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On a tight schedule

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Five hours, Florence, one fidgety husband – what does one do when the universe deals you cards like these that aren’t compatible in any sense other than in an awkward alliteration (alligator)?

Last month I had a brief stint in Florence for a work trip, to which I took ze old ball and chain (hubby), and discovered later the itinerary was so jam-packed over the two days we only really had five hours to explore the city. Now, for those who have never been/planning to travel to Florence, I personally advise allocating at least four hours for gelato, PERIOD. Because ICECREAM. Then there’s the Duomo, David (by Michaelangelo – and not the ninja turtle), Boboli gardens, a slew of essential museums and galleries, shopping… none of which you should skip, and many of which that sadly require queuing (cue fidgety husband).

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So we decided, over a particularly parmesan-y breakfast, to simply do none of it (except gelato, bumped down to one hour, boo) and took to the streets without a plan, turning corners ad lib and frequently ending up in dead-end court yards, where EVERY SINGLE TIME, an Italian family reunion was under way*. Turns out it’s a great way to see the city, and not bad cards afterall, considering Florence is really the Joker card. Also, you do end up grazing a lot of the important bits as the historical centre of the city is only about 45 minutes-wide on foot. (But do try to graze David properly if you have time, he sure is a looker)

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Watch – Chaumet

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I’ve mentioned this before, but with all travels I try to take something new with me as a ‘beacon’ of memory – typically a perfume – but instead I decided to take my unworn Chaumet Liens watch that I had saved for a special occasion. Surely enough, what with all the time constraints on this trip and diligently having to glance at my wrist where the clock-hands danced from 12 to 5pm, the watch is now my connection to this short, but gelato-sweet, Florentine adventure. And to add to the romance, this very model (Liens) – while classic and timeless in its looks – is constructed with a state-of-the-art Swiss mechanical self-winding movement that makes soft, rhythmical tickky-tickky-tickky sound when you bring it up to your ears, or in my case, whenever I brought my camera up to my face to take a snap…

Well, isn’t this sentimental. I’m going to go have a sarcasm sandwich now.

*Come to think of it, it was the afternoon of the World Cup Italy vs. Urugauy game… so probably not anything similar to a hearty (?) Italian GodFather scene as I’d thought.

Watch – Chaumet. Hat – Hoss Intropia. Dress – ASOS (similar in yellow). Slides - Office. Bag – Saint Laurent ‘Lulu’. Earrings – Baublebar. Blazer – Zara (similar).

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Watch – Chaumet

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Watch – Chaumet

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Wellington Boots - Hunter

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Look 1: Look 1: Crochet dress – ASOS. Wellington Boots – Hunter. Hat – Hoss Intropia (Similar). Sunnies – Karen Walker. Bag - Simone Camille
Look 2: Look 2: Tank top – DAY by Malene Birger (simliar) . Shorts – DIY Mango denim. Wellington Boots – Hunter

Burgers for breakfast, nests for heads, drop-in concerts and wild dancing under the stars… yep, the festival season is upon us. Also, lest we forget, the painful reminder of the elementary science behind soil + water, with your brand new canvas plimsoles as collateral to this re-education. Except of course in England one wet sneeze can turn the whole field into cake batter, and however much you try to convince yourself mud-caked shoes are the next paint-crackled converse, it just doesn’t fly. (Stop trying to make mud happen, it’s not going to happen). You’ve never wished for anything rubbery and water-resistant in your whole life, or at least since the invention of squishies at age three. I don’t know what floats your (rubber) boat (ducky), but for me it’s Hunter boots, no question – and here’s two ways I’d style my Shoreditch pair with. And speaking of extremities, now I need to find a clever festival-friendly solution for my hair without looking like I dumped flour (aka dry shampoo) in my hair… All part of the cake-batter setting I guess.

BTW – Hunter are hosting a wee giveaway of the Shoreditch model over on Instagram, simply upload an image of your festival style inspiration and tag @Hunterboots #BeAHeadliner for a chance to win. Dates: 12th – 19th June (5pm GMT). Winners will be contacted on the week of 23rd! (T&C available on request from Hunter)

Photos with the help from ze lovely Miss May.

