advice for moving for love

Things I’ve Learnt Since Moving Across the Globe

Everyone tried to prepare me. The countless times people kept reiterating to me that I’d “feel unsettled for a while” but that I’d just have to “ride it out and have faith that it’ll get better”, I’d simply brushed off with an arrogant “I know”. But now that I’m living it, I didn’t quite realise how right their advice was. Packing up and moving your life halfway across the globe is never a small thing, no matter how you justify it to yourself or talk it down so you don’t freak yourself out. It’s a big deal. It’s a lot of sacrifice and it’s a lot of adjusting – for all parties involved. But it’s also one of the best things you can do because you open yourself up to a whole new adventure… and if (like me) you move for love, it’s a great new adventure you get to share with someone special.

So I’m two weeks in and what have I learnt so far? Check it out below

moving for love feeling emotional

Emotions run high
One moment you can be laughing with your significant other, the next – the smallest thing that reminds you of home can have you welling up. For me it was on a Sunday morning and I suddenly craved a brunch session of day-drinking and chatting shit with my buddies. I held it together pretty well for a few minutes, then I spotted a vintage black & white photograph of Queens Road Central and fucking lost it. Cue 30 minutes and copious cuddles later – I was smiling and joking around again. PMS ain’t got nothing on the emotional rollercoaster I’ve been riding.

moving for love feeling crazy

You can easily go stir-crazy
I cannot stress enough to have some form of work sorted or at least have some semblance of a plan/interviews/meetings in place. Luckily I’ve still been working remotely so the day-to-day is taken up with work which is a healthy distraction but even working from home has got me metaphorically tearing my hair out. The staying-in-twiddling-your-thumbs routine is the enemy. When you go to a new place, you need to put yourself out there and experience it. Staying in all the time will only kill your vibe and drive you crazy.

Moving for love Excitement

You get a renewed sense of excitement and wonder
Everything is fresh and everything is new. You get to have new adventures, meet new people, see new sights and have new experiences! Trust me – even grocery shopping has me all excited! “You mean I can buy all the cheese I want and it won’t cost me the equivalent of 10% of my monthly rent?!”

Moving for love after Living Alone

You’re going to miss your single-living-habits
For me it’s definitely picking from the fridge, binge-drinking peppermint tea, re-watching cheesy 90s & 00s chick flicks and indulging my partially-introverted nature by not speaking to anyone for hours on end (bliss). That being said, luckily I’ve found someone who is as much a kitchen thief as me and understands my need for occasional isolation. As for the film addiction – that’s what earphones were invented for.

moving for love communication

Communication is crucial
Especially for my current situation where I’m living with my partner for the first time. Having only ever had university flatmates previously, my relocation came with other pretty big changes. There are moments we both have to adjust and compromise, there have been moments when I’m frustrated he can’t read my mind and moments when he thinks I’m being a passive-aggressive little shit (I wasn’t). But at the end of the day, you gotta talk it out. From the most seemingly minor niggles to the really good stuff – communication is key. (Note to self – men cannot read our minds ergo we really shouldn’t be expecting it).

moving for love best friend

Realistically speaking, it’s never going to be all sunshine and rainbows. There are moments of frustration and plenty of emotions flying all over the place as you figure out what it’s like to live with each other and how to best compliment each other. But that being said, it can also be incredibly rewarding and make you happier than you ever though possible. So – “hang in there and have faith that it’s going to be rocky and you’ll feel unsettled to begin with but it’ll all get better as time goes on.”

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Guide to DIY Shopping in Sham Shui Po

If the thought of venturing past Mong Kok on the MTR fills you with anxiety at the unknown, I strongly urge you to leave that worry at home, lace up your metaphorical exploring boots and get your butt up to one of my favourite Kowloon districts, Sham Shui Po. This old and traditionally working class neighborhood might seem intimidating at first glance, but with a little help from my handy neighbourhood cheat sheet, you’ll be navigating this DIY shopping mecca with ease in no time.

