Are new women’s clothing sizes at Next making fashion more inclusive and helping body image issues, or just a marketing ploy?

With body confidence and size-inclusivity at all-time highs on social media, why are women feeling the pressure more than ever before? According to a recent survey by BLISS magazine, only 8% of 2000 girls, aged 17, said they were happy with their appearance. Of those who were unhappy, 90% of them thought their mothers also had body image issues.

So, are women’s inconsistent clothing sizes part of the reason to blame? It’s long been said that women’s clothing sizes vary from shop to shop, and even within ranges in the same shops.

Twitter user, Chloe Martin, 19, posted an image of seven pairs of women’s jeans in a size 12, that went viral with over 125,000 retweets in March 2019. Unsurprisingly, not a single pair was the same size.

Chloe Martin’s Tweet

It’s not hard to see how instances like this can create body image issues for women around the world.

Chloe said: “I think it can be a real problem, especially if your body image is an issue. You can be loads of different sizes in shops, and if we don’t have a set size that fits us, we are constantly having to make sure we are trying things on, and it’s not ideal.

“I think that instead of each store having their idea of, say a size 12, that it’s a set of measurements. There’s no reason to have different measurements for one size. It should all be consistent.”

Fashion retailer, Next, has recently announced that they will be trialling ‘in-between’ sizing in certain jean styles, and their chinos. They will be delivering sizes 11, 13, 15, and 17 in their most popular styles – slim, skinny, boot-cut, and chinos. Next has also announced that more styles will be added in these sizes towards the end of April 2019.

Next jeans in sizes 12, 14, and 16

Although this is something that is probably far overdue in the women’s fashion industry, is it more of a marketing ploy than an actual attempt to help women find better fitting clothes?

In a press release, Next said: “”Next are always looking for ways to help women feel amazing in what they wear.

“After spending time with our customers and listening to their feedback, we have decided to trial in-between sizes in some of our favourite jeans and tailoring pieces to ensure that we are offering them the best fit possible.”

Opening any women’s health magazine, it won’t be long before you find a reference to ‘dropping a dress size’. With fad diets and paparazzi shots of cellulite, is it any surprise young girls, and their mothers, have body image issues? Surely by adding extra sizes to women’s clothing, we are pandering to this never-ending ‘ideal’ body image?

Chloe Martin also spoke about this increase in clothing sizes: “I think it’s a great idea because I know sometimes I feel like a size 10 is too small but a 12 is too big. An in-between size makes sense. I don’t see why this hasn’t been introduced into the fashion industry sooner.

“I think overall it will do more good than not, and might give people more options to find a size that truly fits them, rather than something fitting loosely/too tight.”

In an Instagram poll, 75% of female users said they would consider buying clothing in ‘in-between’ sizes. With such large margins of popularity, why has it taken so long for clothing brands to trial this? And why is Next still the only store that has started this initiative that’s long overdue?

However, how easy is it going to be to get hold of these new sizes? I took a trip to my local Next store in Kidderminster and couldn’t find any of the ‘in-between’ sizes in stock.  There had also been no advertising regarding the new sizes in store.

A woman’s dress size, much like her age, is almost a taboo topic. Many husbands, boyfriends, and partners don’t know their significant other’s sizes and with such little advertising around these new sizes, it seems set to continue in this taboo fashion.

Although the new sizes have launched on the website, with none in store, I asked a staff member. She told me that although it had been launched last night on their systems, there has been no stock delivery as of yet. She suggested that it might be in the delivery tomorrow (Thursday 18th 2019), or could even be as late as next week.

With women’s female body image more of an issue than ever before, should the fashion industry be working harder to make sizes more inclusive? Although the new ‘in-between’ sizes at Next are sure to be help with the fit of women’s clothing, will it help increase inclusivity? Maybe next, it’s a case of working on not only expanding sizes within the average 8-18, but beyond that. Making smaller sizes and larger sizes more accessible in UK store will surely help beyond adding more sizes into an already average size range?

Find out more!

