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Packing for the Weekend

PACKING FOR A WEEKEND AWAY

Written by Fiona Ingham

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

I’m not planning a major break away this Summer, but I’m getting quite excited about packing clothes for a long weekend in the UK.

My aim is to pack the minimum but, being ever hopeful, having options for most events: sight-seeing, walking, enjoying a sunny beach or being blown along a windswept one, casual suppers, maybe a more dressed- up dinner.

Where to start?

Packing is greatly simplified with a limited colour palette. If you’re a House of Colour client you know your Colours so it’s easy! If you haven’t done colour analysis, then decide on a neutral palette, either a warm one of creams through beiges, camels, coffees and chocolate browns or a cool palette of white through silvers and greys to black. If you choose two or three dark neutrals and a pale neutral from one of these palettes they will mix and match with everything. You might also want to add denim as a useful neutral.

I’m an Autumn so I might choose warm camel, coffee and cream with kingfisher, geranium red and buttercup yellow. If you favour a cool palette consider grey, charcoal and white with perhaps cobalt blue, royal purple and cherry red. For simplicity I tend to keep bottom halves to neutrals. Lay everything out to check that the colours and accessories work together in any combination for maximum variety.

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Comfort over style...

After weeks of wearing Pilates-ready gear I’m looking forward to the orange and cream striped dress purchased recently from an on-line sale. A lightweight dress in a non- crease fabric is a girl’s best travelling companion this summer, with plenty of options in midi and maxi lengths. It provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce colour and pattern with no worries about coordinating top and bottom halves. The current frocks with high necklines and statement sleeves will work well even if the temperature drops, when a cashmere cardigan or denim jacket can be added. I don’t envisage a stampede back to high heels and a dress this season as we’ve become so used to relaxed dressing, but sandals and trainers, both as ugly as you like, are of the moment. I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of a pair of orange patent Madrid Birkenstocks and hoping I can get a pedicure soon, so as to do them justice. Wedges can work for evening as they feel slightly more dressed up but still appropriate for the current laidback vibe.

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Adding a flourish

I’ve become a hands-free fanatic during lockdown so my small Healthy Back Bag has replaced a handbag. It holds everything for a day out including my lightweight rain jacket and pashmina. My petite Baglett works well when only keys, credit cards, glasses, lipstick and a colour coordinated mask are needed.

Accessories are vital to change the look from day to evening or casual to smart casual while taking up little space in the suitcase. Consider a luxe scarf or statement necklace to brighten up the face.

‘Layering’ is essential for a staycation in this green and pleasant land. Be prepared! My secret weapon is a long -sleeved red thermal which passes as a smart top if well accessorised but is also comfortable worn under a sweater. Another is a body shaper slip which adds warmth and makes me feel cosy in the flimsiest dress.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to dress up a bit more on that weekend, but I’m wondering will I really manage not to slip my new uniform of hoodie and leggings into the case? I’ll try not to, but I can’t promise!

Travel:
  • Camisole
  • Long sleeved top
  • Jacket
  • Pashmina
  • Flat shoes/trainers
  • Jeans/casual trousers
  • Small Healthy Back Bag
Pack:
  • Sandals, wedges/smarter flats
  • 1 casual trousers/skirt
  • 4 tops
  • 1 smart trousers/skirt
  • Cardigan/sweater
  • Dress in light weight non- crease fabric
  • Luxurious scarf ( velvet, metallic thread, silk)
  • 1 set each of casual and glitzy jewellery
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Underwear, tights, socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Gloves
Fiona Ingham

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award.also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

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Travel Ready with HBB

Travel with HBB

TRAVEL READY WITH HBB

Travel with peace of mind

It’s Summer, the time of country walks and longer days. A time for travel on foreign continents in search of sun, exploring hidden trails in far off lands and tasting foods you’ve never tried before.

But don’t get so distracted by taking in all the sights! One must always be safe and protected against pickpockets and thieves.

Our HBBs are designed with peace of mind in mind. Not only are they comfortable, good for your back, practical, and stunningly stylish, our bags offer a great secure alternative to a traditional backpack or handbag.

On a backpack, your zip is on the front of the bag making it easy to access to people behind you. Our bags position the zip pressed against your body.

A perfect design for security conscious people.

Accessible

With the zip always pressed against your body, it’s almost impossible for anyone to access the main compartment of the bag whilst you are wearing it without your knowing.

