Friday, 28 June 2013

Weekend Wishlist: Hello Kitty Moxi Roller Skates

I remember when I first started roller derby, I was signing up to every single roller derby boot camp that I could. My favourite by far was one held in Birmingham with both Estro Jen and Bonnie D. Stroir in 2009. Ever since that weekend I have loved both skaters, particularly Estro Jen.

She could do things on skates that I wouldn't even attempt when both my feet were planted fimrly on the ground. I never really take the time to think about people who I think are good role models but she is someone who I really admire and respect.

Not only is she an incredibly talented skater, but a brilliant business woman, and shows a great attitude towards life too. She owns the company Moxi who has recently collaborated with Hello Kitty and they have come up with these beautiful skates. That definitely makes a great role model in my eyes! If anyone is feeling flash with their money then I definitely wouldn't turn a pair of these down!

Hello Kitty Moxi Skate

Hello Kitty Wheel

Photo belongs to:

Photo belongs to:

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

♥ Cute Korea: La Vie En Rose Cafe, Seomyeon

Somehow Seomyeon's cafe street has gone unknown to me for a year and a half of living in Korea, and it's only when someone recommended going to La Vie En Rose that I discovered it. That was partially a mistake because I got confused with the directions, but there were so many cafe bars up there that look amazing. I will have to explore more.

La Vie En Rose had been to me as a Princess Cafe. I expected everything to be pink, that I'd be handed a crown as soon as I walked in and that all of the chairs might be shaped like thrones, but that was far from the reality. The reality was that it's more of a princess garden, the walls are painted a subtle green, the floor's got dark tiles and there is a huge pond smack bang in the middle of the cafe. You can imagine Aurora walking through it and singing with a trail of birds flying behind her. Even better, it reminded me of my Grandma's back garden which was a magical place to get lost in on sunny afternoons when I was little.

My favorite thing about the cafe was the vast array of chairs in the place. I almost felt like Paul Rudd in Knocked Up when they go on their trip to Vegas and he has all of the different chairs in the hotel room lined up. We settled for a bit of a retro arm chair right next to the window so we could watch the world go by as we drank and listened to the water.

Drinks were the same price as every other cafe in Korea, but were particularly delicious. It was a good place to catch a bit of peace from the thumping centre of Seomyeon.

La Vie En Rose Cafe

La Vie En Rose Cafe Water Feature

La Vie En Rose Cafe

La Vie En Rose Cafe Delicious Caramel Frappe

La Vie En Rose Cafe Chairs

Caramel Frappe

La Vie En Rose Cafe Chair

La Vie En Rose Cafe cute corner

La Vie En Rose Cafe Door Handles

How to get there:

Leave Seomyeon metro at exit two. Turn left into the thick of Seomyeon and find Daiso. Walk to the very end of the road where Daiso is, away from TGI Friday's. Once you meet the next main road, cross over and there is a big sign saying Seomyeon Cafe Street. La Vie En Rose is on the road parallell to that, so turn right and walk for one block, Tom and Toms should be on the corner. At Tom and Toms turn left and the cafe is about 100 metres up that street on your left.

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The week in the hospital wasn't all bad...

Hospital Week

Before Nick sliced open his hand, I went for food with Natasha's Mum and partner as they were visiting Korea. Their visit got overshadowed later by Nick's accident and I didn't get the chance to see them again. I also discovered a tiny coffee shop near the hospital that served amazing blueberry yoghurt smoothies. And finally. and most importantly, both my Mum and Nick's sister sent me some of Cadbury's Marvellous Creations chocolate. This was especially good to come home to after a long weekend at the hospital! What do people think to the flavours? I loved the jelly bean and popping candy one!

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Monday, 24 June 2013

Our Weekend: Cinemas and sunshine

This weekend wasn't filled with drama and hospitals like last weekend. Instead it was filled with cinema, cafes, beaches, sashimi and sunshine. Much better! What did everyone think to Man of Steel and World War Z? I thought neither of them were anything to write home about. I hope that everybody had a great weekend!

Haeundae Beach
APEC House Haeundae, Busan
Beach Time
The dancing Haeundae Beach kite flyer
Snacks are made for sharing
La Vie En Rose Cafe Delicious Caramel Frappe
Attack of the umbrellas, Haeundae on season// Fighting fit// APEC House//
Beach time// The infamous dancing kite man// Everything's made to share in Korea//
La Vie En Rose Cafe// SNAP dresses and bags!

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Friday, 21 June 2013

5 Ways to Deal with A Crisis When You're Travelling.

Real Art
I'm a big planner. Months before trips I get myself lost in corners of the internet, looking at other people's blogs and taking notes on what to do and where. This is much to Nick's dismay who prefers the get yourself lost kind of travelling (Although I think he has to admit that my research made our Christmas trip to Japan amazing!).

