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.

December 11-18: Another adventure and Season’s Greetings

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Sunrise 18 December 2015

The days of having hours to prepare and plan for holidays have gone, so I’m frantically trying to stuff too much into a suitcase for our holiday to Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, which starts … in a few hours! This trip we have the luxury (or hindrance, I’m still not sure) of having check-in luggage, so the temptation is to just pack it all.

I finished work yesterday in a mad rush, and now it’s all about getting the house and my suitcase ready. Leo had saved all his holidays for the end of this year, thinking we would be going to Australia for a month, but I went and did a crazy thing like getting a job :), and such a long break was no longer viable. But luckily my work said it was quiet over Christmas, so we could still take some time off, which is great as Leo needs it. Going to Australia for two weeks would be crazy and cost prohibitive (especially with the pending house move February 1) so we found a cheap package holiday to a place where the days will be warm. It’s been unseasonable warm here though too.

The plan is to read some books (unfortunately I won’t hit my target of 52 books in one year … by a long shot), do some day walks, eat some seafood and generally unwind. I’m looking forward to being surprised by the island, as I haven’t had much time to research what there is to see and do. We might try to do a few day trips to other islands. It will be too cold to swim, but the swimmers are in, just in case! Wishful thinking perhaps? 😉

Ok, enough writing. Here are some photos from the past week.

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Another lovely clear day

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Icy cobweb outside our house

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The Christmas market in Bern

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A nice sunset on our way to pick up my cousin Anna from the train station

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Anna had been at COP21 in Paris and stayed with us for three nights. She’s such a good egg

I don’t know if I’ll write while we’re on holidays, but as a fan of never saying never, we’ll see what unfolds.

Here’s to a sensational festive season, however you choose to celebrate, and a healthy and happy 2016!

And of course, as always, wishing you a wonderful day.

September 2-20: Oops … sorry about that!

Iiiiiiiii’m baaaaaaack …

It’s been a mental few weeks, and to top it off I had a chest infection which made me cough like a coal miner and sweat like a piggie. But I’ve almost kicked it to the curb, and am ready to, finally, write about what’s been happening.

Once I’ve written it all out, it will feel quite boring, I’m sure! But the best piece of news is …

Drumroll …

As of October 1, I will officially be the Communications and Project Officer for PAGES, an organisation which disseminates scientific data/research/reports on past global (climate) change. This was the interview I had on September 1. I found out I got the job on September 7.

The office is in Bern city, a convenient walk then bus ride away. I’ve actually been working there quite a bit in the past few weeks, doing the handover. The previous employee had her last day on Thursday and will work externally from Norway until the end of the year. This means I won’t be thrown into the fire from the outset, which is wonderful – knowing she will be there to pass on all her knowledge over the next few months is such a relief. There are only five people working for PAGES, so everyone has a wealth of information stored in their heads. Here’s a link to the website if you fancy a read … http://www.pages-igbp.org/

I’ve also been writing the stories for my friend’s magazine, which was great except I was sick, then all of a sudden I didn’t have enough time. One story worked out really well, but I failed to get an interview for another story so had to change the concept a bit, and then – bless – my friend said I didn’t have to do the final story as it wasn’t coming together like I’d hoped and we agreed it wasn’t a story as such anymore.

Plus, I was working at the karate clothing website at the same time too. So it was a busy period. I hope the cough goes away soon; Leo has had an earful of it, and so have I. Juggling three jobs while hacking away was rather unpleasant. Going from minimal work to too much was also a challenge!

The other exciting news is … we’re off to Barcelona for six nights … tonight!! We won’t be going back to Australia at Christmas, because of the new job, so decided to have a quick one-week trip before I start officially. We’d thought about Iceland or the Jurassic (south) coast of England, but the weather didn’t look great, so we opted for sunshine and sangria instead. Really looking forward to eating loads of patatas bravas and maybe even having a swim in the ocean.

