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A Timeless Ritual with Amore Pacific | Jeju Island, Korea

Any time someone throws the age-old question of what my skin routine is on social media, my reply had always been ‘foundation and Photoshop*’. More and more so I’m starting to realise that it’s one of those stupid answers, like saying ‘I’m in shape, round is a shape’. One that warrants ‘yeah… not really funny, sis‘ from my bro. As a South Korean, the topic of Korean beauty is popularly thrown into interview questions, one that stumps me entirely – because as someone who grew up in Europe and regularly gets into punch-fights with eczema, beauty alone is still a topic that scares me. Wherever’s it’s from. I don’t have a regime, let alone one rule I can stick by. Every other day my skin wages a coup d’état.

The one thing I do know, and not to sound like my mum, or Christina Aguilera circa Dirrty years, is that beauty comes from within. No matter what you put on your skin, if you eat crap, your skin will be crap – if not now then later. I learnt this the hard way. Kids, eczema truly sucks balls. Korean Beauty apparently boils down to this somewhat corny ideology – healthy, transparent skin that no diamond cream can buy, only a very specific (borderline anal) lifestyle. Put aside all whitening and cosmetic surgery taboos, that’s what drives the industry forward, products that are based on eradicating irritants and championing botanical active ingredients. Make-up is almost an afterthought.

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Jacket – Pinko. Jumpsuit – Mango. Boots – Stuart Weitzman. Bag – Gucci.

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AMOREPACIFIC is one of those S.Korean beauty giants, and their unsung hero? Green tea. Now, I am a coffee-lover who thinks green tea tastes like warmed-up pond water. I am however also someone who eats dollar-store sweets and calls it dinner and therefore should really shut up and get with the program. The Timeless Ritual program – to be precise – which launched the new anti-ageing line TIMLESS RESPONSE in Jeju, a volcanic island just off the Southern coast of the Korean peninsula. One hour from Seoul, 14 hours from London. Timed exactly in the window when the first green tea leaves sprout, the purest and most potent harvest – traditionally worth its weight in gold and main active ingredient of the line.

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Instagram @parkncube

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The first day – detoxing by way of nature, yoga (first time for me, if you can believe) and one of the most invigorating facial massages I’ve ever experienced. The second and final day, restoring through education and experience (a bit of re-toxing on my part with stolen coffee). Turns out I’d been brewing green tea the wrong way my entire life – over-brewing to the point of it tasting like expired spinach water. Hot – but not boiling – water, and 1-2 minutes infusion makes liquid gold – I was sold. I might also consider not putting frozen fish finger-equivalent on my skin, afterall. Stay tuned for a progress-report!

* sadly I do have to resort to light retouching when the going gets rough and I still want to run this blog, a bit of transparency that I hope you’ll understand.


Park & Cube was a guest of AMOREPACIFIC 너무 즐거웠어요, 감사합니다 :)

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Top – Zara. Skirt – H&M

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Cape – ASOS. Jeans – Frame Denim. Bag – Chloe. Boots – Tibi. Sunnies – Madewell. Watch - Larsson & Jennings

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3 Favourite Work Spots
in Warsaw

‘Thank you for your message, I am currently Out of Office stuffing myself with homemade cake and watching endless Korean TV with my parents. For urgent issues, please take a number and divide it by ZERO.’ Trips to Warsaw are never classed as work in my book, even if for genuine business purposes. This is one place in the world I will always consider as childhood playground, home sweet home, and at times, exciting new horizons. So, even as I lug a buttload of work and deadlines from London, in my mind I am absolutely, completely Out of Office.

In time, handy little gadgets like this HP Stream with Intel Inside® tablet snuck their way into my occasional Warsaw stints, and every time I find myself venturing a little further from home to find a happy place to work from. Anywhere with coffee and wi-fi, initially, but we all know a bit of zing goes a long way (McZing sold out since the dawn of hipster cafes). Many a local was consulted – particularly The Styledigger, my resident yellow pages since her days in Krakow – to narrow down three great spots to work in town:

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1/ Charlotte – chleb i wino
aleja Wyzwolenia 18, warsaw | bistrocharlotte.com

‘Bread and Wine’, a more-than-attractive sign-off of a trendy yet-slightly-rough-around-the-edges bistro at the Southern cusp of Warsaw centrum – one haven that I frequent whenever I’m back in town. Open from 7am, the premise is thick with the smell of fresh-baked leaven bread – plain or garnished with raisins – heroes of town. Keep an eye out for the pots of conserve, chocolate spread and lavender honey that accompanies the bread basket, for the jars are deep and the contents are finger-lickin’ good. A great place to catch up with emails, or wind down after a day – free wifi, of course. I do suggest keeping your tech gear minimal, because after a glass of wine you’ll suddenly be speaking Polish and making friends.

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Blazer - Max Mara. Skirt – YesStyle. Shoes – Aquazzura (similar). Bag – Gucci Soho

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2/ Museum of the History of Polish Jews
ul. Warecka 4/6 , warsaw | polin.pl

An important visit, if not mandatory – especially if a visit to Krakow is not yet on your itinerary. Highly educating and inspiring – a great place to work and find food for thought. Food for stomach too, in the cafe at the heart of the building.

