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!

How To: Prepare For A Big Event

I sat down to write this post in June, when I had recently had my brother’s wedding, my graduation and a last minute (literally the night before) university ball, but things came up, I forgot to finish writing it, you know how it is. Life happens. But, finally, I have the time and motivation to get it done which I think is a great thing – as it comes into Spring for Southern Hemisphere folk we have spring races and summer parties to prep for, while everyone has end of year parties, fall, Halloween, Christmas, everything. There is literally no better time to talk about prepping for events than now – so this all worked out well in the end!

 

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Plan

My first big tip is to plan out all the things you will need to do in a bit, brain-dump list. Do you need to buy an outfit? Do you need to book a hair appointment? Do you need to shave before? Write down everything and anything you could possibly need to do before the event and get organised. Prioritising what is important for the event will save you from stress. For example, having a wedding in 3 weeks that you want to lose 10kg for is maybe not the most realistic thing, but knowing that you can have a facial before, buy a killer dress and turning up calm will make the whole event fun and not a source of anxiety.

Water

Obviously, drinking water is a big thing that no one does well, blah blah blah, but it is especially important when it comes to big events. For the week before, aim for at minimum 2L a day and notice how much your skin is glowing by the day. Thank me later.

 

Skincare

Before a big event, there is no use trying brand new skincare. Stick with what you know makes your skin clear, untextured and glowy, and use it well for the weeks/days prior. Make sure to exfoliate the night before and really, really moisturise it before makeup application.

Hair

You may need to book a hair appointment for something like a wedding, so make sure you get on that asap as salons fill up quickly. Make sure when you wash your hair the night before you skip the conditioner so that your curls hold for longer. Doing some really great hair masks in the weeks prior may also help your hair look great!

Body

Go get your eyebrows waxed, your top lip done, your tan on point. Do whatever you have to do to get your skin glowing and smooth, and notice how great you feel when you’re wearing your banging outfit without worrying that you forgot to shave your legs. A big exfoliate the night before with generous amounts of moisturiser will also make you glow.

Nails

Nothing says “I am not ready for this event” like chipped nail polish. You don’t have to get a set of acrylics, but a fresh lick of nail polish and top coat should do the trick.

Appointments

Make sure before an event you’re mindful of appointments. If you have laser done, and you react quite red after, maybe reschedule so your legs aren’t lobster bright in your mini dress. This comes back to planning, but just remember to be smart about it.

If you have a day’s notice…

If you have an experience like I had in early June where I was told on Thursday I had to go to a ball on Friday (and had 25 minutes to get ready for it), follow these steps:

-jump in the shower, shave, exfoliate, do a hardcore hair mask
-tan (if you need it)
-exfoliate face
-moisturising face mask (NOT extracting, you WILL break out)
-skull as much water as possible
-get a good 8 hours sleep
-write out everything you need to do
-do it

I hope this was helpful!

Zoe x

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How To: Prepare For A Big Event

June Favourites 2017

June was my birthday month, so there have been lots of new things I’ve been loving! However, to save double ups (as a VERY belated what I got for my birthday post is coming soon!) I thought I’d focus more on favourites from June that have nothing to do with my birthday. If you want to read about what I did, click here 🙂

Now, without further ado, let’s get into my June faves!

Watching the sun rise & set

I only recently started noticing the sun rising in the morning or setting at night, and have made an effort to take a pause in my day to watch it happen. I find it definitely puts in perspective all my worries and anxieties of the day that was or the day that’s coming, which helps me to be mindful, grateful and happy. When summer comes around, I’ll be sad to miss watching it come up.

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Bath & Bodyworks Candle in Fresh Cut Lilacs

I bought this candle while on holiday for my 21st, as QLD is one of the only places in Australia with a Bath & Bodyworks for some reason. I was tossing up between this one and the honeysuckle candle, but in the end I had to choose this. It smells like a fresh summer garden, and makes me so happy.

