Capsule packing for a winter city break. In my last post I mentioned that Mr MC and I are heading off for a winter adventure. You may remember that back in October we went to a formal dinner with friends. At the end of the meal, there was an auction in aid of our local homeless charity. Having had a few glasses of wine, I found myself momentarily inspired to bid for a weekend in Transylvania, fully expecting lots of people to bid against me but… no-one did! So, today we’re heading off to the land of mythical vampires and everything spooky. I must confess that if I’d had a clear head (and if I’d been planning to invest in a midwinter break) I would have opted for somewhere warm. However I didn’t and so, after spending the last few weeks shivering at home, I find myself needing to pack to go somewhere even colder…
As you can imagine, it’s given me a whole new packing project this week (in addition to a ‘furnish the boys for a weekend à trois’ project taking into account their different food preferences and varying culinary abilities). Now it isn’t unusual for us to go away at this time of year. Our wedding anniversary is just a week away and one of the reasons that we decided on a February wedding all of those years ago is so that we would have something to look forward to during January. I’ve always found January to be hard work and it’s good to have an extra glimmer of light at the end of it.
We honeymooned in Prague and Mr MC allocated me four whole days. We had to be back for the Saturday following our wedding day because he couldn’t let the team down and miss another rugby match! The thing that strikes me when I look back at the photos of that and all of the other winter breaks we’ve had is that they all look the same. Although I know that I always carefully planned a different outfit for each day, in every picture, all you see is the same coat and hat. So, this time I’m turning that upside down and I thought I’d share my idea of capsule packing for a winter city break with you.
Capsule packing for a winter city break
I’ll start by saying that it’s never going to be easy to squash enough clothes for three very cold days into a carry-on bag so I’m not even going to try. As it happens, there is only one airline that flies to the town of Sibiu where our adventure begins and that is Wizz Air. I had never heard of them before but I must say that the whole booking process was far more efficient than companies like easyJet and Ryanair purely because they don’t seem to have ‘unpacked’ the booking process. There were none of the endless pages of extras to plough through before we could check out. It means that we each have a rather generous 32kg baggage allowance which has made me feel a bit giddy (especially because Mr MC will use roughly 5kg of his). However I do have to bear in mind that we are staying in a different hotel each night so I need to be efficient to avoid annoying the rest of the group each morning as I repack my clobber.
We’re going to be spending more time outside than in, however there will be a few bursts of minibus travel each day so layering will be required. Even so, I think I’ve found a way to achieve a different look each day with minimal effort. I can’t show you exactly what I’m packing because some things are from past seasons and so there are no longer any images online to pull down. However this gives you an idea.
Winter city break day 1 (travelling)
Travel to Luton airport (i.e. a long drive) and land in Sibiu at 12.30pm. The forecast says it will be snowing when we arrive. I have resurrected my black skinnies for this trip because I’ll be wearing boots all weekend so I need jeans that tuck in easily. They will be my wardrobe anchor. I’ll carry the big coat and cashmere wrap through the airport. The wrap will be great for the plane journey and the coat will be a lifesaver when we step out into the snow.
I must just comment on the coat which was very kindly given to me by Marks and Spencer for the trip. Firstly you’ll be pleased to know that despite being white, (the colour worn by the best winter Bond girls) it’s machine washable. Secondly it is every bit as good as a branded ski jacket in my opinion (and from my experience of working at M&S, probably manufactured by one of the major outdoor brands). It has sleeve pockets for a lift pass, a removable hood (with detachable faux fur) that is adjustable in both width and depth, an internal tie cord at the waist, pockets that open both horizontally and vertically, reflective strips, warm quilting and Stormwear protection. I don’t think you could beat it for the price and it’s a great buy if you are heading off ski-ing or just want a rather glamorous weatherproof jacket for the UK.
