11 tips to pack light for every trip

A lifetime ago, I didn’t have the first clue how to pack light.

I was the kind of person who’d pack everything and the kitchen sink.

I was infamous for frequently bringing several pair of heeled shoes to school (TO SCHOOL!!) in case I’d suddently feel like wearing one of them. (hint: I never did. Not once.)

Thankfully, I’ve improved significantly since.

11 tips to pack light for every trip ● Travel Tips ● Cake + Whisky

So much in fact that I can’t remember when was the last time I traveled with anything other than a carry-on.

It didn’t come easy but I did it. With loads of work and concious effort, I taught myself how to pack light.

And so can you!

  • Make a list

    Packing in a hurry is never a good idea, so make sure you think ahead and compile a list of what you’d like to pack.

    Get everything clean, dry and layed out before you start putting stuff in your suitcase. That’ll help you avoid dead space and make sure it’s all organised in a convenient manner.

  • No ‘what ifs’ and ‘just in case’

    Repeat after me – (most of) the world is civilised and they have stores there. And 99% of the time, you’ll be able to purchase any and every emergency item you might need from one of the stores at your destination.

  • Versatility is key

    There are many ways I’m not the Frenchest of French people, but when it comes to clothes, I’m the absolute French stereotype. My wardrobe is all basics in black, grey and stripes. Unsurprisingly, the whole ‘pick a colour scheme and stick with it’ thing isn’t a really difficult one for me to stick with.

    Having helped a few other desperate souls to pack though*, I can confirm making sure most of your clothes work together is absolutely key to packing light and always have something to wear whilst on your trip.

*oh, how I wish I could pack other people’s suitcases for a living… #dreamjob

11 tips to pack light for every trip ● Travel Tips ● Cake + Whisky

  • How much to pack?

    It really depends on what sort of holiday you’re going on. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need a lot less if you’re on beach holiday than you will for a city trip and so on.

    And quite a lot less than you think altogether. Most of the time, 1 pair of underwear per day, 1 top per day +2 and one pair of trousers for 4 day is more than enough. And if it’s not, there’s this great thing called laundry…

    Oh, and pack a pashmina. There’s a reason why every single airline employee I know never go anywhere without one.

  • Cube it up!

    I know a lot of people put all their weight behind the rolling and stuffing method, but I’m more of a packing cube girl.

    I like how cubes help you save space AND keep things neat, tidy and unwrikled, which mean you’ll know exactly where to look whether you’re trying to locate your pyjamas, your charging cables or your bikini!

    Plus, the impressed nod from the airport security staff if they need to check your luggage is just priceless. #truestory

  • Careful with the shoes!

    Bulky, heavy and weirdly shaped, shoes are the #1 space waster when it comes to packing.Unfortunately, the only solution is to go by the age-old ‘less is more’ motto.

    One pair of flip-flop (always), one pair of comfortable but pretty day shoes (I’m a ballerina girl through and through) and one pair of trainers/heels and you’re good to go!

  • And the toiletry / beauty stuff!

    I’m the laziest person when it comes to beauty. The most I do is wash my hair, maybe put on some mascara and basta.

    Therefore, I must admit that the likes of hair dryers and straighteners/curlers never found their way in my bathroom, let alone my suitcase.

    Though, if it’s important to you, most hotels have hair dryers (you can call ahead to check if you so wish).

    When it comes to beauty bits, samples are your best friends. Their small size means they won’t exceed the cabin size limitation, and you can leave the empty bottles behind so you have more room available for souvenirs!

  • To towel or not to towel?

    Towels are bulky and annoying to pack.

    The good news is, if you’re not going camping or to the beach, you probably don’t need to pack one.

    But if you insist on taking your own anyway, make sure you get a fast-drying, super thin microfiber towel. You can thank me later.

11 tips to pack light for every trip ● Travel Tips ● Cake + Whisky

  • Invest in a good international travel adaptor

    By which I mean the kind with USB plugs so you don’t have to carry all the power supply things.

  •  Pack a backpack/tote IN your carry-on

    It’ll come in handy for your day-to-day adventures, be it to the beach, mountain climbing or getting lost in an urban jungle.

    And possibly even more so if all the beautiful souvenirs you found don’t quite fit in your teeny tiny luggage on the way back…

  • Learn from your mistakes

    Whether you forgot to pack something essential or you didn’t nail the right number of dresses to pack, make sure you make a -mental or physical- note of the things that didn’t quite work that time around.

    After all, learning how to pack light, much like Rome, can’t really be done in one trip!

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My 5 top tips to plan a city break

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Paris for first-timers and seasoned travelers

11 tips to pack light for every trip

How to find the perfect travel companion

“There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” Mark Twain

Tiredness, poor orientation, delays, lost luggage and the occasional terrible meal – travelling with people can be a serious test of a relationship.

