Eat & Explore London (and packing light for tourism)

striped blazer red pants
J.Crew blazer (30% off w/SUMMERTIME), Coach court bag (review),
Ann Taylor pants (similar at J.Crew for $35+, similar at LOFT w/ extra 40% off), old H&M linen scarf

While in London, I admired the tall, put-together locals, donning late-May “uniforms” of mostly dark jeans, ankle-height flat booties, and dark leather jackets or trench coats. I wore my bright touristy fare with chagrin, so would recommend packing the aforementioned pieces for visiting if you own them & can pull off the booties. Unlike in this last suitcase series, I packed this time with the primary goal of all-day comfort. The nice part about dressing during travels (for lazy ones like myself, anyways) is that no one will notice when you wear similar outfits daily, or items on repeat. I wore this with heels to the office, onto a red-eye flight, then straight into a day of tourism.
striped blazer red pants2
For longer trips, I use this Samsonite hard shell spinner (use FRIENDS for an extra 25% off) and love it. The 20" size is pretty small, but on the plus side, it limits packing to a weight that I can lift. This has been key, ever since one of my travel fears came true when a few bystanders refused my requests for help with the overhead bin (resulting in a shaky, embarrassing struggle standing on top of a seat & almost chipping a tooth).

london packing
When trying to pack compactly, I start planning with the largest items (and wear the pieces that take up the most room)...

I looked for easily-washable, wrinkle-resistant jackets that could sustain inclement weather and wear & tear, and decided on 1) a denim jacket (the best travel companion) from H&M kids, 2) this knit striped blazer, and 3) a dark Theory trench to wear over everything and in the rain. Since the theme was very blue, I continued from there with pieces in either fellow primary colors (red and yellow), monochromatic, or neighboring colors (ie. teal). These schemes from the trusty color wheel allow for easy mixing and matching using a small number of items. A ancient Old Navy kids white tee served as my basic layering piece, and accessories were limited to functional items like cross-body bags and large scarves. I've found that rolling up garments helps prevent wrinkles, and also lets you see more items in one glance (without uprooting your entire suitcase) when getting dressed.
packing outfits
For sizing reference: 20" suitcase & the durable Longchamp plantes tote against ~5 feet tall frame
samsonite
Walking shoes were the item I struggled with the most. Ideally I would’ve loved to find a sleek leather slip-on shoe with ample arch support, that’s comfortable right off the rack (and not too costly since it’d be taking a beating). Recommendations for such a shoe would be more than appreciated. Instead, a last-minute scour of the mall landed me with a pair of canvas Toms. Out of the few shoes I found in-store in sz 5, these were the most comfortable and lightweight option by far. I’m not a big fan of the canvas slip-on look for myself, but these (with a small embedded arch cushion) were comfy after 5-6 miles a day of walking. The soles are thin, so adding an insert would definitely improve comfort. Fit is true to size but I hear the canvas stretches out with wear, so I plan on adding inserts when mine get looser.
striped blazer red pants1
Unintentional coordination with Nick - now if only I can get him to smile
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Our first stop off the plane was a little shop called Champagne and Fromage, which served mouth-watering cheese & charcuterie platters, tartines (toasted sourdough with toppings), and some small plates like escargo alongside a variety of bubblies. The deal at the time for online bookings was 6.50GBP for cheese or meat boards (typically 8GBP).
champagne fromageWe then crossed the river to catch a ride on the tourist-favorite London Eye. View from below the Eye, while waiting in line:london eye from below
You can buy tickets online to avoid waiting in the ticket lines, but please note that there's a long delay to receive the tickets electronically for printing (mine took about 5 hours). They aren't strict at all about the time slot the tickets are bought for, so no need to pay extra for the "flexible" time ticket. View from the top:
view from london eye
After a whirl on the Eye, we walked along the river Thames to the free-admission Tate Modern art museum, then crossed back over the river to see St. Paul's Cathedral. I heard the views are beautiful from the top, but we were too jet lagged to climb.