Yet no matter how much I plan, I know there will always be unavoidable things I could never foresee. And sometimes it's these things that make you feel furthest from home. I've had lots of mishaps along the way, I think a city break to Berlin with 3 of my university friends proved to be so full of small crises that we left traumatised. But I think the previous hiccups have made me alot more prepared for what happened to us this week.

One of these hiccups was when I was 19, Clare and I went on a trip to Amsterdam. We'd been told to catch the return bus to Rotterdam from where we had been dropped off, but no-one pointed out the fact that there were road works, so we hadn't been dropped off in the correct place. We spent a couple of hours, standing folornly at the roadside, watching the minutes tick down before we realised that the bus wasn't coming. We had very little time to get to the port to catch our ferry home, so we dashed to the train station to see if there was anything we could do. After a cruel joke on the station master's part (How could we get to Rotterdam in 40 minutes, I asked. He laughed and said "By helicopter of course," it was only when I asked where we got the helicopter from that he informed me it was a joke. Cue me bursting into tears.)

But this week's events made me realise that I may have grown up a little since then. These won't help everybody but here's what I've found helps me:

1. Keep Calm... and stop the blood flow, was my case on Friday night. I knew that Nick had hurt himself, but I wasn't expecting to find him covered in blood from head to toe when I came around the corner. If I had started to panic then I think his reaction would have been far worse. Instead of worrying, make a mental list of the steps that need to be taken to help the situation, and get them done. Having small tasks like that will also take your mind off current happenings.

2. Carry a phrase book. That was the first thing we needed when I realised a trip to the hospital was in order. I've been very lazy when it comes to learning Korean, so I grabbed it on our way out so I could tell the taxi driver exactly what we needed. Natasha also became a walking, talking phrase book when I had to call her and ask what the word for 'tendon' was. I can imagine there would be nothing more frustrating when you're not able to communicate properly with the people that are there to help you solve your problem.

3. Phone home. There's nothing like the sound of someone from home's voice to remind you that it's going to be ok. When they're removed from the situation, they can add some objectivity to it and help you keep calm.

4. Find a Distraction. I think books and laptops are what have kept us both sane this week. We also had cards to play if ever the going got really tough. Situations like this often mean lots of sitting and waiting and not quite knowing why, so having something to distract you will kill the time and the anxiety.

5. Remember what your parents told you. I like to think that parents pass on their advice for a reason. It sounds very old lady like, but always make sure that you have travel insurance, and keep the details of it easy to find. A lot of times, a crisis only feels so massive because of the consequences it will have on your bank account. But my dad likes to remind me that we pay a minimal insurace fee, so in the face of problems, someone will pick up the astronomical fees. At the end of the day, money is just money. It's better to have to scrimp and save and cut back on things than to be really sick, injured or suffering and completely helpless.

And after the crisis is over, it's good to look back give youself a pat on the back for making it through.

Back in Amsterdam, we eventually caught a taxi to the port, telling the driver to go so fast that it felt like we were in the set of Gone in 60 Seconds. When we arrived, the ferry was still there but it turned out the lady at the travel agents back in the UK hadn't even booked us onto the boat, but luckily there was a free room. So with mascara tracks down my face we managed to avoid what felt like a complete disaster.

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Korean Make Up Trash, Treat or Stash: Etude House's Real Art Cleansing Oil

Trash, Treat or Stash. The products I've discovered are better off in the bin, the ones you should treat yourself to every now and again, and the ones that are so good that you should definitely make sure you have a stash of them.
Real Art

Many months ago I finally ran out of my stock of face wipes that I used to use to take off my make up. I don't know if anyone else feels the same, but sometimes with face wipes it feels like I'm just pushing the old make up around my face, rather than taking it off, so I used this face wipe drought as a way to sort out my skincare. I went to the tried and trusted Etude House, and asked one of the girls for some advice. I wanted something that could easily remove my make up, including waterproof mascara whilst at the same time moisturising my skin. I used to hate washing my face as it would always leave it feeling dry and tight. This luminous yellow potion bottle is what she recommended to me.

Cost: A bottle of this costs ₩13,000. This is about £7.50 at home. I think that's pretty reasonable considering how long it lasts, and compared to the amount I would spend on face wipes at home. I've recently started my second bottle, so it must last me about 6 or 7 months at a time.
Prettiness: In general I find the bottle really unappealing. I wouldn't have gone for this myself with the freaky version of the Mona Lisa on the front. BUT I had a long conversation with the girl in the shop about what I wanted and what my skin was like and she very strongly recommended this over the other products, so I trusted her and I'm glad that I did. I also really like the smell of it. The only way I can describe the scent is if you took a good long whiff of a bottle of old Sprite. It sounds weird, but it's quite sweet, but citrusy and fresh at the same time!
Usability: I use this about once a day, and always when I go in the shower. All you have to do is apply it to your dry skin with your hand, massage in with a little water until it turns milky and then rinse off again. Easy peasy. I take special care around my eyes, to get the tough make up off, but also I've had a bad experience with blurred vision after being a little over zealous with it and rubbing it into my eyes.