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London Fashion Week AW14

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Eudon Choi AW14

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Marios Schwab AW14

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Whistles AW14

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Burberry AW14

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Harry Styles in the house, yo

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Outfit 1 (Camel coat): Coat - Club Monaco, Muff - Topshop. Bag - Mansur Gavriel (available for pre-order!). Jeans - James Jeans. Shoes - Church’s. Lipstick - Estee Lauder.
Outfit 2 (Houndstooth coat):  Coat – Selected Femme (via ASOS). Trousers – Zara (similar here). Shoes – ASOS. Muff – Topshop. Bag – Kurt Geiger Britton bowler

Well that just whizzed by, didn’t it. Considering how every season in the past I hobbled home like a war hero, full of stories to tell the grandchildren, dangling off crutches constructed of empty Vitamin Water bottles, this season LFW just felt MUCH less eventful. In fact, it felt like I’d gone to war, hid in the bushes and waited till it was over. I suppose technically this was true, as Hyundai had been so generous to sponsor a car and I spent 70% of the time in there with the awesome driver called Arthur, who’d instantly appear with the Santa Fe from around the corner when I shone a thumbs-up emoji signal into the dark clouds. Thumbs up for ‘I’m done here, let’s get stuck in traffic and talk about motorbikes‘. Coincidentally, I got more work done in that car than a week’s worth of working from home as well, which only confirms that I only work efficiently with impending deadlines (e.g GPS announcing we’re approaching destination). I also started a new relationship with a new phone at the beginning of the week – the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (via Carphone Warehouse) – and spent the five days in honeymoon bliss, poring over improved functionalities (I’m upgrading from the Note 2) and panicked when it took two minutes, not six, to put up an Instagram photo. What does one do with extra four minutes in life?

It was a good season, and for the first time ever I felt like I saw the few shows I really wanted to see (except Mary Katrantzou, that ticket will be my Oscar). Do look out for more updates in the next few weeks. Plus, I didn’t shorten my lifespan by about twenty years by having to haul three camera lenses and a laptop the whole week. I may have grandchildren, after all!

Many thanks to Hyundai UK and Carphone Warehouse again for the extra twenty years, plus four minutes. Also, a cheeky shout-out  to Lulu Guinness and Vita Coco for the survival kits that made the car known as the ‘party car’ by my peers.

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Three ways I wear Nike LunarElite Sky Hi

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Look 1: Lace dress – Zara. Sweatshirt – Nike. Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi. Clutch – Chanel. Sunglasses – Mango.
Look 2: Coat – Nanushka. Sweater – COS. Skirt – ASOS. Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi
Look 3: Cardigan & skirt – Peter Pilotto for Target (via Net-a-porter). Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi. Bag – JinYoo103684. Bag – Kurt Geiger. Turtleneck – Uniqlo. Puffer Vest – Gap.

I don’t know what it is about my late twenties but boy am I working up a collection of trainers, each bought with the same reasoning technique that accounts for the thirty bags of jumbo peanuts in our pantry: THIS MUST BE HANDY DURING THE APOCALYPSE. It’s odd because 1) I am a hamburger when it comes to exercise (i.e I do not put the ‘train’ in ‘trainer’), and 2) I held a crusade against flats all throughout my teenage years and stuffed tissues, not only in my bra, but in my trainers as well for the wedge effect. So I came across these Nike LunarElite Sky Hi‘s, I reasoned that yes I needed another pair of trainers because APOCALYPSE, but also revelled at the fact that it was my teenage crusade manifested (Waterbra? check), in perforated neoprene and all the essential lightweight, cushioning technology of a classic Nike running model. Plus, neon yellow because I’m biologically hazardous like that.

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Body, Dance shoes – Bloch. Skirt – ASOS. Shot at FRAME with Kit.

This is probably the closest thing to a ‘gym’ I’ll ever go in my entire life as a wimp – but here I am Internet, off the couch and in a tutu. This of course does not mean I’ve divorced Nutella, it just means I’ll probably cry less while emptying a jar in the middle of the night. The gym does scare me though, all those metal, long, straight, round things I’d have no idea what to do with. Plus if the treadmill is meant to be used as if you’re running on the street then I’d probably sit on it with a Snickers bar and wait for the bus. Alas, by the end of year 2013 my eczema was starting to take its toll – nothing I put on my skin worked, and the more I researched treatments, it wasn’t down to the type of ointment/cream I was applying on my skin but ultimately what goes in me: food and exercise. So, generic New Years resolutions aside, I decided to get my act together. I’d read something about the Special K program by Kelloggs and decided to put myself on it, mostly for discipline but also because I wanted to track my progress – a year down the line I wanted to say SUCK IT to eczema and part with it forever. Kelloggs kindly pitched in to support the ’cause’, and I chose beginners ballet because I’d always wanted to learn. Give me a few months, I’m kicking this eczema in the ballsack, look out for updates.

If you’re looking for ballet classes in London, FRAME do fantastic ballet classes for beginners, called Basic Barre, (or Ballet Barre for the more experienced) that generally helps you tone and improve posture and balance. For longer programs, City Academy offers a wide range of ballet courses in many levels. Another two I recommend are Danceworks and Pineapple Studios, two I frequented as a student (for hiphop classes) that offer singular classes.

Supported, but not sponsored, by Kelloggs.