DIY LACED UP TOP

Laced up necklines are the detail of the season – bringing to mind nautical adventures and/or African safaris. No matter where you plan on wearing your laced up top in the next few months (perhaps you’ll find yourself an emptied out pool to frolic in?), you’ll be happy to know that if you so choose, it can be recreated at home, in little to no time and with just a touch of elbow grease. Read on to see how!

DIY Grommet TopDIY Grommet Top

You need:

  • Button Up Shirt
  • Cord
  • Grommets
  • Grommet Maker
  • Mallet

DIY Laced Top

How to:

1. Remove the buttons from your shirt.

DIY Laced Top

2. On the side which you removed the buttons from. mark where you will create a matching set of holes parallel to your button holes.

DIY Laced Top

3. Place the top of your grommet through your button hole.

DIY Laced Top

4. Add the bottom half of your grommet on the other side of the shirt.

DIY Laced Top

5. Place the base of the grommet maker through your grommet and shirt.

DIY Laced Top

6. Place the top section of your grommet maker on top of the base, hammer away until your grommets are in place!

DIY Laced Top

7. On the side which does not have button holes, use a dart awl to create holes where you have previously marked.

DIY Laced Top

8. Add grommets to both sides. Take your cord and start to lace up your shirt starting from the bottom, criss crossing as you weave your cord through your grommets towards the top of your shirt.

DIY Laced Top

Done!

DIY Grommet Top

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

Ps… loving laced up necklines? See here and here.

PRINTABLE PACKING LIST

They say travel isn’t just about the destination, it’s about the journey. Which is true. But for me, it’s as much about all that as the preparation before the trip – researching, planning and… PACKING! And so, following on from last week’s 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Packing Guide, I got together with the Belinda Love Lee to create a printable packing list. Use it to plan what you’re going to take in the lead up for your trip – print 5 and work on it until it’s jusssssst right. And if you’re particularly OCD, use it every time you repack your bags while you’re travelling to make sure you haven’t left anything behind (we’ve included additional spaces in case you buy things along the way :) ).

Download the colour version here.

Download the black and white version here.

Printable Travel Packing List Printable Travel Packing List

Thanks lovely Belinda!

Download our printable to do list from earlier in the year here.

HONG KONG GUIDE: OUTDOORS

Although Hong Kong is most well known for its towering sky scrapers and glittering malls, what a lot of people don’t realise is that if you’re willing to step outside of the centre of town, you’re rewarded with the most amazing coastline, quaint villages and stunning hikes. When people come to visit I’m all about showing them this hidden side of the city, it’s such a treat! And I have to be honest, as someone living here, Hong Kong would be hard to stick with sometimes if it wasn’t for the welcome reprieve of green hills, amazing beaches, hikes and bays. With that in mind, for the final installment of my partnership with Hong Kong Tourism Board, I’m going to be giving you a run down of 5 day trips you can do in Hong Kong to experience the lesser known corners of this crazy place.

Hong Kong Travel Guide

The jetty at Sai Wan Swimming Shed

Tai Long Wan

People are always surprised at the number of beaches in Hong Kong, and places like Stanley and Sheko on the Island are always a nice treat. But to experience the best Hong Kong has to offer in the beach department, head out to Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung. The half hour taxi ride and 45 minute hike is well rewarded – you’ll be floored by the crystal clear waters and soft white sand, and most likely you’ll be the only one on the beach when you get there. Have a simple bite to eat at one of the Chinese cafes and indulge in much needed respite from the crowds in Central!

How to get there: Take a taxi to Sai Wan in Sai Kung, and then walk to Tai Long Wan beach (the third and best in a row of beaches). On the weekends you can the return journey by boat from the fishing villages in Sai Wan back to Sai Kung.

Dragon’s Back & Sheko
Dragon’s Back is the most popular hike for tourists due to its easy accessibility (20 minutes from the city’s heart) and stunning views. Certain parts are wooded and boast beautiful plant life, whilst the rest is on a ridge overlooking the sea. The highest point on the trail is only 284 metres, but the views are worthy of a much more difficult hike. If it’s a cloudy day you can still enjoy the slopes, but you may not see as far into the distance. Most visitors finish this exhilarating route with a swim at Shek O beach and lunch in the village, I recommend Black Sheep for a laid back hippy vibe and not too bad pizza.

