Seoul Spring 2016 - Vacation Day 2

Posted by Nadia on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Filed under: , , , , , , , , ,
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We were so exhausted from our first day. Mainly because we made that trip from Insadong all to the way to Jamsil. Subway rides through 14 stations and multiple transfers is no joke. So always plan ahead!

Nami Island

I have reserved our second day for Nami Island because it was the only day forecasted to be sunny all day during our trip after checking the weather forecast. Prior to our trip, I made some research on ways to go to Nami Island and finally decided on using their shuttle bus. I emailed the Naminara Republic Embassy to book our our seats which includes the entrance fees. More info here.

The Nami Island shuttle bus pickups are at Insadong and Namdaemun. So if you stay within this area, it's easier to go using their shuttle bus. We booked our tickets online so we had to go to their office a day before the trip to get our tickets. The Nami Island Seoul Office is located in Insadong, opposite Starbucks.

Nami Island Shuttle Bus Tip: Even though on the website says you can purchase the tickets from the bus driver the day you depart, don't. Chances are the tickets are all already sold out. I highly recommend to email them and book your seats and get the tickets a day before you leave.

I initially thought of purchasing the return tickets but the thing is, the shuttle bus leaves Insadong at 9.30am and will only leave Nami Island back to Insadong at 4pm. We don't plan to spend all day in Nami so only got our one way tickets and entrance fees.

The shuttle bus pick up place is nearby to West Gate of Tapgol Park.

About one and a half hours later, we reached the ferry dock. Just as we arrived, the ferry was still waiting for passengers, so of we go!

Nami Island was beautiful! Visiting Nami during Spring was definitely a good idea. There were a lot of picturesque view and we had a great time just strolling around the island. And of course, mandatory pictures with the Nami Island iconic trees paths and the Winter Sonata memorabilia.

For Muslims, fret not. There is a Halal Restaurant on Nami Island but I warn you to be really early or just very late. The restaurant was full during lunch time and we had to wait for a seat. After about 30 minutes of waiting we gave up and decided to just eat some street foods along the way. We had corn on cobs and steamed red bean buns. Yummy and very filling!

It was 2pm and we pretty much covered everything on Nami Island. So it's time to move on to our next destination. Dongdaemun! So how do we go back? We went on the ITX Train.

After trying out both the shuttle bus and ITX Train, I highly recommend anyone to use the ITX train. Though it seemed complicated (it was easy!), the trip felt faster than the bus ride.

Gapyeong Station

Here's how to get out from Nami Island to Dongdaemun using the ITX train.

1. Nami Island Ferry Dock Gapyeong Station
Take a taxi from the ferry dock to Gapyeong Station.The ride will be about 5 minutes.

2. Purchase ITX Ticket Train to Cheongnyangni Station.
You can't use T-Money to go on the ITX Train so you have to get new tickets. We made the mistake of using our T-Money (some miscommunication with the info guy). There weren't much hassle though, we just purchased the tickets on the train and get to claim back our T-Money at Cheongnyangni Station.

3.  Where do you want to go?
That's pretty much it! Wherever you're going, you have to exit Cheongnyangni Station. There's no transfers to other subway stations here. We wanted to go to Dongdaemun, so we got to the nearest subway station to head to Dongdaemun Station.

The rain just stopped and it was really cold!


We're in Dongdaemun to see the Cheonggyecheon Stream and try out Dongdaemun Grilled Fish Alley. From Dongdaemun Station we took exit 8, and we immediately see the stream!

The stream was 10.9km long, so we have no plans to walk all the way. There were some recommendations to experience the stream at the "entrance" where the stream starts at Chenggye Plaza. If this is your plan, you have to go to exit Gwanghwamun Station (Exit 5) and not Dongdaemun Station.

Though Dongdaemun is famous as a shopping spot, we were mainly here for the stream and the Grilled Fish Alley!

Dongdaemun Grilled Fish Alley

If you have come all the way to Dongdaemun, go ahead and try their grilled fish! This is highly recommended. So good that if we live nearby, we might just have this for lunch and dinner everyday.

Here's how to get to the grilled fish alley.

From Dongdaemun Station (Exit 8), walk straight ahead. You will see JW Marriot Hotel on your right. Walk straight and turn right to the first alley. You'll see the whole alley lined with grilled fish. We went to the first shop. 

