Holiday Packing Tips: How To Travel Like a Pro

Got a beach holiday coming up? Chuck some bikinis, sandals, sunscreen and your cutest summer dresses into a suitcase and you’re set. Off skiing for a week or to explore a chilly city? The general rule of thumb will be layers, layers, layers. But what are you meant to pack if you’re hopping between both warm and cold countries on one trip, and how are you meant to fit it all into one measly suitcase?! Hopefully these holiday packing tips will help answer that question!

In a matter of days I’ll be sitting on a 13-hour flight about to begin a two-month tour of Australia, Fiji, Singapore and Hong Kong. This trip stems from six years of daydreaming and five years of saving; I’m still pinching myself in utter disbelief that I’m about to spend a couple of months exploring countries my soul has yearned to visit for so long.

Hopping from climate to climate this summer? These holiday packing tips should help!

It’s not often one finds themselves with an opportunity to up sticks and ignore ~normal adult life~ for a while so Jacob and I jumped at it, keen to use these summer months to tick as many cities off our bucket lists as we could.

While warm weather was initially one of our top priorities, it soon dawned on us that if we wanted to get a proper taste of Australia we’d need to put up with some slightly less pleasant temperatures. Now, their winter is not like our winter in the UK but Google tells us it can still get pretty chilly in Melbourne and Sydney, the first few cities we’re due to visit. So, we’ll be hopping from 30 degrees sunshine in Singapore to single-digit temps in southern Australia, then back to the high twenties in Fiji onwards!

So, with (almost all) the boring admin out of the way I’ve been focusing on the fun but perhaps even more stressful part – the tRaVeL wArDrObE 😱👠👙✈️🌏

I’m not naturally a minimalist – I need options and I need lots of them. Cutting down my outfit choices to fit inside a suitcase is a painful process but one that’s necessary to avoid excess baggage fines at the airport (and leave enough space for extra gems and souvenirs I pick up along the way 😏).

Whether you’re off on your summer hols and have no idea where to start or, like me, you’re struggling to pack for multiple climates, hopefully these holiday packing tips will help make it all a little more bearable…

1. Roll ‘em up

I’ve tried folding, I’ve tried laying things out flat and I’ve tried stuffing them into every corner available but the clothes packing technique I’m convinced is the best – in terms of maximising space to take even more stuff with you – is rolling! 🌯

One of my favourite holiday packing tips - roll, roll, roll!

One of the simplest holiday packing tips I’ve picked up, rolling your clothes and stacking them on top of each other in your case saves space and is more likely to prevent wrinkles and creases (if you roll ‘em right, that is).

Having little clothes-sausages rolled up next to one another – as opposed to folded in piles – also makes it easier to see where things are so you won’t have to throw all your clothes out of your case in exasperation when you can’t find that cute crop top you really want to wear for dins one night. 

2. Put a sock in it

Socks ain’t just for feet – they’re great little multitasking tools and are the centrepiece in one of my favourite holiday packing tips.

  • Stuff them into shoes to keep them stiff and avoid a squashed pair of booties when you unpack.
  • If you’ve got glass bottles of perfume or can’t bear to leave your fragile travel candle at home, slip them into thick socks for an extra layer of protection during transit.
  • They work as great transporters for other delicate little bits and pieces – necklaces, big earrings, hair grips and ties, safety pins, plasters, keys, the list goes on…
  • Travelling with different types of currency but don’t want to bring lots of wallets you know you won’t use? Stick cash into socks to separate them out (and help disguise your money if someone decides to rifle through your bags!).

Stick fragile objects into socks for extra protection during transit3. Use packing cubes to organise your suitcase

If you want to take your organisation game to the next level, pick up some packing cubes. Separate your socks from your undies, vests from your t-shirts and shorts from your skirts with a couple of handy suitcase organisers. If you’re staying put in a hotel / hostel / Airbnb for a while, just transfer your packing cubes straight to the chest of drawers or whatever storage you have available in your accommodation.

If you like the idea of sectioning off your stuff but don’t want to invest in special suitcase cubes, just grab a load of plastic bags and separate your clothes and accessories that way. 

Another great holiday packing tip? Stuff a black bin bag in the pocket of your suitcase – if you ever find yourself standing in the torrential rain with your luggage, pop the bin bag over your case and protect it from getting soaked. Covering up your case also deters any wondering hands from going through the pockets when you’re standing around in airports or waiting for transport.