How to get there: From MTR Shau Kei Wan Station, Exit A3, take bus 9 from Shau Kei Wan bus terminus to To Tei Wan on Shek O Road. The entrance to the hike is on Shek O Road near To Tei Wan village. Be sure to look out for the sign!

Cheung Chau Island
With coastal trails, beaches, small rural valleys, and a village dotted with temples but with only one (police) car, Cheung Chau boasts plenty to see and do in a day; and plenty to eat once you’ve seen and done. Which makes it a popular getaway thanks to its beaches and its cute downtown lined with snack shops and incense-smokey temples. Come here for an afternoon of temple touring, noshing on fish balls and exploring the rocky coastline. My pick of places to hang out is a small beach to the back of the island called Kwun Yam, with a shack-style beach bar just above the tideline: a fine place to chill out on a hot afternoon.

How to get there: Ferry Services from Central leave from pier 5 of the Outlying Islands ferry terminal (regular/fast 45 minutes/one hour). Ferries can also be taken from Mui Wo and Chi Ma Wan on Lantau and from Peng Chau. Additionally, regular kaido operate between Cheung Chau village (sampan pier) and Sai Wan in the south of the island.

The Twins
Not for the faint hearted, this is my favourite walk on the island, and is an incredibly scenic interval workout spread across three peaks. Without any rest time along the way, this 4.8km hike takes around an hour and a half.
Violet Hill is the first peak, and a relatively tame one to scale. But then, in the distance, you can just make out the steps that dot the steep climb up the first of the Twin peaks ahead that lead down to Stanley Gap. Not to worry, it’s only 1,000 steps up the first peak. Consider this the meat of your workout. Break it up into 200 to 250-step increments for great interval training. After this, the second peak feels like a cool down. Make sure you take time to take in the amazing views along the way of Repulse Bay, Tai Tam Reservoir and eventually Chung Hom Kok and Stanley.

How to get there: Start from the marker below the entrance to Parkview Residences so that you can reward your efforts with a delicious meal in Stanley.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed
The Sai Wan Swimming Shed is an atmospheric hideaway located on the island. Located just below Victoria Road on the western edge of Kennedy Town, it was built by the government in the 1950s to provide a changing room and wooden pier for nearby residents who swam in Sulfur Channel. Today, it attracts more photographers than swimmers for its sunset views and crashing waves. As a location it feels nothing like the Hong Kong outside your hotel. Bring some refreshments and enjoy sunset.

How to get there: Take a taxi and ask for Victoria Road Kennedy Town.

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

Millionaire’s Beach

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

Frozen fruit sticks in Cheung Chau

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

The bays of Sai Kung

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

Taking a load off in Cheung Chau

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

A misty day at the beach.

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

The churning waters at the end of Hong Kong Island.

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

So far from the hustle of Central (and yet actually so close).

Hong Kong Travel Guide - Outdoors

Life in the slow lane…

Hong Kong Travel Guide

Tai Long Wan Beach

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

DO WHAT YOU LOVE: 5 THINGS I’VE DISCOVERED SINCE BECOMING MY OWN BOSS

Three years ago, virtually to the day, I made the decision to leave my full time job as a town planner and pursue the crazy world of working for yourself. Although in some roundabout way this had always been the plan (both my parents run their own businesses), it wasn’t something I was thinking about at the time. I was pretty much forced into it because I wanted to write my book and my job at the time wouldn’t let me split my time between work and writing. And I’m so glad they took that stance! Because it was the best decision I’ve made to date.

