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Double,
triple life
Versatility, apparently, is a superpower

Every six months my parents ask me via Whatsapp, “so… what exactly is it that you do now?” And every six months, I struggle to explain what exactly it is that I do now. If they asked this morning, I would add ‘5-minute spaghetti chef’ to the list, alongside photographer, web designer and blogger, and my mother would show me the true spelling of ‘tsk tsk’. (It’s true, I am this close to a Michelin star tyre) There is no doubt that I do lead a bit of a double life, if not triple – just like any ambitious (read: charged with the crazies) individual today. Plus, it comes with the territory when working in the visual industry.

For this reason I don’t have a uniform, there is no one cape that I can wear to all three jobs, unless stained Pyjamas count (thank the heavens for Skype conference calls). Truth is, I rely heavily on versatile, multi-purpose pieces that can minimize the stress of having to face an important client in the morning and then go on a physically demanding photoshoot in the afternoon. On this collaboration with Fay, I thought I’d show you exactly how I live this double, triple life quite comfortably with just one coat called Virginia.*

Don’t forget to check the Double Life feature over at Fay.com with the full scope of the campaign and rest of the Double Life babez.

In collaboration with Fay. Photography – Krisatomic;

Coat – Fay ‘Virginia’.

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I start the morning with a meeting with a client over coffee and breakfast pastries to discuss her branding and a new website. I’ve done up the clasps of the Fay coat up to my neck and belted it at the waist for a more formal look, although by the third pain au chocolat I regret this decision. I do love that it gives an overall military (think cavalry…) vibe, but with a slight feminine twist with the stilettos and red lips.

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I work from a home studio/office so it’s always a big deal when I’m out in town, so I always try to make the most of it by scheduling in at least one visit to an exhibition or gallery. Today I’m gatecrashing at the Dorothy Mead exhibit at Waterhouse & Dodd.
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Back to the office where I swap my 5-inch-heel horse and into more comfortable gear. We’re shooting in the studio today so I’ve slipped on a skirt and a pair of yoga shorts underneath. (No one is seeing my uterus today…) The Fay coat is perfect to throw on for the coffee run, finished off with an oversized scarf.

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Coat – Fay ‘Virginia’. Top – ASOS. Skirt – Carven (via Harvey Nichols). Bag – Saint Laurent. Boots – Stuart Weitzman. Scarf – ZARA

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Is it just me, or late lunch always tastes better? Oh wait, that’s the hunger speaking. Despite the three pain au chocolats and a plate of eggs from this morning of course. Aubaine’s Poulet Paillard is my go-to hunger buster.
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Coat – Fay ‘Virginia’. Top – ASOS. Bag – Hipsters for Sisters. Skirt – Alexandra Grecco. Sneakers – Isabel Marant.
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Given how dark it gets these days, my happy hour is winding down somewhere bright and cheery, so I ask a friend out to meet at the Wallace Collection – one of my favourite places in London – before heading to dinner. It’s been a long day so I pull out something fun and comfortable to wear under the Fay coat, like this puffy tulle skirt and white sneakers. AND A FANNYPACK. I swear it sounded better in my mind…

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* I don’t really change three times a day (unless I spill curry twice a day, which has happened in the past, mind.), this is simply to illustrate the multiple scenarios of styling a coat.
** Apologies if my third-grader handwriting offended anyone’s eyeballs this morning. I blame the rise of the machines…

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Top – ASOS. Jeans – Topshop x Marques’Almeida. Bag – Saint Laurent. Belt – Vintage LV. Necklaces – Monica Vinader.

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Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Key clip – Whistles x Moxham. Rings – Monica Vinader. Case – Casetify. Bag – Saint Laurent ‘Lulu’

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Top – ASOS. Jeans – Topshop x Marques’Almeida. Heels – Tamara Mellon. Bag – Saint Laurent. Belt – Vintage LV. Necklaces – Monica Vinader.

