HOW TO CHOOSE (AND WEAR) THE PERFECT NUDE LIP SHADE

The nude lip, it’s pretty much a go to in my beauty routine, mainly as a way to complete a simple (read: quickly slapped together) look without taking it OTT. Personally, I feel like a nude lip gives a hint freshness, in the same way a nude manicure does.  It says ‘I’m trying, but not that hard’. Which is exactly what I’m all about when it comes to beauty. Butttttt finding the right nude shade is harder than you would think, because unlike nude underwear it’s not simply about matching to your exact skin tone – do that and you’ll look (and feel) completely washed out. No, the point of nude lipstick is to accentuate your lips, either by making them slightly darker, lighter or pinker, in a natural way that brings out your lip shape and the rest of your face.

Recently whilst backstage at the Yeojin Bae runway show at Sydney Fashion week, and I was happy to see that nude lips reigned supreme. So fresh and so clean (clean). Being just a little bit nosy I couldn’t help but hit the Bobbi Brown make up team up for the tricks of the trade when it comes to how to pick the best nude shade. It was something I really had to share with you, in case you’re in the mood for going nude. 🙂

How to choose the perfect nude shade

Above: Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Colour in Mod and Pink Sand

Tips for Choosing (And Wearing) The Perfect Nude Lip Shade 

Test on your lips This is a big one. Obviously your lips aren’t the same colour as your skin tone, so always test your nude lipstick on your lips and not on the back of your hand to see how it a) looks on your lips and b) looks next to your skin.

Pick the features you want to accentuate  Nude lips look best when the color is one shade lighter or darker than your complexion, rather than an exact match. Personally, I like to go for one shade darker than my natural lip colour (that’s a shade I wear all the time if I’m not wearing any visible colour) because I like to ever so slightly bring out the colour of my lips, but if you want to focus more on your eyes for example, you should steer towards a lighter lip shade.

Try, Try, Try The nude you choose is going to depend on your lip and skin tone, generally you’ll be told that lighter skin tones should reach for pinky shades,  whilst mid tones should go for more caramel/toffee colours and dark skin tones can go for lighter/bronzey colours. That’s not a bad guide but personally I think that it’s all about trial and error – a warm caramel that suits my friend so much looks awful on me, and we have only a few shades different in tone,  proving that it’s all about trying it out. When choosing your nude, grab a few different shades in the shop and try them all on, looking for one that accentuates your face.

Gloss it up A gloss is a great option if you want to experiment with colours. It will help bring out the shape and definition of your lips, without having to go too dark or choose a pinker shade. You’ll have a brighter face without the zombie vibes you can sometimes get from a lighter tones.

Smooth operator When applying, make sure you start with a nice soft and smooth base, because your natural lip colour will show through better. A lip scrub in the shower is always a good idea – I DIY one using sugar and coconut oil.

When in doubt A good lip balm with spf in it can be massaged into your lips, which will help to promote blood flow and bring out the natural colour of your lips, without having to add any other shade. This is what head make up artist Alphie did at the show and it was the perfect touch.

How to choose nude lipstick

Thanks Alphie and the team at Bobbi Brown for having me! And to Yeojin Bae for putting on such a great show. 

CLOSET STAPLES: DIY SUMMER SHORTS

I’m a shorts girl through and through. But if you’ve been around these parts for long enough (or even just a few clicks) you’ll know that already. With Summer in full swing and hopefully a few vacation days on the horizon, chances are you’re trawling the net looking for a) a new holiday outfit or b) inspiration for your next sewing project. Same same really. And whilst we’re not attempting to reinvent the wheel (or in these case the summer ensemble) here, these simple shorts – the second in the closet staples series – are sure to take you to the beach, bar or… the sofa. Pretty much anywhere worth going this summer. Promise!

DIY Summer Shorts

They build on the scarf shorts that I made oh so long ago, but we’ve stepped it up by swapping the gathered waistband out for a clean edge and a zip at the back. Enjoy!

DIY Summer Shorts

Watch the super quick video below, and read on for more details

You need

  • 1m (1.1 yards) of fabric (we used a yellow linen)
  • Invisible zipper
  • Pins
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread

DIY shorts

How to

  1. Grab a pair of shorts your size and fold them in half. We are going to use this as the pattern. Fold the fabric length wise and place the outside leg of the shorts on this fold.

