Tuesday, 27 November 2012

3 little things// sweet memories

Last night as I was clearing out our cluttered shelves I happened upon my old iPod and stopped a while to scroll through my old picture album as it was pretty much my only camera during the 6 months when I left Korea, travelled and came back (everything was sold off to fund the trip).
As I scrolled down through over 400 photos I picked off three that evoke some pretty sweet memories for me...

1. Bali Dream Catcher
I took this photo of the shadow of a dream catcher against a folding blind one night at a rickety old Balinese beach hut I stayed at during my first week travelling there. 
It was around midnight and all the other guests were asleep. I needed cash but the nearest ATM was a 30 minute walk away so the toothless, white-vested Balinese gentleman who worked for the hostel and also slept under it took me there and back on the back of his scooter. 
When he returned me back to the hut alive and in one piece I bought him a beer, listened to his life story and was taken by the sound of the waves outside and the shadow of the dream catcher jangling against the shuttered blinds by the night sea breeze...

2. Puddle reflections

Back in Korea now and caught in the late August rain showers. 
Splashing my way to school, trouser hems soaked up to the shins and wishing for a blue rubber dinghy and  bright yellow hat, raincoat and boots instead.
Then I looked down and started to notice the crystal blue, almost mirror-perfect reflections in the puddles and forgot my woes as I lost a few minutes snapping my polka-dot umbrella in the rain water instead.

3. Morose date night with Dallas
I can't but smile when I see this picture taken not long after we arrived back in Korea. 
We'd just spent three months apart back in our respective home countries and done nothing but talk and dream and scheme, write letters and talk on Skype about how wonderful it would be when we got back to Korea and were back together again.
Sometimes life has different plans and obstacles to throw in your chosen paths and the reality when we got here was we were working 40 minutes away from each other at extremely long houred and stressful jobs.
I think this picture of our date night perfectly depicts our sagging spirits during that first, difficult month back.
But, dear readers, as they say  yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery~ little that we thought so at the time we did bounce back and pull the experience around so we are living a much happier life here right now. 
Wallowing never helped anything and this picture is a perfect reminder of that!

Monday, 26 November 2012

my first thanksgiving

Saturday night Dallas and I hosted our very first Thanksgiving Pot Luck Feast in our wee tiny apartment.

 It was my first Thanksgiving Feast period and  it suited me to a tee that it was a ram-shambled and Tupperware tabled, beer in mug cups kind of affair! I didn't take a single shot of these photos from the night; my camera ended up floating around the room and into the hands of anyone who cared to take a snap of what was going on around them. I kind of love that they are a little, soft-focused and blurry and skewed~ a fine representation of the party itself!

All our guests brought over a medley of delicious dishes and I fell in love with the Southern-style cooking our sweet friends from Tennessee brought to the table: corn bread and green bean casserole. Delightful!

There was also mac and cheese and bread rolls, roisterer chickens and stuffing and gravy, oh my!
And a random pineapple on the table. Because, why not?
Holiday dinner never looked or tasted better, proven by the quiet hush that descended over the group as everyone piled into their plates.
There was lots of "mmm" and "ahhhs" and "can I get the recipe's?", second and third helpings and re-filling of glasses.

We sipped delicious citrus and spiced mulled wine and were sedated by White Supremacist cocktails (a tongue in cheek concoction created by our friend Angelo), got dizzy with beer and spangled with white wine.

There was bundles of friendship and bonding and love going on under our roof that night that lasted until way after dawn and that was a happy and thankful thing.

Three cheers for Thanksgiving, my new adopted holiday! ^^

Sunday, 25 November 2012

monday morning ear candy

This morning was for finding unexpected symmetry with the late season's color palette~ nutty browns and persimmon reds.
It was for hot chocolate and cold fingers and washing red lipstick from teacups after our Saturday night Thanksgiving party.
I'll post the photos tomorrow, it was really a roaring success. Full bellies, full glasses and talking till dawn.  
Yesterday's duvet day just wasn't enough to come down from it all!
This is my monday morning slow down.
Time to clear my head and notice the leaves and listen to sad, sweet music in my earphones.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012



Thanksgiving Day is a jewel,
to set in the hearts of honest men;
but be careful that you do not take the day,
and leave out the gratitude.
~ E.P Powell

Technically Thanksgiving is not my holiday as I am British but seeing as I have been dating an American for 3 years and 85% of my friends here in Korea are citizens of the US I feel like I can stake a small claim on their holiday traditions~ especially ones as pure hearted as Thanksgiving.