We couldn't go the first day without having some of the spectacular Indian food that London is known for. Dinner was at Roti Chai, which is split into an Indian Street Kitchen downstairs with smaller dishes (similar to tapas or dim sum), and a fancier upstairs dining room. The atmosphere downstairs was very lively with lots of good aromas, so we didn't go any further. 
roti chai dinnerAt Indian restaurants, I'm sad to admit I almost never stray from my chicken tikka masala or saag paneer. The lamb stew and fried chicken lollipops here were yummy, but my taste buds were most surprised by the tender fish curry and tantalizingly spicy "hakka chilli paneer" salad of sorts - so good!
roti chai desserts We cooled our burning mouths with a kettle of chai lychee martini, and creamy pistachio and mango (the better of the 2 flavors) ice cream sticks. The prices aren't exactly "street kitchen" levels (bill was ~70 GBP for four), but each of us left full and very satisfied.

104 comments:

  1. omg.. are you serious about this? 'when a few bystanders refused my requests for help with the overhead bin (resulting in a shaky, embarrassing struggle standing on top of a seat).' I cannot believe how inconsiderate some travelers can be.

    i tried the j crew blazer at the store but i thought it was too thin.. no lining :(

    -A

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    1. To be fair : ) ...one guy said he didn't have a good back, and the other (male airline attendant) said "policy requires staff to not help passengers with luggage in case they hurt themselves b/c insurance won't cover it."

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    2. Well, it is true about the 2nd one. I am surprised no passengers tried to help you, though. On my most recent flight, an old man, at least 75, I would say, helped me. I didn't ask him to at all, but he jumped up and did it without saying anything.

      I mean, I felt silly since I was definitely the more "able" person in the situation, but it was still so appreciated.

      What brand are your nude pumps? I quite like the almond toe.

      Also, I'd recommend Bass, Sperry, or Clarks loafers for walking around. They have some cute styles now...they're not all granny chic, haha.

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    3. You can't assume that everyone can help. What if they have a shoulder/arm injury that you can't see? What if they have limited mobility? What if they just don't have the strength (regardless of what you assume because of their stature)? What if they forgot to put deodorant on and are saving themselves and everyone around them from stinky armpits?

      I understand it's frustrating being in the position where you can't help yourself, but it's not fair to just assume that people aren't helping just to be asses.

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    4. Of course - this is true and I dont make that assumption...instead, just recommend packing light to be self-dependent.

      Phoebe - the wedges are pour la victorie "Mai"

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    5. Uhm, Jean never said not implied that the bystanders weren't helping just to be asses. In one of the previous comments she actually defends said bystanders. If you took the time to read that before deciding to jump down her throat about it, you would have known. I suggest you do that next time before you decide to post such a negative, ignorant comment.

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    6. I hear you, Jean! Although I´m not generalizing all European travellers, they do have a tendency to just look at you while you struggle putting in or taking out your things from the overhead bin. I´ve experienced that when I was trying to take out my thick wedding album for my Spanish parents in-laws and everybody was just staring at me and mind you,the guy next to me has the body of a footballer!

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    7. @anonymous, I wasn't actually replying to Jean, but to Annie's comment, hence the fact that my comment was under hers instead of a standalone comment.

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    8. I'm also a carry-on and personal item traveler who is working on lightening my load. It's really important to me to be self sufficient when traveling solo (which is often). I agree that if someone offers to help, it is nice, but it is really self centered to pack more than what you can lift above your head. Other people shouldn't risk injury from my need to bring stuff.

      If I'm traveling with someone else taller and stronger, I still try to pack light. Again, other people shouldn't risk injury from my need to bring stuff. Sure, it is chivalrous and kind for others to offer to help, but again, why should they have to carry or lift my stuff? I'd like to be able to tow my load and even offer to help others if needed.

      Shoes are usually the first to go if I need to lighten weight. Then I would have to say toiletries (wet and dry) and denim are the next heaviest things.

      Ecco makes some comfortable flats.

