Friday, 25 April 2014

The Travel Edit: Packing Essentials

It's that exciting time of year - perhaps you've got a holiday coming up or have a few city break weekends booked in. Either way it'll soon be time to pack up your things and start enjoying yourself, whether you'll be flying off somewhere exotic, somewhere closer to home or even 'staycationing'.

With that in mind, this week I'm looking at packing - and how to make an easier, more organised job of it, so you can arrive at your destination stress and crease free without having packed everything you own and the kitchen sink! I've covered this before in my Travel in Style post, so I can't stress how important this subject is to me!  I'm not one of those people who packs by throwing open their suitcase at the last possible minute (often with the cab waiting outside), and chucking in whatever comes to hand.  

So here are my top packing tips:

1. Get organised with a list
Have a think about the kind of trip you're going on, as well as the duration, to help you determine what to take with you.  For example, if you're going on a seven day beach holiday, you know you'll mostly be wearing swim and beach wear, with an outfit for every evening at the bar!  Try and break down each day - you don't need to pre-plan what to wear on each day, but it does help to envisage how many bikinis, tops, dresses, shorts or pairs of heels you'll need.  You can then make a list, or use a packing list to help you.  You can download packing lists and allsorts of tips from travel experts Eagle Creek:

From Mongolia to Manhattan, download packing lists from Eagle Creek
I love using this pre-printed list, £5.99, Amazon

2. Pick a sturdy, space maximising bag
Whether you're just taking a cabin bag, or you're in it for the long haul, pick a strong, sturdy bag that maximises space, is easy on the eye and will last you a good few years. I'm a fan of Samsonite, Muji and Tripp luggage, all great quality luggage that will last few a good few trips.  At the moment, I have my eye on a hard case hand luggage trolley (33L), as it features compartments that really maximise the interior space.

Muji Hand Luggage Hard Case Trolley 33L, £129
Interior compartments in Muji's case
3. Divide and conquer
Instead of chucking everything into the bag willy nilly, how about categorising your contents by using packing cubes and garment bags, that way you can easily find everything at the other end too, and you can also use them to bring back dirty laundry, whilst keeping things separate from you new holiday purchases!  Both Muji and Eagle Creek (available in the UK via Cotswold Outdoor), have packing cubes, garment cases and garment folders - the latter will keep delicate clothing crease free.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Clean Dirty Cube, £21
Muji Garment Case, from £4.95

4. Decant, go miniature or go light
Unless you're going away for a few weeks or longer, there's no need to lug around full size toiletries or heavy cosmetics.  This is even more valid if you're hoping to go the hand luggage only route. There are now myriad miniature beauty choices from most brands that you can pick up from Boots, Superdrug, and even more luxe brands at Space NK.  Alternatively, now's the time to use up all those samples you got from Birchbox or Glossybox.  If you just can't bear to be without your usual skin, hair and body products when you go away, then get decanting. Once again, Muji comes to the rescue with bottles and jars in all shapes and sizes, or for a budget option, Primark does a set of mini bottles in a clear case with labels for £1!

Get decanting with Muji's selection of travel bottles

5. Keep toiletries, cosmetics and jewellery separate
When it comes to packing your decanted and miniature toiletries, keep them separate in a wipe clean washbag, clear plastic toiletries case (so you can see everything you have with you), or treat yourself to some cases from the Anya Hindmarch labelled collection - which will effortlessly house everything from your makeup, suncreams, jewellery and everything in between with it's corresponding labelled case!

Clockwise from top left:
Hello World Hanging Washbag with clear detachable PVC compartments, £12, Boots
Neon yellow clear make up bag, £10, ASOS
3 Piece Clear Cosmetic Bag Set, £6, M&S
Inflight - Takeoff/Landing Clear Case, £150, Anya Hindmarch
Make up labelled case, £195, Anya Hindmarch (keep an eye out for these on sale at The Outnet!)

Coming soon... The Travel Edit: Hand Luggage Essentials


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Spring Home Refresh

The sun is shining, daffodils are in bloom and spring has finally sprung! It's the perfect time to give your home a spring refresh by adding small, colourful touches to your space without breaking the bank, and without too much hard work!

Here's my edit!

