PACKING: HOW TO PLAN YOUR OUTFITS IN ADVANCE

Greetings from down under guys! I’m excited to be heading to Australian Fashion Week this week – checking out new collections and catching up with old friends. As you can imagine, it’s always a bit of prep to decide what to wear (and thus pack) when going to these weeklong events, particularly when you like to DIY big parts of your outfit which then takes even more time. Although in the past I’ve had a bit of a ‘throw it all in and see’ attitude to packing outfits, I recently worked out this usually meant I packed way too much and ended up not wearing a large portion of it. Now I’m all about outfit planning in advance – there’s still flexibility in what I wear but at least I don’t find myself running to the shops because I don’t have a vital piece! Luckily this process works just as well for your summer trip as it does for Fashion Week.

Planning your Outfits in Advance

Work out how many outfits you need – Although I have a tendency to want to take everything just to be safe, in reality you need far less than you think. Absolute maximum in my opinion when packing is  one to two looks per day, for this trip to Australia I only packed around 12 looks in total, given I am here for 9 days. You’ll want to know what events you have, and once you have a look for each of them you can add another one (or two max!) for each day. However, don’t pack 12 complete looks – rather try to create multiple looks from the same set of pieces.

Research your looks – I like to make a secret pinterest board titled with the event, and start saving off inspiration well in advance. I think about what things I’ll be doing, night/day activities, and start searching around on Pinterest, saving as I go. Other people’s style boards can be useful as a place with inspiration where the work has already been done for you.

Buy any key pieces – You want to invest your money in pieces that are going to pull together all your existing clothes and update them to feel new and fresh, so make a list early of the things you think you might need to buy and take your time – a crazy frantic run into the shops can often lead to bad purchasing decisions and items that aren’t flexible enough.

Choose versatile accessories - When you’re travelling, whether it be for work or play, accessories like bags and shoes can be the most heavy and cumbersome, so try to choose outfits that can utilise the same few sets to accessories. I go for a tan set (tan bag and flats) and a black set, but you can choose any colour way that suits you.

Do some flat lays – I love to lay or hang items out on the bed to understand what goes together, and swap and change things to see if there are options I hadn’t thought of.

Do any DIYs – Being crafty, I like to make a few items here and there, usually with each outfit having some DIYed element. I use

Try on your outfits – If you have time, before you pack your bags make sure to try on any outfits, sometimes you’ll find that yoour outfit doesn’t hit the mark like you thought it would, so make sure to try it on because you pack!

Take Photos – Once you feel like you’ve nailed your outfits (good on you!), take some snaps of them whether it be on or as a flat lay, then you can refer to them over the course of your trip – how good is it not having to think about what you’re going to wear tonight and wondering if it will work or not!

packing for sydney Simple wardrobe palette Simple wardrobe palette

In my suitcase: Coach Bag, DIY Jeans, Witchery Top, DIY Khaki Midi Skirt, DIY denim skirt, DIY grommet top, Zara top, J Crew Flats. Outfits and tutorials coming soon.

To celebrate my own type of fashion, this Fashion Week I’ll be wearing and sharing a few of my favourite recent DIY tutorials – so stay tuned to my instagram and the hashtag #diyfashionweek to see more of the projects!

BEFORE & AFTER: DIY LACE UP DRESS

Greetings from down under guys! I’ve just arrived in Sydney to spend a few weeks here – for fashion week and for a few other things that I’ve been working on. It’s so nice to be on home soil -there are gorgeous rosella birds sitting on the veranda watching me type as we speak. To kick off a week of fun and fashion that is MBFWA (and a bunch of fashion inspired projects that I have lined up for you) I thought I would share with you a little before & after – taking a simple black dress and turning it into something different, special and, well, oh so Spring 15! If you haven’t noticed lacing has been everywhere recently, I have to say I’m loving the whole 70’s vibe! This is the first of two ways to add some laced detailing to your dress/top/whatever, and it wasn’t too hard either!

Before and after: the lace up dressBefore and after: the lace up dress

You need:

  • An old dress with a high neckline
  • Leather Cord
  • Scissors
  • Needles, thread and pins
  • Sewing Machine

We used a simple fitted dress with a high neckline and a seam around the waist, which made it easy to create this cut out whilst still keeping the structure of the dress.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Draw a line down the centre front of your dress to where you want your V-neck to start and end. We made this  one quite low, it went to the waist seam, but you can make it as low or high as you want depending on modesty – this version isn’t something you’d wear to work haha.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Cut along the line. If you are going to the waist seam cut all the way down, otherwise cut to your chosen depth.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Fold the two sides under to create a V-neck and pin them into place. You will need to reinforce the bottom of your V if you don’t use a seam to end the cut.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

4.  Decide on where you want to start lacing your front from.  From this point measure up to the top and divide by 5.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Mark the 5 points with your chalk pencil.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

6. Cut small sections of leather cord.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

7. Fold these leather cords in half to form loops and pin them along the four points. Sew along the edge to reinforce the edge and also to attach the loops. You can also hand sew the loops on for extra security.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

8. Once the loops are in place, take your leather cord and start by weaving from the bottom criss crossing through the loops from side to side.

Make a Lace Up Dress www.apairandasparediy.com

Voila!

