Celebrating Chuseok (Thanksgiving)

Watch our video about how we celebrated Chuseok!

One of the things I was most excited about was celebrating Chuseok in Korea. I had heard that it was one of the biggest holidays in the year here. People get 3 days off work and travel back home to celebrate with their families. Also known as the harvest festival, this three day holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon (whenever the hell that is). That’s 15th September to you and me. As this was a Thursday, it meant that people had a 5 day weekend from Wednesday 14th through to Sunday 18th September.

I had heard that Seoul becomes pretty deserted throughout this holiday as people travel to the countryside to see their families. Many restaurants were closed and some transport ran a reduced service. We decided to take this opportunity to do some ‘touristy’ things that are usually quite busy at this time of year. We had planned to do some hiking but as the summer heat is still quite unbearable at the moment, we decided to wait till October to do that.

Day 1, Nami Island

The first day of Chuseok we decided to go to Nami Island which is a famous island about an hour from Seoul. It is famous for being the setting of popular K drama ‘Winter Sonata’. It normally attracts a big crowd but we were hoping as the majority of Korea was at their family home that it would be quite quiet. Fortunately we were right and there were no queues at all. We took the subway there and walked down the ferry pick up point. Already the scenery was breathtaking. When we hopped off the ferry we walked down the main tree-lined promenade which was full of couples taking selfies together (Steve and I included!)

We grabbed a coffee and hotteok (Korean style pancake) and perched ourselves on one of the many picnic benches. There were lots of live, traditional Korean performances on for the Chuseok holiday which we sat and enjoyed.

One of the most popular things to do on Nami Island is to take a ‘couple bike’ (tandem bike 8,000 WON per/hr) and cycle around the island so that’s what we did! And it was so much fun! We did a lap around the island before sitting down on an old log; Steve started skimming stones in to the lake. We saw a lot of the wildlife there including peacocks, squirrels and wild rabbits. It was such a nice, relaxing afternoon.

We returned our bikes and headed towards the pier, picking up some songpyeon on the way. Songpyeon are colourful rice cakes that are usually eaten around Chuseok time. They have a sweet filling, are chewy in texture and usually steamed over pine needles.

Nami island is 8,000 Won ($8) entry for tourists for the ferry, for a faster and more terrifying route to the island, there is a zip wire you can take for 38,000 won. Food was a bit pricey on the island and the restaurants was also very busy so i would recommend taking a packed lunch.

Day 2, Adoptee Chuseok dinner at Koroot

The following day we had a pretty lazy morning before heading to Ko Root Guesthouse which is a place here in Seoul where adoptees can stay when returning to Korea. Ko Root is an organisation which helps Korean adoptees returning to Korea. They run several social events, provide counselling for adoptees trying to find their birth parents, run a guesthouse where adoptees can stay and much more. It is run by Pastor Kim, who we were fortunate enough to have a great chat with at the party. He has done a lot of research and had a paper published on adoption here in Korea, especially regarding birth mothers. The volunteers at Koroot put on an amazing Chuseok dinner spread for all of us adoptees living here in Seoul; about 60 of us in total. We had a wide range of salads, bulgogi (Marinated beef), kimchi and japchae (sweet potato noodles with vegetables) – it was delicious and we were truly spoiled!

For me what was amazing was meeting some other adoptees here on the same journey as I am. It was comforting to speak with adoptees who had met with their birth parents and those who like myself are still searching. What was amusing as well is that there were so many nationalities represented. Even though we all look Korean, those who I met were so clearly from their own country. The Dutch adoptee was just so, well, DUTCH. He was still ranting about how Holland didn’t make the Euros! The Italian adoptee had long groomed hair with a trendy button down shirt. I loved it because despite us all looking Korean, we are so clearly a result of the environment we were raised in.

Day 3, Namsangol Village

The following day we decided to head to Namsangol Village which is a folk village with lots of traditional performances and activities. As it was Chuseok, they had on a lot of performances as well as activities – you could make your own candles, songpyeon, rice toffee and lots more. I was more excited about the food fair that was there. There were lots of food trucks around the village with treats such as grilled steak with noodles, kimchi fried rice, dumplings, and lots more.

We opted for the steak and japchae noodles with a seafood pancake on the side. Yum!

Day 4, KBO Baseball at Jamsil

On Saturday we headed out to watch a baseball game at Jamsil stadium. It was Samsung versus LG, the team we support. We go to the baseball every week as its cheap and good fun but this time it was packed, and roasting hot. We arrived a little late so the only seats that were left were right smack bang in the sun! Fortunately we had brought umbrellas in our bag so following what the Koreans do, we used our umbrellas to shelter us from the scorching sun!