Not only are our bags more secure though, this design makes them more accessible to the wearer.

You are able to swing the bag round without ever taking it off and access the contents that way.

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Double Zips

The final touch is the double zip design which makes the bags easier for the wearer to access as they can position the zips wherever they want. Bottom, top, middle or anywhere in between.

HOW ARE WE HEALTHY?

Still DON’T BELIEVE US?

Here’s what one HBBer had to say:

“I have bags of various sizes and colours and my partner also has an Earth bag he uses on holidays as his ‘man bag’. I love them all as I feel, especially abroad, they are very secure with thick straps and the ability to have them in front as well as on your back. They are superbly comfortable and with all the pockets can hold many bits securely. I recommend them to all my friends and family.”

– Ellie Wilson, HBB customer.

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Essential Travel items you didn’t know you needed

Essential Travel Gadgets you Didn't know you Needed

Travelling is important. Experiencing new cultures, broadening your understanding of the world and most importantly, letting off a little steam and relaxing. Travel is a luxury for most of us, but it can be stressful. How do you fit everything you’re going to need for your long weekend in Valencia, into a tiny carry-on bag (let’s be honest, we’re not paying the extortionate fee Easyjet are going to charge us for luggage).

Thankfully for you, us lot at HBB are pretty travel savvy so we wanted to share a few tactful hints and tricks with our customers.

  1. The HBB

We’ll get the obvious one out the way, your HBB should be coming with you. With our well thought out and clever design there is more than enough pockets and storage space to make it a great choice of bag. On top of that the safety conscious design means the zip is pressed against your back at all times (no pickpockets are getting at your stuff) and it’s comfortable. The ergonomic design means carrying your belongings about as you tramp around a new city or along beautiful stretches of sandy beach isn’t going to cause you any grief.

But you know all this already…

2. Travel pillow from Hippy Chick

Hippy Chick are a recent discovery by the HBB office. They make some clever ergonomic products that are aimed at making our lives more comfortable, which is why their products are perfect for travelling with.

hippychick travel pillow

3. Mini Medical Kit

Someone in your party is going to attain themselves some new injury on holiday. Whether its from an over exuberance whilst chopping onions and drinking wine or from standing on a seashell on the beach. A mini medi kit is a must.

4. Kindle

This may be no surprise to any of you, but we couldn’t leave it off a travel savvy blog. Personally, I love books, and I love the feel and weight and even the smell of paper books. Kindles get on my goat a little. But they are so practical!

If you’re anything like me you’re going to plough through two or three books in a week spent on the beach. But they take up a lot of space and well, they’re heavy. Kindles allow you to cart around a whole library all contained in a device the weight and size of a copy of Old Man and the Sea.

5. Collapsible Water Bottle

Going somewhere sunny? You will need water.

Reusable water bottles are important to help us cut down on wasteful plastic products. Millions of tonnes of plastic go to landfill, and distressingly end up in the sea every year. A reusable water bottle is a step in the right direction to avoiding that. However, as we mentioned before, you haven’t got much space in that carry on bag, a collapsible one though solves that problem.

6. Multi-usb/ plug adaptor

Why carry around a dozen plug converters for every device? Most of our devices now, tablet, Kindle, phone are all charged using usb cables. Carrying a single multi-port usb travel adaptor takes up less space ad allows you to charge multiple items from one single socket. Win win!

7. Packing Cubes

The space saving gods created these nifty things for a reason. They are super useful if you need to get more into less.

8. Tiny Iron

How much do you hate getting where you’re going, unpacking your bag to find that despite your careful folding, your clothes are more wrinkled than when you left!

Bring out in the tiny iron!

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Winter Adventures your Kids will Love

Winter adventures at Ally Pally

Winter Adventures your Kids will Love

When winter comes it can be all too tempting to hole yourselves away in the warmth. Cuddling up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and Marvel films playing on a loop is all too appealing. However, it’s not the healthiest way to spend the colder months.

Here are 9 winter adventures to keep the kids happy (and you sane) throughout those cold December months.

1. Get Baking

Doing things together is a great way to bond with the kids as well as teaching them valuable skills. Plus at the end of you’ll (hopefully) have some delicious treats. Of course be prepared to clean cake batter off the ceiling and don’t expect them to let you lick the spoon…

2. Arts and Crafts

Get creative, pull out the paints, cover the kitchen tale in newspaper and see if your little ones are going to be the next Monet.

