Sentimental Me: My Dad. My Hero. My Trip.

When you get the dreaded phone call from the other side of the world.

The phone call that grabs your heart and sends your pulse racing.

You act fast.

Family first. Always. No question.

My Dad needed to see his baby girl in the flesh.

His prognosis is not good, but boy is he a fighter.

He has strength like no other. He never complains.

My Dad. My Hero. My Trip.

My Dad has always been my hero.

To be honest, when I was growing up he was tough and strict (but very easy going with me). But since my Mumma died in 1999, he has softened so much.

I am so proud of the way he has coped for the past 17 years without his love in his life. I actually don’t think he ever realised just how much he loved her, until he lost her.

Which is so sad.

He has been really poorly for quite a while. Besides a whole heap of medical dramas that keep hitting him hard, he has another (yes, he has already had one repaired) bulging aneurysm (this time in his neck), it could burst at any moment, and unfortunately he is too poorly to survive the much needed surgery, due to severe breathing difficulties. My poor Dad is constantly attached to oxygen.

Also, to add insult to injury, his bladder cancer has returned, which we found out last week, is now untreatable.

We talked a lot while I was there (sometimes he just drifted off into a gentle sleep while we were talking, which was so cute).

We talked about my Mum a lot too, which was so lovely for both of us.

We made some sweet memories that I will cherish forever.

We also laughed a lot (at 84 he is still as sharp as a razor, with an amazing sense of humour).

He had his little girl home, which made him happy and he was determined to make the most of our time.

That’s what I love most about him. No matter how dire his health situation is, he still smiles, cracks (very bad) jokes and continually fights to stay alive.

He is truly amazing.

The hardest thing I have ever done though, was saying goodbye to him on the day I was leaving.

We both knew this was the last time we would ever see each other in the flesh.

Trying to put that last goodbye into words when the tears are flowing, is indescribable.

When I turned and walked away, my heart was breaking.

I just let the tears flow as I thought about our wonderful week together.

It has taken me over a week to be able to speak about it. Even to Jonny.

Before I change topic, I must just tell you about my incredible Sister. She is the glue that holds our lives together.  It is hard to describe how selfless she is. My Dad is her number one priority, she makes his life run so smoothly. Both myself and my brother are so lucky that she is my Dad’s rock.

Vonnie, thank you for everything that you do, I am so proud to call you my Sister.

My Dad. My Hero. My Trip

Anyway, let me just rewind.

The 5 days before I dashed back to England were tough.

I was still working and I needed to sort my head out. I was emotional and in a complete tail spin. Packing was the last thing on my mind.

All I could think about was getting back to my Dad.

When it came to packing, I was like a robot (which on reflection worked like a dream – I wore almost everything I packed, except for one pair of white jeans and a short sleeved long tunic, a lightweight dress and a spare pair of ponte pants).

My top packing tips for flying long haul:

  • Make a list of outfits (take the list with you) – complete with shoes and accessories. I even add in the colour of my undies at this stage.
  • Always try on the outfits to make sure they work.
  • Build the capsule based around the shoes/boots/handbag colour you are taking.
  • Wear your heaviest coat/boots to travel in  – I wore my leather jacket and my comfy CR ankle boots.
  • Carry a lightweight cardigan or shrug and a scarf for during the flight – it gets super chilly at 40,000ft.
  • Pack a pair of ‘Spa Slippers’ in your hand luggage (I also carry a snap lock plastic bag to store them between connecting flights). When I land at my destination I just leave them, and any rubbish I have accumalated on board. Never go to the bathroom on board the flight in just your socks – I’m sure you can imagine why 😉
  • Pack an Aussie Electrical board in your suitcase (this top tip came from Nikki at Styling You, I believe she picked it up from Beth at Baby Mac).
  • Carry disposable make-up wipes, moisturiser plus a travel sized toothpaste/brush in your hand luggage. Take your make-up off as soon as you’re settled on board, followed by lashings of moisturiser.
  • Change of underwear and clothes if you have a long transit stop. For me a quick underwear change on the way there was all I could manage, on the way back I had a full change of clothes.
  • Sleeping pills and earplugs for the flight plus any medication you may be taking. I use Restavit Sleeping tablets (available from Chemist Warehouse).
  • Pack a USB lead for your phone in your hand luggage (most larger aircraft have a USB port in your seat and free WIFI – which I loved).

Making a list of outfits.

This is such a simply way to make sure you are not over packing. My suitcase was medium sized and weighed 22kg when full (I was so proud of myself – I did have to sit on it the case though 😉 ). A medium case for me is manageable especially when lifting of the luggage carousel. I also carry a handbag with my essential in, plus a wheely travel bag. Inside this, I pack my laptop plus a change of clothes. I also swapped my leather jacket for a long cardigan that I had in packed in there at the departure gate. I then pop this in the over head locker and forget about it, until I land.

