I’ve been thinking about my holiday packing list We’re taking a late holiday this year – and we’re deviating from our Corsican idyll. Not too much – let’s not go crazy here – we’re still going to France (cheese, wine, scenery, on nodding terms with the language etc) but this time, we’re heading to one of my childhood haunts – the Dordogne – and then onto a place we’ve been to many times, but this is the first time with both children – the really rather ridiculously pretty Ile de Ré. And here’s what I’ll be packing in my suitcase…
Shorts (Preferably Pink)
As you probably know, the Ile de Ré involves cycling. A lot of cycling. The whole island is criss-crossed with cycle paths – there are far more bikes than cars. Part of the great joy of holidaying there is pootling about on a bike, in search of a simpler life. However, this also mean that my default summer wardrobe – wafty summer dresses – won’t quite cut the mustard. I need something cycling-friendly. And I only own two pairs of shorts – only one of which is serviceable. Thus shorts have suddenly made the holiday packing list cut.
I developed a yen for some pink shorts. I can’t say where this started, but start it did. They feel perky and pretty and easy to wear with everything from stripes to a grey sweater and Possibly with this pair of paperbag shorts from Boden, which are sold out in my size or I would have snapped them up. Instead, I found these from Asos, which are linen and, incidentally, a total bargain. I also bought some gingham shorts from Primarni, these are similar. I’ll be wearing with pretty white blouses – like this one and this one, or this puffed-sleeve version. Perhaps a crochet top or some stripes (like this Out of Office Breton tee which is designed by none other than Alex!)
1. Lace blouse, £19.99, H&M; 2. Wrap top, £128.64, Faithfull the Brand at Net-a-Porter; 3. Frill top, £19.99, New Look; 4. Hat, £ Accessorize; 5. Handmade bag, now £17.99, Mango; 6. Paperbag shorts, £55, Boden; 7. Stradivarius STR shorts, £19.99, Asos; 8. Gingham shorts, now £34, Anthropologie
A White Dress
Because nothing says ‘summer’ quite like a white dress. It’s as irresistible as it is hopelessly impractical (sunblock, small children, ice cream, wine…). But hear me out. That gorgeous Pampelone tunic? Actually very practical indeed when on a bicycle! AND It doubles as a beach cover-up or an evening dress (just zhuzh your flats). Plus, it’s on sale. Just saying. I can also recommend this floaty Wyse number. A belted linen frock is cool enough for sight-seeing, smart enough for lunch (or a glass of something cold on a terrace). And light-as-air cotton (& Other Stories and Next) will keep you both cool and covered-up (much as I love a strappy dress, I prefer to shield my shoulders during the heat of the day).
1. White ruffled dress, £79, & Other Stories; 2. Linen dress, £60, Monsoon; 3. Dress with frills, £24.99, H&M; 4. Provence Tunic, now £75, Pampelone; 5. Broderie puff sleeve dress, £48, Next; 6. Button dress, now £17.99, Mango; 7. Madrid Birkenstocks, £45, Birkenstock; 8. Loupe sliders, £85, Dune
The Swimsuit and Skirt Combo
This is what the youth would call a no-brainer. Anything which looks good and saves time is a winner in my book. Hence anothe new entry on my holiday packing list.
When holidaying, we tend to alternate between sightseeing and swimming – as in so much in life, it’s about balance. This ensemble permits you do both.
When I was growing up, my dad loved an old church. Or a tumuli, come to that. Often was the time we’d stand in hushed, incense-heavy churches (Catholicism gives good church) or at a circle of randomly scattered stones, filled with boredom – or, rather, reverent awe. Now, I’m the one who’s keen on a church – but I tend to leave the children outside with my husband (also not a fan) and ice cream. I have a limited window before the call of the pool/beach has to be heeded. (Obviously, I’d add a cover-up in church. Am unsure how the clergy feel about swimwear out of situ.) This look covers all required bases.
Opt for a skirt you can pull on and off easily – buttons or a wrap are good here – to speed your entrance into the sea once you’ve imbibed sufficient culture. Or ice cream. We’re not here to judge.
P.S. I promise I’ll write an update Ile de Re post when we return.
1. Daisy underwire swimsuit, £36, Warehouse; 2. Lemons swimsuit, £29.99, H&M; 3 .Flounced swimsuit, £24.99, H&M; 4. Formentara swimsuit, £60, Boden; 5. Ruffled linen midi skirt, £69, & Other Stories 6. Linen skirt, £129, Whistles also at John Lewis; 7. Gingham skirt, £20.50, Asos; 8. Belted skirt, £49.99, Zara