I'll also pop my travel money in here once we get it at the airport. I never usually take away my daily purse and handbag with me because they contain too many unnecessary things which I know I won't need on holiday with me.  


Sunglasses are an absolute necessity for any summer holiday and I like to have mine to hand on a flight just in case I want to have a snooze and the cabin is too bright. Plus they help to hide tired eyes on those super early morning flights! 

Flight / Lap Bag

This is the little bag that I like to keep on my lap when the air steward tells you to put your bags in the overhead lockers. It really makes me feel on edge if I can't access my bag, especially when flying, so within this bag I tend to keep all of the things I may need during take off/landing. I saw this pouch bag by Elizabeth Scarlett online recently and I loved the design of it and knew it would make the perfect little in flight bag for me. Inside this pouch I have some little hand wipes from Superdrug (v + cf), a packet of Kleenex, Tropical Fresh hand cream by Human + Kind (v + cf), Crazy Rumours Bubblegum lip balm (v + cf), pain killers and a pocket mirror. My little pill tin contains Diazepam (Valium) which really is invaluable to me if I suddenly become panicky. Thankfully this hasn't happened to me on a flight for a couple of years now but it's comforting knowing it's there if I need to use it.

Passport & Tickets

My passport and tickets are probably the most important thing in my bag as without them I wouldn't be going anywhere!

I think I have everything I need but i'd love to know what your essential on board items are and also what helps you to cope with travel anxiety so comment below and let me know! And don't forget to keep an eye out for a review and vlog of Santorini in a couple of weeks time. Until then.... 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Vegan Kind - #TVK44

It's that time of the month again when I am reviewing The Vegan Kind's latest and newest box #TVK44! In order to keep things varied I have decided to video a live unboxing and taste test one month and do a written review the next month so if you're wondering where my review of the last box is, #TVK43, you can watch it right here

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Summer Skincare | Vegan & Cruelty Free

With Summer and beach season just around the corner I wanted to put together a post featuring some of my vegan and cruelty free skincare picks. I have to admit that during the colder months, and when I tend to cover up more, I probably don't take as good care of my skin as I should. But as soon as the warmer weather approaches, and it's time to get my arms and legs out again, it's always a reminder that it's time to start improving my routine. 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

e.l.f at Superdrug

E.l.f have been one of my all time favourite vegan friendly brands of makeup ever since I made the leap into living a cruelty free lifestyle. I jumped for joy when I recently heard that they are now being sold at Superdrug stores and online and I couldn't wait to place my first order. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

B. Makeup Rebrand Launch Party

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the official B. makeup rebrand launch party in London and i'm pleased to be able to announce that their new line will be available in Superdrug from 31.05.17! 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Politics of Veganism

With the general election just around the corner I felt it important to reflect upon the different parties manifestos with particular regard to veganism and animal rights. It's certainly not the only thing I care about but it is a huge part of my life and belief system. 

For the first time in a long time I actually want to vote because I feel there is a pretty clear and huge divide between the two major parties, particularly when it comes to animal rights. You will have no doubt heard in the press the Tories plans to lift the ban on fox hunting and, more recently, their drop of the UK ivory trade ban from their manifesto. These are two hugely worrying points which on their own have caused outrage. I have also seen a video of Theresa May dismissing a question about vegan school meals because, as she said, "I eat meat". It would seem that I have very little in common with Theresa May and her lack of compassion for animals.   

I invited my friend and fellow passionate vegan Hannah Elgie to present a guest blog post on her own thoughts in the run up to this election...   

 The Politics of Veganism

There is one thing that has been pretty well documented in the run up to this election and that is the Tories will get rid of the ban on fox hunting if they win. I am not a Tory. I have been a Labour voter for as long as I have been able to vote. I consider myself a socialist, feminist, environmentalist but above all a compassionate human being. Being a socialist is about living compassionately, doing no harm to any other living creature, whether that is an animal or fellow human animal. Understanding and being sympathetic towards the other beings on this planet is an essential part of life. Not breeding animals to slaughter and eat them, allowing rainforests to grow, helping our fellow humans when they need it. It’s about having a value system; socialism and veganism go hand in hand. The reason for the terrible treatment of animals by humans cannot go without discussion, the link between the harm done to animals by the hand of humans and the harm we do each other must be made. The consumption of animal products has gone on for such a long time and is considered so normal that we have disassociated the violence towards animals and the violence towards people. As Steven Best writes in his paper Rethinking Revolution: Animal Liberation, Human Liberation, and the future of the Left.