How to find the perfect travel companion • #travellinkup • Cake + Whisky

Whether you’re travelling the world or just hoping to the next city for a well-deserved break, the right travel companion – one that will enjoy the sights (and share your picture-happy habits), the exotic food (and not complain once about always eating it cold) and the aimless wandering – will enhance any adventure.

So choose wisely (with some help of the points listed below).

And once you find your perfect travel companion don’t let that person go. Or -even better- go with them!

1. Discuss your expectations

When it comes to travelling, some people like seeing all the sights. Others prefer travelling like a local. There are the foodies. The shopping lovers. The museum goers. The nature seekers. The ones that just want to relax and take it easy by the pool with a cocktail in their hand…

And all are great ways to see a new place – as long as whoever you’re travelling with share your views on the matter. So before you start planning and booking, make sure you discuss must-sees and must-dos and check that your travel companion’s and your expectations of what you want to do on the trip match to some extend!

2. Make sure your travel paces align

While you’re at it, you’ll also want to discuss how much you’re expecting to do on your trip.

Do you want to visit a city/area in depth, leaving a lot of time for wandering and getting lost or would you rather hit several cities/countries in that same amount of time?

Will you be up at the crack of dawn and pack every day with as many activities as possible, or would you rather sleep in and take things slowly?

Are you planning to beat your personal best in terms of daily steps, or would you rather favour public transport or taxis?

Again, there’s no right or wrong answer – it’s only a matter of personal preference (and level of exhaustion!) – but discussing this ahead of time will make your trip much more enjoyable for everybody!

3. Check you’re on the same page budget-wise

No matter where you go, your travel budget will really affect your trip – from the destination (short VS long haul), to deciding where to stay, what to do and where to eat.

Trust me – there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to save when your travel companion wants to splurge or vice-versa.

The budget discussion is not an easy one, but it’s one you’ll want to have very early on. The best approach in my experience is to agree on an overall ‘budget’ so your spendings should not come as a surprise to anyone in your travel party.

4. Be flexible and make the most of your differences

You don’t have to agree on everything and have the exact same idea/desire/need for every single second of the entire trip.

Maybe your list of must-sees isn’t exactly the same? Maybe your travel companion of choice really wants to do something you’re not all that excited about?

But in travel as in many other things – your differences make you a stronger team. So compromise. Do some of the things they suggest. Push your boundaries. Drag them to that can’t-miss-won’t-miss exhibition in return.

You’ll all get out of it better (if only because you’ve learnt something about yourself!).

5. Consider your options for alone time

Because you’re travelling with other people doesn’t mean you should have the option to split for a while and go do your own thing. This is especially important if you’re travelling as a big group (be them friends or family).

Fellow introverts / curious wanderers, trust me on that one. Planning ways to escape / do the things no one else is even remotely interested in (a city walk, a trip to the museum, a cycling excursion to the next village, a nap…) is a life (and trip) saver!

6. When in doubt – pick the ones that always say yes to cake!

People who like food are always the best people.

How to find the perfect travel companion • #travellinkup • Cake + Whisky

This post was written as part of this month’s #travellinkup, all about travel companions, be they constant, occasional, animal, crazy or simply left at home. If you want to join in the #travellinkup fun, pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th Oct.), then add it to the link up widget found on Follow Your SunshineSilverSpoon LondonAdventures of a London Kiwi or Wandermust Family.

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Copenhagen 3-day itinerary

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How to find the perfect travel companion

9 tips for working from home

When I started working from home about a few months ago, I thought I had it all under control.

I’m an extrovert, I don’t mind spending time by myself, I love my flat, my internet connection is decent – what could possibly go wrong eh?

Well, as it turns out, quite a lot.

9 tips to survive working from home • Cake + Whisky

After about a day and a half, I started feeling trapped in my own house.

I completely failed to anticipate how hard the transition from a lively co-working space to a room with a view of my couch and not much else would be.

I felt lonely. I missed tea rounds and having people to bounce ideas off. I missed Mondays that felt like Mondays and Fridays that felt like Fridays. I missed having colleagues and a work environment that didn’t include any washing up/dirty laundry/vaccuum cleaner.

It was tough. I cried a lot.

But I found ways to make it work, so I thought it’d share my top tips for working from home in case you work from home too, or you’re determined to slay the uni work game this year!

1. Structure is key.

The most difficult thing when working from home is to find the motivation to get things done without getting distracted by a billion different chores that will inevitably find their way into your field of vision.

If you’re anything like me, focusing on anything when you can see piles of dirty dishes and mountains of to-be-ironed clothes from your desk chair is a very difficult thing to do, unless you create some strong work structure for yourself and stick to it.

