A Minimalist's Guide To Packing For A Six Week Road Trip Around The USA

  • Sunday, 11 March 2018

Six weeks, two people, one backpack…

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice (ok, maybe a couple of hundred times…!) that I am going on a six-week road trip around the United States of America! I actually can’t believe that in just a few days, this trip that James and I have been planning for over a year, is finally happening!

When it comes to traveling, as much as I like planning where we’re going to go, what we’re going to see/eat/do etc., one of my favourite parts is packing. I know, it’s really sad, but I love getting organised, planning out my outfits, deciding what makeup and skincare to pack, and challenging myself to take only what is necessary. 

James and I have decided to pack extremely light for this trip to the States. We are traveling by plane, bus and car and know that we will have to literally carry everything, everywhere. It may sound a little anal, but by being really strict and planning in advance, it has really helped us to pack only what we actually need. 

I appreciate that six weeks is a long time, and not only are we away for that long, we are also traveling across the whole country from chilly New York City, to the baking hot, Joshua Tree. So not only have we had to create a capsule wardrobe to last us six weeks, we have also had to take into account the various kinds of weather we will have to dress for. 

I think the fact that we have been living a much more minimal lifestyle of late has also helped, as my wardrobe is now the smallest that it has ever been. This made it much easier when picking out items that I wanted to pack for our trip. Below I have listed all of the clothes that I am taking to the USA, which all fits into a small and medium packing cube. We are taking one backpack to hold all of our clothes, and then a Kanken backpack for my laptop, camera, travel docs etc. 



- Three/Four Casual T-Shirts
- One/Two Dressy Tops
- One Shirt
- One Workout/Gym/Active Top
- One Evening Cardigan
- One Casual/Day Jumper


- One Pair Of Casual Jeans
- One Pair Of Smart/Black Jeans
- One Pair Of Denim Shorts
- One Pair Of Day/Casual Shorts
- One Pair Of Leggings
- One Pair Of Jogging/Gym/Workout Leggings


- One Pair Of PJs
- One Pair Of Comfortable/Baggy Trousers
- One Oversized Universal Jumper


- One Pair Of Tights
- Seven Pairs Of Socks
- Seven Pairs Of Knickers/Thongs/Pants


- One Casual Day Dress
- One Black/Evening Dress
- One Shirt Dress


- One Pair Of Trainers/Day Shoes
- One Pair Of Sandals
- One Jacket
- One Scarf
- One Day Hat
- One Bobble Hat
- One Pair Of Gloves


- One Day Bag/Small Back Pack
- A Few Key Pieces Of Universal Jewellery

There is obviously no right or wrong way of packing for a trip as everyone’s preferences and routes are different. We knew from the get-go that we didn’t want to pack much, and we are staying in Air BnBs whilst in America so we can wash our clothes on the go.

I would love to know if you found this post helpful in any way and if you would like to read more of this sort of content here on Madolyn Thinks!


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Minimalism | How To De-Clutter Your Make Up Collection

  • Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ever since I started earning my own money, I have always spent a large proportion of it on beauty products - mostly makeup. I have always had an interest in makeup even during my childhood days when I would apply clear mascara, lip-gloss and roll on glitter (ahhh, the nineties…) However, if you have read my blog before or follow me on instagram (@madolynthinks) then you may already know that I am an aspiring minimalist. I am in the process of applying minimalism to all aspects of my life and this also includes, my makeup collection. 

I thought it might make an interesting read if I wrote up my tips on how to streamline your makeup collection. I know that this would have been a blog post I would have loved to have read, and I would love to know what you think!


One thing I would recommend before de-cluttering any items is to gather them all into one area so that you know what you’re working with. I would then recommend pulling out any and all of the products that are unwanted. I find that this is the easiest way to start the process as it is quick and simple but it gets the ball rolling and builds momentum. So throw away those eye shadows that you never wear, those lipsticks that you don’t like, and any products that are old, out of date or have been open past the recommended time.  


Once you have got rid of any unwanted products, I would then make a pile of products that you like to use on a daily, or occasional basis. Daily makeup products might consist of your favourite foundation/tinted moisturiser/concealer/powder/bronzer etc etc, and then occasion products may be glittery eye shadows/specific lipsticks etc. I would then recommend putting aside your favourite seasonal products which again maybe specific eye shadows/blushers/lip products etc. If anything doesn’t fit in any of these piles then it needs to go!


