Blazer – Zara (similar). Culottes – ASOS. Shoes – Gianvito Rossi. Belt – Vintage LV

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Necklace – Amulette de Cartier

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Necklace – Cartier. Top & Trousers – Louis Vuitton Icon. Scarf – Zara. Bag – L.K.Bennett. Shoes – ASOS.

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Necklace – Cartier.

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Above: Hat – Chanel. Sweater - Zadig & Voltaire. Necklace – Cartier. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Heels – Malone Souliers

There’s an urban myth that flight attendants look for neatly-dressed passengers in Economy to upgrade into Business class in order to balance the weight of the plane when the flight is under-booked. That, of course, is not the reason I wear heels when I travel. I am the passenger that has breadcrumbs all over her chin and sweater before take-off because I genuinely believe that I will starve and die before they bring out the food trolley. I’m also the passenger that is virtually invisible because she’s reaching under the seat for a fallen Skittle.

ANYWAY. I may have briefly touched up on this before, but the more I travel, the more I realise how much I’m addicted to the first 24 hours of a journey: the flurry of packing, pre-flight jitters, and the view out the plane/train window, then finally landing on foreign soil and cataloguing new scents and sounds into memory. From a certain point I started to dress up for it, like I would to any anticipated event, like a good show – figured I’d be sitting for hours in the plane anyway. While I don’t think I’ve yet fully mastered the art, so far these tricks have worked for me: Frothy cashmere, a great pair of heels you can easily slip out from, and single, fuss-free jewellery like the Amulette de Cartier that won’t bring down the entire airport.

In Collaboration with Cartier; photography by KrisAtomic; Location: Booking Office at the Renaissance Hotel.

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On a tight schedule

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Five hours, Florence, one fidgety husband – what does one do when the universe deals you cards like these that aren’t compatible in any sense other than in an awkward alliteration (alligator)?

Last month I had a brief stint in Florence for a work trip, to which I took ze old ball and chain (hubby), and discovered later the itinerary was so jam-packed over the two days we only really had five hours to explore the city. Now, for those who have never been/planning to travel to Florence, I personally advise allocating at least four hours for gelato, PERIOD. Because ICECREAM. Then there’s the Duomo, David (by Michaelangelo – and not the ninja turtle), Boboli gardens, a slew of essential museums and galleries, shopping… none of which you should skip, and many of which that sadly require queuing (cue fidgety husband).

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So we decided, over a particularly parmesan-y breakfast, to simply do none of it (except gelato, bumped down to one hour, boo) and took to the streets without a plan, turning corners ad lib and frequently ending up in dead-end court yards, where EVERY SINGLE TIME, an Italian family reunion was under way*. Turns out it’s a great way to see the city, and not bad cards afterall, considering Florence is really the Joker card. Also, you do end up grazing a lot of the important bits as the historical centre of the city is only about 45 minutes-wide on foot. (But do try to graze David properly if you have time, he sure is a looker)

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Watch – Chaumet

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I’ve mentioned this before, but with all travels I try to take something new with me as a ‘beacon’ of memory – typically a perfume – but instead I decided to take my unworn Chaumet Liens watch that I had saved for a special occasion. Surely enough, what with all the time constraints on this trip and diligently having to glance at my wrist where the clock-hands danced from 12 to 5pm, the watch is now my connection to this short, but gelato-sweet, Florentine adventure. And to add to the romance, this very model (Liens) – while classic and timeless in its looks – is constructed with a state-of-the-art Swiss mechanical self-winding movement that makes soft, rhythmical tickky-tickky-tickky sound when you bring it up to your ears, or in my case, whenever I brought my camera up to my face to take a snap…

Well, isn’t this sentimental. I’m going to go have a sarcasm sandwich now.

*Come to think of it, it was the afternoon of the World Cup Italy vs. Urugauy game… so probably not anything similar to a hearty (?) Italian GodFather scene as I’d thought.

Watch – Chaumet. Hat – Hoss Intropia. Dress – ASOS (similar in yellow). Slides - Office. Bag – Saint Laurent ‘Lulu’. Earrings – Baublebar. Blazer – Zara (similar).

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Watch – Chaumet

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Watch – Chaumet

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Coat – H&M. Skirt – Next (Similar). Boots – Zara. Bag – Kurt Geiger (Similar). Turtleneck – American Apparel.

