Architecture in Seoul

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Seoul is known for its amazing food and awesome internet but one thing that really took my breath away when we visited Seoul was the stunning architecture, both old and new. From the futuristic Dongdaemun Plaza to the eight gates of Seoul, Seoul is a fantastic place to visit if you love architecture and rich history.

Ewha Womans University

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After we visited the Bauhouse Dog cafe, we headed to Ewha Womans University to look for some lunch and check out the famous university. This university was founded in 1886 by a missionary called Mary F Scranton, who believe all women deserved the right to an education, which was pretty progressive at the time. You can read more about the history of the university (super interesting!) on their website.

The design of the university is amazing. Even though the university has ultra modern and old, almost gothic elements meshed together, it somehow really works.

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After our quick tour of the university, we explored some of the streets in Ewha, and stumbled across this tiny Japanese ramen bar. There was no english on the menu but the guy working there knew some english and helped us translate it.

Both Liam and I ordered the spicy ramen, but they gave me extra egg because I didn’t eat pork and gave Liam my extra pork. So generous!

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The ramen was perfect, just what we needed after fawning over dogs all day. It was spicy and packed with flavour. I felt very nourished after it!

Sungnyemun Gate

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One of the things I miss most about Seoul is heading to the Namdaemun market in the morning to grab some kimchi buns from our favourite bun place and some japchae hotteok.

On our way to meet up with Liam’s friend Jaewon, we passed through the market and spotted a giant gate in the middle of the road. After some research we found out it is the Sungnyemun Gate, which means Gate of Exalted Ceremonies. According to Wikipedia, the gate was used to greet important foreign people, restrict access into the capital city and “keep out Siberian Tigers”. Cool.

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We were comparing the gates to the Angkar Wat in Cambodia, wondering how the gate is still in such great condition. Apparently there was a 2008 arson attack on gate, which meant it needed to go through some restorations, but even before then, it went through some intense damage due to the Korean War and had to be repaired.

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It’s a pretty epic gate (as you can see in the pictures below), and there are a couple around Seoul. We saw one on our last day but it was gated off from the public so we couldn’t visit it.

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After our brief detour, we walked to Seoul Station. One of the best things about Seoul is it’s pretty easy to walk everywhere if you don’t want to use their awesome subway. I can’t remember how long it took us to walk from Namdaemun market to Seoul station, but it was a quick walk.

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Once there, we met up with Liam’s pal Jaewon and he took us to an awesome Tibetan restaurant, where I had the best lassi and naan bread of my life! It was a really lovely lunch, and afterwards Jaewon showed us around the city before he headed home.

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Dongdaemun Design Plaza

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We headed to Dongdaemun a few times to get our (OK, my) fashion fix. The design plaza left us awestruck. It is such a cool futuristic looking building with all these curves and perspectives. You could plonk you camera anywhere and still take a badass shot. The design plaza was only completed in March 2014 and was designed by award-winning Iraqi British architect Zaha Hadid in partnership with Samoo, an architecture and engineering service in Korea. I heard a story about its history but I can’t find it anywhere on the web so I don’t want to write it in case I get any details wrong.architecture-in-seoul-19architecture-in-seoul-18

This structure is really unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Australia. It really uses space in a very innovative way, and moulds itself very comfortably in such a dense area.

After our short tour of the plaza, we headed back to the museum of modern and contemporary art to meet up with Liam’s new friends Yesong and Kyle, and their son Shawn. We had a great chat at the cafe and decided to have a kick ass dinner in one of the restaurants in a tight alleyway.

Again, everything on the menu was in Korean, so Yesong and Kyle helped translate it.

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Guys, it was here that I had the best kimchi of my life. It was so good, so perfectly balanced in acidity and salt. I could not stop eating it. Liam ordered a kimchi stew which he LOVED and I ordered a seafood broth with slices of noodle dough. Mine was nice, but I was having some intense food envy because Liam couldn’t get over how good his stew was.

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We also had Makgeolli, which is a fermented rice drink, served in a giant pot. We even drank out of bowls, which is so cool. I remember seeing photos of my great grandfather drinking liquor by the bowl. I didn’t like makgeolli the first time I had it but it definitely grew on me. It looks like asian soy milk but it tastes nothing like it. It’s a bit acidic, with a slight boozy buzz.

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So there you have it, a quick recap of the cool architecture in Seoul. Hope you’ve been enjoying my Seoul posts. For more of my posts on Seoul, check out the links below:

First day in Seoul

Exploring art and laneways in Seoul!

Dog Lovin’ at Bauhouse dog cafe

First day in Seoul: Namdaemun Market, Myeongdong and Shinsegae Mall

WASSUP WORLD? I’m in Korea! Liam and I arrived in Seoul last night and after a refreshing sleep in our cosy apartment, we went exploring today. So much to eat and so little stomach space! I can’t wait to get elbow deep in some shopping (feeling a bit self-conscious because the sizes are tiny), and visiting some awesome towns outside of Seoul. Here’s a quick recap of our first day!

