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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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Samsonite Cosmolite

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Quilted jacket – Barbour. Shearling vest – Muubaa. Bag – Couronne.

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Coat – Mango. White Jeans – AG Jeans. Shoes – Isabel Marant. Scarf – Zara.

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Coat – Mango. Boots – Margiela for H&M. Bag – Mansur Gavriel. Scarf – Acne (Similar).

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Coat – Mango (blazer version). Boots – Margiela for H&M. Bag – Mansur Gavriel. Scarf – Acne (Similar).

Two weeks in Seoul boiled down to a mere 30 photos – yeah, either I’ve had my chronic indecisiveness miraculously cured, or someone broke into the flat during the night and magically edited down the lot. If it’s the latter I also wish they touched me before sneaking out. All kidding aside, once I’d dealt with the two-freaking-thousand files that choked up the ‘SEOUL 2014’ folder, I found myself at a bind, because even with a more manageable bunch my time in Seoul was just too big, dynamic, entertaining, nostalgic, and exotic to ‘boil down’ into one sweeping summary.

Over the two weeks, I reconnected with friends and relatives I hadn’t seen in about seven years, and visited my grandmother who fed me the same type of fried fish she used to hide inside my spoonful of rice when I was little; then my Caucasian husband arrived midway through, and together the city was suddenly an exotic new ground with every corner fascinating. All in all I found: the people supremely enjoyable, the fashion essential, and the food unbearably sexy. Tradition and modernity co-exist in great harmony, which is something I particularly adored this time round – especially how the young people embrace and pride in the heritage…

I do realize I’m technically tooting my own people’s horn here and may not be the best person to lend impartial image of the city but then again you’re not here for impartial reviews, are you?! Because in the next post I’m going to rave about honey pancakes and outline why it’s the bestest thing in the world  and you’re not allowed to ask what about donuts and macarons. 

A huge thanks to Samsonite (x Fashiolista) for the great adventure – do check out how I packed for Seoul, the first 24 hours, and more photos from the trip in the visual diary on Fashiolista.

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Instagram @parkncube

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Coat – Cotton (Korean store). Sweater – Zara (similar). Black jeans – James Jeans. Boots – Kurt Geiger. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Rings – Monica Vinader. Bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim. Luggages – Samsonite Cosmolite.

Working my way back slowly through this MA-HOOSIVE backlog and realizing that, while I’ve now officially earned the Worst Blogger in History title (I’d like to thank the hobo academy for the consistent support and encouragement…), it really is a pleasure to re-live some bits from the past few months through mere snaps. Bits like, the giddy first 24 hours of travel where you arrive at the airport, clumsily hustling three Samsonite rolling trunks that contain a clever edit – or so you think then- of your belongings, unsoiled and expertly rolled. You’re in some 4-inch heels too, because comfort isn’t particularly an important currency at this stage – well, aren’t you sitting for the next eleven hours? I always travel in heels. At the check-in desk the bags are fared well, and in exchange you receive a slip with promises of grand adventure, and secretly hope the guys at border security don’t mind that you’re smuggling in butterflies in your stomach.

I’m blowing off the layer of dust on the rest of the Seoul photos, so watch this space for more from my January past. Let’s Benjamin Button for a couple of weeks, shall we? 

A huge thanks to Samsonite (x Fashiolista) for the adventure – do check out how I packed for Seoul, and a short visual diary on Fashiolista if you want a head start.

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Video shot with help from Abi, edited by Fashiolista. Wearing: Sweater – H&M. Jeans – DIY Slashed Supertrash. Shoes – Hudson. Coat – H&M. Bag – L.K.Bennett Rosamund

I do apologise for the radio silence of late, I’ve been struggling to tackle jetlag for the past two weeks or so, while being absolutely useless in either timezones. In a nutshell, it means I’ve been having six meals a day and taking the circle line in the subway like a hobo to sit and nap. I think I’ve only just managed to calibrate to the correct time-zone and apparently we’re leaving tomorrow. KILL ME.

So here’s a quick one today with a packing video I shot with Samsonite & Fashiolista; also to say that I’m alive, and that Seoul is amazing.

Pack your bag

Don’t forget, pack your own bag here with Samsonite to win a Cosmolite suitcase and a 250EUR worth of Topshop voucher for your next world adventures!

In collaboration with Samsonite x Fashiolista.

Silk blouse – Make Lemonade Shop, Sweatercoat – ZARA, Leather dress – Vintage, Nude heels – Kate Kanzier, Bag – Vintage thru Etsy

For those who don’t follow me on Twitter or my worldwide telepathic broadcasting (how could you not?) I’ve been in Seoul, South Korea (The country next to Sweden for those who missed out on Geography in Highschool) since the 30th of March. Since then I’ve been hustled around relatives’ houses meeting grandma 1,2, uncle & aunt #1, 2, 3, 4, 5…. Let’s just put it this way, my dad has 4 siblings and my mother has 5 – and I only packed heels.

I’ve had a chance to attend the last two days of Seoul Fashion Week as well, courtesy of Adrienne & Lynette of Kokokoreano, and soon will be bombarding this place with 2 days’ worth coverage. Brace yourselves, I know how hard it was during London Fashion Week.

Thank you Kit of Style Slicker for snapping these photos for me. Man, you’re good.