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Lighten the Load – Travel Toiletries

Lighten the Load – Travel Toiletries and Make-up

Travelling light is not easy even for the most seasoned of travellers. Even the Lady’s Maid herself has been caught out at the airport with an extra charge for a heavy suitcase. One area where you can lighten the load of your belongings to avoid this happening is with your travel toiletries and make-up. These can really add to the weight of your suitcase, so if you want to free up space for that extra pair of shoes you might wear on holiday, take note of the Lady’s Maids top tips for toiletry packing.

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  • Pack miniatures not full-size bottles. Besides sun protection, the Lady’s Maid would recommend packing only miniatures of your essential daily toiletries. Full-size bottles of anything will seriously add to the weight of your suitcase. Boots and Superdrug have a much larger range of mini toiletries these days.  Department stores such as John Lewis also sell a good range of miniatures.
  • Many brands also do ready-made travel sets complete with zipped transparent bags, which are great as they are permitted in hand luggage. Only buy these if you’re actually going to use all of the products though, or remove the ones you won’t use – there’s no point in adding unnecessary weight to your bag.

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  • If you are loyal to a particular brand and can’t do without it, then decant a small amount into empty miniature bottles – you can purchase these in most chemists. Muji also sell a wide range of empty mini pumpable, squeezable and sprayable bottles.
  • Stream-line your skincare routine. Pack only the products you actually use on a daily basis. Most hotels will have a decent shower gel, if not more, so you could forgo your usual shower gel.
  • Pack full-size sun protection for face, body and hair and mosquito repellant. These are the only products that you’re likely to want to use a lot, so you won’t want to run out.

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  • Pack your toiletries in a transparent bag so that you can easily see what you have and if any items  are missing. These ones from M&S are great value.

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  • Be selective with make-up. If you are holidaying in a hot climate, you are probably not going to want to wear your usual make-up, especially in the day-time when your skin is exposed to the sun. The Lady’s Maid has only six items in her holiday make-up bag:
  • Bourjois CC cream
  • Lanolips tinted lip cream with SPF
  • Maybelline mascara
  • Chanel cream blush stick
  • MAC bright moisturising lipstick
  • Guerlain bronzer

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  • Use a make-up bag that makes it easy to locate items. The Lady’s Maid travels with a frame make-up bag from Cath Kidston. The sturdy metal frame keeps it open so that the contents are easy to find.

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Happy Holidays!




Clothing Care, The Lady's Maid's Looks

White Wear

Inspired by the ‘all white wear’ rule that tennis players are obliged to adhere to at Wimbledon this week, The Lady’s Maid has picked out her favourite white pieces for summer. White is a very versatile colour to have in your wardrobe in summer and winter – from crisp white collared shirts to broderie anglaise summer tops. Like black, it’s a colour that never goes out of fashion and can be paired with almost any other colour. The only downside being that white shows up marks and stains more easily so The Lady’s Maid also recommends some products to care for your precious whites.


Scalloped dress, £1,950, Valentino; White cotton cami, £29, Warehouse; white jade Cabochon Drop Hook Earrings, £99, Dyrberg/Kern at John Lewis; slingback loafers, £475, Tabitha Simmons; lace bomber jacket, £107, Ted Baker; lace dress, £140, Reiss; sunglasses, £16, Top Shop; cropped trousers, £145, Reiss; across body bag, £250, Coach; cutwork broiderie shorts, £26, Top Shop; white lace espadrille flats, £115, L K Bennett.

Top Tips for Washing Whites

  • Treat stained areas properly prior to washing – rinse stain in cold water first and then treat with an appropriate stain removal product eg. Vanish or Stain Devils.
  • Wash as hot as the garment label allows using a powder detergent rather than a gel or liquid (powder detergents contain brightening agents)
  • Keep your washing machine clean – run the machine on the hottest wash with a cup of white vinegar once a month.
  • White tops will suffer more than colours from perspiration stains – so wash more frequently than colours to prevent permanent yellowing.
  • Add a whitening powder to the wash for even brighter whites e.g. Vanish Gold Oxi-action for whites powder.





