My summer holiday checklist

September 20, 2013
As the weather is taking a turn for the worse in the UK, we are very conveniently heading to the much warmer climes of Marrakech.
I’m super excited, and as I gather my things, I thought it worthy of a blog post detailing what every girl needs to pack on holiday. So enjoy my summer holiday checklist.

My summer holiday checklist #1 – Maxi dresses   

A flower-printed maxi dress from Primark
Preferably of the pure cotton variety.  The reason I specify this is because I found out the hard way, during a family holiday to Bangladesh one July.  It was the monsoon season, and quite simply, I’d be sweaty as soon as you’ve stepped out of the shower.  None of the clothes I packed were appropriate, even the ones I classed as ‘summer outfits’ for the UK.
Luckily, my mamee (auntie) saved the day by stitching some salwar kameez suits for me made of the thinnest cotton.  They were literally paper thin, and helped my skin breathe through the material.  I wore them for the whole two weeks.
The same was true of my honeymoon last year.  As I was going to Malaysia and Singapore, I knew that cotton dresses would be the way to go.  I scoured all the shops around town and you couldn’t move for viscose, stretchy, maxi dresses.  These were no good to me, but eventually Primark (of all places) saved the day.  I bought around half a dozen cotton dresses, some of which I will recycle for this holiday.

My summer holiday checklist #2 – Sun cream  

Ultrasun sun cream for the face
An absolute essential.  You can forget your moisturiser, shampoo and shower gel (no doubt your hotel will provide lovely little samples), but you’ll be totally pooped without sun cream.  As I’ve blogged before, Asian skin needs sun cream as much as anyone else.
While we don’t burn as much, age spots, freckles and leathery skin are all brought on by a little too much sun (see my full article on this here).
However, while sun cream should be applied liberally and regularly to the skin, you should let your arms breathe sometimes, as it is important to get Vitamin D into our bodies.  A lack of Vitamin D is a huge issue for Asian women, due to darker skin not being as absorbent.  Couple that with lack of UK sunshine and dressing modestly, your chances of catching rays are pretty much limited to holidays.
The sun creams I’m taking are:
Nivea DNAge Cell Protection Face Sun Cream.  Though I actually find this a little greasy for the face, I’ll probably use it on my neck and other areas.
For the face, I’m packing Ultrasun SPF30. See my review of this here.

My summer holiday checklist #3 – Deodorant 

Sure maximum Protection roll on
You simply cannot go to a hot, climate without deodorant.  It’s just rude and potentially offensive.  I’m packing my fail-safe, Sure Maximum Protection (see my full review here).  It really does stand the test of heat, time and grime, and it has seen me through the UK heatwave.  So it’s my trusty ally on holiday.
What’s more, Sure has launched a new version of its great sweat repellent, Everyday fresh which has firmly landed a place in my suitcase.

My summer holiday checklist #4 – Swimsuit           

A Rosa Faia swimsuit.
Black Slazenger shorts one-piece swimsuit
The great thing about going to an Islamic country for holiday is that women-only beaches are commonplace.   Failing that, small boutique hotels also provide private pools, which mean you can wear a nice swimsuit.  The one above is from Rosa Faia is perfect.  It’s a summery yellow has a built in bra strap and is still relatively modest.
Rosa Faia is designed for curvier women, and this particular design comes with detachable straps.  You can grab one at
The other options of course are burkinis. However, if you want something in between, Sports Direct sell a Slazenger swimsuit which has a longer leg, so it’s essentially like wearing shorts, and is much more forgiving than a high leg swimsuit.  I’ve bought it for my ladies swimming lessons.  While it’s not as pretty as Rosa Faia’s offering, it’s an ideal halfway house between a bikini and burkini.

My summer holiday checklist #5 – Sunhat  

A must for fending off the baking heat is a sunhat.  I personally don’t do so well in intense sunshine (I know it’s ironic considering where I’m going).  In fact I remember nearly fainting and desperately needing some water while honeymooning in KL, while my hubby was enthusiastically taking pictures (of the sights, not me.  That would just be cruel).
So to avoid getting sunstroke or overly head-hot, I’m packing a straw hat.  Mine will be small, functional and cute.
When buying a sunhat, the trick is to get a hat that fits closely to the head and isn’t too wide brimmed.  While the wide brimmed ones look very stylish, they’re not very functional.  I remember taking one to Istanbul, and spending most of my time chasing it down the street as it kept bowling off with the wind.  It had more pavement time then head time.
Also, unless your Carrie Bradshaw, you risk looking like a bit of a knob in a wide-brimmed hat.  Or maybe that’s just me, as I can’t pull the look off to save my life.
So keep it small, neat and simple.

My summer holiday checklist #6 – Minimal makeup

Revlon cream blush and Mac powder blush
When it comes to holiday makeup, less is definitely more.  I usually see it as an opportunity to give my skin a break.  Plus you can get away with a bare face in warmer weather.  Not to mention that makeup is intolerable in the heat.
So my holiday makeup is super simple.  I use a tinted moisturiser from Liz Earle, which gives me light coverage without feeling sticky, and as it’s a moisturiser too, it’s one less thing to put on your face.  And let’s be honest, who wants to wear heavy, gloopy foundation on holiday anyway?  Kim Kardashian, I guess.
The other two things I opt for are my Mac kohl eyeliner, though I won’t always bother using this, and a cream blush.  Cream glides on nicer on oily skin than a powder does (and even if you don’t have oily skin normally, on holiday you will).  These light touches do help lift your look on holiday, without making you feel overly made up.

My summer holiday checklist #7 – Accessories 

Again, like my makeup, I won’t be overloading on the accessories.  However, as I’ll be wearing pretty maxi dresses, I’ll pack a few bangles and simple accessories.
Beaded necklace bangles and necklace is perfect for holidays


My summer holiday checklist #7 – Shawls

Shawls prove to be a fantastic cover up on holiday.  When the heat is too punishing on your skin, or the temperature drops at dusk, a light-fabric shawl draped loosely works wonders.  And if you pack a variety of colours, you can complement and accessorize your outfits nicely.
I’ve packed a few different ones, some from the UK, others from previous holidays.
Colourful shawls


My summer holiday checklist #8 – Flip flops

Like sun cream, flip flops are an absolute necessity.  It may be cold in the UK, but holidays provide a great opportunity to free your feet and let them breathe.
Also a note of caution.  While of course it’s lovely to pack pretty, dainty flip flops with bejewelled detailing or flowers, pack a boring, spongy but comfy pair for your trip.  I packed the latter for my honeymoon, but ended up buying a plan foam pair of flip flops in Singapore and wore them for the entire trip.
Blingy or decorated sandals aren’t great for long walks and sightseeing, not to mention that they get wrecked on the beach, on a dusty road, and, well, everywhere.  Nice footwear is purely for show.  So while I may pack a pair, I know my plain ones will get the most outings.  But I draw the line at crocs.  They may be super comfy (I hear) but they are also super FUGLY.
So that’s me done.  If I’ve missed anything out on my summer holiday checklist, please let me know.

About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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