Pauses & Packing

Hello. It’s been a while. There were various moments over April and May where I wanted to write something, anything, about style and fashion and redecorating the flat…All those joyful things. But I couldn’t. I lost my way.

I found myself back in the wilds of depression – where all was dark and everything I loved had withered. Thankfully, I seem to have reached the other side (simply by putting one foot in front of the other until things cleared). I will no doubt stray down that path again…nobody’s perfect. But now that I’m back in the sunshine, I have things to say.

Firstly, there is some redecorating updates that are really worth sharing. Recent adventures in renovating our flat involve paint falling off like Parmesan shavings (yes, really), and a billion useful lessons learnt the hard way! That’s a longer post full of tips, which will be coming when I get back from holiday….

My partner and I have booked a 5 night trip away. This is quite a big deal. We work in the arts, so any kind of holiday is a rare occurrence. We’ve been together for 4 years now and have never been away longer than a weekend (except to stay with my parents in Scotland). But with work and household stresses, a holiday is desperately needed. We’re even going abroad…sort of. We’re going to Guernsey and Herm. Somewhere away but not too far/expensive, where we can relax and disconnect.

I’ve been enjoying the idea of this trip for a few weeks now – all being well, we’ll have a great time and come back really refreshed. But, really, the main reason I’ve been savouring the lead-up is because I love packing. Ever since we booked, I have been waiting patiently to pack. The holiday is only a few days away now – the lists are written, and I will start interrogating my wardrobe tomorrow.

I realise I’m weird – packing is stressful, why forward to it? Well, there’s the administrative challenge. I have an ingrained love of practicalities, inherited from my mother (a healer once told her that she organised the supplies for an army in a previous life). As I’ve got older, I’ve taken on more of the packing gene. I carry large handbags. I like anticipating every possible scenario (need water? insect bit cream? tissues? snacks?). Like my mother, I relax by feeling prepared.

For me, though, holiday packing is also a creative outlet. I LOVE putting outfits together, creating a feel-good capsule wardrobe in response to a brief. So, I set myself a style theme for any holiday – for instance, I have images of vintage postcards and 1950s seaside scenes for this jaunt to Guernsey. Feminine meets practical. I wouldn’t buy anything new (unless I really needed it in my regular life) to meet this theme, and an external eye wouldn’t necessarily spot the thought that went into each day’s clothing. But I know. I get satisfaction from hitting my own brief. Having a loose theme is also a helpful way of making decisions about what items make the suitcase, and ensuring things can mix and match easily when away.

So, with a nod to nostalgia, I’m packing light floral dresses to layer under cable knits, loose shirts (one is even printed with mermaids and messages in bottles) to tie over trousers, and classic black dresses to accessorise for the evenings. There will no doubt be 2 or 3 things I can remove once my packing is laid out… If I feel like an item doesn’t sit with my mood for the trip, I’ll wear it when I get back. Exempt from this ‘mood’ rule are inherently practical things like a rain jacket, of course.

These curated outfits will help me on the holiday – not only will they make morning dressing easy, they’ll also encourage me to feel put-together and special again. They will remind me that I took this time, and that I wanted to make an effort for myself.

I’m hopeful it’ll be the start of something fabulous.

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