The Lady's Maid's Looks

What to Wear…Wimbledon

Wimbledon – that most English of sporting occasions – is upon us again. In sporting terms, Wimbledon is one of the four “grand slams” – the most important tennis tournaments for professional players. But most players will admit that Wimbledon is the top tournament and the one which they dream of winning as a child. This has something to do with tradition, history, and style. Respecting these principles makes the English carry off their seasonal events so well – not changing for change sake, and upholding certain traditions that are important to the attraction of the event (although the Lady’s Maid did weep a little when the players’ pre-/post-match bow to the Royal Box ended. Admittedly, it did start to become more likely to see David Beckham in the Royal box than a minor royal, so it saves the embarrassment of tennis players mistakenly bowing to footballers). But other stylish traditions are still alive and well – white sportswear is still the only colour allowed to be worn by players, for example. So strict is the “all-white wear” rule that officials at the All England Club even enforce it for undergarments – heaven forbid that a coloured knicker ruffle should be flashed.

For on-lookers the dress code is thankfully more relaxed. For general ticket-holders there are no specific rules. It is advisable to wear loose-fitted clothes that are comfortable for sitting down all day – five-set matches can go on late into the evening. And a jacket or some form of cover-up if you are staying all day.

In the debentures area the dress code has been relaxed in recent years to allow denim, although ripped jeans and trainers are still banned.

In the members area the dress code for men is lounge suit or tailored jacket, shirt, trousers and dress shoes, so ladies would be expected to match this; e.g. smart day dresses, or smart two-piece outfits.

Here are some of the Lady’s Maid’s suggestions for Wimbledon Wear – let’s hope the sun is shining on Centre Court.


Jumpsuit, £110, Whistles; red bag, £87, L K Bennett; shoes, £117, L K Bennett; Jacket, £185, Reiss



Dress, £245, Whistles; shoes, £79, Mint Velvet; bag, £225, Michael Kors; jacket, £147, L K Bennett.



Top, £145, L K Bennett; Trousers, £145, Reiss; shoes, £35, Top Shop; bag, £250, Coach.




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Royal Ascot

The Lady’s Maid offers her advice on how to dress like a Royal at Royal Ascot this year.

In a fashion age where anything goes, the Lady’s Maid is relieved that there are still some occasions where one has to follow certain rules before getting dressed. Thankfully, Royal Ascot still adheres to strict dress codes for racegoers, at least within the Royal Enclosure. But from frequenting this most sartorial of race meetings herself, the Lady’s Maid has noticed how many young women do not know how to “dress up” for a day event. Often the dresses on display would be more suitable for a nightclub than broad daylight. There is a time and a place for body-con satin and open-toe stilettos, and it isn’t amongst horses.

On consulting the Royal Ascot website you will see the dress code that should be followed:

The dress code for the Royal Enclosure is basically “formal daywear”, which is defined as:

  • Skirt/dress to be knee-length or longer
  • Straps on dresses should be at least one inch
  • Trouser suits are allowed, but they should be of matching colour and material
  • Hats should be worn. Head pieces are acceptable as long as the base is 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter

What NOT to wear:

  • Dresses of the strapless, spaghetti strap, halterneck, or off-the-shoulder variety
  • Fascinators

The strictest code is for the Royal Enclosure, which is relaxed a little for the other enclosures; e.g. strappy dresses and fascinators are permitted elsewhere.

So, with this dress code in mind, the Lady’s Maid offers some tips and looks on what to wear for Ascot this year.

Top Tips for formal daywear dressing.

  • Stick to two colours – one for the outfit and hat and one for accessories.
  • Neutral accessories are great for formal dressing – nude/tan/black will go with many colour choices.
  • Avoid bright colours unless you accessorise neutrally – there is a reason the Royals are mainly seen in all shades of neutral – it may seem boring, but it is hard not to look elegant in oyster or champagne.
  • Avoid flimsy fascinators – The Lady’s Maid would rather see a hatless head than a few feathers stuck on to an Alice band – they add nothing to the style of an outfit.
  • If you have chosen a statement/flamboyant hat let the hat speak for itself and stick to a simple/unfussy dress and accessories.



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Hat, Rosie Oliver Millinery; Dress, L K Bennett; Shoes, L K Bennett, Bag, Dune.


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Hat, Peter Whiteley; Dress, L K Bennett, Bag, Dune; Shoes, Dune


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Hat, Rachel Trevor Morgan; Dress, Reiss; Bag, L K Bennett; Shoes, L K Bennett.




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Styling a Holiday Wardrobe


“I get ideas about what’s essential when packing my suitcase.”

                                                                   Diane Von Furstenburg

Packing for travel makes you realise what are the most essential items in your wardrobe. While it can be tempting to force your entire wardrobe and accessories collection into one suitcase and leave decision-making until you reach your destination, the Lady’s Maid strongly advises against this. You will weigh down your suitcase unnecessarily – half the clothes won’t be worn and you’ll just have more work to do unpacking and packing again –valuable time taken out of your holiday!

