Packing the toiletries bag for travelling

How to avoid overpacking

As shampoo, conditioner and shower gel can be heavier, toiletries can easily increase the weight of your backpack or suitcase. Therefore, it is important – as with packing in general – to reduce the toiletries to only what is necessary but also to not forget something (although in most cases you can just buy the things at your destination). So I created a list with things that you should definitely pack and things that you might consider packing.

The essentials

In my opinion, these are the most basic essentials you should definitely have in your toiletries bag if you want to keep it very minimal. Depending on the length of your stay, you can use refillable smaller bottles for products like shampoo and shower gel.

  • Tooth brush & tooth paste: depending on the length of your flight, you should pack these two into your hand luggage
  • Shampoo
  • Shower gel
  • Sun screen: always use sun screen! Your skin will be grateful in the future.

What you might pack

This category contains items that might come in handy but you could probably also live without them.

  • Make-up remover – if you don’t bring any make-up on holiday, you obviously don’t need make-up remover
  • Cotton pads – they might come in handy for using make-up remover or cleaning your face. I’m using reusable cotton pads, so I don’t produce any extra waste on holiday and it also reduces the amount of cotton pads I need to pack.
  • Deodorant: might come in handy if you want to keep fresh on the go. I use a spray bottle because I don’t like the aerosol deodorants (I can’t breathe after using them) but I also don’t want to use a roller in sweaty armpits.
  • Conditioner: It’s more of a luxury product, but saltwater in combination with sun can be really drying my hair out.

What is likely to be forgotten?

  • Nail file: I have so often forgotten a nail file and then one of my nails split.

In general I would advise you to go through your morning and evening routine and think of all the products you use. Then think of the things that you really need or regularly use. You won’t need ten different kinds of moisturiser, peelings and oils. Stick to the basics. For example, I won’t bring a body lotion because the thought alone of a sticky body in a hot climate is daunting to me.

Here is everything that I’m packing in my toiletries bag:

For the body

  • Shampoo
  • Shower gel
  • Conditioner
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Sun cream with a high SPF
  • Hand sanitizer

For the face:

  • Cotton buds without plastic
  • Cotton pads, washable and reusable
  • Eye make-up remover for waterproof make-up
  • Facial oil
  • Tooth brush
  • Tooth paste

Tools

  • Nail file
  • Manicure scissors
  • Hair brush
  • Hair ties

Always remember: You can buy almost everything everywhere (except your travelling to a deserted island). So, don’t overpack and rather leave things at home. You can buy things locally afterwards if it becomes apparent that you can’t live without them.

 

 

 

#haulternative

Reconsidering fast fashion and setting an example

Most people know that cheap fast fashion is produced neither ethically nor fair. The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in 2013, which led to the deaths of over 1000 people, demonstrated that in a most alarming way. For many people it was a sad wake-up call. It also marks the start of the Fashion Revolution. It’s a movement that fights against the bad working conditions in the fashion industry and also calls attention to the environmental consequences of that industry.

Low wages and bad working conditions for a 5€ t-shirt

To be honest, I never really thought about the consequences of my fashion consumerism until I came across the documentary “The True Cost”. Of course I knew, that a t-shirt for 5€ cannot be sustainable nor fair. We have all seen the devastating photos of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. It is not a secret that the wages of the workers are extremely low and the working conditions are extremely bad. But have I changed since? No, because it never affected me! That’s what “The True Cost” gets so damn right. It is moving and also educating. Afterwards, I really felt the need to change and was also kind of ashamed of my behaviour. That is why, I take part in the fashion revolution week. I want to draw attention to an important topic and maybe cause some people to reconsider the fashion industry.

On the website of the Fashion Revolution you can find a lot of different ways to take action and be a part of the movement. One of these possibilities is the #haulternative. As you might know when you’re a constant follower of mine, I’m currently on a shopping ban, so I do not shop anything at the moment. And you don’t need to buy new things to update your wardrobe.

Try second hand!

It is a great way to extend the life cycle of clothes and you can prevent them from landing in landfill. I haven’t bought anything second hand in a while, because I really don’t need anything, but I am a huge fan of charity shops and online platforms like Kleiderkreisel, or Kleiderkorb. These are German websites but I am sure there are similar websites in every country. Currently, I am sorting out my closet and selling the things online. So far I am not very successful but I hope that my unloved clothing pieces will make someone else happy soon.