What works best for me is to put together a weekly goal list on Monday morning, and use it to create daily schedules.

I like to include a basic timeline for each task and breaks / chore time inthere as well so I don’t get sidetracked by all the other stuff in my environment.

2. Shower and get dressed.

I’m currently not the best at this and most days, I work in my pyjamas and slippers.

But I found that on the days I do manage to get showered and dressed and ready before 10am, my focus and productivity levels are so much higher.

I suppose the whole ‘getting ready’ thing helps my brain going from its sleepy state to its work mode and it truly works a treat!

3. Find yourself a comfortable seat.

I know, I know, the soft, squidgy sofa is difficult to get away from.

But -trust me on that one- it really isn’t a good idea: it will ruin your back.

Plus I find that sitting straight also has a positive impact on my productivity levels.

So, yeah – no back pain and taking over the world – DEAL!

4. Stay hydrated.

Is it just me or is it extremely difficult to remember to drink your 8 glasses of water a day when it’s just you and yourself all day long, with nobody offering tea every twenty minutes?

Hydration being your brain’s BFF, counteracting is a necessity.

Feeling up a large water bottle and putting it on your desk first thing in the morning will do the trick – especially when complemented with a few strategically brewed cups of tea if/when you remember it!

5. Get out of the house.

Whether it’s a 10 min lunchtime stroll, taking yourself for lunch to a nearby café, working from your nearest coffee shop for a few hours every once in a while or planning a night out-out with your friends, you need to make it a priority to get out of the house.

Because no matter how long your to-do list is, nothing, NOTHING will do your brain as much good as a little fresh air and a change of environment.

6. Find a background soundtrack that works for you.

Nothing makes you feel more lonely that complete silence. Hence the need to find a background soundtrack that helps keep you motivated to get things done.

Some people swear by classical music. Others prefer upbeat soundtracks.

My boyfriend can’t work without old school rock.

Me? I’m a TV background junkie. I like being talked to when I work, and boy, has our Netflix subscription proved itself a good investment since I started working from home!

To each their own, eh?

7. Plan lunch.

Having access to your own kitchen, complete with all the ingredients, all the condiments and all the equipment, is both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing obviously because OH THE POSSIBILITIES!

And a curse because if you’re not careful, all those possibilities will result in you still pondering what you should have for lunch at 3pm.

A problem you can avoid altogether by planning what you’ll have for lunch ahead of time.

And, if you’re ever at a loss, things on toast (eggs! meatballs! peanut butter! etc.) are always a good idea.

8. Put make up on.

When you know you have an especially intense day ahead of you, put some make up on.

I can’t quite explain why it is (probably something to do with self-confidence), but having a full face of make up on makes me feel like the kind of super woman that can take over the world.

9. Make the most of the perks.

Because as tough as this whole working from home is, there definitely are some silver linings.

So make the most of the working hour flexibility and the possibility to pick up your dry cleaning during your lunch break.

Take advantage of the opportunity to go to the post office/hairdresser/doctor outside of rush hours and skipping commuting altogether.

And all in all, enjoy things as they come.

 

More lifestyle posts

13 reasons to be excited about autumn

7 ways to make your consumer choices more ethical

10 things I learnt from traveling

How to make the most of your trip to the farmer’s market

9 tips for working from home

What to pack for Paris in the summer

August is my favourite time to visit Paris.

It’s my birthday month, which means I always have brilliant excuse for any kind of ‘treat yourself’ shopping (ahem! Princesse TamTam & macarons).

And because August is the holiday month for Parisians (they do have 6 weeks to use up after all…), the French capital is at its quietest.

Which means that:

  1. As long as you stick with local spots (there’s no such thing as ‘no tourists’ Paris ever), you might just get a table at one of the city’s most coveted restaurants – fact we very much intend to make the most of this upcoming weekend.
  2. Eurostar tickets are somewhat affordable (even at the last minute… #enabler).

What to pack for Paris in the summer • Travel Tips • Cake + Whisky

Once thing that’s not quite as easy-breezy though is choosing what to pack for Paris in the summer, thanks for that, dreamy ‘freezing one minute, hot ‘n’ sweaty the next with some heavy rain thrown in for good measure’ unpredictible European summer weather.

Which almost unevitably results in overpacking yet never having quite the right thing to wear to that dinner out or to walk along the Seine – and nobody wants that to happen, especially not in Paris!

But I’ve been to Paris and back (and that several times!) and this is what I think you should pack/wear:

1. Your passport – because you won’t go far without it! #duh

2. Your best striped tee(s) – if not now, then when?

3. Black jeans – the French love their jeans and they wear them pretty much everywhere (the parc, bars, shopping, fancy restaurants…), which is rather convenient when you’re not sure what the weather will be like.