The game went on for nearly 5 hours until LG Twins got a home run in the bottom of the 11th, therefore winning the game! Yay!

Day 5, Brunch at Itaweon

Today is the last day of Chuseok so we came to Itaewon to work and also go for brunch. If it’s one thing I miss it’s a decent brunch. I have been on the hunt for the best brunch in Seoul and this morning we struck gold when we went to The Flying Pan Blue in Itaewon! As we couldn’t decide between sweet or savoury we got one pesto, eggs, mushrooms, hummus on toast and one grilled banana french toast. Wow, it’s the best brunch I have ever had here and definitely top 10 ever!

We went to the Western Supermarket (High Street Market) in Itaewon to pick up some stuff we can’t get at our local EMART – pesto, almond milk, hash browns and most importantly English tea. Unfortunately they don’t have Yorkshire tea, just Lipton so it’s quite weak – but we only have to last until Friday when two of my good friends are coming to visit (hopefully with a big box of Yorkshire tea as requested!)

And that was our Chuseok. It was great to explore more of Korea, meet new people and learn the traditions of this holiday. There were two stand out moments for me:

Leading up to Chuseok I felt a bit emotional that here I was in Korea, celebrating a family holiday but still not knowing where my birth family actually was or who they were. How were they celebrating this holiday? Was she wondering about me, not knowing that I was actually here? What I found so comforting was that Pastor Kim and his volunteers didn’t want us to spend Chuseok alone here. It made me feel grateful that we could spend this holiday with my other family here in Korea; my adoptee family. And we did what we do best – celebrated and drank a lot of Korean booze!

The second moment was at the baseball. As it was so packed at the game we stood at the back alongside the locals in the shade for the last few innings. In front of me was an old man, clearly very in to his baseball and clearly very frustrated that LG Twins was losing. Every play he either cheered or jeered depending on the result. I had been singing (well, attempting to) the LG chants and following the actions he was doing, keen to be a part of the fun. When a decision was being contested, he was watching the slow-motion replay on his phone. I didn’t understand what had happened; there was a pitch, then the batter seemed to run off to the dug-out. The old man showed me the replay on his phone – ah, it had hit his wrist. I pointed to wrist and feigned a pained look. ‘Ne’ he said; ‘yes’ in Korean. When LG Twins equalised in the 8th inning, the stadium erupted and the old man next to me turned around, cheered loudly, gave me a high 5 and hugged me. And I was so happy because I felt like I was being accepted by a Korean. He didn’t know my back story, he didn’t wonder why I couldn’t speak his language; but he wanted to celebrate the win with me, and it had been my first meaningful exchange with someone here. It made me feel like I belonged.

The innisfree store in Gangnam

innisfree Haul

Ah Innisfree. The first Korean beauty store I ever walked in to and forever my favourite. Whenever I walk in to an Innisfree shop I go to my happy place. Innisfree prides itself on using natural ingredients from the island of Jeju just off the coast of mainland Korea. The product packaging is always slick and everything always smells great. The stores always have this eco-natural feel which is so calming.

The innisfree store in Gangnam

My favourite scent at Innisfree is Gardenia. I am obsessed with it. I first bought the hand cream a few years ago and some of my colleagues at work tried it, loved it and became converts as well. Since then Innisfree have expanded their scent range greatly. I came in for the hand cream but then I discovered that Innisfree now has home scents like candles and diffusers. So I bought the Gardenia diffuser and it.smells.wonderful.

Our flat is on the 8th floor and doesn’t have many windows so can at times get a bit stuffy so I wanted something to make the place smell fresher. Or at least that’s the story I’m telling myself. And Steve.

I then bought the innisfree Body Lotion in Gardenia as well which again smells divine and is highly moisturising – I love it. Perfect for a pamper session!

innisfree Body Lotion in Gardenia

I did in fact get the innisfree Hand Cream and also got the Peony one as well. Jo Malone’s Peony Blush Suede is what I wore on my wedding day so I love the smell of it. And just as I expected, this too smells delightful. These little tubes are so great for popping in the handbag, they last a surprisingly long time and I’m fairly sure all of them smell delicious.

Innisfree also have a collection of antibacterial gels – one of which was Gardenia so obviously I bought that as well. In fact I think the only Gardenia things I didn’t buy was the body wash (because it was sold out), and the rollerball (which I only later discovered from another beauty instagrammer!)