3. Trek Snowdonia

Getting everyone outdoors is always a worthwhile endeavour. Visit one of the UKs most beautiful regions. The stunning landscape is harsh in winter but, in my opinion, the scarcity of the rough mountainous region is more beautiful than in Summer.

4. Indoor Skiing

This may be a little easier to get the kids on board with than a hike through semi-alpine conditions. There are a couple of great indoor skiing companies in the UK.

Check out the Snow Centre at https://www.thesnowcentre.com/ based in Hemel Hempstead

5. Ice Skating

Learning how to glide about on the ice at a young age has stood me in surprisingly good stead over the years, it’s fun, seasonal and good exercise. Be prepared for sore feet and plenty of falling down though…

My personal favourite rink is Alexandra Palace in London https://www.alexandrapalace.com/ice-rink/

Winter adventures at Ally Pally

6. Go Falconing at thetorridon.com

This just sounds like fun. Step into adventure stories marching through forests, hawk upon your wrist. Learn all about the great birds of prey, and how to handle them.

7. Curling

A little bit different this one. A somewhat Scottish past-time it is I suppose a bit like winter bowling. It’s a great way to have a bit of fun on the ice, though a little bit harder to find than ice skating.

Find a rink here http://www.trycurling.com/play/find-a-rink/

8. Coastal walking

The English coast is dramatic, beautiful and variable. My own favourite stretches are along Devon’s Jurassic coast where you can take the kids fossil hunting as well as experiencing one of the most incredible stretches of English coast.

9. Winter Survival Camp

www.woodlandsurvivalcrafts.com.

This one isn’t for all ages, but we couldn’t not include it when we discovered it. Dave Watson developed his skills not in the SAS but living rough as a teenager. His company, Woodland Survival Crafts, runs a winter survival course on the Derbyshire-Leicestershire border, which teaches you shelter-building, foraging in the colder winter and Autumn months, and how to light a fire when all around you is damp (it involves a bow).

Let us know what other winter adventures you can come up with on our Facebook page!

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Vintage Canvas is Back!

Vintage Canvas

VINTAGE CANVAS IS BACK!

Our vintage canvas s back by popular demand. It’s been years in the (re)making and it remains one of our all time favourites.

There’s never been another bag quite like it and we couldn’t resist. The feedback was astounding, and it sold out so quickly it almost didn’t touch the shelves! Now, after many years of waiting, it’s back. Some of you may be wondering what the fuss is all about? Well, settle downa and let us tell you all about the Vintage Canvas HBB

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Vintage Canvas: What’s it all about?

Vintage Canvas is a tough and durable cotton canvas/poly blend. Best of all is the finish; a synthetic coating which gives it a weathered waxy look that’s highly weatherproof finished.

The finish of these bags means that as you wear it it will gain additional character and become entirely unique to you.
Lightweight, hard-wearing and water resistant… what’s not to love?

It is a bag that is quite emphatically the epitome of our brand identity… and if that doesn’t clear it up for you, then just know it has all the qualities that we strive for at HBB.

Beautifully Balanced.

Perfect for the office or adventures in the great outdoors, it’s a bag that just keeps giving. It would look equally at home on a lawyer or a park ranger. It has the carefully considered pocketing paired with our iconic design making it fastidiously functional and stylishly suave. It would make a great alternative to a leather bag, or even an active traveler!

My own Vintage Canvas bag has accompanied me all around the world for the past 7 years and there’s still life in it yet. I honestly would never travel without it. From the Sud de France to the U S of A. Excuse me one moment whilst I reminisce about the good times we’ve had and share some holiday snaps…

Here’s a few shots of us together last year in Sequoia National Forest, California.

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11 Excellent Alternative Exercise Ideas

11 EXCELLENT EXERCISE ALTERNATIVES

EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR YOU

You know this, but it can be hard to motivate yourself. Even with the knowledge that it’ll make you happier and it improves you brain function. It’s been a long day in the office and all you want to do is relax, enjoy a nice dinner and watch the newest show on Netflix. Going to the gym is boring, there isn’t much way round that and it can be hard to feel like you’re achieving anything so you gradually phase out that part of your life.

We understand, so we’ve come up with these 11 Alternative exercise options to help you find your exercise passion.