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  2. Mango ice cream is my favorite! It sounds like you are looking for a leather loafer-esque shoe. I actually love the brand Naturalizer (which I've been told is for old ladies, but whatever) because their shoes are extra-padded and really comfortable for longwear.

    Brittney

    anotherbeautifulthing.blogspot.com

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  3. Thanks for sharing your ideas for packing! I personally have difficultly finding chic flats that are comfortable and easy to pack!

    On a recent trip to Japan, I took flat boots - that were really comfortable - however it was really inconvenient when I had to take my boots off at Japanese hotels/homes. I did try to wear my flats but the lack of arch support made me run back to the hotel room and just throw on my boots!

    I was tempted to wear the sneakers with heels, however, the style just wasn't me. So, personally, I'm still stumped on how to pack/look great when I go on travel overseas.

    Take Care!
    -Jenn
    www.SnappyLemon.com

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  4. Oh, I wanted to share a story! Posted too quickly! I'm really small and I have difficulty with putting my carry on into the overhead bins as well.

    I remember traveling for work and had a fellow passenger and a flight attendant yell at me because I was asking for help! They advised that I should be checking in my carry ons in the future. I'm really traumatize, so when I travel alone, I've always checked in ever since.

    -Jenn

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  5. Aww you two make a gorgeously coordinated couple!

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  6. These pictures make me so jealous! I can't wait to visit one day!!!

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  7. Hello Jean, what size wallet do you use for traveling & daily use ? Thank you
    I like long wallet, but just don't liked the fact
    that I have to take my cards out when I use
    a clutch

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    Replies
    1. What I mean is the long wallet don't fit in
      most clutches

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    2. Hi there - I use a small (~4-5 inch long?) one for daily use, but used to have a long one that I loved. It was hard to down-size everything and the small wallet now is always stuffed to the brink. Both of the cross-body bags here fit a long wallet, but unfortunately like you said it doesn't fit in most clutches!

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  9. thanks for showing us a peek into your suitcase! i always have trouble packing, i tend to bring a ton of unnecessary items, haha. ;)

    p.s. it has always been a dream of mine to go to london -- thanks for the mini virtual trip! :)

    <3, Mimi

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  10. Long time lurker here. Just can't help to comment because as an avid traveler, can't stress enough the importance of sturdy, comfortable shoes, preferably waterproof. I personally prefer ones with vibram soles, they are great for walking on cobblestones. I think it is very much worth it to pay for a good pair of shoes rather than have painful feet ruin your vacation. And yes, Europeans always wear smart shoes. I always get shoe envy when traveling across the Atlantic.

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  11. I'm surprised you found a uniform in London. Right now there's lots of colour around on the street and lots of different styles. I'd have thought your beautifully and accidentally coordinated look would not have looked at all out of place.

    Perhaps it does depend where in London you are though. And don't forget, you might have mistaken the uniform to have been from London but it could easily have been a lot of chic French tourists ;-)

    When in London it is often quite difficult to work out who is a settled Londoner and who is just visiting because lots of Londoners will converse in a language other than English. I hope you enjoyed your visit and that Nick smiled a lot off camera ;-)

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  12. Jean I love your travel posts. I moved to London recently and was excited to see your food pics, especially since I have a hard time finding things I like to eat here!

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  13. great post, and in london now (I definitely should have packed a bit warmer) for flats, have you tried jcrew's mila flats? they are soft on side b/c of the elastic, colorblocked so pretty cool, and have interior small wedge you can't see so gives a bit of cushion. comfortable enough to wear right out of box, great travel + work commute shoe...

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  14. That sucks about nobody helping you with your bag! With so many "how to pack" posts out there, I actually really enjoyed your idea about sticking to the color wheel for all your outfits, I had never heard that idea before and will definitely use it next time I travel

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  15. Love how you looped your scarf! Can you explain how you did it?

