Category Archives: Travel

Stylish luggage for special travels

I’m sure I’m not the only person who is thinking of escaping to sunnier climes right now. I’m daydreaming about travel, and remembering my trips away with my eldest daughter. We go away together for one weekend every year – just the two of us. I like to think these little trips expand her mind and cement our bond but I think for her it’s more about the shopping.

Pen & Mabel

Me with my daughter Mabel. Photo: Patrick Cadell

Once we were shopping at Merci in Paris, where she found a little old-fashioned suitcase in a pretty Liberty print. She then spotted one with cartoon shapes to colour in, at which point all her dreams came true. Virgo mum, on the other hand, began to panic about how awful it would look when she took a felt-tip to it. But years later, in spite of her allowing anyone to have a go, or perhaps because of that, it has become the perfect little piece of nostalgia that sparks luggage envy, even in me.


Liberty print case. Image courtesy of Merci, Paris.


Mabel’s case.

I recently came across the grown-up case to rival my daughter’s. It might have been the pop of pink that caught my eye, but all of the Steamline Luggage colours are heavenly – and not all of them are sickly sweet. These vintage style cases are handcrafted, with the latest functionality (silent wheels, extendable handles) and give a lot of style for your money (the carry-on starts at around £300).

bel air luggage

Steamline Luggage. Image courtesy of


Steamline luggage. Image courtesy of


REISS X Steamline Luggage. Image courtesy of

If money is no object, my luggage of choice would be Goyard, a French house with exquisite craftsmanship that dates back to the 1800s. A Goyard trunk will become an heirloom – it looks better with wear and age (how great is that) and looks just as good in the home, when not in use.

goyard pinth dot come

Vintage Goyard trunk. Image courtesy of

The ‘personalisation’ section of the Goyard website is a wonderful way to waste time – enter your initials and select your colours from the endless combinations. They will hand-paint them onto your purchase, the same way they did more than 160 years ago for the aristocracy. My coated canvas Goyard bag has proved to be a fantastic chuck-everything-in travel bag, and the fact that it is emblazoned with my initials makes me think that nobody will ever steal it.


In France, with my girls and my Goyard

The pieces I have talked about here are all extravagant, but they’re classic. And if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, you could try Vestiaire (for pre-owned Goyard that you can be sure is authentic), or Ebay and Etsy – for antique travel trunks. Either way, a great piece of luggage makes a perfect gift. What special god-son or daughter wouldn’t love something that comes with style and the promise of adventure?


Image courtesy of

I will probably have to keep carrying my little grey Eastpack for the time being, especially as I wouldn’t trust any of these pieces near the hold of a sleazyjet flight, but one day I will take great delight in handing my Goyard suitcase to my gloved driver who will place it carefully in the back of my yellow e-Type and drive me to the South of France.

Travel is the stuff that dreams are made of, after all.

3.8 E-Type Roadster (1961-1964)

3.8 E-Type Jaguar. Image courtesy of


Steamline Luggage is based in New York and Dublin and ships internationally.

Merci is a concept & lifestyle store in Paris that donates all its profits to charity. 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris.

Goyard, ‘malletier’ (maker of luggage and suitcases), is a French company based at 233 and 352 Rue St Honoré, 75001 Paris.


Ila Spa Kundalini for a natural high

The Ila Spa Kundalini back treatment is what has led me to write this post in a zombie-like state, so it seems fitting that I share my experience. I was going to write about shopping in the sales, but after an hour of being stroked and cupped and goodness knows what (I fell asleep) I can’t even recognise myself, let alone transport my mind back to work and retail.

After the usual over-indulging at Christmas and New Year my family and I sought refuge and detoxification (in the form of yet more indulgence) at the Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa in Hampshire. It’s had a lot of press lately, thanks to celebrities staying in the tree houses which are nestled in the woodland with outdoor hot tubs.


Outside one of the Treehouse suites at Chewton Glen

The hotel is an easy trek from London (around 2 hours by car) and just a few minutes walk from the sea (20, with two small children in tow). The main hotel is vast, traditional and the interior quite bizarre (Fornasetti wallpaper with lilac banquettes and rich red carpet) but the welcome is warm, the food sensational and the spa treatments pure heaven.


Chewton Glen spa pool. Image courtesy of Relais & Chateaux

I love Ila Spa products. The ingredients are really, really pure and harvested to capture vibrational energies. Even if you don’t go for that kind of thing (which I do), they smell divine and work like a dream. I was keen to experience their treatments, to say the least.

Ila spa products

Image courtesy of

The Kundalini back treatment in fact starts at the feet, with a scrub ‘for grounding’. Then there’s a gentle massage which, rather than kneading and pummelling is more of a light sweep along the spine. The lightness of touch leads you into extreme relaxation, which is what the energy-based treatment is designed to do. The seven chakras are cupped, to flush away blockages, before warm herbal compresses are placed along the spine and I can’t really remember much else.

Except that my husband said I looked ‘wasted’ when I got back to our room and promptly booked one for himself.

We booked our stay via Mr and Mrs Smith. Kundalini Back Treatment by Ila Spa at Chewton Glen, £99 (1 hour).