Before and after: the lace up dressBefore and after: the lace up dress

Outfit photos by Nicola Lemmon

HONG KONG GUIDE: EATING & DRINKING

Like any world city, Hong Kong has an almost overwhelming number of dining and nightlife options, streets and streets lined with places you could load up. But also like many other big cities, it’s so easy to miss the best places because of the sheer amount of choice – it doesn’t help that the true gems are well and truly hidden. As part of a new partnership with Hong Kong Tourism Board, I’ll be sharing with you an updated guide of my favourite hidden parts of this city, first up, where to eat and hang after dark. Read on for the not-so-known places.

To celebrate Hong Kong Summer and our new partnership, Hong Kong Tourism and Flight Centre are giving away an amazing travel prize to Hong Kong, including flights and 5 nights accommodation. To top it all off, I’ll be personally showing the winners around this gorgeous city, so they can get the hidden insights. Head to the Hidden Hong Kong site here to enter!

Hong Kong Travel Guide Eating and Drinking

Oddies Foodies – chocolate filled eggs waffles with vanilla and chocolate soft gelato (!!)

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Limewood

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Tea and toast at Cafe Mido

Hong Kong Eating Guide

A pit stop in Sham Shui Po

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Noodle stops in Central

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Lok Cha Tea House

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Cha Cha Wan

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Teakha

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Fish & Meat

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Teakha

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Teakha

Hong Kong Eating Guide

Oddies Foodies

Lok Cha Tea House
My favourite dumpling house in Hong Kong by far, you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere with such a perfect mix of old world ambience and yummy (vegetarian) dumplings.

Cooked Food Centres
Although not necessarily easy on the eyes, Hong Kong’s cooked food centres are home to a plethora of eating options – perfect for a quick meal between pit stops. Queen Street Cooked Food Centre is the most accessible, and home to a great Indian restaurant, and a little further East at Java Road Cooked Food Centre, Tung Po is a poular place for traditional cantonese seafood – try a plate of razor clams.

Mido Cafe
Wes Anderson would be proud of the throwback 50’s tiles and furniture, and the gorgeous green antique windows that look down onto the local temple. The menu is Hong Kong cafe food which can be a tad odd for the uninitiated – condensed milk on toast anyone? – but don’t let that stop you.

Oddies Foodies
The soft serve craze has hit Hong Kong hard, and you’ll find that everyone has their favourite place to go. I’m all about the east meets west element at Oddies Foodies – softserve topped with traditional Hong Kong egg waffles (they’ve added chock chips because.. why not?).

Teakha
Hidden away behind newly gentrified area of Tai Ping Shan Street, this quaint little tea house is one of my favourite places to relax with a cup of freshly brewed Masala Chai. A palette of mint green and Japanese cermaics on the tables gives it a distinctly feimine edge, and the surrounding area feel a little bit like Old World Hong Kong.

Cha Cha Wan
Still an absolute favourite of mine, this Thai restaurant continuously serves up delicious (albeit super spicy) fare. Australian chef Adam Cliff (who trained under David Thompson at Nahm in Bangkok) has nailed the food, music and ambience tri-fector and you’re going to love it. It’s great for a late night meal!

Brickhouse
This alleyway restaurant has been open for a few years but is still going strong, with cocktails, great tunes and late night vibes, it’s a great choice when you’re looking for a bit of variety.

Ho Lee Fook
Chef Jowett Yu (previously of Mr. Wong and Ms. G’s in Sydney) dishes up the most delicious chinese food on the island, and the basement location is perfect for a big and raucous night.

Stockton
This bar is admittedly almost impossible to find, but worth searching for. Located directly below Fish & Meat restaurant on Wyndham Street, you’ll have to take the alley next to O2 hairdressers to find it. But once you’re there you’ll love the speakeasy vibes and big soft leather chairs.

Duddells Rooftop
Although Duddell’s may not have the skyscraper view that other rooftops do in the city, it is easily the best when it comes to ambiance. Better know for the dim sum searved downstairs, this rooftop is somewhat of a hidden gem, with shrubs and hanging light making it the perfect place for an evening drink.

Missy Ho’s
The neighborhood of Kennedy Town has seen major changes over the last few years, particularly with the opening of the recent MTR station. Step into Missy Ho’s, an all night dinner and drinks spot where you’re obligated to have fun. Don a costume as you head in, order a Mai Tai and take a turn on the swing (yes really).

A few other places you shouldn’t miss if you have more time include Limewood, Linguini Fini (escalator location is perfect when you’re wandering) and Chilli Figara (the original one).

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

QUICK DIY: THE WORD SWEATER

Although I love a long, complicated DIY that involves a zillion steps, there’s often something really really satisfying about a simple project that only takes a few moments, but completely changes the look of something you already own. Annnnnd I know you guys like to sometimes keep in simple too which is why I thought I would share this stupidly easy sweatshirt I crafted recently. It’s the perfect example – taking a simple sweatshirt from boring to all sorts of ‘how to be Parisian’.

DIY Graphic Word SweaterDIY Graphic Word SweaterHow to make a graphic sweater www.apairandasparediy.comHow to make a graphic sweater www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Graphic Word Sweater

What are your favourite easy as pie projects? Got any you’d like to see done here?

Photos by Nicola Lemmon