Innisfree has a great range of masks, hair masks, face masks, foot masks, sleeping packs, hand masks you name it. I was planning on doing a pamper session on the weekend so decided to buy some to try out.

I bought the innisfree Camelia Essential Hair Mask pack, the innisfree Rose Sheet Mask and innisfree Foot Softening Mask (yes that’s a thing here). I have yet to try out the hair mask and foot mask but I love the sheet masks at Innisfree and as they didn’t have a Gardenia mask, I settled for Rose.

Innisfree also has a wall of capsules which at first, I didn’t know what it was for. Then I read online that they have a mixture of sleeping masks and wash off face masks in these great little capsules. These are useful for travelling or for just trying out.

innisfree capsule recipe pack

I bought the Seaweed (revitalising), Green tea (moisturising), and the Volcanic Clay (pore minimising). Each capsule has about 2-3 uses and comes in a handy re-sealable pack for easy storage. I have only tried the Seaweed pack but noticed a huge difference in my skin the next day.

I also got a pack of my favourite face wipes from the Olive Oil collection – innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Tissue. These are great because they are essentially like using a cleansing oil but easier and less faff. A lot of face wipes can be quite drying to your skin whereas these ones gently remove all traces of make up. Perfect when I can’t be bothered or come home late after a few too many sojus!

innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Tissue

On to make up. I bought a couple of my favourite products from their innisfree No Sebum range – the Blur Primer and the Blur Powder. Most people rave about the blur powder white version (similar to the Makeup Forever HD Powder) but I find that sometimes it makes my face look a bit washed out so I wanted to try this version which is skin-toned. I haven’t tried it yet as I am still waiting to finish the Peach Sake Silky Finish Powder which I reviewed in my Skinfood Haul but I am sure it will be good. The blur primer is good and again is a much raved about product here in Korea but it still, for me, does’t compare to the Etude House Beauty Shot Face Blur which is my all time favourite base primer.

I’ve been meaning to try Innisfree cushions for a while and I am always so amazed when I see their wall of personalised cases. At Innisfree, you select which BB cushion you want and then buy a case – they come in all different patterns and colours. I opted for the innisfree Ampoule Intense Cushion which I am saving for the winter time when my skin will appreciate the moisture this cushion offers. And I opted for this polka dot case 🙂

The last product I got was this innisfree Creamy Tint Lipstick in Cocktail Orange, a lovely vibrant coral colour. The tint lasts quite a while but can be a bit drying on the lips, it needs topping up after about two hours. The lipstick smells great though and I just really love the colour. It goes on very easily (and creamy like the name suggests), however I would say the finish is more matte.

Innisfree can be a bit hit and miss with samples. One time I didn’t get any which is the first time I have ever had that happen. I was not happy. Granted I only bought a couple face masks which cost hardly anything but usually, no matter what you spend, they will always give you a bunch of samples to try. However, this time the saleswoman gave me quite a few to try out:

I received:

  • 3 x samples of the Cherry Blossom Body Wash (I think she thought I should try another scent other than Gardenia. I get the hint)
  • 3 x Aloe Vera Sheet Masks
  • 4 x Green Tea Seed Serum (holy grail product)
  • 2 x Green Tea Cleansing Foam
  • 2 x Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam (another holy grail product)
  • 1 x Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (this is their bestseller but I’ve never actually tried it)
  • Green Tea Balancing Special Kit including Toner, Lotion and Cream.

I keep meaning to try more of the make up from Innisfree but I always think of it more as a skincare shop. Would Innisfree products would you recommend?

 

Too Cool for School Dinoplatz

Too Cool for School Haul

Too Cool for School is another Korean brand, renowned for it’s funky, artistic packaging. The brand partners up with a lot of upcoming and leading illustrators and designers to create a fun, stand-out brand identity. You can spot a Too Cool for School store a mile away. It just looks, well, cool.

Too Cool for School now has stores in the US and I believe recently has started selling certain product lines in Selfridges. It’s a little bit more expensive than the other Korean beauty stores like Etude House, Innisfree and Skinfood but in my opinion, is still reasonable for the quality it offers.

One of the collections that has come out in the last year is their Dinoplatz collection which features an all-in-one make up box . After trekking around what felt like all the Too Cool for School stores in Seoul, I finally got my hands on the Dinoplatz UFO Multibox. Even though it came out summer 2015, it’s been so raved about that it’s difficult to come by – it was sold out in the Myeongstore and Hongdae stores that I went in to.

