The handbag challenge

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To be sure, to be sure …

We were in Dublin last weekend! Woo hoo! I love Ireland – I love the Irish humour, the accent, their general craic for life, the countryside, oh and their beer!

Packing (you know how I love to pack!) gave me the perfect opportunity to fulfill a personal challenge I’ve been itching to do for ages – travel with just my handbag as luggage. And I’m not talking about a giant sack of a bag, I’m talking about my everyday handbag – a small, short-handled nylon bag, which is perfect for me because it weighs nothing empty and has a cross shoulder strap.

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Ready for the train from Bern to Zurich, then the flight to Dublin, and then the bus to the B&B … See why I was keen to carry as little as possible?!

We were going to Dublin to watch my cousin referee the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy. The flight arrived at 21:30 Friday night, and we flew home at 16:15 Sunday afternoon, so the time was limited and no ballgowns were needed. We would spend most of Saturday at the match with family (over from Australia to cheer Angus on too), and Sunday walking around the city.

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The bag. Klein aber fein, as they say in German. It’s about 25cm long at the base, the zip is about 33cm long, the height is about 20cm and the width is about 16cm

On the plane over, I wore pretty much everything needed for the weekend, with an extra t-shirt, spare undies and socks and another silk scarf packed in the bag.

Merino wool garments make this so much easier I think. They breathe well and don’t smell much, and dry quickly if you need to wash them.

 

Overall, it was a raging success but I could have lived without many things!!

  1. The red plastic wallet with printouts of boarding passes, B&B booking etc – I need to get with the times and put everything on my phone. Save a tree! Save space!
  2. The iPod mini and earphones in the gold pouch – didn’t listen to any music
  3. The grey pouch with the iPhone camera lens – didn’t do any fancy photo tricks
  4. Gloves – wasn’t cold enough. The temperature in Dublin was supposed to be around 13 degrees Celsius both days, which turned out to be true, thankfully.
  5. Beanie – wasn’t cold enough (although I was happy to have it on the 20 minute walk to the car when we arrived in Bern at 21:30 Sunday night).
  6. Umbrella – it didn’t rain
  7. Second scarf – although it was nice to change up my outfit with this, it was an ‘unnecessary’ luxury! But it was so small it was hardly a bother.

On Saturday, I wore a black long-sleeve merino t-shirt under a black and white cardigan with jeans, black leather ankle boots and one of the scarves.

On Sunday, I wore what I wore over on the plane – the long-sleeve merino t-shirt underneath a black and white polka dot blouse with cardigan, jeans, boots, plus the other scarf. And when outdoors, always the coat!

Total things taken: –

Worn: bra, merino singlet, black merino long sleeve t-shirt, black and white spotted blouse, black and white cardigan, coat, undies, jeans, socks, boots, watch, two rings, necklace, ear rings, belt, silk scarf.

Packed: merino t-shirt (which I wore to bed – the B&B was freezing), spare undies, socks, second silk scarf, umbrella, gloves, beanie, red plastic wallet, passport, wallet, phone, electronics pouch, plastic bag with toiletries, handkerchief, makeup pouch (plus two hard boiled eggs, an apple and two sandwiches for us to start the journey!)

Leo also packed very light – a small 18 litre backpack. Wish we could always travel like this! I can’t wait to do it again. It’s a giggle of a challenge, and works well if the weather works in your favour. Although, saying that, all bases were pretty much covered. The beauty of denim on such a short trip came to the fore too – while carrying a tray of Guinness back to our seats some sloshed onto my jeans. I washed it with water and it was all fine. The only problem travelling with jeans on a longer holiday is they weigh a lot and take ages to dry! But for something like this, a long weekend or what have you, they’re the perfect option.

But enough about the packing, here are a few shots from the weekend. It was Leo’s first trip to Ireland and I think he’s keen to go back, even though he’s not keen on Guinness! Ireland won convincingly and Angus did a great job on his first Six Nations call. It was so lovely to see so many family members too! Many tears were shed on goodbye.

 

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Travelling Light: Toiletries and make-up

Finally! I can’t believe it’s taken me five months to write about what I take when travelling. I love to pack light – just love it! Some may look at this and think ‘that’s not light’, and I’m cool with that! Everyone’s different, so, without further ado, here’s what’s in my new toiletry bag.

