Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Winter Weekends Away; What To Pack?

Hey everyone!

First of all - MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY 2016! New year, new me, except almost definitely not etc. 

So I thought I’d try something a little different for this blogpost, as I’m sure you’re sick of seeing my outfit posts! I’m also feeling like I’m lacking creativity outfit-wise a bit right now, but I'm hoping to be back in full force after having a little break.

I posted something similar a while back for festival season. I basically want to share my packing essentials when going away for a city break during the Winter (a chilly one, not one where you lucky things get to swan off to the Caribbean or something). I’m off to Milan on a romantic weekend mid-February (with a girlfriend - Charlie wasn’t invited, oops sorry…) and I’m someone who ALWAYS struggles with packing for a short trip. When I'm only allowed to bring hand luggage with me and not check a massive case, it means I have to go through the PAIN of viciously cutting down the mountain of clothes I want to take along. I like to have choice when I’m away, I like to be able to see how I feel on the day! This is particularly difficult during the Winter when I want to pack layers layers layers, and I always like to have a choice of shoes because who knows how much walking I’ll be doing either. SUCH a hard life, I know… BUT - it is time to be brutal, and only pack the (sort of) bare essentials, whilst still trying to have a stylish flair wandering through the streets of Italy.  

Comfort is key when travelling - we all know that. That's packing 101. So while I’ll probably be wearing a pair of trainers for the journey, and for the possibility of any long walks around the city, I’ll be packing these little cut-out beauties from Topshop. Unfortunately they’re quite small on me so they haven’t had very much wear, but they transition from day to night seamlessly and pretty much go with absolutely anything - which is exactly what you want while trying to save space in your luggage. I’ve worn these with jeans, leggings, tights, bare legs - and it always works - the key when packing light is to pack shoes/clothing which can be very versatile. Whether it’s visiting the Duomo on a warm Winters afternoon, or going out for an Italian dinner on a frosty evening - these easy-to-wear heels HOPEFULLY mean I can’t go wrong. You would think. 

Moisturiser & Lip Balm
If you’re like me and get dry, chapped skin and lips when it’s chilly outside - then don’t forget that moisturiser. It might seem obvious, but the amount of times I’ve forgotten to bring some with me on a trip and have just felt so uncomfortable with itchy, sore skin is crazy. As I’m currrrrently unemployed it also means I don’t want to spend a ton of money on expensive Italian moisturiser while I’m out there (and inevitably end up buying the wrong one because I don’t speak Italian…) so it’s best not to forget this little essential. My go-to is this Clinique moisture surge, especially because it’s so small and compact and a tiny bit goes a LONG way to feeling silky soft again. Just careful not to let it explode in the bottom of your bag… Worst comes to worst, it’s so small that it really doesn’t matter if you use it all up or forget it on your way home either! Oh and also this EOS lip balm is insanely good, I carry it everywhere with me now and it’s super easy to find when rummaging around in your handbag too because of the unusual shape. It’s one of the few lip balms that actually works on my super chapped lips ))):

I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS - for a weekend away you need ONE JUMPER, and ONE JUMPER ONLY! Think about it, you’re only going to de-layer whenever you go inside, and when you’re outside you’ll be wrapped up under a coat anyway SO NO ONE WILL EVEN SEE IT. Also more jumpers take up faaaaar too much room. NO YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED MORE, MELODY, OKAY!!!

Just because it’s Winter and it's freezing, doesn’t mean it can’t be sunny too. I always want to kick myself when I forget shades while out on a day trip and that Winter sun pokes it’s head out from behind the clouds. Because the sun is even lower than normal it just means it’ll be extra annoying to try and see where you’re going, and you’ll be stumbling around the city squinting like a mad man. 

Disposable Camera
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking - could you beeee any more hipster. Well probably not, but there are a few reasons I love disposable cameras. I love that you have no idea what pictures you're going to get until you develop them. I love that you only get one shot at each photo. I love that I can stick the prints straight in some photo albums. I love the grainy aesthetic quality of the film. And I absolutely LOVE that I normally forget to develop them for months, so when I do I have a lovely session of reminiscing over wonderful memories.