Once I had majorly reduced my make up collection, I then looked at how many products I had left. I would recommend having a think about your current makeup routine. Maybe have a play with your makeup and ask why you use this many products and is there a way that you are able to reduce it. For example, I was rotating between a couple of different concealers rather than picking just one concealer and sticking with that. I managed to massively reduce the amount of products that I used on a daily basis, ultimately streamlining my collection.


The final point I want to make, which is a bit of a mantra that I have picked up from reading and learning about minimalism is; quality over quantity. This notion can be applied to all aspects of life, including your make up collection. It is a simple yet effective rule that enables you to live with less but appreciate more. So rather than having a number of different foundations/mascaras/concealers etc, that are ok, I now have one of each in my daily collection that I am one hundred percent happy with. 

Let me know if you enjoy reading these types of posts about minimalism and de-cluttering! 


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This post contains PR samples but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Embracing A Plant-Based Diet & Living A Vegan Lifestyle...

  • Wednesday, 7 March 2018

I have been trying to write this post for a while now without much success…

Before I begin I just want to state that I am not a nutritionist, I have no scientific qualifications, I am not a health and fitness blogger and I do not have an animal activist background…

What I do have however is a Netflix account, an Internet connection and a heart and mind, which has been deeply affected by recent things that I have watched and read. 

Over the past nine months or so I have been on a bit of a mission to find out more about plant-based diets and vegan lifestyles. It began when I watched Cowspiracy on Netflix and I was absolutely distraught to see what animals go through in order for us to enjoy them on our plate. I was also shocked to discover how much eating and consuming meat and diary has had an impact on our environment and our health! I became a little obsessed and before long I had watched pretty much every food/animal/vegan/lifestyle documentary that Netflix had to offer.

Now, I’m not going to get all preachy, and I completely understand that not everyone will agree with me here, but all of this information completely changed my outlook about how I buy, cook and eat food. At the start of the year I made a conscious decision to at least stop eating meat. I am also massively cutting back my dairy intake and trying as much as possible to consume food that is plant based. 

Obviously there are exceptions (hello dinner at the parents house; no mum, I’m not going to force you to cook a vegan chili for me!) and there will be times when I really fancy that doughnut/macaroni & cheese/pizza/pain au chocolat… But my point is, I am trying to change my lifestyle. I have absorbed so much information on this topic, that it was getting harder and harder for me to turn a blind eye. I can’t enjoy a chicken curry in the same way, knowing how crappy the life of that chicken probably had. I can’t sink my teeth into a beef burger like I used to without thinking about the bad effects it will have on my body. 

I am making a conscious effort to try however, and it has certainly made me more adventurous in the kitchen! Plant-based meals aren’t actually as hard as I thought that they would be. I have found that organisation and making sure that my cupboards are fully stocked is the key! I have loved using some great products from Indigo Nutrition* that I have recently been introduced to. They are an organic, vegan brand and have a huge range of products from whole foods to herbal teas, from green powders to natural sweeteners. They also have a huge amount of vegan and health food inspiration on their website. 

As well as reducing my meat and diary intake, I also wanted to reduce my sugar intake. Rather than go cold turkey however, I looked at alternate sweet treats and have been happy to discover that there are so many options available! I have recently been eating Esthe Choc*, which is a vegan chocolate that is not only a great chocolate fix; it is actually good for your skin! I know – mad right?! They have done some great studies, which you can read more about on their website, and it has been proven that consuming one of their chocolates a day is a great anti-aging fix – who knew! 

I am in no way saying that this is the life to lead or that anyone is doing anything wrong. But I do believe that a lot of this information about the meat and dairy world is swept under the carpet, and we are often ignorant as to what is actually going on. 

If you have the chance, I would really recommend having a scroll through Netflix to watch some of these documentaries. Be sure to let me know if you do, I would love to know your thoughts and experiences on this subject. 


