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How to…pack for a holiday

vogue-italia-travelWhere are you headed this summer? Cornwall for two weeks of bucket and spade action? Or perhaps Ibiza for something a little more glamorous/hedonistic/hippie (*delete as appropriate)? Maybe you’re heading further afield or even closer to home. Whatever your destination, you’re going to need to pack for it. Which is where we come in….

Packing for holidays should be easy. You’ve probably done it quite a few times, you probably venture to similar destinations every year. So, why then is packing such a *!&%* headache? In a bid to banish our packing woes forever, we turned to Claire Norrish, Publicist and Founder of Claire Norrish PR. Something of an expert packer, Claire travels for work and life, visiting “Meribel, Malawi, Ibiza and New York as much as I can. I go to Meribel for skiing where my partner has a place, Ibiza because I have clients on the island (and love the spirit of rural Ibiza) and New York because my sister and her family live in Connecticut (although I don’t get out there enough). I also love to visit Malawi, where I spent ten years building and running Njaya Lodge in Nkhata Bay with my ex-husband. I returned in 2003, but go back as much as I can.”

Because she travels so much, Claire is a bit of an expert when it comes to packing. So we thought it would be a good idea to ask her about her holiday essentials, the items she takes with her trip after trip, year after year. Whilst everyone’s needs are obviously different, this is what her holiday suitcase always contains…

Nourrish (107 of 131)

My Packing Essentials
1. It obviously depends on where I’m going, but wherever I’m going in the world be it snowy mountains or sun kissed beaches sarongs are my number one essential.  I’ve collected them over the years and they become like old friends – my favourite is a black and silver embroidered soft cotton sarong from Bali and my most treasured is an African print blue one with fringes from Zanzibar that was wrapped around my baby son when he was tiny in Africa (he’s now a lanky 16 year old teenager!) I use them round my shoulders in the evening as wraps and even in bed draped over my eyes as an eye mask if I forget to bring one!
2. Carry on bags must be lightweight. I always buy a stack of magazines at the airport and litres of water so there’s nothing worse than a heavy shoulder bag. I have a lovely Marni cotton printed tote that works perfectly for this.
3. I also take my iPad for work and a Marshall Bergman iPad case for keeping it safe in.
4. Two pairs of sunglasses are essential. One really dark pair by Fendi and some lighter graduated lens Dior wire framed ones that I’ve had for years are my favourites.
5. This year I’m keeping my eyes open for a really cool suitcase. With wheels of course. The vintage inspired cream Steamline luggage  is really lovely for a retro-vibe.
Diplomat suitcases by Steamline

Diplomat suitcases by Steamline

My capsule holiday wardrobe for a hot holiday includes…
  • Havaianas gold mesh flip-flops or Neon Birkenstocks
  • Converse trainers (ancient and battered but so comfy)
  • Stella McCartney rose gold wedges (great with denim shorts)
  • A floppy straw hat – Urban Outfitters or Zara do great ones
  • Bikinis from SeaFolly. They suit my figure and always do great colours and prints. I also like Storm in a D Cup – Australians know how to make great swimwear. CocoBay is a great place to find them.
  • Floaty chiffon shirts and a chiffon dress from Isabel Marant – they are tiny to pack and look great
  • One pair of skinny ankle skimming jeans. While I have jeans from J Brand and Paige, I really love Gap jeans at the moment – they’re just right.
  • Shorts. Gap again are brilliant for shorts. These denim boyfriend shorts were great on a recent trip to Ibiza this year
  • Floaty dresses from Victoria at La Galeria Elefante in Ibiza are perfect for summer holidays and all handmade from wonderful silks and cotton prints.
  • Evening cover-ups. Cashmere cardis and a wrap from Crumpet are really good
  • If I have a work meeting abroad, then I’ll take my Missoni striped dress and a pair of Alberta Ferretti flat silver calfskin sandals that I splashed out on earlier this year.
  • A cross body shoulder bag by Urban Outfitters – handy for evenings out dancing!
  • I’m passionate about jewellery and wear lots of little bracelets layered up. These are a mixture from Ibiza as well as ones by Alex Monroe. I also love my huge chunky crystal rings and pendants from Didi Jewellery. I have a chrysoprase Didi choker which is the colour of the sea, plus a sapphire ring from my partner designed by Alexis Dove and a diamond white gold ring made up of diamonds from my aunt’s engagement ring.

