Christmas in Australia | Blogmas 2017

Welcome to my 12 days of Blogmas series! Every other day until Christmas I will be posting something festive for you all to enjoy 🙂

Australia has always gotten a fair bit of shit for our Christmasses not being “Christmassy” enough because we live in a hot country over December. I’m sure the same goes for NZ and all the other Southern Hemisphere countries! To be fair, I get where y’all are coming from – Christmas traditions are pretty solidly based around wintertime and snow, and I’ve always wanted to experience a cold Christmas (I have been in NYC during Christmastime, just not actually on the day!). However, just because it isn’t cold down under doesn’t mean we don’t do Christmas well! I’ve always found it interesting to know how other countries do Christmas so I thought I would share what it’s like here! Please let me know in the comments what Christmas is like where you are, I’d love to hear it 🙂

Just a reminder that Australia is a hugely diverse and multicultural country and not many people do Christmas the same way! I also have a split family, so I bounce from Christmas to Christmas, and everyone has different traditions. Bear in mind I’m only speaking from my personal experience!

It’s Fucking Hot

One thing I can attest to is that Aus is extremely hot this time of year. I’m talking minimum 30C every day lol. Our summers are pretty intense and because of this heat a lot of our traditions differ from the North. For one, real Christmas trees aren’t a super big deal (although people do get them) because if you get them near the start of December they die before Christmas Day. A lot of our Christmas celebrations also happen outdoors, because they can! We also tend to eat a lot of seafood on Christmas. Yeah, we still have roast pork etc, but we usually start our Christmas lunches with seafood, and it’s not uncommon for seafood selling trucks to start appearing in the week before Christmas.

Due to the heat, we really don’t do hot cocoa, mulled wine, etc or even Christmas jumpers! I have a cute set of Christmas PJ’s but they’re shorts and boxers – sleeping in a onesie (or even wearing a Christmas hat on Christmas day tbh) just sounds like the worst idea ever haha

 

Festivity

This is the point that a lot of people think we do poorly, but I actually think we are quite festive in our own, chilled way. A lot of houses in the suburbs will go to town with the Christmas lights, and it’s quite nice to go on a warm summer’s evening drive to check out all the lights. We also excel at Christmas markets and have a heap of public Christmas carol nights to celebrate with family and kids.

Christmas Day

As I said before, we tend to spend a lot of Christmas Days outside, and I know my family plays games like boche and todem tennis and darts, drinking rose and beers till the early hours of the morning. It’s also an effort to eat such a filling meal in the heat, so we like to make our lunches last as long as we can!

Boxing Day

The day after Christmas is huge for sales and also for cricket and hangovers. Although I don’t really follow cricket, you’ll probably find me on boxing day completely hungover, under a fan, eating leftovers and absent-mindedly watching the cricket lol.

We Get More Holidays Than You

We start our school year at the end of January and finish in December, so we get long holidays over Christmas and the summer! This means we get a heap of end of year Christmas parties which are double the fun!

Presents

I think this differs from family to family, but we don’t really do the stockings on the fireplace thing. I know for one that my family has always done a Santa sack that you leave at the end of your bed which Santa fills overnight, and then in the morning we do a family breakfast around the tree where we open presents from each other. I always really liked this, as you get presents from your family as well as from Santa, which taught me gratitude as a kid!

Photo sourced from sydney.com 

I hope you found this interesting! Let me know all about your Christmasses 🙂

Check out my most recent posts; November Favourites & Zoe’s Bookshelf #2!

Zoe x

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Christmas in Australia | Blogmas 2017

November Favourites | Blogmas 2017

Welcome to my 12 days of Blogmas series! Every other day until Christmas I will be posting something festive for you all to enjoy 🙂

Today isn’t Christmas themed, but you all know I can’t go a month without my favourites! Here is what I’ve been obsessed with for November.

Zoella Body Creams & Handcream

I recently picked up Zoella’s new whipped body butters and her new Christmas scent hand cream and love them all. I know she was in hot water with that advent calendar drama, but I do love her and her products.

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Tanya Burr Contour Stick

I’ve been using this religiously this month – just adding a bit and blending it out before I add powder and it gives a very subtle contour. Very creamy, pigmented and easy to blend!

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Miniso Spring Herb Essential Oil

This is a beautiful and fresh essential oil to have going in my diffuser and I’m really enjoying having it on all the time! Miniso do the best essential oils!

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Harry Styles – Harry Styles

I was never really a 1D fangirl, so I was pretty surprised when I realised this month that I’m head over heels in love with Harry Styles lol. His new self-titled album is absolutely amazing and I’m obsessed with the songs Only Angel, Carolina, Kiwi (obviously) and From The Dining Table. He gives off SUCH Mick Jagger vibes, especially when he performed at the VSFS in Shanghai!

Korea

I feel like this is a given, because I’ve done a tonne of posts about it, but my favourite thing about November was that I began it in South Korea! I had the absolute best time, and would 10/10 visit if you have the opportunity!
My Week In South Korea
Korea Haul
Top Tips for Travelling in South Korea

Tanya Burr Selfie Lash Mascara

I was sceptical to try this, but this mascara is really nice! It layers well, separates, lengthens and creates a bit of volume. Truly the perfect everyday mascara!