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NYX Dark Circle Concealer

On to makeup, I picked up this under eye correcter early in the month and have been using it every day to help correct my dark circles that just come with working full time, while also prepping the base for my concealer to stick to. For such a cheap and cheerful product, I’ve really enjoyed it!

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NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

This foundation is super light and watery, but it covers like a dream. My favourite thing about it is that it actually comes in a colour fair enough for my skin without going pink. What a miracle! I definitely recommend this foundation, as it doesn’t go oily on me and lasts all day.

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Smashbox Spotlight Highlighter Palette

I know everyone is talking about this, but it is absolutely beautiful. When my Becca Moonstone smashed for the 3rd time, I knew I had to find a replacement as there are some breaks that rubbing alcohol just can’t fix (RIP). This has 3 stunning shades in beautiful packaging. I love using the darker two as eyeshadows, so it’s really travel friendly as with this and a bronzer, you wouldn’t need to worry about bringing an eyeshadow palette with you!

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Essence Camouflage Concealer

I bought this on a whim because it was so cheap. I love concealers, but I really didn’t expect it to work properly. But here I am, raving about it in my favourites. I really like it – the coverage isn’t the longest lasting or the fullest coverage, but I really enjoy how light it is and how thick the applicator is. There’s lots of product and it’s a great shade. Definitely recommend.

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Miniso Tea Tree Pore Strips

These are so cheap – and 100% better than the Biore pore strips! They are really great at extracting and comfortable to wear. I also feel like they are better for your skin, but that could just be the placebo of using something green on my skin…

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L’Oreal Pure Clay Mask

Speaking of green face stuff, this mask has been really nice in June. It definitely extracts and refines pores, but also reduces redness and calms dry skin and spots. It dries nice and tight so you definitely feel it working, which is always a bonus with a face mask.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

I read about ACV as a skincare treatment a while ago, but since I’ve put it to the test, I can (almost) swear by it. I dilute it about 3:1 and pop it in a spray bottle to spritz over my face morning and night. Yeah, it doesn’t smell to great, but I let it dry completely then go on to the rest of my skincare routine, and that tends to mask the scent a bit. It’s definitely made my skin brighter and clearer.

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Quay & LeSpecs Sunglasses

I recently got these Quay sunnies I’ve had my eye on for a long time (horray for TopShop sales in Australia) and these LeSpecs sunnies as a graduation gift from my best friend. I love both pairs! I’m a bit of a sunglasses hoarder, and one day might do a sunglasses collection post, but for now I’ve been rotating between these two and love how they transform any outfit.

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Lavendaire

My YouTube love of the month has been lifestyle design channel Lavendaire. She is so calming, inspiring and beautiful, and has definitely helped me find some more peace in my life. My favourite video of hers is all about gratitude, and I really recommend taking 5 minutes out of your day to watch it.

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Okja

I know, I know, everyone and their mum has been talking about this Netflix film, but it truly is amazing. I won’t give away any of the plot, but it’s incredibly shot, cleverly written and all round a beautiful film. 10/10, deserves all the ratings it’s getting.

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Brave New World – Adolus Huxley

I read this for the first time in June, which is insane considering how much I love a good dystopian fiction novel. I loved it – I loved it even more than 1984 which is one of my favourite books of all time. If you like sci-fi utopia, read this now.

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Zoe x

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June Favourites 2017

May Favourites 2017

I know it was only a couple of weeks ago that I got around to posting my April favourites, but this month I’m on time, so we’re going to go with it haha.

I’ve actually been loving quite a few things in May and I can’t wait to share them with you. Let me know if you’ve been loving any of the same things!

Elf Face Powder

It can’t be a favourites on this blog without mentioning an Elf product it seems… I got this recently and I really like it! A finely milled powder in nice packaging, and it great with the sponge for touch ups on the go. I really have enjoyed this!