First night in Seoul:

We were bloody exhausted from our flight to Seoul so we want to have a quick dinner then head home and sleep. There’s a chicken and beer place near our apartment called Bbo Bbo Chicken, which means kiss chicken so we ordered a plate of fried chicken (half chilli, half original) and two giant glasses of Hite beer. It was just what we needed!

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The chicken was really nice, very juicy! The sauce was really lovely: a sticky, sweet chilli sauce with hints of red pepper. So yum!

Day One: Namdaemun Market, Myeongdong and Shinsegae Mall

We wanted to take it easy today and just wander around to see what’s up. We found ourselves in the midst of the Namdaemun Market, where they sell all kinds of things, mostly clothes, shoes, bags and food. We arrived a little early, so there weren’t that many food places open and we weren’t quite ready to shop so we just walked around and picked up a few snacks.

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One of the larger food stalls was frying up these delicious-looking pancakes. They’re called hotteok and you can get them with sweet and savoury fillings. The ones we got had japchae in them, which is a noodle stirfry. The noodles in particular are those chewy glass ones made from potato.

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As you can see, they were delicious. The Japchae was lightly seasoned, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It was awesome! It cost 1500 won for two, which is about AU$1.70.

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We also had some fresh steamed buns with a kimchi filling! They were really delicious too, and the tart filling meshed well with the sweeter bun. It was like 2000 won for two buns, which is AU$2.25.

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Liam found this little stall that makes coffee espresso style, but they heated the milk first then added the coffee, which was a little strange, but it wasn’t too bad. Apparently he’s had some coffee in Sydney that’s worse than anything he’s had in Seoul so yay! I’ve noticed there are a lot of cafes in Seoul, but most of them are kinda Starbucks-y.

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After exploring Namdaemun market, we went to Shinsegae Mall, which is like a fancy ass mall that’s probably similar to Harrod’s in the UK. We were mostly interested in their food section, which was INSANE! They have a vegetable, seafood, meat, cheese, dessert and supermarket sections, plus a swanky food court. Sorry I didn’t get many photos of the place! We tried some samples of kimchi, exclaimed at things (um truffle salt, anyone?!), and bought some drinks. It was all so luxurious! I can’t really imagine anyone actually shopping in these places on a regular basis unless they’re extremely wealthy.

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After Shinsegae Mall, we wandered through the Hoehyeon underground shopping centre and reached Myeongdong which is a shopping district. The streets were lined with heaps of Korean makeup brands like Etude House and Nature Republic, as well as clothing and accessories stores and eateries. I really liked how bustling the area was! A lot of the people at the shops could speak a bit of English and some spoke in Chinese to me. I felt really envious of the people who could just switch from Korean to Chinese to English. Must be awesome to be trilingual!

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We stopped at Yoogane for lunch, where we cooked our meal on a iron pan. I think I was stirring it wrong because the waitress was all like “STOP” at me haha. We ordered the chicken Bulgogi, which had spring onions, mushrooms, marinated chicken and those potato noodles! It was so delicious. Our meal was 22000 won, which works out to be about AU $24.80. Not the cheapest lunch, but it hit the spot!

After lunch we wandered around some more and we saw this majestic creature:

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IT’S A CHOWCHOW THAT LOOKS LIKE A PANDA! So cute, look at his/her paws!

Anyway, after some more wandering, we found ourselves at the Myeongdong underground shopping centre and I bought this awesome fried egg ring!

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Isn’t it cool? I’m going to paint my nails pink so it will look like I’ve got bacon and eggs on my hands!

Today’s shopping:

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From left to right:

Fried egg ring: 6900 won from a shop at Myeongdong underground shopping centre, about AU$7.80

Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion foundation and refill, 28,000 won AU$31

Etude House nail polish, 3000 won, AU$3.40

So that’s my quick recap of day one in Seoul! Hope you enjoyed it. If you want, you can follow me on instagram, which will have more photos of my trip: instagram.com/chouxchoux

Getting Oily

Liam and my housemate Lucas infused three bottles of oil a few months ago: chilli, mandarine peel and rosemary. We haven’t properly used them in any cooking so I can’t wait to drizzle some over pasta or, god forbid, a salad.

One night Lucas borrowed my Lightcase, which is this nifty little box that diffuses light and adds a nice backdrop when photographing small things. Lucas used it to photograph a bottle of whisky but the whisky was a little too tall for the light box. I decided to photograph the infused oils as they were bottled in smaller bottles.

The Lightcase is designed so you can photograph amazing photos with your phone. I had my dadd’s special Nikon camera with me so I dedcided to use that instead. It’s just amazing what good light and a good camera can do!

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I’m looking forward to using the Lightcase to photograph some baked goods or new jewellery. Oh and this photo of our cat Bearclaw is too cute not to share. He’s been really naughty these few weeks, killing rats inside the house. I don’t care about the rats so much, but it bothers me when he brings the dirty things into the house for a rumble. Germs much?