Too Cool for School Dinoplatz UFO Multibox

As to be expected from Too Cool for School the box is super cute. The square compact makes it stand out among the sea of round BB cushion compacts. The multi box comes in two shades – 21 and 23. I opted for the darker shade 23, although it is still a bit too pale for me. The coverage is quite light but it definitely gives that Korean ‘glow’ and I’m all for the lightweight consistency. It’s not my favourite BB cushion but it definitely does the trick and is a great addition to my ever-expanding collection.

Coming out from underneath the cushion is a nifty little trio of pore balm, concealer and lip / cheek tint. The pore balm is ok, it minimises fine lines and smooths out the area ahead of BB cream application but it’s so tiny you can only really use it on the areas that require the most attention (for me, under my eyes and nose). However, I really love the concealer. It blends in easily, brightens up the under eye area and covers blemishes well. The lip / cheek tint is ok but not the colour I would normally go for, it’s a bit pale on my lips and quite drying but fine to use as a blush. Pink eyeshadow is in right now in Korea so you could use it as an eyeshadow as well.

The next product that I got was a pack of products from the egg range (Egg-Essential Skincare Set); arguably their most famous range. Egg is used in a lot of Korean beauty products, it’s great at tightening pores, brightening skin and amazing for your hair.

This skincare set came with the Egg Mousse Soap, Egg mellow Cream, the Pore Cleansing Brush and an Egg Cream Mask.

The egg mousse soap is a gentle cleanser infused with egg yolk that helps hydrate your skin. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling stripped of essential oils which is good and lathers up nicely. It’s not great at removing make up but certainly a great addition to my double cleanse routine. (Double cleansing, for those that don’t know is the Korean beauty method of removing your make up and impurities with a cleansing oil/balm first, before going in again with a foaming or gel cleanser).

The egg mellow cream is a game changer for me. I love it. Suitable for dry, oily and combination skin it claims to help speed up your skincare regime but acting as a serum, primer, eye cream and moisturiser all in one. It can also be used as a sleeping mask (providing intense hydration to your skin over night). Anything that reduces the time required for my skincare regime I am all for. The cream smells great, seeps in to the skin easily, brightens my complexion and leaves my skin feeling nourished. I will definitely by buying more of this!

I have yet to try the egg cream mask but I have heard great things about the Too Cool for School mask range. Which is why I bought this set:

I mean how cute is this – it’s a recipe book! There are three tabs – one for hydration, one for pore tightening and one for firming. Each tab includes an overview of the ingredients for each mask and 2 x sheet masks. The hydration mask contains ingredients like egg yolk and coconut extract. The pore tightening one contains witch hazel and vinegar and the firming one contains things such as shea butter and collagen. Well I don’t know about you but that all sounds wonderful to me!

This next product is a new release from Too Cool for School and I felt I was somewhat pressured in to purchasing it from the saleswoman (although I’m glad I did because it’s awesome).

Too Cool for School Air Sun Primer

Koreans are obsessed with SPF and suncream. Most BB creams contain at least SPF 30 and suncream is usually one of their essential steps in their skincare regime. I never realised the importance of using suncream on my face (even in cloudy, rainy weather) but boy does it make a difference. I always thought that it was just to maintain that coveted ‘paleness’ that is so popular in Asia but it actually has made a difference to my skin. Now, when I first heard about using SPF on your face everyday I thought YUCK. Sticky, white gloop on my face that smells like, well suncream, isn’t what I thought would be good for my skin! But surprise surprise, as with any Korean beauty invention, the have found a way to avoid that! There are two products in the range, one for dry skin (Air Sun Essence) which is highly moisturising and one for combination/oily skin (Air Sun Primer). As you can see, I opted for the latter. This great product is a suncream (SPF 50+ PA+++) and primer in one. It’s the perfect base for your foundation or BB cream, seeps in to the skin like a dream, is incredibly lightweight and smells really fresh.

The consistency is quite watery, none of that thick gloop that I was expecting, and reduces the appearance of fine lines making it the perfect base for your make up. Oh yeah, did I mention the smell? The scent is wonderfully fresh but not too overpowering and not at all like the suncream I’m used to putting on my face back home!

Another summer essential is this face mist that was new in stores as well.

