Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My Ideal Weekend Getaway in Shanghai

 (in assoc. with Carlson Shanghai)

Club Carlson Shanghai got in touch with me to outline MY IDEAL WEEKEND IN SHANGHAI. I've lived in Shanghai for nearly three months now, and I am still discovering new parts of the city every week. I can only speak up til now, but I think I have  found some of the best highlights of the city, both the tourist attractions worth visiting and the best-kept secrets. I've separated it into days for easy reading.


FRIDAY


Check-in to the Radisson Blu and get your first glimpse of the all-enticing Asian metropolis. If your room view isn't enough, try the 360 views in their restaurant. Head to nearby East Nanjing Road (or, even better, avoid the 'more Western' brands that you would find back home and walk parallel to it; Jiujiang Rd or Hankou Rd). 

Here you'll find independent coffee shops, Shanghai's Foreign Languages Bookstore, and, my personal favourite, the very individual postcard shop located in the lobby of Captain Hostel on Fuzhou Road. After spending anything from half an hour to two hours strolling through these streets, you'll arrive at the iconic Bund - the colonial architecture on the river front - which dramatically contrasts the skyline in Pudong.

If the street food wasn't enough - roasted chestnuts, fried dumplings, tofu, corn on the cob - then it's time to experience my all-time favourite way to eat in China: malatang (麻辣汤). Ask at the Radisson Blu front desk for your nearest, and dip your head as you walk into a restaurant filled with locals (when in Shanghai..., or, in Chinese, 入乡随俗!). There's a fridge full of baskets with raw vegetables, tofu, noodles and meat - pick the food that most appeals and it will be cooked for you on the spot in a broth. Alternatively, if you're looking for something a little more formal, check out spicy Sichuan Hot Pot.

For Friday night, as far as I am concerned the only place to be is Monkey Champagne for an amazing Hip Hop DJ set and an amazing vibe. It's located in the French Concession, so there are plenty of bars to check out before going into the club. If you're craving something sweet after dinner, don't miss Bistro Burger's milkshakes (or, for the adventurous, their Spiked Milkshakes).






SATURDAY


After last night, it's time to have a healthy brunch wake up: head straight to Element Fresh. It's got an amazing brunch menu as well as deliciously filling salads, as well as some Chinese classics. 

If you're into shopping, West Nanjing Road has a good variety of high-end and high street, as well as some exclusively Chinese brands. The street is also a gorgeous place to stroll down. Alternatively, if you'd rather do something a little more concrete, Tianzifang 田子坊 is a maze of independent boutiques, stalls, eateries and much more. It's a great insight into all the weird and wonderful things China has to offer. 

In the afternoon, take a moment out of the hectic pace of Shanghai and relax into the peaceful Yu Gardens. They're traditional Chinese gardens dating back to Ming dynasty. (Around Yu Gardens there are also amazing shopping opportunities in the 'bazaar', from souvenirs to precious stones and everything in between). 

Head back to the French Concession in the evening and try out Dr. Wine. They've got the best wine list in Shanghai and the food is perfect for sharing; crusty pizzas, chicken skewers and cheese plates. It's very atmospheric.
(If you fancy going to a club again, Bar Rouge or M1NT on the Bund are surreal; cheap cover fee, and each with its own selling point: Bar Rouge is a roof top bar on the Bund, M1NT has a shark tank...)





SUNDAY



Go for breakfast in Jing'An, an area with a genuine feel about it and good eating options. My favourite is Sumerian (the coffee, the cookies and the bagels are amazing). Get there earlyish as the tiny airy space fills up on weekends. 

Sunday is cultural day, and for this head straight to M50 (by Metro or by taxi). The area is a creative art district and is as exhilarating as it is fascinating. Spend as long or as little as you like here, but you can't visit Shanghai without seeing this individual part of the city. The Rockbund Art Museum is also a great option. 
Alternatively, check out a temple such as the gold Jing'An temple

The weekend getaway is coming to an end, so sample as much street food as you can and get ready to keep reliving moments from this weekend for a very long time.