The bigger the boobs, the bigger the bother

High street and online stores in the UK stock plentiful bra ranges in A-D cup sizes. Some may stretch to a ‘fuller bust’ range from a DD-F. If you’re unfortunately blessed with anything larger, the message is clear: Good luck!

Many high street stores especially, stock a limited number of bras above a DD. And the larger the cup size, expect to pay more. High street shop Primark sells bras in sizes A-D, starting from £3. The average bust size in the UK is a 36DD (compared to a 34B 11 years ago), so many women are often stuck paying far more for what is necessity.

Some retailers, such as Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters only stock an A-D cup range online and in store. This means that many customers are prevented from shopping for bras and lingerie stocked by the popular brands.

The chart below shows the shocking percentage of bras sold in an F+ cup in some of the UK’s top high street stores.

Bra sizes in UK stores

With the body positivity movement at an all-time high, surely it’s time for stores to become more inclusive with their underwear choices, as well as their clothing.
Many retailers now offer huge selections and ranges of plus-size clothing, such as Asos Curve and Boohoo Plus & Curve. This isn’t exclusive to online clothing retailers either, New Look also offers an in-store plus size range.
With far more options online, why are women still struggling to find the correct bra size I store? I took a trip to my local high street in Worcester, in the Midlands. Of the five stores I visited, including Topshop, H&M, and New Look, not a single one offered a bra above a DD in stock.

Bras are a necessity, and societal expectation, for women of all ages. Are older women struggling to find bras in the correct size as they’re options are so limited?

Angela Thorne, 57, and a 36G, spoke of the difficulties in finding a bra that would fit without shopping online.
“It’s so much harder shopping for bras in store as the sizes just aren’t there. I was wearing the wrong size for years, a DD, before I got measured professionally. However, they didn’t have any bras in my new size in stock at the time so I left without purchasing any. We are expected to make use of the services in high end bra shops, and pay dearly for it, and still they refuse to stock the sizes we need,” she said.

“I get my daughter to order my bras online as it is just too hard to find them in store and I end up wearing ones that don’t fit instead.”

When looking at the availability of bra options available in larger sizes, the numbers are even more telling. Some stores, such as H&M, drop from 228 bras available in an A-C cup, to just 36 in a DD-F cup, and zero above an F.

Availability in UK stores

It’s 2019. Let’s make it the year that underwear becomes as inclusive as clothing.

Bloody Waters: What is Grindadráp?

WARNING: This post contains graphic images including blood and animal death. 

Sea Shepherd Global
A summer 2017 whale hunt in the Faroe Islands photographed by a Sea Shepherd volunteer

Every year hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins are killed in the Faroe Islands in the long-standing tradition – Grindadráp. More commonly known as the Grind, the Faroese herd whales and dolphins into shallow bays where the islanders wait with knives to sever their spinal cords and main arteries. The blubber and skin of the whales is used by the islanders in their daily lives. However, the meat is unfit for human consumption. With ocean conservationists such as Sea Shepherd taking an aggressive approach to intervene, is this the best way to help defend the whales and dolphins?

“Grindadráp is one of many cultural traditions involving the slaughter of animals that has recently come under fire by animal rights activists and conservationists.”

Grindadráp has been a tradition in the Faroe Islands for centuries; however, more recently there has been increasing opposition against the practice and the abhorrent cruelty of the tradition. Although originally, the whales killed would have been used for food and survival among the Faroese, in the modern-day, whale meat is unfit for consumption. This is due to whales containing high levels of mercury, alongside other chemicals, as a result of ocean contamination. Grindadráp is one of many cultural traditions involving the slaughter of animals that has recently come under fire by animal rights activists and conservationists.

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Sea Shepherd witnessing a whale hunt in the Faroe Islands

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is one of the most active groups protecting marine species such as whales and sharks. However, their ‘direct action’ tactics are often considered too extreme. Activists for the Operation Bloody Fjords campaign have been banned from entering within one nautical mile from land when a Grindadráp is taking place. Sea Shepherd vessels are also banned from entering within 12 nautical miles of the island.