Fall in love again

£285 of clothes. That’s the amount of clothes an average British woman hoards but will never wear. Before you buy something new think of this and look through your wardrobe. Maybe there are long forgotten treasures you might fall in love with. I am currently trying on all the unworn pieces and I try to figure out if I actually like them.

Bad working conditions don’t affect me, so why care?

Humans are supposed to be the superior species. So why is it, that we treat each other and our environment so horribly? Even if the bad working conditions don’t affect you specifically, shouldn’t we care for our fellow humans? Isn’t empathy what is supposedly differentiating us from animals? But even if you don’t reconsider the fashion industry for the sake of the workers in Bangladesh, you should change your behaviour for the sake of the planet, our home. Our earth is not made for the massive consumerism we are burdening it with. Much of the clothing we buy gets thrown away without being worn once. Pesticides used on cotton plantages are polluting our environment. 2720 litres of water are needed to make a t-shirt. Humans are destroying the only home they have and it is on us to take action now! Better late than never.

How can you do more?

  • Be curious! Inform yourself, check out Fashion Revolution and watch “The True Cost”. It’s so informative and shaking!
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends and family about fashion revolution, but do not lecture them! In my opinion lecturing someone can often lead to the contrary effect.
  • Also, check out my blog post on how buy less and how to buy better! Reducing your consumerism and buying things that you will wear not just for one season also sets an example for ethical fashion and against the fast fashion industry!

 

Packing light for a three week trip – Beauty Products

How to avoid overpacking

From the end of April until mid-May my boyfriend and I will travel through Indonesia for three weeks. I am already really excited and in my head I’m planning and organizing everything. In the next couple of weeks I will share some tips on how to pack light for travelling. Today, I will start with beauty products.

When travelling for a longer period of time, it is important to me to reduce my luggage to the necessities. For me, it is so annoying to bring things on holiday which I didn’t need and could have spared. By now, I usually know what I need and use when I go on holiday. From my own experience, I know that I can quit most of the beauty products. On previous holidays I took several brushes, eyeshadows, different kinds of concealer, eyeliner (who was I kidding that I thought I might actually bother to use eyeliner?), … With the result that I only used mascara and powder and I probably wouldn’t have missed anything if I didn’t bring it in the first place.

How to decide what is important and what isn’t?

Of course, you want to look good while travelling as well. But before you pack your whole make-up collection, you should consider where you’re going and be honest with yourself how likely it is you will wear a full face make-up. Indonesia will probably be hot and humid. My everyday make-up in Germany is already quite minimal and in summer I tend to stick with mascara and bronzer. So, I won’t pack anything that I don’t use on a daily basis in my everyday life. If I don’t use it here, why would I use it on holidays?

Which product makes you instantly feel better?

If you feel comfortable without any make-up at all, I would recommend to leave everything at home of course. Even though I do feel comfortable without any make-up, I think I sometimes look a bit tired and pale. On these days, a bit of mascara can make a big change and I instantly feel better. Therefore, I will always bring mascara on a holiday – just in case there’s one of these days when I just don’t feel pretty at all.

What if I love make-up and I cannot go without the full programme?

There might be true make-up lovers among yourselves, who cannot relinquish anything from their make-up bag. In that case I would recommend 2-in-1 products. Instead of taking a separate bronzer, highlighter and mirror, I’ll take a product that is it all in one. That saves space in my bag. You could pack a lipstick that you could dab on your cheeks as a blush. You could also use a bronzer and highlighter as eyeshadows or even an eyebrow pencil as a kajal.

What is in my holiday make-up bag?

I think I did reduce my beauty products quite a bit compared to previous holidays. Here is a recommended selection with multi-purpose products. I settled with these products as a maximum, but I am still not sure if I’ll pack them all. I will definitely leave the lipstick at home.

  • Catrice – Glamour Doll Volume Mascara Waterproof
  • Catrice – Eye Brow Stylist, 040 Don’t Let Me Brow’n
  • Sleek face contour kit, light
  • Ecotools powder brush
  • Mac lipstick “Patisserie”

What are your essential make-up products on a holiday? Or do you need nothing at all?