From left to right, from the top:

1. Multi-coloured wool blanket with fringing, £69.99, Zara Home
Get cosy with colour when there's a spring chill in the air! Perfect for Sunday afternoon movie nights or just sprucing a dark sofa.
2. Glass vase, £7.99, H&M Home
Bright spring flowers always brighten a space, and this text printed vase is the perfect vessel for a few blooms!
3. Orange jacquard-weave cushion cover, £7.99, H&M Home
Printed cushion covers in bright hues are an easy way to get a dose of colour into your space, whether for your sofa or bed!
4. Wooden herb and flower trugs, £30 each, House Envy
Love these retro looking wooden storage boxes featuring retro font. You can use these in the kitchen to store sauces, or even on your desk to store stationery essentials - you could store anything in them!
5. Rewined candle in Mimosa, £21.50, House Envy
My newest candle brand discovery - these smell truly amazing.  The motto behind Rewined candles in 'repurpose, reuse, reycycle', and each one is a deliciously fragranced 100% soy wax candle, poured into an expertly cut, repurposed wine bottle. The Mimosa candle is the perfect spring scent - champagne with a squeeze of fresh zesty orange juice!
6. Floral blanket, £9.99, H&M Home
This soft and fleecy yet bold floral blanket will keep you snuggled as well as providing a spring revamp to a boring backdrop!
7. India cushion, £34.99, House Envy
Love the pastel hues and detail of the trio of shutters on this cushion - giving a sense of an overseas adventure whilst simultaneously brightening a space.
8. Floral cushion cover, £7.99, H&M Home
Part of H&M's Conscious Collection, this graphic floral cushion cover is made from sustainable materials as well as being a perfect spring addition to your home!
9. Grey diamond cushion with pink piping, £9.99, Tesco Direct 
Love this circus-esque cushion with a subtle hit of colour, also comes in a gorgeous mint colour!
10. Grey glass vase, £7.99, H&M Home
Referring to point no.2, and spring buds and blooms - love this vase so much I included it twice! This time in the darker due, which will really complement a vibrant, almost gothic bouquet of florals. Failing that, use it as a pitcher for cocktails!
11. Grey check cushion cover, £7.99, H&M Home
I know I have a slight obsession with the colour grey, but this gentle hued cushion cover is perfect paired with the brighter ones!
12. IKEA PS 2014 Multicolour rug, £120, IKEA
Inject some colour onto your floor with this graphic patterned rug from IKEA's newest PS 2014 Collection.

What's your favourite way to bring spring into your home?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Stationery Edit

National Stationery Week started at the beginning of the week and ends on Sunday 6th April - what better time to put pen to paper and celebrate your love of stationery?!

I will openly admit it - I'm a stationery fiend - I love notebooks, pens, writing paper, coloured washi tape, notecards... You name it, I have it somewhere at home in a drawer or cupboard.  But before you start calling me a hoarder, let me just say that I use all my stationery! I'm quite old-fashioned like that - I love sending (and of course receiving!) letters, cards and more and I also love taking the time and effort to wrap and decorate my gift packages for others! I must have at least ten unused, pristine notebooks but I will find a day to use them all - with each page featuring ultra neat, tippex free prose...that novel awaits!

I love the fact that beyond sharing a love of stationery, National Stationery Week is all about getting more people back into writing by hand, especially children, not to mention teaching people to correctly spell 'stationery' (with an 'e' not an 'a' people!)

So this week, forget about whatsapping, facebooking, texting and tweeting - send someone you care a handwritten letter or note!

I've rounded up my edit of favourite stationery of the moment to help you get inspired!

Top row L-R: 
Anchors Ahoy Nautical Foil Cards, £8.50 for 10, Paperchase; Make it Happen Panama Leather Notebook, £45, Smythson; Stripe Cut Out Writing Set, £5.00, Paperchase; Rifle Paper Co Vintage Blossoms Notebook Set, £13.95 for two, Papermash
Middle row L-R:
Best Day Ever Date Stamp, £4.50, Papermash; Vintage Style Paris Postcards (with envelopes), £8.50, Papermash
Bottom row L-R:
Historisk Pink Notebook, £3.00, IKEA; Kate Spade 'How The Devil Are You Notecards', £17.50 for ten, Quill London; Rose Mechanical Pen, £2.50, Paperchase

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