Rene lost his driver’s licence so has given me the keys to his car and taken back the keys to the Töffli. I think I actually got the chest infection from riding the Töffli in the early mornings to Maru Dojo, just after it turned cool very quickly. The car isn’t as easy to park as the bike, but it does mean I’m able to do a bit more with four wheels as opposed to two … and it’s dry and warm inside! Thank you, Rene.

So, time to get moving. I’ve packed my silver carry-on suitcase, which has one side empty, with enough for the week and more. See previous packing efforts here, here and here … I’ve taken the black and white heart dress; the black jacket; a (new) pink cardigan; the Japanese print skirt; a pair of mushroom coloured shorts; a pair of jeans; black belt; red, black and (new) pink t-shirts; two singlet tops; two scarves; a (new) denim blue thin poncho; bikini; minimal jewellery; black handbag; spotty green cap; umbrella; sandals; leather sneakers for walking; ballet flats; underwear and socks; mini iPad and iPhone. I’m excited to have these new clothes too!

Wishing you a wonderful week! I’ll write more when I’m back from Barcelona. Adios Amigos!

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My not impressed, sick face

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Flowers Leo bought me when we found out I got the job!

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Liliane’s blooming marvellous roses

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Me feeling happy about my flat tummy

Covered in dirt after doing the mowing

Covered in dirt after doing the mowing

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Lovely clear Sunday walk to the flower field

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Saw a cat in the dying sunflower field

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Leo taking photos in the flower field. We bought pink lilies and some asters

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Funny little pumpkins to buy, for autumnal decorating!

August 13-18: Living it up in London town

We all know she’s big and expensive and noisy and ruthless, but London is also a veritable melting pot of cultures and ideas, vast parks and canals and free museums and and and … for me, the list of positives completely outweighs the negatives.

My five-day trip to London was jam-packed with sights, sounds, new discoveries and old friends – the perfect mentally fit fitfor15in15 adventure!

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Have backpack … can travel

Taking off from Basel three hours late, and into an electrical storm, wasn’t the best start, and when I finally arrived at my friend Adrian’s house after 10pm, he was in the middle of a blackout. It was lovely to be greeted with a glass of wine and a candle-lit catch-up about what’s been happening in his life. Unfortunately, his girlfriend Eve was at a yoga school in Thailand, so I missed meeting her.

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Catch-up by candlelight! Hilarious way to start the long weekend!

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This was a very nice drop, even if we couldn’t see it. Adrian is using his phone’s flashlight to shed some light

Friday morning, I braved the heaving masses on the central line to meet my friend Teri, in town on holiday from Sydney, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I love the V&A and go every trip, as I get a kick out of their small but lovely glass display. We splashed out on entry into the shoe exhibition as well. We also oggled a lovely cotton tent hanging from India, the blue glass centrepiece in the entrance, and one of the world’s largest carpets, the Ardabil, from Iran, which was completed in 1539-40.

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Your average 9.30am commute into central London on the Central Line

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Teri and I at the V&A

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A wonderful glass installation in the foyer of the V&A

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The expanse of it …

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An early 18th century Indian tent hanging, which I found particularly pleasing

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Teri hiding

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The Ardabil Carpet, which is enclosed in glass and lit every half an hour for 10 minutes to preserve the colours

After three hours, we started walking in the direction of Kensington and Chelsea. When Teri mentioned she needed a loo stop, I suggested Harrods as a bit of a giggle. Once in there, my brain went into complete “When in Rome” mode, so we also stopped for a lunch of Sancerre and oysters (notice the order I’ve put them in!). As you do! (And will never do again! A wonderfully decadent experience but I blew the budget on day one!)

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As you do, or don’t … A wonderful lunch with Teri at the Oyster Bar in Harrods

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We may have had a few carafes of wine …

We then walked through Regents Park to meet my friends Nick and Vanessa for dinner and drinks at a bar near Bond Street. We caught up on lots of stories and giggles from our time as flatmates in Sydney – they are good people and I miss those kind of everyday chats that happen easily.

