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 everywhereΒ 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

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 πŸ™‚

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

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.

  • Β 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

Sunday Routine

Sundays are a very underutilised day. Often used to nurse a hangover or binge the latest season of Geordie Shore (which sucks without Holly, btw), this is a whole day before the working week that you can used to your advantage. Ever wanted to wake up on a Monday morning and feel completely ready for the week ahead? That’s how I feel every Monday, and it all starts on the meek day of Sunday.

1.Write a List

This is perhaps the most important step of the day, as without a list, your day will have no direction for the day. I like to use a similar method to Kalyn Nicholson’s GYST day, and include cleaning, planning, self care and relaxing. That way, I wake up on Monday feeling super refreshed. If you get up, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and write out your list first thing, you’ll be super inspired to get on with the day and make it work for you.

2. Cleaning

This doesn’t have to take all day, but get the boring cleaning and household admin out of the way first up. Put things away, make your bed, wash your sheets & clothes, wipe down the counters, sweep, mop and vacuum, dust and water your plants. Blast some music and just get it done. There is honestly nothing better than a clean space, so do it first and keep your inspiration for the rest of the day.

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3. Planning

I use this time to plan out my meals and do my groceries, as well as to meal prep. I love having all my meals sorted for the week ahead, whether that means they are cooked, the ingredients are simply prepped or even just my snacks are bought and in the cupboard. It definitely helps me out for the rest of the week. I’ll also go through my bank account on my computer (not on the app) and sort out my finances for the week ahead, and put out what I want to wear the next day, as well as group my outfits in my wardrobe for the rest of the days of the week.

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4. Workout

This may not be for everyone, but I for one like to carve out some time on a Sunday to get in a workout or at the very least do a big walk around the block. Getting moving and getting outside will help clear your head of the mundane activities you’ve just done and get you ready for the next part of the day.

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5. Self Love

I wish I had a bath, but you can definitely show yourself a bit of self-love without one. Take some time to shave, tan, wash your hair, full body moisturise, do a face mask and a pore strip. Do all the things that you forget/don’t have time to do throughout the week, and go into Monday feeling fresh.

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6. Creativity

By this point in my Sunday, I’m ready to me winding down. So, instead of bingeing something on Netflix, I like to use my creativity for a good purpose. I create and fill out my Bullet Journal spread for the week ahead, do some writing or photography for my blog or book. Even just half an hour of getting my creativity flowing helps my mental state more than I could explain.

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7. Relaxation

When Sunday is coming to an end and night is upon you, this is a good chance to do a guided meditation or some yoga, call a loved one, light some candles and treat yourself. Sometimes I like to make myself something a little extra-special for dinner, read a book or watch a movie. By the time I’m ready for bed, I’m in a freshly-sheeted bed in clean pj’s, full tummy and fresh hair and body. It makes waking up on Monday a world easier when everything that stresses you out has already been done.

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What do your Sundays look like?

If you liked this post, don’t forget to check out Kalyn Nicholson’s Get Your Shit Together video, which is super inspirational for me!

Check out my previous posts (they will open in a new window): My Favourite Books,Β Life Update,Β August Faves.Β 

Zoe x

Zoe x

Come chat!

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Sunday Routine

My Favourite Books

I am a HUGE bookworm. Anyone who knows me will tell you that straight away. I absolutely adore reading. To me, nothing quite comes close to losing yourself in a completely different reality that is personal to you. No one quite reads things the same way – we all project our own lives onto the characters and the plot and that makes every single line unique to you. And I fucking love it.

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Therefore, I thought it would be fun to share my absolute favourite books. I love so many that this list was hard to choose, but I think I’ve got a good selection here! It’s also worth noting that I love series too – like Harry Potter, PJ, Hannibal/Silence of the Lambs, TMI/TID, etc, but these are the single books I can read over and over again. Let me know what you think!

Stardust – Neil Gaiman
Fairytale style book, beautifully written (I love Neil Gaiman), young love and magic, fantasy, set in medieval times.

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Reader’s Digest – The World’s Best Fairy Tales
A HUGE book dedicated to original Fairy Tales. My favourite book in the world – as you can see from the state of the book! Multicultural fairy tales and includes all the classics.

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The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Told from the perspective of a young boy, he follows his somewhat insane dad who thinks America is a sham and ships his family into the South American coast to escape the apocalypse he thinks is happening. A bit ‘Lord of The Flies’-y, but not too much. One of my all time faves.

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The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
And we’re back to fairy tales, lol. I love all of Blyton’s work but there’s something so magical about this story that I keep coming back. Set in early 1900’s England, three siblings and their cousin have an array of magical adventures in a local magical forest. Super sweet.

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Brave New World – Adolus Huxley
Dystopian future setting where children are genetically created to fit into social classes and life is governed by very Freudian principals. Give me anything dystopian and I will drink it up, but this is one of the classics.

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The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking
All about hygge (hoo-gah), the principal of cosiness. There is something so warming about this book, I tend to re-read a chapter a week or so.

IMG_2562.JPGNineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
Not sure if this even needs an introduction, but 1984 is one of my absolute favourites, definitely my favourite in the dystopian genre (sensing a theme?). Set in a futuristic England, the protagonist struggles with the extent to which he is being controlled. 10/10 book, definitely worth its popularity.Β 

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Again, a classic that probably doesn’t need a caption, but one of my top picks. This follows the paedophile protagonist who has a relationship with a young girl – Lolita. Sounds fucked up (it is), but it is so stunningly written and the plot is so complex it is well worth it if you are a literature fan.

Note – Yes, I forgot to photograph these in the group book shots. Whoops.

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The Song of Troy – Colleen McCullough
This is one of my faves for my mythology side. This retells the story of Troy from multiple sides and with breathtaking form. I found this book for the first time in a 2nd hand book sale, and as soon as I started reading it I was competently hooked.

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Maus – Art Spiegleman
Graphic novel re-telling the Holocaust in the form of cat v mouse. Incredibly powerful and very confronting, but definitely a one-of-a-kind book that deserves all the praise it gets. Incredible story.

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The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Oh, another dystopian book? Who could have guessed! This is a futuristic, desolate world setting, where the few survivors either find food or eat each other. It follows a father and his young boy traversing a burnt America to find the ocean where things will be better. It is a very quiet book (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean by this), and definitely makes you feel all the emotions.

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Seven Ancient Wonders – Matthew Reilly
Matthew Reilly is one of my favourite authors ever, as he writes a hell of a story. This book (and its subsequent series) are my favourites of his, taking you on a fast-paced action adventure, laced with history and mythology. For a nerd like me, that earns a solic 10/10.

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What are your favourite books?

Check out my previous posts (they will open in a new window):Β Life Update,Β August Faves,Β September Bullet Journal.

Zoe x

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My Favourite Books