ESCAPE..THAILAND’S ISLANDS-PART 2, RAILAY

Having gotten over my jet lag and effortlessly adjusted to life in Koh Samui (see Part 1, Koh Samui) I headed on down to the Andaman Coast, destination Railay.

There is 1 airport in Koh Samui, it is privately owned so flights in and out of here are not cheap like other internal Thai flights but they are quite spectacular. The airport resembles a resort with lush landscaped gardens,boutique style shopping and pretty swanky toilets!!  Passengers are ushered to the planes via the runway, in converted golf carts and the views of Koh Samui from the air are breath taking

Flight: Koh Samui to Krabi with Bangkok Air, approx 50 mins flight, £87 with in-flight snack

Krabi airport to Ao Nang by shuttle: 30 mins

Ao Nang to Railay by long boat (there is a hire booth on the beach) approx 15 mins

Railay long boats

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suitcases

Railay is accessibly only by boat and yes, you do have to climb in and out of a ‘long boat’ clutching your suitcase through the sea, but it is so worth it. Laid back, chilled and welcoming I can’t recommend it enough.  In my books it is as close to a slice of paradise as it gets. I would go there again in a heartbeat.

Railay-cove

Stayed at: Railay Bay resort and spa prices start at £150 for a double room

visited: Nang Phra beach, a beach like something out of the Jurassic period, with towering rocks, caves and stalagmites. No dinosaurs , but plenty of monkeys in the surrounding forest. It’s a busy tourist destination and at the weekends the traffic from Ao Nang to this beach is quite overwhelming, so avoid if you’re looking for solitude.

Railay stalagmites

Tham Phra Nang fertility caves, a shrine full of carved wooden phalluses

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fertility cave

walked: through The forest to Tonsai beach, welcome to the chill-out zone!

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Tonsai beach

 

Ate : fresh grilled fish at the local style restaurants between the East and West beaches

Chilled: roof top balconies of the local bars

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watched: the sunrise and the sunset

Railay sunset

indulged: in some early morning canoeing off Railay Beach and the nearby rocks. For those of you into rock climbing , this is the ultimate jungle gym

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rocks

Next: Part 3, Kamala, Phuket

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Escape… Thailand’s Islands, Koh Samui

My travel bags: The Brewer Holdall, The Angel bag 

Angel Koh Samui

Travelled with: Thai Airways from Heathrow /£750.00 return ( Mid Feb) , 12hrs to Bangkok/13 hrs return to Heathrow. Perfect service and customer care from start to finish.

Connecting flight Bangkok to Surat Thani with Thai smile £35 single ( mid Feb ), 55 mins. Great service, you even get served drinks and a snack

Bus from Surat Thani to Don Sak port, then boat to Koh Samui approx 2 hrs, spectacular scenery and air conditioned decked cabin. I chose to sit on the deck and watch the views.

temple

Mandara

Stayed at: Bandara resort and spa from £85 per night including breakfast. The breakfast is on the beach restaurant and quite spectacular, not to mention the views

Bo phut

Bophut fishing village is a 5 minute walking and is totally charming with a large selection of chill out cafes on the beach as well as restaurants and a weekly market selling just about everything from fried grasshoppers to suits.

Chaweng

sunset

Optional day trips:  Chaweng, Big Buddha

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Eat: fruit- lots of it, Fresh fish- sold by weight, grilled in front of you, Phad Thai- it’s so, so good

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Drink- Coconut Cappuccino, as many fresh coconuts as you can

Relax- enjoy the sunsets

Angel sunset

 

NEXT: Escape Thailand’s Islands, Krabi and Railay

TRAVEL JAPAN.. KYOTO IN AUTUMN

Photography and travel: Sawako Muraoka

(Featured image: Kiyomisu-Dera Temple in autumn)

Flights: JAL from Heathrow, around £600 return London-Tokyo/Haneda airport  (Arriving at Haneda Airport is very useful as it’s only a 15 min train ride into Tokyo, it takes a lot longer from Narita. There is also a little shopping village inside the airport – useful for last minute gift buying and your final noodle fix)

Bag: The Rena bag in Moss Green

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Stayed at:

  • Self catering apartment which was fully equipped with a little kitchen and washing machine. Would especially recommend if you’re staying for a few nights as it’s a lot cheaper than most hotels and you have your own kitchen. Most hotel rooms are also very small so apartments can be more comfortable.
  • Highland Shimabara Guest House Approx. £65/night –  but this varies a lot depending on season

Dine out: Traditional meal served at a Kyoto’Ryokan’  (including the prettiest plate of pickles you’ve ever seen )food 3

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food 1

Arashiyama Bamboo Groveso beautiful and the trees are so tall!

kyoto bamboo
“Ojizo San”  is what these little statues are called , you see them a lot round shrines, they are there to protect people.

kyoto statues

Fushimi inari – Shinto shrine with thousands of “tor-ii” gates lining pathways up a mountain. We didn’t make it all the way!

Kyoto shrine

 

 Travelling around Japan – with JR Pass: this is a train pass only available to people who are not resident in Japan. You can use it as often as you like and go anywhere as long as it’s on a JR train and you reserve a seat. (It doesn’t include the fastest Shinkansen called Nozomi fyi. The second fastest is fast enough though!) It costs from around £180/week. Definitely recommend getting this if you’re going to multiple places.

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Travel Japan.. part 2 to follow!

