DIY OFF THE SHOULDER BEACH DRESS

Greetings from the Greek Islands guys! It’s my first time here and I have to say all the hype is completely worth it, such an utterly jaw dropping place. I’m writing this from my bed in Santorini, and wanted to share with you this dress I made recently – the white and frills certainly give it a Mykonos vibe (my next destination in fact!). This dress is ridiculously easy to make, and just as easy to wear :) Basically all you’re doing is created two gathered skirts, one the length from your bust to your mid thigh, and the other a mini skirt that just sits around your arms – you then attach them together as shown below and away you go!

You can follow my Greek Adventures over on Instagram, or join me on snapchat: apair_andaspare

DIY White Beach DressDIY White Beach Dress

 

You need:

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

1. Decide on how long you want your dress to be. This is pretty easy can be done by draping the fabric around yourself.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Wrap your elastic around yourself over your bust, stretch it a little but make sure it isn’t too tight.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Double the width of your elastic and mark this measurement by draw a line along the length of the fabric.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Fold the top of your fabric from the top towards the line and pin it in place.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Sew along the bottom of your folded fabric, leave a small gap between the start and finish.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

6. Attach your elastic to something structured and thread it through the fabric loop you have created.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

7. Thread it thought until the elastic appears at the other end. Sew the elastic together.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

8. Sew along the bottom closing the gap you left previously.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

9. Hem the bottom of your fabric by simply folding in under and sewing along the bottom.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

10. Using the same technique, create a smaller piece of fabric which will fit around your shoulders.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

11. Place the smaller piece over the top of the body of the dress. Pin together the centre front point and also the centre back point.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

12. Stitch along the elasticated section.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

13. This will keep the two pieces attached and allow you to adjust how far off the shoulder you want your dress to sit.

Make an off the shoulder summer dress www.apairandasparediy.com

Voila!

DIY White Beach DressDIY White Beach Dress

Photos by Nicola Lemon

HONG KONG GUIDE: SHOPPING

Hong Kong, known world wide as a mecca for week long shopping trips with every single luxury store imaginable (including a mall with not one but two Celine stores – Harbour City Level 1 & 2). But in case you’re all malled out (it happens!) Discover Hong Kong have asked me to share with you my favourite hidden shopping spots – the places where you can find pieces unique to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Tourism Images new 24

Vickie’s
A favourite when I first arrived and somewhere my friends visit on every trip, this shoe shop stocks lots of different designs, and given that their factory makes shoes for lots of well known Australia designers you know you’re going to get quality (at an affordable price!). If you have time, you can even have them make you a custom pair.
3 Queen Victoria Street, Central, Hong Kong

Loveramics
This has to be one of my favourite specialty stores in Hong Kong, modern ceramics loveingly hand made. Perfect as a gift for that special someone, or in my case – yourself!
95 Leighton Road, Hong Kong

Mee & Gee
It’s pretty tricky to track down vintage clothing in Hong Kong, and you pretty much need a compass for finding this store. But it’s worth it! Rack and racks of retro and mod pieces straight from Japan, I always pop here to look for new (old) trends that crop up on the runway.
 64 Tung Choi Street, Mongkok and 9 Li Yuen Street West, Central

CN Square
Love stationary? This store spread over 4 floors in Ya Ma Tei will have you excited at all that’s on offer. Now the only problem is fitting it in your suitcase!
530 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei

Gao Shing Street
Just downstairs from my studio, this street is lined with stores selling all manner of dried goods, from seafood to mushrooms. Although the dried seahorses can bring a tear to your eye and the lizards on sticks won’t be at the top of your list, if you look closely you’ll find jars and jars of dried tea of all kinds – rose tea, jasmine pearl tea, camomile tea and everything in between. Lovely!
Gao Shing Street, Sheung Wan

Tung Wah Ceramic Store
Can you tell I’m a sucker for ceramics? This store located in Central is more on the traditional side when it comes to its wares, and is the perfect place to pick up your weight in oriental patterned bowls.
Stauntan Street, Soho

