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 …


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.

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!


The old … (pen is for size reference)


… 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)

Dental things

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

Shampoo and conditioner

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

Moisturiser and spray deodorant

  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens case
  • Contact lens solution (15ml)

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!)

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)

Tablet bag and cotton bud bag

  • Hairbrush (foldable with a mirror inside)

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

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

Back compartment (without the brush)


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


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.


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.

March 6-8: Writing while on holiday is tough!

There’s big trouble in little Strasbourg. The city is beautiful – there’s so much to see … and so little time. This ‘being on holiday and posting on fitfor15in15’ melarky is tougher than I thought. It’s the first time I’ve been away from home and tried to write.

But in order for this birthday extravaganza weekend holiday to be exactly that, and to be fair to Leo, who sits around twiddling his thumbs when I’m on the computer, I’m going to have to go against my my own wishes and not post anything more this weekend.

You can be safe in the knowledge I will be exercising every day. I have my gear here and my Thera-Band with a print out of exercises, and I’ll be doing them every morning in the hotel room.

Walking around the city is probably exercise enough – this afternoon we climbed the 66 metres to the viewing platform on the Catherdral de Notre-Dame for an amazing view in glorious sunshine, then walked around the city back to the hotel and again to dinner and so on and so on. It’s a wanderers paradise, and I’ll write a proper post about this lovely city, with lots of photos, next week.

Apologies again for reneging on my initial plan to blog every day this year. A change of plans that will keep Leo sane and give me the chance to be a tourist, 100 per cent.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and see you Monday!