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New Universe Co.
Looking to make your own jewellery? Or perhaps you want to mend an existing piece but don’t know where to find the tools or materials? Well, you’re in luck! New Universe Co stocks everything from chains sold by the yard and earring hooks, to clasps, pendants, jewellery wire and more. You can also pick up pliers, glue guns and sorting boxes, which should help ensure your DIY-ing stays as organised as possible.

New Universe Co., G/F, 223A Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2958 1309

Kiwi
This shop is impossible to miss when you’re walking down Yu Chau Street. If you’re looking for crystals, buttons, rhinestones or embellishments, Kiwi is your best bet. The prices here are a bit higher than you’d expect for wholesale shopping in Sham Shui Po, but the quality is that of a higher calibre so you get what you pay for. Time to start bedazzling.

Kiwi, G/F, 219 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2728 2518, www.kiwi.com.hk

Bead Box
Bead Box is filled to the brim with every kind of bead, button, rhinestone and embellishment you can think of. Along every aisle are small plastic bags and the display layout is kind of like a pick and mix, with the prices per gram displayed for each type of bead. All you need to do is help yourself to whatever you like, then the shop assistant will weigh your selections and give you the total price.

Bead Box, G/F, 221 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 3586 2882, www.beadbox.com.hk

Lap Sun Gem Company
If you’re on the lookout for semi-precious stones, crystals and freshwater pearls at wholesale prices, this shop is an absolute gem (pun intended). Find turquoise, rose quartz, agate, onyx, tigers eye, opal and more without having to commit to massive order quantities.

Lap Sun Gem Company, G/F 247 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2725 8319

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Shun Cheong Li Full
With the Rugby 7s looming, it would appear the question on everyone’s lips (other than “do you have tickets?”) is “what are you dressing up as?”. Well, if you’re on the lookout for beading, feathers or tulle to make your costume even more fun and outlandish, then this is the place for you!

Shun Cheong Li Full, 206 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2729 0261

Flying Dragon
Take your gift-wrapping to the next level! This small treasure trove stocks every kind of ribbon you can think of, from lace, fringed and brocade to velvet, grosgrain, silk and more. Ribbon can be bought by the yard or by the entire wheel, plus the ladies who run this spot are super friendly and would happily snip off a small sample for you.

Flying Dragon, Shop D, G/F, 213-217 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2708 2528, www.facebook.com/flyingdragon.com.hk

Alri Star Leather Factory
Looking for leather? With a huge selection of leathers, sold by the piece or per metro, Alri also sells the tools you need for leather DIYing, from gouges and cutters to hammers and more. Plus, if you fancy learning more about leather works, Alri also offers on-site workshops!

Alri Star Leather Factory, 236 Tai Nan St, Sham Shui Po, 3791 2217

Ki Lung Street
If you fancy a spot of sewing on the weekend, pop by Ki Lung Street fabric market to pick up an array of fabrics at bargain prices. Quite often the stalls will stock seasonal fabrics (so you may not necessarily find velvet in the Summer months) and sell it by the yard. You can also pick up sewing thread, needles, thimbles, sewing scissors and other sewing tools.

Ki Lung Street, between Shek Kip Mei Street and Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po

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Shopping Tips

1.  Make sure you make a shopping list
I’m a big fan of list-making anyway, but when there’s so much choice available, it can be difficult to stay focused. You may end up leaving with a bunch of stuff you didn’t plan on buying and forget to pick up what you wanted in the first place!

2. Wear comfy shoes
It goes without saying that when exploring, you should wear comfy shoes. Don’t go pounding the pavements exploring street after street and shop after shop in 6-inch stilettos!

3. Bring reusable shopping bags
Again, it goes without saying that we should try to be as environmentally-friendly as possible and unfortunately the shops around Sham Shui Po pass out plastic bags for every little purchase as if it’s going out of style.

4. Bring cash
A lot of shops don’t take credit cards and the ones that do quite often require a minimum spend. There’s a Hang Seng and Bank of China cash point in the MTR station, or you can pop by Dragon Centre for HSBC.

5. Opening hours
Most shops are open Monday to Sunday from 11am till 6pm, however the fabric stalls on Ki Lung Street are quite often closed on weekends, so make sure you time your shopping trip appropriately to ensure the shops you want to visit are open.

