Friday, 30 August 2013

Back To School

summer Holidays

It's Friday already, this week has flown by way too quickly. I haven't really done much, but at the same time I've been really busy.

I forgot to mention that on Monday evening we went to Beomosa temple. It was so peaceful and quiet at that time, and we were lucky enough to see the monks playing on the huge drums, something I've never seen before. For dinner we went into the mountain and ate goat meat. The poor family had just closed the restaurant when we arrived, but when they saw us, they reopened everything, served our food then asked if it was ok for us to close up for them as they had to get to the supermarket!

After spending the morning on Songdo beach on Wednesday morning, I went to meet Nick and Dave in PNU for one last meal before Dave headed back to the UK. We were both really sad to see him go.

On Thursday I went to meet up with Grace and Gina, two of my co-teachers at school. Little did I know that they had surfing plans lined up for us, but because I hadn't brought my swim stuff with me, we couldn't do it. Instead we went back to Grace's new apartment as she has just got married, and she taught me how to make Korean pancakes and banana makeolli. I'm planning on sharing the recipe soon!

Tasha arrived back today, so we have been for coffee and shopping in Seomyeon and now I'm trying to plan an amazing weekend before the new term starts on Monday...what can we do?!

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash: Skin Food's Argan Oil Silk Hair Mask Pack

Trash, Treat or Stash. The Korean make-up 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.

Skin Food's Argan Oil Silk Hair Mask Pack

I've just got back from a morning at the deserted beach as it seems that Summer's winding down and most people are back at work. It's been a hot Summer and lots of hours have been spent at the beach in the blazing sun, the scorching sand and the chilly waves. Add to that, the fact that my hair straighteners malfunctioned a couple of weeks ago and burned a lot of my hair, leaving my barnet crying out for some attention. I decided to give it some long overdue care and attention in the form of a hair mask, and settled on Skin Food's Argan Oil Silk Hair Mask Pack. I'd heard that Argan Oil was a miracle cure for hair s decided to give it a go.

Cost: This cost me ₩9,000 for a 200ml bottle. That's just under £6. It's a little more expensive than Etude House's Silk Scarf but I was interested in trying out an alternative.
Usability: The directions are really easy to follow and the bottle has English and Korean directions. Just add to your hair for 5 minutes after washing it. It doesn't recommend how often to use it, but as my hair was so crispy and fried, I've been using it every time I wash my hair.
Prettiness: I feel like Skin Food try to be quite natural and rustic with their packaging rather than cute and pink like Etude House. There are definitely no bunny shaped things in this shop. The smell is pretty neutral too and there is not much to like or dislike about it.
Effectiveness: My hair did feel so much better after I had used this a few times, although the mask hasn't really helped my burnt bit of hair, I suspect that nothing's going to be able to help that apart from a good cut. It doesn't leave the hair feeling greasy, despite the fact I'm using it about 4 times a week. It now feels soft and a little shinier which is a surprise after all the torture I've been putting it through.


Overall: Treat yourself to this product if you've neglected your hair. I really liked how it left my hair feeling, and it wasn't too greasy. I would like it to have some sort of smell to it rather than nothing at all though and I'm yet to discover the true miracle of Argan Oil.

View the last Trash, Treat or Stash.

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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Summer Camp

This year's Summer Camp went really, really well. Last year I hated it so much that it made me want to leave Korea, but this year it seemed to go really smoothly. The kids were pretty eager to learn, the books and schedules well organised and we were all assigned one class who we had to direct in performing a play.

My play was called 'The Pumpkin Ghost on Halloween Night' and I worked with a group of 11 3rd and 4th grade kids. Some of the times they'd have me tearing out my hair, but I had to say when it came down to the performance in front of the rest of the school I was really impressed by them.

Some of the younger kids looked so cute doing their plays, and the 6th grade boys made the school laugh by taking the girls parts in a performance of Beauty and the Beast.

Now it's at an end I'll kind of miss seeing some of their faces everyday!

Korean Students

The Wolf and the goats school play

The Ugly Duckling School Play

The Dancing Princesses School Play

The Dancing Princesses School Play

Simba's New Clothes School Play

The Farting Lady School Play

The Farting Lady School Play

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Monday, 26 August 2013

Our Weekend: Summer Holidays Round 2

First Day of Vacation
After all the excitement of the weekend, I am spending my first day of my holiday relaxing. I'm currently in my favourite coffee shop in Nampo, The Vintage Cafe, with a berry smoothie. The lady who owns the cafe is so cute and gave me a banana and Nutella sandwich too. I went for a wander into Nampo and walked down the art street for the first time since I've been here. Also trying the matching lipstick and dress look. Not sure if it's orange overload.