Overall: If this runs out before I leave Korea, then I would definitely replace it. Even though I hate the look of the bottle, I do like that it comes in a pump rather than a bottle, and sits easily on my sink. I think that it removes make up from your face really easily and quickly, and smells great too! Another good product from Etude House!

See the previous Trash, Treat or Stash edition here.

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Our Weekend: My First Experience of Korean Hospitals

This weekend turned out to be overly chaotic and tiring.

Nick had an accident on Friday night that left him with severed tendons in his hand and he was unable to move his fingers. We spent many hours in one hospital, before we were told that they wouldn't be able to do anything for him. So we got a taxi to a specialised hospital about 30 minutes north where we were told that they would have to operate on him the next morning and he would have to stay in for a week to recover. I got home at 8am on Saturday morning and was absolutely worn out.

On two hours sleep I got up and headed over to his to get some stuff for his stay and got back to the hospital just after his operation. He was really dosy from a night of no sleep, they hadn't let him eat or drink since he got to the first hospital so I think he must have been really dehydrated, and after the aneasthetic he was in another world, telling me random things about his night when I had been sat by his side the whole time, or repeating things three or four times!

After a nap he was moved to a ward with more people on it. Feeling a little more with it after a day of lounging around, he got himself dressed and ready to leave, when the doctor told him how serious the injury was and that he really needed to stay put. Cue lots of panicked calls to his family and his school. How could he afford it and what about his classes? Unfortunately for his teachers, he had open class this week, which is where the parents come to watch your lessons, so it looks like someone else will have to do it. Needing the fresh air, we went for a wander through the streets, like a true Korean, he kept his pajamas on and took his drip along with him!

Sadly, this also means that I've had to cancel his birthday surprise, which was a weekend away river trekking, with a bungee jump thrown in there for good measure. I have to confess that I am slightly relieved that we can't do the bungee jump, but I'm still a little gutted about the weekend as a whole! Boo!

So here's to wishing the patient a speedy recovery!!

Nick Hospital

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Friday, 14 June 2013

♥ Cute Korea: Cake Decorating Cafe

I'd read about I Make Cake Cafe on Busan Awesome. As soon as I saw it I decided to take Nick for his birthday. The directions on the original article are perfect so we found it really quickly.

We walked in a little apprehensively, especially as I'd made Nick close his eyes and had dragged him up three flights of stairs. The walls were covered in pictures of amazingly decorated cakes, which made me think that it must be pretty easy. How wrong could I be?! It was Nick's birthday so I decided not to really have much input and see what his creative juices would produce.

Once you're sat down, you're given a menu of lots of blank cakes. There were mousse cakes, tiramasu, sweet potato cakes, we decided to go for a cream cheese cake as this was most like a sponge. After that, you have to pick the flavor of icing and the shape of the decorative icing. The final choice was if we wanted a message on top of the cake, and what colour powder to use. Nick decided to go for chocolate icing and purple powder. Interesting combination!

While the guy prepared our cake, the girl gave us a whirlwind masterclass in how to use the icing pipe. Then the cake was brought over and left to our mercy!

There were hundreds of different toppings for the cake, ranging from fresh fruit, to delicately crafted leaves and petals made of icing. The first thing Nick picked was a face of a boy and a girl, followed by a brown and purple rose made of icing and some strawberries.

We went back to the table, and started sticking the roses into the cake. The man ran over instantly, as if we were savaging the cake, and told us that we should use the chocolate icing to stick things on top of the cake, rather than just shove them into the sponge. Oooops!

Feeling a little more creative after this we went and got some hundreds and thousands and lots of chocolate sticks and shapes. Nick said by the end he felt like he'd over done it a little bit, but condoled himself by squirting the rest of the chocolate icing directly into his mouth from the pipe. Something which apparently had been a life long dream of his.

He definitely looks like he's living the dream more this birthday than last birthday! Yet I doubt that Martha Stewart will be in touch with either of us.

The cake came to ₩28,000 in total, including the cake and all of the decorations on top. That's about £17, definitely worth it for a massive birthday cake and an evening of laughs! On the way home I got into trouble as Nick was swinging the carry box around I would say 'Be careful with my cake!' and then he had to remind me whose cake it was...Ooops.

Browsing the cake toppings
So Many Toppings
Icing Masterclass
Cake Photos
The ingrediants that we're going to add
Cake Decorating
Cake Decorating
The finished Product
Our Finished Cake
Cake Carrier
Birthday Hat and cake

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