Winter city break day 2
Even though we won’t have got to bed until the early hours, we have to be up early on Saturday because we are being transported from Sibiu to the cable car that will take us to the frozen Balea Lake, a glacier lake in the Fagaras mountains. We have an afternoon of winter sports followed by dinner and an overnight stay in The Ice Hotel. Mr MC is excited because it’s where Jean-Claude Van Damme filmed the Coors advert(?!) I’m excited because I love mountains but I have to say that at the moment, the prospect of spending the night on a bed carved from ice does not fill me with joy.
Jacket; Hook London sunglasses; funnel neck jumper; E-tip snow gloves; lace-up boots; skinny jeans; thermal base layer; beanie; leather leggings; black polo neck; black thermal base layer; faux fur cossack hat
We’ve already talked about the boots and they have been my best winter purchase so far (there is currently 20% off if you’re quick). I’m having a slight panic about what to wear for the winter sports. It took the ultra-organised Mr MC all of thirty seconds to find his ski stuff which was neatly stored in a wicker basket. I rummaged around for ages and then remembered that I sent my lovely ski jacket and trousers to charity last year when I was having a clearout. Eventually I found my thermal tops but my leggings have completely disappeared. So that leaves me with the choice of wearing itchy woolly tights under my jeans or borrowing a pair of Mr MC’s long johns complete with baggy Y-front pouch. I’m not keen on either option. If you follow me on Instagram it’s the only time you’ll look at me and wonder what I’m wearing under my trousers! I’m just going to have to wear a pair of waterproof trousers over the top – there’s no point in buying new ski stuff just for one day.
We’ve been warned that we will need to wrap up for dinner in The Ice Hotel. Everything is served on ice plates and the tables and chairs are ice too. I’m planning to change into my leather leggings with a black polo neck jumper and I’ll swap my hat for a fur one. In my head I’m channelling Julie Christie but the reality will probably be mad babushka.
Winter city break day 3
So, assuming we’ve survived the night wrapped in reindeer skins on our ice bed, after breakfast we go back down the mountain and travel to Dracula’s castle. There will be quite a bit of walking involved on this day and we’ll be going in and out of places so this is where my genius packing comes in. I will leave my waterproof coat in the car and exchange it for a long down coat which will be warm but light. You know what a fan I am of packable down coats and they take up so little space in a suitcase. I’m repeating the black jumper from the night before along with black jeans again but thanks to the coat and a change of hat, it should look quite different.
Later in the day we travel on to the town of Brasov. We check into our hotel and have the evening free to wander around and find somewhere for dinner. It should be slightly warmer in Brasov and there’s no snow so I’ll change into leather leggings again and add a boot with a chunky heel. I’m also going to wear layers that I can peel off when we’re in the restaurant. I’ll be in a celebratory mood because this day marks Midlifechic’s 4th birthday.
Winter city break day 4
On our last day, we have a relaxing morning and then we move on to the town of Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad Tepes who was the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s character. We’ll explore and then find somewhere for a lazy lunch. Before we know it, it will be time to head back to the airport for an evening flight… and then a long drive back to reality. As you can see, my layers are getting lighter. I’m recycling the jumper and jersey top from the evening before and wearing a different packable down jacket. I’ve changed my hat and sunglasses again too so that any photos will look different again.
So, there you have it. My version of winter break packing may not be the most condensed that you could possibly achieve but I think it’s pretty efficient if you want to punctuate your days with a different look – especially now that there’s Instagram to consider should you care about such things. In total, this is what I’m suggesting you need to achieve three days of distinct outfits:
Suitcase for a three day Winter break
If you’re a good packer you can see how the hats would nest inside each other and then tuck into a boot leg with the gloves and sunglasses too. The down coats will scrunch into a small ball. The thermals will roll and tuck into the other boot leg along with pyjamas and underwear. That leaves plenty of space for the tops to be packed. It’s simple really isn’t it?
I’ll be back next week with some tales to tell no doubt and if the trip is good, I’ll give you links to the organisers. I’ll also be posting on Instagram @midlifechic if you want to come along with me in real time. And even though I don’t enjoy doing video I think I’ll do Instagram Stories too. The boys will never speak to me again! Have a great weekend.
Disclosure: ‘Capsule packing for a winter city break’ is not a sponsored post
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