I regularly bring a reminder of my travels back home, be that an entry ticket to a fantastic experience, a handmade craft or beautiful pebble/shell from a favourite beach. Whatever the item, it’s always a happy reminder of a certain moment or place in time. I often buy items that can be displayed in my home and love the feeling you get..you know the one..when you’re transported straight back in time, with a fond smile spreading across your face! this could happen when you walk into a room and your eye is drawn to one of your fabulous finds, when you pick pick up an item to dust or put on a piece of handcrafted jewellery.
Apart from the reminders of happy holiday moments and travelling tales, I love the individuality that keepsake pieces bring to your home. They add personality on our spaces in a way that some chain store items can’t (that’s not to say they don’t sell lovely things) and there are some beautiful treasures to be found on your travels at home and abroad.
One of my all time favorite keepsakes is this cuddly toy from a visit to Loch Ness about 15 years ago, not long after I’d got married. It still makes me smile and now my Granddaughters love it too!
As far as interiors go, the ‘Nessies’ live in my Granddaughters room. Throughout the rest of the house you will find homewares from a variety of countries including some favorites shown here from visits to Vietnam: Lacquerware (Vietnam is famed for its lacquerware or ‘son mai’), wooden animal puzzles and a silk lamp; and from Tortola in the Caribbean: a Cat ‘trinket box’ puzzle.
Some decorative items I bring back are smaller and usually displayed in the ‘Beach Hut’. No, I don’t actually own a beach hut, but there is a special little room in my house which has affectionately been given that moniker. I’ll let you guess which room it is. It’s safe to say it puts a smile on all our visitors faces.
The items on display come from places including Hong Kong, Mexico, Greece, Barbados, Curacao, Grand Turk, St. Kitts, Vietnam, and more…even Northumberland!
My keepsakes find their way into the garden too.
Of course, many keepsakes don’t go on display. It’s those little items which hold great memories, like a key card to beautiful hotel room, ticket to an event, a guide book, restaurant business card or a well worn map. Some people love to make a scrap book, for me it’s my ‘holiday box’ which holds a whole host of treasures from which I won’t be parted. I love to rummage through this box from time to time in a way that you used to look through holiday photographs, you know, the printed ones! This particular photo is for presentation purposes only, everything has now been piled..I mean placed…back inside!
Jewellery is another treasure I often bring back from my travels and I have pieces that I wear often and always with a smile. Most are inexpensive, brighten up my outfits plus jewellery is a perfect way to mark a special occasion on holiday such as a birthday or anniversary. Here are two of my favourites which were bought just because I loved them: Bracelet from the village of Plaka in Crete; Hematite necklace from Samana in the Dominican Republic.
Sometimes I bring back treasures that I can eat or drink (they never last long enough to be called keepsakes!) such as preserves, good wine from a vineyard or sweet treats such as Greek Baklava and Kataifi. Pictured here are treasures from vineyard visits: the bottle from a delicious wine from Italy and a (full) bottle of Cotto, a grape syrup from Kefalonia .
I’m also a big fan of all things Disney and have some special keepsakes including these two: A fabulous Cinderella’s Carriage musical snow globe, a wedding present bought at Disney World for my husband Ron and me; and one of our world hopper passes from our visit during Disney World’s 25 year celebrations.
Other favourites include this handwritten scroll, a gift from an artist during an excursion in Vietnam; a wooden strawberry I bought for Ron on the Caribbean island of Dominica which, when opened had the message I Love You on a sticker in the lid (which has since been lost) and was a bargain at only $1 USD; a playing card which was used during a magic trick I helped with in Spain.
I’ve so many fabulous finds that are special to me and evoke memories of romance, fun, excitement, fear (tower of terror anyone!!), fabulous sights, smell, taste and more.
I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing in some of my memories and I know you’ll have lots of your own. I love your comments so it’d be great to hear about some of your favorite holiday keepsakes.