Packing for a holiday can present decision anxiety in even the most seasoned of travellers.  But if you are organised and selective, you can still have plenty of outfits to wear without your suitcase bursting at the seams. Here are the Lady’s Maid’s top tips for styling your holiday wardrobe:

  • Lay out all of the clothes that you could potentially take with you – lay out as many as you want at this stage. It will help you to see what you have and make the styling process easier.
  • Select outfits according to the length of your holiday – one day outfit and one evening outfit for each day of the holiday. Avoid too many “statement one-piece outfits”; i.e. patterned/beaded dresses that it is likely you will only wear once within the holiday.
  • Separates are good for multiple wears, e.g. a patterned skirt or pair of trousers that can be dressed up or down with different plain tops and different accessories. Pick out one separate and see how many different looks you can create with it by dressing it up and down and mixing and matching with your other garments.
  • Don’t allow anything to enter your suitcase unless you have already styled it into an outfit – if you haven’t got anything to wear with it at this stage, the likelihood is you won’t wear it on holiday.
  • Limit your shoes to the following: one pair of flip-flops, one pair of neutral flat sandals, one pair of comfortable flats for walking, e.g. espadrilles or loafers, and one pair of gold/silver flat sandals for evening. Shoes take up a lot of space in your suitcase, so it’s really important to be selective here. If you want to take heels, heeled wedges are a better choice for sunny destinations. The Lady’s Maid loves shoes, but buys mostly neutral colours for summer (white/beige/tan/metallic) – they will go with all your outfits.
  • Select a couple of neutral bags – e.g. white/tan/metallic that match the shoes you’ve selected.

The Lady’s Maid has an imaginary holiday to Abu Dhabi coming up (lucky her). She has picked out these cool and elegant grey/white patterned Harem trousers from East and selected some other pieces to mix and match with these trousers to create both a day look and an evening one:




grey harem trousers, £59, East


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Day Look:

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white tank top, £75, Reiss;  silver and turquoise necklace, £20, Accessorize; white linen cardigan, £45, Monsoon, white leather espadrilles, £79, Mint Velvet


In the day look, the trousers are teamed with a simple round-neck tank top, white espadrille flats, and a white linen cardigan. These pieces are all very versatile and could be matched with lots of other garments for multiple wears.

Evening Look:


silver tank top, £60, Reiss; silver leaf earrings, £12, Accessorize, silver clutch, £29, Accessorize; silver leather sandals, £185, L. K. Bennett

In the evening look, the same trousers can be worn with a silver shift top. For another evening look, the silver top could be worn again with the silver wedges and a pair of white trousers such as  these ones from Mint Velvet. The silver wedges and clutch will go with any coloured outfits, too. Try and get at least two wears out of each piece that you pack.

Top tips for travel:

  • Toiletries can really add to the weight of your suitcase so avoid taking big bottles and buy miniatures where possible instead. If you can’t find your favourite products in a miniature version, try buying empty miniature bottles to decant your products in to. Muji has a good range of squeezable, sprayable and pumpable mini bottles.
  • If you find it difficult to travel light consider purchasing an extra light suitcase which will save you pounds in weight and in excess baggage fees. Samsonite Curv suitcases are made of a very light material whilst still being strong and durable.


Happy Holidays!






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Christmas Stocking Fillers 2016

With just two more shopping days to go before Christmas, the Lady’s Maid brings you a few of her favourite ideas for last-minute stocking fillers! Let’s hope Santa is listening in!

Molton Brown’s limited edition bauble shaped shower gels come in a range of festive fragrances to choose from: There’s Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea, Black Peppercorn and Coriander, Juniper Berries and Lapp Pine, and Rhubarb and Rose…..but the Lady’s Maid’s personal favourite is this opulent Oudh Accord and gold – a blend of sweet cinnamon, oudh accord and gold leaf extract to add a luxury lather to your Christmas morning shower!


Molton Brown’s Bauble Shower Gel, £11

Make your own merriment this Christmas with Fortnum and Mason’s Mulled Wine Spice bag. Each bag contains 4 separate little sachets filled with mixed spices including cinnamon, orange peel, allspice and cloves. Boil one sachet with water, add some red wine, orange juice, brandy and sugar to taste and you have a perfectly delicious winter warmer drink for cosy Christmas nights by the fire!


