My packing tips (hindsight is a wonderful thing)

So here we have the carnage that is my packing.  Interestingly, for during the day, the things that I took to both Marbella and Brittany were pretty much the same.  Main difference being that I did take evening bags and heels to Spain - things which were definitely superfluous to requirements for camping.  

Without further ado, I'll crack on with what I took.  And then let you know what I actually needed. 



Denim shorts - Warehouse & Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren (both worn)
Red shorts - Denim & Supply by RL (worn)
Silk print shorts - Zara (worn)
Cut off longer dark denim - Zara
Chalk longer cut offs - All Saints


Print harems in navy - Forever 21 (worn)
Dad boyfriend jeans - Current Elliott (worn)
Straight leg distressed - Zara (worn)
Leopard print silk trousers - Zara (worn)
Peach coated cropped skinnies - Zara


Yellow towelling floral dress - FCUK (worn)
Turquoise sheer bandeau print dress - FCUK (worn)
Black and white May Cocoon Lucky Dress - Whistles (worn)
Black maxi dress with rope - All Saints


Khaki leopard print - By Malene Birger
Black and white paint splatter effect - M&S (worn)
Black bandeau - River Island (worn)


Black and cream oversized square top - Cos (worn)
Cream and black oversized square top - Cos (worn)
Leopard print khaki chiffon kaftan top - Taylor Stephens
Blue print silk racerback top - Zara (worn)
Red print silk racerback top - Zara (worn)
Blush and brown python print racer back top - All Saints (worn)
Prairie silk blouse - Monsoon (worn)
Linen butterfly loose top - TK Maxx (worn)
Peach linen a line racer back top - Zara
Purple & yellow silk beaded blouse - Antik Batik
Red, blue and white print silky blouse - Zara (worn)
2 cream silky sleeveless blouses - Zara (both worn)
Cream linen and crochet top - By Malene Birger
Plethora of strappy neutral vests - Primark - mostly worn 

Selection of bikinis - all worn and could have done with a few more.

Long sleeved warmer tops 

Navy sweatshirt - Zara
Cream jumper style sweatshirt - Zara


Denim jacket - Red Herring from Debenhams (worn)
Black quilted jersey biker jacket - Whistles (worn)


Black, neon yellow and pink print scarf - Markus Lupfer from Whistles (worn)
Hot air balloon scarf - Lily & Lionel from Whistles (worn) 


Black flipflops - Primark (worn) 
Silver flipflops - Asda (worn)
Rose fold flipflops - Havaianas (worn)
Black ankle strap leather thong sandals - Zara (worn)
Rose gold Gigis - Sam Edelman (worn)
Black and leopard print pony skin thongs - M&S 
Black gladiator heels - Burberry

And I think that was probably about it.  I don't think with hindsight that I did that badly - it was hard as it was the first time I'd been on a holiday like this and having never been to Northern France on hols before, we were a little unsure of what the weather was going to be like.  So I did seem to pack for all seasons. (bar shoes - nothing that covered my toes.  Rubber flipflops would have had to suffice)  

The upshot was that actually on a holiday with kids and a pool (or anywhere where you're spending a lot of time in a pool vicinity), you cannot take too many bikinis (or swimsuits if you're that way inclined).  I certainly didn't need as many of the smarter tops I took and actually could have done with less generally as most of the tops, you're only wearing for a couple of hours at a time and so can easily be worn more than once.  

It also depends on where you're going but if you're going to a place in Northern Europe or somewhere the weather is more iffy, then a couple of pairs of jeans and sweatshirts/jumpers for the evenings (or those darn dodgy days) are invaluable.  I would definitely have taken more sweatshirts and less fancy tops.  Lesson learnt. 

My other master tip which came in super handy is scarves.  Big scarves.  And, ironically, ones with a bit of weight (sounds random when going somewhere warm) as these come into their own in the evenings to throw over lighter tops.  I also use them travelling when you get a bit nippy.  Perfect for a blanket for the kids as well (needless to say I didn't take my Louis Vuitton - been there, done that, had it dribbled on by a 2 year old - never again). 

For the evening (not that we were super glam At All in France but....) the same would have worked for Marbs and camping (go figure - although we did go out for dinner a couple of times).  My silky leopard print jama style trousers with sleeveless silky blouses and non crease Whistles dresses were right on the money.  (flats for camping, heels for Marbs)  Ditto my fab (thank you SO much for gifting them to me A!) silky print shorts from Zara.  Print shorts are my mission for next year - I seem to have mastered the day to night dress.  Hallelujah (well, if having three of them can be called mastering, especially when two of them are the same shape and fabric.) 

Shorts and tees are useful but to be honest, during the day if you're going to be mostly hanging out at the pool or the beach, then I would highly recommend little dresses to go over swimsuits.  This is what I wore most and this is what I shall be stocking up on for next year.  

It is the end of the season but there are a couple around if you're still looking. 

Firstly M&S who, personally I found really disappointing on beachwear when I was (admittedly rabbit in headlights frantic stylee) looking before I went away at the end of term. 