And when it comes to picking your outfits…

Possibly one of the more challenging holiday packing tips, make sure the clothes you pick can adapt to different climates and occasions4. Think about adaptability

Does that dress look great with bare legs and a pair of thick black tights if the weather gets chilly? Could you layer up with an extra jumper or two instead of bringing a bulky coat? Will you overheat in those black skinny jeans if you travel to a warmer country or would it be more comfortable to wear a baggier, straight-leg or flared pair instead (extra air flow ‘n that)? Does that mini skirt work with both comfy trainers and a pair of sky-high heels?

You’ve got limited space (and probably limited time if you’re leaving packing until the last minute like me) so opt for clothing that can be dressed up or down, layered when it gets chilly and look good with lots of other pieces in your suitcase.

5. Opt for a neutral colour palette

It’s not just about picking clothes that take you from day to night or hot to cold – if they don’t compliment each other then mixing and matching is going to be a challenge.

Try limiting your travel wardrobe to a handful of neutral tones and one or two bright colours. Bringing pieces that look great with lots of other items means it will be longer until you need to start repeating outfits. For my adventure this summer I’m sticking with black (of course), grey, white, pastel pink and red for that pop of colour.

6. You really don’t need all those shoes

My shoes reflect my mood – if I’m feeling sassy ‘n confident I’ll go for some chunky heeled boots; a more relaxed day calls for Vans or Converses, and I’ll wear strappy sandals or heels when I feel like channelling a summery vibe.

Although we’re off to some huuuumid places I can’t bear to leave my boots at home. Thankfully they’re pretty easy to dress up for drinks or dinner in the city, and I’ll wear them on plane journeys to save weight in my luggage. 

For day-to-day exploring I’ll bring my Vans and for the hiking we’ve got planned in Fiji and Aus, I’ve got my running trainers. Just a pair of super light slip-ons or strappy sandals for the beach / pool (I’ve still not decided which 😆) and I’m all set!

Pick your shoes carefully when you're packing for your holiday!7. Layer up on the plane

It doesn’t matter whether you’re landing in a hot or cold country – if you’re bringing a bulky coat or heavy jacket / jumper with you, wear it on the plane.

It can get chilly on long flights and coats work as excellent blanket / pillow alternatives if the airline is too stingey to pass them out.

8. Pick your makeup wisely

Pick your makeup wiselyOne of the most challenging holiday packing tips for me to follow, I often can’t help but take a “just in case” stance when it comes to picking which cosmetics to bring with me on my travels. This year, however, I’m determined to be super strict on myself.

Face: I tend to wear foundation every day so I’ll be bringing a couple of bottles with me. My recent fake tanning frenzy meant I needed to get some darker shades so I did a panic-purchase in Boots and went for Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish Foundation. I’ll be bringing Benefit’s Hoola Lite for bronzing and Rimmel’s Insta Duo Contour Stick for contouring. I’ll also be taking two highlighters with me – one liquid (which can be mixed with foundation for a really beautiful dewy look) and the other a powder that I can keep in my bag.

Eyes: Whether you’re going away for a week or a month, you shouldn’t need any more than two eyeshadow palettes – one for neutral shades, the other for brighter fun colours. I’m not really one for a vibrant blue or green eye so I’ll be taking Urban Decay’s Naked Heat palette for summery day looks and for the perfect smokey bronze eye, I’ll use my new MAC Mischief Minx palette (one of the best sets I own atm). I can’t leave the house without lashings of mascara on so I’m also bringing a couple tubes of Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Mascara – one normal and one waterproof for those days spent in the sea. 

Brows: I’ve stuck to the same routine for years and can’t see it changing anytime soon. I’ve tried pomades and pencils but since getting MAC’s Eyeshadow in Coquette brushed over my brows by my makeup artist pal back in 2015, I’ve not turned back. I use an Eco Tools slanted brush to apply the powder, similar here.

Lips: As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m not a big lipstick-wearer. I love how a bright pink or coral or red lip can transform an outfit but I’m often just not brave enough to rock such vibrant colours and gravitate towards a smokey eye instead. However, I’m certain there will be evenings when I won’t have the energy to blend and buff and build an eyeshadow look – and lipstick will be the perfect lazy alternative. I’ll be bringing five lip products with me – a pinky nude cream (NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi), a deep red (MAC Lipstick Matte in Diva), a hot red (Rimmel London’s Fire Starter – my absolute favourite), a universal lip liner (I like Rimmel’s Moisture Renew Lip Liner) and a gloss (probably Benefit’s Dandelion lip gloss).