Almost regardless of how successful your business becomes (fingers crossed for all of you it’s very, very, very successful), the discoveries you make when you become your own boss – about your abilities, what you do and don’t know, and the business market you’re in – are some of the most valuable life lessons you’ll ever have. Take away the safety net of a company set up, and a boss that settles the pay check at the end of the month, and you’re out on your own in the big blue. Believe me when I say it’s exhilarating! As part of Dr. LeWinn’s new ‘I Discovered’ campaign – an initiative encouraging everyone to share what they are most passionate about – I thought I would share with you a few of the key discoveries I’ve made in the last few years. Cheers to becoming one’s own boss!

silk and lace www.apairandasparediy.com silk and lace www.apairandasparediy.com silk and lace www.apairandasparediy.com

Wearing my uniform of silk tank, DIY lace bra and J Crew utility jacket, during one of my days working ‘ON’ my business a few months ago – it’s always nice to get out of the office for that!

1. Remember to dream, but don’t forget to be practical
I believe, more than anything else, that it’s important to love what you do. That said, I’ve also learnt that it’s essential to be pragmatic about your situation – most of us can’t afford to ditch our full time jobs to pursue our passions. I couldn’t! The catalyst for change for me was the advance I received on my book, which gave me a small amount of flexibility. Anddddd, that advance came after 2 years of working full time and creating my blog content at nights and on the weekend. I believe that, if you put your mind to it you can become your own boss, but sometimes you have to start small and be consistent with what you want to do. And grow it to the point where you have the critical mass or momentum to become your own boss. Because, above all else, a girl’s gotta eat!

2. You need to make goals and answer to them
When you become your own boss you’re probably moving away from the corporate world, but it doesn’t hurt to put in place a few of the structures that exist in big companies, and put them to work for you. One of these is the review process, but instead of being reviewed by an employer you can review yourself. Make yearly and monthly goals and take the time to analyse how successful you were in retrospect. Give yourself a rating if you must, anything that makes you answerable to your goals!

3. Spend 4 days working in your business and 1 day working ON your business per week
It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day to day of running a business that you forget to plan and strategise the long term evolution of what you are doing. Unfortunately, in this fast moving world (particularly blogging or anything online related), it’s not simply good enough to do what you’ve always done, your goal needs to be to improve with every day, or at least make steps towards evolution and improvement. By devoting one day per week working ON your business instead of in it (think: doing strategy instead of answering emails), you can see real change over time. I still struggle to get the balance of strategy vs. day to day right, but am trying to improve every day!

4. If something isn’t working, change it
Learning to admit when something isn’t working is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but the reality is that not everything you embark upon when you’re your own boss is going to be successful. I had to decide whether I wanted to devote more time to writing another book or work on the digital marketing side of my blog (i.e. creating content for other companies behind the scenes), and I chose the latter, because I realised that the Internet is the way forward (although I haven’t written off another book completely! :)). And even when most things generally work out, there’s a need to decide what activities are the most successful/profitable/enjoyable, so you can do more of those ones and leave others behind. Learn to call it early, so you don’t waste time doing things you don’t love, and that aren’t paying off.

5. Remember to look after yourself
I’m not going to sugar coat this, but working for yourself is going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Chances are, at least to start with, you’ll do everything by yourself, so you’ll be working harder than you ever have before. That new boss of yours (you) cracks the whip! In my first year, I certainly saw the negative effects of working too hard. For the first year I was just on high speed and never bothered to get a massage or take some time out, and that took a major toll on my health. It also wreaked havoc on my skin! So it’s important to give yourself a break and look after yourself (a few of my other tips here, here and here) – for the last few month’s I’ve been using Dr. LeWinn’s new Private Formula Day Cream Moisturiser LIGHT, Eternal Youth Day & Night Cream and new Insta-Perfector Blur Cream, and have discovered just how useful a regime like this can be. The day cream has made my skin softer and the blur cream is great at minimising pores on those days when I’ve been up all night working (another lesson from becoming your own boss!), as the old adage goes – look good, feel great! And regardless of how busy you become, don’t forget to exercise – it’s important for your mind as much as it is for your brain.

As part of Dr. LeWinn’s ‘I Discovered’ Campaign, I’d love you to share your own personal discoveries with me on Instagram. You’ll be in with a chance to win a $270 Dr. LeWinn’s product pack, with 10 runners up prizes available as well. Make sure to tag in @DrLeWinns and use #idiscovered. See full T&C’s here.

This post is in Collaboration with Dr. LeWinns.