6 tips for hiking in Norway

A beginner’s guide to exploring the Norwegian nature

Hiking is kind of the national sport in Norway and it is also something you can do for free in an otherwise rather expensive country. So, when I spent my semester abroad in Bergen, I knew that I wanted to try it, too. Back then, I had absolutely no hiking experience besides minor walks with my grandparents. Consequently, I had no clue what Norwegian hiking trails would look like. Still, like many other students, I had the goal to hike up to the top of all the seven summits around Bergen. Here are some things I wish I knew before and also some things you should keep in mind as you explore the Norwegian nature.

1. Get yourself some proper hiking boots

get proper hiking boots first
Proper hiking boots are essential!

One of the best investments I made were proper hiking boots. As it rains quite a bit and the terrain stretches from gravel and stones to muddy and slippery, I would recommend proper waterproof, over-the-ankle hiking boots. I am very satisfied with the pair I bought and they had cost only around 140€. My feet were never wet – even when accidently stepping into deep mud or puddles – and I felt secure even when the path didn’t give me the confidence I wanted. Proper hiking boots are essential!

2. The piles of stones are not just for decoration

trail markings along the way
Pyramids of stones mark the trail

This is probably a no brainer for people who have been hiking before. However, I only started hiking in Norway, so I didn’t know that these stones had a deeper meaning. They are actually – like the red painted T on some stones– another way to mark the routes. So, if you don’t know where to go next look out for the red “T” and piles of stones.

3. Appreciate nature

At the beginning of every single hike I was wondering why I was even doing this. I was easily out of breath and it could get quite exhausting. At the latest at the top of each mountain, these thoughts were forgotten. The feeling of reaching the top paired with the breath-taking view was worth it every time. Enjoy the beautiful nature and don’t get lost trying to take the perfect Instagram shot. Take everything in and also value nature. Also remember to only leave footprints and bring your garbage back with you to preserve nature.

appreciate nature when hiking in Norway
The satisfying feeling of reaching the top of Sandviksfjellet

4. Keep the weather in mind

Always check the weather forecast before hiking! Especially when you’re a beginner but also when you are more proficient. The weather can change quickly from sun and a clear sky to thick fog. I’ve heard from people who started hiking in the sun and suddenly entered thick fog and couldn’t see further than two metres anymore. As you can imagine, this can get quite dangerous if you can’t see the trail anymore or the paths become slippery. So always pay attention to the weather while hiking! It’s okay to turn around midway and continue the hike on another day. Your safety should come first.

5. The hiking trails

hiking trail sandviksfjellet

As mentioned above, I had no experience in hiking and had no idea what to expect in Norway. In my imagination there were nice trails and the way up would be a breeze. The reality looked a little different. The hiking trails are very divers: There are even paths which can get steeper, there are huge step-like stones, small rocks, sometimes you’ll have to use your hands and sometimes you’ll have to cross a small stream.

hiking trail in norway
Another trail on one of our hikes

Be prepared for that and do not underestimate the hike or overestimate your strength and condition. I wasn’t very sporty at that time, so I was easily exhausted and needed to take little breaks quite often. But that’s okay, too.

snow hike trolltunga
You can also come across snow, like here on the trolltunga hike

6. Get a hiking buddy

Hiking on your own might be good for the mind and soul as you are not distracted by anyone, but in my opinion it’s even better with a friend! The first hike I took was with a large group of students. Shortly after the beginning of the hike, I had to discover that the other students were a lot fitter than me and I couldn’t keep pace with the group. So, I turned around disappointedly. Luckily, I found a new bestie who was on the same fitness level as me and wanted to take the same amount of photos and breaks as me. After the first hike together, we continued to take all our hikes together and it was perfect. I can only recommend to try and find a hiking buddy on your level. You probably won’t talk all the time, so you’ll still have time to appreciate nature and let your thoughts drift away. Still, you’ll have someone to share the experience and create new memories. Additionally, it’s always better to be not alone, just in case something happens or you get lost.

These are my tips and things I wish I had known before my first hike. I hope you enjoyed these tips for hiking in Norway and they were helpful and you will be better prepared than I was. If you want to read more about safety and hiking in Norway, check out VisitNorway for more handy tips.

Also, leave your essential hiking tips in the comments!