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Renee Floral midi dress, £270, Isabel Marant Etoile; Chrysoprase and Lapis Tutti Fruiti ring, £82.50 (was £275), Didi Jewellery; Cashmere scarf, £205, Crumpet

My Holiday Beauty essentials…
  • Clarins factor 50 for my face. I am so careful with the sun these days.
  • Otherwise, I’m really low-maintenance beauty-wise. I’m addicted to Nivea dry skin lotion as a moisturiser (I’ve used it for 20 years!) but recently invested in a Dr Sebagh serum to go underneath.
  • I do love eyelash extensions (my recent discovery) but just at the ends of the eyes so it’s really subtle and it means you hardly need any makeup.
  • My partner bought me L’Occitane lavender foot cream for my dry feet recently which I use on my legs as well.
  • I use Decleor face wash as it’s paraben free and smells lovely.
  • Perfume is my big thing. I don’t like commercial perfumes as they always smell chemical on me. I discovered L’Artisan Parfumeur’s little shop when I worked in Marylebone years ago and have worn La Chasse aux Papillons ever since. It’s reminiscent of summer gardens full of jasmine, tuberose and orange blossom.
  • Nuxe oils are lovely as well for extra leg shine – they smell of babies just after they’ve been bathed – that lovely talc smell.
  • Talking of babies, I use Oilatem Junior in my bath. It’s actually meant for children but I find it great for moisturising the skin.
  • Finally, I do like a nice pedicure before I go away. Right now I have gold disco glittery toenails from a May trip to Ibiza!

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La Chasse aux Papillons eau de parfum, £95 for 100ml, L’Artisan Parfumeur; Dry oil Golden Shimmer, £21 for 50ml, Nuxe; Sun Care Milk-lotion spray UVB 50+, £19, Clarins

My Plane uniform
On planes I like to be comfortable.  I can’t understand why anyone would want to travel in heels!  I like to wear flat shoes, jeans and lots of layers, so that when I get out of the airport in balmy temperatures I can get cool easily.  Crumpet’s monster cashmere wraps are brilliant for combatting air-conditioning chill on planes. I always travel with water and moisturiser and Burts Bees lip balm as well.
Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

And, because we couldn’t let Claire go without getting a few travel tips from her, here’s her lowdown on where to go in Ibiza and Malawi…

  • There are wonderful beaches on Lake Malawi with white sand and crystal clear fresh water for swimming (hard to imagine as it’s a lake not the sea). You can scuba dive or go horse riding, and swim with horses in the lake.
  • Or go to the mountains of the Nyika Plateau or Livingstonia for hiking or game watching.
  • The game reserves have recently been restocked and are becoming popular in Malawi but for big game go to the neighbouring countries of Tanzania or Zambia.
  • Malawi is an impoverished but stunningly beautiful country but avoid the rainy season from Jan-April.  They call it Africa for beginners.  The markets are brilliant for picking up batique or printed sarongs and fabrics.
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  • In Ibiza I love the rural area around San Carlos – favourite beaches include Agua Blancas and Benniras.
  • Check out Anitas in San Carlos for a lovely local vibe.
  • For shopping head for the old town or check out La Galeria Elefante just outside Santa Gertrudis for incredible interior ideas.
  • Eat out at the family-run Balafia (amazing outdoor bbq’d food and all locals who visit) or La Paloma and Macau in Santa Gertrudis.
  • For a super-glam beach club lunch head over to Amante set in the rocks overlooking the sea or pop in to the beautiful zen-like garden setting of Atzaro for a cocktail at sunset.
  • If you have time get the ferry to Formentera. I  love staying at Las Banderas, which used to be owned by Leah Tilbury (it’s expensive but the setting is amazing).
  • Jax Lysycia founder of Formentera Yoga holds amazing beach-side yoga retreats from March to November further down the beach.
  • For an almost Caribbean feel the powder fine sand beaches at Les Illetes on Formentera are sublime.

IMAGE: Vogue Italia

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Jemima
    June 16, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Love this post. I almost enjoy the packing more than the holiday. Its all in the details. xx

  • Reply
    Alex
    June 16, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Oh Jemima I wish I was with you. I am useless when it comes to packing. You’d think that being an ex-Travel Editor I’d know how to do it, but nope. Utterly useless! Thank goodness Claire has given me some inspiration! x

  • Reply
    Suzanne Bearne
    June 17, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Lovely post. Bookmarked some of these links.

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