Top Tips for Travelling in South Korea

If you’ve been reading me recently, you’ll know that I went to South Korea! I had an absolutely incredible time, and definitely picked up some tips and tricks along the way. If you’re thinking of going, make sure you have a read!

Subway/public transport stops at midnight. We learnt this the hard way and had to get a cab home to our airbnb – we got there in the end but our taxi driver spoke zero English so it definitely was a mission! Although everything is open quite late, just be prepared that the subway stops at midnight. Speaking of, have your address screenshotted on a map on your phone – if I hadn’t done this who knows how we would have gotten home!

Get the subway app. This app is a lifesaver and will make your train trips so much smoother. Once you get the hang of the trains you get where you need to go a lot quicker!

Not everyone can speak English. There is some weird misconception that because everyone learns a bit of English at school, everyone can speak it. This. Is. Not. True. In touristy areas, sure, a lot of people can speak to you, but for the most part you end up communicating with pointing, looking at registers for prices, etc. A little politeness goes a long way, so learning the basics (hello, thank you, etc) really made our trip a lot better. You can see people’s eyes light up when you say thank you in their language!

You will get stared at. If you are coming from a Western country, you may not be used to this, but definitely as a couple of white girls speaking English, we had people stare at us all the time, especially in areas further out from Seoul. It’s not an issue at all as no one means any harm by it, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind when travelling!

The KTX at peak hour will not reserve seats for you and you will have to stand. When we caught the KTX to Busan, we thought we had seats both there and return, but when we went to board at 5.30pm to go back to Seoul, we were told we’d have to stand in the sections between carriages. We made it work by sitting on the floor (someone near us actually stood and slept the whole time – how???), but it’s 2 & 1/2 hours that would be better of sitting through. Moral – don’t expect a seat if you’re catching the KTX at peak hour.

WiFi is pretty much everywhere, so you don’t need an international simcard. The subways, most major shopping spots, starbucks, etc – everyone has WiFi. We got on just fine with screenshotted directions, our subway map and WiFi hot spots. Save your money!

Use blogs – there are blogs on directions from/to everywhere! Any time we wanted to go and see anything (especially places related to K-pop or K-drama, specific stores, etc) we just looked up someone’s blog and found exact directions with landmarks and everything. It worked a treat for us!

 

If you’re going to see DMZ, do the JSA too. The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) is cool and all, but the really cool part is the Joint Security Area where you “technically” get to cross the border into North Korea. If you’re interested in going, make sure you book a tour (they aren’t that expensive!) and get both places in there. They take you to a whole heap of different locations and help you out with what is customary to do when visiting and facts.

Food is super cheap, so take advantage of it! Go to grocery stores and get a whole heap of snacks to try as well as eating the local food. The street food in areas like Myeongdong and Hongdae is also amazing!

Stay at an Airbnb instead of a hotel. They are really cheap (I think around AUD$250 pp for our 8 nights there) and very secure. Seoul is a very safe city and our Airbnb host made sure we felt as comfortable as possible.

Google Maps doesn’t work properly (satellites, North Korea, etc), so download Naver Map which is the Korean version of Google Maps for all your directions.

Do a layover tour! Depending on where you’re coming from, Seoul usually requires a stopover somewhere, and for us it was Beijing. For around USD$100, we got a personal driver to take us to the Great Wall of China and Tienanmen Square, because why not! Put your layovers to good use and visit another country while you’re at it.

Check out my most recent posts; October Favourites & Korea Haul!

Zoe x

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Top Tips for Travelling in South Korea

Korea Haul!

As you would know if you read me/follow my instagram/whatever, I recently went to South Korea and absolutely loved it! My bank account, however, did not love it as much because I went a bit mental on buying skincare and kpop related merch…

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I bought this bag from a market in Hongdae, it was 10,000 won (about AUD$10)

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These are clear glasses from the 8-floor Daiso in Myeongdong

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Pore strips – Daiso | All masks were samples from other stores

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CORSX Pimple Patches (from A-Land), Nexcare Pimple Patches in Kakao Friends Tin (from Olive Young)

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Brown eyeliner – Etude House, Palette from Daiso, Club Clio Prism Single Eyeshadow

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Tony Moly Blackhead Steam Balm, Etude House Lash Serum

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They had these socks in stalls everywhere for amazing prices, and I got a heap more than what is shown here – Gudetama & Totoro

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K-Pop merch – SHINee jumper & EXO The War Poster Book from SM Store at Coex Mall, BTS Wings album from market in Myeondong, BTS Jimin & V socks from markets.