4. A camera – How else are you going to take the gazillion pictures of the Eiffel Tower/croissant ‘n’ coffee breakfasts / cute cafés / colourful macarons (…)? (Do not answer ‘with my ipad’. You deserve to be slapped in the face if you do.)

5. Natural, no-make-up make up –  Concealer, foundation if you really must, powder, mascara and maybe a little red lippy… Less is more.

What to pack for Paris in the summer • Travel Tips • Cake + Whisky

6. A big scarf – The French style ultimate basic. Great both for fitting in and warming up.

7. A REALLY GOOD cleanser – Pollution pics are a real thing in Paris in the summer, which means you skin might need a little help coping. I’m also packing my new skin bff in case any spot decides to invite itself to the Paris party…

8. Confortable shoes – The best way to see Paris is by foot. Which means no matter how long you stay, you’ll walk. A lot. And the vast majority of Paris streets are cobbled. So yeah, comfortable shoes are an absolute priority. However, French people don’t wear trainers unless they’re going to the gym and they will look at you strangely if you do. So maybe switch those up for a cute pair of ballerinas or something?

9. A little bit of change – It’ll come in handy for tips (it’s customary to add a few euros to the bill), or should you make small purchases (a lot of stores don’t accept cards under a certain amount).

10. Your favourite little black dress – Think ‘day to night’ dress; it should be confortable enough to walk/sight-see in and dressy enough for dinner and drinks!

11. An umbrella – Because as much as I’d like to pretend torrential summer rain is only a London thing, it isn’t quite the case…

What to pack for Paris in the summer • Travel Tips • Cake + Whisky

Have you been to Paris in the summer? What did you pack and what would you have packed differently, if you had known?

More Paris posts

The lesser-known Paris sight you must visit

Breakfast in Paris

10 souvenirs to buy from a French supermarket

What to pack for Paris in the summer

How to make your new home your own in 5 easy steps

It’s been a month (give or take a couple of days) since we moved into our new flat.

And god, has it been a journey!

How to make your new home your own in 5 easy steps ● Cake + Whisky

As for any new house, there were rather big challenges –why don’t London landlords put any shelves in their wardrobes again?– and a billion of little intangible things that needed taking care of.

But here we are one month later and it finally starts feeling like home, thanks to a few tricks that really helped us (and can help you!) getting settled!

1. Get the internet set up

Home is where your phone connects automatically to the wifi. Plus, getting this done early will save you SO MUCH money on roaming charges. Money you’ll probably need for you know, food and bills and stuff…

If you already have a contract for your internet connection, get in touch ahead of time so they can transfer your account on the very day you move. Trust me, NOTHING beats collapsing on a sofa with Netflix and a nice take-away after having spend the day carrying boxes down and up stairs.

How to make your new home your own in 5 easy steps ● Cake + Whisky

2. Furniture that’s adapted to your needs

So, that’s where it gets tricky.

Most places in the UK are rented furnished and yes, it is convenient that way. But sometimes, said furnitures are anything but adapted for the space and the use you’re going to make of it.

So if you’re planning on staying in your new home for a significant amount of time, it might be worth investing some money into buying things that really work for you, be it a good sofa bed if you host guests regularly (we invested into this one and we LOVE it!), or solid wood kitchen cabinets to make all your kitchen dreams come true!

3. Frame and hang prints as soon as you can

Nothing to make a house feel more like home than having your favourite prints hanging on the walls.

Not in the poster taped or blue-tacked to the wall sort of way though! For it to truly work its magic, you’ll want to frame things up and hang them properly.

And if you can’t hang things to the walls because, well, you probably want to get your deposit back at some point, Command Strips work really well (get the biggest ones you can)…

How to make your new home your own in 5 easy steps ● Cake + Whisky

4. Let there be light!

Lighting is usually another challenge, because one lone lightbulb attached to the ceiling is never going to give you all the cosy home-y vibes.

That said, that’s an easy one to solve. A few selected small lamps and a loooooot of candles are all it takes to create softer, muuuuuch more flattering & relaxing light sources!

5. Actually spend time at home!

This one might sound like a no-brainer. And yet, when there are piles of boxes to unpack and so much cleaning to do, it can be SO tempting to avoid the problem by going out instead.

But the truth is, nothing makes a home more than the people that leave in it.

Forget about the mess and focus on what makes you feel most at home, then do exactly that.

Watch TV, fill the fridge, cook meals, take a bath… Before you even realise it, all your boxes will be empty and all your things -and you!- will have a new home!

What’s your top tip to settle into a new house and make your new home your own?

*This post was written in collaboration with solidwoodkitchencabinets.co.uk but all words, pictures and pile of boxes left to unpack my own!

