After two years of no travelling and two additional small children between us, we were feeling a bit overwhelmed when it came to packing for our recent trips abroad. Now, with a couple of family holidays and an adults-only mini-break under our belts, we’ve *almost* whittled the whole packing thing down to a fine art (we still bloody hate doing it, mind).
From toys to keep the kids entertained on the plane to the face SPF we both swear by, we’ve rounded up our summer holiday essentials (everything in this post is tried and tested) in the hope it might make packing for your next break a little less painful. You’re welcome…
Gem: “Made from plastic bottles, these brilliant packing cubes (including a laundry bag) are perfect for maximising stingy baggage allowances.”
Hannah: “It’s leopard print, it’s 100% cotton, it’s got sleeves and it’s midi-length. This dress is perfect for throwing over a swimming costume, wearing to explore a new city or dressing up with lipstick for those glorious holiday evenings.”
Gem: “A friend bought this for my daughter’s first birthday. It fits inside the kids’ backpack and provided plenty of entertainment on the plane and on holiday.”
Hannah: “These hoop earrings are my most-worn all-year round but there’s something just so lovely about a gold hoop when you’re getting dressed up for holiday dinners. These are from a small brand, are gold-plated (and don’t tarnish or leave you with green ears) and are so brilliant that I’ve bought them as birthday presents for two of my mates.
Gem: “Loewe’s iconic basket bag shall live rent free in my head forever, but this one, from independent brand Bohemia, who collaborate with artisans in Morocco, India, Kenya and Turkey, is a worthy substitute.”
Gem: “Containing a kids factor 50+, factor 30, factor 15, factor 30 face SPF and an aftersun all in a handy clear case, this is quite simply the best value suncream kit out there – IMO.”
Hannah: “I searched high and low for cool kids towelling ponchos earlier this summer and La Redoute came up with the goods. There’s two colours, multiple sizes and my kids lived in these by the pool. I bloody love them!”
Gem: “I legit live in these come summer. They’re great for the beach and the pool, but look cute with dresses too.”
Hannah: “I am absolutely not a shorts wearer but I decided to buy a pair to wear around the pool with a shirt as I thought they’d be a practical purchase (and spoiler: they absolutely were). These are a great price, a great fit and come in lots of colours.”
Gem: “Save suitcase space – and the planet – by switching to solid shampoo and conditioner bars. Ethique’s bundle is the perfect starter pack.”
Hannah: “As far as card games for grown-ups go, P for Pizza is bloody brilliant. It’s a simple word-association game but it’s easy, addictive and brings out everyone’s competitive streak.”
Gem: “I learned a lesson on my last holiday – never ask your husband to pack anything for you, especially something as important as a sun hat. Thank god for airport Accessorize.”
Hannah: “Me and Gem both swear by this facial SPF. It’s light, sinks into the skin, doesn’t leave us with breakouts, works as a great primer under make-up and best of all, ensures we never get burnt skin. Bloody brilliant.”
Gem: “Perfect if your room isn’t quite dark enough, you’re sharing it with small people who need a light left on or if, like me, you simply can’t go to sleep without one anymore.”
Hannah: “I’m on my third summer of these Teva sandals and still bloody love them (they look great after so much wear, too). They’re comfy, go with everything and are perfect for summer city breaks when there’s lots of exploring on foot to be done. But, disclaimer: they are sold out in most sizes online at the moment!”
Gem: “Over a bikini on the beach or with sandals and gold jewellery for dinner, linen co-ords are my new summer obssession.”
Hannah: “For easy airport style I’ve been wearing my much-loved linen-blend Marks and Spencer wide-leg trousers. They’re damn comfy, super lightweight and look great with a sweatshirt. The perfect summer trouser that won’t show up your toddler’s mucky grab marks.”
Gem: “I’m constantly applying lip balm on the plane and throughout the holiday – I love the super-high SPF and affordable price tag of this one.”
Hannah: “OK so this bag isn’t tried and tested but my leopard print bum bag has been a saviour through busy airport trips this summer. Perfect for keeping your passport, phone and bank card within easy reach. I know Gem swears by her GANNI one, but if you can’t afford the price tag this is a brill alternative (or do what I did and find one via Depop!”
Hannah: “And finally, but by no means last – this beauty. The perfect beauty products for when you want a little coverage and hydration but don’t want anything cakey or heavy on your skin. I love the price of this, the way it glides onto the skin and the fact it has additional SPF in it. The best budget tinted moisturiser.
Gem: “Are you even on holiday if you’re not lying on a sun lounger with your head in a book? People Person, the new novel by Queenie author Candice Carty Williams is top of my 2022 reading list.”