I got a tonne more dumb kpop stuff (photocards, etc) but I won’t bore you with that!

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SHINee waterbottle from Coex Mall SM Cafe – 9,000 won with drink inside

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I picked up in Seoul!

Check out my most recent posts; My Week In South Korea & Overseas In-Flight Essentials!

Zoe x

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Korea Haul!

My Candle Collection

I have always loved candles. There is something so relaxing about striking a match or turning the wheel of a lighter and putting the flame to a wick, then filling your space with a warm, ambient glow and beautiful fragrance. I used to be one of those people who bought $3 candles from the dollar store and collect millions of them, but I have come to understand the scents I truly love and now stick to buying a select few good quality candles. I hope you enjoy my collection as much as I have enjoyed collecting it!

Sweet, Vanilla Scents
-Merry Cookie (Bath & Bodyworks)
-Vanilla Bean (Bath & Bodyworks)
-Vanilla Snowflake (Bath & Bodyworks)
-Warm Apple Pie – Mini (Bath & Bodyworks)
Merry Cookie – Mini (Bath & Bodyworks)

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Floral Scents
-Honolulu (Dusk) – Franjipani Scented
-Fresh Cut Lilac (Bath & Bodyworks)

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Fresh Scents
-Light My Fire (Typo)
-Dusk Candle (unnamed, smells exactly like the Typo one)
-Relaxation (Dusk)

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Musky Scents
-Manhattan – Little Black Dress (Glasshouse)

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I keep all my candles in my bedside table shelf, so they don’t get too hot.

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What’s your favourite candle scent?

Check out my recent posts; September Favourites & October Bullet Journal

Zoe x

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My Candle Collection

September Favourites | 2017

September has come and gone in an absolute whirlwind. Now it’s October – middle of Spring for us in Australia (most days are nearing 30 degrees which I’m VERY happy about) and I leave for overseas in just over 20 days. Where is this year going?! I’ve loved a heap of things this month, so keep reading to find out what!

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson

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If you like psychology, murder mysteries, generally great non-fiction writing – read this. This has been on my list for AGES and I finally got around to reading it this month and I loved it. Super interesting book!

Invisible Planets – Ken Liu

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Another book, but this is an anthology of Chinese science-fiction short stories. Might sound strange, but my friend lent this to me and I really enjoyed it. Most of the stories are dystopian (if you’ve read me for a while you know I’m a sucker for anything dystopian) and are incredibly beautiful and thought provoking. So many cultures and countries have incredible stories written, and it’s unfortunate that they usually aren’t translated for us to read. Pick up this book if you like reading, you won’t regret it!

Image & purchase here

Zoella Gateau Range

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I grabbed both the body spray and shower sauce from the summery Zoella range and (besides the original scent) it is my favourite scent she’s ever done! It’s pomegranate and elderflower, so it’s perfect for us Southern Hemisphere folk going into spring and summer. If you can get your hands on it, go and smell it – such a wonderful scent!

OGX Weightless Oil Mist

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I tried this for the first time this month and really enjoyed it! It does exactly what it says it does, and hydrates without looking greasy. It also smells amazing! OGX is a great brand that’s definitely worth the hype.

IKEA Panda

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I bought this little glowing panda from IKEA a while ago now, but I really like having him accompany me when I’m writing long into the night. He glows green to blue and you can pause him at your favourite colour. He’s such a cute addition to any room 🙂

Binaural Beats

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This has become one of my new favourite ways to meditate! You must listen to this with headphones on, but it gets you into a meditative state after only a few minutes. You can read up on the science about it here.

Glitch

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Season 2 of the Australian Sci-Fi drama Glitch just came out and I binged it in two days! Such a good show, and there are only 6 eps per season. It’s all about a small country town where people from all eras start coming to life. Aussie drama doesn’t get enough credit – check it out!

Four Legendary Kingdoms – Matthew Reilly

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If you’re an action and history/mythology fan, get on this series by Australian author Matthew Reilly. This is the fourth in this series and intertwines with some of his other work, and is nothing short of a showstopping, page turning piece of great entertainment. I read it in a day.

Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard

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I used to have an external keyboard that used cords to connect to my laptop, and I did like it but it definitely got annoying. This month I picked up a new logitech keyboard and I’m loving it! If you spend a lot of time on your laptop typing, this might me a good investment for you.

Finally, I just want to send my love and hugs to anyone out there who needs it. The world is a scary place, but we can find happiness within each other.