Our grilled fish chef

We ordered two types of fish and was served with some banchan and cold water. You'll just have to pay the price that is stated in the menu. The banchan and cold water are served part of the set. It was so good! Like I said, we don't mind having this all day everyday (until you know, we get bored of fish).

We were suppose to get back to the station and head back but the weather was good, and google map shows that our hotel wasn't too far from where we were. So we walked back from Dongdaemun to Insadong. It was quite a far walk but it felt nice probably because of the weather and there were so much to see around. We also stumbled upon a street selling all korean cottons!

I knew the existence of this place but had to plans to go there because there's no way I'm gona carry all those cottons in our luggage. But just as we walk out of Dongdaemun, there it was! At the back alley. Most shops and stalls were already closing down.

There was still a few stalls open and... I bought 3 korean cottons. And I got 1 for free. They were irresistible! The patterns were really nice and at it was only 65,000 (RM34) each for 4 metres! I later found out the place is called Gwangjang market.

That's the end of our second day in Seoul. We wrapped up our night lepak at the coffee shop nearby our hotel, Korean style.

I drank Caramel Machiato and ended up sleeping at 2am, woke up at 7am -____-

Seoul Spring 2016 - Vacation Day 1

Posted by Nadia on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Filed under: , , , , , , ,
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This year's vacation destination? Seoul, South Korea! Seoul is known to be equally beautiful in all four seasons. We chose Spring and I highly recommend this time of the year especially if you are travelling with toddlers. The weather was beautifully sunny and temperature was just a little chilly (between 9 - 15°C). Coming from a place with 37°C on average with high humidity, Spring weather in Seoul was heavenly. We get to skip all the winter clothing and yet the cool breeze makes it comfortable for us to walk around.

Travelling Tip #1: Always check the weather forecast. This is important for clothing choice, and choosing the best place to visit according to the weather that day. It was expected to mostly rain in Spring so I planned the trip to Nami Island on our second day, when it is predicted to be all sunny. And it was!

Ibis Ambassador Hotel, Insadong

Ibis Ambassador Hotel Insadong
We stayed at Ibis Ambassador Hotel, Insadong. Getting to the hotel was fairly easy. You can use a taxi from Incheon International Airport at a hefty price of  65,000 (RM228). Or you can use the second option that we took, using Airport Limousine Bus. Sounds intimidating but it was very easy and only cost us 10,000 (RM35) per person, free for children age 4 years old. Our luggage was tagged and placed in the bus cargo compartment.

When you reached the arrivals of Incheon International Airport, just walk to the left and you will find the Airport Limousine Bus counter (opposite the Information counter). Get Bus #6011 heading to Anguk Station in Insadong. After purchasing your tickets, you can wait for the bus at exit number 5B. The bus intervals are 30 mins so you won't have to wait for too long. Get on the bus and enjoy the ride!

Waiting for our bus
Bus #6011
Anguk Station
Once you reach Anguk Station bus stop, the hotel is just a 10 mins walk. Here's a simple map on how to get to the hotel from Anguk Station. The rain just stopped when we arrived, the temperature was down to 9°C!

Ibis Ambassador Hotel Insadong is next Paris Baguette Bakery. You won't be able to find the hotel from Google Street View, it's probably not updated yet.

Travelling Tip #2: We arrived at the hotel at 11am which was too early to check in our rooms. Join their Accor Hotels membership for free and you will get an early check in.

Hard Rock Cafe Seoul

We rest for a bit then started our day walking around Insadong street and tried some street food before heading to the nearest subway station to go Hard Rock Cafe Seoul which is located within the 5th Floor of Lotte World Mall in Jamsil. We traveled around Seoul mostly via subway during our stay. Cheapest, and most convenient. Unfortunately, not mostly convenient for strollers (I'll talk about this in a different post).

We installed the Subway Korea app beforehand (download here: iTunes / Google Play) and this has to be the most useful tool to get around the subway stations easily. It tells you the fastest route to your destination with the estimated cost. We were fortunately never lost thanks to this app. So I highly recommend getting this before your trip to Seoul.

