2 In Cantonese Learning Journey :)/ Japanese learning journey (:/ Korean learning journey (:

Hello 2019!

여러분, 저 돌아왔습니다! Ushered the new year in (albeit a week late) with a new blog layout. It’s been a long while since I actually have enough time + motivation to sit in front of the computer to spruce up the blog and to type an actual blog post.

I actually spent the new year in Osaka, Japan, for a long-awaited well-deserved break. I pretty much spent most of the time doing nothing, taking the same one-hour walk from Namba Subway Station to Umeda Subway Station in the winter cold. One highlight of the trip was to finally visit the Kyoto Aquarium to get my Salamander plushie. Yeah, after 5 years.

Kyoto Aquarium

A couple of photos from the trip 🙂

Cafe time 🙂

Back to language learning. Perhaps the idea of a new year does help in fuelling the motivation and desire for change, but so far I think I’ve done pretty well in trying to spend some time daily on languages. The focuses this year would still be Korean and Japanese. I try to read a couple of Korean articles and watch a few Japanese youtube videos daily. So far it has been working, mainly because I am soo motivated to watch Lucky Bags unboxing (search 2019 福袋開封). I am pretty much obsessed with those videos and yeah, you get to learn quite a few phrases along with the videos.

I’m also trying to learn … Cantonese! 🙂 I’m pretty interested in the tonal aspects of the language and guess what, I bought a Cantonese textbook in Japanese! One of the perks of knowing more languages – you get access to a wider source of learning materials.

Yes, that’s the salamander plushie

For those who were wondering what happened to my so-called attempt to learn Russian last year, I think it was pretty much a failed attempt. I just didn’t have the time, motivation and energy to keep it up. I don’t even remember the Russian alphabet now. ): I would like to go back to it someday, but for 2019, I would focus on the above.

I’m starting to slowly get back to posting about my language learning journey, but I always make it a point to focus on the learning itself. As I start to ease myself back into that familiar (and long-lost) routine and passion of language learning, I would be ready to post more about it again.

Till the next post!

1 In Others / General

How 2018 zoooooomed past

The frequency of updating this space is getting really atrocious, but at least I’m still trying.

I see today as an end to 2018, because it’s the start of my leave! 🙂 Finally. The long-awaited leave.

2018 was all about work. I was determined to find some life – signed up for Russian classes and determined to carve out time for language learning. Well, work overtook my life in no time. I’m not proud to say this, but I barely remembered anything from the classes, and I definitely won’t be adding Russian to the list of languages I am proud to say I know / learn.

I will get back to doing textbook reviews soon.

2018 wasn’t good for language learning, but there were great things that happened too. 🙂

Like meeting someone special who shares 3 common languages with me ☺️.

I’ll be back!

3 In Korean learning journey (:

Hello October

Got a jolt of shock when I saw that the last blog post was in August and the realisation that I have neglected my hobbies (yet) again made my heart sank a little. Couldn’t quite keep up the promise to myself to blog regularly, to learn languages and in general, to have a well-balanced life. Work has been hectic and there are no signs of it slowing down (for now).

Watched a Korean movie yesterday, for the first time in months, and frankly speaking, I was slightly apprehensive just before the movie started. How much of the movie would I understand, without referring to the subs? What if there were actually bits that I couldn’t catch? What if I realise that my Korean proficiency has dropped?

These were the thoughts running in my mind. I think the fear is real. I won’t kid myself that after so many months of not using Korean, my knowledge is still completely intact. I only have myself to blame.

2 years of not travelling to Korea. I wonder how many things have changed. Probably a lot.

Feeling a little scared and yet looking forward to the next trip to Korea, sometime in the future.

Until then, I will have to slowly pick the pieces back again and to find myself in the meantime.

Till the next post.

9 In Korean learning journey (:

Life is more than this

Hello everyone, I should probably stop starting every blog post with “hi it’s been a long time” or something along these lines. 😛 Please tell me that blogs are not dead and there are people who still read them. I love Instagram and other social media where short updates are the norm, but sometimes I just want to have a verbal diarrhoea of sorts, and pen down my incoherent thoughts. And a break from all those curated pics!

It’s August already and I always marvel at how time flies and how little (seemingly) I have accomplished – personal, career, languages and all. (And yet I have been so busy!)

