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Kempinski
Soma Bay, Egypt | www.somabay.com/

Roadside Soma Bay is the postcard Egypt I have in my head as we near the end of the 45-minute transfer from the airport: sand, more sand and a camel-like creature in the distance that perhaps also is actually just a clump of sand. Abi, Carrie and I spill out onto the doorstep of La Résidence des Cascades, atop our bikinis-and-GoPro-laden luggage and realise, that we’ve possibly spent a little too long in that van (which was air-conditioned, if I’m not wrong) and ended up imagining one collective oasis.

Two nights later we have the exact same occurrence, except this time at the doorstep of Hotel Kempinski, two minutes down the Soma Bay strip on the shuttle and thirty minutes since a glorious buffet breakfast. Surely that isn’t enough time to cook up a heat-stroke? Here, the oasis is quite literal, complete with: a myriad of swimming pools, lagoons, bridges over lazy (swimmable!) rivers and a herd of gazelles by the watering hole (may or may not have been a water-acrobatics class…). It was clear, the five hotels of the Soma Bay  were gatekeepers of the amazing technicolour dream-coast, only accessible through a hotel lobby of sorts. The Kempinski ‘gate’ boasts a rather theatrical mix of Moorish fortress interiors with a tinge of influence from the East, with the unquestionable white Egyptian sun streaming through the dark wood lattice.

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Dress and straw bag – H&M. Fedora – Hoss Intropia.

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Sunglasses – Westward Leaning. Roll-on fragrance – Bjork & Berries. Phonecase – Casetify. Rings – Monica Vinader.

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The rooms are sufficient, decorated with familiar time-honoured ‘luxury’, with mint-blue soft-furnishing that cools the overall orange tones of the wood and tiles. Abi and I unlatch the door that divides the two rooms and I use her terrace door as a shortcut to the beach for the next two days. The real luxury of Soma Bay, I feel, is the bespoke nature of setting the day’s pace at your will. A slow morning by Kempinski’s white beach followed by adrenalin-fuelled kite-surfing afternoon at The Kite House, and star-gazing at the Cascades golf course – all five-minute shuttle-rides away. In fact, water sports at Soma Bay is reason I’d return in the future, the waves reportedly best quality in the region. For now, I am content riding a strawberry margherita wave on the sky bar singing surfbort, surfbort while watching the experts flaunt at sea.

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Great for: Couples. Fly & Flop with room for impromptu change in lifestyle (i.e couch potato to potential surfboard spud). Snorkelling in the Red Sea is interesting too, but watch out for sea urchins.

Park & Cube was a guest of Soma Bay, all views and opinions are my own.

Scarf worn as dress – Nazanin Rose Matin.

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Bikini-top – Victoria’s Secret. Straw bag – H&M Home. Paleo – Tallulah & Hope. Necklace – Monica Vinader

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La RÉsidence des Cascades
Soma Bay, Egypt | www.somabay.com/

“Well this is perfect”, I said – the minute we stepped into Soma Bay’s La Résidence des Cascades lobby – in a voice best sounding like my father. Then I gave my apple-scented e-cigarette a long drag and tottered around patting my beer belly. You see, my father’s a classic Korean middle-aged man who keeps an emergency golf club in his trunk – not for roadside mischief or helping the neighbour’s boy retrieve his basketball from under the car – but for practicing his downswings in the car park before the next meeting. One of the larger hotels on the Soma Bay strip, the Cascades, in its terracotta-orange walls and latticed-corridor goodness overlooks a vast 18-hole par-72 championship golf course. It’s dad heaven. Don’t ask me what those numbers mean because for the past fifteen years I’ve waved off golf lessons for club sandwiches.

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Top – Mango. Leather shorts – H&M. Bag – L.K.Bennett Rosamund. Watch - Larsson & Jennings. Rings – Monica Vinader.

