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What's In My Suitcase with Leila Kashanipour

When it comes to packing, jewellery designer and mother of two Leila Kashanipour (@LeiVanKash) is a woman on a mission. "I don't function in a cute way when it comes to packing," she laughs when we ask her if the kids like to get involved. "No, it needs to be efficient. I need to get things done!" 

As most parents would agree, packing for a family holiday is no mean feat. Not only do you have to co-ordinate outfits for all weathers and all activities but space for a whole pharmacy needs to be factored in, and let's not forget the snacks and entertainment for the journey. 

Thankfully all the meticulous planning hasn't dampened this family's wanderlust and Leila's son Caspian, 5, and daughter Carnelian, 3, are already seasoned travellers. While they are little, Leila and her husband have decided that ease, familiarity and comfort are priorities for trips away from their London home, so they stick to a rota of tried-and-tested destinations.

We asked Leila to share her packing tips and to tell us what treats her children can expect to find in their suitcase, including a surprising home comfort.

18 May 2023

Dream Destinations

Where do you love to take your little ones on holiday and why?

We’ve found that our children really love to know where they’re going and that sense of familiarity gives them confidence and comfort. We tend to go to places that we love and that work for us as a family. We went to Dubai for the Easter break and summer is always Portugal, because we've got a family home there and the kids love seeing their grandparents there. In the winter we go skiing in Megève. We're really after comfort and ease at the moment.


So, Portugal next! What are you looking forward to doing with the children there?

I really look forward to spending time with my parents and everyone being together, and Ilike the fact that the kids have a healthy routine there. There’s great outdoor space and lots of activities. My son swims and has quad-bike and tennis classes and my daughter follows where she can. She thinks she can do more than her size allows.


What is your dream destination that you would like to visit as a family one day?

I love Bali. It is such a special place. I’ve been there a few times with my husband and I would really like to take the whole family there. It’s so beautiful and the people are so kind. It's so unmaterialistic. I get goosebumps just talking about it. There’s just such a beautiful energy there that I would love them to experience. It’s very wholesome.


The Seasoned Traveller

Playful, practical dressing with plenty of layering options is key to holiday happiness.

On The Plane

What essential items do you pack in your hand luggage to keep your son and daughter entertained ?

When you're travelling with kids, a lot of suitcases are required and a lot of snacks! I always take their favourite, most comforting snacks with me. Usually some organic fruit bars and some savoury bits. My son takes his notebooks that he practises writing in, and for my daughter we bring games, colouring books, even glittery pens. Anything that really gets them going. I have to say they are very good on the plane. They play with each other, ask for stories, we read books, so it's very easy.


What books do they love reading? 

My son has his favourites that we always pack. He loves Good Night Stories for Rebel Boys at the moment. And my daughter loves all the Disney books, of course, and anything by Julia Donaldson. Those are always brilliant. 


Ready for Anything

What are the key items you always take for your children?

Jelly shoes are a must for us. My daughter loves them and these Mini Melissa ones have added sparkle and they smell really good too, so that’s a win, win. They're anti-slip for around the pool area so they’re definitely a must. A few sets of swimwear are essential. My son really liked these Vilebrequin trunks. When he saw them he said, “Oh, I love them!”. I always carry a cardigan or three for them, as they're not used to air conditioning, and sometimes it can be chilly in the shade or on the plane. Another thing I think is really useful is a nightlight. I always take one to hotels to give the kids some ease if it's too dark.


Do the children dress up for dinner in the evening? What is a typical outfit for a smart lunch or dinner?

In Portugal, we go to the seafood restaurants and we do have quite a few lunches on the coast, which is really nice. For something smart I love Bonpoint, especially the shirts for boys. It’s just such a beautiful brand. For my daughter anything floral print and very, very girly is a win.


And for the beach?

On the beach they wear T-shirts and swimming trunks and my daughter wears a towelling throw-on, like this one from Liewood, which is super cute.

Beach Life

Don't forget those all important goggles, floats and a change of swimwear.

Vilebrequin - Teen Boys Blue Turtle Swim Shorts | ChildrensalonVilebrequin
Soli Swim - Boys Blue Dinosaur Float Vest | ChildrensalonSoli Swim
Bling2o - Boys Blue Prismatic Swimming Goggles | ChildrensalonBling2o
Liewood - Pink Striped Hooded Poncho Towel | ChildrensalonLiewood
Zimmermann - Girls Blue Floral Print Swimsuit | ChildrensalonZimmermann
Molo - Girls Pink Sunglasses (UVA/UVB) | ChildrensalonMolo

Home Comforts


We noticed some cute furry friends in your suitcase. Are they essential travel companions?

Yes, I forgot to mention them. We always have to take the stuffed animals. My son is currently obsessed with a hamster and my daughter loves her pug. If I forgot the stuffed animals, I would not survive the holiday. It would be the end of me!


Apart from the cuddly toys are there any other home comforts you always have to take with you?

Ha! Yes. I pack our pesto sauce! My daughter only likes this one pesto sauce so we take it with us wherever we go.

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