On the longstanding question on whether I should do “something more” with my language skills, I have no answer to that. In fact, I learnt that the more I obsess over it, the unhappier I become and the less motivated I become. So the past year was spent embracing the fact that I have (so far) chosen a path where I don’t really get to use my language skills and the whole point of the decision was so that I can go beyond my comfort zone and gain new experiences. BUT. I also lament the fact that my language skills are getting worse due to the disuse. I can never be satisfied, can I?

Well, then it’s time to do something about it.

Recently, I’ve been pretty good with my routine of doing something related to Korean every day. 🙂 I’ve been reading articles on 경제 and 정치 and they are getting easier!

The next thing to do is to get back to blogging regularly. I know I no longer write informative posts, please bear with me! 🙂

11 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Review] Korean Grammar in Use – Beginning

Over the years, I’ve heard so many good things about the Korean Grammar in Use series but didn’t have a chance to use the books. My friend lent her “beginning” book to me last year to review, and I’m ashamed that I sat on it until now. Cos it’s really good. And I’m quite tempted to get the advanced version.

If you are a beginner in Korean and is looking for a grammar-focused book to complement your main textbook, look no further. I wished the book was published when I started learning in 2008 ): It would have been a great resource to use.

Claiming to cover all grammar points in TOPIK level 1 and 2, the book groups the grammar points into clear themes (e.g. particles, negative expressions, expressions of hope) and it’s very easy to find the grammar point via the contents page. It acts as a mini grammar dictionary for beginners, as the explanations are easy to follow for those who are new to the language.

Clear Structure and Explanation

For each grammar point, the book starts off with several example sentences, followed by a clear and detailed explanation of the meaning and its usage. This is followed by short dialogues (2 liners) to illustrate the use of the grammar point, followed by fill-in-the-blank exercises designed to test your understanding (answers provided). For certain grammar points, there is an additional section on explaining the nuances of similar grammar points.

All example sentences and dialogues come with the English translation, making it easy for the beginner learner.

As a additional resource to complement a main textbook, this is great. Period.

Most definitely recommended.

What I like:

  • Clear structure, easy to follow
  • Ample sample sentences, explanations are clear and concise
  • Useful exercises with answer key
  • Section on explanation of nuance differences for similar grammar points

What can be improved: 

  • Nil 🙂
3 In Gmarket

[Gmarket Haul] Quick reviews!

If you clicked the link expecting Korean textbook reviews, I’m sorry. I think you have to wait a little more :P.

It’s been quite some time since my last Gmarket haul (post), I went to google and found that I blogged about my first Gmarket purchase in 2010!! I can only lament that time really flies.

Based on my sporadic Gmarketing experiences over the years, I’ve learnt not to buy items where the quality of the real products can differ from pictures (i.e. clothes / bags / accessories / shoes) unless I’m very familiar with the sellers or brands. With the exception of Bunnyshu, where the shoe quality is still acceptable and usually still a hit for me, I don’t buy stuff from the abovementioned categories on Gmarket anymore.

Instead, I usually buy books, skincare and cosmetic products where its really hard to go wrong if you buy from the official brand stores. Yup that’s another time. Most Korean skincare brands have official shops, so I’ll rather get from those to be assured that I don’t receiving near expiry products or even worse, fake products. Alternatively, I’ll get from GlobalHmall, which I believe is Hyundai Department Group’s presence on Gmarket.

Ok. Enough of the preamble. Apparently I’ve still not learn how to write concisely and succinctly ):

This haul is book-free, simply cos I have too many unread books at home ):

These days, I also derive joy from trying to take better care of my skin and it’s also a way for me to relieve stress and fatigue. I’ll feel extra happy if I managed to do my skincare routine for the day, and sometimes when I’m working at home and feel very frustrated, I’ll stop for a while to put on a mask pack lol.

Making use of this post to do quick reviews and to also introduce some of my fav buys on gmarket 🙂

My purchases


the freebies! 🙂

Purchases and quick reviews

It was an awesome haul cos Gmarket was having quite a good sale and look at the freebies I’ve received! (especially from Sulhwasoo) Ok, onward to the reviews! (Links are valid at the time of writing)

Mediheal W.H.P sheet masks

One of my all-time top 3 sheet masks. Enough said. It’s probably my 3rd or 4th repurchase. It’s my fav mediheal mask out of a couple I’ve tried.

