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Trousers - Zara. Bag – Gucci. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Trainers – Isabel Marant.

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CoNrad maldives
Pt 1.
Rangali Island, maldives | www.hilton.com/

I did receive a fair bit of warning before heading to the Maldives: that the islands will take my heart and drown it deep, deep down the Indian Ocean; that I will experience a kind of feeling not so dissimilar to love, or absolute bewilderment. Like the first time I tried Chipotle? I asked, and they all said EVEN BETTER. So I packed high hopes, along with six bikinis, because another someone said most of my time will be spent chasing Pixar characters under water. I assumed they meant Nemo but packed more racy numbers just in case they actually meant Mr Incredible.

Conrad Maldives is 30-minute seaplane flight from capital Malé down into the bluest bit of the globe – by atlas standards practically an invisible clutter of tiny islands located south of Sri Lanka, with a probability of accidental discovery from zero to drunk-and-randomly-clicking-around-Google-Earth-satellite-view. As the seaplane expertly skimmed down onto the glassy sea, I couldn’t help but feel like a bond girl, seeking refuge on a glamorous island with the aid of an international spy – nevermind the ill-digested plane food and a muffin top.

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I had never seen such unadulterated scenery, such literal exhibition of colours, and immediately took up on bumping up adjectives to superlatives: bluest sea/whitest sand/bestest trip EVER…and so on. Indeed just like my first time at Chipotle. And just as I ran out of words starting with ‘A’ to describe the view over a coconutty welcome drink, a smiley Maldivian in white beckoned towards our water villas. Modern and minimalist in style, constructed of de-saturated sea wood, and pulled together by the occasional splash of blue furnishing, mine was one of 71 water villas on the island. Although, the whereabouts of the other 61 was a mystery I never managed to solve.

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I felt right at home, if home was a house above crystal clear water and a glass globe horizon for a view. This feeling of privacy was something I’d never known I cherished in hotels/resorts, I suppose more so that I was to spend the next few days alone, wrestling with a tripod and remote for photos.

As the sea lapped at the beams of the villa and the outdoor Jacuzzi gurgled every so often to compete, I was already unbuttoning my heart to give to the sea at the Conrad Maldives. And I’d soon learn that no amount of snorkelling or diving I’d be able to retrieve it.

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Stick around for part 2, and once again a happy 10th birthday to Ithaa, Conrad Maldives’ undersea restaurant – more on this later.

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

Swimsuit – Victoria’s Secret

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Bag – Coccinelle

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With every passing season it seems more and more apparent that I approach Fashion Week dressing exactly like how I prepared for my GCSE’s: Revise the crap out of the first exam on schedule (history), and then sob through the rest, cramming two years’ worth of curriculum every night before exams while simultaneously replacing water with Red Bull in my circulatory system. Fast forward about ten years later – same drill, different liquids. If ya know what I mean.

Here’s sort of a play-by-play:

All photo assistance by Simon Schmidt.

London fashion week
Day One
Confident. Prepared. Even bothered to wrestle with the printer to have the day’s itinerary at hand. Memorized the show schedule to the tune of Family Guy opening song. Three look changes neatly folded in the trunk with one to spare, we’re shooting a video throughout the day and the Hyundai Santa Fe is my changing room on wheels again. Windows not tinted dark enough but it’s Day One and I’m pumped.

Coat – Charlie May. Faux-fur stole – ASOS. Skirt – Joseph. Boots – Stuart Weitzman. Top – Zara.

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London fashion week
Day Two
Early start, breakfast in the car. Make-up completion level: 8/10. Pret plastic spoon in one hand, eyeliner in another, someone’s eating granola with an eyeliner again today… Balancing on 4-inch heels and feeling like I’m up to some good. Promises self to go home and blog everything I’ve seen today.

Cropped-trench – Reiss. Jeans – Levi’s CT. Heels – Gianvito Rossi. Dress – Razan Alazzuoni. Bag – Louis Vuitton.

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London fashion week
Day Three
Hummed tune to Family Guy over breakfast and only managed to sing ‘sex on TV’ bit correctly. No idea what’s happening today, fingers crossed assistant knows. Wearing trainers in case there’s some running involved. Ran to the loo in McDonald’s between Topshop and Paul Smith.

Sweater – Isabel Marant. Jeans – Topshop. Bag – Marni. Scarf – Acne ‘Canada’

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London fashion week
Day Four
Stuck a hand inside the khaki side of the wardrobe and pulled out outfit at the peak of desperation. Figured you can never go wrong with khaki, except maybe looking like a farmer a little. Coccinelle bag surprisingly roomy and fits camera et al. Scooore.

