It was a glorious Sunday and I was merrily wasting it away on my sofa after a rather decent late night out fueled mostly by champagne and three canapes. My phone beeped (is this sounding a bit familiar to you?) and, to cut a long story short, a few hours later I had a booked a flight to Tanzania.
Departure date: the next day.
Cue full-on panic. I have nightmares about these kinds of situations – last minute packing and missing flights and passports that have expired or burst into flames at check-in. You know, the norm. Quite surprisingly I was rather calm during the whole process of packing (I think I am getting used to packing bags for travel, not the worst thing!) and had all my clothes done in a matter of minutes. It always helps me to lay everything out on a spare bed so you can see what you’re doing.
Clothes done, I turned to cosmetics and skincare.
Really this is something I envy men over, as there is absolutely no way I can go more than one night without my full skincare regime, and men get to pack deodorant and soap.
I cleanse, tone, put on spot treatment if need be, put on a treatment cream, then my night cream. It’s a bit of a hassle and takes time, but my skin is soaking up the benefits of all this and apparently I look years younger than my real age (I keep my fingers crossed that this is actually true).
Tarryn will think I’m mad for saying this, but after years of chopping and changing facial cleansers, I finally went back to my good old Cetaphil. It does its job and takes off my make-up, and I always finish off with a swipe of Garnier’s Micellar Water for anything left behind. I know many people will argue me that Cetaphil doesn’t do anything and have I read the ingredients? but truly my sensitive, problem skin loves this product, and paired with the micellar water… my skin is finally behaving. For me it’s about what I put on after the cleanse, and I don’t mess around with product for this part!
(I may not use the most expensive brands all the time, but they’re working well with my skin at the moment and that’s all that matters in this day and age of selfies and social media. The last thing I want is a massive red lobster flapping away on my forehead or chin.)
Anyway, those two items obviously got thrown into the toiletry bag, plus plenty of cotton wool wipes for dodgy hotels in Africa with no running water. In also went my “saved for travel” day cream (from The Body Shop) and night cream (from Soap & Glory). They’re in easy to travel with tubs that don’t leak and can’t break. Perfect.
Because it’s Africa and we have a lot of really strong sunshine, the next most important thing to pack was my factor 50 Heliocare sunscreen. This is a product I will use until the end of my days – it smells amazing, goes on smoothly, and leaves your skin looking like you’ve applied a layer of glow to it. I always find my make-up sits really nicely on it also, which is a great added benefit.
As for make-up, I tried to keep it as simple as possible. My Smashbox CC cream, MAC Fix It spray and Maybelline lipgloss were packed at the top, with a sneaky mascara and bronzer nearer the bottom for photo ops.
And then, and then… the most incredible and wonderful thing I could ever pack: wet wipes, baby.
You will never pack enough wet wipes if you’re going into Deep Dark Africa (or on any road trip). Whilst they’re not for my face (I wouldn’t recommend using wet wipes on your precious face after doing so much good with facials and serums!), they are an absolute lifesaver for the rest of your body. I always try stock up on EcoCare when I’m in the UK as they’re a bit more friendly on the environment than some other brands 🙂
You just don’t know what might happen. Like, for example, when I arrived in Zanibar at 1am and it was a good 35 degrees celsius still and humid af, and all the water at the AirBnb had been turned off. Bring on the wet wipes. All of them. Even if you just wipe down your arms, chest and back of neck – the difference it can make you feel is indescribable!
Trust me on the wet wipes. And the sunscreen, of course.