 

7 easy steps to reduce your fashion consumerism

How to become a sensible shopper

Minimalism and capsule wardrobes are something you come across more and more often on the internet. I think it is inspiring and eye-opening, but so far I haven’t really changed my behaviours. Only recently I discovered the extent of my shopping behaviour and have since changed my habits.

Accept that you have a problem

The biggest problem for me was, that I didn’t really see the money I spent. Therefore, the first step should be to have a closer look on how much money you have actually spent in the past months on fashion. When I did this, it was disturbing. I bought so much stuff, even though I didn’t have the money to do so. I didn’t spend more than I have, but I definitely could have spent the money more sensible. That was probably a turning point in my life as a shopaholic. Since then, I felt bad about all my purchases and really questioned them. I also started a shopping ban, which you can read about here.

Easy steps to incorporate into your daily routine

By now, I have incorporated some simple steps into my life to reduce my fashion consumerism. Here are my 7 tips how you can change your shopping behaviour, too.

1. Unsubscribe from all fashion related newsletters. Asos, H&M, Zalando, … They all send you newsletters with the latest styles and sales and draw you to their online shops. Often you end up buying something you don’t really need or wanted in the first place. Without the newsletters you wouldn’t even know that there is a sale happening.

2. Delete shopping apps from your phone. I have experienced myself that if I’m bored I am likely to grab my phone to scroll through the apps of the shops. Then I discover all the dresses, skirts and jeans that I want but don’t need.

3. Avoid online shopping. From my own experience, I would say that I spend a lot more online than in a real store. The reason for this is probably that you are likely to order a lot more because you expect to return a lot of the stuff. Money that is disappearing online doesn’t hurt as much as cash you really see disappearing from your wallet.

4. Avoid going to the shops, or test yourself. Going shopping can be quite dangerous as you see all the new clothing pieces in store. But it can be a good way to test yourself. Look at the pieces and ask yourself: Do I need this? Do I even want this? Another phrase that I always keep in mind is: “If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.”

5. If you see something you want to buy, ask yourself if you need it and if you can see yourself wearing it still next year. Only if this applies you should be buying new things. The crucial purchase argument is often the price instead of the use value. Would you buy the piece if it wasn’t cheap or on sale?

6. If you still want to buy it, you shouldn’t buy it immediately. Sleep one or two nights over it and see if you can’t get it out of your head or if you forget it quickly.

7. Think in styles, not in pieces. Get an overview of what you have and what is missing in your wardrobe. I searched for styles on pinterest to see what I like and what I would like to dress like. Then I checked what was missing in my closet and looked online for these particular pieces. By only scrolling through the shops without looking for particular pieces you might end up buying things that are pretty, but you have no idea how to style them. Consequently, you will never wear them.

These are my 7 tips to change your fashion consumerism. I am still often tempted to buy new clothing and I often catch myself at saving jeans on my wish list – even though I have plenty of jeans. But I think I am on a good way to become a sensible shopper. I hope my seven steps can inspire you, too, to work on a healthier shopping behaviour (if you want to and don’t already have one).

5 tips to avoid fashion mispurchases

Easy questions you should ask yourself before buying new clothes

Probably everyone owns at least one piece of clothing that qualifies as a mispurchase. Once, it surprised me when people had clothing in their wardrobe which still had the price tag. They had never worn that piece of clothing. Nowadays, I do unfortunately own some pieces, too, which I have never worn. I wish I had put more contemplation in many of these purchases. I could have saved me a lot of money and space in my wardrobe.

So, I decided to look at these pieces I have never worn and consider why that is the case or how I could have avoided it. I came up with five question that I will ask myself every time from now on before buying something new. These five questions will also help you to avoid fashion mispurchases.

1. Does it fit?

The most important question you should always ask yourself before buying something is whether it fits properly or not. Roughly two year ago, I bought those jeans. I like them and they look cool and pretty but they are just incredibly tight. I bought them because I thought “Hey, I will do a lot of sports now and eat healthy, and then I will lose weight and then these jeans will fit properly. Result: I haven’t lost weight and the jeans are still very tight. Don’t buy things for the future. If they don’t fit now, they might not fit in the future or if they finally fit, you might not like them anymore.