Good: Perfect fit for me, and the sheet is of good quality and not too thin/flimsy. The serum is pleasant-smelling, doesn’t leave a sticky residue (very important!) and of course, my skin feels a lot smooth and looks better immediately. I usually wash my face with water around 30 mins after taking off the mask.

mmm: –

Overall: BUY.

Fresh Pop Conditioner: Green Herb Mojito

Bought this because I love the shampoo! And I received the shampoo as a freebie when I bought my usual mise en scene shampoo in the last gmarket haul. lol. Think they changed the packaging, cos it used to say I LOVE MOJITO lolol. I liked that more. In any case, bought the conditioner instead to try cos I still have shampoo at home. Quick review based on a single try.

Good: Hair feels smooth enough, but not fantastic?

mmm: Slightly more runny compared to usual conditioners.

Overall: Not too sure how I feel about it. Might stick to the shampoo only next time.

Pony Effect Pebble Blender 

Received the miniature sponges before when I bought other Pony Effect products and instantly fell in love!! I tried the high-raved beautyblender once and personally I thought that the quality didn’t justify the price point at all. The hot pink colour runs after awhile when I washed it (with the special soap that comes with it, not even some random cleanser), and the foundation doesn’t come off that clean too. The Pony one was so much better.

Good: Easy to apply. The foundation products don’t really seep into the sponge (if used wet) and it was easy to clean too, especially if you clean within the day. Texture wise, its firmer than the beautyblender. Overall, a good applicator, and hence decided to purchase the full-sized blender!

mmm: –

Overall: Recommended if you are looking for a good sponge applicator!

Pony Effect Defense Longwear Cushion Foundation

Didn’t include the link cos it says temporarily out of stock. Blogged about it before. Will be blogging about my mini stash of cushion foundations next time hahaha.

Good: My go-to cushion foundation for at least the last two years. While I didn’t find it perfect, I realised how much I like it after trying other brands. It applies beautifully and while it doesn’t last the whole day, it doesn’t make my face feel oily. I don’t need to layer much and it doesn’t accentuate my pores (very important). Finish is dewy but doesn’t make you look oily.

mmm: It clumps / runs a little at the nosebridge area (I wear specs), but not a huge issue.

Overall: Will keep on purchasing.

Pony Effect Seamless Foundation

Used samples before and I thought it was quite good for its price point. The foundation is in a glass bottle (but with a pump yay) and it looks classy. Review next time!

Banila Co Hydrating Primer Finish Powder 

First time purchase. Was looking for loose powder and thought it looks decent. Previously using EMODA, which I guess the cosmetic line is discontinued?! WHY.

Sulhwasoo Essential Balancing Water Ex and Essential Balancing Emulson Ex Set 

Bought this because it looks like a really for-value set! Not sure if its just a limited time set or not, but it really allows you to try quite a number of products! In essence (hah), all I bought was the two big bottles in the picture above and the free gifts I got were:

  • Mini First Care Activating Serum Ex (8ml) x 2
  • Mini Essential Balancing Water Ex (15ml) x 2
  • Mini Essential Balancing Emulsion Ex (15ml) x 2
  • Mini Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Ex (5ml) x 1
  • Mini Essential Hydrating Eye Cream Ex (3.5ml) x 1
  • Herbal Soap (I misspelled as soup 2 times..) x 2
  • First Care Activating Mask x 1
  • Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Creamy Mask x 1
  • Clarifying Mask Ex (50ml) x 1
  • Overnight Vitalising Mask Ex (30ml) x 1
  • Gentle Cleansing Oil Ex (50ml) x 1
  • Gentle Cleansing Foam Ex (50ml) x 1

woah that was a long list to type out…

Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about Sulhwasoo yet. I have friends who swear by it, but mmm I don’t know, especially since its really not cheap. Will reserve my thoughts for next time. But overall, my favourite product so far is their Clarifying Mask. It’s the best peel-off mask I’ve tried so far.

OK this is a long blog post. The longest I’ve written in a long while 🙂 I hope to come back to blogging regularly. I miss writing long(ish) blog posts and penning (typing) down my thoughts. I know Instagram is probably the new style of blogging, but I still love having a website.

I hope you guys stick around too, and sorry for the sporadic posts!!