Pick your makeup wisely!

Stick “holiday packing tips” into Google and you’ll probably find lots more hacks and advice for fitting as much as you can into a tiny suitcase but hopefully my ramblings above provided a little bit of inspo!

Whether you’re off on holiday or enjoying what your home country has to offer this summer, I hope you all have a lush one 🌞🌄🕶

Love,

skitch

Summer ’18: New Pieces I’ve Picked Up

Happy Sunday, angels!

First off, apologies for the sporadic (and rather sparse) blogging schedule these past few months – creative drought has been real and I didn’t want to post something just for the sake of it. “Quality over quantity” rings in my ears whenever I give myself a hard time for being silent on the blog or missing a couple of days posting on Insta.

The last bank holiday weekend could not have come at a better time – even just one extra day to lie in bed surrounded by snacks has made all the difference to my cortisol levels and I’m already excited for the next Monday off. We were also blessed with wonderful warm weather that had me wanting to get out of the house and do an outfit shoot, rather than finding any excuse to stay tucked up in my duvet. The tumbleweeds in the creative parts of my brain have finally started to clear so I’m coming at you today with a suitably-themed summer outfits haul.

I’m off travelling in a couple of months so should definitely not be spending money right now – especially on more black dresses – but the shops are bursting with the most beautiful pieces at the moment and my willpower just ain’t strong enough. My wardrobe has never been so full of summery dresses and accessories, and I’ve never been so excited for the weather to stay warm (I’m usually an autumn/winter girl at heart). Today’s post is going to be about some of my favourite bits and pieces I’ve picked up for the new season…

ASOS DESIGN Broderie Puff Ball Off Shoulder Sundress

ASOS has been my go-to lately (especially after treating myself to Premier Delivery last month – biggest mistake for my bank balance 🙊) and I’ve been drawn to red pieces in particular like a moth is drawn to a flame.

ASOS puff sleve summery boderie
Broderie red dress, perfect for the summerThis 
amazing puff-sleeve dress went straight into my basket when I saw it and straight onto my body when it arrived in the post. I love the delicate broderie print and those sleeves… what better way to hide the fact I’ve never picked up an arm weight? 😍

As mentioned in my last blog post I’m obsessed with interesting silhouettes, and the A-line cut and puffed arm cuffs on this dress fit that bill to a T.

I’d pair it with black or white strappy heels for a cute evening look, and some espadrilles or cork platform shoes for walks along the beach or shopping trips during the day. 

TOPSHOP Shirred Ditsy Bodycon Dress

I’ll admit it straight out – this piece was wholly inspired by the beautiful Lydia from Fashion Influx. As soon as it flashed up on my Instagram feed I fell in love with both the colour (obv) and the print. I’m not normally one for ditsy patterns – they’re a tad too girly / delicate for my preferred style – but the vibrant orange/red colour and dark accents in the print on this dress won me over.

I also love the shirred material and how it creases up around the stomach a little as you walk – great for hiding a mini food-baby and the folds of fabric help add a little bit of pizzazz to the outfits silhouette (you’ll prob hear that a lot in this post)!

H&M Orange Calf-Length Flounced Skirt

This time last year I would never have had the balls to wear something like this. Black and grey intentionally dominated my wardrobe so that I wouldn’t run the risk of wearing something that would make me stand out. The thought of drawing attention to any part of my body – let alone my bottom half – made me cower in embarrassment and red/orange pieces like this flouncy H&M skirt would never have made its way onto a hanger in my closet. I’m glad that, while there’s still room for “not caring about what other people think” in my head, this piece is getting me one step closer to the style I love and feel best in.

This skirt is really fab – it fits great around the waist while giving my legs room to breathe and it’s truly a sight when the wind catches the light material and blows the ruffles around. I’d love to get a patterned version of this piece.

BERSHKA Wide Leg Trouser

This pair of trousers is my first piece from Bershka and will definitely not be my last. They hug my bod so perfectly and are super comfortable to wear – no digging-in around the waist, no unwanted wedgies, no tightness around the top of my legs. I also love the detachable ring belt and going matchy-matchy with a pair of massive hoop earrings.

These will be coming on holiday with me for those cooler evenings and for the dinners I’ll want to dress up nice for but not look OTT. Because these trousers are quite long (or rather, because my legs are disproportionately short), they’re best worn with a pair of espadrille wedges or some high flatforms.