#1 POLE DANCING

More commonly associated with strippers in American blockbusters this is one of the best exercise classes out there. It requires a huge amount of fitness, strength and core muscles to do those moves.

#2 PADDLE BOARD YOGA

Yoga is about balance, what better way to advance your balancing skills than by decreasing the stability of the surface you are on? This is a seasonal class that you can even find out on the river Thames. Buoyancy aids and wetsuits are available. It would certainly give you plenty of motivation to improve your form.

#3 TRAPEZE SCHOOL

Unless you’re scared of heights this sounds like great fun. Soar through the air, flip and twist. It requires good upper body strength and will quickly develop your stamina.

#4 HULA HOOPING

Take your childhood passion and turn it into some seriously impressive skills. Hulafit runs sessions across the city. Soundtracked with bangers from Britney and Beyoncé, they’re suitable for beginners, but will soon have newbies doing hoop tricks like pros – while toning up abs, legs and arms.

#5 BARRE CLASS

This one is a favourite of Nancy’s. It is all about control and strength. These classes involve techniques from dance, yoga and fitness. The specific sequences will encourage muscles to stretch and strengthen, leaving you calm and relaxed. Be prepared to entangle yourself in strangely long and twisty positions.

#6 BOXING (OR ANY MARTIAL ART REALLY)

Not only could this come in useful one day (although hopefully not) martial arts require feats of strength, balance, skill and fitness. There are classes for all skill levels and ages, you can take up contact or non-contact.

#7 JOIN THE CIRCUS

Become a clown… okay, we joke. But you can find yourself one of the many ‘Cirque du Soleil’ style workouts which involve dangling for long periods of time as you try to regain some interpretation of up.

#8 TRAMPOLINING

This may seem like fun and games, and that’s the point, but this is a really serious question of your leg strength and overall stamina.

#9 TAKE THE DOG FOR MORE WALKS, LONGER WALKS – DON’T HAVE A DOG? GET A DOG AND TAKE IT FOR A WALK.

This isn’t so much about the dog as giving yourself a purpose and cute furry companion to go out for a long walk or run. Try and wear your dog out. It will likely never happen, you’ll just get it more excited. Let it run behind you as you cycle or jog along with you. Plan out a long walk at least once a week.

#10 TAKE UP A SPORT

What’s your favourite sport?

Sports are great ways to exercise and it doesn’t have to be some high intensity game like rugby to count. Try tennis or golf perhaps. Great excuses to enjoy some of the outside world and stretch your legs a bit.

#11 HOT YOGA

Get ready to get sweaty. They crank up the heat and put you through a series of vigorous yoga poses. You’ll need a shower after this one there’s no doubt about it. After a few classes though it’ll begin getting easier and you won’t be nearly as stiff. (I don’t think we need an image of sweaty yoga people…)

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FITNESS CLASS? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
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11 Best Dog Walker Parks in London

11 Best Dog Walker Parks in London

Dog Walkers in London

Having a dog in the city often seems like it would be unfair. Dogs need exercise. They need to run around manically, throw themselves about, roll in puddles and otherwise behave mischievously.

However, London has a plethora of gorgeous and sizeable parks that are perfect for a doggy day trip.

And of course if you really want, there is a huge amount of space just outside of London, the Chiltern Hills for example, which certainly deserve a thorough explore.

For all you London based dog owners (or any Londoners who like a good walk), we have compiled a short list of some of our favourite parks in London, and they really aren’t that hard to get to.

Grab your HBB, pack your essentials and get going.

#1 Hyde Park – Central London

London’s most famous – and perhaps busiest – park, but dogs are welcomed here with open paws. Hyde Park is one of the Royal Parks and forms a huge rectangular green lung in the middle of central London. It is home to numerous famous landmarks which draw in millions of tourists each year, including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

Nearest station? Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch (Central Line) and Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line)

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#2 Victoria Park – East

Vicky Park, as it’s known to eastenders, is a social hotspot for outgoing canines and their owners alike. It’s split into two parts: The western half is landscaped with a fantastic organic lakeside café, boating lake and picnic areas in the summer, while the eastern half is more suitable for dogs and has larger expanses to run on.

Be advised to carry a doggie bag though as there’s an open-ended children’s adventure playground (dogs are not allowed) and plenty of green area given over to sport. The Kenton is an excellent local dog-friendly Norwegian pub to pause in.