The Sea Shepherd campaign against whaling in the Faroe Islands

Rob Read, Chief Operations Officer of Sea Shepherd UK, said: “The Faroese claim that all Sea Shepherd people, including unpaid volunteers, need work permits to travel to the Faroe Islands, though that has not stopped my covert crews who travel as tourists.”

“During the ten weeks our volunteer crew, who used their personal vacation time to blend in with other tourists, managed to document nine separate Grindadráp hunts.” – Rob Read, COO Sea Shepherd UK

He also revealed that: “Sea Shepherd UK coordinated ten weeks of covert land-based patrols from July to mid-September 2017 with crews based in six different Faroese towns covering 19 of the designated whaling bays. During the ten weeks our volunteer crew, who used their personal vacation time to blend in with other tourists, managed to document nine separate Grindadráp hunts.”

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Ackergill Tower in Wick, Scotland

Read brought up the ongoing controversy of Wick, a North-Eastern Scottish town, is twinned with the Faroese whale-hunting town, Klaksvick. Klaksvick also recently twinned with Taiji in January, a notorious dolphin hunting town in Japan. With more publicity and media attention being focused on animal killing traditions such as Grindadráp and the Yulin dog festival in China, which involves dogs being burnt alive, it raises the question as to what involvement should be taken in regard monitoring or stopping such practices.

“I think most people with a semblance of empathy would agree such practices don’t belong in a modern society.” – Pete Bethune, CEO Earthrace 

Dolphins killed during a hunt in the Faroe Islands

CEO of the New Zealand based wildlife charity Earthrace, Pete Bethune stated: “There are examples where animal rights might take precedence. As an example, many Chinese believe cooking animals alive is quite acceptable. This is cultural. Dogs for example are routinely singed alive by blowtorch during the Yulin dog festival. They believe it is their right, and the animal suffering is not a consideration. Most western countries find this appalling.  And I think most people with a semblance of empathy would agree such practices don’t belong in a modern society.”

Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China

However, in regard to Grindadráp, Earthrace partakes in a less obtrusive approach in comparison to Sea Shepherd, by working alongside the Faroese in order to peacefully bring an end to the Grind. Beliefs and opinions are without doubt expected to evolve and change over time and Bethune stated: “If you take people eating meat and dairy.  Today most societies believe it perfectly acceptable. Although there is a growing body of people who believe any consumption of animal products is wrong.  Today society values the culture of eating meat is greater than the push by vegans or vegetarians to abolish meat-eating. But it is evolving. And society is not homogenous. We have different demographics that believe in different things.”

“We have different demographics that believe in different things.” – Pete Bethune, CEO Earthrace

But Bethune does believe Grindadráp will eventually come to an end, he claimed: “To the Faroese, there is a small and growing population there that believes the Grind is wrong. But the majority of Faroese still support it. In time, I believe it will eventually stop.  But it will take time.”

Mulafossur Waterfall in the Faroe Islands

“The Grinds are in the ocean, not exactly a place where you can go out and bag your own animal, it has to be a collective effort in order to help the collective local populace, which is what creates the blood bath that helps the media portrays the event as a blood sport.” – Dain Greywall, Danish supporter of the Grind

Dain Greywall, a Danish supporter for continuing the Grind stated his support stemmed from growing up around hunting for survival as opposed to hunting for sport. He said: “I personally believe that the people of the Faroe Islands have a greater respect for the Grind than those who target the Faroese for their practices. The Faroese do extensive work into keeping the Grind population steady just like any other regulated hunting animal, the only difference being the hunting season for the Grind is only a week unlike most other hunting seasons. The Grinds are in the ocean, not exactly a place where you can go out and bag your own animal, it has to be a collective effort in order to help the collective local populace, which is what creates the blood bath that helps the media portrays the event as a blood sport.”


