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On Friday, June 23...

I got on a plane to fly to London for a two-week holiday. On that same day, 12 young footballers from Chiang Rai and their assistant coach entered Luang cave for what was supposed to be a get-together to celebrate one of the boys' birthday. During my time away I visited several parts of the UK, went to Prague, saw the sights, ate great food and celebrated the wedding of my brother's son. During the same period the 13 souls at Luang cave spent their time in almost complete darkness with hardly anything to eat and drinking water by licking the drops trickling from the rocks. How much more different can my experiences and what they went through be? 

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Perhaps that’s why the whole cave saga resonated so deeply with me and I couldn’t get enough news on their progress. Thank goodness for social media and news live feeds. It was weird that our adventures came to an end at pretty much the same time. The weekend that I landed back at Suvarnabhumi the first four boys were brought out from the cave, followed by the next four on the following day and the last four and their coach the day after. Their happy ending became my happy ending.

It happened because of the combined efforts of a multitude of players from local and international experts to volunteers, professionals to amateurs, heroes everyone who never gave up hope. This feel-good story would have been perfect if it hadn't been for the sad loss of the former Navy Seal Saman Gunan. But it is still the kind of story that is sorely needed in this time of big divisions around the world and the reason it became a global cause celebre, without the controversy. For me especially it serves to highlight the triumph of humankind against adversity, showing that we can pull through no matter what if we work together.   

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The Chanel Arcade

As you can imagine, being on leave for two weeks doesn’t make you want to jump back into work. But it had to be done, especially since there was a pile waiting for me. I couldn’t go to every event to which I was invited, but I did make it to two beauty and two food happenings last week. To mark the launch of its Rouge Coco lip blush, Chanel unveiled its pop-up Coco Game Center at Erawan Bangkok. It really is a game centre, with arcade games developed around Chanel’s beauty products which clients can enjoy while they test and buy their favourite pieces. The pop-up is ongoing until July 30.

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Trying my hand at the COCO Game Center driving ride

Sephora Fall Preview

Another beauty event that I always enjoy is the Sephora seasonal previews. It’s a great opportunity to find out what are the latest products and trends. The theme for the fall 2018 collections at W Bangkok was Super Ingredients, presenting new skincare brands Kopari, star Skin and Sunday Riley and makeup brands Marie Dalgar and Pretty Vulgar. Ladies, shimmer and glitter are still in and many of the brands featured this in most of their products. Also, did you know a company calls This Works has sprays that can help you to fall asleep? Being a bit of an insomniac, I picked up a can of its newest offering, Sleep Power Nap Spray, and will let you know the result after testing it out.    

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At the Sephora fall preview; my favourite This Works sleep products

The New Marriott On Surawongse

If you haven’t been to the newly opened Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse, you need to check it out. Who would think that on that congested stretch there is a large, spacious property which features all the comforts of a luxury hotel? My first visit there was for the Japanese Pastry promotion by chef Ibuki Matsumoto whose Japanese-style tea set offers so many delectables that you won’t need dinner after that. And it’s only 650 baht per person. The chef also conducts a cooking class for those interested in Japanese pastries. The promotion is on until July 21 only.

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Chef Ibuki Matsumoto demonstrating pastry-making

And finally, dinner at InterContinental Bangkok’s Fireplace Grill. This institution in Bangkok’s fine dining scene celebrates its half-century milestone by partnering with Michelin-starred French chef Jean-Marc Banzo. Working with chef de cuisine Sebastien Reischer, they have come up with five-course and seven-course tasting menus with wine pairing by master sommelier Ashley Ziegler. I am trying to cut down on carbohydrates and sugar, which wasn’t too difficult with the delicious dishes that were presented.

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Chefs Sebastian Reischer and Jean-Marc Banzo

Alexander Lamont

To round off the week, I also stopped by at the new Alexander Lamont showroom at Gaysorn for an update on its Intarsia collection. The furniture and lighting pieces were presented in Milan at Fuorisalone 2018. Alex was there to take me around and it was informative to find out about the painstaking work involved in creating each piece of furnishing. All the work is done in Thailand with Alex himself taking care of everything from design to marketing with some help from his wife Alexandra. The products are a great testament to the skilled craftsmanship of Thai artisans.
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Alexander Lamont and his design

(Previously: Naphalai's Diary: June 18-24)