Holiday Hacks for Those Who Like to Travel Light

Heading off on holiday is always exciting, especially when the skies are as dreary as they are this time of year. For many people planning their next big break, the only thing putting a dampener on the pre-holiday excitement is the thought of packing. Sticking to a simple list of the bare essentials isn’t everybody’s thing, but if you can master it you’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress when it comes to getting away.

There are tons of ways to pack effectively, whether you’re planning a weekend city break or a week on the beach, all without impacting your style. Save yourself the queue for the airport carousel by fine-tuning the art of packing hand-luggage only. Not sure where to start? Here are a few useful tips and tricks.

Choosing the right bag

While on the outside you can be as expressive as you like, you definitely want to ensure that your bag has enough space within to store what you’ll be bringing. That means lots of inner pouches and pockets, but really you just want the most effective use of space.

Think of your travel bag as a 3D jigsaw. The good thing about going hand-luggage only is that you can’t really over-pack, but consider whether you really need the biggest possible bag you can take onto the plane. Whatever you go for, make use of zips and straps that can expand the bag to make room for souvenirs, and compartments where you can separate shoes, clothes and accessories.
Count on that capsule wardrobe

While being strict in packing the essentials, it’s worth following advice on holiday capsule wardrobe ideas. These are outfits with components to mix and match with over the course of the week, so that from just a few items of clothing, whole new outfits can be made each day. And as they always say, it’s best to roll rather than fold your clothes when you’re packing, to save space.

You can even go a step further and plan your wardrobe for each day you’re out there. Everybody is guilty of coming home from holidays with whole outfits that never got worn, so get things out and think “When am I going to wear this?”. If you’ve got more outfits than days and nights out, it’s time to weed a few things out.

Arrange items by weight

As a general rule, you’re going to want your heaviest bits and pieces at the bottom of the bag, almost like a foundation you can build around. Don’t be shy in cramming socks and undies between one item and another too.
Take only the essentials

This is where we all slip up. The big question always is, how do you quantify what is and isn’t an essential? It’s always less than you think, and in this area it’s worth taking a few cues from advice given to backpackers. These kinds of travellers are used to making the contents of one backpack last for months, and it’s astonishing how little you can get away with if you really think about it.

One thing to keep in mind is that you can pick up many of the most essential bits and pieces once you’re at your destination anyway. Unless you’re going to deepest, darkest Peruvian rainforests, you’re likely to be able to grab a bottle of shampoo and some suncream on arrival, thus saving room in your bag and avoiding the dreaded debacle of fitting all your liquids into 100ml bottles.

Which holiday essentials do you refuse to leave home without?

How Do You Pick Yourself Up After The Summer?

I had the most gorgeous holiday in Corfu earlier this year (I may have mentioned it... multiple times) but there's always that time, towards the end of the summer or the beginning of Autumn that you feel like you need a little pick-me-up, isn't there?  

I thought I'd offer some ways to give you a little boost as the nights start drawing in and your hand is itching to flick the switch on the heating. 

How Do You Pick Yourself Up After The Summer?
Photo Credit : Jennifer Burk, Unsplash

Have one pamper day a week

Set aside some time to have a stretch out with some yoga and then dive into a luxury bubble bath complete with an aromatherapy candle (try a Yankee candle or one from St Eval) and a face mask (I love TonyMoly sheet masks), with a mug of herbal tea or glass of wine to hand.

Go for a run

Just lace up those trainers and go for a run, even if it's been ages since you headed out.  If you're a complete non-runner then look up the "couch to 5k" app and use the next 9 weeks to get fit. If you already do a bit of running then book a race and follow a plan to reach your running goal. 

How Do You Pick Yourself Up After The Summer? Holiday in Portugal!! photo credit Nickie O'Hara
Flying over Portugal

Book a holiday

This is exactly what we have done. We're flying out to Albuferia in Portugal later this month with Jet2 just for a 'do nothing' holiday and to get some last minute sun on our faces. We were last there in 2009 as our first ever holiday away together on our own (17 years after we met) so it will be lovely to revisit some of our favourite places.

Crochet a blanket

I am a huge fan of "crochet along" projects.  This is where a blanket pattern is released in sections over the course of a few weeks and a community of Happy Hookers create their 'work in progress' together. There's usually a Facebook group for support and advice and having the pattern released in 'chunks' gives you a manageable target and a desire to pick up your work and get on with it when you have a spare few moments. The one I'm doing at the moment is "Spicier Life" in the Taj Mahal colourway by Sandra at Cherry Heart and supported by Black Sheep Wools.  You can find all the information here.

Treat yourself to a subscription box

I'm a huge fan of subscription boxes and have been lucky to review lots of stationery themed subscriptions over the past year.  However Sian introduced to Love Me Beauty a while back and I now receive a monthly box of gorgeous goodies to pamper myself with. I've replenished my Eco Tools brushes, found some lovely skin care products and even had the chance to try out Kat Von D's perfumes. I have a referral link here  >> NICKI3804025 << which provides you with 30 free credits to spend on your first box and gives me some extra credits for next month too.