Counting our blessings is such an important part of life, I was taught this from a child and I will teach my own children this too. The heart can lay heavy if you don't open your eyes and take simple pleasures from your surroundings and the good fortune in your life.


Like today I am thankful for the falling leaves and the way the cold weather clears the cobwebs from my head. I'm thankful for my family of friends here in Korea and what a tightly knit group we have formed. How when we are all together each one of us fits neatly like the pieces of a puzzle.
I'm thankful for my guy.... the corner piece of that puzzle, the most important kind ~.^

I'm thankful for my childhood in a war-free country and a peaceful home.

Thankful for my healthy body and adventurous spirit.

Thankful for a universe that always provides; nature and spirit and beauty and music and love and art.

Our freedom to move within the world and do as we will.

Our freedom of choice; to love, to forgive, to travel and explore, to share knowledge and friendship and bless others with kindness.

Heart full.
Every day.

Happy Thanksgiving~ xx

Monday, 19 November 2012

in a pinch christmas card DIY

Last night was dedicated to all things christmas card making and I have the white scissor marks on my fingers and tiny scraps of colored paper over the floor to prove it!
It finally clicked in my brain that November is somehow inexplicably halfway over and the season to be jolly is almost upon us.

This quick and easy card and envelope DIY is perfect for those in a penny pinch (like me) who also want to create a more personalized card for their loved ones.

The supplies are minimial:
~ card stock
~ scissors
~ gold star stickers
~ decorative masking tape (you can also use ribbon or cut up bits of wrapping/magazine paper)

First step is to fold your card stock in half to make the card template.
Cut a trunk shape out of light brown paper and glue to the front of your card.

Start cutting and sticking your decorative tape in a diagonal shape and taper them upward to the top of  your tree trunk.
Sip on hot cocoa and marshmallows all the while to really set the tone ~.^
Finally, top your christmas tree with a festive gold star.

I also made little hand-sewn envelopes to place my cards in ^^
These are so simple to make~ Cut two equal sized squares of brown paper and stitch around three corners of them using brown thread, leaving the fourth corner open to create a pocket to slip your card inside.

There you have it! Charming little homemade Christmas cards on the fly for a gal in a pinch.

Now, to the shopping!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

monday morning ear candy

When I left the apartment to run some errands early yesterday evening I couldn't stop my eyes from travelling upward and admiring the naked tree branches... so artful and pretty against the changing colors of the twilight sky. 
Yellow gingko leaves and brown korean maple are raining down like tawny confetti on the daily and soon they will leave their mothers completely bare until spring arrives in March.
There's something about nude tree branches, stark and naked, brown and twisted and gothic looking.

We're in for a long winter~ I hated the winter last year in Korea but I was living alone and 3 hours away from Dallas then. This year will be different. We're hosting my very first Thanksgiving dinner this weekend which I'm far more excited about than I should be.

This saturday was Dallas's birthday party and it was a hoot. lot's of catching up with dear friends and belly laughing and sore heads the next day.
I woke up with a touch of the Monday's this morning.
Perhaps this track-list will cheer up those of you who are also wishing it was friday again ~.^


Thursday, 15 November 2012

3 little things

These dark mornings are making it harder and harder to escape my warm bed and hit the cold bathroom.
Dark evenings after work make it even harder to pull on my yoga gear when I get home and set out into the cold again to go to class.
There's a cold SNAP in the air fitting to bite my glove-less fingers off if I don't buy a pair of mitts soon and the fog of my breathe in the chill air is telling me Old Man Winter is out to play.
 Thank goodness for some festive and seasonal goodness this week to add a little cheer to the Winter chill.