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Hamming it up in the park (and rain) for our friend Fiona’s birthday

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The lovely Nick and Vanessa

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The gang back together after a few years

Saturday morning, Adrian and I walked to Victoria Park, near Hackney, strolling the canals, looking at the hipsters at Broadway Market and enjoying the glorious sunshine. I then met my friend Bronwyn, from NZ, and her extended family, for her youngest sister’s birthday drinks in Kensal Rise. (It was only the second or third time I’ve ever caught the Overground train – so much nicer than being a sardine in the tin!) Lots of hilarity ensued at the drinks, with long ridiculous chats with Bronwyn and her husband Damian.

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Adrian in his kitchen, with some amazing flowers from the flower market he’d bought the weekend before

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Strolling the canals

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Watching the lock fill up so a house boat could go to the next level

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Hope these little fellas grow into their feet!

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There was a 10km running race on in the park too. We didn’t join in

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All that space so close to the centre of London

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Broadway Markets – yummy food and odds and ends

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Nothing like seeing a spot of cricket in the background to make you feel like you’re in England!

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With the birthday girl, Anthea

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With Bron …

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This is what we normally look like …

Sunday morning, I packed up my things and walked with Adrian to the Thames, via the Colombia Road flower market and Spitalfields market to St Katharine’s Dock, which I didn’t even know existed. What a lovely little enclave that is! I then caught the fastest river cat I’ve ever had the misfortune to be on, from Tower Hill to Greenwich. The boat arrived in less than 15 minutes – a non-stop “let’s see how fast we can go” express ride which made me feel queasy and thankful for my life. On greeting Mike and Cara, the first of the reunion arrivals, I couldn’t string a proper sentence together for the next 30 minutes!

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This unassuming little street …

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Becomes the Colombia Road flower market on Sundays

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Down to the dock at St Katharine’s

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What the Dickens? A lovely pub called The Dickens Inn at St Katharine’s Dock

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Hold on to your hats! And a railing!

Our 20-year reunion of having met in Kilburn, North London, went well. I love this story. I lived in a house with two Kiwi guys and an Irish girl. We quickly struck up a friendship with our nextdoor neighbour, Carla, after asking if she had a spare bottle of Stoli (a great icebreaker)! Her best friend is Cara, who was often over for visits and parties, so Cara was also a very important part of the gang. Now Cara is married to one of my flatmates, Mike. The one thing from that bedlam that actually makes sense! Bronwyn used to date the other flatmate and we realised very quickly she was a pretty damn good woman. Bronwyn and I and another friend Rebecca, who lived with Bronwyn’s ex-boyfriend’s brother in Earls Court, ended up travelling around Europe for three months, but that’s another story!

It was fantastic to have the gang together again and the afternoon and evening went way too fast. Carla and I stayed up talking at her house til about midnight, and then I slept the sleep of the sleep-needy.

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The gang. Damian’s son Joel, Mike, Cara, Bron, Damian, and Bron’s daughter Harper on Carla’s lap

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Mike and Cara at the Indian restaurant for dinner

Monday morning, Carla and I left for work together, and after bidding her farewell at Canary Wharf, I continued on to Bank station. I was feeling all confident and cocky about being on the tube again, and didn’t follow the exit signs but the people heading towards the Central Line. After Friday morning’s crush on the red line from Adrian’s house, it was the last place I wanted to be, so after one stop, I joined the sunshine at St Pauls. From there I wandered along Fleet Street and the Strand to Leicester Square for a quick look at Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery … umm … which had all the rooms I wanted to see closed because of strike action by the gallery workers!! What a shame!! So no Sunflowers this trip.