The thing about working from home is that spending the whole day with a crow’s nest for a head, wearing a denim diaper/mum jeans and perpetually smelling of last night’s takeaway is all fine and dandy until the moment there’s a need to step out the house. Suddenly there’s a tremble of confidence when faced with the challenge of having to join civilization: the I know exactly what I’m doing, with, can I use Febreeze as deordrant?, and you’re stumbling out the door with an outfit that is an awkward morph of hobo and put-together. I suppose this may be how the normcore trend came to being – a bunch of freelancers dragging ‘home-shoes’ Birks around the streets of Dalston (or more likely, the narrow corridors of the intranets, seeing as how nobody seems to be able to pinpoint the exact origin) in pursuit of a fresh new pack of post-its or Coconut water and whatnot. Of course, the survival of the fittest theory still seems to apply with said scenario because last time I checked, my 90’s car-thief/soccer mom get-up has yet to be a global trend. Well, until Merriam-Webster gets in touch about using one of these pics to illustrate the word ‘Awkward’ in a new edition of the English dictionary, that is. In which case Tinseltown, here I come.

Blazer – Zara (similar). Culottes – ASOS. Shoes – Gianvito Rossi. Belt – Vintage LV

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Necklace – Amulette de Cartier

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Necklace – Cartier. Top & Trousers – Louis Vuitton Icon. Scarf – Zara. Bag – L.K.Bennett. Shoes – ASOS.

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Necklace – Cartier.

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Above: Hat – Chanel. Sweater - Zadig & Voltaire. Necklace – Cartier. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Heels – Malone Souliers

There’s an urban myth that flight attendants look for neatly-dressed passengers in Economy to upgrade into Business class in order to balance the weight of the plane when the flight is under-booked. That, of course, is not the reason I wear heels when I travel. I am the passenger that has breadcrumbs all over her chin and sweater before take-off because I genuinely believe that I will starve and die before they bring out the food trolley. I’m also the passenger that is virtually invisible because she’s reaching under the seat for a fallen Skittle.

ANYWAY. I may have briefly touched up on this before, but the more I travel, the more I realise how much I’m addicted to the first 24 hours of a journey: the flurry of packing, pre-flight jitters, and the view out the plane/train window, then finally landing on foreign soil and cataloguing new scents and sounds into memory. From a certain point I started to dress up for it, like I would to any anticipated event, like a good show – figured I’d be sitting for hours in the plane anyway. While I don’t think I’ve yet fully mastered the art, so far these tricks have worked for me: Frothy cashmere, a great pair of heels you can easily slip out from, and single, fuss-free jewellery like the Amulette de Cartier that won’t bring down the entire airport.

In Collaboration with Cartier; photography by KrisAtomic; Location: Booking Office at the Renaissance Hotel.

Jewellery – Monica Vinader

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Primrose Hill, London

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Jewellery – Monica Vinader

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Jewellery – Monica Vinader

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Blouse – Iris & Ink. Skirt – ASOS. Heels – Gianvito Rossi (Similar here). Bag – Saint Laurent ‘Lulu’. All jewellery – Monica Vinader

You’re about to be let in on a secret that Londoners won’t openly share unless prompted and poked with a heated walking stick. I’m sharing this because I’m an inherent traitor (stems from life-long state of being an expat) and also could do with some brownie points with my readers after a month-ish long hiatus. Best burgers in London? Lucky Chip. Best toilets in Mayfair? The Connaught Hotel. < You might want to pretend you’re pregnant.

Recently I took a couple of my favourite engravable* pieces from Monica Vinader to spend a summer afternoon in North London as part of the new Jewel Coordinates campaign, which was a chance to verify: Best summer hangout? Primrose Hill.

I know, the name doesn’t ring a bell – it’s not known like Shoreditch, Notting Hill, or even Brixton – but I can guarantee you know all the residents. They say, one can’t swing a dead cat in Primrose Hill without hitting Jude Law, or Kate Moss. So picture this, midsummer afternoon, twinkling bracelets stacked up one hand, dainty stacking rings on the other, and a binocular around my neck. (I kid…) Not to say that Londoners flock up North to the little pocket of immaculate macaron-coloured townhouses to gawk at celebrities – the actual Hill itself is in fact London’s best panoramic view across the city, with the occasional squaaawk from the tropical birds that reside in ZSL (the zoo) across the road lending a feeling that you’ve successfully escaped the city. Sprinkle in a sighting of Eliza Doolittle at the florist and Gwen Stefani pushing a pram out the pub, and you got yourself a summer blockbuster. You don’t even need to be faux-pregnant to enjoy this bit of town.

*While I have my hubby’s nickname engraved on my own Esencia Friendship Bracelet, I confess that I was this close to engraving the Domino’s Pizza telephone number…

In collaboration with Monica Vinader; Photography by Park & Cube; Shots of me by Michelle Bobb Parris.

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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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