“The project to emancipate animals is integrally related to the struggle to emancipate humans and the battle for a viable natural world. To the extent that animal liberationists grasp the big picture that links animal and human rights struggles as one, and seeks to uncover the roots of oppression and tyranny of the Earth, they can be viewed as a profound new liberation movement that has a crucial place in the planetary struggles against injustice, oppression, exploitation, war, violence, capitalist neo-liberalism, and the destruction of the natural world and biodiversity.”

Essentially, people capable of violence towards animals are capable of violence towards people. Human animals that partake in the meat industry (whether they be farmers, CEOs of dairy companies, meat eaters or vegetarians) are guilty of this violence. They may not have killed the animal but they are creating the demand. Capitalist ideologies promote animal exploitation for human gain largely for the purpose of wealth. Not the wealth of the many, but the wealth of the few and it has been well documented that it is unnecessary. Films like Earthlings and Cowspiracy are evidence of this. Really, it's not okay for humans to treat humans in the ways they do. We have all seen the evidence of the tragic conditions in sweatshops, the awful way people are treated in the diamond trade. Humans largely carry on in their lives turning a blind eye, keeping it out of sight and out of mind all for the greed of material gain. I pose the question, how can we expect to treat animals with more respect when we are so careless with our attitude towards other humans? The two are synonymous.

One of the defining examples of capitalism in action is the slave trade, blatant exploitation of other human beings. In the western world we abolished slavery and have liberated people out of slavery, but now animals are the slaves. Can we humans be truly liberated if we continue to keep animals in slavery and exploit them for the human purposes? We are all animals, after all.

For me, the environment is one of the most important reasons for being vegan. Our survival on this fragile planet depends on us living compassionately with all the animals that call it home. We have all been made aware of how catastrophic the meat industry is for the environment. So much more than the damage that comes from mining for coal or driving cars etc., contrary to what we have been told for decades (please watch Cowspiracy for more information on this). We need to look at our individual lifestyles and judge ourselves on what we do that contributes to wrecking our planet. Our local councils have made recycling our household waste a central issue and its great to bring that to light and make it so easy for it to happen by having the doorstep collection. However, if you care about the environment enough to recycle, then why add to the problem by being involved in the meat industry? A plant-based lifestyle is the only way we can restore the balance in our environment, recycling our waste is just a drop in the ocean in comparison.

Lets look at socialism in action. Jeremy Corbyn. He appointed Kerry McCarthy, a vegan, to position of shadow secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This demonstrates that Corbyn understands the connection between our fragile plant (that doesn’t belong to us) and a plant-based lifestyle. Having someone like McCarthy in government would bring about real change. The sort of change socialists, vegans and environmentalists have only dreamed of. It would be at the heart of policies not driven out of the public eye because big business will suffer.

At this point I would like to dispel a myth. That myth is that Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable. This is simply not true; no one is unelectable. This is just something the right-wing-press have thought up because they feel truly threatened by the power Corbyn has to create actual change, to bring about a very real alternative to what we have seen in politics for decades. In fact, and this is of paramount importance, Jeremy Corbyn is already elected. He was elected party leader with the biggest majority ever seen. Twice. We don’t ever vote for the person who will be our prime minister, we vote for local MPs and we have seen party leaders change while they are governing our country without having to consult the public. It happened when Blair stepped down, Brown took over. And it happened when Cameron quit, May stepped in. So it is our duty as citizens of this country to vote for what we believe in, the party with the most appealing manifesto, not a personality.

Anyway, back to veganism. I have been talking to Feeding Hungry Minds who deliver the school meals at the school my daughter will start at in September. They have been so helpful and happy to create a personal menu for my daughter so she can be vegan at school. Then the Tory manifesto came out and it said they intend to scrap free school meals. If free school meals are taken away, parents/carers will need to provide packed lunches, which are harder to keep nutritionally adequate and without proper nutrition children cannot learn properly, thus dumbing down a whole group of children. And who, typically, is that group? The poor. I am totally livid about the free school meals being scrapped, not just because this directly affects our family life (not just financially, but also the pressures it adds and the additional time it takes to make a packed lunch) but it will affect the poorest and most vulnerable the most. For so many children this will be their only meal in the day. What kind of compassionate person would think this is ok? Certainly not a mother.

