Overcoming my Fear of Flying (It’s a long one)

I recently faced, and overcame one of my biggest phobias, the fear of flying. From my understanding, this is a very common phobia and it is estimated that one in four people have some degree of anxiety about flying.

The last time I flew, prior to facing, and overcoming this fear (we’ll get to the ‘how’ shortly), was in 2001, yes 2001! That is a really long time.

My dad is a keen traveller, so as children, we would go on these amazing holidays. He wanted us to see the world. This became even more affordable for us when he started working for a prominent UK airline, at one of the worlds busiest airports. His job opened up brilliant travel opportunities and we went to some lovely places. The cultural experiences you gain from travel are so enriching, they open your eyes to the different peoples of the world and how they live life. One of my favourite parts of travelling as a child was always the food. The cuisines on offer in all the different countries we visited-wow!

Flying to, and from the destinations however, was my least favourite part. I would sit there feeling anxious for the whole flight, and as I became older and more aware, my fears deepened. I developed claustrophobia, which only amplified this fear of flying. it got to the point where I would start to worry about an upcoming holiday weeks ahead of time. Thoughts of the impending journey would consume me, and of course I would build myself up so much to this fearful situation, that by the time I boarded that aircraft I was in a highly anxious state. I would cry uncontrollably during take-off, and at various points of turbulence, much to the annoyance and embarrassment of my parents.

My last holiday was to Thailand in 2001, and I became unwell whilst we were out there. Our holiday had to be cut short and we flew home.

The night before we left, I was in our hotel room and switched on the news, only to see reports that a famous RnB singer had died in a plane crash earlier that day. This sent my anxiety into overdrive. I then had a 13 hour flight, whilst unwell, worried after the news I had heard, and I decided that I wouldn’t fly for a while.

A few months later on 11th September and atrocity occurred, that shocked the world. A vile act claimed innocent lives and forever changed the lives of those that had lost loved ones. That was it I decided, no more flying for me. In my mind it was no longer safe, and as if the fear of crashing wasn’t enough, people were now deliberately flying into buildings!

Fast forward to 2018 and I have managed to find every single reason under the sun to avoid flying. We didn’t have a honeymoon. I didn’t travel with my husband before we had our children and I’ve missed family weddings and celebrations abroad because of the fear.

When my eldest daughter was born, I thought to myself, I don’t want to pass this phobia on, and I don’t want to deny her the experiences I had when I was a child. My children are so precious to me and I want to give them the absolute best of everything. That’s how I first came across the Flying with Confidence course run by British Airways. It boasted a high success rate, and after reading some of the testimonials on their website, I decided this could be the way forward.

The day consists of seminars from active and retired British Airways staff, and a psychologist who helps to explain the anxiety and panic about flying. The day ends with a 45 minute flight on board a British Airways aircraft, with running commentary during each phase of the flight, and an explanation of all the ‘strange’ noises. The course was brilliant and by the time we got to the terminal I felt really positive about the flight. While we were waiting at the gate, my anxiety started to build. Many people had brought companions along for the flight an I was alone, thinking about my husband and my children. The irrational thoughts started, as soon as I stepped onto that plane I was gripped by terror. I stepped back off immediately and although the staff tried their best to gently coax me back on, I was so overwhelmed with emotion by this point that I just couldn’t manage it. I left feeling utterly defeated.

When my second daughter was about 11 months old, my husband convinced me to try again and he booked a luxury holiday to Dubai. Some of my other family members decided to come along to support me. They all encouraged me to do it for the girls.

The day of the flight arrived and I felt great. I was determined to do this. I was excited to finally have a holiday and had spent a lot of time looking at the amazing resort online, using it as my motivation. However, on boarding, that familiar sense of panic began to creep over me, and I was in tears as I walked off the aircraft, leaving my daughters with my husband and the other members of my family who were going along. The cabin crew tried to convince me to get back on, and even the captain came to find me- I’m guessing he planned to give me some reassurance but I’ll never know, as by that time I was already being escorted back to the terminal by a member of airport security. My family went on that trip, and my girls had their first holiday without me. I had a week full of heartbreak and despair.

Determined to NEVER go through that heartache again, I decided to give the course another go. There is a flight-only option for those that don’t feel the need attend the seminars again, and this time my husband accompanied me.

Sitting at the gate that day, I felt sick to my stomach, but I stood quietly, looking out of the huge windows, watching aircraft after aircraft take-off, so casually, so comfortably, and I eventually started to feel myself calm down a little. I reminded myself that this happens all day, everyday, at various different airports all over the world.