Although many of the Faroese are still in favour of continuing Grindadráp, far fewer voice their opinions on social media or likewise due to fear of retribution and abuse from those who disagree. Greywall has experienced his own share of abuse online and in real life. He revealed: “I’ve been called a whale murderer both on social media and real life, but so far I haven’t received anything I haven’t shrugged off as amusing or empty threats.”


Perhaps more worryingly, he claimed to have received death threats from a representative of a well-known organisation against whaling in the Faroe Islands. Although he stated he is no longer in possession of the messages, he claimed it said, “that if the individual ever saw/found me then I should keep my neck covered so that he wouldn’t cut it open ‘like how they do it on the Faroe Islands”. In a modern world where it is easy to access social media and voice such opinions, it is unsurprising that the Faroese are so protective of their culture when faced with such graphic backlash from the Western world.

Megan Jerrard in the Faroe Islands

Although some support for the Grind is from native Danes and Faroese, there is also a growing number people attempting to justify the Faroese’s practice of Grindadráp. Journalist Megan Jerrard visited the Faroe Islands and produced a number of blog posts in support of ending the Grind peacefully, aligned very much alongside Earthrace. She stated: “Many people believe eating any type of meat is equal to animal cruelty, however if you label the pilot whale hunt as animal cruelty, the same should be applied to any type of animal harvest for meat consumption, whether in Australia, the UK, or Europe. But it would be quite an incredulous statement to ask someone how important they believe it is to preserve the Australian culture of eating meat pies opposed to countering the animal cruelty of slaughtering cattle. The difference is that culturally, the Western world (who are the most provoked by the idea of the Grind) have decided that it’s OK to eat cattle, but cruel to eat whales. The Faroese have a perspective that every life has the same value.”

“The Faroese have a perspective that every life has the same value.” – Megan Jerrard, Journalist 

Jerrard also claimed it is the question of culture versus conservation that is important in analysing the development of age-old traditions such as Grindadráp. Even when this is the case, she believes that it’s “something for every individual to decide”. She further states: “It’s something for the Faroese to decide. I believe it is the height of cultural imperialism to impose the views of our society onto a society who operates in a different environment, in a different part of the world, with different cultural values. Unlike countries like Japan, they do not export their meat internationally, or profit from its sale, the whale meat is harvested for local consumption, so in my view, any outsider looking in lacks the standing to offer an opinion.”

Children witnessing a grind taking place

Grindadráp is a practice that has been used by the Faroese for centuries, and as it currently appears, will continue for a time. With many difference stances on culture preservation as opposed to wildlife conservation, it is not an issue that will be easily resolved. While mainstream media continues to portray Grindadráp as a “bloodbath”, it must be remembered that it was once a means of survival, and habit is not all that easy to break. For now, pilot whales are not an endangered species in the Faroe Islands, and although this may change in the future, perhaps the focus of wildlife conservation should be centered around more currently at risk and misrepresented species.

Pilot whales in their natural habitat

Cyprus’ Forgotten Refugees of the 1960s: Poverty, the Kray Twins, and falling in love?

Cyprus’ stunning coastline – Kapparis Cove Rocks 

Cyprus’ political situation is seldom mentioned in Western media and very few people, unless directly affected, understand the hardship’s suffered by the Cypriots as a result of a still ongoing conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. With images of refugees flooding news broadcasts and the paper’s front pages, it’s easy to forgot about the lives of refugees who have been in England for many years…

The dawn appeared, but not fresh and rosy-fingered. After a perilous journey, an odyssey, from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, nine-year-old Antonagis Andreou stepped off the platform at King’s Cross Station in the 1960s – devastated and scared. The dark, cold, frosty November morning was a far cry from the golden sands and topaz seas of his homeland. As his eyes glittered with the memories of the past, “I cried and wanted to go home,” he said – and maybe that would have been for the best. Amid the racism and prejudice of 1950s and 1960s London, Antonagis struggled to find his place in society.