Argan Oil Body Lotion

Kmart in Australia has released this range of Argan, Coconut, Shea and Macadamia oil hair and body products, like hair oils and masks, shampoos, and lotions. I got this for $4 because I love the scent of the hair oil, but wasn’t expecting much from it. Boy, was I wrong! This is one of the best body lotions I’ve ever used, comparable to body shop, Bath & Body Works and Soap and Glory. It sinks in really quickly, is super moisturising and I am surprised at how amazing it is. Definitely check it out if you’re an Aussie!

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The Balm Hot Mama Blush

I grabbed this blush on a whim, and didn’t think I’d like it that much – but WOW. This is a beautiful peachy blush with a golden sheen, very comparable to NARS orgasm but more pigmented in my opinion. It’s very shiny; you don’t need a highlighter with it. But I love how easy it is for that reason – at 6am when I’m doing my makeup for work I can’t be bothered with a heap of products and this just does it all!

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The Handmaid’s Tale

I have been O B S E S S E D with this show and book right now. If you haven’t watched the show and you like dystopian fiction, download the first episode NOW. I’ve been reading the book too, which I’ve also really enjoyed!

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Label.m Oat & Honey Hair Mask

I definitely think this mask has helped my hair out – whenever I use it my hair becomes so soft and silky. This mask smells great and simply works great, what more would you want?

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American Gods

I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods at some point last year and loved it, but I have to admit I was skeptical when I heard they were making a show, even if it did include some fantastic actors. I stand corrected though, as this show is next level. Bryan Fuller is one of my favourite directors (he directed Hannibal) and he doesn’t disappoint here. Tip: read the book before the show, because it literally will make no sense otherwise, lol.

Nick Murphy

Good old Aussie singer Chet Faker has rebranded himself with his real name Nick Murphy and released an album, and I’ve been obsessed with it! Your Time is on repeat for me right now, it’s so chilled but sexy. Check it out here!

Zoe x

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May Favourites 2017

My Skincare Routine

I have recently changed up my makeup routine a fair bit, and thought I’d share it with you guys! I’ve been having a few issues in regards to not drinking enough water, changing my diet, hormones, etc, so I have tried to listen to my skin more and have built this routine up from there. For example, I loved the Simple cleansing oil, but although it worked really well, smelt great and made my skin feel smooth, I ended up with clogged pores all over my chin and had to stop using it. So, I’ve taken it back to basics, gone with products that I love and am definitely seeing a difference!

My first step is removing my makeup with the Garnier micellar cleansing water, which I obviously don’t have to do in the mornings though I sometimes do just to freshen up a bit. I squirt a bit of this onto a makeup round and soak my face in it till it’s feeling clean.

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My next step it to cleanse, which I do in the morning at the sink and at night in the shower. I use my Vanity Planet ultimate spa system brush for this, with the Simple Face Wash. I tend to opt for the silicone brush head, but occasionally use the exfoliating one or the general one when my skin is feeling sensitive. I like the silicone one as it doesn’t harbor any bacteria. I will also use the St Ives Green Tea Scrub in place of the Simple wash a couple of times a week to give my skin a proper exfoliate every now and then.

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As soon as I get out of the shower, I tone with Witchazel, which I have decanted into spray bottle to make it easier for me to use. I try to do this immediately, as the sooner you tone after cleansing the better. I’ll then use my acne treatment (clindatech), and then when that has sunk in, I’ll go in with the Simple Light Moisturiser. I used to love using the NUXE oil and I still like it, but I feel it’s a bit heavy on my skin these days, so I’ll only use it occasionally.

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If needed, I’ll do some extra things. If my skin feels particularly disgusting, I’ll use a homemade sugar scrub (see the recipe here), and follow up with a face mask or pore strip. Read about my favourite face masks here! I’ve also really been liking this Kmart branded one with charcoal, jojoba and clay in it recently. Tip: always use a makeup brush to apply a facemask – minimizes wastage, is more hygienic and goes on smoother!

