Christmas haul 2016

I’m not sure that I’m a person who does “haul” posts. Just the word “haul” is making me cringe. But having got into YouTube in the last six months or so, it does seem to be A Thing to do haul videos every couple of months. But I can’t do videos and I definitely can’t describe anything as “super-cute”, it’s just not in my DNA, so I’m going to do a post showing you the travel & adventure stuff I had for Christmas.

Present number 1 is this handmade scarf from my friend Tom, who has been crocheting heavy scarves that feel sleek and expensive – well, this one is expensive. It’s merino wool that was ordered by accident and rather than waste it, he made this huge loop scarf for me. Its name is the Misfit Scarf but it should be called the Seasons Scarf –  it’s made of four different coloured panels although the fact that they match up with the seasons is a happy accident. Look out for this gorgeous scarf appearing in future cold-places posts.

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Present number 2 is this bag. This bag that I was going to buy for myself when I was invited back to work and didn’t because my mum pleaded with me to give her something else for my Christmas list. I saw her order it, I saw it arrive and this is what I’ve really been looking forward to because I love me some luggage. This is the 40l Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry Kit Bag. I already own the 70l and 100l versions and they are amazing for lugging huge amounts of stuff around. But sometimes I want to lug smaller amounts of stuff and this is perfect for a short trip where you want tough luggage. It has inside mesh pockets at each end and a mesh pocket in the lid and it has a yellow semi-waterproof pouch for separating wet/dry or dirty/clean or whatever you want.

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Present number 3 is this pair of shoe dryers/warmers – a couple of months ago, I apparently drew a smiley face next to them in a gift catalogue before promptly forgetting all about them but the moment I opened them, I knew this was exactly the sort of thing I would have asked for if I’d remembered such a thing existed. It’s two small heaters which just sit inside damp shoes to dry and warm them. I’ve not tested them on wet shoes but I can certify that they warm slippers very nicely. I don’t know if I’m allowed to take them on a plane in hand luggage when I go to Norway in February or whether I’ve got space for them but I think they’re something that would be particularly useful in a snowy place.

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Present number 4 is this little collection of Girlguiding stuff. I asked for the black t-shirt and my mum decided to have a poke around the online shop and get me an enamel mug for camp – a Senior Section one, obviously. It’s pretty plain but it’s also pretty big! – and the Senior Section Spectacular messenger bag. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the slogan “giving girls adventure since 1909” (which is what’s written around the footprint on the t-shirt), I think it’s so much better than our official tagline: “We discover, we grow”.

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Present number 5 is not really travel or adventure related but it’s cool and I wanted to show you anyway – it’s a pyrography pen. I’ve seen people decorating all manner of wooden items with these things for over twenty years and I had a little go at it at Wellies & Wristbands and now I have my own pen, so now I can produce my own luggage labels, chopping boards, wooden name badges etc. It takes a long time to cool down – I nearly branded my own finger with a pyrography star stamp. Once I’d got the hang of doodling on a piece of scrap wood, I traced and then drew and shaded a lovely polar bear.

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Present number 6 you don’t get to see. A cheque to put towards my holiday fund. I’ve never had a cheque for a present before. Cash, yes. And my mum has promised that when I get round to taking it to the bank, she’ll give me a second one so two cheques to spend on exciting Norwegian adventures.

Did you have any interesting, unusual or useful travel or adventure items for Christmas? Tell me all about them.