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Monday, 24 July 2017

My Top 5 Tips for Beauty Shopping in Seoul

Once upon a time on a blog not so different to this one (FACT: It was this one) I used to write about beauty products. Makeup, skincare and cosmetics have always been a little obsession of mine. So when I had the chance to go to Seoul, Korea I knew I'd be in shoppers heaven.

Now I'm not much of a travel blogger, as I tend not to plan my trips too much and just go with the flow and see what happens, but I guess people are always curious about travel pictures, even if it is my terrible photography, so here's a few pictures for those of you who are not on my Instagram.


All the food... Well almost all!
So above you can check out the few pictures of some of the amazing Korean food I tried - including a machine that makes instant noodles for you!

Seoul itself also has some amazing things to see. Check out the pics below! I was too lazy to take many pictures. Don't judge me!!
The only good photos I took!


I guess there is a lot more in Seoul than just cosmetics, but more for those not beauty obsessed, however this  short post is mostly just for the beauty lovers. So feel free to skip if cosmetics aren't for you. I'll catch you in my next post!


Tony Moly had a sale!!! I had to restrain myself.

Myeong-Dong was the best place to shop for me, so I'm going to share my top tips (if I can even call them that) Also I realise this post should be saturated with beautiful pictures, but I was too busy shopping - sorry not sorry!


1.Walk around first, there are plenty of shops and some are the same or stock similar products so either go with an idea of what you want or at least price up the products.

2. When inside a shop be prepared to have a sales assistant follow you around like your shadow. Korean beauty shop assistants have no chill and will literally be stuck to your side whilst you try to shop. Thankfully this technique stopped me spending too much.

3. Outside some shops there are people giving away free face masks, if you look in the shop. Be prepared for the shop assistant to try to sell you every product in the store if you take a face mask!

4. Barter, even if you can't speak the language look prepared to walk away and some of the shops automatically drop the prices, or throw in free stuff.

And finally...

5. Bring a whole lot of money and a guy to carry your shopping bags!


A small selection of what I bought


In all I had a fab time experiencing the food, drink, culture and cosmetic shopping in Seoul. I have no regrets, but my bank balance does.

Friday, 14 July 2017

F-U Genkan

So I'm starting this blog with a not-so shocking  revelation: I am a hypocrite. There, done! I've admitted it.

You may, or may not be asking; Why? For many reasons, but for the purpose of this blog post, only two.


1. I love shoes, but hate wearing them. 

Quite possibly my favourite shoes
They're so bloody uncomfortable. I'd be much happier walking around barefoot all the time. I am one of those crazy people that will take their shoes off as soon as I get a chance. I've been known for walking around offices barefoot, or just in socks. 

But OMG!! Shoes, I love them, particularly heels. I remember a devastating period in my life where I ebayed a lot of the fab shoes I had collected over the years. It almost destroyed me.I'd be happy having a shoe museum.

Following on from 1 we have...

2. I'd rather be barefoot, but I hate the Genkan (玄関)

So for those of you who don't know, the Genkan is the place where you remove your shoes before entering a house in Japan. But you don't like shoes, I hear you cry, why would you hate the Genkan? 

Because when your Genkan is as small as mine, it takes forever to put shoes on, especially if they have laces. And then once you've finally laced up your shoes, you're ready to leave, and you get outside and you're about to lock the door when you realise you've left your *keys/phone/purses/other (*Delete as appropriate) in the house and you have to take your shoes off to go back inside. Cue yelling all the compound obscenities you can think of whilst going through the process of taking your shoes off, collecting forgotten item and struggling to get them back on again.

Meet the Genkan, and my cell front door

Some restaurants even have Genkans, which add a whole new level of anxiety to the situation. You get to the restaurant, you have to take your shoes off and your mind is racing with terrible thoughts like: "What if my socks have holes in them?" Or the classic: "Do my socks even match?" Or for the forgetful among us: "Am I even wearing socks?" Or the most sickening thought: "Ohmigod!! I've been wearing these shoes all day. What if my feet smell?"

On the plus side, the Genkan does keep your house tidy and dirt free. So when I win the lottery I'll make sure my Genkan is a good size, with a nice bench for putting on, and taking off your shoes. Hurry up lottery win!

Monday, 10 July 2017

A Day in the Life

As we're pretty much caught up with me and where I'm at, and because some of you seemed curious about what my daily life is like I figured I'd run you through a typical day. Be prepared for lots of photos!

The below events occurred on Friday July 7th and Saturday July 8th 2017.

04:30 Alarm goes off. I try my best to ignore it so I can get 15 extra minutes of quality bed time. Instead I check my phone and get distracted by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

04:45 I'm rudely disturbed by second alarm. I feel momentarily disappointed that I wasted my time on the internet. I begin to battle my way out of bed and into the shower. Get dressed,  realise I look a mess, plaster a load of make-up on my face and get ready to leave the house.
Boss Coffee Vending machines

06:08 Leave the house, walk slowly to work, mostly due to the damn humidity, and due to the fact that my head is usually in the clouds thinking of nothing and everything all at once. Like why is it called Boss Coffee, when it's not that boss at all? And if the vending machine could talk what would it say?
FamilyMart!