                                                            1. Birthday Fiesta

Margaritas on a week night? Don't mind if I do.
As a birthday treat I took Dallas out to the expensive Mexican restaurant we always drool at on our way past to the movie theater but have always been driven clear of because of the prices.
We feasted on steak tacos and enchiladas, discussed new plans and schemes ahead and toasted our future.

2. Fancy Cocoa 

As a birthday gift one of Dallas's sweet students gave him these two lovely tins of Cocoa.
He's not the biggest fan of chocolate drinks but someone we all know loves nothing more than sugaring herself  up and warming her hands around a mug of floaty marshmallow hot chocolate ^^

3. Early Christmas presents 

These sweet Christmas parcels arrived this week for Dallas and myself from my parents.
I hadn't given Christmas present shopping a lick of thought until these arrived, and now I'm itching to write cards and wrap small gifts in brown paper and twine.
Christmas schemings are giving me a warm feeling through this icy weather. This one will be Dallas and I's first living together and thoughts of a mini Christmas tree and roasting potatoes and a Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack in our tiny little apartment are giving me a fuzzy feeling all over ^^

I hope there were 3 little joys to warm up your week.
Happiest of Friday's friends x 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

birthday happy

                                                   Go Out All Night by Givers on Grooveshark

Today my Dallas turns 32 and I feel like the luckiest girl in town to be the one to share it with him.
I plan on sharing as many more with him as he'll have me!

This is my absolute favorite shot of the two of us~ lost in a moment at a music festival. It was taken by our good friend and photographer Angelo who scares me sometimes with his preternatural ability to snap and capture the pure essence of brief instances in time.

In this instance he caught the fleeting flash of a stolen kiss. Two people in the midst of music and love. That was a great night.

Our story is one of fate and perfect and terrible timing all rolled into one...lot's of rushes of feeling and hurt and healing and most of all love. Our love has carried us through almost three years of the highest highs and a couple of lows but I feel like we're at the best place now we have ever been.

This guy has changed me and encouraged me and had a Saint's patience with me in so many different ways.

He can light up any room with his charisma and can tell a good story like no other.
He does the worst British accent you will ever care to hear and you never want to see his body pop arm wave move!
He shares my love of quirky things, nerdy cartoons, eclectic music and a good rainy day indoors reading .

His love for his family and his friends knows no bounds. And boy is there a lot of room in his big ol' heart for love. 
I'm so happy that there was a little space in there for me too.

Happy birthday love.
Till next year.

Monday, 12 November 2012

rolling with the changes

I love this little windowsill snap of my herbs reaching up towards the dying glow of November's sun..

It tells a story of a sunny saturday spent alone in the apartment, just myself and my thoughts, basking in the silence and taking in all of the changes around me, little and big. 

Like my upward growing plants, this new and wintery month of ours and its shape-shifting weather, the end of an old semester and the start of a new, how quickly the warm breath of summer turned to the cold lick of november and how I'm quietly tucking away my skirts and short sleeves to make room for warm woolens.

Looking back on the past 6 months I can count the changes each one of them have brought to my life. Some of them bad and most of them good; the heart-tugging good-byes and the soul-filling reunions. The challenges at work and the summer and birthdays and friends and the thrill of sharing my life completely with someone for the very first time.

Looking ahead I see more changing plans, different jobs and new countries and roads yet to travel,.
Sometimes I think my life is so full of change, I never know which tune I'll be dancing to next....and I wish for a crystal ball to see where  it will all lead.

But saturday gave me a quiet tap on the shoulder and told me to just keep rolling with all of these changes, to keep on tapping my toes to whichever track is next,  throw caution to the wind and embrace all of life's curve balls. Little and big.

Caution's for the birds.
Here's to change.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

paper favors// a smile for free

It was during one of my late night rabbit-hole blog browsing sessions this week that I happened upon this post by Hula Seventy and bless my moon and stars if it didn't make me almost drop off my seat and make my soul glow sunshine-bright through the smile on my face.

