Tagged: London

UK a packing sum up! 

About a month ago I had a trip to England with my friend B, where we were trying out the somewhat “minimalistic packing” routine. Yeah it wasn’t all that minimalistic, but we did each manage on hand luggage only, even including bringing stuff for my mum and brother (Norwegian chocolate is a big thing 😉 )

So how did I do with what I packed? Well, as I suspected I did over pack somewhat, but not as badly as I thought I had done. Since the weather was a mix of everything between one evening of lounging in shorts in the garden, to crashing rain and cold weather, I used almost everything in my bag with the exception of a couple of tops, and a scarf. I have however found a couple of ways to streamline, so that next time, I will bring even less for a short week in UK (except next time might be Christmas, and we all know that is dress up time in mums house… hmmm… that might put a dent into my light packing plans..).

Did I lean anything from my trip? Yes Actually that would be a resounding YES.

I found that I loved how easy it was to navigate with a small wheeled carry on, how easy it was to roll it through the streets to get to the London underground, how easy it was to lift and carry when there was no other options, how easy it was to find space for it on the train and on the plane. It was so easy I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to big suitcases, it was that easy 😉

I did have one more revelation!

After having meandered around in London for a couple days, I came to the conclusion that the less you drag around with you, an easier time you have (yeah, big shocker, I know 🙂 )

Every time I’m out and about on travel, I carry stuff with me in a handbag or small backpack. Having issues with my shoulders, I made B drag the backpack around this time. And what a relief, not really having to carry ANYTHING!!!

I do realize that it’s futile to think that I will be able to continue to never carry stuff around, as I’m THAT person who always need a bottle of water at hand, a small bag with my medication (just in case) and when there is no safe at the hotel, have to keep my passport with me. But, having had a couple of days in London where I was not the designated backpack carrier this time around, I’ve realized I need to re-evaluate, how much I really NEED to lug around.

When we were out and about, I kept my wallet and phone in my jeans pockets. Passport, medication, water, rain jacket, small camera ++ was in the backpack B carried. I quickly started to feel like a nuisance when we were wandering the streets of London, as I was forever digging into the backpack.  To get a bottle of water, sunglasses, dig out the camera, and stuff all that crap back in, over and over again.

So I’ve realized that, for the times I wear clothing that don’t have “huge” pockets, I need a small (very small) cross body purse/bag, that is just big enough to hold on (temporary basis) things like water, wallet, phone, sunglasses and a small camera.

Even though I’m trying to only buy necessities this year, I think there might be a small purse purchase in my near future, if I can find the perfect bag that is. It needs to be light, have a good strap and I would prefer, good internal organization.  I would love if it was possible to clip to my belt loops so I wouldn’t really need to carry it cross body, to save my shoulders, but guess that might be a tall order (unless I find someone who can make it for me).

I love the look of this little Cath Kidston bag, and this one at Tom Bihn seem to have some nifty solutions, but since I tend to like to see/touch the product before I buy, I was hoping to find something a little closer to home.

If you have any suggestions on geat little bags to use for travel, oh, yeah, and what to carry in it. I sure could need a little help 😉

Conclusion! Never use a big bag again, if I can avoid it. Now goal! To downsize even more 😉

Minimalist packing!

After my experience of “lost” luggage on my trip to US last year (it took them 4 days to find it), I’ve decided to try a more minimalistic approach to my packing.

I’ve come across a lot of ultralight packing sites lately, where they travel with 20-32 litres bags, for months at a time. Now, there is no way I’ll ever be on their level of “small” luggage, but I should be able to travel for a week with hand luggage only, wouldn’t you think?

Here is the plan, one carry on and a purse of some sort! Now that can’t be too bad, I am after all only going to be gone for a week, so shouldn’t really need all that much stuff… right?

It all sounded fine, until I got mums shopping list, for Norwegian jam and mayonnaise, and then there is the chocolate I need to bring, a book or two for my mum…  What it boils down to, is that since the jam jar are bigger than the allowed 100 ml carry on bottles, the luggage have to go into the belly of the plane. As I’m travelling with a friend of mine (B), we’ve decided to send one of our carry ons as regular luggage and bring the other into the cabin. With only one carry on each, we still get to practice packing a “lighter” load.

So what am I bringing?

Well.. let’s see.