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    1. I learned it from WendysLookbook's video and have loved using it over the years! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LYAEz777AU The "braid" at around 3:27

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  16. I love your travel posts! Are you two getting engaged yet? As a longtime reader, I thought you might this trip :)

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    1. Lol, I guess he wants to keep me on my toes. Thank you for reading along over the years : )

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  17. Great post! I also have a hardsided Samsonite carry-on and it's nice to see how someone else packs. Where is the cobalt blue skirt you're wearing in the picture posing with the suitcase and Longchamp bag from? I've been searching for maxi skirts for the summer and yours looks really nice. Thanks

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    1. It's from Old Navy petites last year...haven't seen anything too similar yet this year except maybe this: http://us.asos.com/ASOS-Petite/ASOS-PETITE-Maxi-Skirt-in-Texture/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2956760&cid=4177&Rf900=1573&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=9999&sort=-1&clr=Blue&source=linkshare&MID=35719&affid=2135&WT.tsrc=Affiliate&siteID=J84DHJLQkR4-p.wATV_fpESWCEuZB02IHw

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  18. I got some cole haan loafers which are great for traveling. A bit of a pointy toe, black suede upper, black leather for the body of the shoe. I've walked for hours, good support. I got them at Century 21 for just under $100. Well worth it to me.

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  19. Love your post! I second the question about the brand of the cobalt blue skirt? I struggle with wearing maxis and long dresses due to my height but you manage to pull it off beautifully and elegantly!

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  20. Oooo, timely post! I'm going to London in Sept as my sister is enrolling in university there so the whole family is taking the chance to do a vacation there together. :D

    I spent two weeks walking around Spain in November and am happy to share what worked for me --

    1) For me a low heel is more comfortable than a flat - flats strain my arches and my feet get really tired. I lived in 3 pairs of 2.5" ankle boots, two from La Canadienne and one on sale in a random store in Madrid (which was our first stop!). All 3 had zip sides so they came off easily for security or shopping; I wore thin socks inside. The LC boots are not cheap, but they have taken a pounding (2-3 winters of solid wear before this trip) and survived beautifully (lived in them again this winter after the trip; expect to wear them for years to come!) - so they are definitely "not too costly" all things considered!

    2) Like you, I wanted a pair of slip-on wedges for city traveling too, and was lucky enough to score these Anyi Lu 2" wedges at Nordstrom Rack last week for < $80. (I KNOWWW!) http://www.amazon.com/Anyi-Lu-Womens-Rose-Wedge/dp/B005LFZW8Y
    They look a little bit "old lady" in my mind still, but they are SO comfortable due to the construction, and your foot never slips forward to have your toes pinched. I'd definitely recommend that you try a pair of this brand the next time you're in a Nordstrom, if they have your size, so that you can put them on the shoesalestalking list :) They make flats too! I'm looking forward to breaking these in in the fall and in London.
    Note on the sizing: I got these in a 36, and I'm usually a American sz 6. I see on the Nordstrom site that the brand does go down to a 34, so good news for smaller-footed ladies! (This polka-dotted flat in sz 35 currently on sale for "only" $200! http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/anyi-lu-caitlin-flat/3293389 )

    3) My youngest sister prefers flats, and she loves her Sperry boat shoes. They are so not the sort of thing I would normally wear myself, but I went to the store to buy her a pair, and tried on a couple of models, and was really surprised by how comfortable, cushioned, and supportive the Bluefish and Angelfish models were. The arch support was fantastic! I tried on a few other models that I thought were cuter, but they had much "lighter" construction and did not feel as amazingly comfy as those two models in particular. I'd say they are perhaps one notch more formal than the Toms (since they are made out of leather), and definitely have better arch support, so they might be what you are looking for if you want "more supportive Toms". Much like Toms, they come in both neutrals and a bunch of fun colors! For travellers who are dressing casually, or going somewhere warm / in the summer (some Sperry models have mesh sides for breathability and to aid in drying out - they are boat shoes after all!), my sisters will vouch for these. I have a very, very stylish other sister who is almost always in heels, and even she likes to steal my baby sister's Sperrys for walking shoes when she goes on vacation :)

    Yay for walking vacations and walking shoes!