Simon Amstell, writer and director of Carnage says in his interview with Russell Brand, the treatment of cows is a feminist issue. Mothers are having their children taken away from them. It’s a totally awful experience for them, they cry for their babies. How can this be accepted in our society? What kind of compassionate person would be ok? Taking babies away from mothers? So humans can drink their milk? Milk for their babies, not yours.

Steven Best talks a great deal about Speciesism in his article. Speciesism, according to Best, is the belief that nonhuman species exist to serve the needs of the human species. He makes the connection between speciesism and racism or sexism saying it creates a “false dualistic division between one group and another in order to arrange the differences hierarchically and justify the domination of the “superior” and “inferior”.” He says that if leftists and socialists can overcome speciesism and understand how important animal liberation is by becoming vegan, we can then truly overcome the problems we have with the natural world.

I end on a quote from Ghandi:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Vote Labour, become vegan.

Hannah x

I would like to thank Hannah for all the hard work and effort she put into creating this post for my blog and I am sure she would love to hear back from some of you so please comment below or tweet her your thoughts.

If you are a vegan planning on voting for the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats or the Green Party then please do get in touch and email me if you would like to contribute your own guest post on this subject.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Wanting, But Failing, To Be Body Positive

I can't really remember a time when I felt as though I really loved my body and figure. I find myself continually reflecting on this being a pretty sad state of affairs but also feeling completely unable to change my mindset. It really annoys me how much time I spend worrying about this and the years I have spent unhappy in my skin. It contributes towards feeling depressed and does very little for my self esteem. At times I feel like it rules my life and my mind and what's really annoying is that I know that if I tried hard enough it could be something I could change for the better.    


Friday, 19 May 2017

Vegan Snack Attack!

Over the past few weeks I've been lucky enough to receive an abundance of different vegan snacks to try out and I've decided to share my favourites with you all in one big blog post. Some of them you may already know and love, others may be totally new to you, but one thing's for sure - they'll all get your mouth watering! 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Brighton 2017 - Part 2

Last week we enjoyed our second stay in Brighton of 2017 and I made a conscious effort to try out some new places to eat which, in a place like Brighton, was really hard! It's always so tempting to go back to some of our favourite places but, after numerous visits over the past few years, I still found myself with on ongoing 'must try' list which needed some action taking. 


Monday, 15 May 2017

The Artist Residence Brighton

Last week we celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary and enjoyed a week away with our time split between Brighton and a return visit to Chewton Glen's amazing Treehouses in the New Forest. We decided on a return visit to Brighton as I was fortunate enough to secure us tickets to see Ricky Gervais in his new 'Humanity' stand up tour, which just so happened to be taking place on our actual anniversary. It gave us the perfect excuse to plan a few days away and this time I was keen to try out a hotel i'd heard so much about, The Artist Residence

When staying in Brighton we usually go down the Air B'n'B route as we normally have the dogs with us and tend to find these properties more dog friendly than hotels. It actually made a really nice change this time to be staying in a proper hotel with all the little luxuries like a mini bar and having your room serviced daily. 

After looking on The Artist Residence website and exploring their many different unique and diverse rooms I was quick to decide on one of the Bigger House Sea View rooms which lured me in with its appealing freestanding bath tub. We don't have a full size bath at home so I always like to book rooms with a big tub so I can make the most of the ability to have a long soak and enjoy some of my Lush goodies! 

The Artist Residence is in such a great location set within the historic Regency Square directly opposite the seafront and the i360, and it's within easy walking distance to the city centre. There's also an underground car park right outside the hotel which made everything so much easier. If you know Brighton you will know that it can be a nightmare to park and when you're carrying luggage you really don't want to have to leave your car too far away. 

I think my favourite aspect of this hotel is that it's set within a typical Brighton regency townhouse which has so much character and grandeur. Despite being a hotel it also gives you the same feeling as with an Air BnB whereby you feel part of the community and not like a visiting tourist. It's both homely and welcoming whilst also being quite quirky and eccentric with its styling. It's definitely the coolest place we have ever stayed in Brighton.  

Our room was a great size and I loved the mix of modern rustic furniture with more traditional period pieces. It was also really well equipped with everything we needed including a mini Smeg fridge stocked with a variety of drinks and a vast selection of snacks to choose from. My husband really appreciated the tea and coffee making facilities too as some rooms we have stayed in recently haven't had both and we often miss the ability to make a nice cuppa in the evening.  

