Today we're chatting to one of our favourite bloggers - the always inspiring Geneva from a pair & a spare! You've probably seen one of Geneva's DIY Projects before, and we'll also be taking a look at her tips and tricks for making a fresh flower crown.
Your blog A Pair & A Spare is full of inspiring DIY, lifestyle and travel posts – how did you get into blogging?
I started my blog around 4 years ago when I was living in London as an online diary, a place to keep my how to’s and all the other ideas I had everyday. I was working as a Town Planner at the time (something I studied at uni and did for 5 years) and felt I really needed a creative outlet, and it was the perfect place to connect with other fashion lovers. Over time I realised that people from all over the world loved DIY as much as I did and so I started dedicating more time to the content and ideas on my site. The site has now grown into a full service how-to site with a focus not just on fashion but on home projects, entertaining projects as well as career and travel advice.
You’re now a full time blogger, what does a typical day involve for you?
For the first year of being full time I worked from home (with my boyfriend who is an interior designer) but now we’ve moved out to a bigger studio and I have a few people to help with the content and product elements of the business. My days are always diverse - shooting DIY and lifestyle content for the site, creating ideas for brands, travelling to places and making notes for my city guides - one day is always different from the next! It’s that diversity that keeps it interesting for me though, but I have to say having 10 different lists on the go can be exhausting!
How does being based in Hong Kong influence what you post on A Pair & A Spare?
I love being based in a different and unique location, and Hong Kong has such amazing energy that it’s the perfect place for me. My readers come from all over the world but primarily Australia and the US, so it’s all about tailoring my content to ensure that I’m creating posts that my readers will enjoy - it’s a balancing act what with the seasonal differences, but that’s all part of the fun!
Where do you get your inspiration for your DIY projects?
My site started out as being dedicated to DIY fashion, but as it has evolved (in line with the interests of my readers) so too have the projects I work on. Now the projects are a huge mix - from fashion, to home to entertainment ideas - people particualrly love the floral related ones! I am addicted to tumblr and pinterest and use these as a way to gather and sort my ideas, always keeping in mind the time or year and what I think people are going to appreciate/want to do themselves.
You take fantastic photos, do you have any tips for getting the perfect shot?
I have to admit that when I started out I was a novice at photography, but out of necessity my skills have improved a lot - I’m all about composition and feel like lining up a good shot is about the lines and shapes in the image. When using my phone, I also use a few different apps like VSCO and afterlight to modify photos so the light and the contrasts are perfect, each photo takes time but it’s worth it!
At bellabox we are all about beauty, what’s your daily beauty routine like?
My dad’s an acupuncturist and homeopath and always taught me to care about my inner health to ensure my outside was glowing too - for me that means drinking lots of water and eating my weight in leafy green veggies everyday. I also use a few of his amazing natural remedies when I have blemishes or dry skin, in addition to Kiehl’s moisturiser and cleanser. When I was in Paris recently I went crazy at a French Pharmacie and have been using Embryolisse moisturiser which I adore. Why did I not buy 50 of them?
On a day to day basis I like to keep my looks fresh and light, a hectic schedule and Hong Kong humidity mean heavy make up isn’t an option. I start with a light moisturiser that’s not too oily, and then apply a tinted moisturiser over the top, adding a blush and a highlighter to give my face some definition. I then fill in my brows, for me they’re the most important aspect of my overall look. I always add a lick of mascara, and if I want my look to be a bit more dramatic I add a subtle outline in liquid liner along the top. For lips I go for a light gloss that’s not too sticky, or a bright red lipstick.
What are your three favourite beauty products?
I’m all about a sheer and dewy base, so always go for a tinted moisturiser such a Laura Mercier to give some light coverage that evens skin tone without being over the top. I’m a big fan of the Shimmer Brick by Bobbi Brown as it has a range of colours which allow you to bronze and highlight at the same time. I’ve also recently discovered the Bobbi Brown concealer which is matched perfectly to my skin - amazing for those days when I have dark circles or blemishes.
You travel a lot, what’s your best beauty tip for looking fresh after a long flight?
A big part of my site is about adventure and travelling the world, but flying so much can be tough on your skin, particularly in terms of the dry air and salty food served on the plane. My best tip is to not wear any make up at all whilst flying (use a light make up remover to take it off once you get on the flight), drink as much water as you can and apply a light moisturizer a few times. I have also become obsessed with misting sprays which I use now and again while in the air.
What goes in your carry on?
I love to be over prepared on a long flight so my carry on is usually overflowing with everything I might possibly need on the plane. That includes all my beauty essentials like paw paw balm, moisturiser, make up remover, a toothbrush and a few make up items like tinted moisturiser for me to apply as we land so my skin in nice and bright. I also always take with me some yummy healthy snacks like fresh fruit and nuts so I don’t get tempted to eat anything unhealthy on the plane. Although the odd cookie always goes down well!
What’s next for you – is there anything exciting that you can share with us?
The new studio has allowed me to start growing the team, and so I’m excited that 2015 is going to be a major year of expanding the content and products that a pair & a spare offers, with a huge push into a range of different lifestyle areas and a few very exciting collaborations. I wish I could say more!
Some fresh flowers. Carnations were used here as they hold their shape but any would do, a big peony as the centre piece would be gorgeous.
1. Cut the flowers so they have a small amount of stalk left at the bottom.
2. Do this for all your flowers.
3. Attach them to the bobby pins by pushing them between the prongs and down to the end.
4. Now, part your hair roughly down the middle, and then do two plaits. Once you have done that, pin those plaits to the front of your head like braids. A fancier option is to do a wrapped braid but I found this method quick and easy. Don’t worry if they fail to meet in the middle, you’ll be covering them in flowers anyway.
5. Starting from the middle and working your way out, pin the flower pins onto and along the plaits around your head. If you feel they are going to fall off, just add a few extra bobby pins at the end to steady them.