In the last few years hats become something I wear everyday, clearly the whole sun protection thing is important, but in the end for me I love them because they can pull your whole outfit together. Because I wear so many of my hats to death, sometimes you want to find a way to inject new life into your most worn piece, which is where this DIY Hat Chain might come in handy. We have a whole bunch of gorgeous new chains in the store, and though we’d get crafty! In a few simple steps, change up the features on an old hat with the addition of some chain and voila, you end up with a whole new hat!

DIY Hat Chain
You need:

  • a hat
  • a length of chain (you can find some in the store)
  • pliers
  • un-picker

How to make a chained hat

How to:

1. Using your unpicked, remove any unwanted features from your hat

How to make a chained hat

2. Wrap your piece of chain around the hat and cut how much you will need.

How to make a chained hat

3. Use your pliers to open the last link in the chain.

How to make a chained hat

4. Wrap your piece of chain around the hat again

How to make a chained hat

5. Attach the opened link onto the last loop on the other end of the chain and ply it shut.

How to make a chained hat

Voila! You can hang onto the ribbon of your hat so you can do a swap down the line.

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Chain Hat

Outfit photos by Nicola Lemmon


I’m all about choice when it comes to most things, but after travelling often enough I’ve come to realise that this doesn’t apply to packing that suitcase. I mean, how many times have you taken a 790579kg wardrobe and only worn half of it? Packing less, and better, has been important to be for years (this post still comes in handy) – it’s about finding the balance between a moderate amount of clothes and also being able to feel well dressed when you’re on the move. I’ve spent the last fgew days in thailand – it’s a 5 day trip – and I thought I would share you what I packed. For this trip I was ALL about packing light, there was lots of to-ing and fro-ing involved between Hong Kong, Hua Hin and Bangkok and a tiny suitcase was the only thing that would work.

I managed to narrow the outfits down to just a few pieces (the ones you see below), and have to say I haven’t felt I needed anything else! While packing I kept in mind:

Flexibility: I mainly packed separate pieces that could be mixed and matched for the ultimate in outfit options, And yes I worn a few things twice, because who doesn’t?

Coordination: Making sure everything goes together is key (see my previous advice on choosing a colour palette), but this applies to accessories too. I always take one big bag and one small bag, and take matching shoes so that even when I’m feeling a little crumpled and dusty from long car rides, those matching accessories will give some sense of put togetherness.

Cut backs: Be brutal, you honestly don’t need all the clothes you think you do (as life, as travel).

You can check out my wearing these pieces IRL via instagram here, here and here.

Oh and if you’re loving the clothes rack you can make your own with my tutorial here.

Packing Light

In the travel wardrobe:

DIY bralette, SJ Lingerie silk top, Zulu and Zephyr top, shorts and bikini, Cotton On Tank, DIY distressed jeans, Witchery top, J Crew Jacket, J Crew Bag and Flats, Witchery ankle boots. I also took along my Spell Designs romper and my Dylan Kain handbag, not pictured here. Happy packing!

Packing LightPacking LightPacking Light

Photos by Nicola Lemmon


On Sundays I usually take a few hours in the afternoon to get organised for the coming week. Unless I’m feeling super lazy (in which case I’ll veto in favour of some couch time) usually this means planning blog posts, tidying up a bit and just generally getting my ducks in a row. It’s become a bit of a non negotiable in my week actually – pity the fool who bothers to invite me to their Sunday afternoon BBQ! One thing I love to do during these afternoons is some cooking for the week, making a few healthy treats that will help stop me from eating corn chips when I’m feeling like a snack. This granola is one of the things I regularly make, it’s so incredibly easy and tastes delicious. I’ll have it for a quick breakfast or eat a handful in the afternoon. It’s gluten free and pale too for all you healthies out there.

How to make nutty granola

The best thing about this recipe is it’s something I just kind of make using the things I have in the cupboard, a bunch of different nuts and dried fruit, mixed with shredded coconut and moistened with a touch of honey and coconut oil. Feel free to get creative with the ingredients because in my opinion it’s super flexible and adaptable!