How to make your new home your own in 5 easy steps

6 tips to improve your food styling & photography

I started taking pictures of my food (and other people’s ??) well before I started a blog, and even before Instagram was a thing. Obviously, the obsession’s only gotten worse since then.

So trust me when I say, I understand how difficult it can be to make food look beautiful. Making things tasty is quite a challenge in itself, but making it look good is even harder.

But, whether you’re an avid food blogger yourself, or a teeny-tiny bit addicted to Instagram, sometimes, making home-cooked dishes look supermodel-perfect in front of the camera does matter.

If you’re not sure where to start, below are a few easy tips* to up your food styling & photography game (and achieve that drool-worthy shot every time!)

1. Get inspired

When you’re eating out, flicking through your favourite food mag or reading your favourite food blogs, take note of what looks appealing and what doesn’t.

Salted Caramel Brownies | Cake + Whisky

As for any form of art, there’s a lot you can pick up from looking at and analysing other people’s work.

Angles,composition, props… there’s so much going into a beautiful food pictures and finding what makes you hungry is the first step to being able to create that feeling in your own pictures.

I like to save my favourite pictures onto a Pinterest board so I can refer to it for inspiration or for times I struggle to put things together.

2. Tell the story of the dish through its picture

As the proverb goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, which is why you should try to let the picture express as much as possible about the dish it features.

Food Styling Tips

An easy way to do that is to feature some of the ingredients in their whole, pre-cooked shape in the picture.

Autumnal Hazelnut Torte recipe | Cake + Whisky

Another way to go about it is to include elements that inspired the recipe, the way food stylist Mademoiselle Poirot did, including cobnuts, autumn leaves and even garden scissors in the styling of this autumnal hazelnut torte at an event I recently attended.

Food Styling Tips

No matter what you go for, make sure you keep your props, colors, and serving sizes consistent with the atmosphere the dish is meant to evoke, and that you get a few ‘in progress’ shots as well as they’re often more inviting than the final set.

3. Favour natural light

There’s nothing better than natural light when it comes to food photography.

Quinoa Fried Rice

Now, I know that can be a little bit tricky at times (looking at you, night-at-4-PM-November!), but it truly is worth it. Ideally, you want the light to come from a large-ish window, from the side of your frame.

It’s best to take a few test shots around your flat/house until you find the best spot for you to settle in for ultimate results!

4. Let’s get messy!

Pouring, dripping, overflowing… sometimes, a little mess is all you need to take your picture to the next delicious level!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

Melting ice cream, crumbled up cookies, pancakes dripping with syrup… in many cases, a bit of a mess communicates movement, dynamism, and the pleasure of eating.

So if it makes you hungry, get messy (just keep in mind you’ll also be the one cleaning it up later though!)

5. Use a tripod

Angle, composition, movement, and possibly a bit of pouring action on the side… food photography is serious work and more often than not, two hands are simply not enough.

Curried Cauliflower Salad | Cake + Whisky

A tripod is an unexpensive piece of equipment (I payed about £30 for mine) that’s well worth investing in as it will make your job much easier!

6.  An extra set of hands (or several) is always good

Even with a tripod, I find it much easier to control the outcome if I’m not trying to balance everything up all by myself.

Food styling tips

Whether it’s to sprinkle icing sugar on top of your latest GBBO-worthy masterpiece or to help you polish it all off post-photography, an extra steady pair of hands, fresh eyes and tastebuds are the very best tool you could have on your food styling & photography set!

*This article & tips were inspired by an event I recently attended with Curry’s and Neff but wasn’t in any way sponsored and all words, pictures and opinion my own.

6 tips to improve your food styling & photography

5 tips to plan a city break

This year, my holidays have been very city break oriented.

No big trip to exotic destinations for me, but many (long) weekend getaways to closer, yet just as exciting/interesting/beautiful destinations.

And to be honest, I rather like it that way. Not having to spend hours in a plane means my legs don’t get swollen, and having less days to plan for makes it both easier and much less stressful.

Or does it? The only issue with short city breaks is that, well, they’re short, and giving that old  Fear Of Missing Out friend many opportunities to take over.

Is it really the ultimate way to make the most of my time there? Should we visit this or that? Could we really not do both? Is having 5 meals a day the only way to try it all? …You know how it goes!

But I have a few tried, tested & approved tricks to use when you plan a city break to keep FOMO and travel stress at bay.

5 brilliant tips to plan a city break | Cake + Whisky

1. Do your research:

Now, I know this one might seem obvious, but researching your destination will save you tonnes of time (no more pondering your options every morning or wondering what to do next!) & ultimately allow you to pack more into each day.

If it’s your first time in a city, you might want to include some of the ‘obvious’ sights in your itinerary. I find Google & the city’s tourism board website to be the most useful source of information as they’ll give you the full must-see run down.

