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5.24.2018

4 (and a half) Tips for Road Trips!

Putting together a road trip is all about being prepared. With these four (and a half!) tips, you can successfully plan and execute a great road trip with no unexpected hitches along the way!
Off to another adventure!
Clean your car before and during your trip.
There’s a very old phrase that you should heed before and throughout any road trip: cleanliness is next to godliness. Nobody enjoys sitting in a confined space for an extended period of time with rubbish and dirt everywhere, so give your car a good cleaning before setting off and take a bit of time to clean it out during as well.

If you’re really after a bit of luxury on your road trip as well, look into hiring a car as well. ICL came recommended for their competitive pricing and are available throughout the UK with a wide selection available for personal hire. Obviously you'll have to keep it clean throughout your trip, but even that will be easier considering you'll be getting a clean car to begin with!

Have a loose plan.
The importance of having a rough plan can not be underestimated when it comes to a road trip. While nobody wants to have a completely planned out road trip with no flexibility, nobody wants to be stressed out dealing with unhappy passengers for hours at a time either. You can use apps such as Roadtrippers to build a route and also look for interesting places and sights along the way.
Take me home, country road...
Have an escape plan to get off country roads. 
You can have the very best intentions of taking in a bit of a scenic route and going down the path less travelled. However, this comes with its own risks of not actually knowing where you’re going and ending up stuck down endless back roads. Saga has a great guide for driving down country roads if you do end up needing it however!  If you do find yourself a little bit lost, you don’t have to persevere down the country roads. Have a plan B ready to escape the country roads, and get your road trip back on track. You’ll be better off and ready to go again once you’ve got your bearings back.
My new phone is awesome.
Preload your phone with entertainment options.
Having some entertainment options can be the difference between having a peaceful time, and developing a case of cabin fever! Stock up on distractions and portable entertainment that you can load on to your phone before you set off. After all, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to find these on the road during your trip.  And if you don’t manage to get this done for your children, you can always refer to this for tips on keeping your sanity!
Dreaming of Dak galbi...
Eat local and stay local.
Finally, it’s a road trip. You’re taking in the darkened corners of the towns and villages that you’re travelling through. Make the most of it and live as much like a local as you can. Don’t stop to eat at a chain restaurant or coffee shop. Seek out a local favourite, find the village pub or the quiet little fish and chip shop. If you need a place to rest your head for the night, find a local bed and breakfast and really experience the culture and local quirks. Your road trip might be a once in a lifetime experience, so make it a unique, memorable time that you’ll always fondly look back on! nbsp;

5.22.2018

Seoul Searching | A Gastronomic Adventure at Gwangjang Market.

