The very word ‘holiday’ often induces an immediate panic attack in me in terms of what to pack in order to cover all potential disasters.
I often have so much emergency medical equipment on me that I can barely fit any clothes in my bag! From thrush and cystitis, to piles, conjunctivitis, constipation, diarrhoea, sunburn, prickly heat, bites and food poisoning I am covered.
Then there’s my toiletries, fake tans, wash-off tans, suntan lotion, after sun, facial bronzers; and that’s without the cleansers, shampoos, hair protecting stuff, moisturisers and nail stuff.
Then there’s my food. Yes, I have to take my breakfast everywhere with me, my linseeds (milled and whole) accompany be round the world in a bag, or I’ll be constipated or get hot flushes or what? Another panic attack perhaps! And my tea bags, and sometimes my portable kettle. Clothes are the least of my worries here!
So, you may think I am perhaps not the best person to advise, but I am changing my ways, streamlining my products and also, I am very conscious of using chemical free, eco- friendly products, which are what I advise for everyone trying for a baby or going through IVF. I am going to buy a lovely new wash bag, and if anything doesn’t fit then it stays behind!
Hopefully we can forget about the strong mosquito stuff, as anyone trying for a baby or about to do IVF should be avoiding the Zika virus areas. So, I’m just going to focus on European mosquito avoidance here. And for everything else, if you are anywhere in Europe, the pharmacies are fabulous.
SKIN: Two weeks before your holiday, take a supplement called Astaxanthin which helps prepare the skin to protect itself from UV rays. Future Biotics. Also, a tablespoon of tomato puree mixed with olive oil eaten every day for two weeks before is believed to help reduce UV damage dramatically.
FAKE TANS: Look at this website for DHA-free fake tans (DHA is the chemical that makes fake tans smell awful and may be linked to health problems.
A good B Complex and a separate B1 taken a week before you go and during the holiday will make your skin smell bad to a mosquito. Try this gentle spray on your skin that is organic, vegan and paraben free, formulated for babies. Babylabs Bug Spray can be purchased here
Taking a good probiotic from a week before you go and during your holiday can really help protect you from bugs and poisoning. Optibac Probiotics for Travelling Abroad.
I would say no to gel/shellacs as the chemicals are way too strong, but this website gives you a choice of some lower chemical nail polishes just for your holiday.
Long haul travel
A good blood thinning anti-clotting (DVT) is Pycnogenol. Viridian Pycnogenol and Grape Seed Complex, one a day from a week before, during and a week after.
Take it before sleep in the night time of whatever time zone you are in.
And Neal’s Yard Organic Facial Wipes are brilliant for travelling.
When you are here
SLEEP: To reset your body clock, especially from long haul travel, Melatonin is brilliant. And to re-set your body clock Melatonin 5mg is great to use.
Take it before sleep in the night time of whatever time zone you are in. And I usually. And Muffles wax ear plugs from Boots and a good eye mask like Solait from Superdrug are essential.
WASH OFF TAN: My absolute favourite of all time Tan Luxe Instant Hero Skin Perfector. Parabens free and vegan.
Sunscreen and aftersun
Organic and chemical-free Organii and Green People are fabulous and can be purchased from here
And I take a little bottle of good olive oil with me as studies have shown that it can help repair sun-damaged skin (and unfortunately even a light golden glow is a sign of sun damage).
Loads of water and a glycerine suppository (Boots) usually helps, plus the linseeds.
Optibac Probiotics Extra Strength one a day (just take one a day when you are there) and this is brilliant for any tummy problem, comes in sachets so easy to pack, an organic mineral gel called Enterosgel.
I must confess I am not good with holidays, usually leaving it to the last minute, and then slightly dreading them as the time to ‘get away from it all’ draws closer. Oh the expectations are so very high; the weather, the food, the mattress, the view, the other people if we’re in a hotel, the lack of other people if we’re half way up a mountain. In the past most of my packing consisted of first aid (cystitis, conjunctivitis, piles, thrush, athletes foot, you name it I am prepared) and toiletries – litres of sun care of every SPF, hair protecting serums, bronzers of all types; face, legs, body, matt (for day) glossy (for night), herbal mosquito repellents, full on warfare repellents and creams and pills for when neither work. They regularly part company from their firmly put on lids spreading their contents throughout my freshly prepared holiday clothes.
I have been known to empty my linseeds (they stop constipation) from the inside of my husband’s trainers where mysteriously they decided to migrate when the bag split. How does that happen snugly packed away in a suitcase? The holiday usually starts off badly as we wait for the dreaded 3am taxi to the Gatwick Express and I am several kilos overweight with my husband yelling things like “We are NOT going to an African war zone, they have pharmacies in France!’’. So I have finally pared down but this is my list of cannot-do-withouts on my holiday packing list that I have to bring from here:
Noise & Light
Take a good vitamin B complex with extra B1 a week before and during the holiday; although there is no firm scientific evidence it does really help some people as they make the skin smell bad to a mosquito, so worth a try. Also Avon Skin So Soft body cream has a fantastic reputation for being an excellent mosquito repellent.
Optibac Travel Probiotics, just take one a day to help protect as well as speed recovery from bugs.
Herbs Hands Healing Chamomile & Cascara capsules and glycerine suppositories.
This Works In Transit First Aid, from cuts to spots, bites and stings this is a one stop cream that smells fabulous and from the same range Turbo Balm, for lips, cuticles and rough skin everywhere. I also love the Aesop Travel Kits for their delicious smelling skin and hair products in small bottles.
Futurebiotics High Potency Astaxanthin, one a day starting two weeks before you leave may help to protect your skin from burning and sun damage. With new research suggesting that chemical sunscreens damage sperm it could be assumed that they are not very good for anyone so try products like Neals Yard’s new chemical free range or Mypure Natural Mineral Sunscreen, Jason Mineral Sunblock or Dr Mercola Natural Sunscreen from Evolution Organics.
Aveda make three lovely products to protect from sun damage and chlorine – a spray, a shampoo and a serum.
Mel Brown is a leading fertility lifestyle and nutritionist expert. To keep up to date with Mel, follow her on Instagram @melaniebrownnutritionist
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