Nearest station? Hackney Wick or Cambridge Heath, (Overground)

More info on Victoria Park

#3 Richmond Park – West

As the biggest enclosed space in London, there’s no shortage of spots for your dog to explore here in this National Nature Reserve.

This is London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest, so dog owners will need to be aware of the precious wildlife here. There are some restrictions in certain areas, and owners are advised to avoid the park during the deer rutting (September to October) and birthing (May to July) seasons to help prevent any potential problems.

Nearest station? Richmond (National Rail and District Line)

Is there a car park? Yes, there are several.

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#4 Regents Park – Central

Designed by John Nash, Regent’s Park covers 395 acres and is perhaps the most picturesque of central London’s parks with glorious flower beds and the famous Queen Mary’s rose garden with over 1000 varieties. There are plenty of places to let your pooch run free (especially on Primrose Hill) but dogs should be kept on leads in the formal gardens and sports areas.

Nearest station: Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line), Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines), Baker Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan & Bakerloo lines), St John’s Wood (Jubilee line)

Plan your dog walk at Regents Park here

#5 Peckam Rye Park – South

This Victorian Park has recently been restored to its former Victorian glory with lottery money. At 113 acres, it is south east London’s biggest green zone and it has loads to offer: woodlands, a lake, formal garden and the Café on the Rye.

The arboretum is a canine-free zone but the lovely Japanese garden isn’t, and there are plenty of other trails to take: Southwark council even provides a handy trail map.

Nearest station? Denmark Hill Station (Overground)

Plan your dog walk in Peckham Rye Park here.

#6 Hampstead Heath – North

As far as views of London go, they don’t get much better than when perched atop Parliament Hill, the summit of hilly Hampstead Heath. Sometimes known as ‘kite hill’ due to its popularity among kite flyers. Spanning a huge 320 hectares (790 acres), this wildlife-rich parkland is among the biggest in London and features woodlands, vast heaths and swimming ponds, including one dedicated to dogs that enjoy a dip in the water. As you’d expect from an ancient heathland, there’s plenty of history, too – there are at least 55 historical features, monuments and archaeological sites to explore.

Nearest station? Golders Green, Hampstead or Kentish Town (Northern Line) and Hampstead Heath or Gospel Oak (London Overground).

Is there a car park? Yes, several.

Find out more and plan your visit here

#7 Battersea Park – Central

This Thames-side gem spans 200 acres with lakes, woodland areas, designated nature spots and open space. The park, which opened in 1858 on reclaimed Thames marshland, has a colourful history – including that of The Brown Dog affair. A statue of the same name was placed in the park in memory of dogs used in research experiments at the turn of the last century and was the subject of huge political controversy. The terrier figurine sits on a plinth in the park’s woodland, beside the Old English Garden.

Nearest station? Battersea Park (National Rail)

Is there car park? Yes

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#8 Lee Valley Park – East

This enormous 10,000 acre, 46 mile long linear park along the leafy banks of the River Lee runs from the East India Dock Basin on the River Thames in east London and up through Essex and Hertfordshire to Ware.

The park’s towpath through London takes in Walthamstow Marsh Nature Reserve, one of the few remaining pieces of the capital’s once widespread river valley grasslands. There’s also Coppermill Fields, Leyton Marsh and Tottenham Marshes, as well as plenty of reservoirs, as the park makes its way out of London. Once the park hits Waltham Cross, it opens up to the vast expanse of open spaces and lakes of the River Lee Country Park, which even has a free 500 metre dog agility course located just north of Cheshunt Railway station.

Nearest Station? There are many, it depends on where in the park you want to go.

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#9 Wimbledon Common – South West

Who wouldn’t want to romp around on Wimbledon Common, the largest expanse of heathland in London? Encompassing Putney Lower Common and Putney Heath, the conversation area covers 1,140 acres and supports a variety of wildlife, areas of mature woodland, ponds and bogland. You’ll cross paths with horse riders here as well as school children on nature trails and foragers in the autumn. If you start out from Putney, there’s a lovely walk to Wimbledon windmill with dog-friendly tea rooms to reward the foot-sore.

Nearest station? Wimbledon Park or Southfield Station (District Line)

Plan your dog walk on Wimbledon Common here

#10 Thames Path – South West

A well-trodden path by well-heeled dog owners who live locally but little known about outside the postcode. The walk offers the most pleasant, leafy views of the river, and is lined with fabulous trees which have grown huge due to the abundance of water. If you’re feeling energetic you can walk all the way from Hammersmith to Twickenham, – there are plenty of riverside pubs to stop at, several of which allow dogs on the lead.

