winter sun: how to be warm #stlucia #travel #packing #suitcase #warm #weather

You’d think I’d know – after growing up in Sydney and living in Singapore, Dubai, Delhi, Cameroon, Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Kikai-jima (a tiny island in Japan’s Ryukyu archipelago) – what it feels like to be warm. Throw a European winter at me, however, and my soul runs for its corporeal panic room, surviving on chocolate cake, real ale and central heating until spring is in full swing.

And, while I’ll admit that my darker months aren’t in the least Dickensian, I do get tired of the never-ending grey days. Mostly, I’m comfortable, but keeping the frostbite at bay is always such an effort. The layers going on, the layers coming off, the bracing yourself for the chill before you leave the house, the constant moisturising, the cold toilet seats, the dripping noses, the mittens you bought at Cos and then left on a train two years ago that still fills your sartorial heart with a morsel of sorrow. Oh, the woe.

Now that I’ve drawn you in, it’s time to confess (prepare for your pity to melt quicker than the Wicked Witch Of The West). Tomorrow I’m off to St Lucia, which means that today I’m trying to decide what to pack for my first ever trip to the Caribbean. Naturally, I’ve been checking out the weather forecast. We’re talking highs of 29ºC, lows of 25ºC, and pretty much constant sunshine (Have I lost you?), so why do I want to max out my suitcase with a sloppy joe and wooly scarf just in case?

It’s madness, I tell you, and I refuse to give into it. Instead, I’m trying to remember how easy it is to be warm. If I recall, all you need is a slip of a dress here, a a cool white shirt there and a kick ass bikini for all the hours in between.

Agreed? Hello? Are you there? Oh, OK. I get it.

What follows is my packing list – for my own amusement, it seems. 

for the plane #stlucia #travel #packing #suitcase #warm #weather

I like to be comfy on board and not weighed down by a big carry-on while window shopping in the terminal and walking to the gate. Here are my long-haul travel essentials: Lavender-stuff eye mask c/- Holistic Silk, The Autobiography Of My Mother by Jamaica Kinkaid (this has been sitting on my shelf for ages and thought it was about time to check it out, especially since its set in the Caribbean), sunglasses c/- TOMS, Clarins hand cream, iPhone for Podcasts, noise cancelling headphones, my beautiful pen c/- Parker, Rescue Remedy, Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment (yes it’s good for boils, but I use it as a lip balm), Diptyque perfume, the stunning notebook handmade for me by Debbie Cook at Paper With Spirit (it’s already been to Japan and Morocco) and a passport (duh).

for the beach #stlucia #travel #packing #suitcase #warm #weather

The amazing bikini thanks to Bikini Fling. I don’t usually like two-pieces, but this one has magical powers. Stay tuned. And don’t you just love the pink sandals I stole from a friend’s house yesterday? Thank you, Alex.

for day trips #stlucia #travel #packing #suitcase #warm #weather

On the left is skirt that I picked up from Zara a few years ago. The beautiful shirt was given to me by Hot Squash. Apparently it’s got hidden powers to keep me cool. I’ll definitely by reporting back. The silver necklace is courtesy of Pomellato, darling.

for nights out on the town #stlucia #travel #packing #suitcase #warm #weather

Only an Eileen Fisher maxi dress and scarf will do. Oh, by the way, I’ve just previewed their new AW13 collection. WOW.

and who could forget the shoes #stlucia #travel #packing #suitcase #warm #weather

In addition to the aforementioned pink delights, I’m taking my trusty Manolo Blahnik flats, olive green chucks, white Havaianas and the leopard print ballet flats I picked up at New Look a little while back.

and last, but not least, the accessories #stlucia #travel #packing #suitcase #warm #weather

The hat is from Country Road, the clutch I picked up in Dubai, and the mini-satchel I bought in Barcelona. The perfect earrings and bracelet were given to me by MADE. And the Chanel? Well, it’s my one and only.

If you’d like to keep up with my travels in St Lucia, please do follow me on Instagram and Twitter. If you’d rather not, ignore me until Wednesday.


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First image via here.

The remaining images © Kate McAuley 2013

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how to make: super spicy mango chutney

Over the past couple of weeks we've received mangos in our fruit and veg box. It's the middle of winter....