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

Curly Hair: Looking After The Locks

My hair has been both my best friend and the bane of my life for as long as I can remember. In its natural state, it’s a curly, tangle-prone mess that often resembles a bird’s nest. It’s not a fan of humidity or rain and can’t be brushed when dry without exploding into a frizzy, fluffy eyesore.

We’ve been on a long and turbulent journey together, through many different lengths and styles and colours. There was an interesting “emo” phase when I was 13 (a pin-straight fringe that covered my eyes, back-combed roots and way too thin ends), blue hair one week, purple the next and an awful bleached blonde for two days (I refused to leave the house until my mum bought brown hair dye to cover it up). When I cut my hair into a bob, I was lovingly given the nickname “hat hair” after the ridiculous shape it would mould into when rain touched it.

The dyeing and burning and tugging for so many years eventually took its toll and I was left with an unhealthy, damaged head of hair by the time I started uni.

Buying hair products had always been lower priority for me than things like makeup and skincare – I didn’t want to spend £20 on a nice conditioner when I could buy a new contour palette instead! But when I realised how damaged and crap it looked, I decided it was time to get to grips with my curly barnet and figure out a way to maintain it (on a budget, if I could).

Today’s post is going to be about the products that saved my locks and restored my appreciation for my curly mess.

Kérastase

IMG_0017The maskCurly hair is typically drier than straight hair because the natural oils produced at the root don’t make it down the full length of the curl. When curly hair gets dehydrated it often goes frizzy and one of the best ways to tackle this is with masks!

I’ve tried countless masks over the years but the Kérastase Oléo-Curl Intense mask is the one I end up re-purchasing.

It smells yummy and has a gorgeous creamy texture. It’s pricier than your average pot of goo so I save this one for special occasions or when my hair is feeling particularly brittle. I try to leave it on my hair for at least five hours to get the ultimate conditioning treatment. It’s magical – even after coating my hair in dye and burning it with straighteners this mask restores moisture, shine and smoothness after just one session.

IMG_0016The creamThis Kérastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Oil Cream came free with a pot of the Kérastase hair mask and I fell in love immediately – I’ve got another tube waiting for me when this one runs out! It has a gorgeous clean scent and works like a leave-in conditioner. You can apply it to damp or dry hair (I prefer damp!) to it adds moisture and nourish.

This cream is meant to be particularly good for fine, sensitive hair but I’d recommend it for any hair type!

IMG_0015The oilThe first thing you’ll notice about this amazing MoroccanOil Treatment when you unscrew the lid is its smell – ooooh I could bathe in it, it’s heavenly! When I first tried this oil though I wasn’t the biggest fan – it’s a little pricey for such a small bottle (£12.50 for 25ml) but after using it a couple of times I was quickly converted. You only need a tiny amount to cover your hair so the bottle lasts an age and it adds the most amazing shine to your locks.

IMG_0013The balmMy heart broke a little when I found out that this Umberto Giannini Silky Curls Smoothing Balm was discontinued but I couldn’t resist including this dreamy product in my hair-saving collection.

I’ve been savouring this bottle for ages and am on the final dregs, but smoothing balms designed for curly hair are a product to consider if you’re looking for a cheap ‘n easy way to tame your locks.

It works a bit like the Kérastase cream but instead is only applied to dry curls to add shine and smooth down frizz. While this product isn’t available anymore, Shea Moisture and Percy & Reed also do great balms for curly hair.

IMG_0014The protectantIf you’re a straightener / curler / blow dry fanatic like me, it’s really important to keep your hair protected whenever you put heat on it.

Heat protectant sprays or shampoos help prevent the natural moisture in your hair from evaporating when heat is applied. It forms a kind of protective coating around the hair’s cuticle, stops it getting damaged and maintains its natural shine. These special formulas can also make your hair less porous and subsequently less prone to becoming frizzy when it’s humid or rainy.

While protecting your hair from heat is important, I wasn’t ready to spend more than a fiver on a spray so I scoured the Superdrug shelves and picked up this bright pink VO5 Heat Protect Spray (NGL, it was the packaging that did it for me 🙊). It does the trick perfectly – maintains shine and moisture, and makes me feel a tad less guilty about giving my hair a heat-beating every day.


I hope my curly-haired pals enjoyed this post, and maybe discovered a new product or two to try!

Love,

skitch

2018: What Now?