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The girl’s guide to FOMO

I’m writing this off the back of going out every night and averaging approximately 3 hours of sleep for 10 solid days. No, I’m not an alcoholic. No, I’m not a masochist. No, I wasn’t at an Indian wedding. However, I do suffer from a pretty serious affliction that everyone has experienced at one stage or another in their lives. What I’m talking about is, FOMO. “Fear of missing out” is a serious problem that people around the globe face day-in, day-out. So, I’m here to do a public service and give you the lowdown on this global pandemic –  recognizing the symptoms and learning how to treat it. Stay safe out there, folks!

Fomo 1

How do you catch FOMO?
Unlike traditional pathogens, FOMO is a sneaky bitch. You never know when, where or from whom you could catch it. It could start with a couple of casual after-work drinks that end up turning into an awesome evening of table-dancing, tequila-swigging and questionable hook-ups (#truestory). The incubation time varies from host to host but once you’ve got it, it can be difficult to pull yourself out of that deep, dark hole. Before you know it, even the idea of missing out on a round of pool down the local dive bar, sends you into a flurry of panic, “What if Beyoncé were to show up, in the market for a new BFF and I miss out on this totally likely possibility? Hell no, I am not risking missing out on doing body shots with Queen B herself… I’m going out!” **Note to self – this still could happen.

FOMO 2

Who’s at risk?
Nobody is safe.

Recognising the symptoms – do I have FOMO?
In order to deduce whether you have, in fact, caught FOMO, I pose to you the following questions:

1. Have you gone out this week?

2. Was it more than twice?

3. Was it during a school night?

4. Do you find it difficult turning down a “night cap”?

5. Are you usually the one suggesting said “night cap”?

6. Does this night cap turn into 12 Dark & Stormies?

7. Do you wake up exhausted vowing to “never drink again”

8. Does 6pm roll around and you’re wondering who’s out and how you can do it all over again?

If you answered “yes” to more than 4 of the above, then you might have FOMO. Please have yourself checked out and inform anyone you may have come into contact with in the previous 24 hours. You may have infected them with your own brand of awesome… like I said before, nobody’s safe.

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How can you treat FOMO?
If you genuinely want to avoid temptation, cut it off at the source – don’t check your Instagram incessantly, don’t log into Facebook, keep the metaphorical blinkers on from the moment you leave the office till you get home and please oh please, don’t message me to go for a drink because I will drag you down with me! Or… you could just man up, go out and have a fucking good time. After all, you only live once (oh now we’re crossing into a whole other territory…) and with all the crazy, impulsive shit you do – those will end up being some of the best memories… unless you black out.

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**NB – it goes without saying, but please drink responsibly.

Featured Image from Pinterest, Image #1 from Pinterest, Image #2 from Pinterest, Image #3 from Pinterest

BBC’s “India’s Daughter” now online

Please note this film has now been taken off YouTube.

