Summer Holiday Essentials: Home or Away, Part 1

Whether you're hopping on a plane, packing the car to the hilt for camping, staying in a cottage, or simply staying at home this summer, here are all the essentials you need for summer living.  Whether the sun shines or you have cloudy days, we have the entertainment and the homewares you'll need, some packing hacks, health products, skincare and much more.


Save space in your suitcase for souvenirs by packing light, and small.  The range of organic bamboo fabric clothing from Boody folds up to miniscule proportions, perfect for scrunching into corners of your bag or case, into shoes, or into hand luggage.  Their eco-friendly bamboo clothing is anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and silky soft.  It is also perfect for summer as the fabric is breathable and temperature regulating, meaning it keeps you cooler than other cotton fabrics, bamboo fabric also offers natural UV protection, keeping skin safer.  We love the leggings and cami top, other basics and essentials are available.

For younger travellers, the comfy and fun Shopkins Skater Dress is perfect for travelling.  The dress is sleeveless with a round neck, full skater length and style, and a comfortable and relaxed fit that children can wear for hours on end.  The dress scrunches up to virtually nothing, yet remains wrinkle-free, and with its busy, fun Shopkins pattern shows no marks.  Plus it washes perfectly every time.  The Shopkins Skater Dress is available online in sizes 3 to 12 years from Noisy Sauce.

Keep your toothbrush clean and fresh with the innovative new SteriPod.  Perfect for camping, festivals, holidays and more, the Steripod contains natural sage oil which is antibacterial and an easy clip on case which will protect your toothbrush head from all the bacteria found in the average bathroom or wash bag.  Available from many supermarkets and high street retailers, or online at Amazon.

For all your beach paraphenalia or every day city break essentials, the cute Hello Sunshine bag from Alphabet Bags' summer/travel collection is perfect.  Renowned for their bright, fun accessories, including handy travel pouches, large beach bags and summery totes, Alphabet Bags is a family run accessories brand based in Saffron Walden.  They create accessories with an emphasis on the simple, bold and cheerful.  their gorgeous tote bags are perfect for big adventures, weekends by the pool or being at (and dreaming of) the beach.

To keep little ones protected on the beach, the award-winning Deluxe UV Travel Centre from NSA is ideal.  The Travel Centre is 3 products in one: a play tent to us in the back garden, take to the park or the beach; a UPF 35+ sun shelter; and a travel cot with quilted sleep mat and self-inflating mattress, ideal for safe, comfortable sleep anywhere, anytime.  Ideal to take as hand luggage in case you need an emergency cot or safe space for babies and toddlers in case of delay, the Travel Centre folds away easily into a handy carry and store travel bag.  We found this invaluable on the beach for Tatiana to have a nap, and will definitely be taking it on longer journeys for a comfortable spot for her.  It would be invaluable at the airport.

Available in a range of colours, the award-winning Deluxe UV Travel Centre is suitable from birth up to 4 years and is British Standards Travel Cot approved.  Its versatile indoor and outdoor use makes it a travel essential when travelling with babies and toddlers this summer.  the Travel Centre is easy to put up and down, has useful doors and windows for use and observation, fine insect mesh to keep bugs at bay, and has 4 tent pegs for outdoor use.  (Just a quick note, if you do take it on the plane, pack the tent pegs in your check in luggage so they don't get confiscated.)  Buy online at NSA or from leading retailers including Boots, Tesco, Mothercare and Amazon.

Home & Garden

The clouds may have reappeared over the weekend, but apparently the hot weather is heading back, so iced snacks and desserts are going to be in demand.  Get ahead of the game and make sure they're healthy ones with the Fro-Fru Dessert Maker from Judge Electricals.  Just add frozen fruit and create healthy frozen desserts and snacks in minutes, perfect for cooling down on a hot day, and great fun.  Let the kids go wild and come up with interesting combinations and flavours.  We love it! The Judge Fro-Fru Dessert Maker is available from leading electronics retailers and department stores.

Or you could take a break from cooking altogether (well, almost) with the Mindful Chef.  A recipe box delivery scheme that offers all the benefits of a mindful diet: high quality natural foods full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that boost the immune system, and encourage you to fill up on fresh vegetables.  The meals are all low carb to avoid sugar spikes followed by crashes, meaning you will sleep better, feel better, and have more energy.  Mindful Chef meals contain no refined carbs, but lots of fibrous vegetables to help improve bowel and gut function, and all recipes are gluten and dairy-free.  Vegetarian and vegan options are available, and boxes are for 1, 2 or 4 people.  Available nationwide.

If you haven't invested in a refillable water bottle yet, it's about time.  All those plastic bottles are so damaging to the planet and your pocket.  The eco-friendly glass water bottle from MIU COLOR is made from high-grade borosilicate glass, an extremely durable glass resistant to chemicals and severe temperature changes (-4F to 266F).  It is lead-free and crystal-clear, with a polished stainless steel lid and contains zero BPA or plastics.  With a silicone sleeve for secure grip and protection, available in a variety of colours, this stylish 550ml bottle looks great and keeps you hydrated all day.  Available from Amazon.

MIU COLOR® also have a great Picnic Blanket that folds up small enough to fit into your backpack.  The mat is large but compact, measuring 200cm x 145cm to seat 3-4 people comfortably, yet easily folds into a compact 13"x8" size for easy transport and storage.  Made from polyester and PVC, the blanket is easy to clean and waterproof.  Ideal for camping, picnics, festivals, sporting events and the garden, it is perfect for damp grass and keeps you and your belongings clean and dry.

For outdoor living, head to Aldi who have a great range of barbecue and garden essentials, including this lovely nautical-themed large melamine bowl.

Aldi are also taking on the big interiors players like John Lewis and The White Company with their new coastal interiors range.  Affordable and great value, you can give your home a summery coastal makeover for less than £150!  We love the super king size sateen duvet set in pure white for £39.99, great quality cotton and a fantastic price.

And fun touches like this cute starfish door stop.  Aldi have really embraced the beach-chic theme of the summer.  Head in store to pick up some bargains, or browse the Special Buys section online.

The range continues into the bathroom, with everything from bathroom furniture to towels and bath mats; as well as clocks, decorative touches, cushions and more for the sitting room.

Back in the kitchen, pack up lunches and picnics for everyone with the fantastic range of products from Sistema.  We love the Lunch and To Go ranges in bright colours, with innovative solutions such as non-leak yogurt pots to decant larger tubs into; salad boxes with small containers for dressing, divided lunchboxes to keep everything separate and prevent yucky soggy sandwiches!  The whole range of colourful and clever solutions answers all your food packing dilemmas.  Sistema products are widely available, from supermarkets, department stores, Robert Dyas, Amazon and many more.

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