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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!




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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!


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The Lady’s Maid Recommends…Christmas Stocking Fillers

The Lady’s Maid has been off-line for a little while…tending to the the never-ending needs of her employer…but with Christmas just around the corner she is taking a well-deserved break for the festive season and has time, at last, to put her dainty feet up for a few days and pen a new entry for her blog!

There’s nothing the Lady’s Maid likes to do more than indulge in a bit of retail therapy; even shopping for someone else, it is still possible to get a kick by proxy (especially upon realising, once the post-purchase high fades, that her bank account remains undented). Errand running for her boss means that she gets to shop and be paid for it with the added bonus of being able to do a quick spot of cheeky browsing for herself 😉  So with just a few days of Christmas shopping left, the Lady’s Maid has chosen to share with you her recommendations for a few last-minute Christmas stocking fillers. Merry Christmas!


Ted Baker Travel Laundry Bags, set of 3, £35

Top of the Lady’s Maid’s Christmas list this year is these stylish travel laundry bags from Ted Baker – the perfect gift for jet setters who like a place for everything and everything in its place. Available from  John Lewis.


Ted Baker Travel Laundry Bags, set of 3, £35


Aroma Home Printed Owl Freshener, £15

The Lady’s Maid loves lavender – the best natural ingredient for keeping your wardrobe smelling fresh and keeping moths at bay. This cute wintery themed lavender hanger would make a perfect stocking filler this Christmas for those who care for their clothes! Available from John Lewis.



Aroma Home Printed Owl Freshener, £15


British Birds Frame Washbag, £20

The Lady’s Maid is a big fan of the new Cath Kidston frame wash bags – the sturdy metal frame at the top retains the opened shape once unzipped, ensuring you can easily locate the contents when propped open on your dressing table, making them perfect for home and on the go. The Lady’s Maid’s favourite is the new British Birds design – no Lady, or Lady’s Maid, for that matter, should be without one!


Cath Kidston, British Birds Frame Washbag, £20


2016 Filigree Floral Ebony Diary, £12.99

One thing that is vital for The Lady’s Maid, when it comes to maintaining her air of serene calm when faced with all manner of problems from every direction, is organisation. She may be forced to succumb to the technology of the 21st Century and use her iPhone calender to record appointments, but deep down she secretly loves writing them in her paper diary also. For 2016 she has chosen this Paperblanks A6 Diary with a Filigree Floral Ebony cover, which brings to mind the stylish refinement of a nineteenth-century drawing room. Available online and from bookshops, e.g. Waterstones.


Filigree Floral Ebony Diary, £12.99



Morris & Co. Hand Cream Collection Gift Set, £9

The Lady’s Maid’s hands have to withstand the perils that come with the constant hand-washing of her employer’s delicate smalls, so wouldn’t be without a good hand cream. One of her favourites is Morris & Co’s Golden Lily Shea butter hand cream. The hand cream is composed of fresh citrus scents of tangerine and bergamot, blended with cinnamon and nutmeg spices on an earthy base of cedar wood. Elegantly presented in William Morris inspired packaging. Available in miniature size in a boxed trio – the perfect stocking filler.

Available from Heathcote & Ivory and John Lewis.


Morris & Co. Hand Cream Collection Gift Set, £9


Charbonnel & Walker Milk Chocolate Handbag & Heels Set, £6.50

The Handbags and Shoes don’t have to stay in the wardrobe on this occasion – The Lady’s Maid couldn’t resist including these adorable edible shoes from Charbonnel & Walker. The ideal little gift for shoe and chocolate connoisseurs. Available from John Lewis.


Charbonnel et Walker, Handbag & Heels, £6.50


The Duties of a Lady’s Maid, £12.99

This fascinating book published this year by Chawton House Press is a reproduction of the 1825 original “The Duties of a Lady’s Maid” [London: Printed for James Bullock, 163, Strand, 1825] and was, in its day, the go-to manual for all aspiring Lady’s Maids.

If you ever wondered what the actual duties of a Lady’s Maid were in the 1800s, then this book reveals all, bringing to life the unique and challenging role of a 19th-century Lady’s Maid.

available online at


The Duties of a Lady’s Maid, £12.99

Merry Christmas!