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This post contains PR samples but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The Beauty Cabinet | A Few New Products & First Impressions

  • Monday, 5 March 2018

As a self-proclaimed beauty lover, I adore trying out new products and discovering new brands. I feel like the beginning of a new season is the perfect opportunity to have a clear out of used products, in order to make room for some new beauties. 

Although this past week, in the UK at least, hasn’t exactly felt very spring-like, with the lighter days, flowering bulbs and the shops clearing their shelves for their summer collections – spring is definitely on its way. With this being said, there have been a couple of new products that I have introduced to my beauty routine of late…


Lee Stafford CoCo Loco* | Link

Lee Stafford products have been a staple in the hair care world for years and their new Coconut range does not disappoint. The range smells truly incredible, however if you’re not a fan of coconut then this may not be the one for you! It literally feels as though I’m pouring coconut macaroons on my hair!! I have loved using the shampoo and conditioner, which has left my hair feeling silky soft and shiny. I have also been using the Coconut Spritz leave in conditioner from the range and it has done wonders to my ends. It acts like a very light oil, adding a serious boost of hydration and I think it will be perfect when we finally get some warmer weather!

So Luscious Eye Lash & Eye Brow Growth & Regrowth Serum* | Link

I am pretty fortunate in that I have fairly dark and thick eyebrows and eye lashes. Although this wasn’t all the rage in my teenage years (hello skinny, non-existent brows!), my mum would never let me pluck my brows (which I am so thankful for now!) and it has certainly paid off as now it seems everyone wants thicker and fuller brows and lashes. However, I do use a bit of product to fill in my browns where the hair is a little sparse…

Recently however, I have been using this lash and brow growth serum from So Luscious, which is designed to stimulate hair growth, creating a fuller, longer and thicker appearance. The serum comes in a beautifully packaged, glass bottle and is dispensed using a rollerball. I have been using it as a part of my evening routine, rolling the product along my brows and lash lines, once my face is completely cleansed. So far I have noticed an increase in growth and my hairs feel thicker and fuller. The best results will be seen after a month or so of using the product, but I have loved it so far!

Mz Skin Eye Cream* | Link

I have been making a conscious effort lately to apply eye cream both morning and night. I know that it is important to keep this area hydrated, especially during the colder months. I have loved using this one from MZ Skin. It is designed to soothe and smooth the eye area and it feels extremely luxurious when applied. It contains collagen-activating ingredients, which is fantastic for slowing down the aging process and keeping the eye area plum and youthful. I like to apply a small amount both morning and night and so far, I have absolutely loved using it!

Sensse Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush* | Link

The final new addition to my beauty routine of late is this electronic face brush from Sensse. It is a perfectly, compact little device that cleanses your face, whilst providing a deep clean and an element of exfoliation. I like to use this on a morning with my Urban Veda face wash, which featured in my January Favourites if you fancy a read! It is really handy to use and makes me feel really fresh, cleansed and awake as soon as I get up. 


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This post contains PR samples but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Style Diaries | The First Signs Of Spring...

  • Sunday, 4 March 2018

Well, when I took these photos it was starting to look like the first signs of spring, however as I look out of my window whilst writing this, the foot of snow on the ground outside certainly tells a different story…

Last weekend I was at my parents house admiring the first few clumps of snowdrops and crocuses, that were scattered across the garden. This is always the first sign of spring for me, the flowers waking up and adding some colour to the ground. On the Sunday morning the dappled sunlight burst through the trees and it was the first really sunny day of the year. I found it the perfect excuse to showcase my new sunglasses from Goggles 4 U.

I stepped out in a very Spring-inspired outfit – not that I have been able to wear it since, thanks Frosty! – and took a few snaps under the trees in amongst all of the springtime blooms. 

I opted for my classic ‘Mom-style’ blue jeans from New Look that have been a staple in my wardrobe for the last couple of years. I love the baggy style of these jeans that feel fitted on my waist, yet have a straight finish, cutting off just above my ankle. I wore them with my trust worthy lightweight jacket from Zara that feels truly spring-like, and finished the look with my go-to shoe, my light-grey Vans. 

My new Pantos Eyeglasses were the star of the show however, and finished the look completely, adding to the Spring-like feel. I adore the shape of these sunglasses and feel as though they frame my face in a flattering way. The amazing thing about Goggles 4 U is that not only are they extremely affordable, everything about the glasses can be customised. I chose this classic frame in the burnt orange, a non-prescription lens with a gradual half tint and I couldn’t be happier with the end result! 