1960s London

Antonagis now looks very different to the young boy at King’s Cross. With soft, kind eyes, his empathy stretches far beyond the words he says. Drawings are scattered around his homely office, and his white hair evokes a loving, caring grandfather. Living in the Worcestershire countryside, surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. It’s a world away from his life in the London where an unfortunate fall into crime led Antonagis to running in the same circles as the notorious Kray brothers in London’s West End gang scene.

“We didn’t speak a word of English apart from yes or no”

“We didn’t speak a word of English apart from yes or no,” he recalls, “a man on the platform was asking if we were okay and all I said was ‘No!’” he chuckles with fondness. As the memories come flooding back, his love for his family clearly prevails over everything else. His mother arrived on British soil with three young children under the age of ten, after two years alone in poverty-stricken Cyprus. Antonagis’ father worked alone in London for two years to raise the money to bring his family to join him. Political and cultural tensions rose between the Greek and Turkish nationalities in Cyprus, but England was not the idyllic paradise many Greek Cypriots believed it to be.

“I was a bit of a naughty schoolboy”

Growing up in Holloway, Antonagis recalled his parents paid four shillings for a room with a shared bathroom. “We were so poor we were restricted on how much toilet paper we could use!” he says. When recounting his school days, Antonagis claims: “I was a bit of a naughty schoolboy.” With a small glint in his eye when he says this, it is fully believable that he hasn’t changed all that much. However, after leaving school, the struggle to escape the societal barriers in place became much harder. “We were called the ‘bubble and squeak Greeks,’” he remembers.

“You had to fight your way through everything” 

Antonagis’ fatal crime was stealing a car radio. At sixteen, he spent two weeks at Wormwood Scrubs before being sent to Borstal, in Kent. His sentence was two years long. Losing most of his later teenage years to prison, Antonagis had to grow up very quickly. Still living in poverty, Antonagis’ parents were unable to visit their son regularly throughout his time in prison. “You had to fight your way through everything,” he said, “There was blood all over the place, and we had to learn another way of surviving through the night.”

“It was the only way to survive.”

After leaving prison, Antonagis fell into gang life in London’s West End. He spent his time in the Greek cafes near Archway accompanied by his friend, the son of the Kray brothers’ chauffeur. “I had to do it,” he recalls, “It was the only way to survive.” It was a dangerous career in London’s West End and Antonagis found himself wanting to leave. “I learnt my trade of mechanics in Borstal,” he said, “so I wanted to find a job.”


After much trying, Antonagis was eventually given a job at St Georges’ Service Station in Mornington Crescent. It was here he met his wife, Diana, daughter of the owner of the garage. “I loved my job,” Antonagis says, and takes a breath and continues, “but I loved my wife more.” After falling in love, both sets of parents were against the mixed-race marriage. “My parents wanted me to marry a Greek girl but I was in love,” Antonagis explained. “Her father took me aside and offered me my job or his daughter – but the choice wasn’t hard,” he said.


With no photographs of the wedding, Antonagis only has the images in his mind to remind him of the day he married the love of his life. “Her parents said they would throw us a reception party, but we arrived at their house, alone, to twelve bottles of champagne,” he said, “we drank a lot that night.” Still living close to the breadline, his wife had left the home comforts of her upper-class upbringing. They lived in a small bedsit with an outside bathroom whilst Antonagis continued his work as a mechanic, trying to survive and start a family.

“I fell in love, and that was that”

Over forty years later, Antonagis now sits surrounded by portraits of his loving family. They had four children, numerous grandchildren, and even a couple of great-grandchildren. His life is quiet, simple, and easy in comparison to his past in London. The birds outside tweet as the sun rises high in the sky, illuminating the beauty of the countryside surroundings. However, as the golden rays infiltrate his office, they light up his face, and behind his dark, aged eyes, it is impossible to miss the youthfulness of the young boy stood at King’s Cross Station ready to start a new life. For Antonagis, it seemed his life took a turn onto the right side of the tracks when he met his wife. As he reminds me one last of his adoration for his wife and children, he whispers: “I fell in love, and that was that.”