Beside all the goodies for my mum and my brother, this is pretty much my packing list for a week in England:

  • 1 blue jeans (wearing on the plane)
  • 1 white jeans (for dressing up)
  • 1 blue top (for dressing up)
  • 4 t-shirts (1 for the plane)
  • 1 thin long sleeved shirt
  • 1 tank tops
  • 1 hooded top (wearing)
  • 1 very thin sweater (for dressing up)
  • 1 short
  • 1 belt for shorts
  • 1 belt for jeans (wearing)
  • flip plops
  • jogging shoes (wearing)
  • thin rain jacket
  • thin down packable jacked (wearing)
  • 2 sleep shorts
  • 1 lounge pant
  • underwear/bra
  • 3 pair of socks (wearing 1)
  • thin neck scarf (to protect me from getting cold on the plane)
  • toiletries – the regular stuff like toothbrush/paste, face and body oil, shampoo, contact lenses, medication ++
  • 2 iPads + chargers (my mini, and mums Christmas present (yes, the one she hasn’t gotten yet))
  • small camera
  • phone + charger + ear buds
  • book to read on the trip
  • passport, money and e-ticket
  • sunglasses
  • regular glasses for the evenings
  • travel adapter
  • 1 box of Nescafe Cafe au Chocolate – gotta have my choca mocha fix, you know;-)

My gosh.. that is one awful long list of things.. doesn’t seem very minimalistic now, does it?

I’m sure I’ve packed more than I’ll need, but never mind. It’s not like I’ll be trekking this luggage all over the world now, is it? It’s only a quick trip to hang out with family. Still, it’s a good way to test how little I can get away with for a weeks trip.

So is all this stuff going to fit into my small carry on?

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Well… take a look, and see for yourself 🙂

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It all fit!

Thankfully, half of the stuff is not coming back home with me. Which means, when it comes down to it, I packed with space to spare 😉

So, off I go, tomorrow morning… See you in London!

On the wall!

Remember I told you about bringing a clock with me from England?

It’s finally on the wall, and I love it in the space 🙂

I meant to tell you about it the day it went up on the wall, but I fumbled it 😦 Better late that never right?

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The inner workings of Heathrow airport!

Remember I told your that I spent some time packing up a clock, I was going to bring with me from London back to Norway? Well it turns out that that clock would take us to the inner workings of Heathrow airport on our way back!

You see, it’s a huge clock! It has a diameter of 122 cm (48 inches). Not exactly something you put in a regular suitcase!

I bought this clock when I was in London, over Christmas last year. It used to hang behind the bar, in my brothers “local” pub, The Bridge House. My brother and his wife lived just around the corner of this pub when they first moved to London, and even though they now have moved further away, they still stay faithful to their “local” pub. And I understand why!

The people that works there are super friendly, always smiling, keen to help and they make even me who don’t get to go there often, feel like part of the family 🙂 No wonder my brother choose to hold his wedding reception in their upstairs party room. They did a wonderful job, and did I mention, their food is really good!

Darn, sitting here, writing about it, makes me miss the place! Guess we need to get back to that clock! I had been searching forever for a big clock to hang in my home, and walking into the The Bridge House, over Christmas, I saw it hanging on the wall, and “fell in love” 🙂 It was made by an local artist, and I couldn’t believe it when Wayne (the owner) let me buy it from him. Big, BIG hug, Wayne 🙂

Turns out shipping wasn’t quite as easy as we thought it would be, so we decided I would bring it back with me on the plane on my May trip.

We packed the clock into a home-made “box”, really some thin mdf type plates, added some wooden pieces, nailed it all together and taped the heck out of the edges with duck tape 🙂

I was a bit nervous about if the airline would let it on the plane, but as soon as they checked it, I felt a sense if relief.

When I turned around to leave for the passport control, I got stopped… “Not so quick madam, you need to come with us!” What the heck? With a sinking feeling I followed this guy who was rolling away my “box”.

Now what? Through some big doors we went, into a tight looooong hallway, deeper and deeper into the inner workings of Heathrow airport. The guy didn’t speak English much, so an explanations wasn’t really forthcoming!

After something that felt like we’d been walking forever (probably really about 5 or 6 minutes) we stopped. The guy tried to put the “box”, which was starting to look as big as a house, through a machine… but nope, no luck! The box was to big, so onwards we went, twisting a turning around all sorts of things, in this low ceiling, dark, tight hallway.

I was starting to wonder were in the world we were going, when he finally stopped in front of some huge doors, and with not a word, he disappeared. And there I was, way into the dark dungeons of Heathrow airport, standing there like a fool, not knowing what was going on, no one around to explain. And no way to get back!!