Friday was the last day of our Summer camp, which means we get another week off to relax before it's back to the mayhem of real teaching. Nick has a friend, Dave, visiting from England so on Friday night we went for a BBQ and a few drinks in Seomyeon, before taking him to Gwangan to see the bridge at night. The boys also managed a midnight dip in the sea, but I gave it a miss!

On Saturday the heavens opened and it was rainy and gloomy all day so I did a few things around my apartment, went for pizza with Natasha and then watched Gossip Girl all night.

Sunday was a lot cooler than recently, but still lovely and sunny, so we all went to Songdo beach as they have a diving board set up at the moment. I didn't realise how wussy i was and it took me the best part of an hour to summon up the courage to dive off the smallest diving board, with a group of Koreans who had watched me keep trying to throw myself off the side shouting 'FIGHTING!' at me! Oh the shame! One tip would be not to scream on your way down as you only get a mouth full of water at the end!

I hope that you all had a great weekend!

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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Best of Beijing Outakes

Beijing seems like an age away now that i'm back at school. But with the return of Clare and Joe from the second leg of their Summer holiday in Vietnam, I've had the chance to look through the pictures Joe took on his lovely new camera, and I couldn't help but laugh to myself about them. Here they some of the best bits of Beijing...

Hostel Bar
Bird Poop
The looong wait for cocktails at the hostel after the ordeal of trying to order, and then a bird pooing on me while the wait continued. I guess it's supposed to symbolise good luck though!
Great Wall of China copy
Great Wall of China
Failed Heart
Doing band poses on The Great Wall of China, plus our failed attempt at doing the Korean style heart. I need to master this before I leave Korea. This also reminded me about how we lucked out by ignoring the advice from our parents to never get in cars with strangers. We'd asked someone at the bus station if it was the right bus to go to the Great Wall. He told us yes and said he would give us a shout when we were there. We got there, and he got off with us, thinking that as he was a bus attendant that he would probably point us in the right direction and then hop on the next bus that came along, but we were wrong. He lead us to a car and offered us a ridiclously cheap price to take us there and back. We took our chances and piled into the small car. He waited while we climbed the wall, and when the hungry explorers reached the bottom, he took us to a delicious restaurant. The only downside was that he did NOT approve of my sparkly Toms.
Lotus Flower Pose
Continuing the cheesy poses throughout Beijing, this is in the park behind the Forbidden City, which we visited twice as the first day we didn't get there until after it closed. Whoops. If you wanted photos you had to be quick about it, we asked one lady to take a photo of us, which she did, but then asked if she could take another on her phone, with her son in the photo. That was fine, apart from then we learnt what the Disney Princesses in The Magic Kingdom must feel like because a long line of kids waiting for their pictures to be taken with us would form.
Enjoying the choi
I developed a love for the street food in Beijing. Tasty bread and BBQ'd meat for so cheap. My love wasn't quite as deep for it as Joe's though! One drunk night I watched Joe and Fred devour at least 20 BBQ hearts on sticks.
Flat face
I always have been and always will be terrible at flat face, I can hardly ever look serious! This started a trend of lots of middle aged Chinese folk asking us to take their picture in the same pose!
Natural mardy faces
mardy face 3
And this is how we really looked when we didn't realise the cameras were rolling! This caused Joe to scold us and then Kat devising the evil plan to sabotage his photos and pull a miserable face at the last second. He was NOT impressed.

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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Busan's Secret Beaches

Ilgwang Beach

For me, one of the best things about living in Busan is its whole collection of beaches. There are 5 in total. There's Haeundae which is the epicentre of tourism, with fancy bars surrounding it and holiday makers lying under their parasols while music and performances go on along the boardwalk. There's Gwangalli with it's bridge that glows over the water at night. Songjon which is a lot quieter with good hikes and walks leaving to and from it. Songdo is set up at the moment like a mini water park, with diving boards into the ocean. Then there's Dadaepo, so far down that it's really peaceful there, the view is amazing and the water is warm.

