So I am just back from three glorious weeks on the Ligurian coast in Italy. Glorious just about covers the entire experience and I have returned rested, relaxed and totally refreshed. I have also come back having learned some important lessons about packing for a three week break which I need to note down so that, if I repeat this trip next year, I don’t make the same mistakes that I made this time.
My key takeaway is that you don’t need three times as many clothes if you are away for three weeks. Pack for one week and repeat three times!
Linen Shirt: NRBY, White Trousers: Zara, Trainers: Sole Bliss, Sunglasses: Rayban, Hat: Bought in France a long time ago, Earrings: Sahara London
I have been staying in a rental villa fully equipped with a washing machine and with weather so hot that everything dries in an instant. Added to which I have donned my swimsuit first thing and worn it until I showered for the evening meal. I brought with me about five pairs of summer trousers and around ten different tops to mix and match for variety. I also packed a grey and white linen Sahara button through mid-calf dress (which I wear with trousers) and a new NRBY ‘robe’ which has proved useful for a cover-up over my swimsuit when necessary. I find footwear both problematic and bulky so I restricted myself to white Sole Bliss slip-on trainers which I wore to travel in, and a pair of navy Gabor strappy sandals which I have worn once.
Linen Shirt: NRBY, Navy Trousers: Zara, Sandals: Gabor, Sunglasses: Rayban, Hat: Bought in France a long time ago, Earrings: Sahara London
I was alone here for my first week, so I had no need whatsoever to dress up. Then my daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons joined me for my second week when we ate out in restaurants a few times, and for my final week a very dear Irish friend flew to join me from Dublin. I was very impressed that she managed with a small carry-on bag in order to avoid the dreaded queues to check-in a bag at the airport and, with her example of ‘capsule wardrobe packing’ in mind I have been rethinking my approach.
Silk Blouse: NRBY, White Trousers: Zara, Trainers: Sole Bliss, Handbag: Mulberry, Hat: Bought in France a long time ago, Earrings: Sahara London
Alongside her swimsuits for all day, every day, my friend has brought three cool, loose linen dresses (two white, one pale blue) which she jazzes up with some great jewellery when we go to a restaurant in the evening. I prefer trousers and tops but now realise that I could have brought just two pairs of trousers - both from Zara, with elasticated waists and therefore super comfortable, in white and navy. Before I came away I treated myself to two new NRBY linen tops in pale blue and pink which are cool for daytime wear if I need to shop for food. I also brought two dressier silk NRBY tops which I could have alternated for evening wear. So, instead of five pairs of trousers and ten tops I could easily have managed with two pairs of trousers and four tops!
Silk Blouse: NRBY, Navy Trousers: Zara, Sandals: Gabor, Sunglasses: Rayban, Earrings: Sahara London
It’s not just clothes that take up space when packing. Many of you ask for travel sizes of your Look Fabulous Forever makeup and skincare. I have explained that this isn’t cost-effective for us because the cost of production (buying containers and having them filled) is the same whatever size they are. Obviously fill-cost would be slightly lower but we’d have to sell these smaller travel sizes at a loss. Big companies can order many thousands at a time to get economies of scale, which we just cannot do. Please believe me that we have looked at this and not yet found a way to make it viable. My solution therefore is to decant all my cleansers, creams, shampoo and conditioner into small plastic jars and squeezy bottles that I buy very cheaply from Superdrug. I also tend to bring smaller compacts of LFF blusher and concealer and one trios eye shadow compact which gives me a pale, mid and darker tone shadow to play around with. On holiday I simplify my makeup to Beauty Balm, bronzer, blusher, eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick which all fits into a small makeup bag which I pack alongside our brilliant brush roll to keep all my brushes tidy and safely away from my clothes.
Swimsuit & Hat: Bought in France a long time ago, Robe: NRBY, Sunglasses: Rayban
Travelling has few pleasures these days. It feels a bit like being on a conveyor belt in a people processing factory. And that’s if your plane actually takes-off! My daughter’s flight was cancelled by Easyjet just two days before their departure home and I was holding my breath until mine was confirmed. The process of waiting in endless queues to check-in a bag and the difficulty that I now have to manage a large suitcase when travelling alone, have finally convinced me that ‘less is more’ when it comes to packing. I would love to return to Lerici next year but I will arrive with far fewer clothes. The essentials are a sunhat, sunglasses and a swimsuit with a soft feather pillow on which to rest my weary head. Then I’ll bring a small capsule wardrobe of adaptable tops and bottoms which I can mix and match. Simple, practical and stylish - job done!
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Tuesday 26th July
Teatime with Tricia - Lorne Blyth, Flavours Holidays
Flavours Holidays is a specialist ATOL bonded tour operator – offering quality cooking, painting, Pilates, language and photography holidays in Italy since 1998. Set in idyllic and unspoilt regions of Italy, guests have the opportunity to learn from local chefs and passionate, experienced tutors
I've loved reading your blog's whilst on a 3 week holiday in Lanzarote.I immediately looked in the wardrobe to reassess what I have brought with me and what I'm yet to wear! Too many shoes, I've worn two pairs,too many swimsuits ,too many dresses and so on . Thank you,I will pare it down in future .By the way,your blog's are far more interesting and entertaining than the expensive magazine I bought at the airport,what a waste of money that was !
I just found you ,I live in USA but still miss my home in England . I have an overpacked suitcase for a trip to Alaska next week sitting in my spare room , yes I have overpacked and I am about to go and re think my clothing .
Hi Tricia - thank you for another interesting blog and so useful. I always take far too many clothes. Glad to be able to see the makes of the clothes as well - those are the styles that I feel suit me. Stunning scenery! X
I've always overpacked... No matter how hard I've tried I always take things I just don't need. Your blog has inspired me to really rethink my need for shoes to go with every outfit, and a different outfit for everyday. Thank you Tricia!
Your story made me think of a friend who, some years ago, went to Australia for 2 weeks. She had spent lots of time (and money) buying clothes for this special trip. Alas her luggage went missing! she had only the clothes she was wearing. She rang her insurance which said to go and buy some clothes for the holidays. She bought 3 bras, 3 pants, two skirts, two trousers, one pair of sandals and one pair of trainers. Also, travel sizes of toiletries. These cloths, in a plastic carrier, saw her through one of the best holidays she had. She said it was very liberating having no choice. Wish I could take a lesson from that instead of coming home with a bag full of clean clothes never worn. Worth considering a plastic bag instead of a suitcase??