Last Saturday Ron (The Hubby) and I attended the Clayshed’s Big Vintage Festival in Newcastle. We were lucky enough to be invited along by organisers Britain Does Vintage and after having a great time at one of their festivals last year we were really looking forward to it. Neither of us are part of the Vintage scene so to speak (unless you count Mod as 60’s Vintage) but as stated in previous blogs we really appreciate the music and fashion etc. that goes with those periods.
What is it with festivals and the weather? Or is it just our bad luck? but after two warm, sunny days the weather couldn’t make it’s mind up providing hail, wind, rain and sun usually at the same time. The Clayshed is a venue we’ve not visited before so I didn’t know what to expect especially as the festival at Scampston Hall was mainly outdoor and set in beautiful grounds. By contrast this place has an industrial warehouse feel which the organisers had divided up to create a comfortable tea room, stage and dance floor complete with deckchair seating plus the usual stalls. Outside there were a handful of classic vehicles plus food and drink outlets along with a fab singer, Lewis Hill, belting out 50’s & 60’s rock and roll numbers to greet the visitors. It wasn’t as impressive a setting as Scampston Hall, it was a city centre affair after all, but the bonus here was most attractions being indoors where it was dry! a tad cold mind, but dry.
Stepping inside we were met by a blaze of colour in the form of stalls brimming with dresses and accessories and even more fantastic music filling the air courtesy of female quartet The JADeS. We strolled around the stalls admiring the new and Pre Loved offerings, wondering about the history of some of the fabulous items. It’s great to take time to speak to the stall holders, after all, Vintage is their passion.
One lady was the designer of beautiful Vintage dresses that retail at a purse friendly £24.99 amazing! Others were offering handmade accessories, Vintage makeovers in the form of a Hairdressing Parlour and the chance to have a Vintage photo taken.
After our first sweep of the stalls we decided it was time to sit and enjoy the entertainment with cake and coffee, so off we went for our first perusal of the tasty treats. We opted for Ginger Loaf with Lemon Icing for round one and took our seats to watch the Burlesque workshop, ran by Trixie from House of Trixie Blue. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t join in (I didn’t want my coffee to get cold!!) it looked like fantastic fun and the participants really got into the spirit of it, so who knows, maybe next time!
This was followed by a performance from Hildy Harland, a fantastic singer who specialises in Vintage Jazz, Swing and Blue numbers. It is evident that the organisers aim is to provide first class entertainment.
Having been thoroughly entertained and looking forward to more, we had another mooch around the stalls before sitting down for coffee number two and fruit scones with jam and cream…Yum! At this point you could hear the hailstones bouncing off the roof so we were glad of our good fortune to be sitting indoors. Next on stage were a great vocal harmony quartet The JADeS (named from their initials Jane, Andrea, Dawn and Sue) who surprised us with their twist on songs such as Creep by Radiohead and Teenage Kicks by The Undertones. They were joined on the dancefloor by the dance hosts who performed a three person jive in fantastic outfits.
Talking of outfits, many of the stall holders and entertainers were, as expected, decked out in fine attire however, it was wonderful to see people turning up dressed in their Vintage finery which added to the spirit of the occasion.
When the JADeS came to the end of their performance the floor was taken by Trina from The Back Step Boogie Club, microphone in hand, ready to lead a basic lesson in the Charleston. Requests were made for audience members to have a go but we kindly declined and were later referred to as the ‘scaredy cats’ at the side… all in good humour though! However, many people did participate including some of the singers and I was impressed with how clearly and concisely the instructor taught the basic steps bringing them all together for a ‘finale’ to music.
Having watched the first performances by all the entertainers, we made our leave to find that the sun had just come out and quite a crowd had built up outside enjoying food and drink whilst listening to the live singer.
So we didn’t get to enjoy any sunshine, some of the later visitors got the benefit of that, but we’ve never let weather come between us and a good time and that’s exactly what we had. The weather may have played its part in keeping some visitors away, but these fairs and festivals are fantastic, fun days out and I’d recommend anyone to go along and enjoy the experience. Check here for venues and dates http://www.britaindoesvintage.co.uk/
I’ve been lucky enough to take many a flight to reach exciting destinations, including the big one, Australia to UK, so I know what I need to be comfortable on a flight. My holiday starts the minute I leave the house so the flight itself if a huge part of that holiday experience for me and probably most of you too.
