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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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The dark knight blossoms

When it comes to flower print anything I can’t help but see sad little faces on the petals and leaves dreading the slow, yet inevitable death courtesy of the blackest thumb of all land and time: mine. This is probably the reason why the new Kris Knight update of the Gucci Flora got me hooked in the first place, because if you look closely, underneath the sugar-sweet pastel canvas of the Resort 2015 collection, there is a shadow, and a bed of botanicals that blossom in the dark. Curious little herbs with tough roots and long vines that cast roofs over eight-legged creatures… there’s almost a rock’n’roll attitude in it all. The irony is sweet.

It’s begging for exploration, which is exactly what I wanted to do in this collaboration with Gucci’s hero holiday gifts.

In collaboation with Gucci. Photography: Shini Park & Brian Leavy.
Art Direction & Graphic Design: Shini Park

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“My colour palette is inspired by the fact that I grew up in a bakery. I began tinting icing long before tinting paint…”
- Kris Knight

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Jumpsuit – Next

Dress – Alexander mcQueen. Heels – Celine. Both via Harvey Nichols

And by the way, florals? For Christmas? Amusing, if not actually ground-breaking.

Shop the gift guide

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Top – J W Anderson via Harvey Nichols | similar at Gucci. Suede skirt – Vintage (similar). Boots – Zara.

Flora Knight: the story

I love this video by Gucci, in conversation with Kris Knight on the story behind the Flora Knight blossoms. There’s something wildly satisfactory about seeing cake-icing pastel colours being used for painting. It takes a stronger man to resist temptation to shovel in a finger-full of paint while filling in a yellow dandelion.

Watch here

White trousers
Gucci

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In collaboation with Gucci. Photography: Shini Park & Brian Leavy. Art Direction & Graphic Design: Shini Park

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Bag – Furla

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Coat – Zara. Knit – Goodnight Macaroon. Jeans – James Jeans. Sneakers – New Balance. Bag – Furla. Sunglasses – Celine. Watch – Daniel Wellington.

I’ve gone and dug my own grave this past holiday, I think. I played in the same chair I sit to work in, for like, ten whole days straight. We’re in a fresh new year on self-declared clean slate and all I can smell is 2013 wafting from the leather of the wheely desk chair because as we all know the entire year was peanut butter cookies and pizza, in a nutshell. Especially the last few days during which I successfully transformed my workstation into a food-smeared playstation. I got up early on the first working day of the year, got dressed, hosed down the chair with a febreeze and sat down, ready to do an honest day’s work and found myself clicking on the Call of Duty icon without thinking, then proceeded to tour Mother Russia in a tank to defeat the Nazis. Hooray for stupid. Well, to start with, it took several attempts to get dressed because I kept putting shoes on before any pants, and had to Youtube how to tie shoelaces. It’s like when you sit on your hand for too long and it goes so numb it forgets how to be a hand. Except I haven’t set a foot outside the house for the past two weeks and have forgotten how to human. Anyway, back to the grind, shoelaces flailing and all.

Speaking of cookies, I baked a whole new batch last night for some reason. Screw the new year, I’m staying in 2013 until they’re gone.

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‘Come at me, bro’

Sunglasses – Celine Audrey via Sunglasses Shop

Comfortably getting into more punching-fights over the last ham baguette sandwich at Pret because now I have these Celine sunglasses to cover up possible black eye. Round, oversized beauties, that provide instant Audrey-like lady-factor, especially to those who’ve chosen meat sandwich over manners. (Celine Audrey via Sunglasses Shop)

 

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Tile of my loins

Clockwise: Bag – Zac Posen Americana. Watch – Casio. Friendship bracelets – DIY & Lucy Folk. Necklace – Noemi Klein. Sunglasses – Celine Audrey. Bracelet – MyFlashTrash. Nail Polish – Chanel. Skirt – Claudie Pierlot. Lace shirt – MotelRocks. Heels – Alexander Wang. Mini perfume – Marc Jacobs Daisy

Picked up this beautiful, embroidered skirt at the Claudie Pierlot pre-sale over the weekend, the pattern is what I hope my kitchen tiles would look like when we buy a house. I’d happily be a full-time sandwich-maker and better wife if that’s ever case. Speaking of Claudie Pierlot – is it weird that I’ve only recently discovered that they actually have stores in the UK? Here I thought it was to be one of those French treasures (Ladurée being one) limited only to those living in France… The store on South Molton st is packed with goodies, and a little bird tells me the UK sales start on the 12th!