  • 3 cups of raw nuts – you can use pretty much any type to suit your taste but I go for Almonds, Cashews, Pepitas and anything else I have lying around.
  • a cup of dried apricots (or other dried fruits, just make sure they haven’t snuck any sugar in)
  • half a cup of dried raisins or sultanas
  • 3 cups of shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener)
  • a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • a drizzle of coconut oil or melted butter

How to:

1. Chop the bigger ingredients like the nuts and dried fruits into pieces the size of gravel.

2. Put those in a big bowl and add all your other dry ingredients. Mix together well.

3. Add your honey and coconut oil. Have a taste and see how sweet it is, you can add more honey if you like.

5. Place a layer of greaseproof paper or alfoil onto a baking tray and then lay your mix out in a layer.

6. Pop the tray into the oven for 15 minutes at 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Keep an eye on it and when it starts looking light golden take it out and use a spoon to mix it all up.

7. Pop it in for another 5 – 10 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn! Once the top layer is light golden you can take it out. You’ll notice it will be a bit moist and soft, but don’t worry, as it cools it will become crunchy so it’s important not to overcook it.

How to make nutty granolaHow to make nutty granola

On another note, thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to my survey a few weeks ago. It helped me so much to understand you more. I’ll be sharing more on what you said soon, (we’ve got over 3700 response and counting!), but in the meantime I wanted to share this recipe – so many of you wanted more recipes here and there so I though why not?!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon


As many of you probably already know, Chinese New Year is a time filled with many rituals and traditions for the Chinese, most of which are aimed at inviting good luck and repelling bad luck in the new year. Although to be honest I’ve never really been a superstitious person, what I’ve come to realise spending so much time in Hong Kong is that even though I may not celebrate an overtly traditional CNY, there are a few customs that I think are relevant regardless of whether you observe or not, mainly to do with creating a clean slate and a fresh start. Because honestly, there’s nothing better right?

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Recently while working with the Monica Vinader team to celebrate their new store opening in IFC (check out my online edit here) we got chatting about my experience of Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, and so I thought I would share with you the traditions I’ll be observing this year.

  • Settle your debts – Going into the New Year with unpaid debts is seen as bad luck, and whether you observe or not, settling debts is detoxifying and so good for the mind. Squaring all your finances, following up on those invoices and paying all your bills (or making a plan for how you will) is key and something I’ll be focusing on. Clean slate ahead people!
  • Spring Clean – It’s traditional to clean your house before New Year’s Day (you have up until midnight!) and never during the new year because there is the thought that you might sweep away your wealth and good fortune out the front door. Again, whether you’re doing it for luck or other practical reasons, an organised house is the ultimate clean slate. And remember to open the windows on New Years Day to welcome the fresh breeze of luck into your home. Fresh air + clean house = New Chapter for the new year.
  • Refresh Your Look – Observers of CNY rituals don’t wash or cut their hair for the first three days of the new year because this is symbolic of washing away or severing your luck. The word ‘hair’ sounds similar to the Chinese word for ‘wealth’. Instead, they refresh their look in the lead up to CNY so they start the New Year with a new (hopefully lucky) self. I have to admit that a little bit of pamper time hurt no one, and although it may seem superficial, I have to say refreshing your look and pairing it with some refreshing of the soul with yoga and relaxation can give you the fresh perspective you’ve been craving.

As part of the CNY festivities, I got the letters’M.Y.O.L’ (make your own luck) engraved on one of the gorgeous Havana Friendship Bracelets, because that’s what the year of the goat is going to be for me!

Will you be celebrating the year of the sheep? And do you have any ways you like to create a clean slate?

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Wearing: Jewelry by Monica Vinader, Trench by Kookai, Jeans from J Brand, Top and boots from Witchery, bag from Dylan Kain

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is so pretty this time of year!

Chinese New Year in Hong KongChinese New Year in Hong KongChinese New Year in Hong KongChinese New Year in Hong Kong

Naturally I’m also going to be throwing in a big fiesta with my adopted family in Hong Kong. Other traditions like eating fish (the word is similar to ‘plenty’) and wearing red underwear (red is an auspicious colour) seem like enjoyable experiences that can be fun regardless of what you celebrate!

Jewelry by Monica Vinader. Make sure you visit the new store in Hong Kong, which is located in the IFC.

Photos by Nicola Lemmon