Suddenly the doors “exploded” open (actually pretty calmly opened, but that doesn’t make for such a good story, now does it 😉 ) and I’m beckoned through, and are met by 3 burly men standing there in their yellow vest looking at me. Oh yeah, this feels really great…

Finally someone who spoke English (sort of). Turns out the machine he was trying to get the box through was an ex-ray machine. And since the box is to big, they have to manually check the box, could I please open it!

What!! Open it, did they know how long I had spend trying to put the darn thing together, and how there are nails, and how much duck tape I had used (and how I had nothing left). Well, turns out, they didn’t care, it had to be opened!

So now this hunt starts for someone with a manual scanner, something to cut the duct tape and some tape to put it back together with.

My goodness, I’m glad I decided to add a few hours to my airport time (just in case), because this wasn’t quite the easy transit I was expecting!

Thankfully, it turns out the guy who scanned it manually, was nice enough to let me not have to open it fully. (I think this was due to me showing a picture if what was inside, and fighting like hell not to have to open all of it. Since it would be a serious pain to put it back together, and they had no tools). Turns out, all I needed to do was open the edges enough for him to stick his magic scanning wand (and arm) into the box, from two different sides. Phew!

So about one hour after I checked the “darn” thing, the box was taped back up, the guys was smiling and I was worn out, but at least free to once again, try to find passport control 🙂

Remind me, NEVER to do this again 😉

You were wondering if it made it to Norway in one piece?

Yepp, it did, here is the box, with airport tape and all! And the clock? Well it haven’t made it to the walls yet, but it’s leaning pretty comfortable to a piece of furniture, for the time beeing 😉

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My grandfathers cabinet!

I can’t believe I forgot to write about this!

The day before I got on the plane to go to London, I packed up this cabinet and delivered it to a shipping company, to have it sent over to my brother in England. I’ve been holding this cabinet the last 5-6 months or so, for him. The cabinet is a bit taller than me, so its worth writing about getting it out-the-door 😉

My grandfather built this cabinet originally, long, long time ago. He was a “hobby” furniture carpenter. As long as I can remember, he had a workshop in his basement, and would make all sorts of items out of wood.

When my grandfather passed away years back, dad inherited this cabinet and brought it home with him. At that time it was painted and looked pretty “shabby”. Dad found an furniture carpenter in town and had it beautifully restored, including adding glass to the doors. They managed to get hold of “old glass”, which made it look like there have been glass in it from day one.

As dad passed away last year, this cabinet is now going to my brother. From my grandfather, to my father and now to my brother. Three generations of male Sira’s! It’s kinda nice, it warms my heart, this 🙂

I packed the doors really well, and I hope the shipping company gets it there in one piece, so that my brother can enjoy it for years to come.

I think it will fit really well in their small cosy house, together with their other wooden furniture.

Pretty isn’t it… Well done, grandfather… Well done, dad…

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May tally!

Well there it is, the month of May is over, and it’s time for my monthly tally.

If I may say so, I think the month of May have gone pretty OK when it comes to declutter items. Even though I had a week completely under the weather, and a week in London with more sightseeing than decluttering 🙂

Let’s see what this month have amounted to on the declutter scale:

MAY TALLY of things “out-the-door” =  126 items 

53 – items when running amok in my guest room

  • 9 snuggles (stuffed animals and bean babies)
  • 1 empty computer box
  • 1 empty camera lens filter box
  • 1 PC “desk” to use in your lap
  • 5 clothes storage “bags”
  • 1 decorative plate
  • 6 space bags
  • 5 books
  • 3 small paper pamphlets
  • 6 Christmas decoration items
  • 1 hanging shoe holder
  • 2 eagle creek travel gear pieces
  • 1 camera bag
  • 1 dirty linen basket
  • 1 decorative “garland”
  • 1 gym “bag”
  • 1 space saver set
  • 1 travel journal
  • 2 bathroom mats
  • 1 shoulder strap for a bag I no longer have
  • 1 bag of sticky carpet felt (to use under carpets to make them not slide)
  • 1 hanging bag for cloths

54 – items from my closet cleanup

  • 8 shorts – surf shorts and regular shorts
  • 1 swim top
  • 1 bikini bottom
  • 2 knee length pants
  • 1 bicycle t-shirt
  • 1 pair of indoor “shoes”
  • 4 office shirts
  • 3 sweater
  • 1 knitted hat
  • 1 fleece buff
  • 2 regular buffs
  • 1 scarf Stockings – a bunch (counted as 1)
  • 1 par of socks
  • 3 of my dad’s ties
  • 12 unused unmentionables
  • 5 pairs of jeans – 2 worn, 3 unused (but sadly to small)
  • 1 pair of office pants
  • 1 top
  • 1 T-shirt
  • 1 knitted jacket
  • 1 pair of insoles
  • 1 belt

1 pair of very high heeled shoes 😉
16 paperbacks
1 wooden box – and
1 keg/barrel – my brothers – as posted from London

And that’s it. The out-the-door tally for MAY 🙂

Not to shabby…

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A shiny sink…

Walking downstairs this morning, I realised what a state my place is in. Since I got home from London almost a week ago, all I’ve done is work, sleep, eat and work in my yard.

