Angkor Wat

Pink purple sunrise at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Crowd with mobile phones in the dark waiting for sunrise at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia.

Angkor Wat has been somewhere I’ve longed to visit ever since I was a child. It always seemed like such an enchanting place, brimming with history and the promise of adventure. I dreamt of getting lost in its corridors, peering through windows, running my hands along pillars and carvings, and wondering what sights this ancient place must have witnessed over its lifetime.

I hadn’t been able to sleep that night, but it didn’t matter, the excitement of knowing I was finally going to see the sun rise over Angkor Wat had already kicked in and taken over. We set off from our hotel at 5am and headed into the night as our taxi driver sped off towards the site. Once we arrived we stumbled through the pitch black across the main bridge, guided by the light of the hundreds of phones and torches in front of us. As we approached, my eyes began to adjust and I could just make out the distinctive shape of the five towers in the distance. We settled ourselves in front of the reflection pool, and waited for morning to break.

The sky was very overcast that morning, and I admit I felt a twinge of sadness when I realised I wasn’t going to see one of those magnificent sunrises I’d seen in all of those travel photos I’d poured over. Instead, a hazy lilac pink wash enveloped us as the sky gradually faded from black. It wasn’t what I had pictured for all of those years, but the dusky colours and soft early morning light gave it a magical, otherworldly quality.
 

Early morning light sunrise at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Steps at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Monkey eating fruit at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Detail of carvings at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Stones labeled for renovation Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Details of carvings female dancers at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Monk at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Doorways at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Close up detail of carving inscription Khmer script at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Headless buddha statues at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Doorway Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Man with horse at Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia. Hot Air Ballon over Angkor Wat temple complex Siem Reap Cambodia.

Despite the number of people crowded around the pool as the sun rose, once we were inside the temple it felt much more relaxed. This is in part because a lot of people leave after the sunrise and return later in the day, but also because of the size of the site. I knew Angkor Wat was a huge complex, but I don’t think you can truly realise quite how vast it is until you’re standing there.

I went off by myself to explore as Nat stayed by the shrine, and whilst walking through the corridors there were moments where it felt like I had the place all to myself. I stopped to take a break and sat down on top of a platform by one set of stairs, as I looked out across the grounds I couldn’t see or hear a single other person. It was so peaceful and one of my favourite moments, one I remember telling myself to really drink in and savour.

The site itself was everything I had imagined. I felt like a child again as I stood in complete awe, viewing the same sights I’d devoured photos of through my own eyes. We spent most of the morning there, but I could honestly have stayed all day. It really deserves at least half a day to properly appreciate.

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Arura

Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Arura cable knit t-shirt jumper, H&M skirt, Rick Owens wedge boots. All black street style outfit. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Arura cable knit t-shirt jumper. Street style outfit details. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Arura cable knit t-shirt jumper, H&M skirt, Rick Owens twill drape jacket, Rick Owens wedge boots. All black street style outfit. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens black leather wedge boots. All black street style outfit details. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Arura cable knit t-shirt jumper, H&M skirt, Rick Owens twill drape jacket, Rick Owens wedge boots. All black street style outfit.

Arura is a newly launched luxury knitwear brand based in Leicester. Their pieces are made in the UK, crafted from the finest quality yarns and produced in limited numbers, making these real forever pieces. Leicester has a long and rich history of knitwear production, so it’s really wonderful to see a new label emerge here and breathe new life into this sadly dwindling scene in the city.

This ‘Sofiya’ tee is knitted from the softest charcoal merino wool and features a unique geometric cable knit pattern to the front. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a short sleeved jumper before, but I definitely feel like I’ve been missing out now. It’s perfect for this inbetween kind of weather we’re having right now, where I can never seem to decide if I’m too cold or too warm. It’s also ridiculously snuggly, with a tight but comfy fit, which makes it feel like I’m in a cozy little cocoon that I never want to take off.

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Naska

Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens Naska blistered lamb leather jacket, Helmut Lang drape skirt, Kurt Geiger saturn boots, Balenciaga city bag. All black street style outfit. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens Naska blistered lamb leather jacket, Helmut Lang drape skirt. All black street style outfit details. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens Naska blistered lamb leather jacket, Balenciaga city bag, Le Lou Ula & Birds N Bones silver claw rings. All black street style outfit details. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens Naska blistered lamb leather jacket, Helmut Lang drape skirt, Kurt Geiger saturn boots, Balenciaga city bag. All black street style outfit. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens Naska blistered lamb leather jacket, Helmut Lang drape skirt, Kurt Geiger saturn boots, Balenciaga city bag. All black street style outfit. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens Naska blistered lamb leather jacket, The Silver Cafe druzy topaz crystal necklace. All black street style outfit details. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Rick Owens Naska blistered lamb leather jacket. All black street style outfit details.