DIY shorts

2. Cut out around the shorts leaving a 2.5cm (1 in) margin for seam allowance and hem.

DIY shorts

3. Cut out two of these patterns.

DIY shorts

4. Open the out and overlay the fabric pieces on top of each other.

DIY shorts

5. Pin the rounded seams together.

DIY shorts

6. Sew the inside leg seam and the front crotch seam through to the back, leaving about 12.5cm (5 in) of the back seam open where the zipper will go.

DIY shorts

7. With the shorts turned inside out, lay the shorts flat on the table with the back seam facing up towards you.

DIY shorts

8. Open the invisible zipper and match the zipper edge with the seam edge. Pin into place and sew in the groove close to the zipper teeth using the zipper foot attachment for the sewing machine. While you’re at it, try the shorts on and see how they fit at the back, if they gape a little in the waistband do some darts on each side in the middle.

DIY summer shorts

9. Iron the shorts then fold the waist seam down 1.5cm and the hem up 1.5cm and sew to create a clean edge on the top and bottom.

DIY shorts

10. Turn the shorts the right way around and you’re done!

DIY summer shortsDIY Summer ShortsDIY Summer ShortsDIY Summer Shorts

If you want to mix this style up a bit, they would be great made in a simple black or white, or a warmer fabric for the between seasons. Enjoy!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

WHAT’S IN MY BAG (THAT POWERS MY CREATIVITY EVERYDAY)

Are you looking to be more creative? Then you’re not alone. This year, for me, has been focused on challenging my creativity as much as possible. Ok yes, my day to day does involve creativity but I feel like it needs  to be nurtured and challenged every day, lest you fall into a rut. Over time I’ve realised there are a few easy things you can do to create a foundation of creativity in your every day – it’s all about being prepared and challenging yourself. As part of the launch of their new TAG cable , the team at Native Union asked me to share with you the things I carry with me everyday that fuel my creativity. Read on for the (not so short) rundown.

Creativity Essentials In My Bag

Left to right, top to bottom:  Springcourt sneakers, Zoobeatle Card Holder, La Mer playing cards, Larson & Jennings watch, Ollie print by Belinda Xia Illustration, A Pair & A Spare Typography thanks to Monica Vinader, Provider Store brass tray, Bobbi Brown Luxe Lipstick, Native Union CLIC 360 phone case, Native Union TAG cable, Aesop body cream, Kikki K Stationery, Lumira Candle, Whistles Leather Backpack (from a few seasons ago),  Kikki K card holder, Mecca foundation brush, C/meo Collective clutch, Nikon Camera, Luna Face Oil from Mecca.

What’s in My Bag

1. A Notebook / Sketchpad – I like to call these my idea factory. Lame I know! Even though we live in a digital age, I’m all about getting tactile with my lists and sketches.  Ben has being trying in vain to get me over to Evernote, but I’ve resisted. There’s something really therapeutic about putting it all on paper. The key for me? Two small notebooks, one for (often boring) list making and the other for creative brainstorming.

2. A Charger – Ohhhh the pains of running out of juice. It’s pathetic to admit this but there aren’t many things worse… Your hand reaches for your phone only to drop back sadly into your lap, and all of a sudden you have 32802493 things you desperately need to google. So I couldn’t be happier to have discovered Native Union’s new TAG charger, made out of Italian Leather, it attaches to your bag like a charm.

3. Welcome distractions – If you come here often you’ll know that I’m really into balancing my online and offline time, and so I always try to have something in my bag to do when I’m in transit/waiting that promotes creativity. That might be something like making a current DIY project, a good book or a set of playing cards. This for me has been a step towards some level of mindfulness that, for me anyway, leads to new ideas and solutions. And new skills!

4. Snacks – Being hungry means your creativity takes a nosedive. And so having enough snacks to keep my blood sugar level balanced is absolutely essential for my brain, and obviously my creativity. And whilst I know that fruit has got a bad rap recently, in the last few years I’ve come to really focus on gut health. One of the things that I’ve learnt is how important fibre (aka ‘prebiotics’) is for feeding the good bacteria in your gut. Nuts, seeds and fruit are a great source of fibre that you can take with you in your bag so you’re not hungry, and neither are your good bacteria! (Don’t get me started on the gut, I could talk for yearrrrs).