Quilted Jacket – Barbour. Denim jacket – Levi’s. Belt – Vintage Louis Vuitton. Culottes – Topshop. Bag – Coccinelle. Fedora – Hoss Intropia
Coccinelle
Top Handle, snakeskin effect

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London fashion week
Day Five
Peeled out layers from the laundry basket, ended up looking (and smelling) like a college student. Not sure what fashion even is anymore. Tommy, can you smell me? Turns out wearing everyday clothes = higher productivity level. No actual work done, but somehow managed to deplete phone battery by noon. Added this skill into CV with remaining 1%.

Bag – Aspinal. Jeans – Levi’s CT CT. Top & Blazer – POLO Ralph Lauren.

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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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Hunter Regent Street 83 – 85 Regent Street, W1B 4EW

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Rubberized trench-coat by Hunter. Sweater – COS (similar). Trousers – Zara (similar).

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Wearing: Rubberized trench-coat by Hunter. Sweater – COS (similar). Trousers – Zara (similar). Sneakers – Isabel Marant ‘Bart’

One of the few things that London teaches a newcomer is the staggering power of WEATHER as a conversation topic – no matter how awkward your new uni friends are, or how deep an armpit you’ve already found yourself lodged in on the Tube, mention the magical words of ‘It’s horribly grim out there’ and watch friendship blossom. Even with armpit dude. London is notorious for being the butt of all international weather jokes (snow – don’t get me started on that one), famous for raining on parades, and for a long time I assumed the slanted strokes of the Union Jack flag symbolized the typical angle the rain pours in this city. You know, like how the Uruguayan flag carries a smiley-face sun (it makes ALL the sense). And no umbrella is built for sideways rain – not even the ugly, functional ones – so you get wet in all the wrong places… then make friends with strangers. The truth is, the weather on this island is exactly where the cheeky, self-deprecating British humour stems from, the very reason why the new Hunter flagship on Regent Street resembles a barn, and why a flash mob alighted a number 88 bus and ritualized the opening wearing neon-trimmed ski-hats and rubberised trench coats, serving backflips to Singin’ in the Rain remixes. I mean, the store elevator is lined with grass! Rainwear is given a Hunter ‘do, championed by the steely-eyed new Creative Director Allaisdhair Willis, designed to be worn not just to take cover from the elements, but to anticipate with a tune whistled. If you’re into shaking fists to the sky here in London, you might as well make it a dance move and enjoy it.

This reminds me, I just counted the number of umbrellas in my doorway and they add up to a grand total of nine. But do I stick my head out the window before leaving? I do not, because I am a badass Londoner and can fight the rain with my bare fists.

In collaboration with Hunter; outfit photos with the help of my lovely Sarah.

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Will instagram for food, I kid you not

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Jenny from the (Swiss) block (of cheese)

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(All instagram-style additions in this post shot with the Samsung Galaxy Camera)

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Military coat – Zara. Jeans – James Jeans. Shoes – Isabel Marant. Scarf – Highlands tartan scarf. White cashmere turtleneck – Uniqlo. Travel wallet – LV Mon Monogram; Thank you Jen for the shots of moi!

Last weekend my life turned a corner… correction, my crusade for a hyperglossed online representation of my life turned a corner. Berlin had won the Most Photogenic City as part of Samsung’s Life’s a Photo social campaign around the new Samsung Galaxy Camera, and I was part of 45 bloggers that were invited out in celebration. Guys, this camera changes nothing, and absolutely everything – I’m having a whole new instagramming experience with this. See, I’ll still pause a perfectly civil dinner to do Taichi moves over the food with an image-capturing device, but those photos will be crisp and juicy in colour. I’ll still look like a complete douche-baguette fondling my phone at the dinner table but this time I’ll be editing my photos instead of flipping between filters that make the chocolate dessert look like cold poop, or hot poop. I will still get pinched nerves on my shoulder thanks to weight in cameras (nothing replaces the Canon beast), but I’ll have agility with this beauty tucked in my sleeve. And get this, I will still overshare the mundane things of my life, but I may or may not use the 21x zoom to shoot the better looking food across the room because haven’t you heard, bragging about stuff that ain’t yours is the next level, yo. See – nothing, yet EVERYTHING.

On an unrelated note, and I’ve spoken about this before, there it was again – the odd sense of comfort when travelling with a bunch of bloggers where an eyebrow shrug towards a corner means outfit shots, now, and collectively tackling snow in four inch heels until we’re reduced to communicating in 140-character grunts, mostly using words like feet, hurt, hungry, cold, hotel. There were many, many bloggers/photographers/instagrammers (I’ve never seen that many MEN in a press trip) at this event and at the end of the day we were inevitably sat around a round table having to make small talk and seem normal. Of course, being bloggers and inherently introverts – we all kept our head dipped and noses in this amazing new apparatus, affixing clip-art party hats on photos of eachother using the editing software, silently laughing at jokes that was never heard past the salt & pepper shaker point on the table. The waitress thought we were in group-prayer for the entire evening. Best party ever, really.

Also, Most Photogenic City in the world? Discuss.