In my Suitcase: What I’m packing for the Maldives

what to pack for maldives
what to pack for maldives
what to pack for maldives

I love a good packing post, so today, on the eve of our (much belated) honeymoon, I thought I’d share what I’m packing for the Maldives. I usually tend to take a ‘minimalist’ approach to holidays, and packing in general. I start by planning out my holiday wardrobe months in advance, so that I can narrow it down to the bare essentials; a selection of core pieces which mix and match really well. For this trip, I threw that approach directly out the window. Not only are we away for ten days, but it’s our honeymoon – the last thing I want to be doing is thinking about laundering any of the items I’ve brought with me. So, I took a more ‘maximalist’ approach to packing – something for every occasion. Keep reading below to see what I’m packing for the Maldives…

WEATHER

The weather during our trip in the Maldives is going to be hovering around the 27-31 deg C mark, with thunderstorms anticipated, which by my best estimation means that we can expect it to be sticky and hot – nothing we aren’t used to during a Sydney summer. It’s a little cooler in Hong Kong, around 25 deg C, and while it will be humid, I don’t believe we’ll be struck by rain during our trip.

TOPS

I went for a mix of fitted crops, loose tees, and slinky silk tops with a little bit of personality. I know it’s going to be hot, so I wanted to pack things which I knew would be easy to throw on with a little denim mini, or my favourite pair of shorts. My favourite has to be this recent addition from J Crew – it adds a much needed burst of colour to my rather ‘chromatic’ holiday wardrobe (and it’s on sale!).

SKIRTS & SHORTS

Summer vacation is all about the denim for me; I packed my two go-to denim skirts, in addition to my favourite white denim shorts (which are a no-brainer come summer). I also opted to add in a polka dot midi skirt, and this absolutely s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g accordion pleat tiered skirt from Stella Jean (on loan – I wish this had a permanent spot in my wardrobe!).

DRESSES

I tend to try and keep the number of dresses I pack for a holiday to a minimum – they might be a whole outfit, but they limit your options, and your valuable luggage space. I opted to take four with me; two are light and airy linen dresses – one from Grana and one from Stelen – a polka dot midi length dress as a more dressy option, as well as a classic LBD (my favourite is from Bec and Bridge).

OUTERWEAR

This is the one area that I’m keeping to a minimum – it’s warm in Sydney, and it’s going to be warm in both locations we’re headed, so I don’t want to burden myself with anything too cumbersome, if I don’t need to (I’ve already got a backpack stuffed with a drone and two cameras that’s doing that job for me!). I’m just taking one faux leather jacket as a throw on piece, and depending how I feel when we’re headed off tomorrow morning, I might also take a lightweight cardigan – nothing fancy, just in case it gets cool in the evening.

what to pack for maldives
what to pack for maldives

SWIMSUITS, SHOES, BAGS & ACCESSORIES

I went a little swimsuit mad, though as these take up the least amount of space out of everything in my suitcase, I figured this wasn’t such a bad thing. In addition to four bikinis, I also packed a one-piece swimsuit which I thought would be ideal for when we go snorkelling, or do any other more intensive water activities.

For shoes, I decided to go with four pairs; a pair of flat sandals, some black heeled mules, a pair of high heeled strappy sandals, and some simple white converse sneakers.

My final accessories that I decided to pack include a couple of different clutch options for the evening, a nice straw hat, a couple of bandanas and one pair of oversized sunglasses.

As usual, I did share a whole video featuring what I’m packing for the Maldives on my YouTube Channel, however I have rejigged things a little bit. I’ve added some workout clothes and a pair of sneakers into the mix, dropped a few things including a pair of sandals, a linen shirt and a maxi skirt, and switched out the dress I’m intending to wear while in Hong Kong. I figured it was worth taking a page out of Coco Chanel’s book, and instead of removing something I’m wearing before leaving the house, I removed a few things I planned to wear from my suitcase.