Who knew such a pretty face could be a vicious killer.

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What I’ve been up to…

Ah it’s been ages since I’ve updated the blog. I’ve just been really busy with work and other things and to be honest, I’ve also been feeling pretty under confident about my writing. This is going to sound dumb but I’m almost scared to write and blog because if it’s bad, then it would confirm to me that I am terrible at it! I’ve been journalling recently so hopefully, even if what I’m writing is terrible, at least I’m doing some kind of writing.

So what’s been happening since the last time I blogged? A lot and also, not much.

I’m in a band!

My friend Rose Wintergreen is an amazing musician and I’m so happy to say I’m part of her new band. I’m one of three back up singers, and there’s also a pianist and a violinist. We’ve played a couple of intimate gigs at Longplay. It’s so much fun! I’m really excited to say we’ll be performing at The Toff (!!) for Rose’s single launch on July 23, with guests Sweets and AViVAA. I wanna be cool about it but I’m pretty freaking excited. You guys should totally come along to the show, it’s gonna be a great night of music: http://tickets.thetoffintown.com/event/view/jptyvm7bx

I cut my hair!

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So those of you who know what I look like, I used to have pretty long hair. It was in decent condition minus the split ends but I was getting pretty bored of it. I had thought about cutting my hair since the end of last year but only got it done a couple of weeks ago.

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I went to the hair dressers with a photo of Mia Wasikowska and left looking a little more Tina Belcher. Regardless, I am enjoying it, especially how much time I’ve saved not having to comb out knots and braid my hair every morning. WOO. I went to the lovely folks at Miss Gertrude’s. Check them out.

My interview with Colour Box Studio!

I feel very honoured to have the really awesome people at Colour Box Studio interview me about creativity and crowdfunding for their blog. If you’ve never heard of Colour Box Studio, they are a pop up arts space and online creative hub. They showcase a lot of local artists and put on great workshops to help you build or learn new skills and meet new people. They’ve got loads of workshops coming up and they’ve recently opened up an online shop to sell the great stuff local artists are creating. Do show them some love.

And you can read my interview here: http://colourboxstudio.com/crowdfunding-creativity-dessert-with-shu-shu-zheng-of-pozible/ 

That’s roughly it for me. What have you been up to recently? 

Plum

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So this week I made some shit financial decisions.

A few weeks ago, I drove over a nail, puncturing my car tyres. I had to get the tyres replaced, then the tyre people said they had to replace my breaks because they were not in a good shape. Long story short, I was quite a bit out of pocket. Then I bought a shit load of gin from this great Pozible project (think $360 worth) because I love it so much. WUT. On Friday, Sportsgirl‘s “20% OFF EVERYTHING” lured me into their shop like a moth to a flipping flame. Luckily, the things I tried on didn’t look great on. Unluckily for depleting funds, I decided I just needed three varying shades of dark plums and purples for lipsticks.
I swear, no more unnecessary purchases till Christmas!

I’m not a big make up person, mainly because I’m too lazy to wake up early enough to do it every morning. I wish I did though, it looks like so much fun. Buying make up can be pretty exciting but overwhelming at the same time, especially when you’re trying to find your “signature” lip/eye colour. I love MAC but I don’t know where to start when I visit their counters at the department stores. I also feel really awkward putting the actual lipstick on. At MAC, the assistants are really great with cleaning the lipsticks, but I sometimes just want to play with the colours without having to bother the assistants. Then there are places where you just don’t know where the lipsticks have been, especially at chain stores that have a beauty counter. At Sportsgirl, I was just awkwardly smudging colour on with my finger.

I’m actually pretty pleased with how all the colours look. When I tested them on the back of my hands, I noticed the colours are warmer than they look on the container. I also noticed the Sportsgirl lipstick lasts ages compared to my Revlon and Anna Sui lipsticks. I think it might be because the colours are darker so they stain my lips more. Perhaps someone who uses their lighter colours can vouch for their long-lasting-ness?

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Colour: Dark Angel
Brand: Sportsgirl
Cost: $9.95

It’s probably a little late for me to jump on the “dark lips” bandwagon, considering it’s such a winter look. I always thought I couldn’t get away with it because I’m not pale enough. I reckon it looks all right! I just need to be less clumsy in my application. I think the colour is more red-blue than a brown-red.

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Colour: Love Bite
Brand: Sportsgirl
Cost: $9.95

I feel I’ve finally found a red lipstick that suits my skin tone! This one has more of a blue-base so it looks a bit pink/purple.

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Colour: Berrylicious
Brand: Sportsgirl
Cost: $9.95

The colour on the lipstick is heaps paler and bluer than it looks when I put it on. I really like it though, I feel this would be a good “everyday” colour.

Got a favourite lipstick and colour? Please share!