Facial Wipes

Facial Wipes

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When you travel light, it helps to avoid taking containers of liquid in your hand carry bag. I know that technically you are allowed a small zip lock bag of 100ml bottles on board a plane, but the fewer you actually have, the better.

It is possible to track down non liquid versions of all sorts of ‘essentials’, from deodorants and toothpaste to foundations and eye colours. Wipes of different sorts are also really useful, especially makeup and nail polish removers, so I was very interested to see these.

I bought them in Mumbai, with the idea of taking them on a trekking holiday, but in the end decided they were actually too bulky for my pack. Having rediscovered them, they are now in my gym bag…

From Kara, these wipes are designed to cleanse, hydrate, nourish and deodorise, whilst promising to be 100% natural and alcohol free. The toning version contains rose and thyme, and works very nicely. There is none of the harsh ‘chemical’ feel you find with some wipes, and the scent is pleasant but unobtrusive.

The moisturising pack interested me the most, as I have not seen this before, and honey plus almond seemed like a good combination. I wasn’t so sure when I removed the first wipe from the packet, as I had been expecting to find it thick with cream, but it did not feel any different from a cleansing wipe. However, it did leave my skin feeling fresh and moisturised, with a matte finish. I was sure I would end up applying my usual moisturiser as well before too long, but this proved not to be the case.

There are only 10 wipes in each packet but I expect I will use them all.


Inside-Out T shirts

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Two for the price of one, not to mention the fact that you can take only 1 item on a short trip and quick-change into something ‘different’ whilst keeping plenty of space in your bag for shopping.

I wish more clothing firms did this sort of thing… there are the odd examples from travel specialists like Patagonia, from whom I bought the T shirt in 2 shades of blue.

The silky one is another story. I found the fabric in Hanoi, and brought some home to show the local ‘lady with a sewing machine’ who does alterations and repairs.  She was not impressed. I had to go back numerous times over the space of 3 months before she could be persuaded to give it a try, but in the end I was pretty pleased.

Shame I won’t be getting another one in a different set of colours – apparently it was incredibly difficult to sew without contrasting hems, and she told me very firmly there was no way she was making any more. Never mind, there’s a lot of life in this one.


Free e-books

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Budget travellers transiting Kuala Lumpur have yet more indignities to face than simply zero legroom, paying for refreshments and – worse – having to rent a blanket.

The ultimate humiliation is being directed firmly into what is bluntly named the Low Cost Carrier Terminal.

This used to be truly awful, a separate building that could reasonably be described as a concrete ‘shed’ with benches, but has now been upgraded and connected to the shiny main terminal. Still, the amenities are decidedly basic, as if they are determined to underline your 2nd class status.

So it came as a real surprise to see this sign in various places round the terminal – free e-books available for those unfortunates waiting until the early hours for a flight with no food and no entertainment.

Sadly, I could not manage to log onto any free wifi, so was unable to check what was actually on offer, but still – it must be a nice bonus for anyone who can get connected.


Twelve Ways

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There really are 12 ways you can wear this particular item of clothing, and probably more if you are especially inventive.

Twelve Ways is the name of the item and the Canadian company which invented it. They call it the most versatile piece of clothing you will ever find, and it is certainly an ideal piece to have in your travel wardrobe.

At $85, and available in a variety of colours, it has zips and draw strings that create a ruched effect, and can be worn as a top, a skirt, a dress, and accessorised up or down as you choose. By adjusting the different parts you can make things longer or shorter, open them up for a split seam effect, and generally run the full gamut from smart to slinky.

Best of all, the polyester/spandex fabric doesn’t wrinkle, packs really small, and is easily hand washed in cold water in a hotel sink. Following a visit by daughter #2, I no longer seem to have one of these in my collection of travel clothing. Looks like I shall be ordering another very soon.


2 in 1 Travel Pillow

Category : Other

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If you are a fan of those special pillows designed for travellers, you are going to love this. From New Zealand firm DQ&Co, this soft version filled with microbeads has a unique design that means a quick unzip and a shake can turn it from a simple rectangular shape into a curved neck pillow – whichever suits you best on those uncomfortable overnight flights.

There are numerous designs, but I particularly liked this subtle grey and black world map design. It is stretchy polyester and spandex on one side, soft velours on the other, and really is incredibly easy to switch between the 2 shapes. The only thing that might be a problem for those travelling light is that (unlike the inflatable version) this is quite bulky so takes up lots of space in your hand carry bag.

At S29.99 it isn’t cheap, but this is a quality piece of travel kit and could well become a favourite.


Tooth Wipes

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There are times when you are travelling, or simply out and about, when it would be very nice to brush your teeth. But carrying round all the kit, not to mention finding a bathroom with clean water, can sometimes be a trial, especially if you are – say – trekking, or on an overnight train in some lesser developed country.