International Women’s Day is tomorrow and while this is an important time to celebrate women’s achievements, it’s also crucial that we don’t forget there is still a big hurdle ahead when it comes to gaining greater gender equality around the world. Lucky for us, we live in a society where female education is an unquestionable right, where we can stand up and voice our opinions, where we can leave the house without a chaperone, where we can ‘date’ and where we can be seen with men without being branded a ‘disgrace’ or ‘spoiled goods’. The same could not have been said for Jyoti Singh, the subject of “India’s Daughter”, Leslee Udwin’s recently released BBC documentary on the brutal gang-rape of the medical student in Delhi back in 2012. It’s a dark and difficult documentary to watch, not only because it’s a horrific story to tell, but because it highlights the huge issue of gender violence and the feminist movement in a largely patriarchal society. It does however touch on it somewhat lightly in my personal opinion, but that’s by the by. Mukesh Singh, one of the rapists who was interviewed, spoke of the events that fateful December night, without showing even the slightest hint of regret or remorse, reiterating that a ‘good girl’ would not have been out at night. It would be easy to explain, but by no means justify, the actions of these six reprehensible men as the product of poor education, centuries of patriarchy, poverty and violence towards women. However, what really stuck with me from this documentary were the interviews with defense lawyers A.P. Singh and M.L. Sharma. It was sickening watching these supposedly educated men maintain that they would burn their own daughter were she to ‘disgrace herself’ by having any contact with men, who compared women to delicate flowers that needed protection from male ‘strong thorns’. Who said that women are diamonds that must be hidden, otherwise ‘a dog would come along and try to take [them]’. Who stated that in their culture ‘there is no space for a woman’. Is your blood boiling yet? This documentary begs the question, is Jyoti Singh really ‘India’s Daughter’? It would seem to me that Jyoti and her family were failed by by society – a society that didn’t respect her and her gender. A society that failed to provide her with education. A society that didn’t require her family to sacrifice everything and fight tooth and nail for justice. A society that failed to protect her when she stood up for herself and finally, a society that even failed to ensure her a safe journey home from the cinema. The heavy irony is that the rapists, defense lawyers, sexist policy makers, abusive husbands and violent men are also India’s sons. And so long as this patriarchal mentality exists, women continue to be at risk of being downtrodden, taken advantage of, abused, raped and murdered. So please, ladies (and gents), as we approach International Women’s Day, I implore you to watch this documentary that, despite its sensitive subject matter, draws attention to a serious problem that is happening all around the world, and it has to stop.

Please be aware this film contains sensitive and graphic subject matter. Vanessa signature Featured image from Pinterest

Top 5 Songs to Get Up and Go

Let me tell you how I start my mornings. The sunlight dapples through the window and I bound out of bed, ready to face the day. Just kidding, I’m not really a morning person – I need serious motivation. Obviously a zesty shower gel, strong cup of coffee and freshly baked pastries help, but sometimes you just need the right playlist to kick off the day. So, next time you need to get up and go, chuck on one of these tunes and I guarantee the day will only get better from there.

Lover – Chet Faker x WKND
I genuinely don’t know how it’s possible to not love this song. It’s like that first sip of cider on a sunny day, it’s feeling the soft grass under your bare feet, it’s a warm breeze drifting through your hair as you sit on the beach… in a word – it’s bottled happiness.

Listen to the Man – George Ezra
Other than the fact the music video features the legendary Sir Ian McKellen and is freaking adorable, this tune reminds me that “you don’t need a plan of what you’re wanna do”, rather just trust, let go and enjoy life’s rollercoaster ride.

A Thousand Miles (Vanessa Carlton Remix) – MNEK
Hands up, who remembers the original? Well I certainly do and whilst I am usually a purist when it comes to most things, I’m obsessed with this remix by British artist MNEK.

No Church In The Wild – Jay Z x Kanye West
Bad. Ass. Yes, you may recognise it from The Great Gatsby soundtrack. Chuck this tune on in the morning and you’ll be strutting your stuff, ready to face anything the world throws at you.

Further On – Bronze Radio Return
“Moving every day, going further on…”, motivational words to start the day paired with a happy pop/folksy tune (think Mumford & Sons vibes) and I’m sold!

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Featured image from Pinterest

DIY Flower Jewellery Box

I really hate clutter and I’m always on the lookout for neat, tidy and stylish storage tips that can help make my space a little cuter and more organised (hello Pinterest!) So, anyone who’s read All Things Indulgent before will also know that I am a huge fan of the perspex trend – from clutches to cuffs, necklaces to phone covers, it’s clear to see (pardon the pun!) I am a lover of transparent goodies. So, imagine my own surprise when I realised I’ve never actually DIYed a perspex box into its original purpose – a fab storage box! These compact, clear cases are the ideal jewellery box – lightweight, versatile and transparent…which means no more rooting around in drawers trying to figure out which ring is where!

flower box_1

What you need:

  • Clear perspex box
  • Clay/plastic flower embellishments
  • Contact adhesive

Available in:
Bead Box,
G/F, 221 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po (MTR Exit A2)

flower box_2

How to:

  1. Wipe the surface of the perspex box to get rid of any dust or smudges.
  2. Using the contact adhesive, glue the flower embellishments to the lid and leave to dry.

flower box_3

Talk about easy or what! Probably one of the simplest tutorials I’ve ever written, this has got to be one of my absolute favourites! How would you DIY your perspex jewellery box?