Lip & Eye Essentials 
A very wearable shade of lipstick - again it might seem like an obvious thing to say, but don’t forget that packing about 20 lipsticks takes up a lot of luggage space. I’M TELLING YOU. And you don’t want to fall into the classic trap of just packing whatever it is you fancied slicking on when you left the house - make sure the shade you bring is a very wearable one, and you’ll be happy as a clam wearing it all weekend because you’ll be stuck with it. Now I know this isn’t exactly an essential piece of information and you will survive just fine with whatever lipstick or with no lipstick at all, and yes it might seem super shallow - but every little helps. I promise… Similarly, you don’t need all the eyeshadow palettes in the world. If you can, bring with a small one or just your ultimate essentials - my favourite is the tiny POP palette. It literally has the perfect three colours for a subtle daytime look, but they can be easily built up (with some shimmer added too) for an evening style.

As well as all my normal make up, I’m really excited to bring along this The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer highlighter with me. The dark Winter can sometimes make things feel quite dull, so sometimes I feel like glowing a little bit - especially when wearing darker clothing. As well as that, it’s amazing how much a highlighter can actually make a daytime outfit suddenly seem more evening-y… This brand new baby of mine is super compact and fits in easily in a side pocket or in my small make up bag - the only problem is it doesn’t come with a little brush. But when in doubt USE YOUR HANDS. I’m pretty sure that’s great make-up advice. Yep. 

Notepad and Pen
Come on people, because you never know when you’re going to be struck with inspiration! Whether it’s writing, art, blog stuff, music, fashion, or even just a shopping list - exploring an exciting new place can bring on all sorts of inspirational thoughts. The amount of times I’ve wanted to write something down whilst travelling, and end up furiously tapping away at my phone to save it in ‘notes’ - it isn’t easy in gloves either, I’ll tell you that…

Stylish luggage, baby.
I’m pretty sure it’s just the fact that I’m going to Milan which has got me wanting to feel full on fabulous the whole time, but I feel kinda like this is the way to do it. Maybe.

Oh, and some less stylish things that I always make sure I have, but don't look particularly exciting in photographs:

- Hand sanitiser! It's flu season, duh.

- Tiny Garnier micellar water make up remover - small and compact, and does the job perfectly.

- Instant soup! Okay I’m aware this sounds RIDICULOUS, but if you’re a poor graduate like myself and want to save some money, a warming winter soup using the hostel/hotels kettle and mugs (if your room has one) is an excellent quick snack or light lunch if you don’t fancy spending ££££££ the whole time you’re away. Don’t judge….

- Rain Mac - because although you might feel like a twat, it’s a hell of a lot easier than trying to wander around an unfamiliar city clutching your handbag, probably some shopping bags, holding onto your hat, and struggling with an umbrella too.

- Healthy but hearty snacks - if you’re like me and are trying to kid yourself that you’ll be healthy this year, bring along some semi-healthy snacks. I always get hit by the hunger and turn very ‘hangry’ VERY quickly (which my friends can testify to) - and if you’re in the middle of a museum or a cheeky shopping trip, you don’t want to drop everything and rush off to find the nearest tourist trap restaurant. My current favourite snacks are Holland & Barratt's Boom Boom Bombay Mix (big bag for 99p), Munchy Seeds Choco & Ginger (a little expensive for a small pack at £1.95 but packed full or iron and super tasty), M&S lentil curl crisps (healthy, small packets and all sorts of flavours available) and then probably a trusty ole banana.

Basically just don’t forget to have fun! I love going away in the Winter months and seeing a side of popular cities that  isn’t covered as often in the media, but they’re equally - if not more - beautiful than when they’re in their Summer prime. Winter is an excellent time to go away too purely because most places are muuuuch much cheaper - and that just means you can treat yourself more once you’re out there ;)

Much love!

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