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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Hotel Amour

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‘Astralis’ exhibit at Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton

Børre Sæthre – Untitled (Arches of Solaris)

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Jean-luc Favero – Stag-Transformed

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Chloe Piene – Untitled (CB)

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Dome-Vanity by Charley Case

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Four Angels by Siobhan Hapaska

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Damien Deroubaix – Astralis; Life; Death; South of Heaven; Time; Messaiah

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Myriam Mechita

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Art Oriente Objet – Not Yet

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Rina Banerjee – A Mad Woman

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Cape – LV. Jeans – MiH Jeans. Heels – Kurt Geiger. Bag – LV Sophia Coppola. Luggage – LV. Watch – Daniel Wellington. Rings – Monica Vinader.

Paris and I got along famously as we reunited under the blessing of Louis Vuitton for a 24-hour-long fling in the middle of February, which was in fact a mere 2 days before the beginning of London Fashion Week and naturally a perfect escape before the hurdle. We arrived late morning to celebrate LV’s latest artist collaboration that once again brings the street onto silk – this time with Andre B and his beloved Mr A character (who I’m sure Parisians will have seen spray-sketched in many crevices around the city), tagged in zingy pink on a massive, soft shawl (more pics of this later).We set up camp in Hotel Amour – owned also by Andre (alongside the Le Baron clubs for those still unfamiliar), counted the number of explicit photos that were hanging in each of our rooms (three in mine, enough to get this old lady excited) and waited for dinner with the man himself.

Speaking of escape, I had a couple hours to burn before dinner and decided it was good a time as any to visit the Espace Culturel atop the LV flagship store on Champs Élysées. I don’t always have good ideas, so this one gets a special mention, because it’s definitely a must-go when in Paris. The current exhibit, ‘Astralis’ (available until May 11), brings together twelve artists that explore concepts behind celestial, elusive, and otherworldly themes prompting visitors to temporarily escape from their minds/bodies. Even numpties like me will understand and appreciate the curation, which – I won’t lie – is occasionally chilling/creepy. But then again I find the lack of nutella in the pantry chilling/creepy, so.

Many thanks to LV for the short but sweet journey.

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Coat – H&M. Jeans – DIY slashed Supertrash. Loafers – Hudson. Bag – Couronne. Sweater – Topshop Cardigan worn backwards. Bar bracelet – Zara. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Tiger bracelet – Kenzo. Rings – Monica Vinader.

I have but moments before the car arrives to take me and one embarrassingly large piece of luggage to Heathrow – Seoul, here I come, start heating up the food. I’m putting this up right before I run out because, if I know my mother correctly, she will compose a short but powerful message on Whatsapp reading something along the lines of those broken jeans in your blog better not be coming with you to Seoul and this time I can be all aw but I’m already in the car. No. Don’t worry ma, I’m fully anticipating to go up a dress size or even two on this trip, I’ve basically packed fifty variations of sweatpants. (엄마 청바지 꼬메지 말아쥬쎄요ㅠ) Plus, after road-testing the jeans in London and finding out getting a sore throat thanks to cold wind through the knee-holes is the very definition of irony, I’ve decided to leave it out of the packing.

On a side note, I know I’ve put this up on Facebook already but I’d really love to get some recommendations of places in Seoul – I’ve never lived there properly and the only places I know are basically the Big Ben equivalents so please do help this hipster out if you can.

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Pattern from Kim Hargreaves Scarlet pattern book, called ‘Craft‘.

C2B, C2F, KTBL, P2…

…which is not an encoded call to Starfleet, but nonetheless a new language for me this season as I enter a new domain that is sweaters and cable knitting. Before I delve into the complexity of this sort of pattern, let me just say: if I can knit, a mattress can knit. A fingerless mattress. A blind, fingerless mattress. So don’t be discouraged when I say my eyeballs were bleeding and it took literally 32 hours to do a mere 6 inches. Cable knitting follows a grid pattern, and I’m not sure if you’ve tried doing geometry homework while watching a BAZILLION movies, but it sure slows you down (duh). Especially if some of them are Italian (La vita e bella) or French (Amelie) and you get your subtitles and knitting pattern confused and end up knitting “Bongiorno principessa“, then undo the entire row afterwards. It’s all good fun though, and not at all hard if you have Youtube and some time handy, which is exactly what this Christmas was, spending it quietly in London just with the hubby.

