Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Birthday with My Pudding Hat

Well, firstly I need to say to Saskia: I'm sorry I couldn't finish what you started. We ran out of time to go hat shopping so I had to 'recycle' my Christmas hat I got last year from Primark. And it's shaped like a pudding. To be completely honest, I never knew what Christmas Pudding was before last year, which was also the year I got a Christmas Pudding Pandora charm for my b-day.

This post is pretty irrelevant, but seeing as it's my birthday – ain't nobody gon' stop me yo. I haven't done much since we got to the good ol' countryside, so we decided to take a walk today with my pudding hat aka the star of the show in this post! (And me, 'cause b-day girl and all.)


Well, what's there to say, really? I'm another year older in realising I gots to get to grips with my life. AKA doing adult-y things, paying bills, buying all the bags I'm eyeing up etc. To be fair, I've never really celebrated Christmas and this has only been the second time I'm having 'proper' Christmas; usually I spend it traveling! Nevertheless I'm thankful of the many little things and people who've wandered/strayed into my life this year... especially all ma bloggah friends. I got yo back.

Anyway, being back in Buckingham for Christmas this year should've provided me with some respite, alas, I've been running a fever for the past few days so fingers crossed I'll be healed by tomorrow's celebrations...

We decided to take a walk today just round the estate, also cause: I HAVE RED HAIR AGAIN! Tell me what you think ;) I personally love it, but I always do, and it fades into a lovely brown even after it wears off so I'm not fussed about the colour...


Again, this post is really out of place because it's not about anything specific. But rather, it's a generous reflection of my past year. And the pudding hat just happened to be the perfect metaphorical receptacle. It's been a tuff year, my friends, I'm not going to lie. But some highlights included finishing my MSc and 10k words dissertation and getting a distinction (!!), travelling to Seoul and back home (aw), worked harder than I've ever worked before!

So what I'm saying is – thank you everybody for being here, virtually or in ma life, giving me the encouragements I really needed (some of which do not read this blog anyway) to carry on :') sobs am I getting soppy already? There have been the worst of the worsts, and crying fests, but there have also been celebrations of love, friendship and family of which I am entirely grateful for....


And since I'm not one for NY resolutions/Christmas refreshers, I'd just like to take these few days of festivities to go back to basics aka remind myself of things that truly matter - being in the present, learning how to (really) live and not worry so much! It won't be easy, as I'm such a worrier (still am right this moment) and it gets in the way of enjoying being in the present...

One of the book that really helped me through this year is Neil's (Matt's friend) book Walking on Custard and The Meaning of Life: A Guide for Anxious Humans – I've been meaning to write a 'review' of sorts but life gets busy etc etc. If you're ever in a pickle of feeling out of breath, clouded, or just overwhelmed, give it a whirl! Neil writes in a painfully unpretentious way, and everything is easily understandable and very very funny.

In all, I'm happy this year to have had many wonderful friends, family, and of course, the nugget :) everybody y'all better have your fingers crossed for my most challenging year ahead - scary!

The usual applies - let me know what's been on your mind lately, or how you're celebrating new year's?

Everything I'm wearing here has been around for a while so no links, soz friends. Not like I'm super stylish here but ya know...

(Wearing: Coat - ASOS / Scarf - COS / Jumper - Korea / Jeans - Dorothy Perkins / Shoes - Amazon / Pudding hat - Primark)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Walking in Seoul: A Short and Rough Guide


Walking in Seoul definitely requires some serious willpower. Some parts of the city are really steep and hilly, with a small distance away from any restaurants/cafés (well not like I could read them to begin with but still) so here is what we roughly planned for our first walking day the beautiful city of Seoul! Which also didn't break my backs or legs.

1. Gwanghwamun Square and Gyeongbokgung Palace 

Definitely do the these twin sights together! We got off Gwanghwanmun Square/Geyongbokgung station and wandered up and down the square for some photos and scurried along to the main entrance of the old palace where the grounds are sparse and wide, great for photos in the autumn.

There's also The National Folk Museum on the grounds but we didn't venture in as there was enough for us to take in on the palace grounds, especially the little dwindling paths littered all over in between the palacial chambers. I loved how it was filled with not only tourists, but also school children who were wearing traditional hanbok!