When it was time to board, I heard a lady behind me say to her husband that she wanted to leave. I turned to her as we were walking to the aircraft and explained that I had been there and done that, and it was one of my biggest regrets. ‘We’re both going to be fine today’ I told her. She smiled at me nervously, completely unconvinced. I stepped onto that plane and as I made my way to my seat (which was right at the back), the aircraft felt small and I felt my panic starting to rise. I had the urge to turn back, but I knew if I did that, the feeling afterwards would be unbearable. I anchored myself with the thought of getting back home to my children after the flight. I sat down and buckled myself in. I used my breathing techniques (they discuss these in the seminars), and within minutes I was calm, happy, smiling, chatting with other passengers and looking forward to taking-off.

I am so happy that I pushed through those few moments of panic, and I’m so grateful for the company of my husband. Having him there gave me the extra boost of confidence I needed to keep pushing forward. Hand on heart I LOVED the flight! I never thought I would ever be able to say that, but the staff on the course give you so much support and they’re all so relaxed. They joke, and laugh, and give you the facts you need, to understand that flying really is safe, and you can put your trust in them and the way they do their job.

The course worked wonders for me, and stepping off that flight I felt so proud of myself.

We came home and booked a trip to Amsterdam, just for me and my husband. A short practice before we take the girls on their summer holiday. We go next week and I cant wait to tell you how it goes!

If a fear of flying is standing between you and the rest of the world, contact British Airways today. It is life-changing.

https://flyingwithconfidence.com/courses

 

My Nails (Yes this is important)

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but taking time out for yourself, to do something you enjoy is invaluable. You really cant put a price on some ‘me’ time. What could be more relaxing than a bit of pampering?

I like to look after my hands and nails. As a child I was a nail biter and I would chew my nails down until there was nearly nothing left (disgusting I know). It wasn’t until I started taking an interest in looking pretty and experimenting with makeup that I realised how nails can make you feel so much better about yourself. A well manicured hand is a sign of someone who takes care of themselves. Now I feel my best when my nails are perfect.

The colour of my nails changes with the seasons, and this month I’ve got a beautiful, bright, neon pink, to compliment all the gorgeous sunny weather we’ve been having.

My Nail Technician – although it feels odd to call her that, as she feels more like a friend now- is the lovely Nish from NV My Beauty. https://www.instagram.com/nvmybeauty.nailsbynv/

She does some mobile appointments, but also has a comfortable, cozy, stylish beauty studio at:

Unit 9, Chancerygate Business Park, St Marys Road, Langley, Berks, SL3 7FL

They don’t just do nails! Nish provides a variety of facial, nails and body treatments. She is fully insured, and the service is professional, friendly and you’ll always get honest advice, so no more bad beauty decisions!

Have a look at some of her work by clicking on the link above to her Instagram page, or give her a call on 07583978999. She is always willing to give you the best advice on which treatments will be most beneficial for your specific needs. Did I mention she also does hair and makeup?

My three weekly nail appointment is something I really look forward to. It keeps my hands looking perfect and lets me honest, polishing my nails to perfection is now one less things for me to worry about, and for a busy working mum that’s a huge bonus. My nails are stronger and healthier than they’ve ever been before. So what are you waiting for? Go and fine the perfect treatment for some ‘me time’ of your own.

Indulge in something that makes you feel good!thumbnail_IMG_7026

 

Celebrating Milestones and Special Days.

So, Sometimes people tell me that they don’t celebrate birthdays, or special occasions because ‘they can’t be bothered anymore’ or they feel like they’re getting too old for it. To me, this is just more reason to celebrate-another year of this wonderful life! Remember its not yours forever…

Nothing brings me more joy than a celebration. I love family get togethers and spending time with my loved ones, marking special days and anniversaries with some good food and lots of laughter. The sense of nostalgia and looking back at how far you’ve come is a brilliant reminder of how life is ever-changing and evolving. Time stands still for no man (or woman). Make the most of your time, and look back on the fun you had.

I think positivity is really important in all aspects of life, and I generally try not to carry negative memories with me, no one needs that kind of baggage believe me! Life is best lived well, in good health, with happiness, love, kindness and laughter.

Of course, there are sad times and we all lose loved ones along the way, but something I learnt to do a few years ago when my grandfather passed away, is to mark the date each year by remembering all the things that made him who he was, and instead of being sad and crying, I feel gratitude for him having been a big part of my life for so long. The same goes for the other loved ones I have lost over the years. Loss is inevitable, but you can choose to be happy for the time you had with someone, or you can be sad that they’re gone. Either way, you will have to face the loss in some sense.

Birthdays are another day that I love to celebrate. My mum always made a fuss of me on my birthday and I have such fond memories of parties with games, friends, food and of course cake! I try to create the same magic for my daughters now.

Always celebrate birthdays, especially your own-I mean come on, it’s the day your unique and beautiful soul blessed the word we live in, with its irreplaceable presence. Show yourself some love and eat cake.

Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary, and although my husband was keen to take me out, to wine and dine me (lucky girl I am), I really wanted a quiet evening, with him and some pizza, so that’s what I got.