Button Hole
The best place to pick up cut label designer ‘inspired’ dresses, this tiny hole in the wall is the perfect pit stop while you explore the surrounding area of Soho.
Corner of Peel & Elgin Streets Soho

Gough Street
Head to Gough street in Central for a handful of small boutiques on the street and on the stairs up towards Hollywood Road. Have a bite at a local Dai Pai Dong while you’re at it!
Gough Street, Central

Cat Street Markets
The markets themselves offer up a slew of antique and faux antiques, and are great for a photo opportunity. But what I really love is the junk shops located on the stairs on the surrounding streets, never before will you have seen such varied antiques from all eras, all mixed together.
Upper Lascar Row (below Hollywood Road), Sheung Wan

Joyce
You won’t be short of department store options when you come to Hong Kong, on the contrary you’ll find it hard to avoid them! Chances are you’ll visit them all, and ones like Lane Crawford are delivered to an exceptional standard. Myself? I’m a fan of Joyce on Queens Road. Aspirational window shopping at it’s best – it’s a look but don’t touch situation.
New World Tower, Central

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Gough Street

Shopping in Hong Kong

My favourite porcelain shop

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Tai Ping Shan Street

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Tai Ping Shan Street

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

PMQ

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

The Flower Markets

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Cat Street Markets

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Sham Shui Po

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Cat Street Markets

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

More porcelain!

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Hollywood Road

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Gao Shing Street

Hong Kong Shopping Guide

Cat Street Markets

HOW TO: SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT

When I was in my teens, sleep was never high on my agenda – there was just wayyyy to much to do and see. But as I’ve grown up a bit I’ve come to understand that above all else, getting enough sleep, and good quality sleep, is the difference between a fantastic day and a rubbish one. When I first transitioned into working for myself, my sleep was awful as I worried about clients and poor time management had me working late at night or waking at 3am. This is pretty standard when you’re doing something new, but over time it wore me down and took a toll on my creativity – and ability to think clearly! Hopefully it’s not a sign of just how old I’m getting, but these days I subscribe to a fairly strict sleeping routine, and I have to say it’s completely changed my life. Yep, I said it. It’s given me enthusiasm and creativity that I just didn’t have when I was strung out from not enough sleep.

Recently, the lovely sleepwear company Papinelle asked me to shed a bit of light on my sleep routine, so I thought I would share it with you guys too. In many ways, this sleep routine goes hand in hand with becoming a morning person, and I guess both are a reflection of a (somewhat new) focus on wellbeing and relaxation that has become important as working long hours and constantly being ‘on’ has takes it’s toll. Read on to learn how to create your own sleep routine.

How to sleep better

Wearing: Papinelle singlet, flannel trousers 

Perfect Your Space

Take an afternoon out to perfect your sleeping space – although it might sound trivial, a comfy bed with soft sheets, and a nice dark room is the foundation for a perfect night’s sleep.  You’ll also want to check the temp, you don’t want it too hot as your body’s temperature needs to fall in order for you to get to sleep. The best temperates are apparently 18 – 23C (65° and 75°), so pick up a fan (or a heater) if yours doesn’t cut the mustard. If you’re looking for room inspiration make sure to check out my Pinterest board here (prepare to be envious).

Choose the right clothes

Although it’s unlikely anyone is going to judge your sleeping attire for chic-ness, fabrics and cuts are important while you sleep as they definitely contribute to overall comfort. Unless you’re someone who can’t bear to wear clothes in bed, you’re going to want to wear something soft, light and loose –  I’m all about a soft cotton singlet (like this Papinelle one – and sans bra naturally), a pair of soft shorts or flannels and socks if it’s cold. A nice breathable eye mask is also great for shutting out light without causing you to sweat. And you know what, this might sound vain, but it helps if it looks gorgeous too, right?