The concept is so simple and pure hearted. 
Write down kind words, encouragements and affirmations on little pieces of paper and leave them littered over your neighborhood for random strangers to find, read, and smile at.

Since there is a close to 100% chance the discoverers of my notes would be Korean I wrote my messages in Hangul and set out on a guerrilla-art style mission on my way to work this morning.

Since I always have at least ten pairs of eyes watching me whenever I go outside anyway because I am a foreigner the execution of slipping these notes into conspicuous spaces and then photographing them was no easy feat!

I suspect these paper favors were lifted and curiously examined while I was still walking distance away from setting them down!

But if they managed to raise a smile from their reader then my mission was complete.

"You look pretty"
"There is beauty in you"
"Read me"//"You are special"

"Smile! Today will be wonderful"

I intend to walk this route home after school finishes today and see if these little fortunes were found or not. Even if they are still in place, as Andrea put it in her blog, "the act of doing was enough".

I hope you find something that makes you smile today!

3 little things

This week was peppered with promises of yet another seasonal change. Where are you running to Autumn?
Your visit was short and so so sweet but now I smell Winter snapping at your heels.
Lately we've had quiet rainfall and clean white mists fogging our town and the warm whisper of a festive holiday is slowly coming into focus on the horizon.

Here are 3 cozy comforts I have enjoyed this week:

1. Overnight Oats

This breakfast I cannot get enough of. 
Even though it's clearly time to be heating my oats to warm myself on these chilly November mornings I am still stuck on this quick fix of oats soaked overnight in a jar in whatever you prefer~ you can add yoghurt, soy milk, chai milk tea~ they all work just fine!
Above are some of my favorite toppings I like to add before pouring over my milk and giving it a good shake.

2. Succulents so succulent

My Mother has been patiently watching my thumbs for the past 29 years.
Year after year she has been disappointed at their lack of greenness.
She is an avid gardner and I think she always hoped I would develop a love of gardening too.
Not until I successfully began my mini herb garden on our window ledge this year have I ever had the slightest inclination toward making things grow.
Now I'm hooked.
I scooped up these pretty little succulents and cute carrot top cactus at our local Homeplus recently and when my Mum asked what I want sent over for Christmas this year I asked for a packet of seeds for any kind of plant that will grow during the winter.
I can feel her smile all the way from Ireland.

3. Studio Ghibli

You know it's real love when your boyfriend indulges you in your fondness for watching Japanese Anime movies on a Sunday morning. It's an even truer love when he ends up loving them just as much as you do.
Last Sunday we bundled under the covers and watched Princess Mononoke but my absolute favorite of the Studio Ghibli back catalog is My Neighbor Totoro.
This movie is so beautiful, charming, magical and poetic, it leaves my heart so full every single time.

Happy November ^^

Monday, 5 November 2012

tuesday pretty

"Autumn is a second Spring,
when every leaf is a flower"
~ Albert Camus

Sources 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8//9//10//11

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Sources 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8//9//10

3 little things

This week was a party in my mailbox kinda week. I recieved three fabulous deliveries that will spruce up my winter wardrobe just fine!

1. Care package from my Mom


My Mom emailed asking what bits and pieces I would like sent from back home so I requested my Lomo Diana camera and this gorgeous suede tassled handbag I haggled for on the Kao San Road in Thailand.
Can't wait to try and get a succesful roll out of my Diana~ she's either a scowling curmudgeon or a complete sweetheart when it comes to producing usable snaps.

2. Minnetonka mocassins

I found these on GMarket~ a steal at 40,000 won (around 35 dollars). These will be perfect teamed with extra thick socks for keeping chilly toes toasty this winter. They are super warm and comfortable on and I love the beaded detail on them!

3. Navajo print sweater

Another GMarket find~ I have a little 'GMarket' budget I allow myself every month for buying clothes. It's seriously the best for rooting out lovely, unique patterned and styled clothing that you can't find in the average High Street stores here in Korea where I find the clothing to be cheaply made, generic and overpriced.
This sweater cost less than 20 dollars.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

monday morning ear candy

Hands up if your in South Korea and over the rain.
I know I am.