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It’s a classic fly-and-flop destination, especially when drab-coloured midwinter skies of London is your origin and a fiery red sunset is the destination. For those who, like me, think ‘18-hole’ is something to do with a nice big donut, will probably choose to appreciate the abundant Egyptian sun, Red-by-name-but-very-blue Sea, and a rather vigorous (?) dip in the Thalasso-tonic Hydrotherapy pool. Also if you’re travelling with buddies like Carrie and Abi you may end up spending the whole afternoon horsing off in the pool with the entire hotel’s balconies as audience…

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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Thalasso-tonic Hydrotherapy pool containing 830 m3 of sea water

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Great for: family fun, golfing, and overflowing breakfast buffet.

Park & Cube was a guest of Soma Bay, all views and opinions are my own.

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Hat - Hoss Intropia. Top – American Apparel. Floral shirt – Zara shirt worn as skirt.

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Sleeping is just time travel to breakfast = yes/no?

Let’s say yes. Not because it’s the correct answer (it is), but for part two of Winter Tale with Cartier, I envisioned a sunny morning of Christmas Day, crisp winter breeze cutting through a crack in the window letting this cynic-turned-Christmas-Elf know that the breakfast she’s about to wake up to is extra special. Nevermind the gifts, for now, it’s the fact that today, the members that have gathered to celebrate with you have nothing else on their itineraries. No meetings, no computers, no phones. All replaced by whim, tradition, and a good dose of ambling in between.

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Sweater – H&M. All jewellery - Cartier ‘Juste un Clou’

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Even as a innate sceptic I’ve always loved Christmas mornings: waking up to the smell of my mother cooking Korean food, and my father cleaning out the car – some years there would be fluffy snow, some years not – and a huge, hearty breakfast, served on the big wooden table in the kitchen as to accommodate for quick exit so that we can load up and make it to church on time. Gifts were usually exchanged in the evening over fruit and dessert, and since for some unknown reason we had stopped putting up a tree since around year 2000 (them Y2K silver tinsels didn’t do anyone any good), gifts would appear out of nowhere. And every year we’d discover, that mother hiding gifts in the fridge, inside what looked like kimchi containers, is the work of a true artist.

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While unfortunately I will not be joining my family this year, I will be rockin’ around the…  Aloe Vera tree with the hubby and bringing a bit of my own tradition from home. I may however, be forced to re-think the gifts-in-kimchee-container tactic unless I want to spend Christmas in A&E with the hubby choking on a Grooming kit because I GUARANTEE HE WILL TRY TO EAT IT IF IT’S IN THE FRIDGE.

I’m not signing off just yet, but I wish you all the magic and happiness over the holidays, and who knows, maybe a red box from the sky? Pray the cubs are playing rough this year.

And to all my fellow cynics out there: have a whiskey, open a gift or two. Relax.

In collaboation with Cartier. (Read Part 1 here) Art Direction – Park & Cube. Photography – KrisAtomic. Location – Blake’s Hotel

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A cynic’s winter tale
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When it comes to the holidays I have a painfully pragmatic, almost sarcastic approach to things – this my agent Abi, AKA Captain Christmas, can attest to. Hubby and I don’t decorate the flat, usually until D-3, when we cave and decide to use the overgrown Aloe Vera plant as an evergreen substitute, on which we string up stale Ferro Rochers dug out from the pantry. (Half of which disappear mysteriously during the night, I may start believing in Santa after all.) (Why they are stale is also a good question.)

This year however, December started with a series of accidental celebration: a spare hour between meetings that was burned shuffling around the Somerset House skating rink, a sprinkle of marshmallows in my morning coffee which has now triggered a daily ritual (in my defence, they were calling my name), and decking the flat with winter flowers because nothing else was available at the flower market. By the end of week 1 I was shopping for wreaths, and as we draw near the end of week 2 I am now contemplating changing my voicemail recording to the tune of Little Drummer Boy and request that anyone wishing to leave a message needs to follow up with the second verse. (Maybe that’ll stop people from using the darned voicemail, once and for all. It’s actually a good tactic.)