Nearest Station? It depends where you want to start.

More info on dog walking on the Thames Path from Barnes

#11 Highgate Wood – North

A short walk from Hampstead Heath will bring you to this 70 acre ancient woodland. It’s a haven for wildlife and accessible scenic walks and, come spring, you’ll find a beautiful carpet of bluebells there. Evidence of its history dates back to prehistoric times. There are good facilities here, including a cafe, on the edges of the woodland’s central field.

Nearest train station: Highgate (Northern Line).

Is there a car park? Yes.

Find out more and plan your visit here.

What’s your favourite walk in or around London? And your favourite HBB to take with you?

We’d love to know in the comments section below.

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10 Things You Need When You Travel

10 things for travel

TEN Things you NEED TO GET BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

When you travel, whether it’s backpacking around Asia or jetting off to the Canary Islands for a couple of weeks, there are a few mainstays that should be on everyone’s checklist: Suncream, bug spray, an adaptor.

This though is not that list. We have put together a list of 10 things you may never realised you needed, but will definitely make your travel life a whole lot easier.

1. Solar Powered Portable Charger

At some point in time you aren’t going to be near a plug and you will need to charge your phone or your tablet. Getting a solar powered one means you’ll never be out of juice, at least for as long as the sun is shining.

2. The Bungee Clothesline

This is a pretty underrated item. Whilst out travelling in the world it’s rare you’ll have the luxury of a dryer but you’re still probably going to want to wash clothes. The bungee clothesline lets you dry clothes anywhere, anytime.

3. A Multi-port USB Charger

It means you don’t have to carry around a whole load of plug adaptors and wall chargers for every single item.

4. Speaker

A speaker is always a good idea (along with a pack of cards). Get yourself a small compact little speaker with great sound. You can find good ones from £15+.

5. Tupperware

You weren’t expecting this one… But a good tupperware is certainly worth the space it takes up in your bag. Going to the beach and want to take some pasta salad? Going on a hike and want to take lunch with you? Never underestimate the practicality of the humble tupperware.

6. Sewing Kit – Safety Pins – Gaffa Tape

Okay… so this is really three items. But they all serve the same sort of purpose.

In the likely instance that something big (or small) breaks on your trip, such as a zip, a seam or a strap, there are very few things you can’t fix with some gaffa tape, a needle and thread or a safety pin. The safety pins are also great for getting your sim card out if you’re putting a local sim card in your phone.

A useful tip is to pack it into old tic tac boxes. They are the perfect size to compartmentalise your sewing kit and safety pins!

7. Pen Knife

A good swiss pen knife is probably one of the most versatile tools on the planet. I have a Leatherman that I never travel anywhere without. If nothing else, it’s great for cutting food up at a picnic. But also the pliers, screwdrivers, scissors (and of course the bottle opener) all come in handy at unexpected times.

8. Wacaco Hand Espresso Machine

Espresso on on the go. We’re coffeeholics in the HBB office, so going without coffee is really not an option we would dare to consider. This is a handheld espresso device, compact and easy to use. All you need is hot water.

9. Kindle Paperwhite

A good book is an absolute travel essential. Though for those of you on long trips, a stack of novels may not be the most convenient thing to carry around. Kindles give you access to a whole library that fits right in your bag, allowing you to read whatever you please, as and when you like.

10 things for travel

10. Noise Cancelling Headphones

For the plane, or the hostel. Wherever loud people are, a pair of good noise cancelling headphones are a must.

Bonus: AN HBB

And of course we would be terribly remiss if we didn’t at least mention our bags.

Designed to make your load feel lighter so you can comfortably carry it around all day. The practical pocketing means you will never lose your things inside your bag and to top it off, they are designed with security in mind, with the zip always pressed against your body.

What can’t you travel without? Let us know in the comments section below.

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7 things we grew this summer

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5 Bits of Festival Kit you Didn’t Know you Needed

FIVE Bits of Festival Kit You Didn’t Know You Needed

Many people over the summer months will be braving the temperamental English weather and heading out into the sun, wind and rain to go to their favourite summer festival. You may think you need nothing more than your sleeping bag, a change of pants and that old moth bitten pop-up tent; here at HBB we salute such brave folly but we rather think a few essentials wouldn’t go amiss.

