BEFORE & AFTER: THE RUFFLE SKIRT

Ruffles. For so long the domain of birthday party attired 6 year olds, this summer the humble frill/ruffle is making a comeback. Seen on shirting, skirting and everywhere in between, some might say it started on the runway but I think it’s more likely dancing girl emoji made it all happen. Either way I’m happy, and excited because it’s one of those things you can totally put together yourself. Read on for how we did it.

DIY Ruffle Skirt

Wearing: DIY skirt, Club Monaco top, DIY heels, C/meo collective clutch

Before and after: ruffle skirt

You need

  • A pencil skirt
  • Cotton fabric (in a colour to match)
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Tailor’s chalk or pencil
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape

Before and after: ruffle skirt

How to

  1. Cut 20cm (8 in) length strips the width of the fabric. For our ruffle to go around the skirt three times we needed 6 strips in total.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

2. Pin and sew the strips together to create one long piece.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

3. On one edge of the strip, pin and sew 1cm for the hem. Double it over so there’s no raw edged exposed.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

4. Set your sewing machine to its longest stitch length and on the opposite edge, sew two rows of stitching. This will be used to gather the fabric.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

5. Grab two threads from the same side and gently pull the fabric to gather.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

6. Once you have gathered the whole strip, you will end up with a long continuous ruffle like this.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

7. Draw in the curve for the ruffle placement on the skirt.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

8. Using the pencil line as a guide, pin and sew the ruffle to the skirt. You’ll need to flip the ruffle so it’s on the wrong side, and point to the top of the skirt, and then once sewn down flip it back so the gathers and seams are all hidden.

Before and after: ruffle skirt

Voila!

DIY Ruffle Skirt

I really like this baby pink colour, and it works because we found this pink skirt in a second hand store, but I think this would work really well in black, white or even a gingham fabric. What colour would you wear?

blog posts 8DIY Ruffle Skirt

How To Have The Perfect Breakfast (Even When You’ve Got Zero Time)

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’ve been trying to get into a consistent (enough) morning routine. And what is a morning without a delicious, healthy and relaxing breakfast? I hate to sound cliche but it’s the foundation for a really productive day. For me, in the past, the challenge to a good breakfast was always time. I never had enough and the mornings suffered. And while yessss these days I do aim to get up earlier and give myself more time, the truth is that’s not always possible. Maybe I’ve got to get up extra early to organise a shoot or I’m heading to the gym (or… I slept in). Either way, time is the key factor. But over time I’ve learnt that you don’t need hours to enjoy your first meal of the day. What we wanted to share with you, in collaboration with Nespresso, is a few things I’ve learnt about having the perfect breakfast – whether you’ve got all the time in the world, or none at all.

Breakfast Indoor Picnic

1. Feed Yourself

No time
The key to a good quick breakfast? A multi-tasker. One thing I’ve started doing is combining my coffee with what I’m eating (hello 10 minutes saved) so I often make a banana coconut smoothie with a long shot of Nespresso Envivo Lungo, or a quick Coffee Chia pudding the night before (see recipe below). You can even eat these ones while lying in bed if you’re wanting a few more minutes of shut eye! 😉

Loads of time
I am a breakfast addict (follow me over on snapchat to get some of my breakfasts IRL) so if I have a little more time I’ll always make something more interesting. Nothing tooooo time consuming but something that’s worth getting up for. I’ve been loving using frozen peas from the freezer to make a warm pea, mint and feta salad with poached eggs on top, or golden turmeric eggs with coriander. One thing I’ve learnt? Make sure to stock up on ingredients on a Sunday or the night before so you have things at hand.

2. Pick Good Company

No Time
Good company when you’ve only got ten minutes? Just you. And whilst that may not be possible if you’ve got a big family or children, a good way to feel less rushed is to take a moment on your own, whether it’s your first coffee of the day in bed or a moment on the sofa just for you. Don’t hate me Ben for saying that!