TOPSHOP Square Neck Slip Dress

Midi dresses never used to appeal to me, partly because of my aforementioned insecurity about my short legs and general fear of making myself look stumpier. I envied the tall women with long legs and torsos who rocked them during Fashion Weeks and or whilst shopping on Oxford Street. I never thought they’d look any good hanging off my bumpier, curvier, shorter body.

Summer outfits haul - I definitely didn't need another black dress

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Much like I did with culottes last summer, however, a couple weeks ago I ordered a midi dress from ASOS on a whim (I defo take advantage of their free returns 🙌) and decided they would become a staple in my wardrobe this season. In true Ellie-style though, all the midis I’ve recently treated myself to are black or dark-coloured but that’s OK – it means that, as well as being a comfy bikini cover-up, I can stick a pair of tights on and wear them into the autumn/winter with a biker jacket and chunky boots too.

This Topshop midi dress is made of an interesting material that hangs so flatteringly off the body. I’m also developing a big crush on square necklines too and I like how this one creases into an almost-cowl neck when you move around.

And now for some accessories…

Topshop net and bamboo summer bagdefinitely did not need another bag but I definitely did need to add a string-bamboo one like this to my collection. Wearing this with a long flowing maxi dress or playsuit, I feel like a summery little boho queen, stylish and sophisticated with my style pinned down to a T. The white version doesn’t seem to be available online anymore, although is probably still around in stores. There’s also a gorgeous red one  that would look amazing with a crisp white linen shirt or button-down dress. 

Big hoop earrings are the perfect addition to any summer outfit

Earrings in general have been another fun accessory I’ve been playing with this spring. I’ve not worn anything on my ears for yearsssss and it’s been super fun to shop for funky tasselled gems and diamanté studs again.

These silver hoops from River Island are my favourite so far though – I don’t know how, but they make such a difference to the composition of a style and hairstyle (and they were only a fiver – win-win!).


I hope you enjoyed my sporadic summer haul  – drop me a comment below and tell me about the accessories and outfits you’ve added to your collection for the new season!

Love,

skitch

Trans-Seasonal Dressing: My Capsule Spring Closet

Happy April everyone (sorry, I know I’m a tad late to the welcoming party – are there any hot cross buns left?)! I hope your long Easter weekends were relaxing ones full of great food, great company and great TV (there were some crackers on the box). Sadly the Easter bunny did not bring nice weather with it to the egg hunt – apart from today’s wonderful glimpse of sunshine, it’s just been rain rain rain and my hair (more like ~ball of ginger frizz~) is not happy. I warn you – this post is going to involve a lot of complaining.

These days we can’t be sure what we’ll wake up to in the morning – will the Beast of the East have returned, bringing with it another deep layer of fluffy snow? Will I be woken up by the gentle lullaby of an ice cream van jingle, mum bounding up the stairs with lollies in hand announcing the 30-degree heat that arrived overnight? Will I regret spending an hour straightening my hair the evening before when I step out of my house into torrential rain?

This topsy-turvy snow-then-sun-then-snow-again-then-sun-again-then-rain-rain-and-more-rain has had me doing the hokey-cokey with my furry boots and woolly hats – in, out, in and out of the wardrobe they have gone. Mother Nature normally likes to shake things up around March-April time but this year she’s really keeping us on our toes. This is particularly inconvenient when it comes to planning outfits for the following day – we can’t really predict what we’ll be faced with on our morning commute.

I do love being organised and I refuse to let my need to plan what I’m going to wear the night before be disrupted by the silly ol’ weather. Therefore, this desire for ultra-impressive organisation (definitely not impressive) has led me to create a SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe.

What is a SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe I hear you ask?!? Well, it’s three fancy, fashion-y words that sound nicer together than ‘pile of clothes on my bedroom floor that I tend to reach for more often during this period of crazy weather’. Uh no wait I mean… my SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe is a collection of pieces that I’ve spent the past couple of weeks building to use as fool-proof back-up items I can wear with the confidence that I’ll be able to face any rain, sun, sleet or snow Mother Nature wants to throw at me (OK, maybe not snow, I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared for snow).

So, if you’re interested in finding out more about some of the pieces of clothing I’ve included in my fancy-pants (definitely not fancy-pants) SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe then keep reading… ☺️

Fur-lined jackets

I’m not normally one for bright colours – in fact I actively avoid them while browsing through clothing rails in stores – but I couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful red/orange piece. In fact, red is fast-becoming my colour of choice this season.

This vibrant faux shearling biker jacket from River Island featured on my Instagram a couple of months ago and I’ve worn it most weekends since. Slipping your arms into these faux fur-lined sleeves feels like putting on a blanket – it’s the softest piece of clothing I think I’ve ever worn.