If you were to ask me when I first fell in love with this jacket, I’m not sure I could tell you. It has been this almost mythical, holy grail piece ever since I first became interested in fashion and it was the first item I ever deeply longed to own. I would spend hours pouring over photos of off-duty models and celebrities wearing theirs, giving off this effortless kind of cool, and sit thinking of all the things I would do if only I owned that jacket.

After years upon years of wanting, I can finally say the Rick Owens Naska jacket in buttery, blistered lamb is mine. Since it arrived I’ve dreamily touched it and tried it on more times than I can count. Yesterday I sat in my bedroom editing these photos in it, just because.

There’s something about the cut of this jacket that has always captivated me. The relaxed wide collar, elegant tails, super slim fit and asymmetric fastening create a piece that is both edgy, but classic too. A go with anything staple that will instantly add a little flair and drama to any outfit without being too overt.

The blistered lamb leather is also one of the most gorgeous finishes I have ever come across. It feels almost more like cloth than leather, and the crackled, textured finish catches the light so beautifully. It’s much lighter and thinner than I had imagined, but yet it doesn’t feel delicate either. It has this softness and a relaxed, slouchy kind of drape that moulds to the body and hangs so perfectly that its as if it’s been cut especially for me.

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Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Banteay Srei Siem Reap Cambodia beautiful forest countryside with buffalo. Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Banteay Srei Citadel of Women beautiful carved pink sandstone Hindu temple in Siem Reap Cambodia.

Banteay Srei is a small, but breathtaking 10th-century temple complex built from solid pink sandstone and nestled within the Cambodian forest. Dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shiva, it’s also known as the ‘Citadel of Women’ and is renowned for the beauty of the intricate carvings which cover the walls like a tapestry. It’s considered by many to be a jewel in the crown of Angkorian art and architecture, and features some of the most beautiful and detailed carvings from the ancient world.

As we made our way through the trees along sandy paths, we passed buffalo roaming next to the baray. We reached Banteay Srei just as the sun was beginning to descend, bathing the pink stone in a beautiful golden hour glow. We hadn’t expected it to be so small. It looked like a perfectly formed miniature of the others, as if it had come straight from a fairytale. I can only imagine how magical this place must have looked and felt as a place of worship, before it was abandoned and left to the forest.

The crumbling structure, blackened from years of weathering still holds some magic though. The delicate carvings depicting Hindu epics and tales have been so beautifully preserved, and the detail they contain is completely enchanting. It’s often said that this place was named ‘Citadel of Women’ not only for its beauty and grace, but also because these delicate carvings could only have been created by female hands.

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Cowl

Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing H&M cowl knit tunic, All Saints wrap belt, Jones Bootmaker yazmin biker boots, Regal Rose Rua labradorite choker necklace, Elemental Luxury phantom quartz rings. All black street style outfit. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Elemental Luxury black phantom quartz rings. Outfit details. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing H&M cowl knit tunic, All Saints wrap belt. All black street style outfit details. Dark style fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing H&M cowl knit tunic, Regal Rose Rua labradorite and gunmetal chain choker necklace. Outfit details.

We’re almost in May and the last days of spring, and yet we’ve still only had a handful of days that have been warm enough to step outside without a jacket. So, I’m trying to make the most of them in case this is all we get!

I’ve had a bit of a field day with the H&M sale lately and picked up a bunch of great basics, plus a few slightly more interesting pieces like this cowl tunic. If the weather here understood what spring was, I’d say it’s the perfect spring piece – light and airy, with a little extra warmth to keep the chilly breeze out.

Also, for some reason I haven’t been able to take off this string bracelet. A monk tied it around my wrist whilst we were visiting a temple in Thailand and since then I’ve become oddly attached to it, even more so the tattier it gets. I’m not religious myself, but I really can’t bring myself to cut it off. Maybe I’m just trying to cling on to my holiday for as long as possible or maybe it holds some subconscious significance, either way, I think I’m going to leave it until it falls off by itself.

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