Loads of time
That being said, breakfast is the perfect time of the day to get together with the fam or friends – it really is my meal of choice for catch ups. If I have time, a little outdoor (or indoor if the weather isn’t cooperating) breakfast party like we threw here is a perfect way to celebrate the start of the day. Top it off with a few leisurely coffees, and a hike where you literally don’t come up for air because you’re chatting so much and you’ve got a seriously good morning.

3. Disconnect

No Time
Less than ten to have breakfast? We talked about mindfulness a little while ago, and if I’ve only got a really short amount of time one good idea is to apply some mindfulness to your ten minutes, being present in what you’re doing and not being distracted. Even 10 minutes of being all there can do wonders for your day!

Loads of Time
You guys know I’m all about digital down time, but if I’ve got a bit of time I’ll take half an hour on the sofa to read a book, flip through a magazine or the paper. Even do some meditation if I have the mental energy. You do you (minus your phone) in the mornings and you’ll be happy.

Breakfast Indoor Picnic

Coffee Chia Pudding
(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • 2 Nespresso Envivo Lungo espresso capsules extracted at 110ml (the lungo/long style).
  • 6 tbsp chia seeds
  • Honey (we used about 1 tbsp, you can also use maple syrup or agave)
  • Yoghurt
  • Fruit (we used cherries)

Steps

  1. Extract two Lungo cups with the Nespresso capsules and let the coffee cool.
  2. Place the milk, coffee, chia seeds and honey in a jar or container and give it a good stir.
  3. Place the chia mixture in the fridge for four hours or ideally, overnight.
  4. To serve, spoon into a cup or a bowl and top with a dollop of yoghurt and your choice of fruit.

Breakfast Indoor PicnicBreakfast Indoor Picnic

Ollie loves breakfast as much as I do 🙂

Breakfast Indoor Picnic

Photos by Bryant Lee

This post is in collaboration with Nespresso. Stay tuned for more posts in this creative series with Nespresso.

ROADTESTED: DIY WORD EMBROIDERY TWO WAYS

If denim is as close to a second skin for you as it is for me, then embroidering your jeans is the needle and thread equivalent of getting inked up – only without the lifetime commitment. We’ve been seeing this word embroidered trend pop up everywhere and love being able to personalise your style in this way.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect, because Grana have just released a whole bunch of new colours and styles in their denim including black jeans, the mom jean and  flares, all of which make the perfect canvas for a little word play. The cherry on top is their new A line skirt, the type of piece I’ll be wearing all summer! (psst grab 10% off using the code ‘apasxgrana’).  To celebrate, today we’re showing you two methods to embroider your denim. Read on to see how.

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two WaysDIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

Wearing: Grana denim A-line skirt in stone wash (left) and resin rinse wash (right).

There are two popular methods for embroidering words on your clothes, both similar in terms of end result but quite different in terms of how you go about it. We wanted to test out the two to decide the best of the best. Read on for more!

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

Machine Embroidery

You need

How to

  1. Using a pen or fabric chalk, write or draw your design on the denim. We did it free hand in a cursive script, but you can do a simple block letter if that’s easier.
  2. Place the free-motion foot onto the machine.
  3. Set the machine to the smallest stitch length.
  4. Lower the feed dog (these are the teeth that would normally move the fabric forward but for free-motion we won’t be needing them because we want to move the fabric in all directions).
  5. Place the denim under the needle and trace the pen or chalk lines by directing the fabric with your hands.
  6. Depending on how thick you want the lines, you may need to go over it 2 to 3 times.
  7. Once you’re finished, clip off any lose threads.

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two WaysDIY Word Embroidered Denim Two WaysDIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

Hand Embroidery

You need

  • Hand needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors or thread clippers

How to

  1. Similar to the sewing machine method, write or draw on your denim.
  2. Thread your needle with two lengths of thread (this will allow you to create a thicker line).
  3. Using a basic running stitch, follow the outline of the writing or drawing.
  4. Knot the thread on the inside of the jeans to secure it each time you finish off a length of thread.