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  21. Impressed with everything you squeezed in that bag! Love the unintentional matching. :) Jon and I do that a lot...it is strange.

    I am on the hunt for walking shoes for Seattle, so I will let you know if I find anything. I want something that can be worn with skinny jeans, skirts, or shorts and not look silly. I have tried TOMS (like you, it was a desperate moment in Seattle to find something) and Sperry loafers. I still feel like there could be something better for city walking.

    And loving the food pics. Pistachio-anything dessert is one of my favorites. I have a recipe for pistachio ice cream that does not need an ice cream maker to make it. Never tried it, but hope to experiment with it this summer. :)

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  22. Thanks for the packing post - I have the same carryon so this is really helpful! Glad you had a wonderful time in the UK!

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  23. Thanks for sharing your tips for packing. I will definitely put it to use the next time I travel as I always have a tendency to over pack.

    Loving the food pics! =)

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  24. Wooow I'm amaze you seem to be able to cram so much in such a small suitcase! Rolling it all up seems like a great idea to make use of such dense and crowded space!

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  25. Thank you for sharing!! BTW, where is Nick's stripe tee from? Super cute!

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    1. Hi Jennifer - It's from JC Penney's in-house mens line. He has a few items from there and has been surprisingly impressed. That stripe color scheme is sold out online (may still be in stores) http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/men/shop-sale-clearance/sale/jcp%25e2%2584%25a2-striped-french-terry-crew-sweater/prod.jump?ppId=pp5002351401&catId=cat1001520004&deptId=dept20000014&Nao=72&pN=4&dimCombo=null&dimComboVal=null but it also comes in a ton of solid colors.

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  26. Love this post. Have you tried Me Too flats? I have gone through about 5 pairs and they are really comfortable.

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  27. Wonderful pictures! It looks like you had a great time. Great tips on packing - it's amazing how neat and orderly your suitcase is!

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  28. Fellow petite ladies, please don't neglect exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Even if you're skinny, doing pushups (no equipment needed) everyday will help you increase muscle density, without bulking you up. Don't be frail & helpless. Let's all surprise all of these onlookers by being able to lift our own bags by ourselves without ANY struggle or breaking a sweat. I have refused help offered even before lifting my bag up because of my appearance. I then lift my heavy bag up into the overhead bins without any problems. No dependence on others necessary.

    PS. Very pretty pictures. :)

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    1. Thumbs up for your comment. I believe in being self-sufficient too. *If* there is a polite, able-bodied male or female who offers to help, lucky me! But I want to be confident knowing I am capable of handling my own baggage. Otherwise, just store it in front of your feet on the ground.

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    2. I agree. If you can't lift it... then you shouldn't try to fit it.

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  29. Clarks is my go-to brand for comfortable walking shoes.

    http://www.clarksusa.com/eng/categories/womens/clogs

    As you can see, I especially like their slip-ons. Obviously they do not go well with certain outfits as they're sleek in an old-lay way. I managed a department store during one of my college internships; Clarks clogs worked well with walking and standing for 8 hours a day on the sales floor. Also, I've recently discovered that real all-day shoe comfort comes from shoes that wrap around the entire foot such as sneakers or Uggs, as opposed to flats or pumps that only cover the side/sole of the foot.

    Hope this helps!

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  30. *Correction: sleek in an old-lady way

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  31. LOVE this outfit! The floral scarf goes great with the striped top, and the red pants are so fun. Great coat too!

