Shini Park’s summer escape to the Isles of Scilly
The mastermind behind Park & Cube knows how to stay stylish on a sub-tropical paradise island in the Celtic sea.
Photographer and web designer Shini Park’s journey to reach the Isles of Scilly was almost as much an adventure as the destination itself. After having made it from London to the seaside town Newquay in Cornwall, her connecting flight – a tiny 16-seater called ‘Sky Bus’ – got cancelled due to typical British summer weather (i.e. hard winds and heavy rain). After a night spent at a local motel, she took a taxi, a bus, a ferry, a speed boat and a tractor to finally arrive at the hidden jewel, 45 kilometres out in the Atlantic from Land’s End on the British mainland.
“The Isles of Scilly are unlike any other place in England. There’s a hint of Africa, a hint of the Caribbean, but it’s all encapsulated in the oh-so British.” Shini says.
Coming to Tresco, the second-largest of the isles – is like entering a new world, or perhaps going back to the old one; complete silence, deep green flora, zero cars and hardly any people. Albeit being the warmest place in Britain, the isles have not become a tourist hub.
“Before coming here, I expected to be disappointed by the pictures. I thought the weather would be grey and that it would be similar to any seaside town on mainland England,” Shini says: “It’s not very far from London, but it feels so remote and so other-worldly.”
It’s not very far from London, but it feels so remote and so other-worldly
Shini Park launched the storytelling medium Park & Cube nine years ago. What started as a side project in university – according to her “as a DIY blog with a ‘shoes-are-the-new-boys’ type of expression” – has evolved into a tiny universe of dreamy stories centring around fashion and lifestyle.
WHY IS FASHION IMPORTANT?
“Fashion is important because you can use it to be different characters and tell different stories. You can take the most basic piece and make it look intricate and interesting,” she says in an all-white look made of three shirts that she has buttoned, tied and knotted together to create a shirt dress. “It’s a playful twist on a classic,” she says with a smile.
Summer is the best time of year to visit Tresco and the Scilly Isles, because – despite the crystal-clear water, pristine white beaches and scorching sunlight – we’re still in England.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SUMMER?
“Summer is when stories are more intense, because it’s a catalyst for adventure. I love that the days are long, and I’m a July kid so I celebrate my birthday in the summer. It’s not bad that people are wearing less clothes either [laughs].”
WHAT SWIMWEAR ARE YOU INTO?
“I’m into one-pieces but I prefer it to be something special. Fun details – either it be lace-up, zippers or laser cut-out sections.”
Summer is when stories are more intense, because it’s a catalyst for adventure
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SUMMER LOOK?
“I often opt for one-stop solutions in the summer. I want it to be easy – so dresses that can double as a beach cover-up as well as a piece for city exploring are ideal. One of my favourite pieces from this trip is the polka-dot wrap dress. You can put a belt around it or layer it under a knitted jumper for slightly chiller nights. When it comes to shoes, I definitely go for comfortable slides or sandals.”
POOL OR OCEAN?
“Pool! I’m not a sand girl, and not a creature girl either. I don’t like seaweed and flies.”
BACKPACKING OR RESORT?
“Resort, but my heart is in backpacking. I’m really enticed by the all-you-can-eat buffets you get at a resort, ha ha.”
BIG CITY OR REMOTE BEACH TOWN?
“Remote beach towns, always. Big cities exhaust me.”
IF YOU COULD ONLY PACK ONE THING – WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“Scent helps me capture memories, so when I travel I try to bring a new perfume or beauty product that I haven’t tried before. I think I would only pack something like that.”
SHINI PARK’S GUIDE TO THE SCILLY ISLES
HOW TO GET THERE
“It’s not the easiest place to reach, but it’s worth it when you make the effort. It took one regular flight, a two-hour ferry ride, a short boat ride, and finally a tractor to get around on Tresco.”
WHERE TO EAT
“To my knowledge, there are only three restaurants and one grocery store on the island. The restaurants – The New Inn, The Flying Boat and The Ruin Beach Café – are really good, with scrumptious breakfasts, the best fish and chips and super sweet waitresses.”
WHERE TO BEACH
“There are beaches 15 minutes away from anywhere on the island. On the eastern coast, the beaches are secluded, white and pristine, and perfect for finding sea shells. On the western coast, there are great opportunities for surfer spotting and trying out some water sports.”
WHERE TO PONDER
”Anywhere that’s off the beaten track, which is everywhere on this island. No buildings, no people, only nature. There’s a stunning botanical garden named Abbey Gardens. As a graphic designer, I want to draw inspiration from something that’s not digital, and a garden provides boundless inspiration for patterns, shapes and colours.”
Click here to see Shini Park’s holiday packing essentials.
Click here for Shini’s guide to mastering the wet look.
Click here to see what went down last week, when we explored Tel Aviv with Andy Torres.