It was really good to see some decent complementary toiletries in the room too which just so happened to be natural and cruelty free. This was again another nice touch and it's more often the little things like this that make a stay at a hotel all the more comfortable and enjoyable. 

The view from the room also didn't disappoint and if you can I would definitely pay a bit extra to enjoy the sea view. It felt amazing to be able to wake up and look outside the window to be greeted by this view! I'm pretty undecided how I feel about the i360 myself and I can imagine that full time residents and home owners on this square must have been quite annoyed by the new addition to the skyline, but there's no denying that it does make photographs a little more interesting and eye catching.  

The hotel is also home to the 'Cocktail Shack' which is a great spot to enjoy a drink in the evening. We decided to stop here for a cocktail before seeing Ricky Gervais (which was an amazing & hilarious show btw - definitely see it if you can!). We were there on a Tuesday night so it was pretty quiet but from what I hear this bar is very popular at the weekend.  

There's also a cafe and restaurant at the hotel but from what I could see on the menu it was pretty meat orientated with limited choice for vegans so we didn't decide to eat there at all during our stay and with so much choice for vegans in Brighton it wouldn't have made any sense to anyway. One night we ordered a Pizza Face Deliveroo to the hotel as we were quite late back and this worked well. It's so good to have the option of Deliveroo when staying in Brighton especially for people like us who don't really venture out much in the evenings (I sound so old!).  

All in all we had a fantastic stay at The Artist Residence and it's somewhere I would definitely stay again and recommend to others. In my opinion it beats any larger chain hotels by a long shot and it encompasses a lot of what Brighton is about being colourful, arty and fun! The only downside for me is that they don't offer any dog friendly rooms and that would be the only thing to stop us staying there again if we had our fur babies with us.   

Keep an eye out soon for my new Brighton post where i'll be sharing with you all some of the new places where we ate out vegan on this trip. It doesn't matter how many times I go back, there's always somewhere new to eat out at! 


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Cruelty Free Makeup I Buy Again And Again

One thing I always get asked about is what makeup I am wearing and I would like to think that is a compliment to my face looking semi alright and the only reason it generally looks ok is due to good makeup! I would love to be one of those women who can get away with minimal to no makeup but I have had to accept a long time ago that I need a little help in that department. I also love makeup, as well as applying it, and for a long time I actually considered being a makeup artist. 


Monday, 1 May 2017

April Life

Does anyone else feel like April has been a whirlwind of a month which has come and gone in a bat of an eyelid!?? I can't quite believe we are already in May and 2017 is nearly half way over! April is always one of my favourite months and I really enjoy the brighter days, warmer weather and that little bit of time before Summer kicks in when it still feels ok to snuggle up under a blanket without sweating!  


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Pip Box

I'm really excited to be sharing with you all the newest cruelty free beauty box on the block - The Pip Box! This is a subscription box which delivers five cruelty free beauty products to your front door every month from only £13.50 + p & p. And guess what!? I've been lucky enough to try one out and report back to all of you my findings! 


Friday, 21 April 2017

My Thoughts On Carnage

Since watching Simon Amstell's new film Carnage a few weeks ago I have been meaning to write a review of my thoughts on it ever since but before I did I wanted to watch it again, just in order to take it all in, because it's clever. In fact, it's really clever. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Vegan Kind - #TVK42

It's that time of the month again when I share with you all a peek inside the latest Vegan Kind box #TVK42! This box turned up just before the Easter weekend and I was so happy because it included a very special vegan Easter treat. 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Vegan Meals Delivered By All Plants

I recently got in touch with All Plants after seeing a flyer for their vegan ready meal delivery service in a Vegan Kind Box I received. I was immediately intrigued by the service that they offer and I was curious to try it out for myself. The idea of tasty handmade vegan meals turning up on my doorstep is an exciting one and, as someone who isn't that great in the kitchen, I was interested to find out how this could perhaps make our life a little easier.  

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

High Functioning Depression

It's no secret that I have had my struggles with anxiety and depression over the past few years. It's something that I am generally quite open about and I have written about it on my blog before. For me it's important to talk about mental health and my own personal issues because not only is it somehow quite therapeutic for me, but I also know it's comforting to others. 


Friday, 7 April 2017

Shangri-La At The Shard Hotel

I can't quite believe it's taken me over three months to finally get around to writing up about my experience of spending a night up in the clouds at Shangri-La at The Shard. Where has that time gone!?