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  32. Ahh ! I miss London so much! Did you get a chance to go shopping? I love the shot/perspective of the London Eye and yes I too am just overwhelmingly obsessed with the comfort of Toms! I also love how you packed so orderly even for a short trip~ I usually just try to pack as little as possible lol cause I am too lazy to even think about myself-- just want to be comfortable while sightseeing~ but so jealous you can be so chic abroad!


    pearlgirlblog.blogspot.com

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  33. I had to snicker a little when you mention not getting help lifting your bag. I'm small too and though I'm strong, there is something really tough about lifting and shoving that bag OVERHEAD, even if it isn't heavy at all. It's like the physics doesn't quite work. I do agree with checking in if you can afford it, but like many have mentioned, what if your luggage is lost? You need at least a carryon with some basics.
    I found a pair of Naturalizer (old lady) shoes at DSW. They weren't the most stylish but boy were they comfy.
    Great post on packing and the sites of London. I'm Indian and would gladly give you some tips on what to order aside from the typical Chicken Tikka Masala. (my faves are Chicken Korma, Rogan Josh, Mattar Paneer,and hubs like Chicken Vindaloo). One tip I learned when at a Persian restaurant is that you should always ask the waiter/manager about what they would recommend for someone who is new to the food. We did that once and discovered some great dishes and how to add certain spices to our dish that only natives do.
    I really like how you try to embrace the culture via food!

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    1. I totally agree. Being able to lift or carry a bag is way different than being able to lift that bag well over your head with your arms fully extended up. I'm short too and have the same problem. But my carry-on bag is small and more like a little duffel bag, so i just put it under the seat in front of me, and sometimes put my personal bag (back pack) above in the compartments, because it is much easier to lift up and get back down.

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  34. Have you ever tried Dr. Scholl's flats? They're comfy, cute (some of the styles at least), fairly durable and you can get them for under $50 online. I use mine for commuting and travel, and don't feel bad if they get banged up. For nicer flats, you can always protect your shoes by adding an extra layer of rubber (fellow Bostonian here, the shop in the basement of the Cambridgeside Galleria only charges $15 to add an extra heel).

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    1. I have not - thank you for the local tip!

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  35. So I didn't see any toiletries in that bag. Your hair looks perfect, so I know you had to bring something! Show that as well!

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    1. Hi Cat : ) had a makeup bag in my Longchamp but no haircare other than the curling iron shown (forgot a brush...eep). I definitely need to learn how to tame frizzies when using damaging heat tools!

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  36. Did you bring back any cool souvenirs? :)

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    1. Just some fabric for myself and some vintage finds at Portobello market for friends : )

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  37. Polish people always help me with my bag in plane. Im surprised, that no one help't you.... For shoes i bought small, leather flats on eram.fr

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  39. Jean, I saw on Instagram that we overlapped on our London trip there! I had the same observation about the fashion there with the darker edgier look and trench coats everywhere. For your outfit shoot, the backdrop looks so similar to the outfit shoot that I did there too =) I brought multiple pairs of shoes on the trip, but I ended up wearing my flat booties most of the time there because the weather was so darn consistently cold! Sounded like you had a wonderful time on your trip!

    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  40. love your outfit! since i'm only 5'2 i usually try to wear wedges on the plane and pack light. best solution to getting your bag in the overhead bin.

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  41. I refuse to check baggage. I hate asking for help getting my bag in/out of the overhead bin. I also hate standing on the seat to retrieve my bag. So I always take a bag small enough to fit under the seat in front of me. My legs are super short, so I don't miss the leg room (score one for the shorties!). If I do feel the need to stretch out, I just pull the bag out and rest my ankles on the bag/dangle feet off the end.

    Also, being petite means our clothing is small and we can get all we need into smaller bags. My larger friends are always so jealous when they see my bag!

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    1. I just said something similar above about putting my bag under the seat. My legs are short too, so I don't mind.

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  42. I'm visiting London in August, and you've just given me some great ideas. Also, I loved reading about your packing strategy.

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  43. Hi,what size do you wear for the J.Crew Blazer in this post?
    I am 163cm high and 45kg, shall I choose the xxs or xs?
    Any help will be highly appreciated!

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    1. Hi Jennifer - I'm wearing the XXS here. For reference, I'm about 43kg and 152cm tall, so I think the same size may work for you (will be shorter on you than shown here, of course). Please note that the inside is mostly unlined.

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    2. Thank you so much for your help! :)

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  45. i've been wearing these: http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=33938&vid=1&pid=230422092

    i did have to break them in at first, but they are definitely comfy!

