One of the things I love most about travelling is exploring all the little shops and boutiques at your destination and picking up things to bring back and slot into your everyday life. It’s one of the best ways to inject individuality into your home and style as unless someone happens to have been to the same shop in the same place…you’ll be the only person you know who has it.
Over the years I have collected so many bits and pieces from trips and whenever I see or wear them I am transported back to that time they were purchased, it’s like a little memory flare. I thought I’d use this post as a love letter to travel trinkets and go through the story of my favourite things from around the globe.
First up is this silver ring that I bought in 2014 whilst on a sailing trip from Barcelona to Montpellier in France. We were boarded at one stage by some very handsome French border officers and encountered every weather extreme from squalls to sunshine, it was an eventful week. At one point were joined by a pod of dolphins who raced alongside us, which was the highlight. I remember standing at the bow of the yacht whilst a mother and her calf weaved in and out in the water right beside me, it was incredibly special. I managed to take a couple of photos without dropping my phone in the water and you can just about make them out.
The shop where I bought the ring was down a back alley in Barcelona and we spent a good hour in there trying things on. This ring was love at first sight though, as soon as I spotted it, I knew it was mine. The stone is a stunning yellow citrine, which is the crystal for personal power and creativity (if you believe in that sort of thing). I wear this ring every day and feel naked without it.
Next is my most recent travel trinket. I have been looking for art to hang in my bathroom and was keen on pink tones and something botanical or floral or natural…but couldn't find anything in the UK no matter where I looked. Then I came across this print in a shop in Stellenbosch, South Africa last week. It is a King Protea flower (the national flower of South Africa) and a great size, I am about to have it framed. I always like supporting local artists as well. I drank a lot of rose wine on that trip, which may have influenced me towards pink things, who knows. I saw these flowers at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens a few days beforehand which also influenced my decision, here is a photo I took of the real thing.
They are so striking to look at and very prehistoric somehow! I am glad I got to bring one home with me.
Number 3 is this turquoise necklace, another treasured piece of jewellery I found whilst sailing (pictured with some other bits I have that it looks nice with). I was in Turkey in 2015 and we stopped off at a town along the coast called Fethiye, a beautiful place full of cobbled stone streets and friendly locals. I have always wanted a turquoise necklace to wear in the summer with white clothes as it’s such a classic look and I was thrilled when I found this one.
I can remember seeing it hanging on a board outside the shop as we were wandering around before dinner and I bought it and put it on straight away. I love the smooth polished shape of the stones and the cracks. It is very cool to touch too. That evening we ate at the most wonderful restaurant hidden away on a rooftop, all sat on cushions on the floor whilst they brought us local delicacies, it was one of the best meals I've eaten.
Knobs! How stunning are these? I currently don’t have anything to even use these for but I saw them in a shop in Franschhoek (also South Africa) and just couldn’t leave them behind. They will really elevate a future piece of furniture; you can buy a piece of flatpack from Ikea and make it look a million dollars by changing the handles. I have a small bedside chest of drawers from Homebase that cost me £25 in 2006 and I swapped the knobs out for some pretty ones I bought in Oliver Bonas and stained the wood a darker colour and it looks fabulous! I’ll never get rid of it. These knobs will do a similar job for another good value piece. And whenever I see them I'll remember wandering around that boutique in the sunshine.
I picked up this set of coasters from Dartmouth shortly before I bought my flat. Lizzie Tovey, our wonderful Interiors contributor encouraged me to buy them and it was such a good move. They are unique and look great on any table, and they also remind me of happy weekends spent down in Devon. We stayed with friends in their clifftop home, going for long walks and eating a lot of fish. I have a few things from there, but these are my favourite.
And finally, a hand painted plate. This is from Cyprus which is like a second home to me. I have been going there almost every Spring or Summer for more than 20 years and I love bringing things home. I was drawn to the bright colours and pattern of this plate; it is like a burst of sunshine and I hang it on the wall of my kitchen but it also looks great piled high with hummus in the middle, drizzled in olive oil from the olive trees in my friend's garden ready to be scooped up in hot pittas.
I’m lucky enough to own my own flat which I love, but it isn’t my ‘forever’ home. I spend a lot of time day-dreaming and planning for the time when I can fill a much bigger place with all these things and more (my Pinterest boards will attest to this) and I am grateful that when the time comes I will have lots of pieces of my life to bring along and help make it truly mine.
What's your favourite travel trinket? Comment below and tell me