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Too Faced Chocolate Palette

I've had an eye on the Too Faced eye shadow palettes for a little while now but last month I decided the time had come to treat myself to one. At nearly £40 each there was some deliberating taking place as to whether I actually needed new eye shadows, but after hearing so many rave reviews about their palettes I did feel that my makeup collection was missing out without one.

Friday, 31 March 2017

March Life

Spring has officially sprung and I have to say that, despite my love for Winter, the warmer and brighter days have been a welcomed change. It's been nice not to have to take a jacket out with me some days and there's even been a couple of days where I have worn my flip flops and sandals. It also looks so pretty at the moment everywhere with all the bulbs blooming and the blossom trees. Perhaps I am becoming a Spring / Summer convert!? We shall see... 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


Copenhagen had been on my travel hit list for what felt like forever so I was really happy to finally get around to booking a mini break there this year. 


Friday, 24 March 2017

The Vegan Kind #TVK41

The lovely people at The Vegan Kind have kindly asked me to collaborate with them on some regular reviews and unboxing videos of their vegan subscription box which I am so happy about! You may remember that a year or so ago that I used to write monthly reviews of this box when I was a subscriber and it has always been a favourite vegan box of mine. I'm really excited to be receiving this box again and I can't wait to share the contents with you all! 


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Overcoming Travel Anxiety

I think it would be fair to say that I travel a lot. Going away to different countries and experiencing different cultures plays a huge part in my overall enjoyment of life. Sometimes I even feel that travelling and booking that all important next trip is an addictive compulsion. I often feel as though I am not truly living if I am not exploring what the world has to offer and enjoying new experiences. I would even go as far as to say that I am at my happiest when I am somewhere else. I do however find it difficult to say the words 'I love to travel' and here's why...

When my world got turned upside down with anxiety problems in 2013 one of the first things that it stopped me from doing was travelling. At it's worst I couldn't even leave the house let alone travel to anywhere new. I couldn't drive my car and I struggled just as much as a passenger. I had a once in a lifetime trip booked to Asia which was going to involve being away from home for five weeks and a total of nine separate flights. At the time I couldn't even comprehend how I was going to manage this but I also wasn't prepared to give up a trip that I had been planning and saving for for over a year.

My anxiety issues couldn't have really come at a worse time for me and looking back now I don't know how I survived that trip. Every flight started with me in a flood of tears and resulted in a panic attack.  I was convinced that I was going to get sick in every place I stayed and consequently refused to eat very much. Most nights I struggled to sleep and I couldn't even relax during the day time around the pool or at the beach. What should have been one of the most happiest experiences of my life was ruined by what was going on in my head.

One of the first things I did when I returned home from Asia was discuss with my husband about booking a Summer holiday. I think he was quite surprised considering what we had just been through but I knew that if we didn't then I wouldn't get on a plane ever again. One of my only real passions in life was at risk of being stolen away from me and I wasn't prepared to let that happen. 

Fast forward the calendar another three years and I can honestly say that I almost feel back to my former fearless self when it comes to travelling. I've reflected on my most recent trip to Copenhagen and how at ease I felt the whole time I was away and how well I managed the flight. I felt calm, I looked out of the window during take off and most importantly I looked forward to the  days ahead of us without imagining any worst case scenarios which would usually cause me to spiral into a pit of fear.

So how have I got myself here? 

Well, I would primarily say through persistence and perseverance. I learnt pretty early on with anxiety that the more you avoid the things that are making you fearful, the bigger those fears will become. In my opinion, as an experiencer of anxiety and panic attacks, it takes time and baby steps to get yourself out of that vicious cycle of impending doom. There's no point in throwing yourself in at the deep end and trying to do everything all at once because that just won't work and you may end up doing more harm than good.

Over the past couple of years I have always made sure that I have little holidays booked up and things to keep me in the habit of travelling, being away from home and outside of my comfort zone. I would say that going on numerous short haul flights over the past year has really been the best thing I could have ever done for my anxiety. Stockholm, Majorca, Ibiza, Edinburgh, Finland & Copenhagen were all really successful flights for me and were all under three hours. Doing the same thing over and over again, and surviving, has slowly but surely convinced myself that there's nothing to worry about.