I realised looking at the mess in my house, that what I’ve been doing the whole week is drop thing all over, in my “haste” of getting to other things. Rather than putting things away where it belong, right away (like a good girl should). And boy, in a small place it looks messy real quick!

Somehow, somewhere along the way, I’ve gotten out of my habit of doing a 5-10 minute room “rescue” every night, before I go to bed. So that I can wake up to a nice place the next morning.

Years, and I mean years ago (2003?), I came across Marla Cilley’s Flylady webpage. At that time it was a small webpage, helping people get their house and “life” in order, with tools such as BabySteps of shining your sink, 27 fling boogies, 15 minute declutter, 5 minute room rescues, cleaning your house in zones (one zone a week), with daily focus areas. Today the webpage have expanded to include all sorts of resources, tips, hints, Flylady TV/radio and even a shop!

With the help of this webpage I got into pretty good habits of:

  • Shining my sink (short version; the concept is to wipe down the sink, every time its used. It stays cleaner, and it discourage you filling up the sink with “junk” + a shiny sink is a good start for a clean uncluttered space)
  • 5 minute room rescues – daily
  • Cleaning – using a 10 minute interval “rule” (using a timer)

Through the years, I’ve been on again, off again, this habit. And now it seems like I’ve fallen off the wagon one more time 😦 (with the exception of a a shiny bathroom sink).

So today, I’ll be putting my timer to work, 10 minute intervals, in every room 🙂 I bet you when it comes down to it, it will only take me an hour (or two), and then my house is back up to snuff 😉

 

NB. If you decide to sign up on Flylady, be selective of what you sign up for. It’s easy to get email overload! When I signed up in 2003 the choices was one mail a day or one a week! Somewhere along the way, they changed their system, and I got overwhelmed with several emails daily. After changing to the “Flylady Lite” list, I still got +/- 50 emails a month! So now I’m sadly unsubscribed.

 

PS. This was not really what I was planing to write about today (until that walk down the stairs), funny how that works! I was going to tell you about an outing in London! Oh, well, guess that will just have to wait… right now I’ve gotta find my timer 😉

 

Hand over!

Not much going on with our London trip today.

I spent the morning wrapping up a huge clock, that I bough here in London over Christmas, that I’m bringing back with me to Norway this trip. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home.

Today though, I’ve handed over a couple of my dad’s things to my brother. Items I’ve been holding for him at my house in Norway.

So what went “out-the-door” today:

1 wooden box, not sure where my dad got it, if it was from his travels or if it’s from grandfathers.

1 keg, made by our great grandfather or grandfather (not sure which).

The only way I could get the keg with me, was to break it down to its individual pieces.

Turns out 1 keg = 31 pieces as you can see from the pictures below…

My dearest brother said he won’t need any help to put it back together again, I wish him luck 😉

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Made it…

Made it! All the way to London (both me and the luggage) 🙂

After doing some tourist things like walking along the Thames river all day, we are now nicely tucked into my brothers house. Drinking coffee, tea and mocha (yes that’s me), all in pj’s watching an episode of “Dads”. It’s nice to relax at the end of a travel day 🙂

Thought I’d share some pictures (iPhone, so not the best quality) from the walk along the Thames today.

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London here I come…

It’s my mums birthday on Saturday, and since it’s a round number, it calls for an extra celebration 🙂

Since my brother and his wife live in London, and mum lives in the south of England, we have decided to meet up in London to celebrate mum this year.

And today I get on a plane… with luggage full of stuff 🙂

Luggage full of stuff? Just for a few days in London? Well, most of my luggage consist of things for my brother actually.

After my dad passed away last year, there have been a few things that have ended up in my house, as we have gone through dad’s stuff. And some of these items I’ve been holding for my brother.

Since I’m going to England for the celebration, I thought I might as well bring a couple of the items with me. And since these are literally things out-the-door 😉 I’ll be posting a little about the items as I hand them over.

Well, I better get out if here, I have a plane to catch. See you all in London 🙂