Talking Travel with The London Chatter

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Kelly Eastwood aka The London Chatter is a pro at packing light without compromising on style or her skincare routine. We visited her in her West London flat - a treasure trove of eclectic souvenirs from her travels, gorgeous clothes (of course) and a LOT of baskets - where she talked us through the contents of her carry on, shared her top travelling tips and told us why conscious consumerism is where it's at.

On Travelling:

‘I’m not particularly calm the night before a trip because I usually leave everything to the last minute, but the minute I get in the taxi, even if I’m running late or there’s a traffic jam, I always think what will be will be. You can’t make traffic go so I try and stay relaxed. Flying is a claustrophobic experience - you’re basically in a tin can in the air for eight hours, breathing the same air - but it’s also a really great time for me not to have my phone on. I can watch a couple of films, do some work, sleep, so there is a relaxing element to it as well. It’s a serious out of office.’

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Packing Like a Pro:

‘On a recent trip our suitcases didn’t turn up and in the job that I do, you need your clothes. So I prefer to take carry on and I’m an avid ‘roller’! Silks are the best; they take up no room and there’s such a variety from amazing brands like Yolke London and Bernadette Antwerp - slip dresses, skirts, pyjamas which you can wear as the shirt or trousers by themselves, or as a set. I wear my heaviest, bulkiest things – boots or trainers and my jacket - and I always travel with a little black cashmere jumper because it goes with everything. If you’ve got a jacket and a cashmere jumper, you can pair them with your silk trousers or throw the jumper over a dress, so whether it’s chilly or warm you’re sorted. I also always pack a linen shirt for the pool and to travel in - the best are the oversized ‘boyfriend shirts’ by With Nothing Underneath. Another thing to have in your bag is a fan - that and my mini steamer, S'well bottle and KeepCup are my essentials.’

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Travel Beauty Tips:

‘When you’re on holiday and in more extreme environments, that’s when you need to protect your skin the most. Taking a less premium, travel-sized face cream or eye makeup remover is going to do damage at a time where you want to keep that routine up. I decant my favourite eye makeup remover and toner into little bottles which I reuse and I’ll always take a mini perfume and face spray because that’s great for the plane and rehydration.

Makeup-wise, I look for things that double up and anything that’s compact. I really love the Tom Ford Sublimate, it’s a highlighter and blusher in one. I take that everywhere - it makes you look awake regardless of the time zone. I like taking a Charlotte Tilbury eye palette because you’ve got so many different shades – it’s so easy to stick to your formula but holiday is a fun time to mix it up. I’m definitely a more natural makeup person but I might take a bolder lipstick or have different colour eyeshadows to play with, mainly metallics for the evenings. During the day I like to keep it very plain and mainly that’s just about glowy, protected skin. I’m normally under a hat and big sunglasses anyway so it doesn’t matter what’s going on underneath!'

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'If you look in my washbag when I’m travelling there’ll definitely be a sheet mask and eye patches in there. It’s good to have things that don’t take up any room but feel really luxurious when you’re away. I’ll always take a fake tan with me – the little drops that you add to your moisturiser – because I don’t really go in the sun at all, so as everyone else’s real tans are developing, mine is too but twice as quick! I don’t get sunburned, but if I did, I’d find the nearest aloe vera plant and slather myself in it. But it’s all about preventing that from even happening. I grew up in Africa where from 12 until 3:30 you’re not in the sun, so I’m in the shade most of the time.

I always pack a silk eye mask from Jessica Russell Flint because I find it hard to switch off; the minute I put an eye mask on, it’s almost like psychologically I know it’s sleep time. Also because it’s sunnier, you don’t know where you’re staying, the light could be streaming in very early. A sleep spray is nice to take as well - if you’re using the same one at home, then that smell resonates like your own bedroom so you already feel comfortable. But I don’t take candles – you want to embrace the natural surroundings of where you go. If it’s to help you unwind that’s one thing, but I don’t want to transport myself back home – I’m trying to transport myself away from home!'

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Favourite Destinations:

'One of my favourite places to stay in the world, which I’m really lucky enough to go back regularly to, is Ol Malo which is a family run ranch in Laikipia in northern Kenya. It’s in the middle of nowhere and you’re made to feel like part of the family with the Francombes who run it. It’s a completely different world and if ever you need to switch off and reconnect with nature, it’s just the most awe inspiring place. You’re surrounded by animals, it’s magical.