I made sure the clothes I packed were all complimentary, not random items I just threw in without thought.

I also packed enough outfits to wear clean fresh clothes, everyday.

If you nail the bottoms – the tops and accessories are easy.

I packed:

3 pairs of drop crotch pants. 1 khaki. 1  plum*. 1 striped (no link as sold out)

4 pairs of jeans. 1 light distressed*. 1 black*. 1 dark denim. 1 biker jegging*.

The pair of ponte pants I loved were these ones* from Blue Sage

I also threw in my denim jacket* at the last minute.

Once I new the bottoms, I decided on the tops:

I took two of these long sleeve v-neck* beauties from Betty Basics

My favourite stripey tee*.

2 neutral blouses for the evening plus my favourite leopard shooties.

I also add this strip maxi dress* and this shirt dress*.

And what suitcase would be complete without a white shirt.

I travelled on three flights in this cotton jumper*  and this poncho* was perfect for layering both from Eb and Ive

Just before I left I received a fabulous parcel arrive from Read and Bell – it was a life saver.

All three pieces are simply divine and had to come with me.

It contained this poncho* a  short  sleeved jumper*  and this wrap*

My Dad. My Hero. My Trip. IMG_8077 650

My Dad. My Hero. My Trip.

Soft Australian merino wool at it’s finest. I’m still blown away with the quality of the beautiful pieces – they are also super stylish, a must for any fashionista’s wardrobe

This cardigan* from Lee Lou Anne was also a non-negotiable – I’m still a smitten kitten

Guess what? The lovely girls have just sent me the khaki* – so happy!

Spring in England can still be very chilly – there was snow hitting the on board camera, as my plane touched down in Birmingham.

It was a shock.

My suitcase was full of warm pieces that worked, but still looked stylish.

 

 

Things to do before you leave for the airport:

  • Book you flight seats (choose wisely if travelling alone) If travelling on the A380 and the ‘upper deck’ is available book it (any spare seats will be upstairs). I moved on two of my flights and had the luxury of 3 seats to myself on one flight and 4 on another – it makes a big difference!
  • Select a different in-flight meal. This means you are guaranteed your meal first before the full service is served. For the shorter flight DXB – BHX (7.5 hrs) I always order a fruit platter. For the longer flight BNE-DXB (14.5 hrs) I opted for gluten free (who wants to bloat when they are travelling).
  • Check out the transit airport – for me this was Dubai. If you have a long stopover (I had 10 hrs on my return) is there a hotel? Somewhere to shower? A pool? Massage? Hair Salon? There is a transit hotel in Dubai but you can’t book by the hour so I chose the Snooze Cube option (located in T1 at Gate C22). I booked 5 hours. It worked so well. It did mean catching a train between terminals, but even travelling alone this didn’t phase me. Just follow the signs and leave plenty of time to eat, get changed and make your way back to the terminal you are leaving from.
  • If you are ever at Changi Airport in Singapore I highly recommend the transit hotel – you can book by the hour, although make sure you book in advance.

 

Do you have a ritual when it comes to travelling? Any tips you would like to share?

 

All pieces marked * were gifted to me in accordance with my disclosure policy.

 

Bev,

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  • Lily Riek

    Oh Bev, I just want to reach out and give you a big hug! Thank goodness for your beautiful sister.
    On another note, those travel tips of yours are amazing!

    • Lily thank you so much. Big hug gratefully received and totally appreciated 🙂
      My Sister is a total gem, we’re all so blessed to have such an Angel in our lives. xxx

  • Sophisticated Mumma

    (A big sigh!) I just feel all kinds of emotions Bev coming from this post. I can imagine your trip was most probably exhausting but what a joy it must have been to see your dear Dad & family again. Thank goodness you have a wonderful sister there to keep an eye on things, it must be a comfort to you. Your travel wardrobe was just fabulous & loved the tip about the spa slippers and the power board…I must bookmark this post to remember those 🙂 xx

    • Thanks so much Nat. I know you understand exactly how emotional the past few weeks have been. I travelled there and back on auto-pilot mode (no pun intended). My head was in a complete spin. But spending those fabulous 7 days sitting with my wonderful Dad were priceless and something I will treasure forever.
      The spa slippers have always been my top flying tip…and the power board is a complete lifesaver! xxx

