Friday, 18 April 2014

The Hair Edit - Pastels for Spring

If you've ever fancied trying out a new hair trend but feel apprehensive to go straight to the bottle, you can always edit your hair into a different colour! What do you think of my pastel purple, pink dip dye or mermaid green? I'm always playing around with images on Photoshop and this ways much less permanent. 
It's also a great way to see how a colour suits you and what other people think. 

Today I'm going to show you how I achieved this almost-real looking colour edit. There are various free photo editors online, a favourite one of mine being PicMonkey which I think you need to make an account for to get it for free. If you use PicMonkey try out the 'Highlights' action and follow the same steps as below. For this tutorial I am using Photoshop CS4. With these tips and tricks you'll easily be able to fool anyone into thinking you've done something bold with your hair! It's really easy too...

001. Open your photo and duplicate the layer. Just in case we make any mistakes!

002. Select the paint brush tool. Right-click to bring up brush options, you want a very soft round brush.
You can also see I have my brush set at 10% opacity. This is very faint which will mean we get a much more realistic 'hair-texture' result.

003. Then choose the colour you'd like to go! Pink, blue, bright orange? 
Bring up the colour picker tool box by clicking on the colour squares on the bottom left of the screen.

004. Now we're going to 'brush on' the colour. Follow the direction of your hair, make smooth short movements and don't go over one spot too many times. You'll also need to alter the size of your brush often. For doing large sections of hair and then very tiny wispy hairs.

005. I had my brush opacity set to 10% and then after gently painting brush strokes on to my hair, I lowered the layer opacity to 82%. Blending is key! Play around with all these tools to create the best look...
Once you're happy, flatten the layers and save the photo. Done!

You can create dip-dye ombre effects or an all over colour wash! I'm going to try mixing two colours next. I'd love to see what you guys do if you try this trick out so please tweet me your hair photos!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

DIY Easy Kimono

It's the time of year to be thinking about floaty fabrics and florals. I'm digging out all my kimonos from last year, it's a trend that doesn't seem to be fading. I found this floral fabric recently and new it would be perfect for a kimono style jacket. Sewing clothes and using patterns might seem difficult but this tutorial is very easy and very forgiving. Because the loose material falls in folds it doesn't really matter if you don't do a professional standard job. It requires 4 straight lines of stitches, which can be done by hand or on a sewing machine. (Sewing machine is much quicker.)

Once you've got your fabric ready all you need is a measuring tape, pencil, needle and thread and scissors. Start by laying your fabric out in a large open space and following the diagram and instructions below you simply cut it into the right T-shape and then sew in the right places. 

001. Start by laying out a big piece of your chosen fabric. These are rough measurements as I didn't really measure up properly before starting. As long as you can wrap the material around yourself with lots of room and it's an ok length you should have plenty. My finished kimono reaches my hips like a jacket but you could make a much longer one if you like.

002. Fold chosen material in half. You can even lie on top of your fabric, arms stretched out to check you'll have enough!

003. You then need to cut out a T-shape! I roughly measured that about 22" of my fabric from the fold will be a good size for a roomy kimono sleeve. 18" was left for the body. Cut out the areas as the diagram shows cutting through both layers of fabric and pop left over fabric away to be used in another project.

004. You're also going to need a neck line, a hold for your head! So cut out a oval shaped section from the top middle. Again cutting through both layers of fabric.

005. Now you'll have something resembling a giant t-shirt/tunic. Give the tunic it's opening by cutting straight up the middle, cutting through only one layer this time! This will be the front.

006. All you need to do now is sew up the body and arms as appears in the diagram. I turned my fabric inside out (right sides together) and used a sewing machine to sew four straight lines. If you like you can hem up all the other edges or leave them raw. Try on your kimono to see how it fits! It should be roomy and floaty.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Monica Vinader Friendship Bracelets

Such a beautiful bracelet! This surprise package arrived on my doorstep yesterday morning from the lovely people at Monica Vinader. I never expected such a wonderful gift. I find the best way to reach out to a blogger is not straight out demand a review but to offer them a piece of the brand and let them do with it as they see fit. I wasn't even asked to post about this bracelet but I just had to. It's so shiny! They even went as far as engraving my name.

This bracelet is the Bali Friendship Bracelet in 18ct gold plated vermeil on sterling silver with a black adjustable cord. The oval gold disc has been lightly hammered to give it a light deflecting shine and also to make it flipping difficult to photograph!

Photo heavy posting required today - the packaging is so beautiful. This definitely feels like a luxury item, everything was branded right down to the tissue paper and the gift bag (inside box) has fabric handles. I can see why these friendship bracelets would make fantastic gifts.
The bracelet is also really easy to wear and I'm looking forward to layering it with lots of other bracelets or my MK watch. If you have someone to buy for this year I'd look at the Monica Vinader website, they have a huge variety of jewellery but the friendship bracelets really stand out to me.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Pizza Foodie

On Saturday night I was invited down to Pizza Express (Picadilly Gardens, Manchester) to sample some of the new menu and taste test the pizzas for review! I brought Josh along as he's always appreciative of good food. I'm not much of a food blogger but I do love to eat and I'm trying to incorporate more food posts into my blogging schedule - especially for the best places to eat in Manchester. 

I've always been a fan of Pizza Express. A classier version of more simple pizza restaurants they produce really unique and tasty pizzas, with the chefs hand-making each pizza from fresh. We of course chose dough balls for a sharing starter - Pizza Express are the masters of the dough ball and the sharing platter comes with three dips (garlic butter being my favourite.) They were delivered to the table oven hot and delicious. It didn't take us long to finish them!

Pizza came out next, myself and Josh both opted for something a bit different, we usually stick to our pepperoni ritual but we both went veggie this evening. I had a 'Padana' which was goats cheese, mozzarella, caramelised onions, red onion and spinach. It was delicious, the caramelised onions added some sweetness that was well balanced with the spinach and the whole thing had a really rich flavour - after half a pizza it was getting a little too sweet though. Josh tried the new 'Emilia' which was a mix of mushrooms, goats cheese, mozzarella and rocket - it looked amazing but he was a little let down with the flavour and the lack of tomato made it very un-pizza like although maybe this was just a poor choice on our part and the Emilia is good for those who don't like tomato in any form.

Dessert for me was vanilla gelato with chocolate sauce and chunks of fudge cake - The Chocolate Glory. Josh had the Chocolate Fudge Cake. Both desserts were delicious and kind of similar, not planned! We always like something chocolatey at the end of a meal. My dessert photographs didn't turn out so well as the restaurant was getting quite dark by this point. Overall service was top notch, food was delivered so quickly too. That's such an important one for me I hate waiting too long and nothing was too much trouble.
I've eaten many times at Pizza Express but not for quite some years so it was great to see how everything had changed menu wise. If you're in Manchester I'd recommend the Piccadilly Gardens restaurant it was a lovely atmosphere and a great view of the Manchester Wheel when it lights up at night!

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