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3/ eMeSeN
ul. panska 3,warsaw | emesen.pl

Short for MSN, or Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej – not the chat application of adolescent heydays although eerily exciting in similar measure. Relatively new to the block and a rather balancing presence to Warsaw’s ‘golden’ mall a few doors down, the Modern Arts Museum houses a café-cum-foyer that sports a tasteful selection of design books and comfortable chairs/stools to work on. I’d only recently discovered it, but found myself returning more frequently than the usual spots. Free wi-fi, decent coffee, and lots of good distractions.

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Speaking of gadgets, the HP Stream is a new kind of tablet with built-in Intel Inside® Processor, which means ‘fast’ for those who, like me, only speak colouring book. I picked it up because it was kind to 1) my wallet and 2) my bag – at a size just large enough to fit in one hand, and thus inside one of those mini-bags that make you suddenly proud of a questionable skill of editing your life down to a matter of a few essential belongings. Nevermind of course, the mess of an inbox – if it fits inside a Gucci Soho, it ships. Lastly because, 3) it runs on Windows 8.1 – which might come as a surprise to some given my profession as a graphic designer, but yes, I am a PC. And guess what, since we’re sharing secrets, I eat pizzas backwards. Now what.

In collaboration with HP & Intel. All views and opinion my own.

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Bag – Ralph Lauren ‘Ricky’.

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Cropped trench – Reiss (similar). Utility dress – Karen Millen. Bag – Ralph Lauren ‘Ricky’. Leather pants – ASOS. Boots – Zara (similar).

Just a quick check-in while I nurse myself back into one solid time-zone and berate my body that it’s not okay to brush teeth, and 15 minutes later attack a mega-bag of pretzel M&M’s bought at JFK. If this is what it means to be a citizen of the world, I’m just grateful I didn’t pick up a bobblehead Obama as gift to the hubby. That thing’s not edible in any time zone. And I guess poor dude is getting a crinkled bag with 11 M&Ms as gift from NYC.

This outfit was shot in London during a short window between Seoul and New York. I had obsessively lugged around my Ralph Lauren Ricky bag around town containing contents of my carry-on from the Seoul trip – including in-flight socks and mini toothpaste – in fear that if at some point I did unpack, I will not have enough time/brain capacity to re-pack for the next trip, and that I would have to face a flight without, *gasp*, in-flight socks. Great thing about this bucket bag is all the hidden compartments, because my skin was bone-dry 3 hours into the flight and in an inner pocket I found, a fist-load of Avène moisturizer samples that I’d pawed at a phamacie in Paris a couple months back. I won’t elaborate however, on how long I dug at the other pockets in case of a half-eaten pain au chocolat. 

Photo assisted by Simon Schmidt

Jumpsuit – Next. Shoes – Valentino

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Top & bottom – Pyrus

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“Take vitamins. And wear a cardigan – you look cold on your blog” . “Hiii mum.” This year I am 27, going on 28, and that is still the opening line to my weekly phone calls with dear mother. So this feature, essentially, is visual proof for her and the world that I am indeed consuming Vitamins, a more liquid – aka exciting – version of it, in fact. Well, at least on days I forget to choke on a fistful of baguette-sized tablets that is. This is just like when I had to put up a series of food pictures (#didyoureallyeatthat) (#yes) because one day she said “dear you look malnourished”, although thinking back, I really should’ve just have photoshopped a salad into every shot. Next up, cardigans.

This indeed is an editorial partnership with V Water - a relatively new zero-sugar drink that’s packed with Vitamins (B, C and E) and no artificial gunk, sweetened from the natural extract from leaves of the Stevia plant. My favourite taste is the Ginger and Mango that contains a bit of zinc for a boost as well. I had so much fun shooting this – CMYK and all, although this colour scheme happened completely accidentally. As a graphic designer however, one could say that CMYK is never an accident, but a lifestyle. And you gotta read that last bit in your best hipster Morgan Freeman voice.

Art Direction Park & Cube. Photos by Kris Atomic. Shoot assistance Simon Schmidt. In Collaboration with V Water

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Top – Topshop Unique. Trousers – Zara.

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The Hermès Wanderland exhibition; Saatchi Gallery

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The two garde-robe wardrobes – belonging to a man and a woman – the objects taunt eachother.

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Stroll with the person (or dog, or a flying plastic bag) in the animation to hear their inner thoughts played out…

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A typically Parisian sky, reflected in a puddle by a typically Parisian park bench

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The Cafe of Lost Objects, home to little objects left behind by the city’s flâneurs.

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Leave your ties at the doorway…

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A bag that’s handcuffed to the coat-rack

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‘Bull in a China Shop’, or an elephant, in French.

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Postpone your breakfast plans by one hour and make sure to catch the last of the Hermès Wanderland exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London tomorrow*. If you’ve stuck around the past few weeks and discovered the curious art of flânerie with me, you will also want to experience this. Eleven rooms, each with a reference to urban wandering, collecting and peeping – it’s a grand manifestation of the Hermès’ profound belief in flânerie. Just like their window displays and playfulness in branding. And if any objects seem a bit familiar, it is because they are precisely the ones you’ve seen in part 2 of my little Hermès adventure series – straight from the cosy Collection Emile Hermes, blessed by Menehould de Bazelaire, Director of the patrimony of culture at Hermès, of course.

See? The eggs can wait.

*There is still time to visit the Hermès Wanderland exhibition; 9th April to 2nd May (closes at 1pm last day); Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY. Free entrance.