Too Cool for School Coconut Mist

Now I am a sucker for anything coconut related. So when I saw this, it was already in my basket before the saleswoman even had a chance to explain what it was. Face mists are an essential in this Seoul heat and many use it to either cool themselves down, refresh and moisturise their skin or to help give that plump, dewy glow. But the ones I’ve tried so far make my face look like I’ve just been saved from a drowned wreckage. The Laneige one, I’ve resorted to using as a toner because the spray was just too strong to be considered as a mist! This one goes on very fine, smells divine and gives my skin a boost on the go. I’ve used it as a toner, to set my make up, to give my skin a dewy glow, and before bed as a little aromatherapy.

So in my head I wanted to stop there. I only came in to see if they had the Dinoplaz UFO Multibox and my basket was getting quite full. Walking to the cashier though there was a travel size of the Pumpkin Sleeping Pack. So in the basket that went.

Too Cool for School Pumpkin Sleeping Mask

This is a great night cream and the fact that there was a diddy travel version, well, I had to get it. For the record, their pumpkin sheet masks are also fantastic as well.

And then I passed the new Dinoplatz Twisty Tail Mascara display.

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Twisty Tail Mascara

I mean, LOOK AT IT!

Now I don’t wear mascara usually, partly because I can’t be arsed to clean it off my face in the evening but as my eye lashes are non existent I thought to myself (eh hem…gave myself the excuse) that I really ought to buy a mascara. I grabbed the little tester wands and tried it on and it really did lengthen my lashes. And then I realised why it was called ‘twisty tail’. You can change the shape of the wand to get in to these little eyelashes in the corners of your eyes! You can set it straight, curved and very curved.

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Twisty Tail Mascara

Another great example of Korean innovation which no doubt I’m sure other brands will be following soon. Later I realised that the mascara doesn’t budge an inch, even when I wore it to the gym!

So after popping the mascara in to my basket I was really, truly done this time.

I mentioned the amount of samples that Korean beauty shops usually give out and Too Cool for School is one of the most generous (along with Etude House). The saleswoman, despite being a tad pushy with the Air Sun Primer was very helpful, gave thoughtful recommendations and spoke great English (which is rare here). Because I spent over a certain amount (and I told her just how fantastic her English was), I received this cute little make up bag and a WHOLE lot of samples.

Too Cool For School Samples

I received:

  • 2 x Replenish Hydra Essential Toner and Serum
  • 2 x Replenish Aqua Soft Peeling
  • 2 x Pore Minimising Serum
  • 2 x Ultra Rich Intensive Cream
  • 4 x Get Ready Dual Primer
  • 2 x Watery Skin BB Foundation SPF 37 PA ++
  • 2 x Egg Mellow Body Butter
  • 3 x Egg Remedy Hair Pack (I used this yesterday and it is amazing)
  • 2 x Fresh Gore Sleeping Pack
  • 2 x McGirly Come Clean Face Wash
  • 2 x McGirly Rice Scrub
  • 1 x Deluxe Sample Glossy Blaster Tint in Chic Red (very moisturising, long-lasting and smells like fruit). My new favourite lip product.

So that was it for this haul. Too Cool for School was a brand that I never really looked in to before but now I am hooked. All the products I have tried have been really great quality. I now really want to check out more of their make up range as I was so impressed with the concealer and glossy blaster tint! What are your favourite Too Cool for School products?

Life in Seoul – Part II

Life in Seoul Montage Part 2!

We have now been in Seoul for a month and have only just settled in to somewhat of  a routine. Thursdays we grab bikes and nip down to the EMART in Kongdae for our weekly shop. Mornings are predominantly spent in coffee shops doing our courses or writing (Steve is doing a web development course whilst I am attempting to learn Korean). Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays are gym days.

The learning curve that is Seoul Gyms

The gym here is…. interesting. Everyone wears the same uniform which you collect at the changing rooms – pink shirts for women, blue shirts for the guys – black shorts for both. Steve and I are the exception because we refuse to wear them. And so we stand out like sore thumbs, two sore foreign thumbs – especially me, with my open-back, bright purple Fabletics top, printed leggings and neon sports bra. Bothered? Most of the time I am the only girl under 50 at the gym. I am also the only girl to ever set foot in the weight room, which is great because it means all the weights I need are always free. Korean girls don’t seem to do gym here, and if they do they just walk for an hour on the treadmill. Steve and I are the only ones that sweat at the gym; no one seems to exert themselves. T

here’s not much in the way of gym etiquette either; the towels we get are flannels and tiny, no one wipes down their machines, most guys will sit on the same machine in between reps for about half an hour, on their phone. A lot of the time they don’t add any weight to the machines as well but just do as many reps as they can. I am also the only one that uses the running machine for its intended purpose – for running. The concept of sprints or interval training is so bizarre that when I was doing interval sprints on the spin bike I had an audience – a girl exercising, who knew!  Although I know what I must have looked like to them. A multi-coloured dressed rebel who doesn’t wear the uniform, cycles like she’s a mad woman, sweats buckets and comes to the gym with the only white guy in the neighbourhood.