It also hasn't just been about going abroad to other countries. Recently I have holidayed more in the UK than I have ever done before. I've really enjoyed visiting new places closer to home and losing my Air BnB virginity. Sometimes my anxiety was just as difficult to deal with being away anywhere different to home and I often found myself paranoid about how clean facilities were, not wanting to eat out anywhere I didn't trust and long car journeys would often be very triggering for me.

I am very fortunate in that i've been able to go away with someone who understands and is considerate to my needs. I have a really understanding husband who has been an absolute rock during some of my darkest hours. He has seen the behaviour patterns in the past and the warning signs, he can read me like a book. He knows that choosing our seats beforehand makes me more at ease on a flight and he doesn't mind paying the extra. If I do feel wobbly he holds my hand and tells me that everything is going to be ok. He reminds me of past events where everything has been ok and he does a marvellous job at talking common sense to me.

They could be referred to as 'safety behaviours', or mere comforters, but there are a few routines that I have got into the habit of which I have found to be really helpful in reducing my anxiety levels when travelling. 

Whenever we fly I always have my little 'flight bag' with me and on me at all times. It contains all of the small things that help to make me feel more comfortable on the flight. Tissues, wipes, hand cream, lip balm, headphones, my phone, pain killers etc. Because it's so small I never get asked to put it in the over head compartments too which is something that used to cause me some anxiety. To be honest i've never been a fan of that whole feeling of being locked in on a flight and not being able to get to my stuff just makes that even worse.

Distraction is also a very useful tool when working on blocking out any unhelpful patterns of thought so I generally always make sure I have some things to do on the journey. Usually this would take the form of a book or a podcast. Sometimes I like to download a film or tv episode to my laptop to watch and I always make sure it's something I am excited about watching. I also like to download travel guides into my iBooks library for wherever it is we may be travelling to so that I can read up and work on my itinerary on the way. I've learnt the hard way that being left alone with my thoughts can be risky so I always go prepared.   

Whenever I travel now I make a conscious effort to make it as stress free as possible. I have found in the past that having to rush around to get somewhere and putting myself under pressure is setting myself up for a disaster. I never book early morning flights anymore. Sometimes we even book an airport hotel the night before we fly just to alleviate those worries about getting from point A to point B. More often than not we might hire our own car in the country that we're travelling to as it takes away the stress of public transport and we feel more comfortable taking things at our own pace surrounded by less people. It also gives you a little more control which is a big thing for me and is probably what got me into the mess in the first place.    

As well as challenging myself on a regular basis I also take the anti-depressant Venlafaxine which I have been on now for just over a year and a half. This drug got me out of a serious relapse I had towards the end of 2015. I did not envision myself back on medication again having already successfully come off Citalopram at the end of 2014. I was very reluctant to take what seemed to me at the time like a huge step backwards. But I was also on the verge of agoraphobia again and my choices suddenly found themselves very limited. On reflection Venlafaxine has been a real life saver for me and I am grateful that my GP encouraged me to accept this help. 

I also always carry Diazepam in my handbag although I really can't remember the last time I had to take it (which is a great feeling by the way!). Diazepam, or Valium as it's also known, is in my experience very effective when it comes to alleviating travel anxiety. I also find great comfort in knowing that it's there if I need it. My GP only ever prescribes me 10 tablets at a time and knowing in the past that I had to make them last made me save them for only the really bad times.

As well as medication I have over the past four years been through three separate courses of CBT. I have never felt that CBT has been hugely beneficial to me but with the limited options available via the NHS mental health services at present I would advise to take up whatever is offered like I did. And who knows, maybe it did help me more than I have ever given it credit for.

I haven't been on a long haul flight since a disastrous one I took to Mauritius in 2015. Deciding to take a twelve hour flight at a time when I already felt anxiety making a reemergence in my life was probably not the best decision I ever made and it ended up being a catalyst for a pretty severe relapse. I am however now at a stage where I feel some confidence in perhaps trying long haul again.

I dream about spending a few weeks on the West coast of the USA and road tripping from LA to San Francisco. Swimming with the wild pigs in the Bahamas is still on my bucket list, as is staying in a water bungalow in the Maldives. I do feel that I have already been to some pretty amazing places but there are still so many more adventures I often find myself mentally planning for the future. 

For now though I am looking ahead to our Summer holiday in June which we shall be spending in Santorini. At 3 hours 55 minutes it will be the longest flight I have taken since that dreaded Mauritius experience and, for the first time in a long time, I can actually say that I am really looking forward to it.        

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