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two WaysDIY Word Embroidered Denim Two WaysDIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

Wearing: Grana denim A-line skirt in resin rinse wash.

Our verdict?

If you’re on friendly terms with your sewing machine then the free-motion method is a lot faster and neater, and also gives a more regular stitch which makes it appear more professionally done. We loved it so much and got so carried away we even embroidered a couple of t-shirts along the way! That said though, hand sewing gives a more organic result and provided you have a couple of extra minutes to spare, it requires far less equipment and can be done relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine.

In either case, we found that when we were drawing on our designs, it was best to use a pen or chalk in a colour as close to the shade of denim as possible (without being invisible to the naked eye) so that it doesn’t show through. The most difficult part of it all was deciding what to write!

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

In case you’re wondering? ‘Geneva’ embroidered by machine, ‘Smile’ embroidered by hand, ‘AH’ initials embroidered by machine, ‘Ouch’ embroidered by hand, ‘Blue jean baby’ embroidered by machine. Not shown but the cactus design was embroidered by hand.

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

Wearing: Grana denim A-line skirt in stone wash.

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

How cute are these denim skirts? Definitely the type of thing you want to go twinning in. I love Annie’s little cacti! What would you put on your denim guys?

DIY Word Embroidered Denim Two Ways

Photos by Bryant Lee.

This post is in collaboration with Grana.

MY FOUR GO TO HAIRSTYLES

When it comes to hair, it seems the grass is always greener on the other side. These days, hair envy is as real. Almost as real as ‘all my friends are in Santorini right now’ holiday envy. I have to admit that up until I was twenty I was convinced if I straightened my hair enough times it would stay that way. I can’t believe this myself but it took Ben more than a few months to realise my hair was actually curly.  Turns out our hair relationships can be as complicated as human ones.

What I’ve learnt over time is that the key to a great relationship with your hair (that is, loving it) is compromise, experimenting and forgiveness – I’ve learnt not to be angry at my hair for being frizzy in humidity (Although I refuse to forgive Hong Kong for these 46 degree days!). It’s always a fun process of discovery – cutting, curling or colouring and seeing what works, what doesn’t and what eventually grows on you. Literally and figuratively. In partnership with Dove Hair, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the ways I love to do my hair with my four personal go-to styles.

For more inspiration, head over to the Dove Hair Pinterest page and you can watch the Dove Love Your Hair campaign film here. Currently counting the reasons to #loveyourhair.

My four go to hairstyles

My four go to’s: Straight Up, Go Low, Messy Waves and Up Do (with a difference). In typical me style they all have (somewhat) simplicity in common – I never have long to get out the door!

My Four Go to Hairstyles

Straight Up

This is what is says on the tin, a sleek and straight do that out of all of the looks probably requires the most attention – and low humidity! After toweling dry I give it a quick blast with the hairdryer then straighten using a fine tooth comb.

My Four Go to Hairstyles

Go Low

Although a pony is pretty basic, I feel like this sleek version takes it up a notch. Well it’s basic in how easy it is but when side parted and spritzed with hairspray for a little shin and sleekness, it’s the perfect business to party situation.

Waved

This is my ‘fancy’ hairdo and fittingly it’s the one that takes the most time. I use a barrel curler on large sections of hair, holding down for 20 seconds and then letting go. I think run my fingers through to thoroughly mess the curls up to give them a lived in feel. (I think it’s time I did a more detailed tutorial of this one because a lot of you have asked for it!)

My Four Go to Hairstyles

Up Do (With A Difference)

The difference being t takes me all of about 25 seconds and 4 bobby pins to bring this one to life, this is go to for when I want to look pulled together but have limited time to apply to my hair. I side part my hair, and twist one section on each side to the back, and then pin the rest of my hair in a loose messy bun. Easy!

This post is sponsored by Dove. Photos by Bryant Lee and top from Iris & Ink.

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