If I go with a pore strip, it will usually be a Biore one.

A love of mine recently has been the Mario Badesco drying lotion, which I apply overnight to dry out spots and it really does work! Buy off beautybay though – shopping for Mario Badesco in Sephora or Mecca in Australia is very expensive.

I’m really bad at remembering, but if I do, I like to put eye cream on at night. Literally any one I have at the time will do!

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Is your skincare routine any different to mine?

Zoe x

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My Skincare Routine

Makeup For Bad Skin Days

When we have days where our skin isn’t looking the best, it can be so easy to want to load on the foundation and hide away from the world. Doing this, however, tends to worsen the breakouts and prolong their life span. Also, the last thing you want when you’ve got spots is to spend an hour looking at yourself in the mirror. So, I’ve developed a fast makeup routine for my bad skin days that makes me feel more confident but also helps my skin breathe a bit. It’s very simple, and all it does is even my face out a bit and help my confidence. I’m not trying to cover anything up, as spots are normal and if anyone thinks otherwise, they’re not living in the real world.

So, let’s get started!

After applying my usual skincare (updated skincare routine coming soon!), I use a combination of primers. One is the Elf blemish control primer to help my skin recover, but I will also use a pore filling primer to help even out the bumpiness of my skin.

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Products Used:
-Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser
-Elf Blemish Control Face Primer
-Chi Chi Super CC Cream
-Smashbox HD Concealer in Fair
-Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Light
-Maybelline Green Concealer Stick
-Tarte Amazonian Clay Pressed powder
-Benefit Hoola Bronzer
-The Balm Hot Mama Blush
-ABH Brow Pencil in Medium Brown
-Chi Chi Eyeliner in Bronze Ambition
-Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Because I like to let my skin breathe, I use a CC cream, then concealer. If my breakouts are really bad I’ll use a green concealer first, but I’ll just dab a bit onto the back of my hand then press it onto the spot with my finger. I don’t go too heavy as you can see, I don’t really mind that you can still see I’ve got spots – everyone gets them. All I’m doing here is trying to make them appear a bit more calm while also helping them heal on their own.

I like to use a good quality powder on days like these that’s quite finely milled, as it sits nicer and makes all that concealer last longer. For bronzer, I will only use a matte as to not emphasise any texture, and for blush I like one with a sheen to it so I don’t have to apply highlighter for the same reason.

I’ll then fill in my eyebrows, throw some eyeliner in my tightline and load on the mascara – nothing fancy, just a basic look. I choose to have nothing on my lips except lip balm for two reasons:
a) I never really wear lipstick anyway
b) a lot of my breakouts are hormonal on my chin, so I don’t want anything near them to aggravate them. You can’t really tell in the images, but I have a split lip as well, so lipstick wouldn’t have worked even if my skin was clear!

Here you can see the before and after’s for yourself – there’s nothing fancy going on here, no heavy coverage or cake face. All I want to do when I’ve got some spots is not wear makeup and cover my face in spot cream, but I’ve got to go to work and therefore look somewhat presentable. So, unless I have a huge event on, I’ll stick to my theme of letting my skin breathe, while also eating well and drinking a lot of water.

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Don’t forget your hair can also play an important part. Although it might be scary to tie your hair up when your skin is looking bad (we tend to hide behind our hair), if it isn’t the cleanest you might want to consider doing so to not antagonize your skin! Luckily in these photos I’d washed my hair the night before, so I was fine to leave it down – but it’s definitely something to consider!

*Disclaimer: I know that my skin isn’t the worst out there! I am lucky with relatively clear skin and I work hard at eating right, drinking enough water and using a good skincare routine to keep it that way. However, I still get the odd period where my skin says ‘fuck that’ and decides to ruin it all for me, and this is how I cope with it. Not trying to say you need to cover up any imperfections or that my skin is the worst there is*

What do you do when your skin decides to be ~problematic~?

Zoe x

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Makeup For Bad Skin Days