Antonagis (2018)


“Dillon (name): meaning faithful”


On the 3rd of February, around 11am, my family and I lost the centre of our lives. So many things revolve around your routine and when the centre of it disappears, you feel inexplicably lost.


Dillon had been a part of our lives since 2005, and eventually the five of us became six when my youngest brother was born in 2007. A ‘chunky golden Labrador’ was what we hoped for, and Dillon could not have been more perfect. On the rainy October afternoon, we picked him up and we could never have even imagined not only the amount of joy and love we would feel, but also the heart-breaking highs and lows that our fluffy bundle of golden sunshine would bring us. Driving home, it took minutes for us to fall in love with him as he scuffled around in the front seat, trying to reach the gearstick, the steering wheel, and my dad.


Dillon was your classic Andrex puppy, golden white and with a mind for trouble. Marley was never a patch on him. He chewed through the plasterboard, doors (and doorframes!), washing machines, clothes dryers, Christmas trees – the list could go on forever! But Dillon was also so emotionally aware that it was something we never could have accounted for. Everyone says that their dog was one in a million, but Dillon genuinely was one of a kind.


The stories really are endless and will live on in our memories forever. However, what we didn’t realise until it was too late was how inextricably our whole lives revolved around Dillon. And that makes it so much harder to say goodbye. The little things like leaving pieces of food to give to him, waiting for him to appear when food arrived, checking behind you before you walked back and tripped over him, and the places that were his – where he lay, walked, ate, and slept.


Although he was (and now I guess is) an angel, it hasn’t always been plain sailing. In 2015, we noticed a small growth just inside his nose. After countless vet appointments, scans, and blood tests, he was ready for a biopsy. Just before his operation, he actually sneezed out the growth, however, unfortunately that would not be the end of his ordeal.


His biopsy revealed the growth was squamous cell carcinoma. As we couldn’t guarantee the cancer cells had completely disappeared we had a choice to make. This took place at the beginning of September, the vet informed us we might get until Christmas without doing anything, or we would have to remove his nose. Nasosinal tumours make up just 1% of all cancers in dogs according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, and only half of the dogs diagnosed have operations. This meant we had very little previous cases to base our decision on.


Originally, due to most of the graphic images online, we had decided it was far too traumatic and we couldn’t put Dillon through it. Luckily for us, we were blessed with a wonderful consultant, who we grew to know well over the last 3 years with Dillon – Susan Inkster from Manor Vets. Susan allowed us to come to our own decision while keeping us fully informed of the process aiming to make it as unobtrusive as possible. Just a few weeks later, Dillon was preparing for his operation.


For the first time in ten years, our house was empty without the sound of his paws pattering on the floorboards. After his diagnosis, Dillon was put on a strict cancer-fighting diet. This included organic chicken breasts and brown rice at least three times a day. And consequently, he became a little fussy with his food. After visiting him for the first time after his operation, the nurses informed my mum that he wasn’t eating, so she brought him some fresh chicken. It was the first time he’d eaten since his operation and luckily for him, he’d already grown on the staff at Manor Vets – they snuck him in chicken just to get him to eat. And then the floodgates opened for him. Spoilt isn’t the word for how he was treated at Manor Vets, one veterinary nurse even sat all night with him and watched Fifty Shades of Grey!


After coming home, Dillon was still in a lot of pain and although his front teeth had been removed to allow the tightening of the skin around his mouth, he was continually getting his gums caught. As a result of all the pain he had already experienced, he was hesitant to eat or drink. We spent months hand-feeding him and eventually, after a subsequent two operations to reopen his nasal passage way, he regained his strength. It was almost like his was back to normal. His appearance was the biggest change, but as my youngest brother said at the time: “He’s still our dog, our Dillon, he just looks a little bit different.”


Everything seemed fine for about a year, Dillon was back to his normal self, eating anything and everything but after a few worrying symptoms, he was taken for a check-up with the vets. He had a mass on his liver. A biopsy was taken and it fortunately it wasn’t cancerous, however, the position of it meant we were unable to operate without causing him further distress. He wasn’t in any pain and was able to continue with life as normal, so we did our best to give him the best life possible. With a few scares along the way, he was usually fine.


