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Is this how you summer?

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Tropical shirtdress – Gap. Coat – Vintage Valentino via Nordic Poetry

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Suede coat – Vintage Valentino. Dress – Gap. Necklace – Effra London. Straw Bag – H&M Home.

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Sleeveless – Gap. Shorts – Next. Shoes – Calpas via Etsy. Bag – Ralph Lauren.

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Hat – Hoss Intropia. Top – Glamorous. Shorts – Gap. Sliders – Filippa K. Watch - Larsson & Jennings. Necklace – Effra London. Sunnies – Jonathan Saunders

As an inherent cave-bat nerd that insists on applying at least 20 SPF against monitor glare because she doesn’t know how the outside works (and she is “Asian”), summer has never been a topic of particular interest, or a season of preference. Sure, my birthday may be in July and I surprisingly own a picnic blanket, but this is all by chance – I reckon if I had a choice, I’d want a 29th of February birthday just so I can forever regale in the fact that it will always be an amusing/sad thing to tweet about three years out of every four. This is not dissimilar to making meal choices based on how photogenic it is for Instagram, and unwittingly eliminating anything brown or poop-looking (i.e bread/chocolate) from the diet. Hey wait, internet is gluten-free? I live in the corner of 5AM-guilty-dog-videos and Incognito-window-shopping, and have the hots for Conan O’Brien. One day I would like to compose a blog post consisting only of emoji’s. These are my dreams, someone else can be girl president.

Lately however, I’ve been growing a little jaded by this glowing rectangle that supposedly contain my livelihood and all the stress that come with it, so I’ve been turning it off more often and sticking my hand out the window to see if it smokes. And since I’m a bit of a no0b at all this, I’ve been testing out all the textbook summer activities, like taking the laundry basket to the food market, canal-side lunches and picnics in the garden (unknowingly next to some dead baby foxes, as you may have heard in my Snapchat: SparknCube). And of course, wearing easy basics from Gap because while fur-lined Birks are, apparently salsa-stained PJs apparently are NOT yet in trend at the moment. Hey, I’m still learning about all of this, OK?

This is a round-up of Gap x Conde Nast Traveler summer looks I contributed for Styld.by. Photo assistance by Simon Schmidt.

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Click above to watch ↑

In collaboration with CollectPlus, who kindly helped produce this video!

Two things I learned from my graphic design degree at CSM: how to write a thousand words between Liverpool Street and Holborn, and how the triangle shape can be so fresh and so friggin’ hipster at the same time. Bookbinding, sadly was one of the workshops that I managed to put off as acting Admiral Webdesign sitting on my high-horse that only insisted on pulling the Live Online broadband-a-wagon. I thought all I needed was a Wacom tablet and a keen eye for pixels, and my hands would ever be clean of ink or glue. But in my first year, I met Ellen – a fellow flâneurfor those who remember – a deft hand in all things hand-crafted, and a keen collector of rare paper and sketchbooks.

Over one bleary-eyed all-nighter at her house, she effortlessly demonstrated how to bind a book while fixing a midnight snack, and I’ve been putting some easy tools to good use and making my own sketchbooks ever since. Granted of course, I had filled most of mine with wireframing scribbles, hex codes and the occasional existential babble of a 22-year-old, but some of those notebooks I remember using until the book tape wore off. So, here’s a tutorial on bookbinding, as quick and simple as Ellen first taught me. I partnered up with CollectPlus, a nifty service I use and abuse often – especially when I rock up to the nearest corner shop looking like a hot mess with not a smear of make-up on and smelling of cheesy Dorito’s, demanding for my box of stationery. I wish I could’ve gotten Ellen herself to explain things better, but you’ll have to do with me for now; she’s currently illustrating a book on Autism, while I’m picking my nose making fart jokes (aka fashion-girl noise like ‘omg shoes‘).

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Hello, I’m here to fix your boiler…

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I am a strong believer that when it comes to cities, especially of those ‘home’ variety for individuals who – like me – have confusing heritage, it’s all about spicing things up in the bedroom, so to speak. And for this I wholeheartedly recommend roleplaying: sexy nurse, keen repairman, bored prison guard… whatever floats your boat (enthusiastic Pokémon trainer for me), but the trick is to live, experience and interact with your city from a slightly different perspective, different lifestyle. Rent an inexpensive car for a few days instead of taking public transport, wear a suit every day for no reason, shop like a local, walk like a tourist, book an Airbnb flat in a high-rise and wake up to sunrise on the 20th floor… Enjoy wider horizons but also encounter new limitations. Yes I’m aware this sounds like a page out of a self-help book, but I promise, IT’S SEXY WHEN YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT. I’d like to think that this is how London and I keep a healthy relationship, even if I have to ask for a hall pass every now and again.

