lindsay emory

Welcome to the official site of Lindsay Emory, author of books with kisses and sass including the Sorority Sisters Mysteries, The Last Plus One, and the forthcoming The Royal Runaway.

What to Pack for a Writing Retreat/ Girls Weekend to England

A Writing Retreat - what to pack and what to leave behind.

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If you have followed me on Instagram this month, you’ll have seen two types of posts: #readwriteplan challenge photos and pictures of my glorious writing retreat in England with my friends.

How it came about: My amazing friend Julia Kelly is an Anglo-American author who now lives in London {you must read her debut historical fiction The Light Over London and her upcoming release, The Whispers of War}

Click and Pre-order now!

Click and Pre-order now!

Anyway, Julia graciously invited us to London and her family manse in the countryside and five of us eagerly accepted her hospitality.

And I’ll just skip to the part where I tell you that it was magical. A big part of that is the retreat location, of course. England is so historical, so verdant, so charming (to us Americans living in suburbia, especially) that it can’t help but inspire ALL THE STORIES in my head. But another big part of this is the amazing retreat effect - getting out of the day-to-day #momlife, the feeding of humans and animals, car pool and same old scenery. I love my life, and I am blessed in thousands, if not millions of ways. But a change like a walk down the Thames (or Seine or Hudson or Nile) can excite lots of neurons for months, if not years.

So now you’re convinced (I think you probably already were….) You want to go on a girls’ weekend/ spiritual / writing retreat. Great.

First you need a suitcase. I picked an ancient yet indestructible canvas LL Bean duffel and a Dakine rolling suitcase.

First you need a suitcase. I picked an ancient yet indestructible canvas LL Bean duffel and a Dakine rolling suitcase.

What to pack:

This list may or may not work for you, but maybe it will be a good starting point. After all, I spent weeks thinking deeply and strategizing this suitcase selection so if it helps someone else, that would mean all my mental effort went to good use.

Then you pile everything you might want to take in a big heap on your bed.

Then you pile everything you might want to take in a big heap on your bed.

*Carry-On Packing for a Week in England in September*

Clothes (in 20 inch rolling suitcase)

1 pair of jeans

1 pair of leggings (I love the Zella Live in Leggings) (LINK)

1 pair of “other pants” (this is whatever you like best. I picked a pair of black sweatpants that would be comfortable but chic on the plane)

1 cozy cardigan (I wore this one on the plane for warmth and to save space in my bag) (LINK)

1 lightweight jacket (rain proof if possible)

3 long sleeve shirts

3 t-shirts

3 lightweight scarves

Pajamas

Underthings/ lingerie/ socks

Packable Hunter boots (LINK)

Birkenstock clogs (can double as slippers in a cold 500 year old house) (LINK)

Adidas Superstars (or other comfortable and cute walking shoe) (LINK)

Pro tip: ROLL. ROLL. ROLL.

Pro tip: ROLL. ROLL. ROLL.

*Now, since we were staying at a house, I knew we had the opportunity to do laundry. But I still think this list would be good for a week even if you weren’t planning to wash any clothes.

Now you start your next pile of essential items. Yes, a chocolate bar is always an essential for travel.

Now you start your next pile of essential items. Yes, a chocolate bar is always an essential for travel.

Non Clothes (in carry on sized duffle)

Medicine/ vitamins/ glasses

Small toiletry case with all the minis: shampoo, conditioner, curl cream, shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrush, face cleanser, lotion, etc.

Face spritz / moisturizing balm for travel (I brought both, but this was the first time for me to use a moisturizing balm stick and I think this one will be my go-to for now on. It was so convenient and really made my hands/ face/ elbows nice and dewy) (LINK)

1 extra pair of earrings, 2 necklaces

Paperwhite Kindle (I adore mine - so many books can fit in a pocket!) (Link)

Bluetooth headphones (noise cancelling help you sleep on the plane) (LINK)

[And because this was a work/ writing trip:

Computer/ cords/ chargers/ converter

Notebook/ planner/ pens]


So all that in 2 bags + a small crossbody purse (with my phone/ wallet/ lipstick/ hand sanitizer) that I could stash inside the duffle while flying.

My iPad mini + bluetooth keyboard was perfect for writing in an English garden.

My iPad mini + bluetooth keyboard was perfect for writing in an English garden.

Things I Left Behind:

Water Bottle - at home in the United States I am virulently anti- plastic water bottle. It makes me physically sick to think of all the plastic we’ve littered this planet with because we don’t want to wash a glass. #sorrynotsorry. BUT. I can’t justify the weight and bulkiness of my stainless steel bottles when I’m flying carry-on only internationally. So I accept that I will buy a plastic water bottle or two on the trip and try to refill at the house/ hotel.

My usual laptop - This was another tough decision. Writers have an attachment to their computers which makes sense given all the time we spend with them and, frankly, all the intimate things that we put on there. But I ultimately decided to leave the laptop at home and just bring my ipad mini / bluetooth keyboard. This wasn’t really an issue of space/ weight (I have a very lightweight laptop and the ipad combo, while smaller, isn’t much lighter.). This was a practical decision based on how many chargers/ cords I’d have to bring. My Ipad obviously shares the same charging requirements as my iphone and air pods and the keyboard uses the same cord as a Kindle. It made sense to me to streamline all this technology as much as possible but of course, your (airplane) mileage may vary

Travel blanket - I love the idea of a travel blanket, but again, I can’t justify the space/ weight when wearing a chic shawl/scarf and cozy cardigan will keep me warm enough anywhere.

Extra notebooks - ah, a writer’s heartbreak. It was hard deciding which babies to leave home, which ones had ALL THE GOOD THINGS already written in them. But again, I went with weight and practicality and just brought one cheapie notebook from a conference.

More sweaters - When we scheduled a writing retreat - in England, in September - this Texas girl day dreamed for months about strolling through moors in all sorts of cashmere and knit. Alas, the weather was a bit warmer than my daydreams which was probably best for my space issues. One beloved sweater, one practical jacket and layering with scarves kept me warm enough.

New country, who this?

New country, who this?

Where to go next?

I’d go back to the UK in a heartbeat… Maybe travel to Scotland? France? Or somewhere closer to home? I’ve been wanting to do a beach trip for forever. Where would you go?

Fancy a getaway that’s a little easier/ cheaper than a week in Europe? You could, of course, check out my books: The Royal Runaway and the upcoming The Royal Bodyguard which will first be published in the United Kingdom and around the world!

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Sign up for my newsletter for exclusive details about The Royal Bodyguard here: INNER CIRCLE NEWSLETTER.

And if you want more packing tips for a business conference, I have posts on that HERE and HERE.

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