There is honestly so much to celebrate in life. Mark the days that changed your life and remember; everything is temporary, so make the absolute most of it while you have the chance. Above all else, be happy!

Monday – A day with a bad rep, so lets show it some love!

I never get Sunday blues. For me, Mondays bring the promise of a new start, a clean slate, and the opportunity to make your week even better than the last.

Some weeks are quiet and some are extra busy, this is true for most of us. However your week looks, there is always something to be positive about. How do I know that? Because you create that positive thing for yourself. In fact, my secret to having a great week, every week, is to make sure that there is at least one thing every day that I can do just for myself.

Having two children under the age of five, means that there is always something for me to do, if I’m not cooking, I’m washing up, doing laundry, paperwork, homework, work-work (yes that too), tidying up, or making snacks at the constant request of my girls. Then of course there is the attempted toilet training. I refuse to us a potty, so it’s ‘Tell mummy when you need to go to toilet ok?’ ‘Ok mummy, I good girl’. A few minutes later after a wee on said toilet, and a fresh pull up, we get ‘mummy I done a poo-poo’. The. Sheer. Joy.

Anyway, I digress, my original point being that life is busy for us all, and almost everyone experiences periods of stress, with Mondays generally being seen as the start of another long week.

I used to feel that way, but then I changed my attitude towards Mondays, and now I love them, yes, it really IS possible.

So you’re sitting there on a Sunday evening, feeling a bit glum at the prospect of work, or your never-ending chores. STOP- lets be proactive about this. Get yourself a notepad and a pen, lets make your to-do list for the week. Split the things that need to be done, across the five coming days and make a plan of the things you’re going to get done. Ok, now have a look over the list, you’ve probably listed all the important, practical tasks. Go back, and on each day add a activity just for you. It could be something that only lasts 10 minutes if that’s all you can spare. Examples of the kind of things on my list are:

  • watch an episode of my favourite show
  • do a face mask
  • do a mindfulness guided meditation
  • read a chapter or two of a book
  • look through a magazine
  • watch a film
  • paint my nails
  • have a bubble bath

Just one thing, for you and only you, every day.

When Monday morning arrives, take a deep breath, relax. Out comes Mondays list. Forget about the lists for the other days, take your week one day at a time as much as possible. Get Mondays tasks checked off, because feeling like you’ve had a productive day, you feel more relaxed. That sense of achievement brings a certain level of calm.

If your issue with Mondays is the fact that you hate your job, then keep your eye out for posts coming soon, on goal setting and making changes.

I really do hope that you’re smiling by the time next Monday comes around!

Fathers Day

Fathers day is such a special day in our home, simply because my girls are so lucky to have a wonderful dad.

My husband wanted children a lot sooner than I did. I could never quite prepare myself. I kept finding excuses to put off starting a family. We were married for eight years before our eldest daughter was born. Needless to say it was life changing!

From the moment I found out I was expecting, I began to see a different side to my husband, something really endearing, that made me fall in love with him just that little bit more. We both cried tears of joy when we held out baby girl for the first time, and his bond with her was as instant as mine. Once on the ward, I had showered and changed into some comfy pj’s, and I returned to my bay, to see my husband sitting on the visitors chair, with our daughter snugly resting on his chest. That image will remain with me forever, it was the moment I knew, that my childrens experience of a fathers love would be so different to my own.

My dad is not a bad dad, and I love him dearly, but he was never a very present father, always busy working, and too young to be tied down and be at home with his children. He gave us everything we needed, except maybe enough hugs and encouragement.

Since that day, my husband has shown himself to be the most loving, compassionate, funny, approachable, hard-working and encouraging father any girl could wish for. Both of our daughters adore their dad, and it brings me so much joy and contentment to witness their beautiful relationship.

I know there will be ups and downs, (I anticipate this to be especially true during the teenage years), but I hope their bond stays as strong as it is now, always.

We treated the special guy in our home to a delicious lunch at TGI Fridays today (his tastes are simple-no fuss, and lets be honest it was a treat we ALL enjoyed).

I hope you all had a great day and that all fathers, both present and absent, were in your hearts. Big Love.

 

My Skincare Routine

I often get compliments on my skin. I could say that I’m fortunate to have good skin, but I really do believe that it’s only part good luck and genetics.

A good skin care routine is invaluable.

This post won’t include product reviews, those will come later, as I would like to go into more depth about the products I use and why. So here is a simple breakdown of my routine.