The Rena bag… with a touch of French

Location: Chelsea Harbour

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Model: Emilie R

Bag: The Rena bag in Taupe

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Coat: Sandro, Paris

Lipstick: ‘Bad blood’ by Urban Decay

Photograhy: Brian Minkoff

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All but given up on our British summer? well we certainly have at NM HQ. So, here’s a quick masterclass in how, if you are French and experiencing a London summer, you transforms our cool Rena bag into something very chic and pretty hot in just 3 easy steps:

1)Remove the detachable strap- you now have a soft, oversized clutch bag with contrast detailing around the Zips

2) Add red coat

3) Apply red lipstick

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When the British sun comes out, catch a snap of it!

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California Dreaming

As far as ‘Busman’s holidays’ go, my recent sojourn to LA served up a pretty balanced combination of work and pleasure.

For those who know me and in true ‘Nadia style’ I made sure that I maximised every minute of my 10 days, as well as every opportunity I had to enjoy the blue skies.

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Having spent the first part in Downtown LA showing our Nadia Minkoff London collection at the California Market Centre I spent the latter part visiting vineyards, driving along the coast, exploring desolate beaches, collecting moonstones ( for real) and finally back to LA for some much needed retail therapy.

My chosen ‘companion’ on this journey? The Richmond midi tote in yellow and I am happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

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Going to let the photos do the talking as they are SO good. A big thank you to Director of Photography Dennis Madden for these beautiful captures.

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My travel lowdown:

I flew out from London Gatwick  to LAX  with Norwegian Air on the brand new Dreamliner, can’t recommend enough! Return trip with luggage and x 2 meals from as little as £500

Stayed at the  Millenium Biltmore Hotel, in downtown LA. This hotel has seen more glamorous days the lobby is grand but alas the rooms are in need updating, still the location is great. Rooms start at  £150 per night.

Don’t leave downtown LA without trying Pitchoun Bakery, the raspberry croissants are as tasty as they are beautiful! You will be spoilt for choice

For some of the best handmade noodles you will ever try and an impressive selection of beers to boot visit Peking Tavern

Mexican with a twist at B.S.Taqueria, so bloody good, take me back today!

The Landsby boutique Hotel in Solvang, Scaandi interiors to die for, wanted to move in. Double rooms start at US$350 per night

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Fireside Inn on Moonstone Beach, if you are after spectacular ocean views, moonstone collecting and sea lion viewing, this is the perfect location… complete with your very own in room  fire place , Doubles start at US$ 200 per night

Rock n Fish restaurant, Manhattan Beach LA, for some regional food and super fresh fish dishes, beautifully served in this gorgeous seaside corner of LA

The Griffith Observatory, immerse yourself in La La Land, watch the stars, the Hollywood Hills, the view of LA, have a dance if you want!

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Welcome to my Geo State

‘clean lines, soft hues and functional details are key to our latest offering of bags and jewellery. Sleek and sophisticated with added zest for good measure’

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The Richmond midi in yellow

That time of year again, new season, new collection, new journey. So how did I get here?

As ever, so much thought and time goes into every detail of a new range but at the core it’s always the inspiration that dictates.

So here we go, the ‘final cut’ of my inspiration, my heartbeat which led me from the start and culminated in my very own Geo State.

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DISTILLATE-IV,-2008-Antony-Gormley

 

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ceramic-glazes-slips

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The-Laguna-Garzon-bridge,-Uruguay

trellik-tower-london-w10Trellik tower, London W10erica-wakerly-angles-wallpaper

Erica-Wakerly-Angles-Wallpaper

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Geometric print box

 

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secretsoundsecondsun.tumblr

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Liubov-Popova-Non-Objective-Composition,-c.1920

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Antony-Gormley,-Quantum-Void-III

 

And so my journey has a happy ending, a Geo state was created, from Geo basics to Geo statements. Made to punctuate and elevate each outfit, each mood and each occasion, finely crafted with a  decidedly modern edge .Come join my state!

 

Out & about with The Brixton Backpack

8Just so you don’t think we brag about our bags without good cause we do genuinely ‘test drive’ them to see if they perform up to scratch. They do need to look the part but we also take great pride in ensuring they are as functional they are good looking.  Someone gets the lucky ‘chore’ of testing  any new bag we release over a period of a week and reporting back to us.

We try and ‘test’ them in the environment where we think they will be used: travel bags go travelling, evening bags get taken out to town, tote bags go to work and as for backpacks…

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Well, backpacks are the newest babies in our range, The Brixton is the first backpack we released, designed to be small, lightweight and extremely feminine, a midi bag but worn on the back ! With plenty of pockets, draw string fastening and adjustable straps the idea was it would work from day to night, from fast paced walks to bicycle rides to car, from work to leisure.

We’re happy to share photos of the bag in action, Test-driven in the big outdoors surrounding Lake Geneva on the outskirts of Lausanne, Switzerland. It took long walks, bike rides and tram rides. From University to the sleek town centre, from lectures to concerts, weekdays, weekends, rain and shine.

 

And the verdict?

We’ve been told it is great! comfortable, useful, lightweight, secure and most importantly very much admired.

The Brixton backpack is now available in black and grey from select boutiques nationwide, from our webshop and  from Wolf & Badger. If you plan on visiting our stand at The Ideal Home Show in London Olympia, 23-27 November 2016, you could even try one out yourself, we’re quite sure you won’t want to let it go!