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St Paul’s from the front. The dome is hidden behind

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Trafalgar Square from the steps of the National Gallery. No Van Gogh today 😦

I then went to a dodgy but fun all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant for lunch with Shane and Luke from my cricket travelling days, and then popped in to see the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery. Afterwards, in Trafalgar Square, a lovely three-piece band playing modern pop songs kept me and an appreciative crowd enthralled for more than an hour. A little girl dancing with her dolly was also a highlight – so sweet to watch such happiness.

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Luke and Shane at Mr Wu’s

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The band in Trafalgar Square. Two electric violins and an electric double bass

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This little girl loved it and cried when mum said it was time to go

From Trafalgar Square, I walked down to Embankment, across the river to Southbank and enjoyed seeing the craziness that seems to congregate there in summer. So many people, so many tourists, and so many things to watch and do. Unfortunately Borough Market was closed, so I kept wandering til I found where my friend’s Phil and Ellie lived, and because I was a bit early, went back towards the river to ‘discover’ a pop-up bar, with the Tower of London and Tower Bridge as the backdrop, with swing and jive dancers. This is 6pm on a Monday! I watched them for a while, then needed a loo stop, so thought I’d sneak into a pub to use their bathroom, but the quick-eyed waiter asked what would I like to drink before I had a chance to pass the bar. “Wine? A spirit?” “Ummm … I think I’ll have a beer” *sheepish smile* and then … Tahdah!!!! I spotted my favourite Australian beer, Coopers Green, lined up nicely in their bottles in the fridge. Being accosted worked out quite nicely in the end! Haven’t tasted this for 10 months.

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Walking across the Thames with Big Ben and some ominous clouds

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Kids enjoying a skate park at Southbank

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Old and new as viewed from close to the closed Borough Market

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Jump and jive!

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Not a bad backdrop for an afternoon of dancing. Tower of London and Tower Bridge

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Oh ok, I’ll have a Coopers, if I HAVE to …

Dinner with Phil and Ellie was wonderful as always, they are great company, and it was the first time I’d seen them since their wedding in December. Phil’s Christmas present to Ellie had turned up just that day – a life-size fiberglass pig with a serving tray on his head! His name is Badger and he is brilliant! We dined in a hipster restaurant in Bermondsey and once at home I realised how ripe my shoes and feet were from all that walking! Sorry guys!

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Badger the pig, with his proud, aristocratic owners Phil and Ellie hamming it up (sorry! Poor pun!). Phil kept eying off Badger, exclaiming “He’s quite big, isn’t he?”

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Happy to see these happy faces again

Tuesday morning, Phil dropped me at London Bridge station for my short tube ride north to meet Conor, another friend from Sydney now living in London, at Belsize Park. Unfortunately for Conor his car was towed minutes beforehand. What was supposed to be a quick hello and a hot chocolate turned into a 290 British Pound headache for poor Conor. I bid him farewell and went back to London Bridge, where I took my only photo for the day (sorry Conor!) of the Shard, and back to Gatwick for the flight home.

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Didn’t have a chance to go up, but everyone says the view is amazing. It’s the tallest building in Europe apparently!

London is a magical town with so much to offer. It could almost be called the City of Markets – there seems to be one everywhere, every day, in summer. You can walk and ride bikes easily around the city, and like Berlin, it feels like a living, breathing, history lesson. My friend Gabby posted a very appropriate quote on Facebook about London, from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, “We were talking of London and all its diversions.” Nothing has changed in 204 years.

If you, too, like London, how about ‘listening’ to all things about the capital? Time Out magazine put together a very dashing collection of the 100 best songs about London, and you can have a listen to it here.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

August 13: What I’m taking to London

Ok, here’s the boring post about what I’m taking to London for the five day trip. Once again, I’ve packed too much, because of that old “well there’s still lots of room” trap.

Instead of the carry-on suitcase I took to Sicily (see what I took to Sicily for a two-week holiday here), I’m taking a lightweight backpack which is also water resistant. There will be rain this weekend! I wouldn’t want to carry this on a long walking trip as the straps don’t provide much support, but for the train and underground trips it will be perfect.