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  46. thanks for sharing your packing tips! looks like you had an amazing trip! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

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  47. It was unseasonably cold in Europe. Was in Northern Italy and people were wearing down coats in late May. I'm sure if the weather was warmer Londoners will be breaking out their more colorful clothes. I advise to just pack for the weather, but in cooler temps, the default attire in major European cities will be skinny jeans, boots and lots of black.

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  48. Off to London tonight, so will defo vheck out those spots - if I can find 'em. Great pics :)

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  49. Such beautiful pics as per usual! My favorite thing to order at Indian restaurants is also chicken tikka masala :)

    Thanks for asking the question about comfy travel shoes! Will be bookmarking this and harvesting for info!

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  50. I do really love that scarf, especially with how you have it tied.

    I'm still searching for the right shoes for my trip to Italy this fall. I have to somehow figure out how to pair a super supportive pair of shoes with nice outfits. Still trying to figure that one out.

    Style by Joules

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  51. Try arche ballet flats. I purchased them in black for a trip to Italy and I was so happy with them. They are pricey ($200ish) but they are made in France and the quality is amazing. I searched high and low for the perfect shoe for walking all over Europe and these did not disappoint!

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  52. Jean, many thanks again for the review on the Coach Court bag. Still utterly in love with it. I couldn't help but laugh when you mentioned about how Londoners dress. I live just outside of London and you're right. We're all about skinny AND dark pants/jeans, ankle boots (a must) or riding boots), parka and some dark top. It's all very monochromatic. If you're ever back in London again, give Dishoom (awesome Bombay style cafe) and Nopi (incredible tapas style fusion cuisine from co-owned by Ottolenghi).

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  53. Don't you love going to Europe and enjoy their more daring sense of style? Americans tend to be more "uniform".

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  54. Sam Edelman Julia Flats have some great support and super comfy! runs small too... I am usually 6.5 and their 6.5 for this shoes was so tight i probably have to go a whole size up..

    I am eyeing Sam Edelman Jones Flats as well..

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  55. Haha I remembered these old days when I read your blog and thought "Why didn't she smile in the pictures" lol. But I kept going back because the useful information and the conversational tone carried in the blog and finally you smiled. But to be honest, it's kinda hot not to smile in the pictures sometime. (Not that I am trying to say Nick trying to be hot haha. I think the more people are used to pose in front of the camera, the more relaxing they will be, which eventually leads to smile more.)

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    Replies
    1. It's amazing how time flies, no? I feel like an old lady in my rocking chair reminiscing about the days of discovering alterations needed & the community : )

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  56. London is my favorite city out of all the places I've been. Still go back there a few times a year, and it never gets boring. I have a long list of favorite places to eat, but I always find new places to add to my long list as well. If you go back again, it's nice to spend a weekend outside of London, like Oxford or Cambridge.

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  57. I forgot to mention that you should visit Bermuda if you get the chance. I love London during the Christmas season because it's very festive. For summer beach vacation, I love Bermuda because it's very English, but you also get awesome beaches and food. The people are unbelievably nice, helpful, and very polite.

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    1. Thanks for the tip! It's definitely on my list to visit due to its proximity to the Northeast.

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  58. Hi! You should check out the Integrity Amie by Fluevog shoes - he makes comfortable, walkable (and sometimes wacky!) shoes. They are $$ but are beautifully made and designed in Canada. I do not have these particular shoes but have been coveting them for awhile and they have great reviews from travellers. The next time I am in a store and if they have my size, I will be tempted to buy.

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  59. Hi Jean, love the long blue skirt you're wearing. Would you mind telling me where it's from? Thanks!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Juliana - it's from Old Navy petites last year.

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  60. Camper Kim Low-heeled Maryjanes. Item 21241.
    http://www.amazon.com/Camper-Womens-Kim-21241-Mary/dp/B0090IPXFU/?tag=polyvore006-20

    Have worn the same pair nonstop for 4 years on Boston cobblestones - not to mention for trips in Europe, Thailand, Mexico, India, and Japan. Indestructible sole, don't get super-wet in rain. Look brand new with a little polish. You can wear them with jeans, pants, skirts, - anything - and the little heel keeps your feet from getting tired.