IWANTTOHEARFROMYOU_GRAPHIC

Foodie Diary: NYC Deli

I’ve been travelling around the states for the last week, eating my way through iconic city faves. During my most recent 4 day trip to NYC there was one particular item that I possibly couldn’t miss: a food so iconically associated with New York and that I as of yet have not been able to find it as delicious anywhere else in the world. That my friends, is New York deli…more specifically, the pastrami and the corned beef. Don’t be mistaken, the stuff you buy from the cold cuts counter or pre-packaged in the supermarket is not the same! This stuff is the real deal, and these two spots are my go-to’s whenever I’m in NYC. This time, as I was here for 4 days, I managed to pop by both – that’s a win in my (foodie diary) book!

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Sarge’s Deli
548 3rd Ave, Manhattan, NY 10016
(212) 679-0442
http://www.sargesdeli.com

Introduced to me through my brother-in-law, I love this place. It’s pretty small and cozy but after renovating following a fire two years back, the ambience and décor seems lifted while the food remains as good as I remember. Portions are massive. Like, “so big I don’t even know where to begin” massive. Their meats are sliced wafer thin, which I guess gives them the idea that they need to stack an unholy amount of meat between two slices of rye (the only bread you should be eating with proper deli). The pastrami is full of flavour and utterly disintegrates with the back of a fork, add some of their spicy mustard, a fresh pickle and you’ll see why this place is firm fave.

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Katz’s Deli
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
(212) 254-2246
http://katzsdelicatessen.com

Firstly, this place has the history. Yes it’s in pretty much every single guide book on NYC but there’s a reason. It is damn delicious! Around since 1888, this lower East side deli has been dishing up amazing eats consistently, decade after decade. The dining difference with Sarge’s is chalk and cheese, where Sarge’s is quiet and cozy, Katz’s usually has a queue out the door (late lunch/early afternoon is usually best, weekends will always be crazy), you’ll have to elbow your way through if there’s a crowd just to place your order. The light at the end of the tunnel however, is the meat. Thick, hand cut, juicy, salty, fatty, juicy…this meat is unreal. They slice you a couple “sampler slices” as you wait and that moment it touches your tongue, I defy you not to get hooked!

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Obviously there are plenty of delicious deli places in NYC and if I had more than four days I would’ve definitely made it my mission to try them…

IWANTTOHEARFROMYOU_GRAPHIC

New Yorkers and visitors alike, what are your favourite deli spots?

DIY Neon Figurines

Franc Franc has got to be one of my favourite stores in Hong Kong, originally from Japan, this home-ware store focuses on eye-catching pieces that accentuate the simplistic. Their designs tend to embody that stereotypical quirky Japanese edge with a hint of girly fun – which is obviously right up my street! They had these cute animal figurines in the kids section and being the big kid I am, I was utterly obsessed with them. I had to DIY some for myself!

Neon Figurines_4

One of the things I love about DIYing is making items that are both thrifty and personalised, case in point – these neon animal figurines! This DIY makes a big impact and you still get to pinch the pennies (ideal!)

What you need:

  • Spray paint (white and your selected colour)
  • Plastic animal figurines (you can find these in $-stores or toy shops)
  • Newspaper
  • Contact Adhesive

Neon Figurines_1

Time to DIY

Lay out some newspaper and spray your figurines with the white spray first, leave to dry. Spray with white so that the colour spray paint will cover the figurines more evenly. (you may have to spray more than once!

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Spray the figurines with the colour spray paint (again, you may have to spray more than once!) Leave to dry.
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Once the figurines are dry you can use them to accentuate all sorts of home-furnishings

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They’re eye-catching enough on their own but why not try gluing a figure on top of a special block photoframe!? You can glue a figure to a simple glass dish (again from a $-store) to make a funky jewellery holder. If you’re looking to DIY a cute table decoration then glue a figurine to a large jar (time to hit up the $-store again!) and fill the jar with all sorts – flowers, petals, ribbons, pebbles, marbles…endless possibilites! This type of table decoration can accentuate any kind of event, from a birthday dinner to baby shower!

