Next week I’m heading home to the UK for a little ‘British fix’ trip. A chance for me to devour the great British street style and high street shops. Grabbing some Marks and Spencer’s sandwiches and Percy Pig sweeties, I’ll get a chance to catch some good telly with a real cup of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge cake. A little trip to Liberty of London department store is in order and a big pint of beer in a nostalgic and favourite London pub are on my list. Along with blissfully soaking up the tail end atmosphere of London Fashion week for A/W 2016 collections. BRING IT ON!!!
So, this trip is personally, an exciting one. It’s my first solo trip since becoming a Mum. It’s been a tricky one to book as that ‘Mother Guilt’ kicked in and feelings of ‘should I really go?’ and ‘should the flight money be spent on the family?’ floated above me. But I booked the ticket with the loud cheers of my husband and friends who claimed in true NIKE fashion….. ‘ just do it’. When I had a wobbly moment last week, a lovely mate of mine, Sarah McCormack, said it best in her message “It will be good for you to be off on your own. Trust me. Life Changing. You’ll run into an old friend you haven’t seen for years….and realize that she is YOU!!” So to all you fabulous Mum’s out there who never put themselves first and rarely do something for themselves, then listen to Sarah’s wise words. Just bloody do it!
The other super exciting aspect of this trip is that not only do I get a chance to catch up with my family and my beloved friends but I get to meet new friends too. The best part of writing this blog has not only been an outlet and a voice for my passion but it has led me to connect with the loveliest and most supportive women from both sides of the pond. You see, I’ve been a follower of British blogs for years. I loved reading about real women and their shopping quests on the British high street. I would love reading through them and applaud their style choices and shopping bags. It gave me a little window to my old life back home. Brilliant reads. So you can imagine the shock when I started to get messages from these heroines of mine. I thought it would only be my Mum and close mates that would read my blog. But when I started to get the thumbs up and encouragement from the fab women I’d been following, I nearly fell off my chair!! So off I go to London to join these amazing women for their annual meet up, who are as real and as kind as you can get. I promise a very british boozy blog post recounting the shenanigans of these fab dolls when I get back. FYI…..they seem nuts!! I cannot wait!
I need to be on my best behaviour when wandering down the great British high street. Particularly on the pilgrimage trip to the Topshop flagship at Oxford Circus and Liberty of London. The Canadian dollar against the British pound has me in tears at the moment. So pocket-money may only get to wisely be spent on pints of beer and Marks and Spencer’s knickers!
Therefore I’m on a mission to pack a brilliant and ultimate ‘London’ wardrobe that will satisfy all my style needs for events so I don’t go looking for new things. Disclaimer: if things jump out at me and I’m under the influence of British pint or two, I may not necessarily be held responsible!
*Photo Source: Liberty of London Instagram feed
When packing a capsule suitcase, it’s wise to consider:
The climate- pack for the weather. There will be rain, let’s face it, usually a lot of bloody rain in England! This encumbers that damp cold hitting your bones, but in contrast will feel as hot as hell travelling on the underground tube. A good hat for ‘rain hair’ and a coat that is good for layering. I won’t have any Kiddlywinks to watch over, so I don’t need my mod parka this time with its endless pockets for tissues and snacks. A coat that takes me from the Art galleries to the bars and can be thrown over my arm when walking around without feeling like stretch Armstrong!
The Events– pack for your proposed events. I will only get to have 3 days in London as I want to visit my parents in Cheltenham. My London agenda has some trips to the Galleries. My heart always falls for the Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum & the Saatchi gallery. The National portrait gallery currently is exhibiting the Vogue 100- A century of style. Done and dusted! I will get to spend a day chilling and drinking as I meet up with the super lovely british bloggers. Cannot wait!! I am also dreaming of wandering around my favourite hot spots with my best mate. We will wander up to Liberty’s department store and Topshop Flagship at Oxford Circus, reminiscing days of our misspent youth, calling in our old haunts
countless pubs along the way with the obligatory finale dinner at Wagamamas!!