Much as I love shopping at malls and department stores in Korea, and enjoy the hip and trendy vibe of the shopping streets in Hongdae, Kondae, and Sinsadong, I also love going to the traditional markets in Seoul. There's a certain charm to these traditional markets that make me want to visit them whenever I'm in the country - which is exactly what I did during my last visit to Korea.
Gwangjang Market.
Together with my friend Mel, who was also in Seoul for the weekend, we went on a 'very tita' date, starting with a tour of the Gwangjang Market. Located in the historical Jongno district in downtown Seoul, Gwangjang Market is the first permanent market in Korea and one of the oldest traditional markets in the country's capital. It was established in 1905 and spans a little over 10 acres with more than 5000 stalls selling a variety of items - fabric, clothing, souvenir items, fresh produce, and of course, food.
Stalls at the center of Gwangjang Market.
It was the food, mostly, that made me want to come here, and you gotta blame Running Man for that. If you've been following this blog for quite awhile and have been reading my Seoul Searching posts, then you probably know that most of the places that I've been to in Korea are either K-drama filming locations or have been featured in the world-famous variety show, Running Man.
This stall was featured on Running Man. :)
Gwangjang Market captured my attention after watching episode 186 of Running Man, wherein the cast members happily stuffed their faces with food as part of the challenge. And true enough, this place is a haven for foodies with stalls upon stalls of Korean street food cooked and prepared right before your eyes.
And that's the ahjumma who operates this stall.
The best way to enjoy Gwangjang Market is to come on an empty stomach. That way, you can try a variety of dishes and eat 'til you're full. If you're a light eater, I suggest you bring a friend (or a loved one) along because hey, good food is meant to be shared. :)
Just another busy day at Gwangjang Market.
Mel and I ordered a serving of jeon (Korean vegetable pancake) for sharing, and the taste was absolutely unforgettable. It was extra crispy on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. It came with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar, and freshly-cut onions, which elevated the flavor of this humble yet extremely yummy dish.
Vegetable pancake, 4000 won.
The ahjumma who owns the stall offered us makgeolli, saying that jeon is best paired with their traditional rice wine. But since we are very 'wholesome titas' (lol), we politely declined and instead bought fruit smoothies at a different stall.
Fresh fruit, ready to be blended.
Another must-try dish at Gwangjang Market is the mayak gimbap which literally translates into 'narcotic rice rolls'. Narcotic in the sense that this food is super addictive! These rice rolls are made with pickled vegetables, rolled on a bed of rice and dried seaweed (gim). They are then brushed with sesame oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, which I reckon is where the addicting taste comes from.
Mayak Gimbap, 1000 won per roll.
If you're a bit more adventurous with food, perhaps you should try the soondae - blood sausage made with pig intestines mixed with sweet potato vermicelli noodles and sticky rice. I didn't try this, but Mel has had a taste of it on her previous Korea trip and she said it was good. Surprisingly, we saw a lot of foreign tourists ordering this at the nearby stall and seemed to be satisfied with it.
Soondae, anyone?
Other interesting food options at the Gwangjang Market are sannakji (live octopus), yukhoe (raw beef tartare), and the sea penis, a type of marine spoon worm, which is usually eaten raw and dipped in an array of spices. Sounds nasty, I know.
A huge basin of sea penis.
If banchan (side dishes) are more to your liking, you'll also find plenty of them in this bustling market. I'm not familiar with all of them, but I do know there are marinated crabs and spiced pork and kimchi in this spread of food.
Lots of side dishes to choose from!
Marinated crabs.
An assortment of kimchi.
Fruits, nuts, beans, and dried fish are also a common sight at the Gwangjang Market. Some stores also sell yakgwa (Korean cookies) which come in lovely gift boxes. They make nice presents for friends and family back home.
Yakgwa sold in boxed sets. 
Speaking of presents, Gwangjang Market is also famous for its hanbok shops, housed mostly on the second floor. Here, you can buy ready-to-wear hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) or have them tailored to your liking. Fabrics, bed sheets, jewelries and accessories, as well as various souvenir items can also be found on the second floor.
Hanbok shops on the second floor.
If you want to experience authentic Korean street food and culture under one roof, then Gwangjang Market is the place to be. Most of the stores operate on a daily basis from 8:30 am to 6 pm. Some restaurants are open until 11 pm, while some stores are closed on Sundays. 

To get to Gwangjang Market, take the subway to Jongno 5-ga Station Exit 8 or Euljiro 4-ga Station Exit 4.
You can also ride the Green Bus numbered 111, 2014, 2112, or 7212 and alight at the Jongno 5-ga bus stop.


5.18.2018

Sneak Peek | Peripera Dal Dal Factory Collection.

Our next trip to Seoul is just a few more days away, and I can't wait to set foot again in the land of K-pop, K-drama, and K-beauty! I've been putting off buying new makeup for the past few weeks, constantly telling myself that I can do all the shopping when I return to Korea and have my husband pay for all of it, lol!

I actually made a list of the stuff that I need to buy - because I'm OC, yes - and that includes skincare products, tons of sheet masks, and makeup - lots of them. Haha! On my list is the Dal Dal Factory Collection, Peripera's latest offering for the summer.
Peripera Dal Dal Factory Collection!
Released just two days ago (that's May 16), this limited edition collection boasts of brilliant colors and a charming candy store vibe.

