Keep Calm, Carry On: What I Packed for Greece (Skincare, Makeup, Packing List)

Bangkok, around seven years ago: Will and I were about to head to the airport to go home. We struck up conversation with another Kiwi (who knew someone I knew, funnily enough - two degrees, etc) and went on to share a taxi.

I was impressed by how lightly she packed -- an everyday sized backpack and a tote bag, from memory, whereas I had been lugging around one of those big 60L backpacking monstrosities for three weeks around Tokyo and Thailand. Those packs have their place (tramping, festivals, or transporting your favourite possessions when moving across the world, like I did last year), but I couldn't help thinking how I would have been a much happier traveller had I not had to constantly schlep around a good fifteen kilos on my back.

Ever since then I've tried to pack light, with varying levels of success. For this trip, a week-long Greek sailing holiday, I went as minimal as I could. It helps that it was hot, and that we pretty much only fly with the budget airlines where you have to pay extra for checked luggage. This is SO NERDY, but here's what I packed, for anyone out there who obsesses over this stuff like I do:

Sunset in Aegina: the black & Other Stories maxi is a little boobilicious at times. Wearing the Soap and Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude over Marc Jacobs Nude(ist) Lip Pencil.

Sunset in Aegina: the black & Other Stories maxi is a little boobilicious at times. Wearing the Soap and Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude over Marc Jacobs Nude(ist) Lip Pencil.

  • Three dresses -- a long black maxi (similar to this one, but in stretch cotton) and a short racerback tank dress (similar to this one, but with a twisted back), both from & Other Stories, plus a white linen sundress with crochet panels from Country Road several years ago (second from left in this pin).
  • Soft white button up shirt from Miss Selfridges, similar to this, and denim shorts from H&M - I probably could have done without both of these.
  • Two pairs of shoes -- jandals from Muji and plain black chunky sandals (£10 from a local department store).
Same day I threw up my breakfast Greek yoghurt and figs over the bow of the boat.

Same day I threw up my breakfast Greek yoghurt and figs over the bow of the boat.

  • Two pairs of togs -- a one-piece and a bikini. Next time: two bikinis, which would double as bras.
  • Undies! And two bras.
  • Blue cotton towel from Sicily -- chartering the boat included towels but I used this as a sarong as well.
  • Two plain black singlets (H&M) and a pair of soft black shorts (Trenery) for sleeping.
Calzedonia bikini top and a blue cotton towel from Sicily.

Calzedonia bikini top and a blue cotton towel from Sicily.

  • My beloved Saben Tilly's Big Sister handbag for going onshore, and a backpack from H&M (similar to this) as my carry on "personal item" for stuff like my diary, camera, notebook, phone, and travel documents. The challenge for next time is a smaller personal item. 
  • Sunglasses, an aviator style. I dropped them in a dirty toilet just before we left for the airport BAHAHAHAHAH. Luckily they were $5 from Cotton On.
Evening in Hydra. Wearing the makeup in the next shot, applied on-deck! Mostly piled on the Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange.

Evening in Hydra. Wearing the makeup in the next shot, applied on-deck! Mostly piled on the Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange.

Cosmetics-wise, I tried to fit everything into this Muji case and the regulation-sized ziplock bag (although I cheated and put some stuff in Will's). It's a mixture of favourites and a few new things I've been playing with:

Muji travel case with everything shoved in it. Applying makeup on-deck while moored up in Hydra: Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush, EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Estee Lauder Doublewear Eyeliner, Korres Wild Rose and Vitamin C Treatment, Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher.

Muji travel case with everything shoved in it. Applying makeup on-deck while moored up in Hydra: Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush, EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Estee Lauder Doublewear Eyeliner, Korres Wild Rose and Vitamin C Treatment, Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher.

Maybelline Powder, Coppertone Facial sunscreen, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher in Queen of the Jungle.

Maybelline Powder, Coppertone Facial sunscreen, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher in Queen of the Jungle.

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

  • Maybelline Clear Smooth All In One Shine Free Cake Powder SPF25PA++ (£1 at the local pound store! I think this is an Asia-only release), applied using the Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush (from the duo fiber collection). I know from past experience that liquids and BB creams would simply melt off my face in the 30+ degree heat, so I just used the powder over the top of sunscreen if I felt like a bit of coverage.
  • ArtDeco Queen of the Jungle Bronzing Glow Blusher (limited edition from a couple of years ago, but still available here and they seem to do a variation on the theme every now and then), applied with the EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush
  • Estee Lauder Doublewear dual ended eyeliner in Onyx and Coffee (I think this was a limited edition release; the full sized version has a smudger on the other end), smudged out with the Real Techniques Shading Brush, and the Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Liquid Eyeliner. I probably could have done with leaving one of the liner options behind.
EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Makeup Revolution liquid eyeliner, Marc Jacobs Lip Pencil in Nude(ist), Real Techniques Shading Brush, L'oreal False Lash Telescopic mascara, Estee Lauder Doublewear eyeliner, Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush

EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Makeup Revolution liquid eyeliner, Marc Jacobs Lip Pencil in Nude(ist), Real Techniques Shading Brush, L'oreal False Lash Telescopic mascara, Estee Lauder Doublewear eyeliner, Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, Lush Solid Perfume in Karma, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, Lush Solid Perfume in Karma, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

  • Coppertone facial and body sunscreens (these were three for £1 at the local pound shop; another Asia-only release I think), contact lens solution (FYI: no one seemed to sell solutions for RGPs in Greece, and mine got confiscated at customs because it was 120 mLs... woe), and mini shampoo and conditioner (I got the Charles Worthington Sunshine Protector range from Boots).
  • Collistar Glycolic Acid, previously reviewed here.
  • A freebie pack of Simple Face Wipes (although I've bought them in the past) to remove makeup and sunscreen, and then I would do a second cleanse with the (shock horror) freebie soap on board.
  • Lush solid perfume in Karma, in the old push up packaging -- such a gorgeous scent! It's an orange and patchouli blend, and almost smells fizzy, if that makes sense.
  • Skinny cotton buds from Muji, a few cotton pads, tweezers, and hair ties.

Looking back, I could definitely have gone lighter, but hey... [insert something about minimalism being a journey, not a destination]. What about you -- what can't you travel without? How many lip options would you be happy with? And would you mind if I write more travel posts? I've got a lot more to say about Greece!

Ahhhhhhhhh take me back.

Ahhhhhhhhh take me back.

Extras for experts: How to Pack Like Joan Didion (Into The Gloss).

Take it or leave it

Take it or leave it

Take it:

  • Base products! Make up is mostly about the skin for me, and as a result I have a slightly excessive foundation and tinted moisturiser situation. I like light to medium coverage and the whole "my skin but better" thing.
  • On that note, a brush (at the moment I'm using the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush*) or Beauty Blender for putting on that base. 
  • Eyelash curler. Short stubby lashes, rejoice.
  • Nail polish! They just make me happy, even if I often don't make the time to paint my nails.
  • Blush has really grown on me.

Leave it:

  • Body moisturisers, because I'm lazy and the body is just a lot of real estate to cover, ok? (Although I am trying, and getting better at using it.)
  • On a similar note, I use hand cream maybe once a month. 
  • Tanning products.
  • Lip scrubs. Use your toothbrush or flannel, save your money, and spend it on lipstick.
  • Excessively pricey cleansers with active ingredients. Just, no.

And you?

Read More

Phoenix Cosmetics custom-blended foundation

Phoenix Cosmetics Matte foundation, with friends Miracle Complexion Sponge and Expert Face Brush from Real Techniques, on a background of my Juliette Hogan dress (on special for $99! Score!)

Phoenix Cosmetics Matte foundation, with friends Miracle Complexion Sponge and Expert Face Brush from Real Techniques, on a background of my Juliette Hogan dress (on special for $99! Score!)

I have a soft spot for the phoenix. The themes of death and rebirth have been at the forefront of my mind of late; attempting a PhD for six years, having it not work out for various reasons, and writing it up as a masters while questioning all facets of my life and wellbeing might have something to do with it. So getting an email from Phoenix Cosmetics advertising their deal for custom-blended foundations was kind of apropos. It's the little things, right? Ace your base, fresh face for a fresh start, etc.

In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is associated with the feminine ying energy, so it seems appropriate that the Phoenix Cosmetics salons are feminine frou-frou heaven. I first came across them several years back when I was first at uni, after reading media coverage of founder Phoenix Renata's skill in eyebrow shaping. Phoenix has now built an impressive cosmetics brand and chain of salons, as well as running a Beauty School. While their particular retro aesthetic isn't necessary my style, I can appreciate their unabashedly girly branding and the styling of their Pink Ladies (aka makeup artists).

The deal was for their custom blended foundations, which come in Matte and Dewy formulas, at the special price of $35 (normally $65). They had me at “custom”, especially considering that most “mass-tige” brands like Maybelline and L’Oreal retail their foundations at the $30-40 mark in New Zealand. 

So much for custom-blended, though — I was a perfect match for the shade Honey, which as far as I can tell is approximately NC37 in MAC colouring. (I wish I was special.) This was in the Matte formula, although it's actually very similar to the dewier Lancome Teint Miracle in that it results in real-looking skin. I would describe it as satin-finish with a medium coverage. It’s a water-based formula, and can be sheered out with a damp sponge (the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge is pictured), or built up with a dense brush (like the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush). 

The makeup artist who matched me at the Kingsland salon mentioned that the Matte formula oxidises, so it pays to be patient and wait ten minutes to see the final colour match (generally good advice when shopping for foundations, especially if your skin tends towards the oily).

Note: if you purchase the Real Techniques brushes through the links and use the code CFD132, you can get a discount of $5-10 depending on how much you spend. I’ll get a referral reward too. If you're in New Zealand you'll be pleased to note that the website prices are more than half off the retail prices here.