Monday, 31 October 2016

Kids' Halloween Party

     So Halloween this year was a bit of a bummer, especially after last year's being so much fun! A big part of the reason was that I got sick over the weekend, so couldn't make it out on Saturday night, which was when most people were going out to celebrate. However, it sounds like it was a standard Saturday of bar hopping, just in costume, so I'm not sure I missed out on all that much. I think I enjoyed last year more than most Halloweens because we were doing something a little different (Rocky Horror and Bierfest). I have mixed feelings about Halloween anyway, as I find its origins fascinating - from the Gaelic festival of Samhain, and the idea that it's a time when the boundary between this world and the "other" world is thinnest, allowing spirits to visit us. I also love the spookiness, and all the lore and legends about witches and ghosts and demons and such, and when costumes are done well, they can be breathtaking. I like the mystical side of it more than the scary, horror stuff, and I'm less interested in what modern, commercialised Halloween has become - cheap costumes that are nothing to do with the supernatural, excessive candy consumption, and gory, horror films. So although a night out drinking in costume would've been fun, I guess it's nothing I haven't done before.

Witch Halloween Outfit | black t-shirt, skirt, ballet shoes and wide sleeved cardigan, spider web tights, and purple witch hat headband

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Busan Fireworks Festival

     I heard a lot about the Fireworks Festival in Busan during the weeks leading up to it, as its one of the largest fireworks displays in Asia. It takes place every October, and this was its 12th year. The display lasts for around an hour, with a short interval, and is accompanied by music played around the area. The Gwangan Bridge serves as the backdrop, so Gwangalli Beach is the best place to watch it from. However, if you want a good spot, you'll need to be there hours in advance, and be prepared to be crushed in amongst thousands of others. There are some alternative locations to watch from, Hwangnyeongsan Mountain being another choice, but these will be pretty busy too. The subway has additional guards along the route to Gwangan, to prevent complete chaos breaking out, and the public transport runs until later than normal, to accommodate the vast numbers of people trying to get home again.

Firework explosion at the 12th Busan Firework Festival on Gwangalli Beach

Monday, 24 October 2016

Outfit - Year Round

     First of all, given the horrible lighting in my current flat, I did some experimenting for these photos, which I took on the roof of my building. I much prefer natural light to fluorescents, though it was a bit overcast the day I took these. Anyway, on to the outfit; I love finding ways to make my clothes work in different seasons when possible. Of course, thick woolly cardigans are reserved for winter, and my light, breezy trousers and shrugs are going to be pretty useless in the colder months. However, this denim dress is definitely a versatile piece. I wore it like this back in the summer, and now I'm piling on some extra layers to continue wearing it now, with some good tights, a warm cardigan, and a black cami top underneath to disguise the cut out piece. These boots are my staple right now, while I'm waiting for some orders to arrive, and they're proving to be highly practical. Finally, I went for smaller jewellery, so as not to detract from the dress's detailing.

Year Round - outfit of denim cut out dress, with long grey cardigan, black tights and brown suede ankle boots

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Travel Inspiration - Honduras

     Many travellers shy away from the prospect of visiting Honduras, due to its unusually high murder rate, but my visit there was the furthest thing from dangerous. It was one of the destinations on my Central American trip last year, and I was travelling as part of a group tour, so the company were going to do their best to keep us safe! And with some basic traveller common sense, the likelihood of anything happening to you is no higher than most other countries. More tourists are visiting now, but it still feels like a relatively unknown location, lacking the masses of tourists you may find in other places. We made two main stops during my few days there, the town of Copan, full of tuk tuks and cobbled streets, and the island of Roatán, with its idyllic palm trees and beaches.

Cobbled streets and tuk tuks in Copan, Honduras

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Top Five Films to Make You Laugh

     Cinema, like all art forms, can be a powerful tool to explore important themes, make commentary on social issues, and delve into human emotions and psychology. Many excellent films do these things, and are normally hard-hitting dramas. But other genres can do this too; sometimes, you want a film that you can relax into and have a smile on your face throughout; a film that still has a good story or important themes, but which doesn't require excessive analysing and thinking throughout. Which is why, I've put together some of my favourite comedy films. I've tried to pick a range here, with different comedic styles, so hopefully there's something to suit different tastes. Personally, I'm not a fan of excessively crude humour, and I prefer comedy films to have a decent storyline, and a bit of heart or some smart humour in them too. So, without further ado, here we go!

Pitch Perfect movie poster

Monday, 17 October 2016

Outfit - Be Bold

     I've never thought of myself as a particularly confident person, but sometimes you just have to fake it till you make it, and I'm getting pretty good at that! A good outfit can help too, and combining red and black, with a leather jacket and heels, is a pretty surefire way of giving yourself a confidence boost! I've worn this dress before throughout summer - the cute back detailing is great for warm weather! - but I like to be able to use clothes I like in any season, so layering up with some tights and a good jacket lets me wear this into the cooler months too. I'm especially fond of this leather jacket too (fake, by the way) which I had - get this! - tailor made in Vietnam. Sounds super fancy, but they do tailoring pretty cheap there, and when I saw this pattern, I couldn't resist! I love the rocker of vibe it adds to outfits, something I definitely like to channel at times. Shoes can change the whole tone of an outfit too - Converse make this a more casual look, but heels and chunky jewellery make it perfect evening wear.