It’s a three-zippered number from deuter, with a capacity of 1.2 litres, weighing 50g when empty.* Until recently, I used a single zippered lightweight case from Eagle Creek (which I can’t find on the internet), but I’m loving the organisation options of the new bag – three compartments for easy access!

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The old … (pen is for size reference)

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… and the new

We’re (hopefully, depending on the weather) going hiking/walking for five to six days next week from Constance to Einsiedeln in Switzerland, which is basically the first third of the Swiss Camino.

We don’t know where we’ll be staying along the way, so I have to assume that some nights may be in youth hostels or basic hotels, where no toiletries are provided.

Sample or travel sizes are your friend (most of these were free!). Here’s what I’ve packed for one week:

  • Toothbrush (very lightweight and slim)
  • Toothpaste (I have two small toothpastes 25ml and 30ml, each about a third full, so will take them both to use them up)
  • Floss (mini)
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Dental things

  • Shampoo (sample/travel size, 30ml)
  • Conditioner (sample/travel size, 30ml)
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Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body and face moisturiser (in orange GoToob, 60ml)
  • Deodorant (spray bottle, 30ml)
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Moisturiser and spray deodorant

  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens case
  • Contact lens solution (15ml)
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So I can see the pretty scenery!

  • Soap (for face and body, 40g)
  • Toner (love a refreshing spritz of toner, 10ml)
  • Perfume (a sachet and a small sample size (1.5ml) – nice for a few evenings!)
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Soap, toner and perfume samples

  • Tablets (hayfever, vitamins, headache, penicillin (for tonsillitis), gastro-stop (the last two are for just-in-case moments) in a small plastic ziplock bag
  • Cotton buds
  • Toothpick
  • Bandaids
  • Hotel-size sewing kit (for dealing with (hopefully no) blisters). The past four items are all in a small ziplock bag)
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Tablet bag and cotton bud bag

  • Hairbrush (foldable with a mirror inside)
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Folding hairbrush

  • Foundation (sample size, 7ml)
  • Eye and cheek powder (silver duo compact)
  • Eye and cheek brush (small)
  • Eyeliner (mini)
  • Mascara (very thin, light and short)
  • Lip balm
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Make-up items

When it’s all listed out, it looks like so much, but I’ll use everything (except possibly the make-up) every day.

Now it all goes into the three pockets of the washbag:

  • Back zip: Brush, make-up
  • Middle zip: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toner, moisturiser, deodorant, contact lens things, packet of tablets, packet with cotton buds etc
  • Front zip: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
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Back compartment (without the brush)

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Main compartment, with ziplock bags and soap flat at the bottom

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Front compartment

And this is what it looks like when it’s all zipped up. There’s still a bit of room in there, and will gain more as the tablets get taken.

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All zipped up and ready to go. Total weight 620 grams

I’m pretty happy with that total weight, just over half a kilo, and if I didn’t feel the need to pretty myself up at night, I would ditch the make-up completely.

But wait? What about sunscreen, I hear you say! I wear a wide-brimmed hat, neck scarf, long-sleeved top and pants to avoid sunburn (damn thee fair, sensitive skin!) and carry a small sample-size sunscreen, about 7ml, in the pocket on the waistband of my backpack for easy access and regular cheek and nose applications. The lip balm (which also has sunscreen in it) lives in my trousers’ pocket.

So there you have it. In a dream world, where I had 20/20 vision, my skin wasn’t dry and sensitive and I had short hair, I think my toiletry bag would look very different. Eventually, I’d like everything to be eco-friendly plant or oil-based items, but because I have these things already, and most of them were free, it would be crazy not to use them. I’d love to travel with one natural soap for everything, one oil as a face, body and hair moisturiser and bicarb soda as toothpaste and deodorant. One day! One day! (I look forward to writing that post too!)

What toiletries do you like to take when travelling? Do you use sample sizes or take the lot?

Check again soon for posts about my backpack, walking clothes, casual clothes and sundry/miscellaneous items.

* As always there are no affiliate links on this site. I’m just providing you with information and receive no perks or money from the companies and products mentioned, giving me free reign to say if I like them or not.