*photo source: The National Portrait Gallery Instagram feed
The shoes– Getting the capsule packing footwear nailed is a big priority. London is a must for walking. By walking on the streets to your destination you get to soak up the street style, the architecture, the sights and the new boutiques! Flat ankle boots or trainers are the way to go for this trip. For me, it’s either my trusty Stan Smiths or its some sleek black Chelsea boots. Again they need to fit the bill for walking along the embankment of the Thames and then cool enough to run into a bar or the Theatre to grab a performance on Shaftesbury Avenue at night. Multi tasking at its best!
Left to right: Sam Eddelman Circus Reese boots, Adidas Stan Smith, Office Chelsea boots
The necessities– what do you really need on that handwritten packing list? I don’t feel I travel often enough to warrant a supply of travel toiletries and make up. Instead, when I know a trip is coming up, I keep an eye on my current toiletry bottles. When they are nearing the end with a weeks supplies worth, then I throw them in my case and chuck them out when I leave the destination. Everywhere recycles now! If I think I’m going on a ‘shopping opportunity heavy’ trip then I have been known to take jeans and tops that are nearing their end of their loved years, then chuck and replace them!
I adore these bags I got from local Ottawa company My Stow n Tow. I first bought these fab bags (from two fabulous gorgeous Mum’s who know their stuff!) as lunch bags and Lego/playmobil storage for my boys. However, I’ve discovered these bags are diamond travellers too. I love their waterproof lining so I don’t have to worry about spills on my silk or wool and because of their square base, I like to fold over the top and use it as an open toiletry bag wherever Im staying. Now, once I’ve chucked and recycled all the empty bottles at the end of the trip, I use these bags to house dirty shoes or laundry. Once I get home, I just throw them in the wash and they’re ready for next time. Beautiful work from Shauna Rae and Hon of My Stow’n’Tow. I love these bloody brilliant bags!
The Outfits: The easiest thing to do is keep your colours simple and coordinating. The fundamental thing to do is pack your stuff that makes you feel fantastic and…… you! Less is more as we are all familiar with the post holiday repack of the case for homeward bound, only to discover there are at least x3 things we didn’t wear?! A hat is perfect for hiding dodgy hair or the look of a holiday hangover in the morning! Pieces that take you from a day sightseeing to the evening drinks in a bar are the winners in my book. Stick with your gut reaction to items and take those fail safe pieces that you love.
My initial reaction is reach for a stripe tee (of course!) and a uniform black and grey top. I love my layering tanks for warmth and skin coverage for shorter tops or gaping blouses
after 5 pints in the pub. Always the favourite silk scarves along with a jumper (naturally my Bella Rockers) and something slinky for evenings out. Jewellery and scarves are where you can change the feel of your outfit.They are easy to pack in your bag so you can add or remove for your ‘superman in a telephone box’ quick change from your day-to-night look.
Packed in the bag are my: Bella Freud Rockers jumper, gap stripe tee, Alexander McQueen silk skull scarf, J.Brand tees in grey and black, Primark black layering tank and vintage leopard print silk scarf
Packing my bottoms are a no brainer. In go the uniform skinny jeans in black and blue, Topshop Jamie are the best ones out there for me. Along with the new trend denim on the street, the crop flare, from Aritzia’s own premium denim line, The Castings. My beloved pony hair belts in black and leopard fit the bill and the super comfy Chelsea Boots are my Sam Edelman Circus Abbie boots in black. Done and dusted.
My London shopping wish list
If I have any spare pocket-money courtesy of a last-minute eBay sale, then these may just find their way into my suitcase! As always, I have a Minted and Skinted version!
So there we go. I’m off on a ‘home’ mission. I’ll report back when the credit card has reached its limit and the British pub hangover has worn off. Rule Britannia xxx