Fortnum and Mason Mulled Wine Spice Bag, £6

The Lady’s Maid loves cosy Christmas nights but hates her twinkle toes to suffer in the depths of a  bleak mid-winter. These socks from Johnstons of Elgin are 100% cashmere and will ensure your tootsies are kept toasty and warm!

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Johnston’s of Elgin Cashmere Cable Bedsocks, £69

Christmas Candles are the perfect way to enhance the festivities with the scent of Christmas. The Lady’s Maid loves to light a candle and snuggle up to watch a Christmas movie with a glass of mulled wine!  Encapsulate the spirit of Chistmas in a candle with Lily Flame’s “Christmas Day” – an evocative blend of white cedar and nutmeg.

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Lily Flame “Christmas Day” Candle, £12

This luxurious and creamy lipstick from Chanel is the perfect classic red to brighten up your outfit on Christmas Day. Moisturising and long-lasting it will hopefully stay on your lips well past the brandy butter!


Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick, Gabrielle 444, £26

The Lady’s Maid loves Ted Baker’s “A Prettty Sip to Keep at Your Hip” – a stylish hip flask for those who like a tipsy tipple at Christmas time and beyond. An elegant way to carry your drink of choice when on the move!


Ted Baker Hip Flask, £35

Sanctuary Spa’s Thermal Detox Mask instantly goes to work the minute you put it on your skin. It is self-heating so you will feel your face warm up on application with the clay mixture drawing out all impurities to leave you with a fresh new face to face the New Year!

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Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask, £2.99

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Wardrobe Management

Clothes for Life not Landfill

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 13.27.58The Lady’s Maid loves to shop for new clothes, but she is also very savvy when it comes to keeping her wardrobe organised so that there aren’t too many items collecting dust and going unworn and unloved. But what to do with these items? One place for which they are definitely not destined is the dustbin. Clothes should be bought to last and not thrown away, but even the most seasoned and stylish shopper will end up with items of clothing that are unwanted – perhaps rash purchases bought in the Sale or garments that no longer fit properly. Throwing away worn-out clothing should be avoided as it is environmentally damaging – millions of garments end up in landfill each year. According to Oxfam, 9,513 garments are thrown into landfill in Britain every five minutes. That’s a total of one billion items a year. As well as the environmental concern resulting from this (because some textiles will emit harmful gases when they eventually biodegrade), there is a huge financial cost to landfill depositing: at £72 per tonne of landfill waste, the cost per year of throwing away clothing in the UK is over £25 million.

In this post, the Lady’s Maid suggests some ways of dealing with your unwanted clothing:

  • Selling unwanted clothing on eBay is a great way to find your unwanted garments a new home, whilst  – after all, one lady’s trash is another lady’s treasure!
  • High-end designer labels will also sell well on designer second-hand clothing websites, such as
  • Donate clothes to Charity shops. Make sure that they are in a wearable condition and wash clothing before donating.
  • Worn-out clothing of appropriate fabric, such as cotton, can be cut into rags to use for household cleaning or shoe polishing.
  • Clothes and shoes can be recycled along with other household textiles and made into new textiles, such as household insulation or mattress filling. Some clothing will also be sold on for reuse to countries such as Africa. Check with your local council to see if they collect clothing for recycling, or look out for clothing recycle banks in supermarket car parks. Refer to the website to find out what you can recycle and where.

Retailers and Recycling Initiatives

Marks & Spencer launched an initiative with Oxfam in 2012 called Schwopping to encourage people to recycle their unwanted clothes. Customers were invited to bring along an M&S labelled item of clothing that they no longer wore to a participating store where they would be rewarded with a £5 M&S voucher in return. M&S then donated the clothes to Oxfam, who resell the garments online, in their stores or in international markets. Clothing that cannot be resold can be used to make new fabric for things like loft insulation. Since the initiative was launched, 7.8 million garments have been “schwopped”, which is worth an estimated £5.5 million to the charity. If initiatives such as these are adopted by more retailers, it will significantly reduce the amount of clothes sent to landfill each year. See their website for more details and participating M&S stores.

Other stores that run similar schemes include H&M, &Other Stories and Levis.


Jigsaw launched an advertising campaign in 2015 to encourage the idea of clothing being for Life and not for Landfill. Their ads featured clothes from their current collection worn with vintage pieces to promote the idea that fashion doesn’t have to be all about the new and that quality clothing can be classic and bought to last for decades, with the new complementing the old and vice versa.


So before discarding even that worn-out old bra to the dustbin, have a think about the lasting damage to the environment to which you are contributing, and recycle!