For additional research (especially for lesser known sights or food recommendations), I usually run a few Pinterest searches. Not only is it an especially attractive search engine for visual people like me, but it’s also a fantastic way to easily find detailed reviews of local places that might not be on the map of the big industry players. Oh, and you can also save all your research right there (I tend to create a secret board that I share with my travel companions), and even get a rough map of each pin’s location, which is really quite handy as well.

2. Plan ahead:

Once you’ve done your research, it’s important to sort through the (hopefully many) ideas to optimise your (limited) time.

My strategy consists of putting all my potential ideas onto a Google Map, and then group them by location according to which ones are close together to limit transport time.

I then use my absolute favourite travel app, Sygic Travel, to create custom itineraries for each day of the city break.

This app truly is a technology god-send: it tells you roughly how long to schedule for each visit, optimises the order of the different things you pin to reduce travelling time, keeps all useful information (including opening hours, ticket prices…) in one place and provides you with an OFFLINE ACCESSIBLE map and directions to go form one sight to the next.

Absolute Travel Grail as far as I’m concerned (as long as you manage to keep your phone charged, that is!)

Evelyn's Cafe Bar, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Evelyn’s Café, Manchester

3. Be flexible:

No matter how ready you are, it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes, things just don’t work out the way they should.

Sometimes the weather’s just not playing along with your master plan. Sometimes, the queues are so long they’ll ruin your chances to see anything else that day should you decide to go ahead with your original plan.

And it’s okay. It’s life.

Just make sure you know which sights you absolutely want to see (and if possible, book them ahead as it’ll save you from having to queue up for tickets), and which ones you won’t regret missing out on.

If some visits are strongly weather related, it might also be worth considering switching things up a bit even if it under-optimises your plans a touch.

Worse come to worse, just look for a nice café/restaurant/coffee house nearby and make new plans for the day over a glass/plate/cup of something nice. Or simply explore the little streets nearby. Some of my best travel memories came with spending hours getting lost in such places.

Last but not least, don’t over-plan and try to pack too much in one day/weekend. There’s no point doing things just for the sake of ticking them off your bucket list if you’re too tired to enjoy them. Please take that advice from the girl you one thought it was a good idea to go to the Louvres and the Invalides museum on the same day (it wasn’t).

5 brilliant tips to plan a city break | Cake + Whisky

New York

4. Location, location, location:

Accommodation is cheaper when you’re away from the city centre. True. But that also mean you’ll spend a lot more time and money in transport.

And when time is limited, that’s a trade off that’s not really worth it.

5 brilliant tips to plan a city break | Cake + Whisky

5. Pack light:

Leave all the ‘just in case’ items behind. You and I both know you’re going to be wearing the same things all the time anyway.

Having to register a suitcase will cost you both time and money (not even mentioning the lost/broken luggage-related stress).

Plus the more you carry, the least room you’ll have to bring awesome souvenirs back home!!

What’s your top tip to plan a city break? Any brilliant resource I need to have on my radar? Any part you especially struggle with?

PIN FOR LATER:

5 brilliant tips to plan a city break | Cake + Whisky

5 tips to plan a city break

7 Silver Linings to Being in a Long Distance Relationship

Last week was a bit tough on me as I had to say goodbye to my boyfriend who is going away for a few months.

Let’s get this right: being in a long distance relationship SUCKS. Unfortunately, I know far too much about that already.

Long Distance Silver Linings | Cake + Whisky

It sucks that you can’t go out for dinner together, that you don’t get to see each other every day, that you might not even be able to talk as often as you might want to. It sucks that you no longer get to do all the little things.

But there definitely are some silver linings as well…

1. Goodbyes usually come with a side of really, really good food.

Long distance relationship silver lining #1: goodbyes usually include really really good food.

Best bread I’ve had in a long time. Well played @mobalondon!

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Dinner in your favourite restaurant(s) and enough chocolate to last you until Christmas are only the beginning. But more on that later this week…

2. All the presents!  Goodbye presents, Welcome back presents… Basically like Christmas but better!

Working from home with this little fellow by my side. And by working, I totally mean trying to find the perfect name for him… What do you reckon? ?

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I mean just look at him, isn’t he just the CUTEST?

Found my cryptonite. Somebody please take those away from me. ??

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Also, those! ❤❤❤

3. Not going to the restaurant that often anymore might actually be a good thing for your ongoing “healthy eating” plans.

Cake + Whisky | Bahn-Mi inspired Vietnamese Prawn Salad

Sure, I’ll probably miss having fries three times a week but it probably is better that way. Vegetable and nice home-cooked meals FTW!

4. Nobody’s judging your poor TV-choices.

Gossip Girl GIF

Gossip Girl marathon? Disney movie sing-along? America’s Next Top Model binge-watching? Yes, yes and YES!

