The Suitcase Diaries with Dr Laura Lenihan

Three time’s a charm for this latest instalment of our summer holiday series in which Dr Laura Lenihan – GP and clinical director of her eponymous skin clinic in Galway – reflects on transformative trips to Croatia and Thailand, and the skincare hero products that travel with her.
What did childhood holidays typically involve?
My mum was a teacher so childhood holidays were typically the big holidays. We used to go to the Canary Islands a lot, and Ibiza. I have fond memories of those times.
What do you remember most about your first holiday abroad?
Fond memories of my mother looking so glamorous by the pool, and in the restaurant. Her gorgeous tan and curls.
Where was your last holiday?
We’re currently in Corfu staying at the Mar-Bella Resort, a gorgeous all-inclusive resort on this gorgeous Greek island. Its a short drive from the airport and there are regular flights from
Shannon, so a great option for families.
Money no object, where would you travel to tomorrow and why?
We spent Christmas and new year in Thailand this year and I would go back again in the morning. My husband and I spent three months travelling around Southeast Asia 10 years ago and I would
love to go back and do this and bring the kids, staying in a mix of luxury and backpacker spots. There is just so much to see in that part of the world and every corner you turn is a feast for the
senses. We had a fabulous time in Phuket and Khao Lak and Bangkok but it was still too short.
Your Out of Office is on, but how long does it typically take you to switch off from work?
Im not sure I ever turn off, to be honest, with running my own business. It’s hard. Im writing this article on the balcony of our suite, looking out over the Ionian Sea. I love having my own business so I dont mind taking an hour or so each day to make sure things are turning over. That allows me to be present the rest of the time with my family. I try to do an hour in the morning before everyone else wakes up. I do find though if Im in a different time zone its easier.
Youve a suitcase checked in but worry it might go astray. Underwear aside: what three daywear staples do you pack into hand luggage just in case your suitcase is delayed?
Swimsuit, denim cut-off shorts and a white shirt I can dress up for a night out or down for a day by the pool.
What are your skincare travel staples?
This holiday Im using the Obagi Vitamin C Serum with hydroquinone to keep my pigmentation in check. No matter what I do and how much SPF I wear, it always rears its ugly head. Next is obviously an excellent SPF. Im loving the Colorescience No-show Mineral Sunscreen at the minute, its a sheer all-mineral SPF that gives the most gorgeous glow. I always travel with a retinoid, because we still need a retinoid in hot weather – myth busted! I swear by the Skinbetter Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream. And finally I cant be without body care, a good scrub. I love the Sol de Janeiro options, and a good body moisturiser. This holiday I have the Vichy Capital Soleil After Sun Milk and its delightful.
And three makeup bag essentials?
I dont really wear makeup, and even less on holiday. But I wouldnt go away without a good brow gel – anything Brow Aid by Kim O’Sullivan. I do love the Colorescience Lip Shine, as its SPF35 so protects me during the day and gives my lips a pink glow for the evening. And finally an under eye concealer – Im using the Colorescience Total Eye Protect – again it has SPF35, so protects during the day and then glows me up at night. Oh and some fake tan for my face – I’m loving the Bare by Vogue Tan Water at the minute.
Whats the best thing we can do for our skin during holiday season?
Honestly, just taking care of it. Use a potent antioxidant like vitamin C or niacinamide (or both) every day under your SPF to afford your skin the best protection. Double cleanse every evening
and dont forget your retinoid. Its gonna help keep your skin glowy and work to reduce pigmentation as well.
How do you pass the time on trains, planes and automobiles?
Im a big reader. Pre-kids I used to read a ton of books on each holiday. Now its more difficult and I wont lie, I work a bit… When Im not working I love a good fiction book, ideally a thriller. Im about to dig into Andrea Mara’s Someone in the Attic, alongside two non fictions. Im obsessed with collagen supplementation at the minute (watch this space!) and was reading the book by Dr
Johanna Ward called Collagen: Not Just a Beauty Molecule alongside one on ageing called Age Proof: The New Science of Living a Longer and Healthier Life by Professor Rose Anne Kenny
an Irish medical professor at Trinity College Dublin. Its super interesting.
Best skincare town or city?
What a question! So many options. Based on my most recent trips I would pick Paris. You cant beat a Parisian pharmacy for all the French pharmacy brands. They have a way better selection than
we do. I was in Paris in February and had a Kobido massage facial which I would highly recommend if you travel there.
Where in the world has disappointed you?
Monaco did nothing for me. It was so showy, it wasnt for me. Though I did love the shopping, and got a Goyard bag at duty free so was delighted!
Have you ever had a holiday romance?
I actually met my husband on holiday. Myself and my friend were travelling around Italy and Croatia. We were at a music festival called Electric Elephant in Petrcane a tiny village on the
Croatian coast, beside Zadar, and we met Ross on a party boat. Quite the holiday romance! We followed them to Hvar and everything went from there.
Favourite apps or gadgets for travel?
If youre travelling outside of Europe I think GoMoWorld is great for getting eSIMs– I didnt even know they were a thing, but used them in US when we were in Orlando and then in Thailand. Its
really affordable. And I mean as obvious as it seems Google Maps is great. You can save whole lists – and share them with other people – of restaurants, places to visit, etc. When we were in Thailand we met a family travelling as well and they shared their list with us. Dead handy.
Beach bum or culture vulture?
Pool bum? I love nothing more than lounging by the pool all day, reading my book.
Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset for sure!
Most memorable meal youve had on holiday and why, and have you ever tried to recreate it at home or find similar dish in a restaurant?
Oh my god, myself and my husband still lust after a spaghetti carbonara we had in Mykonos maybe 12 or 13 years ago?We havent been back but always talk about it! Our friends visited recently
and we were trying to tell them where it was. They found it and loved their meal too.
Have you ever missed a flight or gotten spectacularly lost?
When travelling in Bali on our Southeast Asia trip (again, pre kids!) we hired a car, which was absolutely crazy. Google Maps – even though I still love it – tried to take us down a tiny path through a rice paddy! Definitely not big enough for a moped, never mind a car!
Dead or alive, which three celebrity companions would you travel with and where would you go?
Oh, I would love to travel with Victoria Beckham, she seems like such good fun, have you seen those videos of them in the boat in Miami?! I feel like George Clooney would know all the cool places to go, and Sienna Miller because she has always fascinated me.

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