IWANTTOHEARFROMYOU_GRAPHICHow would you DIY with this menagerie?

DIY Chanel Keychain Tutorial

DIY Chanel inspired Keychain

It would appear that not only am I taking inspiration from the SS14 Chanel catwalk, but Chanel took some serious arts ‘n crafts inspiration for some of their SS14 accessories. Merging grunge, school-yard punk and hippie chic with high fashion, Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Chanel classics into on-trend staples, such as their tie dye chained backpack below.

Chanel SS14 Backpack

That being said, as much as I would love to DIY a backpack for myself, my latest mantra has been to downsize and limit my (already limited) wardrobe space to the essentials. Sorry tie-dye backpack – just not essential enough! However, I absolutely love the woven chain detailing, the hodge-podge thrown-togetherness of the accessories that so remind me of my ’90s school days. And seeing as how my latest trusty keychain had slightly fallen apart after so many faithful years of service, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to fashion myself a new keychain inspired by the grungy-chicness of Chanel.

DIY Chanel Keychain

What you need:

  • Carabiner clasp
  • Mixed cords
  • Mixed embroidery thread
  • 2-3 Jump rings
  • Crystal or Pom Poms or Small crochet dolls
  • Scissors
  • Super glue

DIY Chanel Keychain what you need

Tutorial:

  1. Thread the crystal (or pom poms etc) and knot onto a jump ring. Secure knot with a drop of super glue.
    DIY Chanel Keychain_crystal
  2. Lay the mixed cords and threads together and thread through a jump ring. Braid the cords and threads until it forms a long thick braid. Secure knot with a drop of super glue.
    DIY Chanel Keychain Braid
  3. Take a thread and wrap over a corner of the carabiner clasp. Secure knot with a drop of super glue.
    DIY Chanel Keychain Carabiner
  4. Place the crystal and braid onto the carabiner and attach your keys to the spare jump ring.

DIY Chanel Keychain tutorialThis keychain is really easy to make and really easy to personalize – it’s as versatile as you can get! Whether you’re feeling generous or feeling selfish, this little accessory can brighten up your bag or make a great gift for a friend…and all inspired by super chic Chanel! I love it!

DIY Balmain-inspired PVC Cuff

Accessorizing the catwalk at Balmain’s SS14 show were these stunning PVC chained belts. Bold, bright and beautiful; these belts bring back the fabulous 80s and I can’t resist taking inspiration for a little DIY project of my own.

Balmain SS14 Belt

Balmain SS14 PVC Belt – image from dazeddigital.com

I don’t tend to wear a lot of belts, so I decided to downsize slightly and make an eye-catching PVC chained cuff instead. This project can be time-consuming as it involves a lot of repetitive hand-stitching, if you just put on an episode of something; the time will fly by and you’ll be done before you know it!

DIY Balmain PVC Cuff

What you need:

  • PVC – cut into a thick rectangle that measures around your wrist.
  • Black thread
  • Bronze chain
  • Thick gold chain
  • Thin black ribbon
  • Sharp & thick sewing needle
  • Leather hole puncher
  • Scissors

Balmain PVC Cuff Material

Tutorial:

  1. Using the leather hole puncher, punch 6 sets of holes on either end of the PVC.
  2. Thread the black ribbon through the bottom pair of holes on one side of the PVC.
    Balmain PVC Cuff_1
  3. Using the needle and black thread, begin to sew the chain to the edge of the PVC. Secure at the end with a knot.
    Balmain PVC Cuff_2
  4. Repeat with the other side.
    Balmain PVC Cuff_3
  5. Using the needle and black thread, loosely attach the gold chain to the middle of the PVC, by stitching either end of the chain to the cuff.
    Balmain PVC Cuff_4

This eye-catching cuff perfectly compliments black lace and contrasts beautifully against bright Spring colours. A great stand-alone piece that channels the flashy fun of (one of my favourite brands) Balmain’s SS14 look without having to steady yourself for the inevitable price tag!

DIY Balmain inspired PVC Cuff tutorial