The idea is that most things can be layered. The long sleeve green top goes under the colourful sleeveless top, the black tank top goes under everything, the cardigan goes over everything (except the cream long sleeve top which is a bit full), the long sleeve green top goes under the cream long sleeve and so on and so on …

And so on we go!

 

My toiletries and make-up are pretty much what I took on the Camino and to Sicily, but this time instead of the blue travel case, I’ve just put everything into a medium-sized ziplock plastic bag, which you have to take out and show when you’re travelling with hand luggage only. So rather than have both bags, I’ve just packed one.

On the plane, I’ll be wearing the jeans, belt, black sturdy shoes and socks, black tank top, cream long sleeve top, black jacket, jewellery (with green earrings) and black and cream scarf. Everything else, except for the skirt which is a heavy jersey material, fits into a packing cube, including the hat!

Some people hate packing cubes, some love them. I’m in the love camp. Because my backpack has only one large cavity, it’s great to know I can put my hand in there and pull out the clothes bag, which has a handy handle at the top. Shame the black skirt doesn’t fit in, but hey …

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All my clothes, except for the skirt, in the cube. You can see the spots of my hat

So in the bag will be the packing cube, a shoe bag with my sandals and two pairs of socks, my black skirt, the iPad, my toiletries ziplock bag and my handbag, which holds all the necessities, including the electronics charger. Oh yes and my wallet. Can’t forget that!

Leo is very kindly coming home to drop me off at Bern train station. Then it’s the train to Basel, flight to Gatwick, then train to central London for a very exciting and much appreciated long weekend with many friends! And a 20-year reunion! Time to get ready 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day.

July 21: What I’m taking to Sicily

In the vein of Project333, I’ve decided to take three of the main things each on this holiday to Sicily. This isn’t the normal approach for Project333, but the founder, Courtney Carver, says you can bend the rules to suit whenever you want, so I’m altering them a little for this two-week trip.

We leave on Saturday, staying the night in Basel so we can be at the airport in time for our early flight on Sunday morning. I love packing, so everything’s prepared already!

Leo came home yesterday with a new carry-on suitcase for me, which was a lovely gesture. At 2.75 kilos, it’s probably heavier than something I would have chosen for myself, but I’m sure I’m going to love it.

Originally, I’d planned to take a 22-litre backpack, but it would have been a bit snug, and maybe, just maybe, I might buy something new while I’m there 🙂 (Update: I bought three small bars of soap. That’s it! And if you’d like to see what I packed for a five-day trip to London, click here.)

So, here we go!

I’m really sorry about the quality of the dress-up photos. The only mirror we have is attached to the back of a door which faces directly towards the window, so the light from behind makes everything dark.

For my toiletries and make-up, I’ll be taking something very similar to this previous post for our walk in May. Instead of the small liquid foundation, I’ll pack a compact face powder and some tinted sunscreen.

I know I have too much (I could get away with one dress I’m sure), but there’s still plenty of space in the suitcase, so much so that I’m taking that third pair of shoes! I never normally travel with heels, as they make me taller than Leo. Choosing the best shoes can be a real pain. Luckily mine are lightweight and hopefully fashionable enough for the Sicilian nightlife.

I won’t be the smartest dressed there, but hopefully what I’ve packed will be suitable. Comfort and practicality always take precedence over fashion for me!

Wonder if I’ll take anything out or add anything in between now and Saturday. Can you see anything missing?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

July 17-19: Weekend wrap

Another weekend wrap! This is becoming quite the habit.

Friday was a fun day. Liliane’s mum, Hertha, arrived early with Rene, who had gone to collect the lawnmower (which now runs like a Ferrari … touch wood) and picked her up on the way home. She is in such good shape, mentally and physically, it’s hard to believe she’s 91. Her wicked sense of humour also takes you by surprise sometimes!