2. Bukchon Traditional Village and Samcheong-dong

Happy to report that this is my favourite part of Seoul albeit the hilly and windy streets that surrounds these traditional wooden houses atop a hill. We walked to Bukchon after the palace, and it was really easy to navigate our way there as it's just adjacent to the palace grounds.

Bukchon is a tourist hotspot with several lookout points, and we just followed the small crowds of visitors and walked at a leisurely pace (before I got too hungry and hangry, that is) to the different parts of Bukchon :) It's an absolutely quaint and rarefied bit of traditional Korean architecture, where local residents still live under these roofs. There's also a bunch of museums there, where you can try on the hanbok and walk around for photos! Unfortunately this was the point where I got too hungry so we made our way to Samcheong-dong.

Nestled next to it is Samcheong-dong: made up of intertwining independent shops, cafés, restaurants, small eateries and a popular hangout for the adolescent and youth (like so many other areas in Seoul). I loved this the best, it reverberated with vibes of stillness but gives off a stylish attitude and just the right amount of je ne sais quoi. You can also find loads of independent jewelers and makers, perfect for picking up a good-quality and handmade items! My love for this city is real, guys.

I also had the best and biggest bowl of dumplings I've ever had in my life. Ugh. I beamed with joy - unfortunately the shop was in Korean but it was just through one of the alleyways at Samcheong-dong.

3. Insadong 

We made our way to Insadong, a neighborhood connected to many small alleys leading to modern galleries, old tea houses and used to house the largest market for antiques and artworks in Korea. It's famous as a traditional street for visitors, and has both modern and historical façades for shopping. I also loved Insadong for its easygoing vibe, where you can see everyone huddling over street food, souvenirs or a piece of the city!

Definitely check out the O'solluc tea house, which has an upstairs tea café and dessert – sadly I could not partake in this as I was still full from the dumplings, remember? But the tea shop stocks fresh tea leaves and smells absolutely divine as you walk in! Move aside, Twinings!

And we also headed to the Ssamziegil shopping 'mall', which spirals up across many levels with many cute stores, especially with art and accessories with one of my favorite brands, Jam Studio. At the top level, they also have a 'love lock' walkway made out of plastic wallets instead of locks most probably due to weighting issues (not like Paris!) where you can pop your names down in all ~eternity~.

4. Cheonggyecheon 

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen me lusting over the modern city river stream amidst this concrete jungle. Another one of my favourite spots we discovered, just next to and not far from Insadong was Cheonggyecheong, a 7 mile-long public recreational space in downtown Soeul. It was part of a urban renewal project. Imagine the Garden Bridge in London but for a stream. Despite being in the heart of the city, it's a tranquil place and the restoration put in natural landscape to give a bit of fresh air downtown for Seoulites.

You can start anywhere and make your way to the stream from Dongdaemun, Sindap, or even Gwanghwamun. We ended our afternoon stroll here and took the metro back to our apartment, popped into a 7-11 (they're everywhere and they have the best snacks and ice cream) and found these cute Line milk sachets!

Thus concludes my sage advice for anyone dropping by Seoul in the near future. I thought it'd be nice to share these photos with small tips if y'all are heading East anytime soon. Matt and I loved our time in Seoul so much we're dying to go back sometime soon! I personally love the city, the culture and the food!

Let's talk - plans for Christmas travels? Been to Asia before? Hit me up son!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Beginner's Guide to Korean Makeup

Let's continue to laugh about my shallow venture into the world of makeup! Despite owning a sizable amount of "products", I'm honestly no expert at making my skin dewy or glowy or ~matte-y velvet evening smooth~. I didn't even know the difference (still don't) between matte and velvet! So when I hopped on a plane to the other side of the world to Seoul, where I shoved whatever snacks and food into my face, I was determined to look good too. Or so I hoped.

Anyway if a newbie like me can look half as decent, so can you! MY SALE PITCH ENDS HERE. I thought I'd talk about what I really love so far from my small stash of Korean makeup. Also if you know me in real life, I totally dig SK stuff because it's just way cuter - and everyone looks so nice and young all the time! 

Here is a basic round-up of what I consider to be essentially 'Korean' in terms of makeup, and what's popular and floating around for a while now. My research consists of: watching Running Man, Korean dramas, Youtubers and my friends who are way more into this than I am. Thank you all for this.