I rarely sleep for longer than an hour at a time on flights but just taking time to relax or sit with my eyes shut can work just as good for me as long as I’m comfortable. It pays dividends to be prepared and with the weight restrictions in place for hand luggage these days it’s worth paying more attention to the items you carry on board. Here are a few things that I never fly without.
Dressing in Layers
I cannot stress the benefits of dressing in layers to travel, especially if you are heading for some much anticipated sunshine. Most people believe that flights are really cold (I mean, there’s a reason why they give you those scratchy, felt like blankets right?) well yes, they are to keep you warm but the temperature can fluctuate quite a bit in either direction so it makes sense to be prepared. Yes, it was freezing when you left the house so you had to wear your favourite chunky sweater and jeans but your body won’t thank you for it when you get to the other end. Nor will it thank you if you decide to wear your strappy dress and flip flops. So think of wearing loose separates that are light enough to wear or stash in your hand luggage to have you looking stylish on departure and arrival plus shoes without buckles or straps so you can pop them on and off with ease (ballet flats are ideal in case your unfortunate to arrive to rain too). Dressing like this is perfect if you suffer from hot flushes too. Here’s an example showing how a simple vest top and sheer shirt can be worn open or closed with or without a pashmina/cardigan.
These are fantastic to take on board as they are light to carry, still look good if they’re a bit crumpled and will help keep you warm when the cabin temperature drops. Lets face it, draping a pashmina around your shoulders beats the blanket hands down in the style and comfort stakes. You can ditch the cardigan on arrival in sunnier climates and step of the plane looking good with the added benefit of having something to protect your shoulders and neck from any harsh sun.
There are lots of designs and materials to choose from and these two from Marks and Spencer are my current favourites as the subtle sparkle can be worn on any occasion during your holiday.
This is most important on a flight as it will keep you hydrated especially if you enjoy a wee drink or two as I do. It works wonders for the way your skin, eyes and even nails feel whilst on board and helps you feel and look fresher when you reach your destination. I drink at least 500ml but try for 1ltr or more depending on length of flight, just sipping it throughout (in 500ml bottles or less) As you cannot take liquids of more than 100ml through passport control you’ll need to buy your water air side. It can be a bit pricey in places however I find that Boots are usually quite reasonable. Some of you may not like the idea of drinking lots of water, thinking it may entail more trips to the toilet. That’s not been my experience and I see it as an ideal opportunity to have a spritz of my favourite facial mist as mentioned in my next must have item.
After many years using Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream when flying, I have been converted to Facial Mists. A mist has many benefits for your skin as most of them can be used on bare skin and over make up to either ‘set’ it of refresh it. I have normal skin, which felt dry and tight in flight so applying cream regularly used to work (along with the water) however, this meant removing the makeup I’d arrived in then swiftly trying to reapply it before landing. Some creams that are up the job on flights can also leave your skin feeling and looking greasy as mine used to.
My personal favourite is Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer which is formulated to ‘revitalise, soothe and tone for instant radiance’. There are many on the market so there will be something to suit everyone’s skin and budget. You don’t need a lot so decant it into a 100ml bottle which will fit nicely in your handbag ready to use. My top tip is to take your spray when you nip to the toilet and spritz it whilst in there, more as a courtesy to any passengers sitting around you.
This is a great all round product and I have a tin of Vaseline Lip Therapy in my bag at all times at home and on holiday because of its many uses, too many to mention here. On a flight apply it to lips and rub into nails to prevent them drying out, it will give lips a subtle sheen too (to keep your hands super moisturised pop a miniature tube of moisturising cream into your bag too, the type you get as free samples are ideal). Many people apply a little bit of Vaseline to the inner edge of their nostrils believing this will ‘trap’ cold giving germs which may be circulating in the confined cabin however it’s not known if this actually works.
