Tips on traveling light

Minimalist weekend trip packing.

My brother is spending a semester abroad and my mum and I looked him up this past weekend. I challenged myself to pack as little as possible. Packing for a short trip can be just as hard as for a long one, since you might be inclined to stuff your bag with more things ‘because you’re not gonna stay long anyway so you might as well take this and that too’. (I’ve been there…) So I’d like to share with you my packing list for a long weekend trip, as well as some general packing tips. Here we go – pun intended ;)

This is what I packed. I wore the raincoat, the scarf, the jeans, a button-down and a tank when traveling so those weren’t even in my suitcase.

Raincoat
Scarf
2 tank tops
2 basic t-shirts
Button-down
Jeans
Dress
Jumper
Cardigan
Shoes

Using these items I was able to create at least three outfits to get me through the weekend. I wore all of the clothes I brought except one of the t-shirts. I was pretty relieved to see I could actually do with just these items of clothing!

Through this challenge I learned some things about packing less. Ready?

1. Wear layers.
This might be a no-brainer, but packing items that can be layered is a great way to pack less. You will be prepared for a lot of weather types, and because you can vary the items you won’t feel like you’re wearing the same thing all the time. Tanks, shirts, cardigans can be added as the weather cools down. This works best when your layers match each other. Who needs three wooly jumpers when you can have all kinds of different items instead?

2. Work your way around an item.
If you absolutely NEED a certain piece of clothing to go with you, use it as a starting point to build your outfits – and thus packing – around. It’s even better if this item is a versatile one!
For me, a good pair of shoes is essential on a trip, as there is often quite some walking involved. This means I would go for flat, comfy, leather (because water and cold resistant) shoes and choose the rest of my outfit accordingly. It also means that some items that I’d love to take, will need to stay home since they don’t match. But getting over that is simple: a) You will certainly have other cute items that DO match, and b) when push comes to shove, you will probably regret leaving an essential item home in favour of a piece of clothing you might only wear once. Think about it ;)

3. Easy on the accessories.
Once you have your outfits put together, have a good look at what accessories you’re planning to take. Less is definitely more in this case too. Take staple pieces that go with your chosen outfits and be critical. For example, I would either choose a statement necklace or statement earrings – alternatively I would take both but make sure they match. I also like to remind myself that wearing jewellery is better than having it sit in your toiletry bag, where it can be easily damaged.
Deciding what bag or purse to bring can be another hurdle. Think: what activities will you be doing and what will you want to bring there? A good starting point is choosing one day bag and one night bag. I’m always lugging my camera around everywhere. This means I will need a day bag that holds at least that, next to essentials such as wallet, phone, pen, lip balm, book, etc (uhm yes I bring a book pretty much everywhere :D). At night, I might not take my camera or my day bag might be too big to bring, for example to a nice restaurant or a museum. For those occasions I will pack a small purse that won’t take up room in my suitcase but can hold my small essentials. (Bye, book…) Again, make sure these accessories go with your outfits.

So, are you ready to pack less on your next trip? What I really love about minimalist packing is that you start to look at your wardrobe in a different way. For example, I had a hard time at first picking the shoes for this trip. But after convincing myself with the when-push-comes-to-shove argument, I started realising I have a couple pairs of seemingly everyday shoes that I could never wear comfortably for an entire day, let alone a few consecutive days! A good reason to purge my shoe collection soon. I ended up taking the ones in the picture, by the way :)

Let me know your great packing tips!

flowers in the garden in zeeland

Old blog, new theme.

Well, I never thought I would be coming back to this place again. Although I liked my little adventure on Disco Mondays, I found that I am not the post-twice-a-day kind of gal for whom HTML has no secrets. Blogging became a point on my to-do list and that’s when it stopped being fun :(

Now I’m back here. And it feels comfy, I must say! In line with the new theme of my blog, I am going to try just posting when I feel inspired by something, and not because the voice in my head says I have to write something :) And I want the posts that I do share to be worth your time as well as mine!

From now on, this blog will not be so much about everyday life as it happens to me. Rather it will be about a less-is-more kind of everyday life I want to be inspired by, and inspire others with. This is my little exploration of a world in which one doesn’t need so much of everything, but instead is fulfilled by the greatness of just a few things.

Sounds kinda heavy if you put it like this right? Well, I imagine at first it will not be easy to get rid of all the clutter, whatever it may be. But after a while, I’m sure less will definitely become more.

Who’s with me?

Moving Day!

Decorations

Well, after a year and a half in this nice little spot on the web, I’ve decided to move my blog to a different place. This has to do with a number of things, such as a url that became available and a bigger plan for my blog as well as other projects. Disco Mondays, the new name of my blog, suits what I have in mind for it.