We’ve put together a little list of 5 essential non-essentials that might just get you to the final headliner with your sanity (and all your belongings) in check.

1. The HBB Baglett

We wouldn’t be doing this right if we didn’t put our very own Baglett as number 1 on the list. A secure and stylish little bag. You can keep all your valuables safely on you and you don’t even have to resort to a bumbag.

They’re weather resistant, hands-free, secure, lightweight and stylish. What more could you want?

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2) Tent Finder

Ever wandered around the campsite aimlessly searching for your tent in a sea of identical pop-ups? Well then this gadget is for you.  From anywhere within a 50 metre radius you can activate the Tent Finder. With a flick of the remote, 23 LEDs on the dome-shaped light will illuminate your tent like a glowing beacon leading you to your humble festival home.

3)  Portable Speakers

Not all the parties happen at the stages. Make sure you get ahold of a powerful little speaker for your groups campsite.

4) Solar Powered Portable Charger

A portable charger is a must when camping at any festival. Nothing worse than your phone running out of power on the first day. You can’t take any pictures, can’t locate your friends. However, we are going one step further and suggesting a solar powered charger. It’s summer… it’ll be sunny right?

5) Camel Back

You probably did already know this one. But it’s thirsty work partying and you can’t constantly be drinking beer. A camel back makes life much more comfortable and will help you last the full festival weekend.

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11 Gorgeous Autumnal Walks to Take your HBB on

Autumnal walks

11 Gorgeous Autumnal Walks

Autumnal walks, whilst having a bit of a chill factor, hold some of the most beautiful landscapes of the year. The trees turn to golden browns and gorgeous reds and oranges. The air, crisp with a hint of those colder days to come.

It is then a time of year that is perfect for romping over the soft hills of the English countryside.

So, we thought we might put together a little list of walks that would be absolutely perfect to take your HBB on.

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If you like this article, or perhaps have a favourite walk to share, feel free to leave a comment in the box below.

In the South West

1. Stourhead, Wiltshire – King Alfred’s Tower walk

This 5 mile walk takes you up through beautiful woodlands to King Alfred’s Tower (open at weekends only, 12-4pm throughout October), a 160ft high folly designed for Stourhead’s owner Henry Hoare II in 1772. It is believed to mark the site where King Alfred the Great rallied his troops in 878. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the spectacular views across the lake in the landscape garden, with the deep autumnal hues of red, russet and yellow from the surrounding trees. Take your time to soak up all the features of this masterpiece, including the tranquil garden of the South Lawn, the shaded banks running down to the lake and the Grotto, which contains a statue of a sleeping nymph.

Get a map of the walking trail here

Autumnal walks
Credit: Marilyn Peddle https://www.flickr.com/photos/marilynjane/4546584778

2. Castle Drogo, Devon – Teign Gorge walk

This is one of the most famous walks on Dartmoor. The route takes you past the imposing bulk of Castle Drogo – which was the last castle to be built in England, these areas are rich in history, with incredible views and abundant wildlife.

Then there is Fingle Bridge, a popular focal point for budding photographers, and the perfect spot for a game of Poohsticks in the river Teign. The return journey follows the river’s path through dense oak woodland where the foliage turns to vibrant shades of yellow and orange. If you look up you might just catch a glimpse of the castle above the trees.

Get a map of the walking trail here.

Credit: WyrdLight.com

3. Kingston Lacy, Dorset – Beech Avenue and Droves walk

This 3.8 mile walk takes you round the beautiful network of droves, along the stunning 1835 Beech Avenue and back along the outskirts of the Kingston Lacy parkland. The Avenue began life in 1835 when William John Bankes planted 731 trees along the side of the newly built road. The tree canopy now forms a beautiful tunnel of russet colour during the autumn months. The National Trust is now working to conserve this stunning visual landmark by replacing lost beeches with hornbeam trees, which also provide beautiful autumn colour, but are more suited to the British climate.

Get a map of the walking trail here

4. Brownsea Island, Dorset – Rich Reds of Brownsea walk

Brownsea’s unspoiled landscape provides a peaceful haven for visitors seeking a bit of autumn colour. From sweet chestnuts and beeches to hazel trees and scarlet oaks from North America, there are a whole range of bright hues to enjoy. Even the local wildlife adds to the vibrant atmosphere with migrant redstarts and the local population of red squirrels as the stars of the show. This easy walk will take you round the island to enjoy all the delights of the season with sweeping coastal views thrown in for good measure.