Making my Cafe Frappe!
They trust you to press the button to get your own milk.
I'm almost like a barista


06:23 I stop off at my local Convenience Store and spend  ¥510 (£3.50) on my lunch, (a salad) and a Cafe Frappe. I'm addicted to these things, I promised myself I'd stop drinking them but... Frozen coffee that fuels my day, what's not to like? And why should I stop? I continue walking to work, drinking my Frappe, cos I'm cool like that. Secretly glad that I get to see the smiley super happy Shiba Inu, even if his owner does sense I'm super crazy lady who will steal his dog. I know this because he always moves him away from me. And it breaks my fragile heart.

A view from the break room

6:36 Arrive at work. Finish Frappe, prepare for the day and lessons ahead.

07:00 Start working, meet a variety of people who are learning English Conversation.Some mornings I'm lucky and I have a break. This was one of them, so I go for a walk around outside before it gets too hot. I clear my head and get some much needed exercise. Most days I defeat the whole point of doing the exercise as I just buy more coffee. I go back to work


Sitting down when commuting means looking at a lot of legs.

13:00 Friday is my half day, so I eat my lunch before heading to my train station to go to my Japanese class. The commute is not so busy and I manage to get a seat, and a view of legs... too many legs.
Study time,
a little bit like Hammer Time,
 but less baggy trousers

14:02 Arrive a little too early for my class, so study a bit before heading to class. During class have the horrific realisation that I cannot for the life of me do languages, that my school report was in fact a lie, and I am not a "natural linguist". Thanks Mr Nuttall, my whole life has been built on a lie! Finish class and head back to Shibuya.

Hachiko and the crowds

17:00 Hang around near Hachiko waiting for my friend, try to avoid the strange men who attempt to talk to me. This part is easy, stare blindly at my phone, say "Sorry No English" if they attempt to talk, if all else feels turn brutal and yell "GO AWAY!" My friend arrives and we head for food and drink.
Probably the only time in my life I'll be Number 1
Cabbage, Chicken Nan-ban and BEER!!!!

17:09 Arrive at a Torikizoku, get very excited by the fact that we are in fact number 1 to be seated. I've never been Number 1 at anything, so obviously I celebrate with food and beer.

Shibuya Crossing

Walking to Karaoke
21:04 After eating and drinking too much we head to Karaoke, braving Shibuya crossing, where as soon as the lights change everyone suddenly transfigures into one of two sets of people, either a mindless zombie, or the one I like to call a "Let's stand in the middle of the crossing and take a selfie!"  Ok, I get it, it's not a catchy name, but it'll do!
Never thought I'd like singing Oasis as much as I do


Calories burnt 7.2!! He's impressed, I'm impressed, we're all impressed.


21:10 Arrive at Karaoke, continue drinking whilst belting out songs at Karaoke. Basically I'm a Karaoke addict, music is great for stress relief, and getting out feelings. It's a great shared experience, and some of the places even tell you how many calories you burnt whilst singing. You can lose weight whilst singing. I burnt 7.2kcal singing Oasis - Whatever. Even the dude in the Karaoke video looks impressed!

23:40 Head back to Shibuya station, drunk but happy!
Commuting in Tokyo AKA Packed in like Sardines

23:58 Morph into a sardine and get a super busy train home. Internally lament all life choices that lead to the decision of catching this train home. But secretly know I'll do it again. Stagger home.


Extremely tired Selfie

 1:07 Crawl  into bed, snuggle the nearest plush. So what if I'm a grown woman!!! (Stop judging me, Judgey McJudgeface.) Close eyes and hope sleep comes easily.


So there you have it, a day in my life. Is it as you expected? What's your typical day like?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Changes

Over a year ago I decided to move to Tokyo and try my chances here. Being from the countryside I've always loved the anonymity of big cities and you can't get much bigger than this.


Tokyo Tower, Roppongi
Tokyo Tower - Like Blackpool Tower, only better!


Since coming here I've been out of my comfort zone a lot, I've had to speak to random people to make friends, I've actually had to be social! But I've met some amazing people, and made some great friends. I've learnt that life is sometimes about changing and saying goodbye, and that nothing is permanent, and that if you're more open to opportunities they come your way.

Narration Voice Over work
A face for Radio

I've been lucky, I've done narration work for apps for English Learners and for some top secret project I can't even speak about. I had to sign forms like a responsible adult to prove I'd keep my mouth shut.

And some shameless self-promotion here, but for those of you who miss seeing my ugly mug, or hearing my messed-up accent, I've had the chance to appear in videos as an actor/presenter teaching English to Japanese people. WITH PROFESSIONAL MAKE-UP AND LIGHTS AND CAMERAS!!!!


(Don't speak to me, I'm a real actress now... who says fame doesn't go to your head?) 

