Stepping off the plane at your destination can sometimes be the most daunting part of the trip, particularly if you’re arriving in a place you’ve never been before and when you’re travelling solo. Arriving at Kyoto airport recently on my own, being confronted with a million signs in Japanese and not really able to get my hands on someone who spoke English could have been a scary disaster, but with a few steps before leaving Hong Kong I was able to make sure that everything went smoothly and to plan – even when it didn’t go to plan at first!

Preparing for a stress free arrival


1. Currency of your destination

About 5 years ago when I was living in London I went to meet friends in New York, and after arriving at a deserted JFK airport at 2am, I realised I didn’t have any US dollars, and when I tried to get money out of the ATM my cards all got blocked by the bank, and when I tried to use my phone I found it wasn’t on the right band and it didn’t work either. If it wasn’t for the kindness of a shuttle bus driver who let me get on and pay him when I got to my hotel (lucky my friends were there!) it would have been one cold, creepy night on the steps of the arrivals hall. Needless to say since then I always always get the currency of my destination out at home, and fair amount so I have options in case on an emergency. I also always carry a few hundred US dollars in my passport wallet, as most people recognise that currency if you’re really in a bind.

2. Printed Hotel information

Ok so this is probably an obviously one to but printing your hotel/accommodation information (address, phone etc) prior to leaving home is key to piece of mind, and you’ll use it way more than you think. Don’t rely on your phone to show you the way, phones get lost/lose battery/stop working.

3. Options for getting to your accommodation

Naturally most of us take a look at the best way to get from the airport to our accommodation, but researching for a few different options, such as which shuttle, train, or car to take in case your first choice isn’t available. Even though hotel transfers can be expensive, if you’re particularly concerned about the place you’re going or how you will handle getting to the hotel, they’re not a bad thing to splurge on. You can always cut costs later on  in the trip once you have your bearings.

4. Charged Devices

Arriving with a phone that works (and with a good amount of charge) is key in the event something happens and you need to check in with your hotel, friends or family (hopefully not but, the emergency services). One way is to keep your phone/laptop charger in your bag instead of your luggage, as some planes have plugs you can use (but you’ll need an adaptor if the airline isn’t based in your region). If not, make sure your phone is turned off completely while you’re on the plane. I also like to make sure my laptop is fully charged and then switch off when I get on the plane, because worst comes to worst I can charge my phone using my laptop.

5. The right Visas

There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination only to find that you’ve forgotten to get the right Visa. Sometimes you’ll be able to get a visa on arrival, however this is rarely an efficient undertaking when it comes to time. Always make sure to check what Visas you need before you travel!

6. Let your bank know you’re travelling

Ok so this can be annoying and tedious,  but everytime I don’t let my bank know I’m travelling they inevitably block all my cards, so that I’m stuck in the middle of a city without access to money. Not such a major issue when you’re travelling with friends, but if you’re on your own you really can’t risk it. Once quick call has saved me mountains of time in the past!

Anything else you guys think is essential to a stress free (and safe) flight arrival?


If you’ve been following for a while you’ll be all over the fact that my current approach to decoration is, technically speaking, ‘put a plant on it’. I’ve applied the concept at the studio, and at home (to a lesser degree) and I can honestly say that it works. Who doesn’t want to live in a jungle (or a desert – depending on what type of plants you’re into)? We recently got crafty with some leather we had in the studio and created this planter with our friends over at Free People. If you plan ahead a little this planter could be the perfect gift for your bestie or plant addicted hipster boyfriend. Naturally you’ll be wanting to use a substitute for leather if said boyfriend is a vegan. :)

How to make a leather hanging planter www.apairandasparediy.comHow to make a leather planter

You need:

  • A piece of leather or vegan leather
  • A metal Ring
  • 2 x long screws and bolts
  • Scissors
  • Multi hole punch
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Plant Pot

Start experimenting with leather now using this DIY Leather Making Kit.

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How to: 

1. On the back of your leather, mark out 4 pieces of 1.5cm wide x 65cm long pieces of leather strips and then cut into strips.

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2. Take your hole punch and punch a hole over the points you have marked.

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3. With the back side of the leather facing up, lay the pieces out in a cross so that the holes match up and add the screw underneath.

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4. Cut a piece of leather 1.5cm wide x 8cm long and then mark 1cm from the edge on both ends.

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5. Hole punch over the 2 marked positions and then take your piece of leather and fit it though the metal hoop

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6. Create the same cross section on the other end of the strips of leather and insert the screw through the holes.

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7. This is what the top section should look like.

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8. Hold the top section in one hand and lay out the base of the planter like so.

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Place your plant pot into place. And you’re done.

How to make a leather planter


A rainy weekend in Hong Kong has meant guilt-free couch time (as well as one fairly drenched walk up Hong Kong Peak) – there’s nothing better than time to do nothing at all. I may have slipped one DIY project in there (can’t wait to share), re-runs of Curb Your Enthusiasm and sewing go pretty pretty well together apparently. If I hadn’t somehow wasted a couple of hours looking at Russian Women with Many Flowers I could perhaps have utilised my digital downtime a little better… Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, a few of my fave links of the week below.


Have a cuppa. It’ll help!

A craft project I’m dying to do… The ultimate embellished leather jacket.

I know this Moonrise Kingdom inspired party is designed for a 10 year old boy, but I so want it for my next birthday.

I’m feeling matador and boater hats sooo much at the moment.

Apparently we’re skipping Glasto next year, but perhaps we’ll do this instead?

This beautiful boho home makes me crave greenery, vintage maps and books!

I’m feeling like this about Serial atm.

A  to X of Writing… Read this now! All your grammar questions answered (even the ones you didn’t know you had!)

Ps. I just made a delicious weekend breakfast of baked eggs… Butter beans, chorizo and cherry tomatoes cooked in a pan, with eggs added on top and cooked in the oven for 10 minutes. Yummy!