2. Do I feel comfortable?

Feeling comfortable should be one of your priorities. No matter how pretty a piece of clothing might be: if you don’t feel comfortable in it, you won’t wear it. This nice bodycon dress that’s really sexy but is somehow to short or makes you feel well aware of every gram that you might have too much? Don’t buy these things. You probably won’t wear them at all and if you do, they will most likely make you feel very self-conscious.

3. Do I feel pretty?

I think this is a question that I have often forgotten when buying new clothing. When you buy something new, you should feel pretty in it no matter how shitty you look that day. I have that one sweater which I like that much that I know I will feel good about myself wearing it. Some days I look in the mirror and nothing looks right. My hair doesn’t sit right, I look really pale and tired and I don’t feel good in any of my clothes. On those days I am likely to wear that sweater and instantly things don’t look that bad anymore. On the other hand, I have a lot of clothing pieces which don’t give me that feeling. I have often bought something even though I didn’t feel pretty. Then, I persuaded myself that I will look good wearing it when I do my hair in a specific way and put on some make-up. Most of the times, that’s not the case.

4. Do I have something to wear it with?

Another question I should have asked myself more often. Once upon a time, I bought a trench coat. I have never worn it. I just don’t have a clue how to style it. Even though, I found some ways to wear it on pinterest, the outfit combinations feel very limited and I had to make a deliberate decision to wear the trench coat instead of just throwing it on with every of my outfits. It just doesn’t feel natural for me. However, that’s what I need in my clothes. I need things that are easy to combine and I don’t want to plan a lot.

5. Do I like the piece or just the idea of it?

I tend to forget about this question when I get inspired by fashion bloggers or on pinterest. Usually, I see how other people style something, I like it and I want to have it, too. A typical example would be a blazer. I do have a couple of rarely worn blazers in my wardrobe. I like the idea of them, I like how they look on others, but I don’t like me wearing a blazer. It just doesn’t feel like me. I think, it has to do a lot with finding your personal style and being honest to yourself. Of course, you can experiment with new styles and try out things you haven’t worn before. But in case with the blazers, I make the same mistake over and over again. I own about four blazers that I only wear to job interviews. Now, it’s time to be honest with myself and admit that blazers are just not my style and stop buying new ones. My advice for you: Don’t randomly buy the things your favourite fashion blogger wears. Reconsider if you really like it or if you just like it because he or she likes it.

I hope these tips can help you to avoid fashion mispurchases in the future. They do help me. Also, let me know in the comments if you have further ideas how you avoid fashion mispurchases!

DIY mug design

How you can create your own coffee mug

As you might already know, I am a cat lady. So I like everything related to cats. Currently, I am building on my cat mug collection (unfortunately, it consists only of two mugs at the moment).

Recently, I saw a crazy cat lady mug in a store. I liked the shape of the mug but not the design. The lettering was too bold and boxy, so I didn’t buy it. The idea stayed in my mind, though. So, I decided to create my own mug design and here I will share with you how you can do the same.

All you need to create your own mug:

  • a plain mug
  • porcelain colours
  • a fine brush
  • imagination
Materials you need to design your own mug
Everything you need to design your own mug

Firstly, you need to find the perfect plain mug. This turned out to be not that easy for me. Many are too small, too square or way too expensive. Or maybe I am just too picky. In the end, I found the perfect mug for me. In a crafts store, I bought porcelain colours in gold and black and a fine brush. Now, the only thing that you still need is imagination and creativity to design your own mug. I found inspiration on pinterest. If you need inspiration, too, try looking for “mug design” or “DIY mug”, for example.

Designing your mug

I wanted a hand lettering design for my mug. As I haven’t tried hand lettering before, I used an online generator to get a template for the writing. Next I transferred the template on to the mug using a pencil, so I roughly knew where I should start painting.
I started writing very carefully as painting with the porcelain colours on the mug can be a bit difficult (at least it was for me). But it gets easier with every letter. To make to mug even prettier I painted golden dots (which was a lot easier than the lettering).

DIY mug design ideas

 

Finishing the mug

The next steps are dependent on your porcelain colours. Therefore, you should read the instructions and stick to them. For me it meant to let it dry for at least 4 hours, put it in the oven afterwards, set the heat to 160° C and bake it for 90 minutes. Now it should be waterproof and dishwater safe. I haven’t put it in the dishwasher yet, though.

(Side note: I had taken photos during the process but my SD card decided to break, so I lost them all..)