  1. A good cleanser. This can be either foamy, creamy or a gel, pick what works for you. Use a cotton muslin cloth or an electric facial brush to massage this into the skin, rather than using your hands, this makes a big difference.
  2. Toner. This is a step you really shouldn’t miss out. Toner refreshes and tightens the skin. It should also pick up anything your cleanser may have left behind.
  3. Moisturiser. I have sensitive skin which can get dry on certain areas of my face, so I use a moisturiser specifically suited to my skin type. There are so many different moisturisers available out there, and they vary greatly in price, from the basic bargains, to the outright ludicrous. To a certain extent you do get what you pay for, but that said, there is no need to break the bank. I swear by Liz Earle naturally active skincare. https://uk.lizearle.com/category/Skincare/MOISTURISERS/skin-repair-dry-sensitive
  4. An eye cream or serum. The area around your eyes is super sensitive, so treat it with care. It is really important to keep it hydrated and fresh. The more hydrated and looked after that skin is, the longer you can put off the creases and fine lines.
  5. Invest in a really good eye make up remover. The routine above should remain the same for the morning and evening, (yes you really should do all of that twice a day), however at night, add the step of removing any make up before you cleanse, tone and moisturise. My favourites are YSL eye make remover and Elemis smart water, which can be used to remove makeup from the whole face.

The Extras

  1. Twice a week, I use an exfoliating scrub after I cleanse. Some people prefer a gentle exfoliation and some like something really quite rough so that they can feel all that dead skin coming away. I myself prefer something a little bit in-between, so I use a St Ives scrub. They’ve got a few in their range and all of them are really lovely. This addition to your routine is essential if you want to draw out impurities and maintain that youthful glow.
  2. A mask. This is a weekly ritual for me that has led to that particular day of the week being re-named ‘face mask Friday’ in my house. My two year old finds it terrifying to say the least. I however, love this part of my week, and those 20 minutes or so while the mask works its magic are some much needed time to relax. I like to try different masks, but generally finish a pot before moving onto something new. I do have a favourite, that I tend to come back to again and again, but I wont detail that here as I will be featuring it in a product review soon.

So, without stating the obvious, I do appreciate that we all have different skin types, and what works for one person, may not necessarily work for another. Try and test products in the above categories until you find something that is just right for you.

I hope this little routine inspires you to really look after and love the skin you’re in!

 

Anxiety-and how to WIN

So, todays post is about anxiety. This subject is vast and at times complicated, however, I’m going to use my own experience of anxiety (of which I have a great deal), to try and help you with your experience.

Anxiety is surprisingly common, and to some extent, a normal part of life. It becomes an issue when it starts to take over your thoughts, and stops you from enjoying things you were able to before, or makes you fearful of trying anything new.

I think anxiety has always been with me, but I dealt with some tragedy and loss in my teens which amplified the feelings of worry and stress, and if there’s one thing we know about anxiety, is that it feeds off stress.

I don’t want to make this post about trying to explain why any of us are anxious, because everyone has their own unique experience, and levels of anxiety vary greatly. Instead, I would like to give you tips on managing anxiety, and for some of you, how to beat it into submission.

  1. Don’t try to own anxiety, and by that I mean stop labelling it as yours. Don’t attach it yourself like something you carry around. We do this by saying things like ‘my anxiety’. Its just anxiety, it doesn’t belong to you and it’s not who you are.
  2. Invest in a good guided meditation app. My personal favourite is Headspace- that’s what works for me. YouTube has some great meditation resources, and again I like, ‘The Honest Guys’ and their various meditations, sleep talk-downs and mindfulness exercises.
  3. panic attacks are uncomfortable and terrifying, but NEVER life threatening or dangerous. I went through a period where I had attacks everyday-now they are few and far between.
  4. Recognise your panic triggers and face them. For such a long time avoidance was my technique of choice, and so much of life passed me by. By facing our triggers and inviting the panic, our body stops fighting against the sensations and they pass a lot quicker.
  5. Once an attack starts, accept that it is happening, and tell yourself that it will pass. Tell yourself that although you are scared, you are not in danger. Above all else, focus on that breathing.
  6. Understand that breathing really is the key to managing anxiety. You want to breathe in and inflate your belly, much like a sleeping baby does. Try this: Breathe in for a count of four, then hold for a count of four, and then slowly breathe out for a count of eight. Repeat this until you feel calm and relaxed. This technique isn’t just for panic attacks, you can use it whenever you have some quiet time to yourself.
  7. Try to let go of negative emotions such as anger and guilt. These feelings feed anxiety and they don’t change the situation you’re in, they are damaging and unhelpful.
  8. Make time for people you enjoy being around, and for things you enjoy doing. It is not selfish to put your wellbeing and needs at the top of your list sometimes.
  9. Stay true to yourself, stand by what you believe and live your life according to who you are, not what others need you to be. It is impossible to sustain that for too long and it makes you bitter.
  10. Finally, be grateful for everything you have. Appreciate people, places, possessions and time. Everything is temporary, so enjoy it and be present in the moment. Stop thinking about the past or worrying unnecessarily about the future

I hope this [practical, tried and tested advice helps you, like its helped me. I honestly try every day to live by these simple but effective guidelines and its changed my world.