View the entire collection after the jump!

5.17.2018

Moose Play Camp 2018 | A Fun-filled Learning Experience for Kids!

Remember the Moose Play Camp I had been raving about a few weeks back? Well, the first leg of the Play Camp happened last May 6 at SM San Lazaro and it was a huge hit among kids and parents alike!
Moose Play Camp 2018.
This comes as no surprise because over the past few years, Moose Play Camp has earned a reputation for being one of the most exciting summer activities for kids. Aside from being a fun-filled learning experience for kids, this workshop also aims to discover, cultivate, and enhance our kids' talents, allowing them to build their confidence and shine like the Moose Gear and Moose Girl endorsers.
Meet, Greet, & Play!
The Play Camp had three workshop activities - Singing, Dancing, and Modeling.
Music, please! )
Learning the lyrics.
Learning the dance steps.
Dancing to the beat.
Walking the talk. :)
Ready to own the runway. :)
Each activity had different teachers and mentors, all of whom were patient and cheerful despite the huge crowd and huge number of attendees. The kids, on the other hand, were all eager to learn and very enthusiastic. Even the tiny tots were brimming with confidence and ready to conquer the stage!
Look at how these kids project! 
Taking the limelight.
Missed the first leg of the Moose Play Camp?
There's another leg happening this Sunday (May 20) at SM Dasmarinas
Moose Gear products.
Sign your kids up for a weekend of fun and learning by simply purchasing Moose Gear/Moose Girl products at the said branch from now until the day of the event itself. A minimum of Php 1000 purchase entitles one kid to the Play Camp.
Take your pick!
Don't forget to follow the Moose Gear social media pages to get updates on promos and more fun events!

Facebook -         https://www.facebook.com/moosegear/
Twitter -             https://twitter.com/moosegearkids
Instagram -         https://www.instagram.com/moosegearkids/


5.11.2018

Five Ingredients for a Perfect Date Night at Home.

If you and your significant other find yourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, work, friends, and family, then you probably don’t get much time to just relax together. When that rare night pops up where you don’t have any plans or commitments, making a date night possible, staying in rather than going out can be a nice alternative. In order to make the most of your quiet evening in, here are five key ingredients.
Royalty Free Photo.
Have Your Favorite Food and Beverages On-Hand
Rather than ordering in, or dining out, it can be nice to make a meal together and take your time without rushing through the recipe. This gives you a chance to chat with one another, catch up on work, what’s being going on, and just really unwind. You’ll want to be sure you have all the ingredients on-hand for your favorite dishes. It’s also a nice touch to pair a bottle of wine with the meal, just to create that extra-special vibe.

Make it a Themed Night
You can take the whole favorite food thing to the next level if you wish and make it a themed-night. For example, maybe there is a destination the two of you traveled to together, so why not cook cuisine from that region and reminisce about the great times you had. You can also dress to the theme. Examples can include Italian cuisine night, Parisian sweets night, etc.
Photo credit: My Korean Kitchen.
Create a Relaxing Mood
The whole point of having a date night at home is to be able to enjoy quiet time without distractions. You can help to ensure this is the case by creating a relaxing mood. This can include soft music playing in the background, dimming the lights and placing lovely scented soy candles around the room, turning off the TV and your mobile phones, and making sure it’s a quiet and inviting atmosphere.

Set Up Movie-Night at Home
If there are a few movies you and your significant other have been wanting to see but didn't get a chance while they were in theatres, now is your chance to enjoy them together. You can have a whole movie marathon at home. This can also be said about TV shows you've been meaning to catch up on. A night of binge watching can be just what the two of you have been wanting.
Photo credit: PD Pics.
Making Time for the Little Things
Date night at home gives the two of you a chance to make time for the little things that are just as important in life, but often get pushed to the side when you find yourself busy and distracted by other things. Date night at home may just become you and your significant other’s new favorite thing and may even become a regular occurrence.