Tinted moisturiser is an everyday staple for me (although I occasionally flirt with foundation on an evening!) and is perfect to wear in flight. If you like to travel in makeup, as I do, the main advantage is that you can easily reapply at intervals without suffering the cakey look you get applying foundation on top of foundation. Using tinted moisturiser combined with a regular spritz of facial mist delivers triple benefits as you should arrive with your skin, makeup and you looking and feeling fresh. Once again, decant a small amount into a small container for your hand luggage.
This is great as it stops you waking up looking like Alice Coopers sister! (or with Panda eyes if your not familiar with rocker Alice) It also tames eyebrows too. I love this double duty mascara from No7 but there are others out there from other popular brands. As I have my eyelashes tinted for holidays I use this most of the time.
I love a neck pillow on a long haul flight, it’s the grown up equivalent of taking your cuddly toy on holiday. Some planes have the little ‘wings’ on your headrest that you can adjust to support your head, others don’t but either way having your neck cocooned in comfort is bliss. Even when it’s not around my neck I sometimes rest my arms on it to read or nestle my ‘cuddly toy’ under my arm when relaxing.
Kindle/e-reader (or book)
I love reading fiction on holiday and will usually start a new book on the flight out. I prefer a kindle these days but whatever your preference and avid reader or not, the fastest way to pass the time is by reading a good book (or your favourite magazines if a book is not your thing). This added benefit of this pastime is the relaxation factor and it’s often after a good read that I actually nod off.
There is an increasing variety of on board entertainment available these days but you can’t beat listening to your own favourite music. If, like me, you struggle to sleep during a flight, reclining with your eyes shut listening to relaxing music is the next best thing. Make sure you have comfortable earphones too. I take two iPods away with me, my small one can be clipped to my clothes so if I do fall asleep there’s no danger of it slipping onto the cabin floor (how awkward is it trying to retrieve dropped items from the floor below your seat??!!!)
Not being a fan of boiled sweets there’s only one reason why they are a staple on a flight and that’s because I suffer from ear pain. The change in cabin air pressure as the plane takes off and lands can cause pain as your ears adjust. Sucking a boiled sweet, chewing gum, yawning and swallowing can help. The last two don’t work for me so I choose sweets as once they’re gone they’re gone, unlike gum which you then have to dispose of. My usual choice is mints but at the time of writing I haven’t bought any for my holiday so I’ve borrowed these from the grandkids sweet tub – might just take them, you know, just in case I forget the mints!
This is another item I have in my bag at all times but is an essential for a flight. The two main reasons are this: On many flights you’re in a confined space of around 200+ people and some may not have the same hygiene standards as you around washing of hands after visiting the WC or sneezing into their hands not a handkerchief for example; On some occasions I’ve found that the tray tables haven’t been wiped down particularly well, if at all depending on aircraft turnaround time, so a quick wipe down with a paper hankie and sanitizer is a good idea.
Lighter on your luggage (and your purse) is the handy miniature perfume tester readily given out as a freebie. Pop one in your bag and now that you’ve arrived feeling and looking great the final flourish is a dab of a beautiful scent before you pop on your favourite sunglasses and descend the steps ready to HOLIDAY!!
I’ll leave you with a less glamourous, but useful ‘optional’ essential. I wear flight ‘compression’ socks (like pop socks) that help the improve blood flow and circulation in your lower leg helping to prevent swollen ankles, leg fatigue and DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If you for any reason find your feet/ankles puff up on a flight, these socks should help to combat that. (I have an old injury on my right foot and consequently this foot would puff up and feel tight, which not only feels odd but also looks odd when your left foot is fine!) So I don my flight socks, not the greatest look but hey the aisles are so narrow no one’s going to notice my feet anyway, and off I go….Sorry, no photo of me in these!
I hope you found this useful. All of these items are great to use during your holiday too not just on the flight. These products are my own and what I enjoy using however, I’m sure you’ll have your own favourites too. If you’ve any flight essentials you’d like to share, please comment below.