5. Sleeping in the middle of the bed.

‘No sleep. I go days without sleep.’ #whoamikidding #sleepyhead #disneyquotes

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Guest who doesn’t have to keep pulling on the blanket all night?

6. You can eat whatever YOU want for dinner.

My favourite squash soup recipe | Cake + Whisky

Helloooooooo pumpkin soup and bread roll! I know I probably shouldn’t be that excited but that’s what living with someone who doesn’t consider soup an acceptable dinner will do to you!

7. Buying Christmas presents is MUCH easier when you’re not together 24/7.

Somebody get me these socks!! #Christmas @johnlewisretail

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So maybe this year I WON’T give away too many clues and it will ACTUALLY be a surprise!

8. Making plans for when you next see each other is simply THE BEST.

Yes the best thing about not being together is definitely seing the light at the end of the tunnel and making plans for when you’ll next get to spend time together. #duh

Speaking of which… any absolute musts besides Champagne and chocolates? 

7 Silver Linings to Being in a Long Distance Relationship

Objective Capsule Wardrobe – #2 The Investment Theory

The previous episode of my “Objective Capsule Wardrobe” series was all about de-cluttering, only keeping the clothes you liked and liked you back and making room in your cupboard and your life!

But of course, everyone knows nature abhors a vacuum, and there’s very little point pretending you’ll never want to buy anything anymore now that you have all of that empty space! So I thought it would only be fitting to focus the second episode on strategies to buy better so you don’t have to go back to square one too often.

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My mum has always tried really hard to explain the whole price VS quality thing to us. I was that kid that never got one pair of expensive branded trainers but was always wearing expensive, well-made leather shoes.

But when I first started buying my own clothes, I obviously forgot it all at once for quite a while and ended up with far too many things, many of which that didn’t fit me and I incidentally never wore.

I’m not even sure why I fell in the fast-fashion trap. I clearly didn’t need that many things, but it was so cheap and I felt like buying things “in case I’d need it” made me ready to face every situation I’d ever encounter. I was basically trying to build an armour out of all those junk-clothes I’d never wear and believed that my life would definitely be ruined if I didn’t have those sparkly silver heels the day I needed them.

Thanksfully, that’s when bloggers started taking a step back and talking about minimal wardrobes. Reading Dead Fleurette and French blogger Une Chic Fille, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and eventually realised that I didn’t need all these things in my life. That having them around actually made me feel worse rather than good and that my money would be better used differently.

That same evening, I sat on the floor of my room and filled two (TWO!) Ikea bags with all the things I shouldn’t have bought in the first place. I donated most of them, sold a few, and promised myself it wouldn’t never get quite that bad again.

I obviously needed to come up with a plan though! That’s when I created my very own “Investment Theory” as some sort of a test for potential wardrobe suitors, so I thought I’d share my top tips to buy well!

1. It’s not all about the price! Mark my words: no deal is good enough not to be missed. If you’re never going to wear it, no matter how cheap it is, you are still wasting money buying it. This is especially true when it comes to sales; I’ve bought SO MANY things on sales because it was cheap and I would never find such a good deal ever again! Whether or not I would be using it was a thought that never crossed my mind. So now, every time I catch myself thinking “oh, that’s such a good deal”, I ask myself if I’d still get it if I was shopping in Liberty and it had the usual £££ pricetag. Works like a charm!

2. Better material is a worthwhile investment: Well-made clothes will last you longer, so it might be worth putting in the exact £, especially for those major pieces you’ll wear quite a bit (shoes, coats…). (However, that only works if the quality increases proportionanlly with the pricetag. I usually find that there is some sort of price ceiling for this, which is generally related to the impact of branding.)

The reasons behind it being that:

1- Better material will keep you warmer and won’t made you sweat so much (i’m so glamourous!)

2- Well-build items can be fixed.

3- Good-quality material will keep its form and colour much better.

4- You won’t tire of wearing basics quite as quickly as you would of wearing the last fashion fad.

3. Cost-per-wear: If I invest time in money into buying something, I want to make sure I get the best return on it. Which is why I usually only invest in items I know I’ll be using on a daily basis. So before you go out and spend all your money on really beautiful but also expensive pieces, take the time to figure out what you are actually wearing every day. One good way to measure this up is by putting all your clothes in the Closet app which allows you to log in what you’ve worn and does all the hard work for you!

4. Beauty samples: I love how you can get samples for pretty much every beauty product there is. That’s such a great way to try things out and decide whether or not they’re truly made for you without cluttering your cupboards!

Do you have tricks to avoid shopping mistakes? I’d love to hear them! 