Finally, gyms in Korea are quite expensive. We were quoted prices of over £60-£70 pounds a month for less than premium facilities before settling for one ‘good value’ gym at £35 a month. We paid for 4 months for two people upfront much to the managers surprise and delight and later the next week we found out why, as posted under our the door of our apartment was a leaflet for the exact same gym promoting a 50% discount price! Apparently sporadic substantial discounts on gym membership is a common thing in Seoul. As we are only staying for 4 months and we  were eager to get active, we haven’t got much time to wait for these offers. However, my advice for those staying here for a longer period is to bide your time as sooner rather than later, that expensive gym down the road will have a 50% discount available. It is also common practice to keep on dropping in at the reception, asking if any discounts are available and then simply walk out if not.

FC Seoul vs Jeonbuk Motors and alarming alarms

We went to a FC Seoul game which was lots of fun but very different to seeing a game back at home. Outside the stadium there are a lot of food trucks where people stock up on grub, pick up a few beers then make their way in to the stadium. Fans are somewhat segregated but we saw a lot of Seoul fans sitting with Jeonbuk fans (who are currently top of the league and beat FC Seoul 3-0). Loads of families were there with their little ones. Everyone there is drinking merrily together, joining in with the chants directed by the cheerleaders (yes, you heard me – cheerleaders). That’s Steve’s favourite part. Vuvuzelas can be bought in the stadium and before a corner/free kick a sign comes up on the screen that says ‘GOAL TIME! VUVUZELA TIME!’. And then the mass horn blowing begins. Steve’s least favourite part. Oh, and when players leave the pitch, they bow to the linesmen (can you imagine that happening in the premiership?!)

One thing that scared the hell out of us was the air raid siren that went off the other weekend. The siren reverberated around Seoul and it was so eery. To a newcomer it was very scary and went on for quite some time. Steve and I looked at each other ‘is North Korea invading us!?’ The siren was promptly followed by a message (presumably explaining that this was just a drill) but as we didn’t understand it we had no idea. Still, we looked down out our window and noticed everyone at street level didn’t even bat an eyelid  so we took comfort in that. At least we know for next time! Although it was a reminder of the ever-present threat of North Korea.

The rest of the time is spent exploring, eating, working on my birth family search or discovering new beauty products. It’s still quite a strange feeling waking up each morning and thinking ‘where shall we go today?’ It’s definitely made me less of a planner, yet I still can’t help but write a daily to do list (even if laundry and gym are the only things on it!)

The main thing that has changed over the past two weeks is the weather. Overnight, it went from 36 degree humidity to 25 degrees. The haze cleared, the sky became blue and the temperature now is just perfect. We can even now see the mountains from our window which we didn’t even know were there before!

The birth family search continues

I’ve made a lot of progress on my birth family search which I talk about in my previous blog – The Search for Kim Mee Hwa. For now, there is nothing to do but wait which means I can get moving on other things like volunteering, writing in this blog more and continuing to discover more Korean Beauty products that I want to promote back home.

Youtube Fan Fest @ Dongdaemun Design Plaza

I was also lucky enough to win an Instagram competition for free entry to the You Tube Korea Fan Fest where I got to meet some of Korea’s most famous beauty bloggers. They were kind enough to give me some full size samples of the latest ‘it’ brands in Korea right now which I can’t wait to try. It was held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza which is one of my favourite buildings in Seoul. It was an old baseball and athletics stadium turned into this beautifully contoured exhibition centre whilst still retaining its sports stadium design (you have to really look for it!) and original floodlights.

I was so thankful that I could skip the 3-4 hour queue that circled around the building!

IMG_2686

We are really looking forward to September for many reasons. As the weather is cooler we are hoping to get some hiking in. South Korea has some amazing hiking trails but it’s just been too hot to check them out. In two weeks time it is also Chuseok which is Thanksgiving in Korea and one of the biggest holidays in the calendar. September also means that two of my besties will be coming to visit! They were my bridesmaids and I am so excited / dreading the impending hangovers that will no doubt occur when those two come! But I can’t wait to show them around what has now become my stomping ground 🙂