Late January, after returning to university, I received a phone call. Dillon had collapsed on a walk and couldn’t get back up. I came home immediately. When I returned, Dillon still wasn’t eating. We booked a vet appointment for the following morning with Mark, at Manor Vets, and unfortunately, he advised us that Dillon’s tumour had ruptured – he didn’t have long left. My parents had agreed to bring him home and to have our local vet come to provide him with a merciful release.


After not walking for two days, whilst me and my Dad were sat waiting for my two brothers to return from school, Dillon had a sudden burst of energy and stood up for the last time. We booked our appointment with our local vet, Bob, for 11am the following morning. Devastated and exhausted, we spent the morning with Dillon, just waiting, and he must have known. Just before the vet arrived, Dillon took his final breath surrounded by his family. And although it was the hardest thing any of us had ever done, he was finally at peace.


Without the wonderful people at Manor Vets and Bay Tree Veterinary Centre, without their support and their help in making decisions for Dillon, there is no way he would have been here for so much longer with us. It was comforting to know that the people caring for him loved him as much as we did and anyone considering care with them will not be disappointed.



Departures – The Best Travel Show



“After travelling the world for a year… We were charged with a whole new energy.” – Scott


Travelling is one of those pipeline dreams we all have, and many never complete. For many, a few trips to Europe, island-hopping in Thailand, and a tour of the Amazon will be enough to satiate their wanderlust however, that’s not the case for all.




A large proportion of the world is classified as developing countries, and these are usually not tourist hotspots. For some, the desire to travel to these unexplored wonderlands is often negated by the difficulty of organising such a trip. Sometimes this is due to political unrest, sometimes the danger of travelling as a foreigner in these countries, and sometimes purely down to the logistics and costs.





With hundreds of travel TV shows scattered around the globe, it can be difficult to pin down the ones that explore and do justice to the wilderness they are discovering. However, there is one show that does all this and more (and it’s available on Netflix!).




“As I got further away from my old life, I started to realise that this is where I needed to be.” – Justin



Departures began filming in 2007 so you may think it slightly dated – and the political circumstances of some of the countries have altered, such as Libya featured in Series 2. However, the experiences they undertake and places they explore are timeless.





Scott Wilson, Andre Dupuis, and Justin Lukach explore the globe with an avid trepidation that is missing from many travel shows today. The award-winning cinematographer, Andre, captures each moment in such a way that it makes it impossible to not feel like you’re travelling alongside the charismatic hosts. The differing personalities of Scott and Justin make for an entertaining watch. Free-spirited and child-like, Justin captures the spirit of what it is to be young and discovering everything for the first time. This is complemented perfectly by Scott’s adventurous and never-failing attempts to make the most of each journey. With occasional input from cameraman Andre, the three are television gold dust!





And this is where Departures differs from all the other travel shows. Scott, Andre, and Justin are just three normal people travelling. We follow not only their destinations, but also their journeys, and everything in-between. That is why Departures is such an immersive show – we’re there when they miss the plane, or the baggage doesn’t turn up, or the weather is wrong. There is no perfection in the raw humanity shown in Departures. Not everything goes to plan but that doesn’t mean it will be a disaster.







For confident travellers and beginners alike it reminds us that if plans fall through or things go wrong, there are ways around it. For those nervous of travelling and who rely on planning things down to the minute, it is a constant reminder to let things happen as they will, because sometimes the best adventures in life are unexpected. Departures is not a clean-cut, reality-TV travel show. It is raw, real, emotional, and relatable. But with Andre Dupuis’ unparalleled cinematography, the real connections shown not only between the hosts, but also the people they meet, and the sheer number of different places and experiences documented – Departures will ignite an insatiable, burning desire to follow in their footsteps and do this all for yourself.




