When Princess Meghan finally swans off on honeymoon with her Ginger Prince, whether it's destination Botswana, Barbados or Benidorm, you can bet her luggage won’t contain the following:
- A bumper pack of half-dead felt tip pens
- 98 packets of rice cakes AKA guilt-free-keep-quiet snacks
- Poo Top Trumps (Plop Trumps)
- A terrible joke book
- Fuck loads of Lego
- A black banana
This is because, in addition to being a Princess who never has to carry more than a eency-weency Gucci purse, lucky lucky Meghan doesn’t have to worry about how she’s going to keep kid whinging at bay for a) the duration of the day-long journey, followed by b) the next 84 hours (I’m basing this on a 7-day holiday with 12 hours out of every 24 ripe for potential meltdowns, but of course this is a conservative estimate).
For those of us who are weighed dow…sorry, BLESSED to be spending our holidays with our demandi…sorry, WONDERFUL progeny, packing becomes rather more, well, involved – see above.
Luckily for me, the half term family holiday I’m embarking upon next Saturday is a Mark Warner one (specifically THIS Phokaia resort in Turkey), which means the kids will be so busy doing one of a thousand activities/being entertained by the excellent kids club/eating all the ice cream, that there simply won’t be time for whinging and the dried-out felt pens/rice cakes/Plop Trumps will be redundant after the travelling part is over.
But while catering for the kids can become the first thing you think about when holiday packing, make sure it’s not the last. There’s someone else travelling with them, who’s also hoping to have a good time. Have you guessed who it is yet? No, it’s not the husband, it’s…YOU!
If you fancy enjoying your well-earned break as much as Princess Meghan will enjoy her honeymoon, here are 8 things to put in your suitcase (sorry; Prince Harry not included)…
All photos by Jane Looker Photography
1) Easy-to-read yet engaging book
A family holiday isn’t the ideal time to finally attempt to read War and Peace, Ulysses or a Brief History of Time. But it’s also no time to pick up a random pastel-coloured tome at the airport, only to discover that your 13-year-old, Mills & Boon-loving self would have dismissed it as ‘badly written’. Instead, you need a book – or books, depending on how quickly you read/the neediness of your progeny/the standard of the resort’s kid’s club – that comes highly recommended for its lolz/unputdownableness. Might I strongly suggest you pack the hilarious/heartbreaking This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay, which chronicles his years as a junior doctor. Other excellent books I recently finished include The Cows by Dawn O’Porter, a riot of a read; and The Power by Naomi Alderman, a compelling new take on feminism. Other books on my must-read list (i.e. they were highly recommended by people whose taste I trust) include Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and The Rules Do Not Apply.
2) Multi-function hat
Your ideal holiday hat is one that successfully shields your eyes from the sun, while making you look like Audrey Hepburn. It should also go with all of your outfits, and pack into your suitcase without crumpling. The fact that I not only found this perfect hat, but am being paid to say how amazing it is, is nothing short of a miracle. Straw hat with black pom poms, Pia Rossini from QVC.com.
3) Streak-free bottled tan
It’s taken me 40 years, but I can now confidently proclaim the following: there is no such thing as a streak-free fake tan. I get it though; I do. When it’s applied well, fake tan can make you look browner and maybe even thinner. But the reality is it also makes you look like you’re wearing fake tan, and it smells like you’re wearing fake tan, and that’s something I just don’t like. Not to worry! If you’re a fellow fake tan fearer but still want to banish pasty limbs I have just the solution: sun screen with tan accelerator, plus body bronzer. Gain a safe, real tan during the day with Ultrasun Tan Activator Factor 30, which protects against UVA and UVB rays, while stimulating the production of melanin and activating the natural tanning process. Then when you’re getting your glam on in the evening, top up your tan on the bits that are showing – arms and legs – with Tan-Luxe’s brilliant Instant Hero body bronzer which goes on without streaks for an instant tan, lasts for up to 24 hours and washes off in the shower. And it doesn’t smell of rancid biscuits. A total must-pack.
4) Eye mask and earplugs
Perhaps THE most important things to take if you, like me, value your sleep. OK, so they can’t prevent babies crying/kids needing the loo at 2am, but they can block out light from badly covered windows, and noise from your partner snoring/fellow holidaymakers carousing. The earplugs that will stay in your ears, however oddly shaped they are (mine refuse to even hold earbud earphones), block out more sound than those foam things, as well as feeling comfy if you sleep on your side, are BioEars from Boots. They will change your life. As for an eyemask, any will do, as long as it stays on your eyes comfortably. I’ve been using the ones they give to PHH free on his longhaul flights, but now I have this pink velvety one from Elizabeth Scarlett which is way more photogenic.
5) Neon nail varnish + 6) Birkenstocks
There’s one more thing that will boost your holiday tan, with no need for bottles or even the sun itself, and that thing is neon nail varnish. For some reason, neons have the magical ability to make even the pastiest toes look like they’ve summered in St Tropez (OK, perhaps this is a slight exaggeration, but neons really will help you turn a darker shade of pale, I promise). Sadly, proper neon varnish is hard to find…but found some I have – check out this 3-piece Nails Inc set. I’m wearing the pinky-orange varnish below on my toes, along with my silver Birkenstocks, which are the perfect summer sandal: super-comfy, cool and work equally well with pretty evening dresses as they do with shorts and t-shirts.
7) Sexy summer jewellery
This is the perfect time of year for jewellery – the sunshine makes it sparkle and draws attention to your skin, which is looking its best, thanks to the winning combo of the sun + Tan-Luxe bronzer (see above). As part of my partnership with QVC, I was given the chance to try on various pieces of jewellery they sell (and they have LOADS). I found it hard to choose as there were so many pretty pieces, but in the end I whittled it down to the rings and necklace you see in these pics (positioned on my fabulous new Sarah Beech Ottoman) which I’ve worn constantly on rotation for the last couple of months. The first pic shows THIS diamond teardrop necklace and THIS ring by Lisa Snowdon (yes - that Lisa Snowdon - turns out she has quite the eye for jewellery design), and the second photo is of THESE sparkly stacking rings, and THIS 'past' ring, all designed by Kelly Hoppen, and happily not taupe at all!
8) The perfect pretty dress
I’m a huge fan of a shoulder-covering, boho-style frock that reaches to around my knees and is cut so it flatters but doesn’t cling. That’s why I’ll be wearing THIS floral beauty from Joe Browns (below) when I get on the plane on Saturday. I just hope it doesn’t get covered in black banana…
This post was sponsored by Mark Warner as part of my role as one of their brand ambassadors. It also features some of my picks from my paid partnership with QVC. As always, all ideas and opinions are my own, and I only ever feature things I genuinely love.