Here’s to the sun melting away as quickly as possible so that we can get back to enjoying the first signs of spring, and I can wear these beautiful sunglasses again!


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This post contains a PR sample from Googles 4U but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Beauty Cabinet | Vegan Skincare Top Picks

  • Wednesday, 28 February 2018

A vegan lifestyle seems to have become extremely popular of late. I feel like no matter where I look, vegan options are becoming more readily available and I think it’s great!

I have been trying to work more vegan and plant-based foods into my diet and have heavily reduced my meat and diary intake recently. There are so many positives when it comes to vegan produce in terms of health and the environment, however it isn’t all about the food. 

I have also been a lot more conscious when it comes to what beauty products I use. As a huge lover of everything that the beauty world has to offer, I have tried my fair share of products from a wide range of brands. 

However, there are so many beauty products on the market that are artificial and pumped full of chemicals, which surprisingly aren’t all that good for us. I find that using products that have simple and natural ingredients within their make up are much more friendly.

One of my favourite brands when it comes to vegan products is non other than Lush. I have been a huge lover of Lush products of a number of years, however it is only in the last two years or so that I have branched out into using their skincare options. I find that their moisturisers and facemasks work wonders for my skin, and I am convinced that this is down to the all-natural, vegan ingredients used.

Another favourite is Dr Botanicals, which I was introduced to last year. I have been fortunate enough to use a range of their products from serums to conditioners, to body bars to cleansers. All of their products are beautiful and I have enjoyed using each one with great results. Again, I am sure that the fact that these products are made up of all natural ingredients adds to the success of these beauty picks. 

Finally, I have also been using a couple of face washes by Urban Veda, which also featured in my January Favourites post last month. These face washes are amazingly effective and are made up of vegan-sourced ingredients. They smell incredible and I feel as though the natural formula of the washes is great at keeping breakouts at bay. 

Have you tried any vegan skincare products? 
What are your favourites?

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This post contains PR samples, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Way To Save Money For A Trip Of A Lifetime

  • Friday, 23 February 2018

Holidays are amazing and I truly believe that travel is good for the soul. I love to go away and explore new places and I literally cannot wait until our six week road trip around the States.

However, the reality is that trips away cost money no matter how much of a budget you’re on, how sensible you are with your money or where you’re going. Planning your dream trip is super exciting and so much fun, however it is important to make sure that you have the financial backing to fund your travels.

There are so many different tips and tricks on how to save money, where to  cut back and how to budget. Keep reading to find out some great ways to save for a trip of a lifetime.

Do Some Research

"When planning your amazing adventure, research is essential. While you might have already picked your destination, you might not know much about it - so it’s important to get to grips with the place you’re going before your heart becomes set on it. Research flight costs, hotel prices as well as what local living costs are like - this information will all become useful for when you to workout how your trip will be financed.

Set A Budget

Now that you have a better idea of costs, you can set a budget for your trip. Include absolutely everything from flights and transfers to how much money you’ll need for food every day - and always overestimate where you can. Having that total goal gives you something to aim for, giving you a target you can work towards.

Start Saving

Saving to make your holiday dream a reality is going to take a lot of discipline, but you can do it if you really want to make it happen. Start budgeting to free up money to put into your savings. If you’ve never budgeted before, this could mark the start of a healthy new relationship with your finances. While you may have to go without some things for a while, keep your eye on the prize to help you remember why you’re doing this. If you’re struggling to save money, you might want to think about how you could earn more money. An extra shift here and there or making money online could be great in the short-term to help you gather the funds you need.

Keep An Eye Out For Bargains

Sometimes you might be dealt a lucky hand when it comes to your holiday planning. A good deal on a flight or hotel could bring your budget down considerably, so you need to take these chances when they’re offered. Having a credit card is great in these situations, but if you’re not in a great place credit-score wise, you can still apply for a credit card with bad credit provided you pay it back. Set up flight alerts so that you’ll be the first to know about any decrease in prices and sign up for newsletters of any hotels that have taken your fancy.


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