🎉 HAPPY NEW YEAR WONDERFUL WORLDIES! 🎉

I’m writing this post from the comfort of my duvet cocoon on the first morning of 2018, surrounded by jugs of water to detox from the sour wine we drank last night and many packets of crisps we ate afterwards.

Me and the boyf spent the first moments of the new year on top of Primrose Hill in North London, in front of the most stunning view of the city. The annual fireworks displays around the London Eye and along the Thames were mere sparks in the distance but it was a magical atmosphere and a night I won’t forget in a hurry.

I normally spend New Year’s Day in pyjamas in front of movies surrounded by yummy treats (starting the year with a salad has never been my thing…) and today will be nothing different ☺️

I love setting New Year’s Resolutions and normally spend the end of December and first day of the new year refining and writing them up. This year I’ve been a tad slack though and am still reflecting on the past year and thinking about what I want to achieve over the next 12 months.

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Nonetheless, I’m going to talk about some of the resolutions and goals I know I want to resolve or accomplish in 2018, with the hope that publicly announcing them on my blog will make me more motivated to achieve them! 😂

I can imagine that most of us who make resolutions will have their own personal, private ones they like to keep under wraps so this post will be dedicated to the more generic (perhaps slightly more superficial) little things I want to do this year!

1. Sort out my skin

My skin has been the source of massive insecurities for the past six months so 2018 is going to have a focus on detoxing, inside and out. Whether it’s filling up on superfoods, monthly facials / dermaplaning / dermabrasion sessions, or investing in an effective luxury skincare product or two – I’m determined to get my skin bothers under wraps this year.

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2. Make time for creativity

It’s natural to grow out of interests with age, but creative activities like painting and photographing and writing and designing, even makeup and baking and sewing up clothes, have always been a massive part of my life. 2017 was definitely the year for excuses though – “I’m too tired to get all the paints out“, “I’m not creative or clever or imaginative enough to think of cool new designs for the blog“, “I just can’t be arsed“.

IMG_4536.jpgBut this year, I’m shutting them down! I know that when I let my creative side shine I’m a happier and more chilled person, and that’s all I can really want for this new year.

3. Eat mindfully

I’m guilty of eating almost every meal in front of a movie or TV programme, whilst reading a book or typing away on my phone. It often means I get to the end of a plate of food without realising I’ve even eaten it or feeling particularly full.  Mindful eating has its roots in Buddhist teachings – something I also want to learn more about this year – and aims to reconnect us with the experience of eating. The goal is to listen to our body’s physical cues, for example distinguishing between feeling hungry and feeling emotional. It’s also about focusing more on foods’ texture, taste and aroma. Mindful eating is thought to help you build a healthier and more positive relationship with food and your body too!

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4. Detox

I’ve already mentioned that a major skin detox is in the plan for 2018, but I also want to have a good clean-out of other areas of my life. The main focus will be on materials – I’m planning to donate / sell / chuck a lot of the junk that I’ve acquired over the years. While it can be sad to get rid of things that hold sentimental value, detoxing also feels massively liberating and it’s so much nicer to spend time in an environment that isn’t bursting with things I don’t need or use anymore.

5. Get moving

Apart from a phase during my late teens, I’ve never been a big fan of exercise or working out.

For six/seven months during sixth form I was working out every other day – doing Zumba in my room, using my brother’s weights, jogging in the evenings – but I gained muscle on my legs, someone said I looked fat and I used this as a reason to stop.

I then got diagnosed with a heart condition about a year ago and used this as another excuse not to work out or do anything active. I spent most of the summer in 2017 making a dent in my couch, gaining weight and feeling more and more gross every day. I noticed every little cardiac symptom and dwelled on the fear that it was going to get worse.

But then I got a job and was forced to walk to and from the station every day, run up and down tube escalators and dart my way through the rush-hour crowds from platform to platform. Suddenly my heart symptoms started getting better – I wasn’t swaying from dizziness or struggling to breathe or worrying about my heart going mad half as much as usual! I definitely put this down to getting off my arse and giving my body the activity it deserved and needed. Even just an hour of walking each day has helped, so what magic might a half-hour workout on top of that do?!? ☺️

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I want to ignite a love (or at least a ‘like’) for working out and moving my body and then hopefully other areas of my life, like my skin, weight and mood, will feel the effects too.


These five goals are amongst others that I want to, and am excited to, achieve over the next 365 days. I hope you all had a wonderful start to 2018 – I’d love to hear about your resolutions and goals for the next year!

Love,

skitch