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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 a practically 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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Blouse & Bag – Chloe. Skirt – Karen Millen. Bracelet – Miansai. Watch – Larsson & Jennings

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A video diary: the first day of London Fashion Week

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Rewind, play.
A Shopstyle x Harrods video, produced by The Apartment

As you can see, I make a brilliant habit of dropping my cool like a hot potato whenever a camera is shoved in my face. I mean, slow-dancing with food and suggesting a celebrity threesome is, really, any old day in the life of this insane chipmunk, but no one’s ever successfully recorded it so… yes, let’s report this cool lost. (Although, I suppose one can argue that I never had any cool to begin with.)

Weeks before the ‘fashion’ baton was handed over to London, I sat down with team Apartment, Shopstyle, and Harrods, in the plans of animating a typical London Fashion Week day for me. Many a scenario we had mapped out: breakfasts, fittings, shows, re-sees, melt-downs on account of London traffic and even a spot of work (!). But me being me, famously sporting a rather potent gravitational field of tomfoolery, on the actual day of the shoot we ended up rewriting the agenda (on the back of a Pret bag, with old eyeliner found at the bottom of my bag), and indulged all kinds of tangents… like running into the nearest McDonalds to use the loo and coming out with a box of McNuggets. In Balmain. (Shhh don’t tell Harrods) In the end though, I do think it turned out to be a more natural rendition of what a LFW day looks like every season after season: the mad conflict of schedules vs. spontaneity, with snacks and gossip at the Apartment in between it all.

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Jacket – Balmain.

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Jacket – Chloe . Bag – Marni. Stole – ASOS. Trousers – Zara. Shoes – Gianvito Rossi.

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Photos by Kris Atomic, Simon Schmidt and Shini Park. In Collaboration with Shopstyle.

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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Area rug – Ugg Australia. Top – Zara. Jeans – Topshop

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You know me: the perpetual homebody, king of pillow fort, dungeon dweller… I’d choose spending ten days socializing with my (half-wilting) cacti over one potential great night out in civilization, and I find eating a mysterious something scraped out of the far end of a freezer drawer equally rewarding as finding a hot-spot in town. I love being home – that’s the simple truth. It was what shaped a career into webdesign, and later, blogging – because it was all homework and as long as I had three-legged friends and some Skype credit, it was party 24/7.

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Loungewear bottoms – Ugg Australia

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Loungewear bottoms & sheepskin slippers – Ugg Australia

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I had fallen in love with this London flat on the first viewing with the estate agent, and despite the concrete floors/absolutely no storage space to speak of, I decided I wanted it before he even had a chance to bring up the occasional mouse problem. I then told him heck, cacti AND mice*, I’m going to be some kind of a socialite here and took the flat. For the ensuing four years it was a mission in homemaking, warming up the cold, grey floors with woolly, sheepskin bits – mostly from the Home department of UGG Australia (there goes my best-kept interiors secret) – and adding life to the walls by way of books and DVD, sorted by colour (which BTW makes no logical sense). Looking back it was really this gentle accumulation of things that made a clothing factory-conversion loft, a home.

Plaid melange pillow cover, sheepskin rug and knit pillow (opposite) – Ugg Australia

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It was with this realization that I decided to partner up with UGG Australia in sharing the warmest corners of my loft, and also some physical evidence as to how naps can genuinely be accidental (and totally avoidable – just play ‘floor is lava’ with the sheepskin-covered areas). For example, that grey rug happens to be my little Bermuda triangle, because apparently once you hit the sheepskin sack, you never go back (close cousin to once you snack, you never go back).

In collaboration with Ugg Australia. Photography: Mr Tripod & help from Koo
*ONE tiny mouse in the whole of four years, which basically rounds down to no mouse.