Yesterday the almost supernaturally strong Autumn sun must have caught the message her moment on stage is almost done, caught a bout of depression and became weepy.
 She called in her band of rain clouds to join in on her pity party. Then the breeze caught wind of the brewing tempest and chimed in to rattle the leaves around menacingly over the puddle grey land.

 This Monday morning~ the sun is still sulking and the heavens are still open. I dodged raindrops all the way to work without my forgotten umbrella.

Sombre weather calls for a fitting soundtrack. I put this playlist together last night full of some of my favorite songs with cold sounds and eerie moods to suit our skies current melancholia

Press play, sip your hot morning tea or coffee, look at the rain through your window, be haunted with sound and breathe, reflect.

Cheer up Autumn sun~ There is always tomorrow. 

                                              ear candy 3 by louloubelle on Grooveshark

so it goes.

Yesterday was a seasonal flues blues, red nosed, mooch around in my pajamas all day kind of day. With a little rock n roll and needle n thread action for good balance.
It kicked off around 7.30am with breakfast and a side order of Velvet Underground.
I had to make a quick run to the doctor in Itaewon and scooped up some Campbells tomato soup from the international food mart on my way home to rustle up the perfect under the weather comfort food lunch: tomato soup with grilled cheese and avocado sandwiches.
I was feeling fancy so I threw some cinnamon in with soup and it tasted just like Fall in a bowl ^^

By 7pm I was still a mess of achoos and balled up tissues so I air kissed Dallas goodbye as he left for a night out with our friends and sat cross legged on the apartment floor for the next 5 hours finishing this canvas stitch project while watching Janis Joplin get high and jam with the Grateful Dead in Festival Express.

I'm tickled pink with how this turned out. Dallas and I scratched our head for hours over what quote we wanted to add-trading and dismissing lyrics, Wes Anderson and even Adventure Time quotes.
But then I remembered this quote from one of my favorite novels; Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut and knew it was perfect: "So it goes".

I love how in three simple words it delivers such a powerful message of peace and acceptance with life. 

There's no real tutorial to go with this craft. All you need is a canvas, needle and thread and preferably the flu to give you Saturday night off and the long hours needed for it's completion!

Peace, love and all that good stuff.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

my daily cup.

Lately I'm loving these slow walks to the school bus in the mornings. Layered up snug against the first snaps of winter in the air, naked tree branches and naked fingers clutching my warm morning chai. Soon it will be time for gloves and hats, but I'm clinging tight to Fall's dying breathes for as long as I can.

Maybe it's the British in me but nothing revives me like being tucked or bundled up and sipping good, hot, strong tea. 
It's my go-to elixir for all my irks and ills: British tea perfect for waking up to with breakfast, spicy chai perfect for all occasions, green tea for my skin, chamomile for unwinding, Jasmine flower for digestion, sweet tea, bubble tea, oolong and darjeeling, tea tins and tea pots, mad hatters and owls in teacups. 

They don't call it a tea party for nothing!

Despite my love for observing the seasonal metamorphose, the changing temperatures have been playing havoc with my immune system and I'm up and down with colds and flus more this year than ever in my life.

Although it's miserable it is a perfect excuse to indulge in my tea addiction. Ginger Lemon Honey tea was a discovery I sampled first in India where the dust and pollution meant sore throats were often afoot. This cure all magic remedy was always the perfect antidote to head congestion and I've been reaching for the fresh ginger during my weekly grocery shop. 

Ginger roots are my absolute favorite. So dirty and misshapen, but truly delightful when peeled and used as an ingredient. 

To make:
Slice about an inch of peeled fresh ginger and leave to steep in a little boiled water for about 5 minutes.
Add a tablespoon of honey and a squeeze and a slice of lemon.
Fill cup with more hot water.
Stir and drink.


Being sick forces us to take solace in the smallest of comforts. Mine are drinking my revival cups of tea and the promise of a cosy weekend with my Dallas.

Are you in camp tea or camp coffee?