Anyway if you're interested in watching, you can check out my terrible acting here: 




And if you want to see me presenting you can see that here: 



It would be much appreciated if you were to follow the YouTube page

Anyway enough of the shameless self-promotion, I guess really what I wanted to say was getting out of my comfort zone has made me a stronger, more confident person and I've changed in ways I didn't think I could. I recommend to anyone challenging themselves to do just one thing that puts them outside their comfort zone.

As my blog has been reborn I'm interested in hearing the feedback of those who have stuck with me, or any of my newer readers, so do you have any suggestions for anything you'd like to see or read about from me? If so let me know in the comments box, or reach out via Twitter or my new Facebook page.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Meet Arthur

So I recently made some confessions and wrote about a demon, I guess one of my inner demons. Of course I'm aware that this "Demon" is my own inner negative thoughts. But personally I like to embrace my dark side. However this isn't always great, as not only do I embrace it but I nurture it, and sometimes the darker thoughts drown out my lighter brighter side.

In an attempt to combat this I decided to make my main inner demon a bit more cartoon like. So this is Arthur, he likes to tell me I'm not good enough, and that no one cares. Of course, I understand I'm surrounded by love, and great friends, and so much opportunity. But when Arthur throws a tantrum sometimes it's hard to ignore, and he does prevent me from following up on opportunities, and creating more. But now he's this little cute thing, I feel I can accept and fight my feelings, and shout him down easily. I'm a warrior, and whatever happens I learn, and I come back stronger and fight back harder.

Inner Demon, Arthur
Arthur, you dick!

Ultimately, perhaps it helps to admit that we all have negative thoughts, we all have inner demons, or whatever you choose to call it. Human nature in itself is flawed, we are all machines without operating manuals, some of us understand our basic needs, but we're a lot more complex than that.


We are all warriors fighting a battle, some people choose to fight alone, others fight in groups. But today I want to promise my readers and anyone I come into contact with that if you need me, I'm here, to listen, to help you fight your demons, to hold your hand as you talk, to support you in whatever way I can. 


DISCLAIMER: I'm not a trained professional, I'm just another flawed human, struggling my own way through my life, I don't have the answers, or the operating manual, but maybe truly the only way we can beat our fears and demons is through kindness and compassion, to ourselves and to others.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Confessions

So I'm back to blogging again and I figured I'd kick things off with a confessions blog, I'll write three things I'd like to confess and hopefully you can all learn a little more about me. So maybe get yourself a coffee, or something stronger to sip as you read!



Confession 1: I am useless at being a blogger.

Reset, Resetti, Animal Crossing
Resetti (リセットさん) He's not so happy when you reset
I don't know how many times I will restart this blog, delete all the old posts and restart it again. There's something beautiful about being able to reset everything and start again. Perhaps because you can't do it in the real world. I don't know if I would be able to press the big red reset button if I was offered the chance in my real life. There's things I regret, things I'd love to do over but every experience has made me who I am.

But that's going off on a tangent, so back to my confession; I love writing, I love blogging, but finding the commitment, the motivation, the inspiration and the time, whilst battling that one little demon (he's called Arthur) who likes to tell me that I'm just not good enough at this, that noone cares and I should simply give up. Sometimes Arthur temporarily wins and I give up, but I always come back. I guess this confession is more for me than you. But by admitting that I'm no good at something perhaps I can just beat Arthur at his own game. But hey, don't expect too much!
Confession 2: I don't belong anywhere. 

This is a strange one, I have a reasonably strong sense of my self and who I am, sometimes some situations in life make me wobbly and doubt myself, but I'm a phoenix, I fight back and come back stronger. However, I have never felt like I truly belong somewhere. I feel like a museum artifact that's been placed in the wrong exhibit, I know I shouldn't be there but I just don't know where I'm supposed to be. Maybe I like to cast myself as The Outsider. I'm happy but I just don't truly fit anywhere.

 I've been described as a social butterfly before, by someone who was telling me "I like that you're a social butterfly, that you don't feel the need to belong in any one clique." The thing is part of me would love to belong, but another part of me enjoys the solitude of not belonging. I also don't feel any strong belonging to any country, here, my home country anywhere. I don't know if other people feel like this, but I'm slowly growing at ease with not belonging. 


Confession 3: I'd love to just disappear. 

Perhaps this relates to when I was younger and the amount of times I just wished the ground would open up and swallow me. I've always had a yearning to run away and start again. To go missing. I once spent a whole month researching how to be a missing person but to start a new life. I guess I don't like responsibility or just don't want to adult.  

The thing with disappearing and starting again is you can never go back, or have any contact with anyone from your old life. And can you really start again? Your personality will always be the same, it would be tiresome to play a character all the time, and once you run do you just keep running, never stop and never look back, or do you yearn for what you used to have, for who you used to be? Ultimately I'm not brave (or is it cowardly) enough to run away, but sometimes just thinking about it brings me a sense of peace.

What about you? What things would you like to confess?