August travel essentials – the round-up

What a difference a month makes (well, a month and a couple of days, the school holidays have me running slightly behind). At the end of July, we were just beginning our Cambodia adventure and the long summer holidays stretched ahead.

Girl in a field with a suitcase - my travel essentials for the month, from beauty, books and fashion to my latest suitcase must-haves

Suddenly now the start of the new term is almost upon us, I’ve been sorting through Minnie’s clothes to see what she’s grown out of (almost everything), been stamping her name into uniform (that’s a time-saving revelation after ironing labels in last year) and my thoughts are turning to autumn.

So after last month’s bumper set of holiday purchases for my suitcase, the focus has been on fashion this month – here are my August travel essentials and additions to my packing lists.

It never fails to amuse me when I have a clear-out of Minnie’s drawers, to see what a weird variety of sizes are stuffed in there – I unearthed a few things for 18-24 months and 2-3 years which have only just stopped fitting my five-year-old! But all that South East Asian sunshine seems to have agreed with her, and suddenly her wrists and ankles are sticking out all over.

Collage of Marks & Spencer kids fashion including blue cardigan, umbrella print wellies and animal print socks - some of my fashion travel essentials for August

With a gift voucher to blow, first up was Marks & Spencer to fill a few gaps as the colder weather looms: two rather cute cardigans – one blue and another in yellow – plus these fun umbrella and raincloud wellies which have already come in useful for splashing in streams on a country walk.

Even her socks are getting too small, so I couldn’t resist this set with unicorns and lemurs as well.

Then, I spotted the ongoing sale at Mini Boden – and as well as grabbing some cropped leggings and Summer Hotchpotch T-shirt for next year (organised alert!), I got a rather cute car-patterned long-sleeved Hotchpotch T-shirt and matching leggings, some cat face leggings and Sherpa lined anorak.

Collage of Mini Boden girls clothing including hotchpotch T-shirts, Sherpa lined anorak and fun leggings - some of my fashion travel essentials for August

We’ve had one of these every year and they’re brilliant for keeping her warm and dry, plus the dark blue duck pattern will work for school as well. And then, because I got a bit distracted and kept browsing, a Rae ruffle sleeved top to add to my own stripy collection.

And as longer sleeves are going to be getting more vital, I also added to my lace top collection from Oasis with this white Kick sleeve lace top while I make the most of any autumn sunshine – should I get the turquoise one too? And a Kissing Zebra T-shirt for no better reason than loving zebras!

Collage of women's fashion from Oasis and Boden, including lace kick flare top, Rae striped ruffle top and Kissing Zebras T-shirt - some of my fashion travel essentials for August

Travel essentials
Anyone with kids will know just how much you end up toting around every day – thankfully less than the baby years, but when we’re out and about on our travels, I’m cramming everything from extra clothing to drinks and snacks, entertainment, phone, purse, chargers, umbrella, sunglasses, who knows what else into a bag.

And when that day out is in Cambodia, I definitely didn’t want to be without anything essential – but didn’t want to be lugging a heavy bag around in the heat. Helpfully Osprey had been in touch to ask if we wanted to review something from their range – there are some seriously high-tech and clever looking rucksacks and hiking gear on the website, although needless to say, I was looking for something a bit more everyday. Definitely more of a wanderer and sightseer than a hiker!

Purple Osprey Daylite day pack on our balcony at our hotel in Kep - the rucksack is one of my new travel essentials

Which led me rather neatly to the 24/7 collection, and then to the Daylite pack – and not just because it comes in Eggplant purple. Though partly that, I admit. It weighs less than half a kilogram, folded up easily into my suitcase on the way out, and holds 13 litres. If you’re like me, and visualising things in litres doesn’t come naturally, that easily covered what we needed for a day out.

There are side pockets to put a water bottle in, two more zipped sections – one small, with little phone pockets, which was great for money and bits and bobs; one larger which held waterproofs, my cover-up, camera, a few other odds and ends and snacks, plus has a separate pocket at the back to put my daughter’s Leap Hop Cambodia book in so it was always to hand and would have held a laptop.

You can also stuff things down the back, which is ventilated so I didn’t get hideously sweaty, plus the non-fiddly zips mean you can pull it open without dislocating a shoulder. The chest and waist clips seem good if you’re carrying a heavier load, although half the time I did just what my mother told me not to, and had it slung over one shoulder. It was water-resistant enough to cope with me occasionally running to shelter during Cambodia’s rainy season too.

There’s even a hydration sleeve. Not being a serious walker, I stuck with boring old bottles, but it’s nice to know! And after carrying it every day on our two weeks around Cambodia, this is definitely coming exploring with me again in future.

Lastly, as Minnie cares far more about things to entertain her than what she’s wearing, there’s one more addition that she’d pick as a distinct essential – the ingenious Mayka Toy Block tape. I first spotted the product when it was originally looking for crowd-funding a little while ago, and knew Minnie would love to test it out when we were offered a pack for review.

Made from non-toxic silicone, the bendable strip comes in several different colours and lengths – ours is the blue four-stud, two metre length – and it’s designed to work with Lego, as well as other toy block brands. As to what you can do with it? Well, your imagination is the only real limit.

My daughter plays with Mayka toy block tape and her Lego - one of my August travel essentials

You can cut it to length, while the back has re-useable adhesive so you can stick it to any surface, including around corners or to make curves. We made a permanent home for some of it on Minnie’s toybox, with two small ‘hills’ – the only way to get these to hold their shape is to stick them on, and while they have collapsed a few times, I discovered that constantly re-sticking hasn’t left any marks.

So far it’s stayed attached to the box too (and Lego people have stayed stuck to the underside!) I’m not sure how much of these topographical changes are down to Minnie seizing every chance to play with and redesign it, but then that’s the point!

We also threw it into a bag to take away over the bank holiday weekend as it’s easier to coil up in a corner than flat Lego bases, and even as one long flat strip, it quickly became an ever more intricate obstacle course for her Lego horse and cars.

If you are packing it for a holiday, it’s worth thinking of a solution to cover the adhesive back again if you’re planning to stick it down. And don’t leave battling with the packaging until you get on the plane! But for mini Lego fiends (and full-size ones, for that matter), this is a rather genius product to get creative with.

Just watch out for blocks on the floor in the middle of the night…


Disclosure: All opinions remain my own for any products mentioned, including those sent for review. This post contains some affiliate links: any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a few pennies back – all are products and retailers I’ve personally tried or recommend.

Main image courtesy Pixabay, fashion product images courtesy of the retailer, all others copyright MummyTravels