Zoe x

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September Favourites | 2017

How To: Drink More Water

Water is essential for us, but what’s the bet you’re not drinking enough? I know I definitely don’t, but I try to as hard as I can. For a couple of months now, I’ve been consistently hitting my goal of 2L / per day (excluding teas, etc) and so, coming from someone who was lucky to drink a glass a day, I thought I would impart my (not so great) wisdom onto you all. We all know the benefits of more water; more energy, better skin, overall health, etc etc, so this is an important one! Enjoy!

Water Bottles
Considering the hype about health, there are always new water bottle fashions. Voss was one, then we all had to have that flat A5 water bottle, then a metal eco bottle…
Get a water bottle that you like. I know I never promote buying something as a good way to start a habit you’d like to make consistent, but this one does work. I have a couple of different water bottles that I use, but I always make sure I know EXACTLY how much water they hold so I can track how much I’m drinking. I mainly use a cheap plastic water bottle that’s 1L from the supermarket, and keep refilling it until it falls apart. I aim to get through two of these a day.

Task Measure
Drink every time you have a task – every time you check your phone, open an email/text, a new scene plays on TV, you watch a new youtube video – whatever. Even set it as on the hour every hour, you have to take a drink. This can be a sip or more, but set that habit for yourself to just keep going. This is what builds the habit.

Apps/Trackers
If you need to, use apps on your phone to track how much water you’re drinking. I tend to remember (two of the same bottle is pretty easy) and mark off in my bullet journal at the end of the day if I reached my goal or not, and at work I used to make little check boxes for each 500mL bottle I went through. There are heaps of ways to track water intake, just go through them till you find the one that works for you.

Flavouring
If you hate the taste of water, flavour it with fruits or even cordial if you must. Just get it into you, and figure the logistics of it out later. Flavoured water is better than none at all.

Challenge Yourself
It might be useful to challenge yourself if you’re competitive (or even a friend), by doing a week or two where you have to drink a certain amount of water per day. Challenging/games are very effective tools! Treat yourself at the end of it to a brand new water bottle, or maybe just an ice cream.

Deadlines

Give yourself deadlines – for example, if you’re really struggling, try to get down 500mL in half an hour. We manage to get water down before some types of ultrasounds, blood tests, etc, so it’s possible. Use that.

I hope this helped!

Zoe x

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How To: Drink More Water

Sort Your Shit Out

Sometimes, everything is going fucking wrong. So we’re going to get it fucking right.
Disclaimer: I’m no professional on any of these topics. Take my words with a grain of salt as always.

Make A Fucking List
Okay, is it really a ZoeNina blog post if I don’t mention making a list?? Make a list of all the things that need to be sorted in your life and start sorting them.
“Oh Zoe,” you whine. “That’s easier said than done!” To that, my response is no, it isn’t. Write the list, set yourself a deadline and sort it. You can spend your whole life waiting for motivation to kick in to fix things or you can just fucking do it NOW. The choice is yours. Ask yourself the following questions in regards to what is getting you down:

  • Is It Money?
  • Is It Your Skin?
  • Is It Your Hair?
  • Is It Your Body?
  • Is It Your Confidence?
  • Are You Lonely?
  • Are You Struggling At School?
  • Is Your Space A Mess?

Answered yes to any of the above? Welcome to the club! Now, let’s take a moment to cry about it, then get it damn sorted.