I'd love to hear how you kick start the Autumn. 

What can I add to my 'pick-me-up' list? 

I was provided with some pamper products from Jet2 to cheer myself up a bit and I featured these on my Instagram Stories last week.  Please note that some of the additional links included may be affiliate links.  For more details and full transparency please see my disclosure policy.


General tips on having a good night's sleep

We all know that sleeping well is essential; sleeping affects both your mental and physical health, and in turn affects the quality of your life. A good night’s sleep can offer an energetic, productive, and positive day ahead, whereas a bad night’s sleep can have a very opposite effect. Luckily, we have some general tips on how you can improve your sleep, leading to a good night’s sleep much more often than not.

General tips on having a good night's sleep // Photo Credit : Unsplash - mcknight_shane
Photo credit : Unsplash - Shane McKnight

Stick to a schedule

Ensuring that you try and go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day will help in setting your body’s internal clock. Regulating your internal body clock is much more important than you may believe – and yes, this applies at weekends too!

The easiest way to start sticking to a schedule is to begin by going to bed at a time that you generally always feel tired – this way, once your head hits the pillow, you shouldn’t be tossing or turning. If your body receives enough sleep to reenergise, you shouldn’t need an alarm clock, as you will begin to wake up naturally. If you do rely on an alarm clock, it’s probably a sign that you need to start going to bed earlier.

Sticking to a schedule to get in sync with your circadian rhythm can be a difficult task, especially after performing a tiring activity, or eating too much on a Sunday afternoon! However tempting it is, if you’re going to nap, try not to exceed napping for more than 15 to 20 minutes as any longer could disrupt your body’s ability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.


Although it can be boring, and hard to get motivated at times, regular exercise can drastically improve the amount of sleep you receive, especially the deep stages of sleep where your body is gaining the most restorative benefits. Whether it’s walking, running, swimming, going to the gym, or playing a sport, creating an exercise habit that you’ll stick too could be an essential change to improve your sleep. Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine2 investigated the bi-directional relationship between sleep and exercise. Exercising subjects in the 16-week study gained as much as an additional 1.25 hours per night more than their non-exercising counterparts.

Don’t expect exercise to be a quick fix to gaining a good night’s sleep; it must become part of your routine, where significant benefits will be seen providing you stick to it, allowing the benefits of exercise to develop gradually and become part of your lifestyle.

Improve your sleeping environment

When you get into bed at night, your body will want to rest and get ready for a good night’s sleep, not be kept awake by distractions or irritations.

Here are some simple tips for ensuring your sleep environment is peaceful:
  • Temperature regulation – keep your room at a cool temperature of around 18° C; too hot or too cold can disrupt your quality of sleep
  • Comfort – ensure you have a comfortable bed to sleep on, and your duvet and pillows are suitable for your body. Mattress firmness and pillow support are essential to get right
  • Stimulation – although it’s tempting to watch TV when you get into bed, this puts your body into a state of stimulation and is an easy distraction from getting a good night’s sleep
  • Noise levels – although this can be hard to control if you live on a busy street, or in a noisy environment, try and limit or avoid the noise in your sleeping environment. If the noise gets too much, try some earplugs as they really could help

Clear your head

Much easier said than done we hear you say! Stress, worry, and persistent thoughts can of course make it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep, but there are methods that can help to combat the effects of daily struggles.

Meditation – if anxiety is taking over your thoughts at night, try a form of meditation (there are many). Whether it’s listening to an audio tape or using an app on your mobile phone, meditation training can eventually teach your body to enter a state where those anxious thoughts will no longer be able to come enter your head

Stress management – stress can be managed in a variety of ways, but often boils down to managing your time effectively and learning how to handle stressful situations when they arrive. If you can handle a situation before it becomes too much to handle, you should be able to gain a better night’s sleep

The right bed

Choosing the right bed, and mattress, for your sleeping needs is an essential part of getting a good night’s sleep. Someone once said, the two main things you need in life are a comfy pair of shoes and a comfy bed – it really is true! Whether you have guests coming to stay or need a permanent solution for your bedroom, but you’re not sure how to manage storage, comfort, and space, we recommend looking into a guest bed. Guest beds are a perfect solution to ensure you have a comfortable night’s sleep, without the need for a ginormous space hogging bed. They also present a superb storage solution for your bedding, towels, or personal effects.

Most commonly associated with kid’s rooms, mid sleepers are also another comfortable all-in-one space saving solution to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Don’t let the misconception sway you, though. Mid sleepers present you with a multifunctional environment, offering comfort as well as office space, or room for a hobby.


  1. (2017). Sleep Drive and Your Body Clock. [online] Available at:
  2. Breus, M. (2006). Good night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. New York: Dutton.

This is a collaborative post. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.
Blog Layout Designed by pipdig