Objective Capsule Wardrobe – #2 The Investment Theory

Objective Capsule Wardrobe – #1 De-cluttering

I used to be that kid that kept absolutely everything (from magazines’ pages to every inch of ribbon or fabric). My imagination had no limits when I was younger, and I always found ways to use all the stuff I was putting away in boxes under my bed, in my cupboard, and in my siblings’ rooms. Until said siblings didn’t let me use their space as storage anymore and I had to learn the hard way how not de-clutter.

cake + Whisky | dream wardrobe
Dream wardrobe (from Pinterest)

Later on, my taste for accumulation continued on as I bought far too many clothes in hope it would make getting dressed easier. It didn’t. If anything, it made it worse. Shortly after that, I started being obsessed reading about minimalism, and minimal wardrobes. I’ve been fascinated by those discussions ever since, and started to apply some of these ideas to my own wardrobe for year, favouring quality over quantity (I call it The Investment Theory, might write about it some day, would you guys be interested?), only buying things that fit me, learning tricks to resist that oh-that-looks-kind-of-cool top (that I would wear twice) at H&M…

But all of this doesn’t prevent me from facing this “OMG-I-have-nothing-to-weaaaaaar” moments every now and then (especially in Spring, what’s up with that? Is it just me or do you get this too?).

Weirdly enough, what really helps when that sort of thing hits me is to get rid of things instead of before buying new ones. As they say, less is more. And don’t get me started on the mental space a clutter-free wardrobe brings you!

However, de-cluttering is hard work (and sometimes a little soul-crashing too because it might mean you have to say goodbye to that little silk dress you love but doesn’t fit you quite right…). But here are a few things that help me let go of things I no longer wear.

1. Cake and cocktails: I don’t know anything in life that can not be improved by the addition of those, so might as well have some as you de-clutter! 🍰🍸

2. Have a few plastic bags/cardboard boxes at hand to put things to sell/donate/throw away. Doing it as you go will make it a lot less tiring as you won’t have to spend extra time in the end tidying things up.

3. I like to start by emptying my cupboards entirely and lay it all by categories (tops/bottoms/underwear/shoes/dresses/woolwear…). I only put back inside the things that have past the following tests:

4. Questions that help me decide:

  • Does it fit? If it doesn’t, get rid of it. I know it’s hard, but from my own experience, I can tell you you will never wear it. Yes, even when you loose that extra 10 pounds. Because 1. you don’t know how your body will be shaped then 2. You’ll want nothing more than go buy new things then. And you should do exactly this, because you deserve it!
  • Do I feel comfortable wearing it? There is absolutely no reason why you should wear something you don’t feel good wearing. It really is as simple as that. So if it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t keep it. You can always find something similar, except more flattering / softer / not so tired / you can walk / breathe in (…) and it will worth making that change because you will wear those pieces more (#NoMoreItchySweaters + #TeamBallerinas).
  • If I was shopping right now (and I had to pay full price for it), would I buy this? This little gem really helped me get rid of things that were not exactly top-knotch in terms of quality. Just picture yourself browsing through Liberty’s fashion sections. Now, what if this dress/top/jeans you’re holding were on the rack in front of you. With the usual £££ price tag. Would you still buy it?
  • Would I wear it if I was going out to meet friends right now (or if it was the right season to wear this specific item)? I tend to get a little bit obsessed with lounge wear (as in, stuff I wouldn’t really wear in public but rather to lounge at home… But one can only have that many burger-printed leggings and Bambi Tshirts!), so that helps me keep this issue in sight so they don’t take too much wardrobe space!!
  • Do I feel like I have to keep it? Is it something that’s been given to you? Or something that cost you a fair bit of money and you feel like getting rid of it would be a waste? I’ve had issues with those items in the past but I just found THE BEST way to deal with this a few days ago! Just ask yourself ‘Would I keep this if it had been given to me by somebody I don’t really like?’ and tadaaaaah, it all becomes a lot easier!

5. Once you’ve gathered the things you’re ready to let go of, you might want to organise them in categories and put them in the right bag/box. I tend to only throw away things that can not be worn anymore (because they’re too damaged/stained…). You’ll want to do this right away (and probably bring the bag down to your bin room so you’re not tempted to rescue things from it.). The rest, I usually divide in things to give away to charities (I do that the next day or so, for the same reasons) and things I’ll try to sell on eBay.

6. If after putting them through the test, there are still a few things you’re not sure about, you can create a “maybe” category for those. I like to put those items through additional tests (either in terms of cost-per-wear, or by getting them altered to fit my style/lifestyle better). Don’t forget to review those next time you de-clutter your wardrobe (they can’t be on your “maybe” list then!)

Do you find it easy or hard to let go of things, even if you don’t need/use them? Any de-clutter tips for me? 

Objective Capsule Wardrobe – #1 De-cluttering