Wind Down

In the past, I always used to exercise at night, often quite late if a class was scheduled at that time. The result? I would finish my class at 9 and be unable to sleep until midnight – apparently exercise stimulates hormones which make you alert rather than calm, and didn’t I know it? These days, I try to stop exercising 4 hours before bed – even better I try  to do it in the morning so the evenings are dedicated to relaxing and winding down.

Read a good book

Ever lie in bed at night with all your to do lists and thoughts just tumbling around in your head? Been there, done that. Before long you’re looking at the clock outing just how many hours sleep you’re going to get! A good book will cure that, allowing you bit of escapism into someone else’s life (and to forget your own) before you go to sleep. Whatever you do, don’t swap out your book for a little scroll on Instagram, as this will have the opposite effect!

Power Down

Ok so you’re probably sick of me talking about my ‘no screens between 8pm and 8am‘ rule, but honestly I can’t recommend it enough. You don’t realise how much brainspace devices take up until you take a little time off, not to mention that light signals to your brain that it’s time to get up, making it so much harder to snooze! You also don’t want to check your email or other accounts and think about the next day’s work right before you go to sleep, so putting a ban in place will help you with that too. If you can, leave your phone in another room overnight so you can completely disconnect.

Drink up

A cup of camomile tea while watching tv has become a mainstay of my routine, and I think it has truly helped me to drift off more easily. I used to take over an hour to get to sleep when I lay down, and now it’s more like 15 minutes after I’ve read a little.  I also cut out any caffeine drinks after 3pm – something I used to laugh at my 90 year old grandfather for doing but yeah, now him and I are in the same boat.

Have you got any other sleep routine tips for me? Cheers to feeling refreshed in the morning!

How to sleep better

Ollie loves to sleep too! ;)

How to sleep betterHow to sleep better

I’m all about an eye mask. How sweet is this Liberty print?

How to sleep betterHow to sleep better

Wearing: Socks, eyemask, flannels

 Photos by Michelle Proctor

This post is in collaboration with Papinelle

DIY PAINT DIPPED CHAIRS

One project that’s been on my list for a while now is paint dipped chairs, let’s just say I have a bit of a soft spot for making something old new (and chic!) again with a lick of paint. My boyfriend’s mother found me these amazing vintage inspired chairs which were a little battered, and knew they would be the ideal host for a super fun collaboration with paint company White Knight. I picked up a few cans of their Squirts spray paints, and we went to town. Hint: It’s so much easier than I originally thought and no where near as messy as I expected it to be.

DIY Paint Dipped ChairsDIY Paint Dipped Chairs

You need:

  • Chairs for painting
  • A few cans of Spray Paint (I used White Knight Squirts in Flat White, Gum Grey, Glossy White and Sky Blue)
  • Masking or painting tape
  • Plastic
  • A Ruler

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

This is the before – they were pretty scuffed which made them perfect for this project!

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

How to:
1. First, you’ll want to give your chairs a sand down if they need it. Then decide where to paint the chair – we opted for an kind of opposite tide line equal to the height of a table, around 75cm high. Then mask off the parts of the chair you don’t want to paint. We used a ruler to make sure the horizontal line was perfectly straight, then covered the rest of the chair in plastic so it didn’t get painted.

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

2. Decide on the colours you want to use, we went with a mix of colours but you can choose just one – plain white would be great in a minimalist home.

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

3. First we sprayed the chair with flat white as the undercoat, we allowed it to dry for a few hours. Then we added on top the outer coat of colour or glossy white. We made a little cubby of cardboard to stop the paint spreading, although I don’t think it would have spread much anyway.

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

4. We allowed to dry fully over night then carefully removed the plastic and the tape. If there were any drips we used turpentine to remove the paint, although there were surprisingly few!

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

Voila!

DIY Paint Dipped ChairsDIY Paint Dipped ChairsDIY Paint Dipped ChairsDIY Paint Dipped Chairs

This post is in collaboration with White Knight. All concepts and opinions are my own.