Dog Lovin’ at Bauhouse Dog cafe!

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One of the places I wanted to visit in Seoul was a dog cafe. We’ve all heard of cat cafes but Korea has cat, dog and even sheep cafes! We went to Bauhouse Dog Cafe in Hongdae, and it was the best three hours of my life.

Bauhaus opens at 1:30pm so when we got there, we were half an hour early. We weren’t the only eager beavers there though! There was already a group of women there, and when we cam back at 1:30pm, a family of four also joined the queue.

A word of advice before you go here: wear clothes that repel dog hair. I made the mistake of wearing a new coat and stockings, which dog hair loves to cling to. Not sure what exact fabrics repel animal hair, but maybe something coarse and synthetic?

Bauhouse Dog Cafe is separated into two sections: small dogs and large dogs. Since the large dog section was bigger with more seats, we spent maybe two hours there. They’ve got these cards that tell you the name, gender, breed and age of each of the dogs, which was awesome. What I thought was a German Shepherd was actually a Belgian Sheepdog!

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While there’s no fee to get into Bauhouse, you are required to buy a drink which costs about 7000 won. You can even buy dog treats from the cafe for the dogs. One woman bought some treats and she basically became their best friend.

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As soon as we sat down, an old, possibly blind brittany spaniel sat next to me. He was very friendly and affectionate but moved on after the cafe workers replenished a bowl of water.

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This little teddy bear of a dog saw Liam and decided he was his human and basically fell asleep on Liam’s lap. So adorable!

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This cool labrador is called Ssong. We thought she was just an old fat lab but she’s actually just super pregnant. She was so affectionate and friendly and liked shaking hands. There was a moment where I caught Liam stretching across the table to give Ssong face pats. Looked like they were on a date! Ssong ended up falling asleep on my seat so I walked around the room to pet the other dogs. Liam’s nap buddy ended up heading over to the small dog section.

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The big dogs are all really friendly and gentle. There are three samoyeds who just hang out together all the time. The Belgian Sheepdog and Alaskan Malamute would play fight each other for hours. Some of the dogs weren’t quite ready to interact with humans so they huddled in small nooks around the room.

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When we moved to the small dog section, a chihuahua and mini poodle basically crawled onto Liam’s lap and fell asleep. I was pretty envious as I wanted all the dogs to sleep in my lap! Even Liam’s nap buddy from the big dog section came over for some pats.

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The smaller dogs were just ADORABLE. They had these three fluffy brown pomeranians, a white pomeranian, heaps of chihuahuas and foxies, and a dachshund who was being hogged by a kid. There was also a terrified little puggle or pughuahua with a massive underbite who was being bullied by one of the poodles. I wanted to give it a cuddle but it was scared of everyone.

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What I love about Bauhouse is they don’t just have “cute” dogs, they have old and young dogs, which is awesome. Judging from their instagram account, it looks like they take all the dogs for a walk in the morning before the cafe opens, which is awesome as some of the bigger dogs definitely need to go for a run.

I honestly could have stayed here for hours. If you are in Seoul, do come to Bauhouse for some dog loving. If you have a dog, you are allowed to bring your dog to the cafe so win!

For instructions on how to get to Bauhouse, check out this blog post: http://bittenbythetravelbug.com/bau-house-dog-cafe-in-seoul/

Exploring art and laneways in Seoul!

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Well, I had these grand plans to blog while I was in Seoul but it obviously didn’t happen. I’m back in Melbourne now and am working out a bunch of blog posts for the next few weeks. I’m trying out this thing where I write for an hour every day to get myself into the habit of writing, and might as well use it to get myself blogging more consistently!

The night after our first awesome day in Seoul, Liam and I decided to head to Hongdae for some dinner and drinks! Hongdae is a university district so it’s a younger, hipper crowd with exciting bars and things to do at night. We noticed pretty much every restaurant was a fried chicken and beer joint. While I love fried chicken, we had some the night before and wanted to try different Korean food so wandered around and ended up at a Koread BBQ. We should have looked at the menu before entering because there weren’t many beef/chicken options, mostly pork. I ordered a very expensive plate of wagyu beef while Liam had some pork. It was really nice but it was nothing special.

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The next day we wanted to go to the National Folk Museum but when we got there it was closed! It was OK though as the area the museum was in was very picturesque so we just took some photos of a few of the palaces!

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We ended up going to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which I was pleased about because it was on my list. It was a great museum/art gallery but I felt like the there wasn’t much there as a lot of events or exhibitions weren’t ready for the public yet. We saw the Bauhaus exhibit, which was the creepiest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. I never had issues with clowns until that exhibit. Bauhaus was a design school from the early 1900s to 1930 and was famous for its unusual approach to teaching design and construction. I don’t know why, but I got this really cult-ish vibe from the exhibit.

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The best exhibit was the Lee Bul one! She had two installations, one was a massive room decked out in shards of mirrors and lights, like a scene in a sci-fi film where someone lands on a new planet. So cool. I didn’t realise it I wasn’t allowed to take photos so I got told off. Her second installation was even more epic. I’m gonna let the images speak for themselves. It made me feel like I was in The Matrix or something and the sentinels are coming for me.

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After the museum, we decided to head home but we stumbled upon an alleyway full of cool little shops and cafes. We went to Jaws Food after they enticed us with their croquettes. They’re actually more like deep fried fish balls stuffed with cheese. Yum regardless!

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This particular area had some really stunning views and architecture. I could have spent hours exploring all the laneways. We even stumbled across a little egg tart place! Overall, a very awesome second day in Seoul!