I definitely have the most fun in Berlin. There are some wild parties! But a good dive bar with my buddies on a beach in Kenya is pretty high up whenever I think of where I want to let my hair down. One of the huge benefits of social media is that readily accessible shared community. I always ask on Instagram Stories for off the beaten track places in advance of going. If I ask 100,000 people someone’s going to know!'

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Sustainable Travel:

'I really enjoyed a stay at Cap Rocat in Mallorca with Lucy Williams recently. The service was incredible, the views were beautiful, it’s so close to London and they’re zero plastic. True luxury travel should encompass a very delicate footprint which I’m more and more interested in. For me the ultimate in chic is when you can enjoy yourself and switch off but you’re not affecting the planet with every move you make in your surroundings.

Travel itself is not a sustainable thing to be doing, I think everyone is cutting back where they can. I recently went to stay at Gleneagles with my family – also a really stunning place for an ultimate luxurious staycation – but I took the train up there, rather than flying which is a little bit quicker. It is something that I think about – with my job there is travel involved but I’ve turned down quite a lot of trips recently which I felt weren’t worthy of that journey.'

Stylish Souvenirs:

'On city breaks I tend to go into pharmacies – it’s always intriguing to come back with a different kind of lip balm or something like that! On a beach holiday you are always looking for some sort of accessory, like a nice bracelet from a beach stall. I came back from Cala Deia recently with a really cute embroidered bracelet which matched my dress and reminded me of that day. I’m a nightmare in Marrakesh because I’m like ‘great! I need more kaftans! I need another basket!’ I have a new rule. I’m not allowed. Any. More. Baskets. There’s a holiday basket ban. You go on holiday with one basket and come back with three if you go somewhere like Morocco.'

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There's No Place Like Home:

‘I think people disregard the physical element of travel. On holiday you’ve probably overindulged, you’re picking up unhealthy snacks, then you’re at 3000 feet and in a different time zone – I just think you need to be a bit easy on yourself when you get back. Have a shower, get into your pyjamas, have a nap or watch something on telly, get Deliveroo or some amazing food from Ocado, rather than going straight into the office. Now more than ever, if there’s an option to arrive back having the Sunday I’ll do that. When I was younger I’d be getting the latest return on a Sunday night or a Monday morning and starting the week like that. Now I want to relax a bit into being back.'

Kelly’s Cowshed Edit:

Sleepy Spray: ‘Anything that helps me switch off and unwind. I know that everyone’s like ‘no-one’s allowed their phone in bed and no screen time for an hour before bed’ – I don’t know if there’s a lot of people that actually stick to that, I’m really impressed if they do. I have all these different platforms ticking along during the night. When you do my job you never really switch off so a sleep spray and eye mask help me unwind.’

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Refresh Hand Cream: ‘I’ll always have this by my bed because the last thing I do before said eye mask goes on is put some hand cream on – hands show the first signs of ageing! I love that process - you put on your hand cream, your spray’s already on, your eye mask goes on – these are the tiny rituals that make you switch off. Also there’s a real physical relaxing that goes on when you’re applying hand cream – it’s good for relaxing my phone claws!’

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Kahai Wonder Balm: ‘You can use it if you get sunburned (which I don’t!), for your lips, for hydration but also it works as lip gloss, lip balm, as a highlighter and on your eyes. You should always have a good multipurpose product on you in case your bags do go missing.’

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Conscious Consumerism:

'I’ve always been drawn to fashion or gifting that benefits the earth or its inhabitants, either in its production or by its sale. We just relaunched the velvet Watamu Turtle Pouch, my collaboration with Elizabeth Scarlett and introduced a new design - the Watamu Weekender. It’s bigger and has handles so you can take it from the bathroom to the beach. They’re part of my ‘buy to give’ initiative where I work with small British designers, helping them use my platform to get into the hands of new people whilst supporting a wildlife project in Kenya. 100% of the profits benefit Local Ocean Conservation which is a non-profit project in Watamu, the village where I was raised. They protect the marine environment on Kenya’s coast and endangered turtles are a huge focus. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of many of the turtle releases and it brings an amazing balance to the other things that I do. For me, conscious consumerism and having a positive impact in the things that you buy is where it’s at. '

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