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Travel Tips - what works for me...

As I write this, I just finished packing my suitcase and am about to cross a few errands off my list before my summer holiday to London/Ireland begins.

I can't seem to get the John Denver song "Leaving on a Jet Plane" out of my head. Over the years, whenever I was going on a trip, my mum would always phone me the day of and either start singing "My bags are packed...". Or, just hold the phone up to her music device of choice and let John sing it himself. Because over the past decade, New York has been a reoccurring destination, the phone call also usually included Frank's, "New York New York". This trip feels particularly fitting as she loved Britain so much and would often sing "Goodbye to Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square! It's a long, long way to Tipperary...". This will be on loop in my head during this adventure, I'm sure.

My new packing philosophy:

Vivienne Westwood's quote: "Buy less, choose well, and mix it all up" is one my key philosophies when I work with style clients and in building my own wardrobe.

In the past I've had the tendency to bring too much when traveling, so I have decided to tweak Vivienne's quote and make it my new packing mantra:

"Bring less, choose well, and mix it all up."

My previous attitude to packing was: if I have all these pieces I love (and they fit in the suitcase), I should bring them along! However, often that resulted in transporting several garments that only got worn once; and quite often, not at all.

Amongst stylists, there is a principle that I have found to be the case with the majority of closets I have visited: most people wear 20% of what they own, 80% of the time. I've found, if I'm not careful - this can also ring true within my suitcase.

My guidelines:

- pack pieces that are versatile and easily mix together

- stick to a cohesive colour palette

- plan outfits for trip activities as well as a few special events

Of course, it always begins with a weather check:

So we are leaving a heat wave and moving into another. For London, I have made sure I have shorts, a summer skirt, some light tops, 2 summer dresses and a small cardigan to tuck into my purse for the air conditioning (we've planned indoor activities during the day and will do our walks in the evening).

Ireland has been having what they call a "heat wave" this summer, but it will definitely be cooler (especially in the evenings), with the chance of some rain throughout our travels. I have packed a windbreaker/water resistant shell, my denim jacket, 2 pairs of jeans, and a sweatshirt. I have kept all the bottoms neutral so the tops can go with anything and be layered depending on location and temperature.

Our travels tell a story...

top left: Moulin rouge show; top right: Monet's Garden; bottom left: Eiffel Tower dinner; bottom right: street cafe

While I think it is important to keep things versatile and interchangeable when packing for a holiday, it is important to remember that our photos will end up telling a story and become a memory (as will our outfits!). I love this little collage from our honeymoon in Paris and am so glad I brought some dresses that I felt amazing in for some particular events.

Here are two outfits I have planned for the London part of our trip (which is bound to be a little dressier than Ireland).

1) Frida Kahlo Inspired High Tea at the Lanesborough Hotel in Hyde Park:

I love the work of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. This year the Victoria Albert Museum has a special exhibit (that I was lucky enough to snag tickets for later in our trip). Because it is going to be so hot in London, I reserved a table for this fabulous Frida inspired tea at this gorgeous hotel. This bright floral dress feels very fitting for this event!

Theatre Experience in London's West End:

To beat the heat, we've also booked a matinee performance of "The King and I". Because we will probably be walking around taking in the sights after the show, I wanted something appropriate for the theatre but also comfortable enough to stroll through parks, gardens, High streets etc. This polka dot dress has been a go-to for me the last couple of years. It is so light and easy to wear - and I love that polka dots are very on trend at the moment (nice to feel kind of fashionable in London - even when you are a tourist!). Also great for Ireland with converse sneakers and a jean jacket...


It can be easy to pile up the shoes when going on a trip. The problem is, they take up so much room and I always end up wearing the same couple of pairs. This time I have decided to bring my most comfortable sneakers for walking, a pair of converse, flat gold sandals as well as a dressier pair of red sandals.

I will be wearing my converse on the plane (they go with everything I have brought: shorts, jeans, skirt, dresses). These gold sandals are a recent purchase from New Orleans found at the Charleston Shoe Company. I love them - I can walk for miles and they can be thrown in the washing machine. The red sandals add a pop of color to any outfit and are also very comfortable. I have been in Vegas too many times, and seen women painfully walking in bare feet carrying their heels in hand, to even consider bringing anything that isn't easy for walking.

My suitcase inventory:

shoes: converse, runners, gold comfy sandals, red dressier sandals (still comfy)

shorts: black, and grey eyelet

pants: grey jeans, light pair of jeans, pale pink cargo pant

pale pink skirt

5 tops/blouses (this includes t shirts) that mix well with every bottom garment brought

jean jacket, windbreaker/shell, sweatshirt, light cardigan

jean dress, floral dress, polka dot dress, coral sweatshirt dress (had to throw it in as it's my new summer fave and will be comfy in Ireland)

lightweight scarf, hat, accessories (pendant necklace, stud earrings, watch, larger hoop earrings) *note: I love having a larger pair of earrings as they can dress up the simplest outfit*

pjs, bathing suit, undergarments

Note: I tried to keep to a cohesive colour palette (pinks, blues, greys and white) so that it is easier to mix pieces.

Total trip time: 19 days

A few extras I love to have on hand when I travel:

Suitcase: well this is an obvious, but there are a few things that I love about my large black swirly one pictured above. Yes, it is pretty big and I could easily pack my clothing into a carry-on size (which I have for weekend getaways). But, the toiletries always end up being a stumbling block for me...I hate rebuying everything in a smaller size. This particular suitcase I love because it is so easy to maneuver and spot as soon as it comes on the belt - no confusing it with anyone else's. And, because the suitcase is so big and I haven't filled it, I am going to try one of my friend's packing strategies: bring your own pillow. I am such a light sleeper and if the pillow isn't scrunchy enough it keeps me awake. I am throwing mine on top of my clothes for this trip!

Nature's Aid: my friend got me on to this and now I have it stashed all over the house and always for travel. Great for sun burns, bug bites, rashes or any skin irritation.

Noise canceling headphones: My husband got himself a pair of these a few years ago. I thought it was a waste of money. Until I tried them on...they make all the difference - they absolutely cancel out the noise and are so much more comfortable than ear buds.

Reusable tote bag: I always have one or two on hand during a trip. Great for getting groceries (we will be staying in a few Air Bnbs in Ireland) or for a laundry bag.

Bounce sheets: I love to throw one in my suitcase to keep things smelling fresh.

Stylish (?) compression socks: I keep these in my carry on and put them on when I am on the plane. 9 hours is a long flight and I don't need any swelling! I also occasionally try to spell out the alphabet in foot motions a few times during the ride to keep the circulation flowing.

I hope you are having a wonderful summer. I would love to know some of your packing tricks and tips - feel free to drop me a line any time!


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