I have moved everything from here to my new place so you can still look up older posts if you like. I will keep this blog around for a bit, but dressed down a little. Also, this will be the last post here for now. I’m a little sad because this is the first blog I’ve stuck with for such a long time. In the last year I’ve gathered quite some readers for whom I am truly grateful and who really pushed me to keep going when I didn’t feel like I was up for it. Thank you so much!

I sincerely hope you will follow me to my new blog and Disco with me on Mondays. And we shall see where that leads us… :)

Project: make your own vanilla extract

Make your own vanilla extract

When you bake a lot of sweets, you need a lot of vanilla extract. I don’t know how that goes in your neck of the woods, but here in Holland you can only buy a tiny bottle for a not so tiny amount of money. Of course, vanilla is expensive, but it’s still a hassle to keep buying such small containers.

Then I read online somewhere that you can make your own vanilla extract in the easiest way possible: waiting! All you need is a bottle of cheap vodka and 6-8 vanilla beans. Cut the beans open lengthwise and drop them in the vodka bottle. You can also use a different container if you want, but make sure it’s nice and clean. Use 2-3 vanilla beans for every 200 ml of vodka.

Make your own vanilla extract
Now all you need to do is wait for 3 months while it’s stored cool, dark and dry and you will have yourself some lovely vanilla extract! The alcohol will evaporate when you bake, so it’s safe for kids as well. The great thing about this recipe is that because of the alcohol, the extract keeps forever. So there is no harm in making yourself a big batch! The bottle pictured here has only been standing around for 2 weeks and it’s already gone quite dark. I’ll do another post when it’s ready to use!

Cute overload: kittens!

Cutest kitties ever!

Oh my. I am totally becoming the crazy cat lady. But let’s be honest, who can resist these cute little furballs with matching face marks? Those of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook are probably very much over these kittens already, but here I went and dedicated a blog post to them as well. Yeah.

They are brother and sister, 13 weeks old and still need to be named. My proposal was Pluk and Aagje (Pluck and Aggie as they are called in English, two characters from a very famous Dutch children’s book by Annie M. G. Schmidt). Let’s see if this flies with the other household members.

This is Aagje on the way from Zeeland to Amsterdam. I like how they’re black and white but somehow striped as well when the sun catches their fur! And the way this little lady sleeps…

Cutest kitties ever!

Too bad I don’t get to see them again soon after this week :( They will be living at Jesse’s parents’ farm house in Zeeland. For this week we figured they’d be too small to be left alone (with plenty cat food of course!) so they came back with us. I have been taking iPhone photos of their every move from the moment we took them home.

Cutest kitties ever!

Word to the wise: NEVER leave anything even remotely valuable in the surroundings of such small kittens. It will be professionally wrecked for sure. When we go out or go to sleep, they’re locked in the hall where there’s nothing but walls. A little sad for them but hey, they have each other and I have peace of mind  ;)

I will miss them so much! They’ll have grown so much when I see them in Zeeland the next time…

The bar/gallery that was open for 3 hours

Saying goodbye

This is a funny story I’m going to tell you. Remember my last post about W50 opening? That was a little white lie I told you. Actually, we were asked to close down on the day we opened, 2 weeks ago on Monday. And not because they were starting renovations and anti-squatting wasn’t necessary anymore, but because another shopkeeper in the neighbourhood had complained to the block owner about unfair competition. Of course we can understand this. Our rent is lower than the rent other shopkeepers have to pay who rent a regular place. But the fact is that we can get evicted anytime and have our business in a run-down place, and that is why we don’t have to pay a lot. They have certain rights that we don’t, so they pay more. It’s the way the world works.

We are really sad that no one, not the block owner, the scared shopkeeper or our anti-squat provider have contacted us to inquire and verify the complaint. They ran with whatever information they had and the moment we had our menu and prices up, we were asked to close our business.

Although we were very sad to learn about this, we were also keen to let everyone know what we had in mind with the place and that is why we threw the little opening party last Thursday. You can go to Facebook for all of the pictures. It was a great success, heaps of people came and we were left with a lot of tips and contact information to help us get started in another location!

Aleks's work and a mirror

We are so happy to have so many friends and family who care about us and our project, and we really hope to make them proud again soon when we open a new place. I am also really happy to have briefly been showing the beautiful work of Aleks Pietrzykowska, Suzanna Knight and Jeroen Arians here.

Hopefully,  I can tell you about a new location soon. In the meantime, if you have any good tips or information about places to rent in Amsterdam, I’d be happy to hear about it :D