Packing your suitcase has never been easier. I just wish I was packing mine. Here's a round-up of the best travel products to take on holiday this summer
Hands up if you're off on a summer holiday? Thought so. Going abroad? Ah, lucky you. France? Nice. South of? Very nice. Going on a UK break? Is it costing £590 a night for a studio flat on Airbnb with a shared bathroom? Thought so. Still, you get to spend your days on the beach so it's worth it, right? Course it is! Well, guess what? I'm not going on holiday. There's a beautiful villa with a pool in Biarritz that's got my name on it (booked by my French mother-in-law) but we can't go. Long story (more of that in a 'Tales from the Riverside' post soon) but I'm nice enough to consider everyone who is. To that end, you'll be thinking about travel-sized beauty products, what you can squeeze into your hand luggage for that weekend break in Barcelona (I hate you) and how to reduce the number of flipping liquids you need so you can actually fit some make-up into those stupid little plastic bags. You know they're called 'sandwich bags' because they're a great size for a sandwich? Funny how they're not called 'all the beauty products and make-up you need for a week in Greece' bags, isn't it? So unless you're planning on taking an actual sandwich, you might need some ideas.
Before you head off, give Evolve's Sunless Glow Organic Self Tanner (£18) a whirl. Yes, you can go down the traditional fake tan route (and if you do, I heartily recommend Skinny Tan and Amanda Harrington London products, I've already reviewed the latter here ) but if you prefer the gently sun-kissed look, then this product is for you. It smells like a kitten who's been playing in a citrus grove, glides on like a dream and absorbs like magic. Within three to four days you'll have a nice glow about you, and any tan that comes on top will be a bonus. It comes in a handy travel size, too, so go with the big one pre-holiday and take the baby one with you. Magic!
I'm mad about Evolve's products - everything I've tried has been a game-changer and their ethos on sustainability is off the charts, but more to the point, their products WORK and their travel-sized range is all you'll need for a week away.
I haven't finished with Evolve. It's not a travel-sized product per se, but it's teeny enough to sneak into your sandwich bag if you take your sandwich out, and that's their award-winning Hyaluronic Eye Complex (£16) which contains Tuberose flower plant stem cells to help reduce the appearance of eye bags. I don't know that that is either but they do, so that's all that matters. I'm a convert since I began using it two weeks ago. Also fairly dinky on the size front is their Bio-Retinol + C Booster (£28) which supercharges your skin with a bunch of vitamins and a gentle base of rosehip oil, just what you need after a night of margaritas and too much sun.
Moving away from skincare, you'll probably want to have a shower at some point. For that I'd strongly suggest Evolve's African Orange Hair & Body followed by their Nourishing Hair Elixir - both come in travel sized bottles.
If you're a spray deodorant kind of girl, stop now and step into 2021, for it's all about natural balms. Awake Organics' natural deodorant balm comes in a little tin (I love tins, I don't know what's up with me) and it's packed with probiotics. Its award-winning 100% natural formula is lightly scented with organic essential oils, it's made with super-sustainable ingredients and it is, of course, vegan. Try their Space Cat (£12) one and thank me later for converting you.
Awake Organics have also come up trumps with haircare (and a load of other beauty products, but hey, I need to narrow it down, right?) and I'd be a fool not to tell you to take their Caffiene & Rosemary Natural Hair Growth Shampoo (£14). Why? Because it's a revolutionary, water-activated shampoo. Wait, what? Yes, water-activated. Like a Gremlin. Unlike a Gremlin it's a powder that transforms to a rich shampoo, it delivers up to 35 washes, the packaging is magically lightweight and it smells like a magical forest. So it scores on every level, especially on the travel aspect. I'm using it for my rapidly-thinning hair and while it's too soon to notice a difference, I will say that on the whole it's a stupendous product. Alongside it I use their Coconut & Sesame Conditioner (£14.50) Again, the packaging is as light as a feather so you can shove another giant statement necklace or an equally giant bar of Toblerone from Duty Free in your suitcase now. Hoorah!
As far as ditching shower gel for soap, that's a no-brainer and there are plenty of vegan soaps kind enough to use on your face and delightful body - Upcircle's Chai Soap (£4.95) is a winner and smells divine (imagine falling face first into an iced chai latte and you've got it) and Soul And Soap do a lovely Watermelon Shampoo Bar (£6.99) as well as a beautiful Lavender Glycerin Soap (£4.99) which is tip-top - I bought a bunch of both for my vegan friends' birthdays.
As for your lovely face, French brand Balade En Provence have come up with a Solid Day Cream (£14.90) and although it sounds weird, it really works. I tend to flag up UK-based companies, but I used this brand a lot when I lived in France (get me, bet you didn't know that, I'm full of surprises) so I had to include them. They also make an award-winning Solid Eye Contour Serum (£14.90) if you really want to stick one to airport security, you can actually buy every single product you'll ever need in solid or powder form and cackle, 'You'll never bust me, you bunch of polyester trouser-wearing losers!' as you sail through security. Try it (just don't make me your one phone call when they shove you in a side room and turn the lights out).
It might sound proper mad but when I'm going away for a couple of nights (which is never, since I've been shielding for 18 months, everywhere is booked and I can't go abroad, so, whatever, I'm just at home, so exciting) then I take a zip-lock bag and throw in a few handfuls of Magnesium Sleep Mineral Bath Flakes from Better You (£7.95). There's nothing more calming (well, apart from a sandy beach and turquoise sea, even if I've never actually seen that) than soaking away a day's sight seeing with a chilled glass of Sancerre and a fragrant bath full of natural minerals. It'll soothe weary limbs and set you up for a right good night's sleep. They provide a relaxing blend of Zechstein magnesium with lavender and chamomile oils to 'help slow sensory activity and quieten the mind in preparation for sleep'. Do yourself a favour and buy a bag or two.
I hope you've found that helpful. Now I'll go back to Instagram and cry some more at everyone's holiday photos. Here's me in my favourite dress on holiday in the South of France in 2019. It was glorious. Sadly it's but a distant memory. If anyone knows anyone with a holiday home in the UK, France or Spain that needs a cancellation filled, hit me up!