Review: Hotel Hotel, Canberra

hotel hotel canberra review
hotel hotel canberra review
hotel hotel canberra review
hotel hotel canberra review
hotel hotel canberra review

WHERE: Hotel Hotel, 25 Edinburgh Ave, NewActon, Canberra

Based in the central NewActon suburb of Canberra, Hotel Hotel has been on my radar for the last couple of years. Most trips to Canberra, we haven’t had a reason to stay in a hotel, given that we typically stay with family, however a recent visit called for a night’s accommodation, so we took up the chance to make Hotel Hotel our ‘home base’ for the trip down.

The hotel offers two room options; their ‘sun’ rooms which are filled with streaming natural light, facing the street, or their ‘atrium’ rooms, which are dark and moody, overlooking an internal the internal rainforest courtyard. Given we only had a short overnight trip planned, we opted for one of Hotel Hotel’s ‘original sun’ rooms, which for a mid-week stay rung in at a total of $280 AUD for one night.

One of the core concepts the hotel is built around is Australian creativity, and it’s pretty safe to say that Hotel Hotel is far from ordinary, as a simple step inside the hotel’s lobby reveals little quirks dotted in every nook and cranny, designed and created by local artisans. These unique features extend to the hotel rooms, which have a strong industrial lean, and offbeat decor like fluffy white chairs and a shower big enough for four.

The room itself was incredibly spacious, with a large fluffy bed and Aesop toiletries in the bathroom. The bar was well stocked with Australian craft beers and organic dairy-free chocolate (a big tick from me!), and a separate study space – perfect if you needed to catch up on some emails before heading out for the day. It’s worth noting that even though we were situated in one of their ‘sun’ rooms, the light was brightest nearest the window, with mood lighting in the bathroom making makeup application a little… difficult. The building is also comprised of apartment spaces and commercial offices, which meant that we experienced some disruption (quite early) in the morning due to some drill works being carried out in the floor above ours. I suspect we just got a little unlucky, but it’s worth keeping that in mind.

monster bar kitchen hotel hotel canberra

Breakfast is not included in your stay, however a couple of really delicious options are nearby, including Monster Bar + Kitchen, on the ground floor. We opted to eat elsewhere (more on that soon), but I can highly recommend Monster. The food is excellent – as I’m sure the photo above might suggest… – and even if you’re not able to squeeze in time for a meal, the bar is open until 1am so it’s worth stopping by for a nightcap, before heading up to your room at the end of the evening. It is on the way back to your hotel room, after all! And if you’re after a little bit of evening entertainment, there is a lovely little cinema also situated on the ground floor.

a baker canberra review
a baker canberra review

WHAT: A Baker
WHERE: 15 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra ACT 2601

We opted to head to A Baker for breakfast, a beautiful and airy cafe space within the precinct. We’d been here during a previous trip for lunch with my sister, and it had made a lasting impression on me so I was quite eager to head back. The fresh squeezed juices are a must – either apple or orange – and it’s worth picking up a loaf of bread from behind the counter as you’re settling the bill (though the options are no longer quite as adventurous as the last time I visited). Also open for dinner, the cafe-cum-restaurant has a firm focus on local produce and ingredients, something that I absolutely love in an eatery. And it’s food done well. Luke and I both opted for the ‘slow cooked eggs with mushrooms, sambal and kale’ with a healthy side of avocado and bacon, to get us through our morning, which was every bit as filling – and delicious – as it looked.

Packing light: What I packed in my carry on for five days in New Zealand

We’ve just returned from a five day trip to Auckland, New Zealand, and while I’ve shared a bit of a sneak peek into my suitcase here, I thought I’d download a little on what I’m glad I packed into my carry on, and what probably could have stayed at home.

WEATHER FORECAST

For those of us residing in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the early end of winter, which as you can imagine means frosty mornings, bitterly cold winds, and rain – plenty of it, too. I used the weather forecast in Sydney as a bit of a guide, as I knew it was going to be a good few degrees cooler once we hit NZ shores. Temperatures ranged from 9-14 degrees Celsius every day, with plenty of winter sunshine, and just one day of rain, so I think it’s safe to say we got pretty lucky.

ON THE ACTIVITY LIST

Our trip across the ditch was a bit of a birthday present for Luke, as it’s been a few years since we have been back to Auckland to stay with his family, and catch up with some of his friends. Rather than jam pack our itinerary, we kept things fairly relaxed; a nice dinner out in the Auckland CBD, some casual brunches, coffee dates, a spot of shopping, and a drive up the road to Matakana to drop by Sawmill Brewery (a must if you have a rental car – it’s only an hours drive from the city!).