 

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Arden, the illegitimate

Heels – Kurt Geiger

I’m always suspicious of my toys coming to life the minute I leave the room, but it looks like my chairs do it too. My two neon chairs had a child and they called her Arden – those two must have some fiercerelationship because that kid is feisty.

 

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Optical Prime

Preferred eye-makeup for those days when I transform from WTF to OK and remember to draw some eyebrows: Skinny liquid eyeliner (feels like graffiti on your eyelids with a felt-tip pen) and Brow Gel by Eyeko, and Golden Aura eye palette by Topshop.

 

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Hey Missy, you so fine..

Mini Missy – Neri Karra

…you so fine you blow my mind, hey Missy! I met the ever delightful Neri for coffee and cakes at the Rose Bakery at the top of Dover Street Market the other week, and after we’d dusted down carrot cake from our chins she slid a small box over that held this little baby inside. I made this noise similar to a car brake and now I can’t go back to that cafe.

 

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If I were a boy

Skull necklace – Maria Nilsdotter. Bar necklace – Kirsten Goss Urban Edge. Watch – Casio Sheen. Leather laptop case – Scotch & Soda.

If I were a boy, I’d put Jennifer Lawrence as my phone wallpaper and not get weird stares from strangers. My affinity for silver accessories/jewellery is growing with each time I steal something out of my husband’s wardrobe. You got to agree, an oversized shirt and nothing on your wrist but a solid silver watch sounds pretty liberating when you’re on your period and everything is simply arduous.

 

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Souk style

Flats – Reiss

Gazing at Kit’s Morocco visual diary and realizing this is as close to a non-IKEA carpet I will ever walk on this year.

 

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Iconia A1

Pouch – Kurt Geiger. Tablet – Acer Iconia A1

At just over 8 inches long, this little tablet by Acer seems to find its way into any otherwise inadequately sized handbag I own these days. I’m building quite a large collection of magazines – dust-free, naturally – via Play Magazines, and have downloaded my entire summer reading list into this 1cm-thick thing. Jamie Oliver teaches me how to cook meals under 20 minutes while I burn some water, and my bank app constantly reminds me how much money I don’t have. The device processor is quad-core, which apparently means it’s responsive and runs smoothly, but I love it most for its compact size and the fact that it is a digital Mary Poppins’ bag, in essence.

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Recipe for a happy weekend: Bikes, cakes, denim skirt and the flower market

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Leopard Sweatshirt – ASOS (similar in red). Denim Skirt – ASOS (similar here). Shoes – Nike Free Run. Bag – Marc Jacobs. Sunglasses – Celine via SunglassesShop. Cashmere scarf – Johnstons. Watch – Sekonda. Friendship Bracelet – Lucy Folk. ‘Oui’ ring – Street Bauble. Outfit photos with help from Charlie.

Speaking of good weekends, I’m steeped into World War Z by Max Brooks at the moment and having a blast ignoring off the sun and sitting inside a makeshift tent made out of blankets and pillows while the hubby slides in chicken and cous cous every few hours. I shove out the empty plates, and another one with jell-o gets pushed in. I have a good husband like that. He’s into his online games, and I’m stuck on a zombie book, we’re both happy and apparently the sun is out so technically that ticks another box in the Happy Weekend form. Who knows, tomorrow I might cycle down to the flower market to pick up some blooms for the week and maybe see a friend or two for coffee and cakes. What are your plans for the weekend?

By the way, do check out that book, it’s the best take on the zombie apocalypse I’ve seen/read so far – none of the overdone, emotion-led, soppy stories involving an enigmatic lead character and the journey to a Disney end of humankind, but a clever compilation of interviews and stories by survivors, interlaced with politics, military and all manners of science on a global scale. Everything seems so plausible that it’s terrifying – I keep re-telling some of the stories to my husband as if all of it really happened, it’s that good. Make sure to put it on your summer reading list!