Get a map of the walking trail here

5. Heddon Valley, North Devon – Heddon Valley to Woody Bay walk

Nestled on the West Exmoor coast it’s easy to see why the Heddon Valley was a favourite with the Romantic poets. In autumn the path through the valley is full of vibrant yellow gorse, which scents the air with the smell of coconuts all the way down to the sea at Heddon’s Mouth. There are also plenty of walking routes higher up, including an historic 19th-century carriageway and part of the South West Coast Path, which run across some of England’s most dramatic coastal cliffs. Those prepared to brave the challenging terrain will be rewarded with stunning coastal views across the Bristol Channel to Wales.

Get a map of the walking trail here

Photo © Basher Eyre (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Near London and the South East

6. Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey – Winkworth to Oakhurst walk

During the autumn months the splendour of Winkworth Arboretum really comes to life with rich, blazing colour from the Japanese, American and Norwegian maples. This 2.5 mile walk weaves its way through the woodland to the top of Hydon’s Ball, where you can enjoy spectacular views across the Surrey landscape. From here the route carries on to the charming village of Hambledon where you will discover Oakhurst Cottage, a delightful 16th-century labourer’s home which has remained largely unchanged for the past hundred years or more.

Get a map of the walking trail here

7. Emmetts Garden, Kent – Weardale walk

This beautiful circular walk links Emmetts Garden and Chartwell (formerly home to Winston Churchill), passing through the woodland areas of Toys Hill and Hosey Common. Emmetts garden has a beautiful display of autumn colour due to its variety of exotic trees and shrubs, all surrounded by acres of wild native woodland. Keep an eye out for the Acers and Katsura Toffa trees, and see if you can smell the latter filling the air with a sweet toffee scent.

Get a map of the walking trail here

Photo © Oast House Archive (cc-by-sa/2.0)

8. Devil’s Dyke, West Sussex – Saddlescombe Farm and Newtimber walk

Only five miles north of Brighton, Devil’s Dyke is full of stunning vistas – including a panorama which the Romantic painter John Constable described as ‘the grandest view in the world’. From a working farm nestled among rolling hills to the remains of Iron Age ramparts and old chalk pits, there is plenty to see in this landscape. A colourful habitat all year round, in September the hill-barrows at Newtimber become even more vibrant when the flowers transform the hillside into a beautiful carpet of purple.

Get a map of the walking trail here

9. Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire – Wicken Fen Boardwalk trail

Wicken Fen may not have any woodland, but it’s still possible to see stunning autumn colour on a walk around the reserve. In September the sedge turns an amazing russet colour, which becomes golden in the evenings as the setting sun illuminates the leaves. During the Second World War Dig for Victory campaign, the war office turned the fen into arable land. Restoration of the area is now being carried out, and every visit you make to Wicken Fen helps the National Trust to care for the plants and wildlife that have made a home here.

Get a map of the walking trail here

Credit: Andrew Stawarz https://www.flickr.com/photos/stawarz/4318620433

In the Midlands

10. Attingham Park, Shropshire – A Light Autumnal Walk

Explore the changing colours of the deer park with a walk taking in views over the open landscape to the river, and of the orange-gold trees that mark the start of the woodland. Kids will love crunching leaves underfoot or trying to catch them as they fall from the trees. Keen-eyed adventurers might also be able to spot some of the resident fallow deer herd camouflaged among the brown bracken and ferns.

Get a map of the walking trail here

James Humphreys - SalopianJames (CC BY-SA 3.0)

11. Belton House, Lincolnshire – Belton Park Walk

Autumn reds, yellows and golden browns can be found all over Belton, from the adventure playground and parkland, to the tranquil views overlooking the boating lakes. The magical misty mornings and crisp, clear days of autumn are an ideal time to enjoy the wonderful succession of changing colours. As you explore the estate on this walk, you can rustle your way through fallen leaves and enjoy the gorgeous golds and yellows of the lime trees along the cobbled drive. Closer to the house, rich ruby and russet creepers clad the honey-coloured walls of the West Courtyard, where the sharp but sweet aroma of ripening quinces lingers on the air.

Get a map of the walking trail here

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