Next, get our T-Money cards! T-Money is a transportation card used to pay for subways, public buses and taxis. When using T-Money, you will be paying 100 cheaper than when paying with cash. We bought our T-Money cards at a 7-Eleven store nearest to our hotel for 2,500 each and loaded each card with 10,000 which was sufficient for our 5 days stay. 

Learn more about T-Money here.

Jamsil was very, very far from Insadong. It said in the Subway app it would take us about an hour to go there, and it seemed easy to transfer between stations. We started our journey being excited and very optimistic, and reached Lotte World Mall exhausted. Transferring between stations was tiring. So plan your journey well if you are travelling with your kids. 
I don't blame her for being grumpy because of the long ride and transfers
Finally at HRC Seoul!
We finally found something to cheer her up. Lots and lots of Pororo!

We made our first stop at Hard Rock Cafe Seoul and Zech got his drumsticks (he collects HRC drumsticks wherever we travel) and walked around Lotte World Mall. Too exhausted from the journey and too hungry to care, we move forward to our next destination - Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb Restaurant for an early dinner.

Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb Restaurant

I skipped this place altogether when planning for our Seoul trip. Mainly because of the distance being far away from Insadong. However, just one day before our flight we saw youtube videos of their grilled Lamb and some really great reviews we just had to revise our plans and made the trip all the way to Gangnam just to try it out. And because we thought we have traveled all the way here, we might as well stop by HRC at Lotte World Mall which is just a station away from Yang Good.

I know I sounded like I regretted my decision of going all the way to Lotte World Mall, but it is really doable. You can do it. Just not on the day when you just arrived after your 6 hours flight. Just don't.

Anyways, good news for Muslim travelers - Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb Restaurant serves halal meat! So if it has been days since your last meat consumption in Seoul or you are a fan of the good ol' lamb, drop by Yang Good for a set of delicious BBQ lamb. Be prepared to spend a little extra here. An average meal for two could go up to 50,000 (RM175). But trust me it was worth it. It was so so good.

Here's a simple map on how to get to Yang Good and the directions.

Directions to Yang Good: Go to Yeoksam Station Line 2 (Exit 6). Walk straight all the way until there is a KFC on the left, then turn left. Walk straight down the block untill there is an intersection that allows you to turn right, turn right. Walk straight until you see Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil, turn left.

After our dinner, we went back to Yeoksam Station to head back to the hotel. 14 Stations and 1 transfer later, we finally reached our hotel super tired. Need to wake up early the next day because our bus to Nami Island leaves at 9.30am!

That pretty much sums up our first day in Seoul. Vacation Day 2 entry coming up next!

THEFACESHOP - CC Intense Cover Cushion VS Aura CC Cream Review

Posted by Nadia on Saturday, January 9, 2016. Filed under: , , ,
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I have been using BB cream for almost 3 years now so when CC cream was introduced in the market, it's only matter of time before I give it a go! I purchased THEFACESHOP Aura CC Cream first a month ago, before deciding to try out their CC Intense Cover Cushion.  I have combination skin (oily T zone) and here's my review.


Unlike other brands where CC creams are usually in a tube, this Aura CC Cream comes in a compact packaging. There's a button that you need to press to get the product out. The texture of the CC cream is on the thicker side. It comes with a sponge for you to even it out on the face. It takes a while of getting used to the whole mechanism with a liquid product instead of powder, but it's doable.

I noticed if I pressed the liquid out and use the sponge to put it on my face, most of the product would end up on the sponge instead of my face (kinda wasted) and it's also a bit difficult to sponge it out evenly on my skin. So instead of directly using the sponge (excuse my dirty sponge picture), I would use my finger first to make a few spots on my face and then use the sponge to even it out. I find this way more practical due to the thick texture.

I would give it A+ for coverage! However, some parts of my cheeks felt drier after using it for 2 weeks so I tried adding in emulsion (Etude House Aloe Moistfull Emulsion) into my skincare routine. My skin got better so I continued using the Aura CC Cream.

THEFACESHOP CC Intense Cover Cushion

The CC Intense Cover Cushion also comes in a compact packaging. It comes with a free refill when I bought it (this month's promotion only so hurry!). However, as the name says it, it has a cushion that you press with a sponge instead of dealing with any liquid! This CC Cushion design looks better too probably because it's a newer product-release compared to the Aura CC Cream. It also comes with a sponge just like the Aura CC Cream.