All jewellery – Cartier ‘Juste un Clou

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I jest. But there undoubtedly is a new-fangled (or at least re-fangled) buzz in the air, a sort of anticipation but perhaps also the joy of keeping oneself busy while the temperature drops and the days get darker by day. I decided to collaborate with Cartier again, to celebrate my accidental celebration, and also continue the story of their 2014 holiday campaign. I’ve always wanted to shoot the Juste un Clou range, and a bit of sparkle never hurt no cynic, last time I checked. And now, should a few leopard cubs knock down a few Cartier boxes from the clouds, it wouldn’t be met with a contemptuous meh, but at least a slightly better-decorated Aloe Vera tree and twelve, not nine, empty marshmallow bags in the trashcan.

Cape, blouse – Zara. Jeans – DL1961. Bag – Marni. All jewellery – Cartier

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Turtleneck – Zara (similar). Skirt – Mango (similar). Earmuffs – Karl Donohughe via Harvey Nichols. Jewellery – Cartier

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As usual, the topic returns to things that fall from the sky. Although, surely no fist is to be shaken to the clouds should it rain Cartier? Lemme think about it. No. No fist.

Stay tuned for Part Two, the morning of. In the meantime, I want to hear what colour your panties holiday decorations consist of.

In collaboation with Cartier. Art Direction – Park & Cube. Photography – KrisAtomic.

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Tablet – Lenovo Yoga. Envelope pouch – Smythson. Heels – Bally. Headphones – Bower Wilkins.

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London Fashion Week SS15: A visual diary

Hyundai i20

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Hunter SS15

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Charlie May SS15 eyewear

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Mary Katrantzou final walk

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Max Factor Skin Illuminator Foundation & Colour Corrector Stick

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Topshop Unique SS15

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Topshop Unique SS15

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Food on instagram because proper photos on DSLR? Ain’t nobody got time fo that.

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Wearing: Top – COS. Trousers – Zara. Bag – Marni. Shoes – Tibi. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Rings – Monica Vinader. Cross-Ring – Elizabeth & James (via REVOLVE)

What do they say – Give a woman a house, she’ll make a home? Well, give a woman a Hyundai i20 over Fashion Week, and she’ll make a Death Star on four wheels and one 22-year old driver very, very uncomfortable. This, like many things in life – including adding soy sauce to everything – I blame my mother. Growing up, mornings were a battle of which sibling can out-stupid the other one, starting with putting shoes on before trousers, smearing toothpaste all over our faces and pretending to shave… you get the gist. This led to my poor mother having to shovel us into the car every morning along with 2 x cereal bowls, school outfits, homework, toothbrushes… (at one point I believe there was a pillow fort in the car), and she’d drive with one hand while the other ‘conditioned the air’. Fast forward to SS15 LFW, I inhale a plastic container of scrambled eggs in the car while deciding on an outfit, and with each day a new pile of clothing spilling out the passenger door. At the end of Day One I attend a makeup session at the Apartment with Max Factor discovering the new Skin Luminizer Foundation, and from that point on I use the tinted passenger window to accomplish the ‘dewy look’ in the ensuing mornings, just how Caroline Barnes instructed. My 22-year old driver awkwardly avoids using the rear-view mirror (apparently a touch worse than drink-driving) during my changing room sessions, but we somehow manage to make a split-second eye-contact just when my head is halfway through a sweater. Thankfully this Death Star is all about efficiency (close that hatch…) as we slice through morning traffic, and I arrive at the first show of the day with a Aquafresh breath and lotion behind my ears.

Stay tuned for some of my favourite collections so far!

Huge thanks to Hyundai UK for, gee wow, a car with my logo on it (!), and allowing ‘5 more minutes, mum…’ to happen. Please forgive me for any coco puffs found between the seats.