My family and I always start the summer holidays with a week in Cornwall. It’s turned into a bit of an annual pilgrimage and marks the end of school and the official start of summer. We’ve been going for the last ten years, kindly invited by our best friends who have a family house there and we couldn’t love it more.
Not only is commune living with your besties pretty hard to beat, but we are fanatical about being outside come rain or shine. Picnics on the beach, cycling the camel trail, games of golf, surfing at Polzeath - the activity list to do with the kids is endless. We come away feeling healthy, energised, united and longing for our next visit.
As with any staycation with unpredictable weather at its core, practical packing is essential. A rainmac and a swimsuit sit at either end of the list with a multitude of essentials in between. But with finite car boot space, limited time to prep and other family members (i.e. everyone) to pack for, how do you nail a put together, streamlined staycation wardrobe?
My top tip is to pick a colour theme and stick to it. I normally go nautical and limit my suitcase to blue and ecru with a dash of camel. That way you have lots to mix and match with and don’t need to replicate essential items. Here's what's on my list…
Cable Knit Jumper
That goes with everything as your main cover up (we love to eat outside and it always gets chilly) – I love this cotton A Piece Apart which is currently on sale.
I love going a bit 1940s on the British Coast (I always think of “The Edge of Love” for some reason) and a striped skirt is a great alternative to cut off shorts- wear with just a swimsuit on top, mismatch with a striped t-shirt, or dress it up with a blouse for dinner. This Thierry Coulson is made from linen so will hold its shape.
The lightest you can find (layering is key) in a neutral colour. I have an old silver rainmac which I have worn for years, but this year I’m going to buy something a little chicer - like this one from Monki. I love the practical bomber shape, nice grosgrain ties and the fact you slip it on, no zip required. Perfect for tying around my waist.
They just go with everything- Veja are tried and tested - and the navy branding are a great colour match for the themed wardrobe.
I don’t know many people who don’t have a version of this in their wardrobe. I normally wear an old Chanel one that was a press gift, but there are heaps out there - this one’s from La Redoute but J Crew always have good quality versions.
These days I rarely wear a bikini, but there is something about being on a British beach in a two-piece that doesn’t quite sit right. I love this one from Whistles, again a bit of a retro feel and the print works nicely with stripes or paisley.
You need to take a waterproof pair of flats (I think 90% of the world's Crocs supply is scarily down on the South coast) and I love these from Adidas – perfect for those rockpool moments.
A blouse that takes you from day to night and is about as dressy as I get in Cornwall. Love a paisley and stripe combination, and does anyone make a prettier shirt than Ulla Johnson?
I do own cut-off denims but feel they are increasingly a young person’s game (the meeting of denim thread and spider veins is an unpleasant one) and I’ve always loved a high-waist for that Chloé appeal.
An absolute essential. I was gifted a pair of Jimmy Choo croc wellies that I always wear to the country (much to the amusement of my mother in law) but if I were to buy a pair - I think navy is the chic way to go. Go longer (less childlike) with this buckle detail.
Throw on top of a swimsuit during the day, chuck on with a pair of earrings for night. I own lots of this style - from March11 pictured here, to vintage finds of Etsy.
I love a bit of a retro shade and white frames are surprisingly useful. There are lots of high street versions but these Illesteva are my fave.
There is something incredibly liberating about going away with such concise packing and I relish knowing (though I cherish my heel collection) that there isn’t a stiletto in sight. My everyday gold jewellery stays with me as does a cross-body handbag, beach bag, and some plain t-shirts - normally in grey and white. Now it’s onto packing for three kids and an exceptionally carefree husband…
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