Rather than reaching for the nearest pair of black jeans or a navy chiffon dress to neutralise the blinding jacket (picking dark items of clothing for outfits is a reflex), I’ve paired it with even more colour. This summery dress is a New Look gem from a couple of summers ago. The biker jacket brings out the red accents in the dress, and the russet-coloured buckle booties enhance the spring/summer boho-vibe. For chillier days, I’d stick on a pair of high-waisted straight leg jeans and a thin grey tee.

If faux fur-lined biker jackets are your thing but red just ain’t, you can find other similar ones here and here.

Culottes

Culottes seem to be an item people either love or hate. I used to firmly place myself in the ‘hate’ group, assuming their shapeless silhouette would make my thighs look wider and butt look bigger (and not in a cute way 🙅‍♀️).

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Around this time last year though, they became a hit trend and I succumbed to the fashion slave within me and tried on a pair in a Zara changing room. It was in that changing room that I jumped straight across into the ‘AbSoLuTeLy AdOrE’ group and culottes have since become a staple item in my wardrobe.

Whereas style used to be my priority for outfits, I now tend to value comfort more than anything else (I just cross my fingers the style bit will follow suit) – luckily culottes fit the style AND comfort bill to a T. I think this navy pair from Zara (old, similar here and here) looks fab with this fluffy Topshop jumper (also old – similar here and here); I love the combination of patterns and textures. This outfit is ideal for both chilly and warmer days – culottes allow for wonderful air flow when you feel a sweat coming on during your rush to the station 😂

Roll neck tops

Roll necks are another type of clothing I have grown to love over time. As a not-so-small-chested gal who used to be quite self-conscious of any clothing that gave the impression of curves, high neck pieces were never really welcome in my wardrobe. But, like culottes, after seeing images of stylish influencers rocking roll necks under graphic tees, satin dresses, spaghetti vests and the like floating around the internet last year, I wanted to give them a chance.

Roll neck knits were my go-to this winter – they’re snug and cosy, and make you feel like you’re still tucked up under your duvet. While there are still days that make me question whether spring has actually arrived (will this rain and cold weather ever sod off?!), I’m not prepared to risk hyperthermia on my commute to work – wear a high-neck knit on a warmish day and you’ll be angrily pulling at the fabric around your armpits until you can jump into a shower. So, I’m downgrading my layers to a thin cotton roll neck tee instead.

The one in these shots is from Boohoo; similar can also be found at Suncoo and H&M. I’ve paired it with the comfiest little corduroy pinafore dress from Topshop (sold out – similar here and here) and some thigh boots. I absolutely love this outfit! Whip your hair up into a bun or high pony to accentuate the funky neckline and you’re set.

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Oversized scarves

Forgive me if this one sounds a bit boring or predictable but leaving it out of my SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe would be an injustice to the power of this reliable accessory.

Anyone who sees me on the daily will be aware of my attachment to this gorgeous light blue H&M scarf (old – similar here and here). You won’t see one of us without the other (yeah, we’re one of those couples 🙄😂). She’s multi-purpose (yes, she’s a ‘she’) – flop her on top of your head and she’s a great hair-protector when it’s raining; stretch her out across your shoulders and she becomes a nice shawl for chilly evenings (not that I’m classy enough to wear a shawl); let her hang long around your neck and she conveniently covers up your pyjama top during a dash to the supermarket.

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If you’re not already convinced (c’mon, they’re multi-purpose hat/jacket/bad-outfit-disguises!) I think scarves also add a lot to the silhouette of an outfit.

I’ve been big on silhouettes lately, combining pieces of different shapes and textures to create an interesting outline. A tassel scarf draped twice around your neck adds a nice lil summin’ summin’ to an outfit that’s otherwise shapeless. I like contrast too – oversized sweaters with skin-tight jeans and chunky boots; figure-hugging halternecks with puffy tulle skirts, thigh boots with a flowing dress. Oversized scarves add some nice contrast to an otherwise figure-hugging outfit.

Also, while we’re looking as these ReAlLy CoOL (definitely not cool) photos of me smiling at my cute AF scarf, can we also take note of how funky these River Island jeans are???


…and that’s it, folks – the four items I will continue plonking on my body regularly until Mother Nature decides to bless us with some sweet sunshine 🌞

I’d love to know what pieces you’ve been reaching for during this strange seasonal transition!

Love,

skitch