For this sort of problem, I am very keen on these tooth and tongue cleaning wipes. They fit neatly into your bag along with such similarly useful items as tissues and hand sanitiser gel, and can be used discreetly without any need for water, just a bin.

I picked these up in a Tokyo pharmacy for less than ¥300, but there are many brands available including ones by Muji that sell for S$4.90 here. You pull out a wipe from the re-sealable sachet and use it on a fingertip to rub around your mouth. Once you are done, you can turn it over and use the other side to wipe down your tongue as well.

The cute pictures on the box persuaded me to buy this particular brand, and checking the wipe after I’d used it I could see it had done its job as well as leaving my mouth feeling fresh. I was not so sure about the grapefruit flavour, though. It was so authentic it made me feel like I had been (naughtily) drinking juice after cleaning my teeth – a mint flavour would have been better.

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Day To Night Earrings

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It’s always nice when you can pack something that does double duty on your travels… the space you save in your suitcase is space you can fill with fascinating purchases instead, and with kit that turns into something else, you stand less chance of looking like a scruffy backpacker by Day 3.

I know that jewellery doesn’t take up much room, but even so it pleases me greatly when I can transform a pair of simple earrings into something more glamorous for the evening.

These are some of my favourites. The clip-on earrings above right are simple shiny or matt gold on one side, but turn them round and they sparkle with ‘diamonds’. They pinch a bit after a few hours, but they look great and are so clever that it is worth it to give them some play.

The collection of studs above left are slightly more complicated but can be mixed and matched at will. Building on the Japanese trick of attaching something cute and dangly to the butterfly clip, so that it hangs behind and below your ear instead of in front, these are accessories that slide onto the post of your regular studs, transforming them for an evening out. By switching the combinations, you can appear to have a vast array of different earrings that will complement any outfit.


Make Your Sandal

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Always a fan of some item you can customise at will, I was delighted by these sandals. MYS stands for Make Your Sandal, an Australian firm which gives you the pieces to do just that: a selection of basic soles with loops along the edges, a wide range of colourful  straps and ‘socks’ to thread through those loops in whatever style you choose, plus a collection of accessories for variety and decoration. You can mix and match the colours, twist and tie the straps in endless combinations, and produce a different pair of sandals every day – ideal for saving space on your travels.

The sandal bases range from AU$32-55, each pair of straps from AU$8-18, and the accessories from AU$6-14. There are plenty of ideas on the website for how to play with these, with video tutorials explaining the more complicated designs. It is all a lot of fun to play around with.

One key thing for me is that the straps are really soft, so you get none of the painful spots between your toes which can happen when you wear standard flip flops all day. There is also no reason why you can’t use your own ribbons or laces to match an outfit or vary the look. This one is a winner!


Crash Baggage

Category : Other

crash luggage

They don’t make suitcases like they used to. Or maybe we are all travelling more often these days. My bags certainly seem the worse for wear after a very short time, scuffed and scratched, with parts that need regular repair work.

That’s why I was very amused to see this new luggage brand, with pre-damaged suitcases and the tag line ‘Handle Without Care’. The bright colours of this bashed and dented range hide a base made from polycarbonate, which is an incredibly strong material with high temperature and impact resistance. So strong, in fact, that the transparent version is used for such things as jet fighter cockpit canopies, riot shields and bullet proof ‘glass’.

Crash Baggage is Italian, and items in the range cost between 180 to 270 euros, which – whilst expensive – could be a good investment if you travel a lot. And as the manufacturers say: ‘If you crash them more don’t worry, they will be even more awesome’.


Onesole

Category : Fashion

popper sandals

How to get round that packing problem of needing different shoes to go with different outfits on your trip? This could be a solution…

Onesole is just that – you buy a single set of shoe soles then team them with a huge variety of interchangeable pop-on-and-off tops. The soles are made from comfortable polyurethane, the tops are stretchy but non-shrink neoprene, and both are impervious to rain.

They were invented by American pharmacist Dominique McClain Barteet, and are sold in more than 80 countries, although you can also buy from the full collection online. Different colours and heel heights are available, plus literally thousands of colourful snap on tops, and they cost upwards of US$85 for the basic set although there are special package deals, too.

I went for the simplest, flat, soles with a small selection of plain and patterned tops, and have had some fun with them. There’s a knack to popping the soles on, and especially off, without hurting your fingers, but that means they are very unlikely to come apart whilst you are walking. I like the fact that I can wear them in our tropical rain without any ill effects, and that they wash well and dry quickly – pretty much what you would expect considering they are made from wetsuit material.

My only complaint is that the soles tend to slap against my feet as I walk, the same way flip flops do, but with rather more noise. That means I prefer not to wear them when I am rushing around on a normal day, but find them perfect for holiday time, pottering between pool, bar and hotel room. And anything that saves on suitcase space is a winner for me!

 


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