Wednesday 2 December 2009

It's a packing nightmare

I'm off to Helsinki for a long weekend. But what to pack?

It's always the same problem. I want to travel ligth but also want to have a choice of what to wear. Which brings the sub-problem of having to take several pairs of matching items of footwear, bags, scarves, or gloves. Which all increase the amount of luggage.

Then there's the additional worry: the weather. This time of year it's very cold in Helsinki, but it can be dry cold or wet cold.

I bought a gorgeous down coat by MaxMara in Rome. It seemed far too sunny and summery at the time to be wanting something for cold weather, but now I'm extremely glad I have it.

But though it's wonderfully warm, it really, really doesn't tolerate rain, or any wet weather at all. The alternative to keep warm and cosy at temperatures below zero is my woollen coat by Joseph, with a really nice collar. But I have worn (and worn) it for two winters already. I could take a dark grey military style wool coat which I bought from the Jill Sander collection for Unqlo in October. Problem is, neither of them are any good if it's pouring down with cold rain.

It seems that I still haven't learned that what I need most of all is a boring, boring, rain proof warm coat. Something like this:

3.1 Phillip Lim Shearling-trimmed unisex parka

OK, this is Philip Lim at Net-a-Porter and actually rather lovely. But I'd never consider paying £920.00 for a practical coat. It'd be a stretch for a impractical one.

I don't have that coat so I could take the lovely MaxMara one, which does pack into a tiny bag, as an in-case-of-snow-coat (which is forecast) and wear either one of my woollen ones. And keep indoors in case of heavy rain. Or just not go anywhere but Stockmann's department store, which just happens to be opposite my hotel. What brilliant planning on some-one's part...?

During the time I've been living in the UK, the store has grown and grown and now has everything you could possibly want. Ever. So much so that when a few summers ago I was desperate for a haircut, I just walked into the hair salon on the top floor of the store, got a time some hours later, and had the best haircut ever.

But back to the packing. The weather forecast, which I've been following avidly through my daughter in the local newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, is far too vague and inconclusive. It could be rain, it could be snow.

Helsinki is quite a smart city where people dress nicely to go shopping (at Stockmann's mainly), and I'll be seeing old friends, my daughter's friends and possibly visiting my Father. So a 'good daughter' outfit as well as 'sensible mother', and something snazzy to show off with are all required.

To further add to my packing nightmare, I've just been told by a friend who more or less commutes between Helsinki and London that the Finnair ground staff have staged a walkout at Helsinki airport. And that the luggage handlers will be on an unofficial strike at Heathrow at the weekend.

Oh dear, think I'll stay at home then....


Wildernesschic said...

I love your Max Mara coat .. the colour is perfect. I think I would take that one. If it pours down then tackle that problem there looks like a smart shop for shopping .. Hope you have a great

Doriana Gray said...

How about an umbrella Helena? lol, That why you can have your MM coat for warmth and still keep dry. Have a wonderful weekend!

North West London Girl said...

Definitely the Max Mara Coat, you will be warm as toast, and an elegant brolly or even rain hat(my preference) and you will super Miss Stylish. Have fun ...

Cheryl said...

Yes, your really pretty down coat and an umbrella! Though the perfect all weather yet stylish coat in the right price range must be out there somewhere. Have you tried L.L. Bean or J. Crew?

Anonymous said...

You should have done what any lady would have done and despatched your clothing etc, in a trunk several weeks before departure. Your maid could then have everything unpacked and ready on your arrival.

Unknown said...

If I could tell you how many brollies I've lost...the last time it was a very pretty and elegant one which I bought at Henri Bendel's in NYC (oh how I miss that store!). I left it in a taxi stepping out in Shoreditch in London. And I was going into the House not coming out, so drink was NOT involved...oh well, I wish I could go with your suggestion, Anonymous. Far more suited to me, having staff to worry about my luggage...xx