(BTW: clickable links to the shops that actually ship to the UK! And also where I recently did some serious damage during the Black Friday sale cough cough.) 


(These two are more for dry skin)

If you happen to chance upon anyone from SK, watch K-dramas (like I do) you will be awe of how BEAUTIFUL their skin are and go like 'what the hell can I have this piece of heaven on my face too?' Anyway BB Cushions are literally the rage – actually it's been for the last three years now and I'm surprised that more mainstream drugstore brands still don't carry it - and it's basically a BB cream in cushion form!

Before I went to Seoul, my mum had already got me the Laneige Pore Control one and while this was considered to be a more high-end brand, it does the job well - I love how light it feels and it does a good job of lasting my grocery shopping trips.

But if you're looking for a more cost-friendly option, I've included a handy gif of my Innisfree Ampoule Intense Cushion recommended for my dry skin, because I love Innisfree - they are eco-friendly, generally try to use decent ingredients and I love the simple packaging. I think this is half the price of Laneige and does a seriously good job in making your skin glow. LEGIT EVERYONE. I love this during the cold seasons, because its slightly more 'wet' formula makes the skin feel more moisturised and not like I can to rip my face off. 

The Innisfree No-Sebum powder also made its way into my basket, and it's basically a finishing compact powder (much like my Hourglass Ambient Lighting one) which is super fine and blends into your skin well to seal the deal. Fuss-free and simple, I like it! They also do a mineral powder version, but I thought that might be too messy for me!

I've also heard other great things about IOPE, HERA and Sulwhasoo (I personally love this one).



Good golly what is this?! Is this green? Is this broccoli? No way José, it's just TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL's Dinoplatz lip balm tints in Lost in Dinoplatz, which is, yes green! But it comes out as a pale pink on your lips which is great for everyday wear. I'm such a klutz and forgot to do a swatch but I'll leave it to your imagination. I had to hunt this little beast down in three different stores before finding it in Sinsa, I guess the green hype made it super pops! 

The other thing is that TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL has terrific packaging, just look at that illustration yo! 

Aaand we're back to Innisfree. What did I tell you? Fave brand or what? Here I picked up the Eco flower tint in Rose and the Eco fruit tint in Cherry - SK is big on the sultry gradient lip trend and the perfect way to achieve that is to use a lip tint instead of a lipstick. I lightly dab it onto my lips and use my fingers to blend it out. 

Again, simple and very easy to use - great for a beginner for myself so I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to experiment in a less bold lip for a natural one instead ;) 

Okay so I mistakenly photograph a mishmash of things here but I'm just going to roll with it. So I mentioned the lip tints from Innisfree but lip tints also come in a more saturated and pigmented version like this banila co Tinted Love Glow in After Pink one (ngl extra encouraged when I saw Ji Hyo as the spokesperson) and it does a great job at putting a punch into my lifeless lips for a night out! It's not sticky either, which I like in my lip products. 

The infamous Etude House Play 101 pencils are next, I originally saw these being used on Pony's channel and I was super intrigued by it. Basically they are colored pencils which you can use where ever you like - eyes, cheeks, lips, brows (if you wish)! How cool is that? I chose 11 and 21; one's a peachy ~kiss~ and the other is a deep rose. I knew I wouldn't use much of their more outrageous colours like blue or green so I stuck with these two. Comes with inbuilt sharpener too! 

I've been enjoying it on my lips or as a light blush when I'm rushing out, just draw some lines (??!) and smudge it out with either your fingertips or a brush. 

Finish off with a fluttery mascara like the Etude House Lash Perm Curl Fix, which true to what it says, does not budge nor come off easily. But I mean, if you're dressing to impress, you might as well right? Since I don't wear mascara that much (they're beyond salvage at this point) I use this for the occasional going out that I do.

PHEW THAT'S IT EVERYONE. I ain't doing no #blogmas so it's just a rant-y post to fill up your feed, because I just wanted to photograph something and show y'all. And that's what I did. Let me know if you've tried any of these and if you'd like to see my more comprehensive version of Korean skincare, which I enjoy way more because I'm more of a skincare kinda gal :)

In any case - as usual, let's talk below about anything! PEACE. 
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