Not only do the three seasons of Departures focus on the seriousness of travel and the trials and problems faced by the countries visited, there is also plenty of time for fun and thrill-seeking. Alongside the documentary-style clips, we see Scott, Justin, and Andre find themselves in many comical and captivating scenarios. And many times, the light-hearted humour is just what is needed to keep the show fresh and watchable without feeling too serious.




Departures went strong for three seasons with Outdoor Life Network in Canada, eventually going worldwide on different networks but unfortunately came to an end in 2010. In 2015, the show began streaming on Netflix, but no further series have been commissioned… yet.




Scott and Andre completed a separate series called Descending, alongside New Zealand’s adventurer Ellis Emmett focusing on life below the surface, as they travelled and took part in scuba dives all over the world. Ellis and Andre have also worked on another show, Over the Horizon (also known as My Pacific Quest), where they travel the world in a sail boat.




They haven’t ruled out another series however, it’s the never-ending struggle of finding a network willing to air and produce it. And I guarantee if we’re lucky enough to get Season 4, I’ll be the first person watching it! But in the meantime Scott, Andre, and Justin, if you’re looking for another travel companion, let me know!




“One day, I hope to say that I have seen the world, but, that day is not here yet.” – Departures



To find out more about Departures and to follow Scott, Andre, and Justin on Twitter, follow the links below!



Scott Wilson:

Andre Dupuis:

Justin Lukach:



An INFP in London – Top Six Places to Visit

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator started out in 1944 – the result of the work of Katherine Briggs, and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. Based on Jungian typology, the test categorises personalities into sixteen different types based on the dominance of their cognitive functions. In the last few decades, the test has exploded in popularity being used in workplaces, universities, and taken independently by many online.

To find out your own MBTI type, and to read more about the test, go to:

This London-themed travel guide however, will be focused towards INFPs (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Perceivers). Typically regarded as the ‘brainchild’ of MBTI, (Katherine Briggs was one herself!) INFP’s are not the most common type, making up roughly 4% of the population. So, if you’re looking for somewhere to visit in London that will compliment your type’s inner workings, read on!

1. Buckingham Palace


Image: Creative Commons

It may be filled with tourists, which isn’t perfect for introverts, but Buckingham Palace resonates with the idealistic nature of INFPs. The palace appears in a fairytale scene as the long, leisurely walk along The Mall ends. It’s the perfect place to wander and explore as INFPs can imagine the lives of the many monarchs that have lived before, and the secret lives of the real-life princesses that have grown-up behind the gates.

2. Notting Hill


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The colourful buildings and bright, welcoming atmosphere of Notting Hill feels perfect for the artistic and creative INFPs. Home of the vibrant Notting Hill Carnival, it’s the perfect place to explore while taking a break from the usual grey of the city’s skyscrapers. It may even appeal to the romantic side of many INFPs when they remember the dreamy Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts movie of the same name.

3. London Eye


Image: Creative Commons

Take a trip into the clouds and admire the beauty of the London skyline from above. INFPs will love the magic of London Eye as time stops for a short moment and they can take a deep breath to escape the hustle and bustle of a typical London day.

4. London Southbank


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Just down the Thames from the London Eye, Southbank is the ideal place to take a few pictures for Instagram! You can capture everything with views of all the nearby landmarks, including Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. INFPs can rest assured knowing they’ll still have enough time to finish sightseeing all the things on their ever-growing London bucket list.

5. Hyde Park


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The leafy foliage and greenery of Hyde Park is made for an INFP in the city. It’s the perfect place to take a minute, reconnect with nature, and then carry on with the rest of your adventure. Sit with friends and make unforgettable memories with summer picnics, or take a trip in December and experience the enchanting Winter Wonderland.

6. See a musical in London’s West End


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Many INFPs secretly love a good love story to satisfy their romantic sideband musicals are usually just that! London’s West End is home to many long-running, award winning productions. The historical Les Misérables resonates with the inner values of the quietly revolutionary INFP. However, if you fancy something a bit different, Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda has taken America by storm and has recently opened its doors in London!

Check out the Stellar picture book below to see more of London’s beautiful sites!