Clearly they're saving their best to last as I love both of these.  One thing I did find was the beauty of a neutral bikini - either a mink colour (I'm not brave enough for white - eek) or black and white, or even the dreaded black - in being able to match to a number of different throw ons/cover ups.

With matching bikini.  Black & White (as I have found out) is super flattering for pretty much all skin tones - black being the worst for making pasty skin look positively corpse like.  Sob.  (doesn't stop me mind you) 

And an interesting pose here...

Now this is a superb dress which my friends clocked a girl wearing at the Ocean Club in Marbella.  Lo and behold it comes from Accessorize.  

And in white  £27  They also do it in pink but it appears to be sold out online.  A lovely bright fuchsia colour.  Clearly beyond out of my comfort zone but one of my bessie mates has it and it looks fabulous.   Can confirm that these look a lot more expensive than they actually are. 

Nadine Leaf Maxi Dress in navy and a light beige - £35  Whilst this year for me, I'm all about the legs, I do still have a soft spot for one when I can't be bothered with that vital leg grooming. 

These really don't look all that in the pics but here is a photo of them instore - lovely drapey jersey.  Online really doesn't do them justice. 


More animal print on a bandeau dress.  Now I know, I know, I know, I have waxed lyrical about my dislike of a dip hem dress but for the beach and general slobarama, I'm eating my words.  Plus a) it's the end of the season and we're left with Hobson's choice and b) they're £9.99 from New Look

Have to say I also quite like it in the orange although this does appear to be a more exaggerated dip than the animal print one (stuffing those words in my mouth as I speak.  I still maintain I wouldn't wear one out out) 

Orange dip hem bandeau dress £9.99 from New Look Also available in black.  

Whilst I'm eating humble pie, I should also point out that these would be super useful for throwing on over a bikini as well.   A bargain now at £25 from Hush.   In whale (apparently - who knew?)

Clearly fuchsia is the less popular colour as it's only £20. 

And finishing with these in white which I have posted before, but having seen on a friend who bought one (can't believe I forgot to - gah - have ordered for next year though) 

Again these look so so much more expensive than they actually are. 

BHS White Crochet Back Dress £24  Also available in purple and turquoise. 

Finally with what I've been wearing the last couple of days. 


Chambray painters smock - Joseph
White cut offs - Zara
Black ankle strap thongs - Zara
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang


White linen tee - Zara
Print harems - Forever 21
Rose gold gigis - Sam Edelman
Stone maxi zip satchel - Anya Hindmarch
Hat - TK Maxx

Next time I shall be back with a couple of things that would work for your holiday wardrobe but will also come in very useful once that weather turns. 

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments and emails whilst I was away.  They really do mean a lot and it's heartwarming to hear how many of you appreciate the blog.  Makes it all worthwhile! 

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13 comentarios:

  1. That was great Kat (as always). I've just finished packing for Devon tomorrow. Fingers crossed for some sun x Liz x

    1. Hope it was helpful. And fingers crossed for lovely weather for you. Have a great hols! xxx

  2. That's a lot of clothes! We recently went camping for 5 nights, I took 2 pairs of shorts, 2 vest tops, 4 t-shirts, one summer dress, 1 pair trousers, 1 cardigan, 1 pair of flip flops and 1 pair of sandals!

    1. Oh gosh I know I'm bonkers when it comes to packing. To be fair, it does all squish down into one bag and we were driving so it didn't really matter. I hate being unprepared! Plus it was the first time I'd ever been on a holiday like this so didn't quite know what to expect! I shall be much leaner in my packing next year. I have to say, though for France, I could have done with more cover ups for the evenings. I guess it just depends where you're going! Hope you had a good time xxx

    2. well yes, I usually over pack but am trying to get away with just packing one large bag rather than take a suitcase camping! Also as we were having such fabulous weather I didn't need lots of cooler days clothes so was easy to just wear shorts and t-shirts every day. We went down to West Sussex and had a lovely time thanks! Love your blog. Estelle x

  3. just about to pack to go to Connecticut for my son's wedding - so this made me realise I should take a little time to work out my outfits and mix and match more.

    1. Oh I'm really pleased you've found the post useful. Have a great time in the States and huge congratulations xxxx

  4. I am off camping too this weekend for a week in a caravan and like you I'm a camping virgin!! So this post as helped tremendously, though I think cornwall may be a tad cooler now, so I need your sweatshirts x

    1. Good luck!! And yes, definitely get sweatshirt shopping xx

  5. Must admit my jaw is dropping at your recent outfits Kat after your adamant refusal to self tan or get your legs out in the past - go girl! :D

    Nic xx

    1. Thank you darling. All those years that I refused to get my legs out. Duh duh dih!! Now from the sublime to the ridiculous! xx

  6. These packing tips can prevent your time wasting and effective whenever you’re going to anywhere. I’ll try them.
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  7. I totally agree about the scarves! Mine have doubled as blankets for the kids/picnics & even as towels many a time! I always think you do a great job when packing! Ax