  • merilyn

    what a lovely post bev!
    it’s so hard for you hun! … but at least it was good that you got to see and be with him for some special moments!
    my dad is also a sweetie and still alive at 90! … he is very philosophical and says to me …
    “oh well I woke up this morning! that’s a bonus!”
    as for travelling and packing all I can say is that I improve with each trip!
    love the tips and you looks great! … much love m:)X

    • Oh thank you so much M.
      The past few weeks have been very tough. My Dad is such a trouper though. He refuses to give in even though he is struggling and the odds are firmly stacked against him. He truly is made of strong stuff. His attitude sounds very much like your Dad’s though. Big love xxx

  • Oh honey. Much love to you xx

    The hotel slippers to throw away is a brilliant idea. I usually throw a pair of Mox in my carry on because they’re the perfect pool side shoes – and you can shower in them too.

    The electricial board is a great idea – get one with USB ports on it and that makes it even easier.

    • Thanks for the love Lady xx
      You have also just made my life by suggesting adding USB port to my travel board! Great tip xx

  • Jenni @style_moi

    Oh Bev my heart goes out to you. I had tears streaming while reading your very moving post. xxxxx

    • Thank you so much Jenni, at times being so far away feels impossible to handle xxx

  • Oh sweetheart – what an incredibly beautiful and moving post. I am bawling here. BAWLING Sending you so so much love across the interwebs xx

    • Thanks so much for the love Lady. I must admit the past few weeks have been pretty tough xxx

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Beautiful post Bev but it breaks my heart as I understand how close you’ve become to your Dad since your Mum passed away as I’m the same, I ring my Daddy everyday and we talk about everything and anything,Dads like to act all tough on the outside but they are gooey and sweet on the inside.
    I am so sorry you’ve had to say goodbye to your Dad in this way Bev but all I can say is you’ve made memories while he was still well enough to talk and enjoy your company,so glad you could drop everything and spend precious time with him,sending you so much love gorgeous Bev 😘😘

    • Thanks so much darling. I know you truly understand what is like. You’re so right that Dad’s act tough. I think my Dad did the whole time I was growing up. But since my Mumma died he is such a softy. I also feel so guilty that my lovely Sister carries the burden of everything being that I am so far away. For years I always took my Dad to all of his hospital appointments, now my big Sis does it all.
      I had a wonderful 7 days with my Dad Lisa, I made beautiful memories that I will treasure for ever.
      Thanks so much for the love Lisa, it really does mean the world to me xxx

  • Bev you always write from the heart and this is no exception such a beautiful post. That last goodbye would have been heart breaking but how beautiful to be able to spend that precious time together. Sending you lots of love gorgeous lady xxx

    • Thanks so much Karen, this was one of the hardest posts I have ever written. It’s taken me so long to be able to write about the gauntlet of emotions I have been through over the past few weeks. Guilt is propbably one of the biggest. Not being close by for my Dad and Sister has been the hardest cross to bare. The dreaded jet lag didn’t help with my emotions either. By the time I landed in Brisbane on Mother’s Day and saw my girl, I could truly of broken down. Thanks for the love beautiful xx

  • Lovely post Bev. I’d be devastated to say goodbye to my dad. I’m so glad you could stop and go see him. Xxx

    • Thank you so much Bec. The past few weeks have been so hard. My Dad will always be my hero no matter what, I’m so glad that I made it back in time to have a wonderful 7 days with him xxx

  • Yvonne Duke

    As you may know I also had that call and was in Scotland while you were in England, I only had a couple of hours to pack and my eldest son and I had no idea what we’d packed till we got there !! Which is why he had 5 pairs of shorts and I had 25 pairs of knickers !! Leaving my mum the last time I visited had been difficult, this time we got to spend some time with her before she passed away 2 days after we arrived. Like you my sister has been the one to look after and organise my mum, we helped her organise everything, along with my brother and were there for her funeral and a few days after. It was difficult to leave, i know so much how you feel. Please take care, thinking of you x

    • Oh Yvonne I’m so very sorry for your loss, but so happy that you made it back in time to say goodbye to your Mumma. I made the decision a while ago that if it came to it I would do everything in my power to get back in time to see my Dad while he was still able to know I was there. He truly is defying all of the odds though. He has so many things wrong with him, I simply can’t believe how he still manages to be with us.
      I was an emotional wreck when I left, so was he, but I feel so much better knowing we have spoken about everything. Like your sister, mine is an Angel. I just don’t know what I would do without her. She is incredible.
      On a lighter note, I’m not sure how I managed to pack such a good case…your 25 pairs of knickers really did make me giggle though! xxx Sending a big hug

      • Yvonne Duke

        Thanks Bev ❤️

  • Erin

    An absolutely beautiful tribute to your dad x