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Beauty Blender Holder

I grabbed one of these on a whim for $2 at kmart, but it actually makes a world of difference! It keeps my blender damp for longer and nice and fresh, plus means I never get any of the crap floating around in my makeup bag on my blender.

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Peaky Blinders

I’ve loved this show for a couple years now, and the new season has just started – much to my excitement! It hasn’t let me down (unlike other shows *cough* Walking Dead *cough*). So beautifully shot, moves fast, written well and anything with Cillian Murphy in it has me hooked.

Armada – Ernest Cline

I gave this book a full review on my new series Zoe’s Bookshelf so I won’t go into detail here, I just loved this book! Read here if you want more info about it and to hear what I thought.

Check out my most recent posts;  Festive Bucketlist & Zoe’s Bookshelf!

Zoe x

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November Favourites | Blogmas 2017

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!

October Favourites | 2017

I had a pretty good month in October! I haven’t had the best year this year, but it seems to be turning around this month which I am beyond grateful for! Here are some things that I’ve been loving through October 🙂

Blade Runner 2049

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This movie was insanely good. I didn’t expect it to be as amazing as it was, but I found it super beautifully shot with a wonderful follow-on plot from the first film and the soundtrack was to die for. A 10/10 film that I really enjoyed and can’t wait to watch again!

Miniso Cleanser

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I picked this cleanser up on a whim, as I was using a Nip+Fab Glycolic cleanser that I just felt was too harsh for everyday use. It was only AUD$7! That’s so cheap for down here. I really like this cleanser – it’s gentle, moisturising, and does a great job of cleansing my makeup off.

Daiso Cosmetic Headband

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I wanted a cute headband for a while, one with ears preferably, but I grabbed this plain one at Daiso when I just couldn’t be bothered anymore and I LOVE it! It’s really strange, but I feel like I can actually spend the amount of time on my skincare that I need to – when the headband goes on, my skincare routine is all I focus on. I really like it!

Miniso BB Cream

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I should not be allowed into Miniso lol, I always buy stuff on a whim. This BB Cream is absolutely incredible though, with great coverage, a healthy, dewy finish and a fraction of the price of any normal BB cream. It’s also light enough for my ghost skin – definitely give it a try!

Chilli Sauce

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Weird fave, but I’ve been putting chilli sauce on literally everything this month. Don’t ask me why, but I just can’t stop, lol.

Vanilla Candle – Bath & Bodyworks

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UGH THIS SMELLS LIKE CHRISTMAS!!! I’m so excited! Also, you can’t go wrong with a Bath & Bodyworks candle, especially one that smells so divine. A good vanilla candle is a staple for me!

Pimple Patches

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I was introduced to the incredible world of pimple patches during my trip to South Korea and I’m actually concerned about how much I love them. These little plastic stickers you pop over any spots and they MAGICALLY MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR!! I’m not joking, they pull out all the crap from the spot and heal them overnight. It’s also super satisfying/gross when you take them off and see how much gunk is in your spot. The CORSX ones are my fave!

Psycho Pass

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Image from google images

I started this anime before I left and I really couldn’t stop thinking about it while I was away. It’s a dystopian future setting, where the populace is maintained by a set of sematic scanners that determine your crime coefficient, and those over a certain number are punished by the police. It’s a very “blade runner” vibe and I’m here for it. I’ve finished both seasons now and I’m really sad about it! If you like anime and dsytopia, give this a go!

 

South Korea 

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I feel like I don’t have to mention this, but South Korea was the best time of my goddamn life! Check out my trip here 🙂

What have you been loving this month??

Zoe x

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October Favourites | 2017

My Week In South Korea

If you’ve seen my latest posts about overseas packing, you’d know I recently spent a week and a bit in South Korea! I had an absolutely wonderful time there and loved the atmosphere of it all. We stayed in an Airbnb in Seoul, with day trips to Busan and the DMZ/JSA, as well as a quick tour of Beijing during our layover on the way home. If you like bustling Asian cities, full of culture, shopping, entertainment and incredible food, put Seoul on your travel bucket list. It was the best place I’ve ever visited 🙂

I will also be doing a post with all my top tips as a foreigner travelling through South Korea, so if you’re interested in going, hold tight for that post!

Myeongdong – Shopping District

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IMG_3334.JPGSeoul Forest

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Namsan Tower – Near Myeongdong

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Gangnam/Coex Mall – K-Pop Comapny Buildings, SM Town, Road of K-Pop band ‘bears’

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Busan – Coastal City

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Here we are on the KTX to Busan – if you’ve seen the movie ‘Train to Busan’, you’ll know why we were so excited to get on this train hahaha

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Museum of Korea

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NOT PICTURED – Itaewon – Cultural/Foreigner District; Hongdae – Youth Area/Shopping District

Lotte World – Huge Indoor Themepark

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DMZ/JSA/North Korea – Demilitarised Zone (2km from North Korean border), Joint Security Area, “technically” crossing the border into North Korea – blue room photo

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Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Cheonggyecheon River – Light Installations

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Dongdaemun Plaza – LED Roses

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NOT PICTURED – Epik High – South Korean Hip-Hop/Rap Group Concert

Beijing – Great Wall & Tianamen Square

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Hope you enjoyed a taste of my amazing trip!

Check out my most recent posts; Overseas In-Flight Essentials & Packing For An Overseas Trip

Zoe x

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My Week 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