WHAT I PACKED

For trips that span over a week or less, I try and get a little creative, so that I can travel with carry on only. I’m a serial outfit repeater and given most of my wardrobe is fairly complementary, I don’t find it too difficult to pull together a travel ‘capsule wardrobe’ of sorts. It probably won’t surprise that I opted for mostly greys and blacks, large oversized sweaters, and some comfy trousers.

TOPS & JUMPERS
Grana white pocket t-shirt
Brandy Melville black stripe tee (similar)
Uniqlo charcoal ribbed merino turtleneck
Uniqlo black heat tech crew neck top
Glassons black merino top
See by Chloe striped top
Country Road black mohair sweater
Country Road charcoal chunky knit sweater

SKIRTS & TROUSERS
Willow black leather skirt (similar here and also here)
ASOS blue wash mom jeans
Uniqlo black slim fit trousers

DRESSES
Bec and Bridge black dress (also in white)

JACKETS & COATS
Helmut Lang blazer
Topshop coat (short version)

SHOES, BAGS & ACCESSORIES
Everlane black day heels
Everlane black leather chelsea boots
ONA black leather Capri tote
Celine black leather trotteur bag
Acne Studios grey Canada scarf
Uniqlo charcoal cashmere gloves
Prada sunglasses

WHAT I’M GLAD I PACKED

I recently decided to invest in a couple of knitted sweaters during one of Country Road’s 25% off sales, and the chunky charcoal funnel neck sweater was by far the stand out; this just looked great with everything, and was super cosy. I’m also glad that I brought along the slim fitting trousers from Uniqlo, which have fast become a favourite. These are lightweight, practically crease proof, and look really smart – plus they’re pretty warm too (though I’d get some heat tech tights for underneath if you’re going to a colder climate). Lastly I’m also pretty chuffed with the Celine small trotteur bag I splurged on just last week. This is the perfect size for travel, is an elegant and timeless design, and worked with every outfit that I wanted to wear – both casual and dressy. My only complaint is that the leather on the holster has already rubbed from the interior screw of the chevron plate closure, though thankfully this is pretty minor and not noticeable when being worn! The

WHAT COULD HAVE STAYED HOME

I’m prone to having cold hands – always – so it came as a bit of a surprise when I opened my bag this morning and realized one of the few things I didn’t reach for were my cashmere gloves from Uniqlo. Granted these are a godsend for if it’s a little nippy but given we were outdoors too much, I never really felt a need for them (that winter sun tho!).

The only thing I wish I’d brought with me were a pair of flats; typically, this would be a no brainer but I had to get creative just to fit my dads RM Williams boots into my carry on (which took up about 1/3 the total space!), and they were the one thing that didn’t make the cut.

I’m planning to share some video, as well as some of my outfits from the trip in the coming weeks so make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out! x

Dallas Travel Guide – things to see, do, eat and where to stay

dallas travel guide what I'm wearing
dallas travel guide what I'm wearing

After a 25-plus hours in transit, I’ve finally returned home from my whirlwind trip to the US, and I couldn’t wait to share some of the things to see and do in Dallas. I was in Dallas for a few days to attend the annual RewardStyle conference, and given that my days were packed with conference sessions, meetings and events, I took every single opportunity I could find to get out and explore the city, even if it meant waking up and 6.00am in search of a good coffee spot.

Wearing Brandy Melville off the shoulder top (sold out but similar here), RUBY skirt (this one is also cute), Vaneli heels, 3.1 by Phillip Lim bag & Mejuri earrings

hotel crescent court dallas
hotel crescent court dallas

STAY
I spent my trip to Dallas staying at the Hotel Crescent Court, a beautiful modern hotel based Uptown. Given I didn’t have a car and was travelling either by Uber or walking to destinations, I found that this was actually a pretty good base to start from (plus, it was where the conference I attended was being held). I will say, that the price point is a little higher that some of the other hotels within the area, so I’d also recommend taking a look at The Fairmont (where I had originally booked), The Joule Hotel, or alternatively there are some incredible (and spacious) AirBnB’s – something that I’ll always look at as an option when travelling.

