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Grüezi aus Zürich! (Gear up for the mother of all long posts!)

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Make My Switzerland app, available on Android and iPhone

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Can you believe how clear the water is?!

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Viadukt, ze ‘hip’ corner, North-West Zurich

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Frau Gerolds Garten and the Freitag tower

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Züri Fäscht

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Top – Amber Sakai. Shorts – Thierry Colson. Bag – JinYoo103684. Shoes – H by Hudson. Bar necklace – Kirsten Goss Urban Edge.

The first time I was in Zürich I was back in uni, on a layover home from London to Warsaw during the winter holidays – I arrived in the night, watched the first snow fall, and left at dawn. Hey, I was 21 and practically wearing a diaper, what did I know about efficiency? It’s the age when you turn a 2.5h flight into a 10h one (commonly known now as the Ryanair logic) and still call it an adventure. I locked my luggage at the airport and took a train into the city with just a DSLR, which turned out was missing the memory card. A good friend took me around town at midnight and the city was completely empty and quiet. It was so beautiful. Nothing was recorded, and in the morning I packed up the unused camera and took the first plane out.

Now, I have no idea who found out about that trip, because my second visit was precisely the opposite and fulfilling everything that was missing from the first. As a guest of the Swiss Tourism board, I was invited to the city of Zürich to test out the Make My Switzerland app ahead of its launch. It was July, we boarded a Swiss flight on a midsummer morning, blasting with air conditioning and oozing with general Swiss efficiency. It was the height of the Züri Fäscht, a festival that happens every three years, reportedly attracting 2 million visitors from around Europe (Zürich itself only has a population of 1.83 million, mind). My camera was appropriately equipped, as I’m sure you can see, with even a spare card and battery in my back pocket. Clifford Lilley, one of the ambassadors for the app and one firework of a character, took me around ze ‘hip’ areas of town (Viadukt/Frau Gerolds Garten) on rented bicycles, which also turns out to be the best way to travel within the city. Later I attempted to see the Old Town in daylight with my favourite style crusader, Jen and Fred, and ended up spending most of the afternoon repeatedly getting separated and looking for each other in the crowd. Eventually we gave up and resorted to one of their favourite past-times as locals: a dip in the canal, which is pretty much like swimming in a bottle of Evian (straight out of the fridge, brr!). If you’re anything like me and enjoy seeing cities with a bit of peace and quiet, visit Zürich any time of the year, except the three days during Zuri Fäscht. (Also ideal if you do plan on using the app) But if you’re looking to be a part of the greatest summer celebration, with the biggest fireworks and the most civilized (?) festival etiquette I’ve experienced in my life, then book your tickets now for 2016.

A big thank you to the Swiss Tourism Board for the hospitality!

Berlin, Day 2

Happy Hour, favourite meal of the day!

Tiergarten

Coat – H&M, Top – Amber Sakai, Jeans – Henry Holland x Debenhams, Shoes – Friis & Company (via Zalando), Camerabag – Stylesscrapbook x Kipling, Leather Jacket –  Day Birger et Mikkelsen, Navy blazer- Uniqlo

Shelving Disneyland and Paris for now – and I’m aware this shelf is still full with unfulfilled promises of Part Two‘s of supposedly fantastical adventures (i.e Azerbaijan and Kew Gardens), but I suppose now they will have to get cozy on the IKEA Billys until I run out of topics to entertain my guests (you) and then soon enough I’ll start pulling out photo-albums and first-editions from the bookshelf at an attempt to impress. I kind of wish I have a fancy chandelier instead.

Ironically, I’d mentioned that Berlin to me was like Disneyland when I was a teenager – a faraway land where all dreams come true… or in other words anywhere but home where curfew is 10pm, parties start at 11 and mother leaves 12 missed calls while you’re dancing. A faraway land with lots of light and a vibrant music culture, preferably. So when I landed in Berlin courtesy of Zalando I was hit by excitement, nostalgia and a tinge of giddiness, but shock to the system, too. I was quickly realizing I’d actually grown out of popular music (is Katy Perry still kissing girls?) and was finding all the graffiti more disconcerting than amusing – probably sharing inner-boiling sentiments of an old German lady living on the second floor of a freshly graffiti-ed compound. But as Carrie and I lost ourselves on an expedition to find the Brandenburg gate for touring’s sake we kept running into unexpected, awesome nooks that diverted us even further off the beaten track. It takes a while to understand, that you need to stop comparing the city to Paris or London at some point and from then on it becomes a completely new experience. The grunge and the architectural disorderliness are simply products of the rich history of Berlin, as if it’s all embedded in the buildings and streets, now how charismatic is that.

Thank you Zalando for having us and Carrie for the shots of moi.

Sweater – Paul & Joe (On load from HPR), Leather Dress – Vintage, Sheos – Pierre Hardy for GAP, Clutch – ASOS, Backpack – Uniqlo, Nailpolish – Chanel

Just wanted to quickly thank Amber Sakai and HPR London for arranging Kit, Matthew, Jen and moi a taxi to whizz around during LFW, would’ve been in crutches and high on morphine if not for those wheels!

Lace coat – Courtesy of Amber Sakai, Dress & Vest – Uniqlo, bag – Zara, Bracelet - Kurt Geiger, Shoes – Topshop

I have this bad habit of refusing to eat anything during the day when there’s a promising meal in the horizon… actually, it’s a little similar to my concept of hygiene. (Promising event next week, I MUST SAVE MY HYGIENE.) Sometimes I’d curse the sky when it starts pouring while I’m cycling, screaming ‘Not yet okay!? Let me just get my awesome Cowshed shampoo from my back pocket‘ and do a lawnsprinkler shower in the street. Along with the refusing to eat, there was refusing to get out of bed, so basically I woke up that day to have dinner in Aqua Kyoto. I realised I never really look up when on Oxford Street, and naturally I’ve never had a chance to look down – the view from the fourth floor restaurant balcony is spectacular, especially when you have a fire in your glass and you’re not sure if you’re meant to blow it out or feed it some coal and swap that with the table candle. Na, my drink was the 43 Flowers, frappuchino equivalent of alcohol (a dessert, basically), a very sweet and refreshing drink that complimented the four courses handsomely.

The restaurant is done up in a very ‘exclusive club’ feel, but one reservation call will put you down for a perfect moody corner for that anniversary dinner, or after-work drinks on the balcony and throwing drunken raspberries down on Argyll Street.

Thank you Jessica of TCS for the invitation. The outfit is second instalment of Uniqlooks for this month! Also many kissies to Macku for the photos.