Seoul, for me, is one of those ‘home’ cities – despite never having lived there and a place I still consider an exciting, unmapped territory, I can’t help that on the rare occasion I do visit I slink into an oddly familiar routine that one would typically expect from a local. Now, this isn’t to say that I know my way around the back streets of Gangnam or the best way to haggle over a kilo of spinach with the lady in the market (why does one need kilo of spinach anyway), but it is the inevitable nature of: I seem to blend in with my own people? Last April, brought over by work, I was determined to spice it up – and instead of going straight to one of my relatives, booked two nights at the Conrad hotel on Yeuido island – the city’s business and banking district and also home to the most spectacular cherry blossom festival.

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Bag – Celine. Shoes – Aquazzura ‘Christy’

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Watch – Larsson & Jennings ‘Saxon’. Necklace – Effra London

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The hotel, while stunning in design and efficient in service, is undeniably oriented towards business purposes, which is exactly what I’d wanted. I woke up early and mingled with the suited men at breakfast, read the cartoon page off the International New York Times with my glasses perched low on my nose, and abused the concierge app to book wake-up calls but snoozed through the morning. In the afternoon, I took walks through the cherry blossom festival and bought street food, which I smuggled back into my room. And on the last day, I took a friend and snuck into a local public school’s sports field and we spent the afternoon on the bleachers imagining life as a Korean high-schooler. It was love rekindled, and so far away from the Seoul that I got too easily accustomed to. Next time, I’m booking a helicopter ride and borrowing a dog. Now tell me that’s not some power couple’s therapy.

A big thank you to Conrad Seoul for the kind hospitality.

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Sweater – Isabel Marant. Trunk bag – Marni. Denim culottes – Charlie May. Heels – Gianvito Rossi

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When the going gets hot

Belted popover shirtdress – Gap. Shoes – Isabel Marant. Blazer – & Other Stories.

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Printed top – Gap. Culottes – Charlie May Bracelet – MyFlashTrash

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Linen roll-sleeve popover – Gap. Jeans – FrameDenim.

I must be one of those folk for whom the season of summer is a general questionmark for their closets wherein rumpled sweaters form burrowed eyebrows along the top shelf and winter coats and beachwear generally hang side-by-side in this arrangement:  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯? because the other day it was cold as balls – excuse ze language – and today I am wearing a singlet that may also be translucent. At this point I am just happy that we decided to place the office desks a few feet away from the windows facing the street, because this half-naked Asian lady violently fanning Vogue inserts is now shaking to the beat of Ciara’s Goodies. Hey wait, it actually might be a good time to move towards the window, given that I’m not really getting any work done. They throw money when you strip, right?

Here’s a few summer get-ups, mostly consisting basics from Gap. Let me know if I’m doing it right, from a scale of the-cold-never-bothered-me-anyway to she-had-dumps-like-a-truck-truck. Was never too great at maths, if you couldn’t tell.

Photography assistance: Simon Schmidt

Swimsuit – Huit 8. Sandals – Birkenstocks. Glasses – Finlay & Co. Face Mist – Purearth. Straw Bag – H&M Home.

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Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter. Take it from me

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Swimsuit – Victoria’s Secret. Bag – Louis Vuitton. Brogues – Hudson x Charlie May. Sunnies – Karen Walker. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. 

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Instagram @parkncube

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Swimsuit – Victoria’s Secret

Clearly, seasons aren’t London’s strong suit – there has been hints of summer these few days, although awkward overcompensation at best. Last week however, the city transformed into an oversubscribed Bikram yoga class with hot, thick, armpit-consistency air with condensation streaming down the walls and windows (this is possibly what the River Thames made of). So far, I’ve found shelter within some tightly shut double-glazed windows, a small fan circulating stale-but-cooler air; and my mind keeps wandering back to the Maldives - of rushing sea winds on a boat as it slices through aquamarine water, escorted by a school of shiny dolphins. What I wouldn’t give now to be able to grab a mask and snorkel, plunge into the water and hand-signal a dad-joke at a family of clown fish, blow bubbles into a giant clam, or chase a sea turtle around a forest of reefs! I wouldn’t even mind thrashing away from a unimpressed-looking blacktip reef-shark* again, it surely is more interesting than sighting a pack of sweaty, shirtless yobs with open beer cans in the park across the street at the very least.

Oh well, I’m blowing bubbles through a straw into my morning iced-coffee, I suppose it’ll have to do for now.

Snorkeling at Conrad Maldives; Read review Part 1 | Part 2

*apparently as scared of you as you are of them. Hallelujah.