Liliane and I went grocery shopping together to a ginormous bulk centre called Growa. We spent an hour or so wandering around with a huge flat-tray trolley grabbing this and that – she bought beer, wine, meat and dog food etc, and I bought beer, feta cheese, spinach, filo pastry (can’t find it anywhere else anymore!) and dishwasher powder. Woo hoo, hold the phone, we went to town!

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Hertha, as the sun sets

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Everyone’s here except for Eve

That afternoon Lotti, Fritz and Paul joined the five of us for dinner beside the pool. We played cards (I lost twice!) and had a huge barbecue. It was a late night but a fun one. Hertha said she really enjoyed it because Rene stayed the entire time. He’s feeling fit enough to socialise more which is great.

Saturday morning it rained briefly for the first time in a very, very long time! At last! Leo went to work for a few hours so I did odds and ends around the house, and once the sun came out again, cleaned the pool, swam a bit and mooched a bit, then Liliane cooked dinner for us all again. We’re good at doing this ‘sleep and repeat’ kind of thing each weekend (although I’m glad we didn’t have another barbecue. It feels like we’ve done nothing but eat meat!).

Later we played rummy and I didn’t lose. At last! Rene brought out some long thin cigars which are twisted/crooked like a small tree branch. I can’t find any pictures of them on the internet, and didn’t take any in the darkness, but we had a laugh smoking them. We could also hear, sporadically, music coming from the Gurten Festival on the little hill of Bern, about 20km away. And it rained again! We sat under the tent and enjoyed hearing and seeing rain again after less than 12 hours.

Today, Liliane’s friend Lene arrived from Germany. Both she and Hertha will stay about three to four weeks so we’ll see them again when we come back from Sicily. Leo had an idea to go to the Rose Garden in Bern, but we both felt too slack. I had a swim and cooked dinner (Jamie Oliver’s spinach and feta filo pie with salad. I love it! Meat free at last!) and then finally at 9.15pm, dragged myself (no, not really) upstairs to write here. It was a great, hot weekend, with two bursts of much welcome rain.

In other non-weekend news, I’ve been experimenting with Dr Bronner’s ’18-uses-for-one-bottle’ liquid soap as shampoo and body wash. It’s been about a month now, and I’m still unsure of the result. My hair feels like it’s coated in kind of a sticky wax, and the effect makes my hair look greasy/stringy. If it dries naturally, it sets into loose curls, but if I blow dry it, it feels like I’m amping up the waxiness even more.

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Natural lavender liquid soap from Dr Bronner. You can clean almost anything with it apparently. I just wish my hair responded a bit better

So the jury is still out. I need a haircut and am loathe to have it washed with their products, because it means I’ll be back to the drawing board again for this experiment. I’m kind of hoping after a few months, my hair gets used to not being washed in all those chemicals and silicone and so on. Maybe I can ask them to just wet it and then cut it like that?

Dr Bronner’s soap comes in all sorts of smells and is available worldwide (I’ve linked to the American website, where you can see all their products). I was given lavender by Claudia when she and Dani came to visit last month. I’ve previously bought the baby/neutral smell and peppermint. I tried washing my hair with those ones too with similar results to now, but I gave up on the experiment after only a week or so, because I couldn’t cope with the sticky/clumpy feeling. Fingers crossed I can persevere and come out a winner.

This is all part of a desire to cut down on the products I use and to be more aware of the ingredients of things. Half the contents of Nivea and other store-bought products are three words long and impossible to pronounce. It would be nice to be rid of stuff like that. Our skin is a big sponge and I’d rather it be soaking up natural goodies rather than chemical nasties.

I’ve started putting things together in a carry-on suitcase for our trip. I was hoping to take a 22 litre backpack but I think that might be pushing it a bit. Not that I’m taking much! I’ll do a post about that on Friday, hopefully. Love the challenge of travelling light!

Wishing you a wonderful day.