Be Bold | outfit of red patterned dress, black leather jacket, and black heeled ankle boots

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A Day in the Life: Hagwon ESL Teacher

     So I've been working in my new job in Busan for nearly two months now, which means I'm now more or less used to my daily routine, my students, what is expected of me etc. Last year, I wrote a post detailing my average day in my job as a kindergarten teacher in Hong Kong, so I thought I'd do the same again this year, which is very interesting when you compare the two. I knew this job would be fairly different to my last one, but writing it all down like this makes it even more obvious! Although I was teaching last year, my students were 2-3 year olds, so we only did spoken English. This year, I have 5-11 year olds, who actually have to complete textbooks, so I have marking and reports and tests to complete much more regularly. This is probably more similar to the majority of teaching jobs though, so it's allowing me to see whether it's something I'd want to do more of in the future (more about that in future posts!). I should also stress that I work in a hagwon, a private school in Korea, so my schedule is likely a bit different to those in the public school (EPIK) programme.

Clipart of teacher supplies, including books, stationary and an apple

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Gamcheon Cultural Village | Busan

     This past weekend I ticked off one of the top places on my list of things to see in Busan, and that was Gamcheon Cultural Village. A lot of places around here that I've seen so far have been nice, but they've mostly been beaches or shopping areas and such, that you would find in many other cities too. Gamcheon is something a little more unique to Busan, and is also just so pretty, that I was very keen to explore it. It's a region of town built into the mountainside, near the harbour (only a couple of subway stops from Nampo, where I live), which was long known as a poor, slum area of the city. Up until a few years ago that is, when it received an artsy makeover, the buildings now decked out in a rainbow of colours, and quirky murals and art installations all around, which have made it a popular tourist sight to stroll around.

Entrance to Gamcheon Village, Busan, South Korea

Monday, 10 October 2016

Outfit - New Addition

     I've noticed recently that whenever I go shopping, I have a tendency to buy dresses, skirts, cardigans and shoes mainly (jeans and shorts when I need them), but I never seem to come away with many tops. Perhaps because they're typically the plainest part of my outfits - emphasis normally goes to the skirt or cardigan/outerwear (e.g. last week's checked shirt). So when I was shopping recently in Seoul, I made a point of trying to get at least one or two new tops (as well as the other stuff!), and this was one such purchase. Stripes are a favourite pattern of mine, and I like the scooped neckline (I've never been a fan of high necklines). I paired it with a plain skirt, to balance the pattern, and this black skater is one of my favourites, and goes with so many things. Since the temperature dropped this week in Busan, I'm enjoying layering again (limited amounts of that back in Hong Kong!), with tights and a cardigan, and my newest pair of boots, which are quickly becoming my go-to pair.

New Addition | outfit of purple and white striped t-shirt, long grey cardigan, black skater skirt and brown ankle boots

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Review - Set It Off: Upside Down

     Set It Off's third studio album, Upside Down, is certainly that - upside down. It's a record with so many musical styles infused throughout out. Although the band are typically classified somewhere within the broad rock genre, I do sometimes feel like they have echoes of a 90s boyband, disguised as a rock group, and there's certainly a lot of pop on this album. But in the best possible way!

Set It Off - Upside Down album cover artwork

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Jinju Lantern Festival

     One of the great parts about living in a foreign country for an extended period of time, is that you are more likely to get to experience local events and festivals, which may not always coincide with shorter holidays to these countries. One such festival in Korea is happening now, and I managed to visit it last weekend. Just over an hour on the bus from Busan is the town of Jinju, which is currently hosting its annual Lantern Festival (Namgang Yudeung). Saturday was the opening night, when the lanterns would be illuminated for the first time, and there were fireworks and some special ceremonies to go alongside it. Having been to Mid Autumn celebrations last year in Hong Kong, which is also known as their lantern festival (though the origins and reasons behind each are entirely different), I was curious how this one would compare. Plus, the pictures I'd seen online looked very pretty!

Lanterns and boat on the water at Jinju Lantern Festival, South Korea

Monday, 3 October 2016

Outfit - Checked Out

     My old checked shirt was getting a bit worn out, and there was even a rip under one arm, so when I saw more during my little Seoul shopping trip, I thought it was time to pick up a new one. This one isn't too thick either, which is good as it's still a little humid out these days. I most commonly pair checked shirts with a black top underneath, but since this one has a different colour scheme to my last (which was green), I tried it out with this purple top, and I definitely like it! I also like pairing the shirt with ripped jeans, making for a very relaxed outfit - I can get away with wearing most things to work, but I draw the line at these jeans. The boots dress it up just a tiny bit though, with the suede effect and small heels. These are rapidly becoming my go to shoes, since they go with nearly everything and are in much better condition that most of my others - I'll definitely be buying more though, come payday!

Checked Out - casual outfit of blue and white checked shirt, purple t-shirt, ripped blue skinny jeans, and brown ankle boots

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Just Keep Going

     Life is amazing. Life can be this crazy, beautiful, exciting, wonderful adventure. There are those days when something truly remarkable happens, that makes you so overwhelmingly full of joy and wonder. There are other days that are perfectly average days, but everything goes right, and it's easy and it's happy. Life has so many things for us to do, to see, to experience. Life is diverse and unpredictable and glorious.

"Keep Going" motivational text on ocean sunset background with boat, in Halong Bay
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