18th and vine dallas restaurant review

EAT & DRINK
18th and Vine – 4100 Maple Ave; if there was one thing that I knew I just had to do while in Dallas, it was to eat some authentic Texan BBQ – I mean, when in Rome, right? I dropped into 18th and Vine on my first night in Dallas with Josie and Charlie, and was absolutely blown away. They serve all their BBQ by the half pound, or pound, so I’d recommend heading there with friends and ordering a heap from the menu. The pulled pork and burnt ends were definitely a stand out for me (the ribs were the only let down), and be sure to try some of their home made BBQ sauce with your meal.

brewed and pressed dallas cafe review

Brewed + Pressed – West Village, 3700 McKinney Ave; I stumbled across Brewed + Pressed my first morning in Dallas – and while I have a sneaking suspicion that it was the industrial yet minimal interiors that sold me on this place, it turned out to be one of my favourite finds from the trip. Everything that they serve is fully vegan, perfect if you’re lactose intolerant like I am. Personally I’m not a fan of almond milk coffees like cappuccinos or lattes, but their almond milk iced coffee on the other hand was literally life-changing (never mind the fact that I was surviving on three hours sleep on my third day of ’travel’). They also have a great selection of pressed juices (I opted for the spicy immunity booster), and their chocolate walnut truffles are to die for (plus, J. Crew is basically next door!).

Pecan Lodge – 2702 Main Street; I asked quite a few people where to go to get good BBQ, and every single one of the recommended Pecan Lodge. The queue is quite literally out the door, and obviously there’s a reason why. I didn’t get a chance to fit this in on this trip but from what I can tell, it’s a must-do.

Twisted Root Burger Co – 2615 Commerce St; touted as the place where all the locals go, when I chatted to a couple of girls sitting outside that had just finished their meal, they raved about how incredible the food there is. Just walking past the burger joint, you’re met with an incredible smokey aroma – the kind that makes you instantly know a place is going to be good.

Dot’s Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard – 2645 Commerce Street; also located in Deep Ellum, Dots is an industrial-looking beer garden, the sort I’d expect to find at home in Sydney. I dropped in around 4.30pm on Saturday and the place was already packed, so you can only imagine how busy it gets at night. Definitely worth dropping in to have a casual drink if you’re planning on visiting Deep Ellum.

The Whippersnapper – 1806 McMillan Ave; to be completely honest, I haven’t been clubbing in years. But, on a whim (or maybe too many cocktails…) I decided to head to Whippersnapper for the after party on my final night in Dallas. If you’re in the mood to head out for a boogie then this is definitely the spot – it even has a spinning disco ball!

things to see and do deep ellum dallas texas
things to see and do deep ellum dallas texas

SEE
Deep Ellum; I did a bit of a call out on my Instagram for things to do in Dallas and a couple people recommended that I visit Deep Ellum. This is a really cool part of town, where you’ll find incredible murals lining the walls, not to mention some great bars and restaurants.

If you’re getting an Uber there, opt to get dropped off at either Commerce Street or Main Street, which run parallel to each other, which is where most of the action is. There aren’t too many shops in the area, though I did find myself visiting the retro lolly shop on Main, and I think it’s also worth popping into Jade and Clover just for their succulent bar alone.

Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens; situated not far from Downtown Dallas, the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens span across 66 acres of enchanting beauty – and the best time of year to visit just so happens to be in the Spring. I didn’t have a chance to snap any photos but all you have to do is take one quick look through Google Images to know exactly what I’m walking about.

Dallas Museum of Art; unfortunately this is one of the few sights I didn’t have a chance to see, but from what I heard from other conference attendees, it is well worth the visit. Perhaps most intriguing (to me) is one of their current exhibitions, Mexico 1900-1950, which highlights the narratives in Mexico’s modern art industry, and features work by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco, among others. If that’s not enough of a reason to go, it’s worth noting that general admission is free, so there’s really no excuse if you can spare the time!

dallas travel guide shopping highland park village
dallas travel guide shopping highland park village

SHOP
Highland Park Village; if you’re feeling a little spendy, then it’s absolutely worth a visit to Highland Park Village. It’s a beautiful collection of shops including Anthropologie (I popped in just to get this), Rag & Bone, Celine, Fendi, Stella McCartney – I think you get where I’m going with this. There’s also a couple of cute cafes including Bird Bakery which sells delicious cupcakes, and Royal Blue Bakery, an incredible grocer situated right at the entrance. Even if you’re not in a position to splurge, I think it’s worth visiting Highland Park just to get a peek at some of the stately houses that line the streets.