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Ballerina flats – Josefinas

Ryan G

These navy classic ballerinas are from a Portugese brand called Josefinas, but considering how much I fondle them and dream of spring-time dates by the riverside I’ve decided to name it ‘Ryan G’ so that when the times comes I can say ‘I’m taking Ryan out for a ride’ and confuse the crap out of hubby. For now Ryan G’s in winter hibernation in a snug silk dust bag that smells like Eucalyptus.

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White candle – Diptyque ‘Cypres’. Dark candle – Dior 30 Montaigne. Cuff - Chanel ‘boy’ lego brick cuff. Rings - Monica Vinader stacking rings

I’ll count, you hide.

A couple firm favourites from 2013 that I’ll be taking into 2014: a Mikimoto circle pearl necklace that used to be my mother’s, Monica Vinader stacking rings (Baja and Diamond pave), and Chanel ‘boy’ lego brick cuff from the Cruise 13 collection. The cuff is actually on loan from the Chanel press office to ‘play’ with (their words, not mine), although the most ‘playing’ I’ve done so far with it was wrapping it with bubble-wrap and placing it in a 6-digit-code safe. Which is what I used to do with my prettier looking Barbies anyway so I guess that does count as playing.  

 

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Necklace – FHH Accessories via Lulu Guiness. (Similar here)

Come on baby light my fire

When this arrived in the mail my pyromaniac husband put it around his neck and ran around the flat giggling. I’m afraid I’m not even kidding. I swear one day he will burst into flames from sheer girliness.

 

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Striped top – c/o Gudrun Sjoden. PJ Bottoms – Gift from mummy (from Oysho, I believe)

A new surface

Ever since spilling beer all over my slightly more ‘agile’ laptop (aka not a tank) I’ve had to get out of bed, walk a meter, sit in a chair, and start my day on the internet like a normal human being. However, thanks to the recent acquisition of Microsoft Surface 2, a tablet with a handy keypad/cover that snaps onto the side, I’ve been able to return to my blissful lifestyle of a single-cell organism, that is: wake up, troll online, sleep. Some kidding aside, so far it really has boosted my level of productivity, although if you’ve e-mailed me in the past couple of months and didn’t receive a response, MY DOG ATE MY PURPLE KEYBOARD OKAY.

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Wool & the Gang ‘Ashleigh’ sweater knit kit, with custom elongated sleeves.

Chunky monkey

World, meet my first ever hand-knitted sweater! All thanks to Wool & the Gang, who generously supplied with the pattern, wool and constant cheering throughout. Their HQ happens to be located about 2 minutes walk from where I live, so sometimes I hear a ‘GO SHINI!’ which usually just turns out to be one of the teachers in the school behind my building yelling ‘NO SHITTING!’. Which, don’t get me wrong, is pretty good encouragement too because one mustn’t poop in the living room. This particular pattern didn’t take long to do (6-8 hours in total?) as the yarn is super chunky, so I’d say it’s perfect for first time sweater knitters!

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Perfume – Kenzo Flower in the Air

In the air

A whiff of the Flower in the Air takes me back to that one day in June when I took a train to Paris, rode a ferris wheel by the river, and again, then hopped back on a train and came home. A fleeting moment, that’s what it smells like, which is surprisingly lyrical compared to the usual scent pairing with my sarcastic temperament. On the skin, it’s a clean, modern scent, quite sharp at first, but settles into a comfortable floral blend of rose, gardenia… almost berry-like. I can’t wait for it to snow a little actually, I have a feeling this might be a great pairing, albeit slightly ironic.

 

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Time machine

Watch & straps – Daniel Wellington

Somehow the folks over at Daniel Wellington know about the unfortunate vintage watch I cracked with a plier three years ago, I think. Then again, it was a plier that usually does the pipes under the sink, I don’t know what I was expecting. My hand slipped and crack, a spiderweb on the watch face. A roll of duct tape was the only adhesive tapey thingy I had in the flat, and for a week I’d only know when it was 2:15. This DW set, however, comes with a tool that sings finesse: a firm nudge and it dislodges the bar from the hinges, which you then slide out the leather, and back on the hinges again. The grosgrain ribbon (that comes with a rose-gold buckle) slides through the bars, then secured. I can probably duct tape my eyes shut and do it again. Curse you plier!