5. My camera –  Experimenting with photos is something that continuously challenges my creativity. Sometimes I carry my big Nikon D750 with me, usually if I think I will be taking snaps for the blog because I like them to be the best quality possible. However, I also have a smaller Canon G series which is for when either I don’t have room for a big camera or I want to have a bit more freedom… That said, I’m in the market to upgrade to a different point and shoot model, having been looking at the Olympus Pen and the Fuji x 100t… I’ll let you know what I decide!

Other things I always have with me? Deodorant (natural of course), lipstick for last minute surprise meeting touch ups, stationery (it’s usually in a scary jumble at the bottom of my bag but at least it’s always there when I need it), business cards, and water water water – I try to drink 3 litres a day. Keeps those brain juices flowing!

Creativity Essentials In My Bag

Wearing: Whistles Leather Backpack (from a few years ago), Native Union TAG, Iris & Ink Top, DIY cut off shorts.

Creativity Essentials In My Bag

Do you have any other small ways you like to fuel your creativity?

This post is in collaboration with Native Union. Grab the Tag cable now in tan and black over on their website. Photos by Geneva Vanderzeil & Annie Huang

BASKET MAKING IN THAILAND

Speaking of bucket lists, I’m so happy to have recently ticked one item off mine. Learning traditional basket making! As you’re probably aware, for me this year has been all about creative travelling, doing and learning more when I travel rather than just solely seeing. It might sound obvious but I’ve found that you can really immerse yourself in a culture when you delve into their traditions, crafts and techniques. Even just one lesson or craft during your trip can change your perspective entirely. And yes it takes time to organise and track down these experiences, but it’s so worth it. To me anyway! Anyway, I’ve been dying to learn traditional basket making for so so long, and was ecstatic to be invited to do it with a Na, a local village woman and teacher when I visited Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai. Read on for some pics and a few details of what we did.

Basket Making in ThailandBasket Making in Thailand

Turns out, making a basket in the traditional way is very (very) complicated. Not that I thought it wouldn’t be, but I was surprised by the time and physical labour involved. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a traditional craft is hard, people used to work so much more for the fruits of their labour than we do now (we’re all like: wtf, no wifi?!). It took us over an hour to make one of these bamboo baskets, and by the end my hands were actually bleeding. I kid you not. But I would definitely make one again. Just byo bandaids.

Alas, there were so many small details and techniques involved that doing a detailed tutorial of this would take about 350 photos, so instead I thought I would share with you the broad steps we took. I’ve been working on a simplified tutorial in the studio, and will be sharing that soon!

Making the Base

The first step was to get 2 metre long pieces of thin bamboo and begin weaving the base of the basket. This involved weaving a hexagon shape with double pieces of bamboo and then weaving in another layer of bamboo (in effect creating a small and a large hexagon/diamond shape) so we had a solid woven base.

Basket Making in ThailandBasket Making in Thailand

Reinforcing the Base

Next, we took a a piece of bamboo and wove it around the bigger hexagon in a circular shape to reinforce the round bottom of the basket and delineate the base and the sides of the basket.

Basket Making in Thailand

Creating the Cylinder Shape

After we had the base in place, we folded the bamboo up all the way around, to creating a cylinder. Na showed me it was easiest to do this my attaching it to a previously made basket as this would hold it in place. In fact, first you fold the bamboo up and then fold it back down to hold the basket shape in place… So many little details to make this one come together!

Basket Making in ThailandBasket Making in Thailand

Weaving the Structure

After we folded the bamboo down to create a basket shape (Na showed me how to use another basket as a guide), we started weaving the layered structure around the basket, these are the two rows of bamboo that run horizontal to the rest of the basket and give it structure.

Basket Making in ThailandBasket Making in Thailand

Finish the top

Finally, another layer of horizontal weaving is created, this time folding the bamboo ends in to create a nice decorative edge. I felt so lucky to have such an experienced and lovely teacher! I wish I could have stayed a week and learnt all she had to teach me.

Basket Making in Thailand

It was 42 degrees in the shade, I was dripping with sweat (Na hadn’t cracked even the tiniest bit of sweat!) but I was incredibly, stupendously happy. I brought the basket home and am using it as planter.

Basket Making in Thailand

Big thanks to  Dhara Dhevi for organising such a lovely lesson!

On the subject of travelling creatively, I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations of places I can go to learn about traditional crafts and techniques. Making mud cloth in Mali is on my list… Any others?

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

Never miss a post