Clocking up nearly eight years in this city and having seen the fantastic variety of elements the sky had for offer (and spewed down regardless of preference) across any given season, the only way I’ve found – so far – to tell apart the damn seasons, was the flower market on Columbia Road. Granted, it’s still a pretty shoddy technique, because I’ve seen snow on sunflower petals, rainwater dousing a perfectly fine barbeque… and so on, but it seems to estimate better than anything else. Anything else, namely, being the date we’ve nominated ‘the official first day of Spring’, which I find basically as credible as me declaring: ‘From now on, I will blog diligently’. It’s Christmas-degrees on the ‘first day of Spring’; 2-week blog hiatus because of jetlag… = same unreliable shebang. At the flower market however, the tell-tale signs are in the flowers: the species, colours and sizes. While I won’t dare to boast I know my flowers, the familiar superstars coincide with the season’s traits: Daffodils, daisies and tulips quickly ensued by the sweetness Springtime; Sunflowers and Dahlias with balmy weathers of Summer… and so on. After a couple of weeks of indecisive selection of evergreens and rust-coloured hydrangeas, last week the market was suddenly flooded with yellow Billy balls and multicoloured tulips, so I picked up a bunch in the name of finally teasing the sun out from behind the clouds… now let’s wait and see if the theory sticks, shall we?

And speaking of Spring…

Looking forward to going back on this potion that always takes me back to NY. Which reminds me, the Marc Jacobs Daisy pop-up store over NYFW was apparently a wild success. As I’d imagined, the #MJDaisyChain hashtag currency overpowered the $$, an innovative social media twist that really made this campaign all the more special. Like I said before, I’d have happily tweeted my tails off for a top-up of Daisy or a piece of Langley Fox Hemingway’s Daisy-themed artwork… or a Marc Jacobs Wellington bag (DAMN). Click on the arrows to navigate the slideshow! In collaboration with Marc Jacobs Daisy (conclusion).

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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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London Fashion Week AW14

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Eudon Choi AW14

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Marios Schwab AW14

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Whistles AW14

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Burberry AW14

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Harry Styles in the house, yo

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Outfit 1 (Camel coat): Coat – Club Monaco, Muff – Topshop. Bag – Mansur Gavriel (available for pre-order!). Jeans – James Jeans. Shoes – Church’s. Lipstick – Estee Lauder.
Outfit 2 (Houndstooth coat):  Coat – Selected Femme (via ASOS). Trousers – Zara (similar here). Shoes – ASOS. Muff – Topshop. Bag – Kurt Geiger Britton bowler

Well that just whizzed by, didn’t it. Considering how every season in the past I hobbled home like a war hero, full of stories to tell the grandchildren, dangling off crutches constructed of empty Vitamin Water bottles, this season LFW just felt MUCH less eventful. In fact, it felt like I’d gone to war, hid in the bushes and waited till it was over. I suppose technically this was true, as Hyundai had been so generous to sponsor a car and I spent 70% of the time in there with the awesome driver called Arthur, who’d instantly appear with the Santa Fe from around the corner when I shone a thumbs-up emoji signal into the dark clouds. Thumbs up for ‘I’m done here, let’s get stuck in traffic and talk about motorbikes‘. Coincidentally, I got more work done in that car than a week’s worth of working from home as well, which only confirms that I only work efficiently with impending deadlines (e.g GPS announcing we’re approaching destination). I also started a new relationship with a new phone at the beginning of the week – the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (via Carphone Warehouse) – and spent the five days in honeymoon bliss, poring over improved functionalities (I’m upgrading from the Note 2) and panicked when it took two minutes, not six, to put up an Instagram photo. What does one do with extra four minutes in life?

It was a good season, and for the first time ever I felt like I saw the few shows I really wanted to see (except Mary Katrantzou, that ticket will be my Oscar). Do look out for more updates in the next few weeks. Plus, I didn’t shorten my lifespan by about twenty years by having to haul three camera lenses and a laptop the whole week. I may have grandchildren, after all!

Many thanks to Hyundai UK and Carphone Warehouse again for the extra twenty years, plus four minutes. Also, a cheeky shout-out  to Lulu Guinness and Vita Coco for the survival kits that made the car known as the ‘party car’ by my peers.