Having tried all of the beaches in Busan, on my day off last Thursday, we decided to venture further north and try one of the two less well known beaches that happens to be very close to Busan in Ilgwang.

It took us about an hour and a half to get there. From Haeundae we took a bus to Ilgwang, and on the way back we caught the 180 which terminated in the middle of nowhere, which also happened to be the first stop for 1001 which goes right to my door, perfect!

There wasn't even a wisp of cloud in the sky as we turned up in the early afternoon. I'd read that the beach had shallow water so lots of families went there, and we seemed to be the only foreigners there. There were still a few parasols but nothing like at the main beaches in Busan, it was easy to find a spot where we could enjoy the sun, run quickly into the sea and was far enough away from everyone to catch a beach nap.

I really enjoyed watching couples frolic in the sea in their coupling life jackets, and before we headed back for the bus in the early evening, we went for a wander down the boardwalk and found a really peaceful spot under the walkway where some people were fishing and others had set up tents and were having BBQs. It really did feel like a beach that was completely out of the city, which was a nice break.

Sadly my camera ran out of battery before I had the chance to take many pictures, but with lazing on the beach and the travel time, I managed to start and finish The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas. Has anyone else ever read it? What did you think? So so sad.

In conclusion, the positives about Ilgwang are that it's quieter than Haeundae and Gwangalli, the water was a lot cleaner than most of Busan's beaches, there seemed to be lots of water sports going on and good places to have BBQs and go fishing. On the downside, it takes a long time to get there from the centre of Busan, and if it's a quieter beach that you're looking for then Songjon, Songdo or Dadaepo could save you some travel time, meaning more time splashing in the sea.

Beach Treats

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Monday, 19 August 2013

Our Weekend: One Year Anniversary!

It's been a whole year since Nick and I properly got together, so we decided to celebrate with how it all the Baseball!

As I had never watched a baseball game until I got to Korea, I got to see my first home run on Saturday night, scored by Busan's team the Lotte Giants.

Although I still haven't got my head around the rules, it was lots of fun to watch and it was nice to see them win! It was also good to don the orange bags on our heads again like true fans do! I also love that old and young people all flock to watch their team. An old couple sat infront of us constantly taking pictures with huge cameras that looked like they meant business, whilst next to them was a tiny boy who was sat alone. It was so cute to watch him know every single chant and song that we couldn't resist buying him a chocolate milk to have, it looked like thirsty work being such an avid fan!

On the Sunday we took it easy and headed to Dadaepo beach with some friends and spent a lazy afternoon playing skatch in the sea. Does anyone else remember that game? It reminds me of Summer holidays when I was in primary school!

Lotte Giants Korean Baseball Team

Outside Sajik Baseball Stadium

Outside Sajik Baseball Stadium

Happy Anniversary

Sajik Baseball Stadium

Lotte Giants Cheer Leader

Old Baseball Fans

Lotte Giants Fan Girl

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Friday, 16 August 2013

My Beijing haggling bargains and Kuala Lumpur F21 Splurge

I couldn't resist some of the things I saw in the markets in Beijing, particularly the Silk Market where the stall holders were happy to haggle with you. It was my first time haggling and it was so much fun.

I wanted to buy the pink sparkly candy bag but the lady told me it was going to be 600 yuen, which is about £60. I told her that I only had £15 so that was all I was willing to pay. I loved that she acted all indignant and started saying 'are you crazy?!' before I walked off, then it was only a step or two before she started chasing me saying 'ok, ok, how about £20?' She sulked and huffed and puffed while I stood my ground and eventually she agreed to the price that I originally said.  This happened in every shop.

For anyone that's going to go there I would recommend staying strong and sticking with your original price as long as it's reasonable, they'll eventually give in as they hate to see you walk away empty handed, or even worse, to buy it from the stall next door.

On one occasion I got her down to my agreed price, but when I looked in my purse, I only had half of what I'd said I had. She was NOT a happy bunny, but still gave it to me!

I also couldn't resist the pencil chopsticks, big hair bows and hair chalks from Nanluoguxiang shopping street.


Hair Pastels

Candy Bag

China Bow

Pencil Chopsticks

Then once I got to Kuala Lumpur, I noticed that there was a Forever 21 in the shopping centre next to Grace's apartment building, so I treated myself to this strawberry shirt and polka dot print dress. I love F21 but they don't have one in Busan or in my town at home, so I always end up buying a lot more than I should!

China Bow

F21 Dress

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