Excited has to be the world’s biggest understatement when it comes to my feelings about heading to Paris this weekend. I’m there for a fun brand collaboration on Monday (more on that later) but first I’ll be spending a few days just hanging out, I mean who could resist extending their trip to stay a little longer in the land of bread and cheese? You know, the usual. Parks, wine and baguettes! Anyway, in true me style I’ve not yet worked out what I want to do while I’m there. Is it bad that I leave my trip planning to the last minute because I know I can count on you guys (my most intrepid of readers) to let me know your high and low lights? Let’s just say, you guys are way better tour guides than any dog eared Lonely Planet.

a weekend in paris

My last trip to Paris was about 4 years ago, and I’ve been twice before that, but because on those trips we focused on the major sights (the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, the Pompidou and the Louvre) I this I may have missed the more local attractions, the things that make Paris such an amazing city.

And so what I’d love to find on this long weekend is the hidden gems of Paris – little boutiques, favourite eateries, best lane ways, lovely parks, best secret vintage stores, can’t-miss cheese shops, please-hail-me-a-taxi wine bars and anywhere else you wouldn’t miss, including any unmissable sights (even if they’re touristy). Oh and I’m also on the hunt for antique furniture! As you probably know already, I would be so so thankful to anyone with insights into the best of the best in Paris. :)


While in Japan recently I was really inspired by the concept of the beauty alcoves that I saw everywhere we went, styled corners consisting of drawers or shelves where people displayed their favourite collections and items. I think traditional Japanese houses have always had them for displaying art (called Tokonoma) but what I saw was mostly a little more modern and spontaneous than those. The Airbnb we stayed in had one. The doctor’s surgery we visited had one (his was a collection of porcelain owls… random but very cute). And the Ryokan we visited had one in the corner. I loved that it shows a pride in your space and a touch of sentimentality, as well as an admirable ability to keep that area tidy! After I finished (somewhat) with all the DIY projects at the studio (including this ladder wardrobe), I started thinking about how I could update our apartment, and integrate the concept of the beauty alcove – specifically as a place to put all the things I collected on my travels. I decided to create a set of ladder shelves for this purpose, they cost about $10 to make and packed such a punch in our small (v v small)  space!

Make a quick set of shelves using a ladder

What’s on my shelves

Top: fish salt shaker from Peru

Second: Green vases from Shanghai, little clay house from Yangshou, porcelain cat pig from Hanoi, porcelain clogs from Munich, heart shaped porcelain jewellery box from Hong Kong

Third: Tea pot from Bali, Lumira travel candle, pink elephant from Thailand, stone and porcelain elephants from Sri Lanka

Fourth: DIY terrarium, Mochilla bag from Crystal Cove Collective, a few Lonely planets

Fifth: pink raffia box from Sardinia, Ottolenghi cook books, Glass jars from Sri Lanka

Make a quick set of shelves using a ladder

You need:

  • a ladder
  • pine planks cut to incremental sizes, I went for two at 1.2m (48 inches), then 1m (40 inches), 80cm (30 inches) and 60cm (23 inches) for the top.
  • L  brackets (2 x the number of planks you have)
  • Screws
  • A drill

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

How to:

1. Stand your ladder up where you want it to sit in your house. It’s easier to be sure of the location before you build it.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

2. Slide all the pine planks onto the cross beams of the ladder, making sure to stagger the size as you go up.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

3. Press the L brackets up against the ladder cross beam and the plank.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

4. Use your drill to secure the L brackets.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

Fill your shelves up with your favourite pieces. My boyfriend’s mum was visiting while I was doing this and helped me style the shelves a bot, I learnt so much about placement of items in terms of colour, depth and symmetry. They looked wayyy better than when I randomly threw things onto them. :)

Make a quick set of shelves using a ladder www.apairandasparediy.comMake a quick set of shelves using a ladder

Dreaming of all the other things I can make out of these ladders… thoughts?


Does anyone else feel like Christmas will be here before we know it? This part of the year tends to fly, it’s kind of like a snowball gathering speed until it culminates in all those office parties and sore heads. Instead of getting ahead of myself, I thought I would try to be a little more present and enjoy the change of seasons, before it gets super cold. Here are a few favourite reads of mine to keep you occupied this weekend. Hope it’s a lovely one you guys! x

Simple weekend outfit

Clearly The Line is worth a gander if you’re in LA, but I’m most inspired about those Mexican rug chairs… I feel a DIY coming on!

Santorini isn’t just white washed buildings and stone steps… I love these images and have put it on my destination list (on that same note, I found Ibiza completely different than I thought it would be when I ventured away from the main attractions, gorgeous and surprisingly serene actually).

The Cave of Crystals has utterly blown me away. Must go.

You may have seen this but my friend Tom always blows me away.

Is #blessed the new (not so) humble brag?

In case you need a reminder this weekend.

It’s Friday and I’m planning on getting J Crew Drunk. What about you?

Finished We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, so so bizarre but I loved it.

Fancy office attire above wearing a Whistles bag, Club Monaco skirt, Witchery top and Daniel Wellington watch.