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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

First week of Funemployment

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I’ve started catching up on some of the TV shows I’ve been wanting to watch. I love drama shows but I have to be in the right mood to watch them. I’m usually pretty mentally drained from work so I watch loads of (maybe too many) comedy shows. I pretty much devoured The Fall in a day and a bit and I’ve just finished season one of Fargo. INTENSE, GUYS! I’ll be moving on to True Detective. Other shows on my radar: Halt and Catch Fire (!!! Lee Pace *insert emoji with heart eyes*), Peaky Blinders, The Good Wife and Orphan Black. Hit me up with recommendations in the comments!

I’ve been doing more than just watching TV! Or at least, I’m trying to. When I was working full time, I always complained I never had time do anything creative so I’m really trying to use my time wisely now. I’m currently living at my parents’ place because I am acting chauffeur for my brother. He got a job at a restaurant and needs someone to pick him up after his late shifts. The change has been quite nice, although I do feel a little displaced. I feel reasonably relaxed at my parents’ place but I also feel like I’m living out of a suitcase, with my core belongings and clothes still at my place.

One of the things I started doing again is paint with watercolour. I thought I’d do something useful while bingeing on TV shows. It’s been really great! I painted a sunflower which I’m really happy with. It was sort of inspired by Klimt’s sunflower painting. I tried to paint something similar in acrylic paint but it didn’t quite work out.

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I got together with my friend Edwina, who’s got a sweet little Etsy shop full of her craft projects, for an afternoon of painting. I painted this … thing. I don’t really know what it is but I quite like it, but also feel like it’s missing something. What do you think?

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This week I’m focussing more on music. I haven’t played my ukulele in a while so I wanted to dedicate more of my time this week to music. It’s been really fun. I’ve stopped mucking around with song covers and started playing with chords and I think I wrote a song! I just need to nail down the lyrics. I’m finding the lyric part of songs really hard, probably because I don’t really know what to write about. I guess it’s like sitting down and trying to write a poem when you don’t know what you want to convey. Anyway, it’s obviously rough as at the moment. If it’s any good (or if it’s god awful), I’ll chuck it up on Soundcloud.

What awesome projects have you been doing this week?

The Chinese section is over there

the chinese section is ov

Today I encountered a situation I thought I knew how to handle.

My friend and I decided to go to the library because she wanted to find something to read over the Christmas break and I wanted to check out some Gustav Klimt art books. I headed to the art section and there was an elderly couple fussing over some watercolour books. They noticed me standing behind them and the woman said, “I’m sorry, are we in the way?” and I said they were fine where they were. Then the man said to me, “The Chinese section is over there” and chuckled to himself. I felt my smile fade and was left kind of speechless. They walked away and I grabbed my books.

Now, I can’t stop thinking about this encounter. I’m disappointed in myself for not calling this guy out. Even a simple, “Dude that’s racist” is better than being mute. I always thought I’d be someone who would say something in these sorts of situations but I was just so shocked by it because he seemed to think he was being friendly and funny.

I feel like I’ve contributed to racism by not speaking up and it really bothers me. I’ve talked about this before: racial microaggression is fucked up because it can be so subtle and easy to brush away. The best thing to counter it is to make some noise about it, which I didn’t do.

So yeah, I’m kind of kicking myself about it right now.

I’m Seoul Excited!

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I’m going to Seoul next month with Liam! Flights and accommodation have all been booked and now comes the fun part: PLANNING AND RESEARCH! I’ve been reading lots about Seoul’s food and fashion scene and I just CANNOT wait to get there.  I’d like to blog while I am there but we’ll see.

If anyone has any recommendations on where I should go or any blogs/websites I should check out, let me know! I was actually really keen on visiting the Kimchi Museum (!!) but it’s closed down for now and won’t reopen till March. But I hear there’s lots of shopping around Myeongdog, Dongdaemun and Hongdae and loads of food everywhere.

This trip has come at a really great time. Liam was finally able to take leave from work and I will be leaving my current job just before Christmas. I don’t have anything lined up (I and am looking!) but I hope to use the spare time to work on my art, get into shape and learn Korean!

If anyone else is also doing Seoul research, I’d recommend you check out Seoulistic. It has pretty much everything you need to know about Seoul food, culture, shopping etc. I’ve also just created a Pinterest board to log all the useful articles and blogs. There’s nothing in it just yet but it will fill up soon!

:D

Let’s Get Musical

What should I name my uke?
What should I name my uke?

My mental health is kinda rocky at the moment. I have some really terrible moments where I want to smash the reset button and other times, I am what they call “living in the moment” and just enjoying everything as it comes. I was doing pretty well last week but today’s been pretty crappy because of body image issues. URGH!

Anyway, last week, I bought myself a ukulele! I had a wonderful ukulele lesson with musician Georgia Fields a few weekends ago and I couldn’t stop thinking about music and how much fun it was. I actually wanted to buy myself a ukulele for my birthday but I never got the chance.

I’ve been trying to practice about two hours a day but it’s so hard to fit in time so I sometimes just do four to five hour chunks on the weekends. I’ve learned how to play Tegan and Sara‘s ‘Call It Off‘ and I have maybe seven chords memorised so I’ve been playing some Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Coldplay and Miley Cyrus. I’ve started to notice a lot of pop songs have the same four chords so that’s been fun.

One of the toughest things is singing while playing, especially when what you’re strumming is at a different tempo/rhythm (sorry I don’t know what the correct term is!) to what you’re singing. For example, Tegan and Sara’s ‘Walking With A Ghost‘ is really easy to play, just three chords. But the way you’re meant to strum it is (for me at least) really different to what you’re singing, so I’m trying to practice that as well. If anyone has any tips, please let me know!

In other exciting news, the first issue of the Grapple Annual is out now! I have three artworks in the lit journal and I couldn’t be more proud of this little publication. If you’re interested, please grab a copy of the Grapple Annual. There are only 365 issues printed!

let's get musical

What song should I learn on the ukulele?