NorthPark Shopping Centre; now this place has e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Name a shop you want to visit and it’s probably going to be here. Truth be told, I didn’t have a chance to visit this mall at all – shopping wasn’t high on my agenda – but if it was, I think this would have been at the top of my hit list, if only to drop by Nordstrom!

The Shops at Park Lane; if you’re after a bargain, then this is definitely the place to go. With outlet stores for some of the biggest department stores (as well as a Whole Foods Market – yes please!), this is a good spot to nab a few investment pieces for your wardrobe at a fraction of the price.

I feel like I’ve barely scraped the barrel on the things to do in the beautiful city of Dallas, so if you’re a Texan native and know the city well, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on other places worth visiting! x

What I’m Packing for Dallas

minimal carry on what to pack for dallas travel short trip
what to pack for dallas travel short trip

It’s been a good eight years since my last major solo international trip. I was 21, fresh out of uni, and on a mission to see as much of Europe as possible – with luggage to match. And instead of packing what I wanted to wear, I packed what I thought I should wear; so rather than a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear, I had a suitcase full of clothes I wish I’d left at home.

These days, I’m all about traveling light, even if it’s just to leave a teeny tiny bit of space in my suitcase for the odd souvenir… And with just a few hours until I jet off to Dallas for a whirlwind four-day trip (and the first overseas trip on my own since my early twenties), I though I’d share what I’m planning to take with me, all of which fits neatly into my carry-on suitcase!

– TOPS & JACKETS –
Everlane black silk cami
Grana white silk cami
Everlane white cotton tank
Brandy Melville black/white stripe tee (old but similar here)
All About Eve white distressed ‘cherry’ tee
Brandy Melville white ‘it’s lit’ tee
Hansen & Gretel pleated cami
Madewell Courier shirt
Gorman quilted cotton jacket (old but similar here)

– DRESSES –
Bec & Bridge black pencil dress (also comes in white)
Acne Studios paloma silk dress
Tobi black maxi slip dress

– SKIRTS & TROUSERS –
RUBY khaki a-line skirt
Willow a-line leather skirt (old but similar here)
ASOS farleigh mom jeans
Grana denim chambray trousers (also love these)

– SHOES, BAGS & ACCESSORIES –
Lover black crochet swimsuit (old but similar here)
J Crew peach paisley bandana
Charlotte Olympia kitty flats
Vaneli slingback pumps
Maje black strappy sandals (similar here)
Charlotte Olympia blush feline pouch
3.1 by Phillip Lim beige mini pashli
Kate of Arcadia black leather pouch (old but similar here)

I – unsurprisingly – decided to play it safe and keep my colour palette as neutral as possible; even though I’m only away for a few days, if you’re a girl who likes to have options, then this is definitely the way to go.

Aside from the casual trousers from Grana that I’ll be wearing on the plane, I’m taking a couple skirts and a pair of jeans with me, opting rather to mix it up with some tees, camis and a punchy bandana so I can get the biggest bang for my buck.

I’ll be heading to a couple of evening events so I’ve packed three dress options, which range from more relaxed to formal cocktail attire. Realistically, I’ll probably only find myself wearing two of the three dresses, the maxi from Tobi and the Acne Studios Paloma dress both pack down small so I reasoned that it would be silly not to, right?

I typically always struggle with narrowing down my shoe options (I think I took SIX pairs with me to Europe last year), but given the lack of space, I’ve cut it back to three pairs, which I figure will see me through any situation I find myself in. There’s the dressed up kitty flat, for getting lost in central Dallas in, a low heeled two-tone pump which are perfect for dressing up some distressed denim, and a strappy black sandal for evening events and cocktail parties.

See you in Dallas!! x