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

Overseas In-Flight Essentials

As you’ll know if you read my last post – Packing For An Overseas Trip –  as you’re reading this I will be in South Korea! Today, I thought I’d share my in-flight essentials for a long haul flight, which, let’s be real, is any flight out of Australia, so I’ve got this pretty much down pat.

Backpack
Take a backpack as carry on. Don’t bother with a small suitcase unless you absolutely need it and forget your handbag. Backpacks are lighter as they distribute weight more evenly, are easily accessible in flight as you can have them by your feet, hold a lot and keep your hands free. My canvas bag is from Miniso and I really love it. You can also use your backpack as a day bag when you are overseas too!

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Emergency Kit
I always take a small bag with essentials in it for the flight, which include face wipes, a hydrating mist, lipbalm, hand cream, hand sanitiser, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, any medication I might need and painkillers. You’ll never know when you’re going to want or need these things so it’s just easier to have them on you! I also take all the liquids mentioned in a clear bag so I can easily pull it out at customs.

Eye Mask
To make sure you get some sleep, pack an eye mask. You may get annoyed by lights or the entertainment so just throw one in and guarantee yourself a good rest.

2 x Headphones
I get really sore ears after wearing earbuds for a long time, so I always pack headphones as well. This way I can cancel out sound and switch between the pairs so I’m ready for anything. Sounds extra, but especially on a red-eye flight it is super essential.

Entertainment
I like to take my tablet on board with enough music, movies, games and books to keep me occupied for the whole flight. I also bring a portable charger with me to keep me going. Some of my fave in-flight apps are sudoku, temple run, puzzles, crosswords and sketchbooks.

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Blow Up Head Pillow
You can get these from anywhere (mine is from Miniso) and they crumple into nothing but will save your life on a flight. Having a pillow is just such a crucial part of having a good sleep, so if you can fit one in your bag, why not?

Warm Socks
Planes get super cold so keep yourself warm and comfy with a pair of woollen socks.

Change of Underwear
You just never know! You’d rather carry it and not need it than need it and not have it!

Wallet for Travel Documents
Have a pouch to chuck your passport and tickets in so they’re all in one place. Instead of rummaging through your bag for the document you need, it will always be in one place.

Notebook & Pen
For thoughts, notes and important information, it’s always handy to have a notebook and crucial to have a pen. There are always forms you need to fill out so it just makes sense to have a couple on you!

Water Bottle
Save yourself some money and bring a cheap, plastic water bottle (1L or more) from outside the airport and go through customs with it empty. They charge a fortune for water at airports so you can just bring your own and refill it!

What do you bring on overseas flights?

 

Check out my most recent posts; Preparing For A Big Event & My Apartment Tour!

Zoe x

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Overseas In-Flight Essentials

Packing For An Overseas Trip

As you’re reading this I will be in South Korea! I have always wanted to go to South Korea and I am beyond excited that I can finally cross it off my bucket list. Get ready for a haul and some travel posts!

I thought I would put together a quick post on how to pack for an overseas trip, as even if you are a seasoned veteran, a few tips never hurt!

List
Having a packing list is SO important – this way you don’t just pack whatever you feel like and end up somewhere without your underwear (it’s happened before). Also, it helps you organise what you need to get ready and wash for when you need to pack it and generally takes the stress away. I like to organise my lists into categories for carry on, other luggage and within that clothes, accessories and toiletries.

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Packing Cubes
You can fit SO much into packing cubes – they are definitely worth the investment (not that they’re expensive anyway!). I use mine for underwear and so separate areas of my suitcase, which also means things are so much easier to find once you reach your destination.

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Plan Outfits
This may not apply to everyone, but as I know what I’m doing each day I have planned my outfit accordingly. This is of course subject to change, but at least I have a rough idea of what will suit the day’s activity, what will look good and then I know how much I need to pack.

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Wear Neutrals
Following on from the above, wearing only one colour scheme is essential for me. I tend to go quite monochromatic so I know that if I do mix and match my outfits it won’t matter because everything looks good together.

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One Outerwear
Especially for travelling to colder places I only ever pack one piece of outerwear and layer underneath. I have this coat I borrowed from a friend and I won’t take any other big jackets. I’ll layer singlets, tops, jumpers/cardigans underneath, but there is no point taking 3 coats as they take up so much room in your suitcase. A black/neutral coat will also go with any outfit.

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Bags for Dirty Clothes
I have separate bags for shoes and I always take cloth and plastic bags for dirty clothes. Especially if you’re moving around a lot, this helps segregate what needs to be washed and what you can wear. This takes a lot of stress out of your days and also keeps your clean clothes nice and fresh.

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Powerboard
If you’re going to a place with a different power socket than your own, take your travel adaptor and pack a powerboard. That way you can charge a heap of things at once and you aren’t fighting with people over one adaptor. This tip definitely is worth remembering as powerboards take up no room!

What are your tips for packing for an overseas trip?

Check out my most recent posts; Preparing For A Big Event & My Apartment Tour!

Zoe x

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Packing For An Overseas Trip

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

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

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 BooksLife UpdateAugust Faves. 

Zoe x

Zoe x

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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. 

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): Life UpdateAugust FavesSeptember Bullet Journal.

Zoe x

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My Favourite Books