  •  Money: there are heaps of different ways you can make some extra money. Check out my post on ways to make more money, pick one or two and do it. Also, don’t let anyone tell you working at a fast food joint or working retail or whatever is bad. Do what needs to be done and fuck the rest.
  • Skin: skin problems get me down the most out of this list. Vain? Sure. But who cares? It;s the part of your body that everyone sees and you want it to be presentable. My advice is to go to a doctor or a dermatologist and get them to look at your skin. They can usually tell if your issues are caused by diet, hormones or lifestyle, and either give you tips, give you some medication or refer you on to get it fixed. Stop putting it off! Remember – in countries like Australia, you can visit any bulk billed GP for this and not pay a cent.
  • Hair: go to a cheap hairdresser and ask them what’s wrong with your hair. Don’t try to diagnose it yourself. Get the hairdresser to give you a cut and they’ll usually tell you if it’s dry/damaged/whatever. Use coconut oil on your hair, brush it regularly and look after it. See the difference.
  • Body: Exercise, stopping exercise, eating right, having a cheat meal… there is no one way you can start feeling better about your body. What you need to do is listen to it. If it’s tired, rest. If you feel sluggish and gross, go for a walk in the sun. Make sure you’re drinking your 8 glasses of water, getting your vegetables in and power on. Never expect to look like an Instagram fitness model, just try and be the healthiest, most glowy and happy version of you.
  • Confidence: Do something that scares you. Practice speaking/walking/posing/whatever in the mirror. Message a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and watch as they say they’ve missed you. Watch a youtube video on confidence. Listen to inspiring podcasts. Not everyone is born confident, but everyone is born with the ability to fake it. Even if you never really feel confident, does it matter if everyone thinks you are? Isn’t that the point?
  • Lonely: Loneliness is a tricky one, especially if you deal with demons in your mind that tell you you aren’t good enough to have people around you. Of course, it would be great if I could say ‘go out and meet people!’ and you just have a million friends, but that’s not how I deal with it. I treat loneliness as a reminder that I need to be comfortable with my own company first. I read a book, do a face mask, go for a long walk in the sun and watch a movie. Then, and only then, do I reach out to people, asking for a chat or catch up. Sometimes you are lonely because you are lacking in want for yourself, not others.
  • School: You don’t have to be born smart to do well in school. For one, school doesn’t matter in the long run anyway, but I get you may be bowing to pressures put on your by yourself or others. My advice is to just keep reading and learning. Do extra stuff that you like to do. Use Khan Academy for online help with maths & science, maybe get a tutor or older friend to assist you with English. Use Duolingo for languages. Ask a teacher if they are free in their lunch break or for half an hour after school to go over things with you. Force yourself to love what you learn and see tests as an opportunity to show off that love.
  • Mess: Put on some tunes, clear half an hour out of your schedule and just get it done. Don’t focus on how much you hate it, focus on how good it will feel after when everything is organised, neat, clean and you can light a candle on a clear surface.

 

I want to leave you with this video that changed my life. It’s all about time and its use, and it really puts things into perspective.

Zoe x

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Sort Your Shit Out

Creating Your Dream Life

If you read one of my most recent posts – Life Update –  you’ll know that I’m in a weird stage of soul searching, job hunting, and everything else that comes with the territory of being a millennial in 2017. One thing that I have always struggled with is a sense of purpose, and the finding of a dream life. This doesn’t just mean career, although that is very important (see: How To: Pick The Right Job For You). It means every facet of your life being exactly where you want it to be. What does it look like? How do you get there? Where do you even begin?

For most of us, a dream life may look something like being financially stable (or even wealthy), surrounded by friends and loved ones, contributing to society in a job that we love with lots of free time. For others, it may be something along the lines of being 100% plant based and sustainable. That’s the beauty of a dream life, it is particular to each and every person. Everyone has an idea of where they want to end up, even if it is just in one facet of their life (if you’re stuck, maybe look at what New Year’s Resolutions you set for yourself and you may realise you are looking for a healthier/more fulfilling/happier life in certain aspects), but the real question is, and excuse my French, how the fuck do I get there?

Well, for one, you may never get there. You have to accept that some things are entirely out of your control. But having a goal of what you want your life to look like and taking steps to achieve it can only make your life better, and who doesn’t want that?

Prioritise

If you aren’t prioritising making your dream life happen, you may not want it enough. Or, you may not realise that you want it enough. The first step to getting your dream life is making it a priority. Do that, and the rest seems worth the time.

Write It Out

Once you have prioritised that you want your dream life, write it out. Every minute detail, spend a couple of hours detailing exactly what you want. Then, once you have your future life story written, you can break it down into areas, then goals, then tasks. This makes the whole process seem not so daunting.

Visualise 

Vision boards, pinterest, tumblr – get images behind your dreams. This will make them more appealing, realistic and tangiable to you.

Look

With your notes of your dream life and all of your visual materials, go over them. Look at them every day. Make them your wallpapers, stick them above your desk, save in your phone to read on the bus. The more you immerse yourself in the life you want, and then visualise yourself living that life, the more likely it is that it will happen.

 

Tiny Tasks

Take small steps every day to work towards goals that add up to your dream life. Add these small things to your to do list each day, and make sure that daily you are working towards it. You can visualise all you want, and this really does help, but you need the hard work to back you up when push comes to shove. Be small, and be realistic. Just head down, and keep going.

Tip: don’t get caught up in the hype of fancy new notebooks, self-help books, etc. Your dream life is an internal thing and is realised within. You don’t need external stuff to make that happen. Sometimes we get a sense of what we think is achievement, but really it’s just fancy procrastination. You know when you want to get fit so you reward yourself before you start with active wear? Yeah. Same shit.

Zoe x

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Creating Your Dream Life