I like how I still experience liquid coverage without the liquid hassle. The cushion design eases application of the product directly onto the skin. I've been using this for only a few days, so far it has been good. I was informed by the salesgirl that this will have less coverage compared to the Aura CC Cream. It's true that the Aura CC Cream has better coverage due to the thick texture. However, I feel that this CC cushion gives enough coverage for daily wear. Unless you plan to make up for an event, the CC cushion is sufficient.

It also comes with SPF50+ which is truly essential for any product if you live on this side of the earth. But I would still suggest putting on a separate sunblock before putting on the CC Cushion for maximum protection.

What do I think?

My verdict? I love both! Though I have my heart set on the cushion just a lil' bit more. It's just so much more convenient and I like to know my products have SPF!


I recently became a fan of THEFACESHOP products. I once tried their Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam 2 years ago but was disappointed with the results. I had pimples after using it for a month so I had to stop before it gets any worse. I've been jumping around with cleanser products since then until my friend recommended their Chia Seed range. I was a bit hesitant because of my previous experience, but I somehow got curious and still wanted to give it a try. Surprisingly - it works wonders and more!

What I'm trying to say is when it comes to choosing products for your skin, it's really trial and error. There's no specific product that would work on all skin types. So go ahead and experiment!

Saying goodbye to 2015

Posted by Nadia on Sunday, January 3, 2016. Filed under: , , ,
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2 days late for a new year's post! I thought I'd skip reviewing my 2015 due to extreme laziness because when I tried to think back if anything major happened, I blanked out. So I tried to sit down and gave it a little more thought trying to put it in words.

I had a major milestone in 2015 - I started wearing the headscarf / hijab on the first day of Ramadan. The decision itself came months before that (or maybe even a year) and I finally made up my mind that the time has come for me to start wearing the headscarf. It was also a journey of rediscovering faith. You know how we all have a checklist for things to do? It's like I have this imaginary list with hijab and praying at the bottom somewhere. So it always felt like it's something I have to do but I just didn't get around of doing it yet. I had my turning point a few months before Ramadan making me want to rediscover my faith, start to know Islam a little bit better and making it a top most priority. First day of Ramadan came, and I did it! I prayed everyday so Allah would give me courage to start wearing the hijab, and to never take it off. Alhamdulillah, it has been a good journey. It was a bumpy start, but I'm blessed with supportive family and friends.

We went to Gold Coast for our family vacation this year! Surfers Paradise was so good, we already made plans to come back on our last day. We stayed at Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel and got ourselves a sea-view room. Our morning view was amazing! It was just the start of winter so it was nice and cold (and sometimes freezing cold at night). We visited the Warner Bros Movie World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, rode in the Aqua Duck, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and even made a short road trip to Brisbane.

I started watching K-Dramas again thanks to my SIL. I watched tons of K-Dramas back in Uni but that was like 6 years ago? It was Hari Raya and we were hanging out at Opah's house watching TV. We flipped through some channels and ended up watching a Korean drama. She insisted I must watch The Heirs and passed me the CDs when we got back home. Took me a few weeks before I finally watch it and guess what - I was hooked. Again. and Again. I even ended my last day of 2015 and started my first day of 2016 watching a K-Drama, Oh My Venus! I might start to do reviews on the ones I liked. K-Dramas I've watched in 2015 and my ratings (5 stars max!):

  • The Heirs (2013) - 
  • Master's Sun (2013) - 
  • Birth of a Beauty (2014) - 
  • High Society (2015) -  (Wasted my life watching this)
  • Oh My Ghostess (2015) - 
  • The Mask (2015) - 
  • Healer (2015) - 
  • Remember You (2015) - 
  • Kill Me Heal Me (2015) - 
  • Fated To Love You (2014) - 
  • Marriage Not Dating (2014) - 
  • Sassy Go! Go! (2015) - 
  • Oh My Venus (2015) - Ongoing 
  • Whoahhh, 13 dramas in 5 months! All those hours! Hahaa...

    And finally, I started blogging again :) Not sure how consistent I would be blogging from here onwards but I'll try to keep this space updated as much as I can.

    And that wraps up my 2015 before diving into 2016.

    Happy New Year!