    The only con is that they leave little marks on wood floors so I take them off as soon as I get home.

    The Toms my husband bought me last year - which I wear occasionally - are already coming apart in the back :(

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  61. Where are the polka dot flats from?

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    1. They are from Gap a few months ago...I haven't seen them in-stores for a while : /

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  62. Hi Jean,

    Love the preppy look! I also bought the same pants at J Crew (size P0) but the waist was so big (the rest kinda fit ok) .... was wondering, what size did you get? There is size P00 left in the Bright Berry ... i am hoping that would fit better.

    cheers
    Chloe

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    Replies
    1. Hi Chloe - my pants are Ann Taylor in 00P which fit due to the adjustable-tab waist. If the 0P was a bit only in the waist and nowhere else, then it may be better to stick with that size and take in the waist. It doesn't hurt to try the 00P though!

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  63. Hi! I studied abroad in London one summer and walked at least 3 miles--jumping on and off tube trains, dodging puddles, climbing stairs, walking on cobblestone--and I luckily invested in a pair of AGL shoes before I went over. AGL are initials for some long Italian name I can never pronounce. Regardless, I will swear by these shoes. They're a little on the pricier/designer end at $300 a pair, but are definitely worth it!!! They are available at Nordstrom and I'm sure any Salon shoes associate there would have amazing things to say about it too. They've got just the right amount of cushion, they're made of the finest leather in Italy so there's no long period of "breaking in" time, and they're not too mod, which makes them suitable for lots to outfits. During the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, certain styles of the AGL shoes go on sale for around $190. Definitely a good tourist shoe, whether you're in London or NYC.

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  64. ...and by "walked at least 3 miles," I meant walked at least that much DAILY!

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  65. So sorry you could not get someone to lift your bag for you. For the folks who think that asking someone to lift a bag into the overhead compartment for you is some kind of moral issue, that's just nuts. I travel on business both domestically and overseas and have found that most people are quite happy to help me lift my bag. When someone asks my husband to help, he will do it quite happily. Actually, if he sees someone smaller than him trying to lift his or her bag, he always helps even without being asked. That is just what nice people do. Sure, it is possible that some people decline because they have physical disabilities or injuries that are not apparent, but it is also possible that some of the people who decline are jerks. It always amazes me when I see little old ladies or men struggling with their bags and nobody helps them except for 5'2" me.

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  66. I can't believe no-one helped you with your bag! :(
    As far as air stewards go... aren't they supposed to be over a certain height to reach the overhead compartments? THEY LIE!

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    1. U.S. air stewards really can't put the bag in the overhead compartment for you...their insurance doesn't cover potential injury due to lifting passengers' luggage.

      I have heard they can assist you though if you help and they want to. But they definitely don't have to.

      Be self-sufficient and pack only what you can lift above your head. Otherwise check your bag!

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  67. Hi Jean,
    Thanks for your travel advice. I'm planning to travel to Spain next month and this blog will be very helpful. I'm shopping for a carry-on (20") and 26" luggages. How's your Samsonite Winfield hardcase holding up?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there - it's held up well through many uses. Also, I haven't read the warranty information but I'm sure a company like that should have policies in case it does break or get damaged.

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  68. Love that you can pack light, dress casually, and still look very put together. Glad you had a great trip and that indian food looked yum!

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  69. I really like the Tieks flats. It's one of Oprah's favorite things. :)

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  70. Seem to be a great trip love the shots. you look gorgeous in red :)

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  71. I love the whole look! Very nautical and stylish.

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  72. Hi Jean! I tend to use Sperry boat shoes as well--they're incredibly comfy and come in lots of styles (although I admit I rarely wear them when I'm not traveling). Ruelala is actually have a Sperry sale--I'd check it out!

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