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Ph. courtesy of me and here.
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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Something Special


MANGO coat, ZARA cropped jumper (similar), ZARA shirt(similar), UNIQLO trousers
H&M and ACCESSORIZE jewellery ZARA clutch, MARKET  shoes

These amazing Stella-inspired shoes - unsurprisingly - caught my eye as I was walking through the Shanghai metro station the other day. (Yes, Shanghai is so consumerist that there are even plenty of independent boutiques within the bigger metro stations - Heaven forbid we couldn't shop during the commute). At the time I tried them on with classic blue jeans and a white structured top and it was a complete YES moment. 

I have been set the tricky task of straying away from Zara items on Piece by Piece for a bit - initially a little hard to fathom, now I'm quite relishing finding out what lies beyond my usual horizons (/ Zara shop front). Note: it doesn't count if I already owned it i.e. a few items in this post. Uniqlo is massive here in Shanghai, I'm enjoying discovering their amazing basics and their colour palette is on point as far as I am concerned. I'm pretty interested in their cashmere and oversized slouchy knitwear

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Trend Watch | Double Strap Bags



Practical

(Clockwise from top left):


I don't know whether it's Asian fashion subconsciously dripping into my brain but recently I've started to do double-takes on passer-by's DOUBLE STRAP BAGS. It may also be that recently bought that cray cray neon Jansport backpack for weekend trips and - having used it a couple of times when my things wouldn't fit in my trusty tote - found that we, the female gender, are being completely conned into using and desiring bags that cause us pain! Which has led me to stroll around campus with my neon backpack completely clashing with everything I ever wear (Oh dear).
The above examples should show that we really don't need to sacrifice style for comfort, and the variety is endless: leather, neon, metallics, smart, casual, vintage... So I, for one, can't wait to start on this exciting, pain-less, sartorial chapter.

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Leather

ZARA trench (similar), VINTAGE shirt, ASOS leather trousers (similar), ZARA bag (similar)
BIRKENSTOCK sandals, ZARA earrings

Autumn is upon us - finally! - and it's time for textures to change. The coats are coming out, woolly knits, long scarves and... leather. Apart from a skirt here and there, summer and leather rarely have an amicable relationship. (even in the cold here cycling in (p)leather is a bit of a struggle!) Shanghai seems to be skipping autumn and going straight into winter, so I better pull out all the stops... And those Birkenstocks have already been placed at the back of the wardrobe! 

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

New In | Footwear

PRIMARK leopard print slip-ons, MANGO croc flats

I've gone footwear crazy recently and can't seem to lust over anything useful (such as thick jumpers, new jeans, gloves), instead my mind has been drawn again and again to footwear. While back in Manchester for a week last month I treated myself to these two pairs of shoes which so totally fit in with my personal style and I know I will wear til they break! 

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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Second Glance









Recently I've been about understated outfits, those that you need to take a second glance to properly appreciate; maybe it's a subtle zip, an unusual combination of textures or maybe some an outfit so simple and sporty you might as well be Scandi/ Phoebe Philo. It's no secret that I am a frequently won over by the simplicity and modernity of sports luxe, especially when teamed with a pair of battered old Adidas All Stars I used to wear to back in school. 

Who says you have to pick between fashion and comfort? That very nod to Scandinavian fashion and the ultimate style icon Philo prove the opposite. 

P.S. These photos were taken back in August in my hometown... I miss that light, the warmth coming out of the pictures, the white washed walls and that Benaoján-specific vegetation.

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Ph. by Roo Chapell Elkin
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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Wishlist | Which City Are You?



This season's all about customising and now Nike is giving us the chance by way of location: which city are you? Paris, Tokyo, Milan, NYC, London or Shanghai? 

Emulating the six most influential and stylish capitals of the world, Nike gives you the chance to determine your allegiances. Effortless simplicity, a hint of slogan influence and colour blocking... it's no surprise these are on my 'want' list. The silver embroidery adds a welcome touch of luxe.
I've gone a bit footwear-crazy recently (more on that another time) - and these slides are no exception. 

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