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!!

0 In 中文部落格/ 宅女心聲


剛看完施定柔的《結愛·異客逢歡》, 感覺心裡悶悶的,索性跑來寫部落格。想了想,還是分不清心裡鬱悶的原因。說實在的,我並不太喜歡這本小說,故事人物不怎麼討喜。也許是因為作者也沒有深刻的勾畫出每個人物。看完了故事,感覺對他們還是很陌生。人物的設定雖然有趣,但就是少了一些什么。




這種需要重新建起的感覺真的很不好,也不容易。它時時刻刻的提醒我 — 是我放手了,是我不努力,是我沒有持之以恆。這樣的認知是殘酷的。但我還是必須面對,告訴我自己,我可以從新再來。:)


2 In Korean learning journey (:/ TOPIK

57th TOPIK Results

It has become a routine of some sorts, to post about TOPIK results every two years or so! 🙂 It was my 5th time (starting to lose count!) taking TOPIK and I think it was my 3rd level 6 pass! Well, I know there are a few camps of thoughts on TOPIK. It’s debatable how accurate it reflects “real” proficiency, whether there’s any “use” in the exam and if it means anything. Personally, I treat TOPIK as a milestone, to remind me that yet another two years have passed since learning Korean and it serves as a fun way to test myself and to see if I’ve made any numerical improvement in the scores (just for fun!). I enjoy taking language tests so much that my friends think I’m crazy. But I also think that it’s a blessing to see it as something fun, and not something stressful!

Writing the post a few days after I’ve received the results, so I can’t replicate my happiness accurately (lol), but nevertheless I must say that I’m pretty happy with the results! It was the first time that my writing component score was in the 70s (it used to hover in the 60s range). The last time I really studied for TOPIK was probably in 2009 and 2012 ><, but I took the effort to read a couple of model essays for both the long essay and the statistics description portion and I think it helped! 🙂 I need to write more, so that I can hit the 80s range next time 😛

Really pleased with the reading score. I mean, what else can I say right? 😛

Didn’t do that well for listening, and I had a feeling that I lost marks in the earlier (and supposedly) easier questions hahaha. ><

Overall, really pleased!

The blog is celebrating its 10th anniversary in a couple of days. 🙂

Thank you for sticking with me all these while!

2 In Korean learning journey (:/ TOPIK

57th TOPIK II Experience and tips

It’s the mandatory TOPIK experience post again. Probably my 5th! It’s so surreal how fast time passes and it’s already my 5th time taking TOPIK. For readers who like to ask why I would spend money to re-take it every two years, I just like to keep my certificate valid as I would never know when I need it. It’s also an activity that I look forward to every two years (ya I love taking language tests!!), and more importantly, it’s a timemarker for me. Reminding me that yet another 2 years have passed 🙂

For those who are keen to read about the details of TOPIK II can refer to this post.

TOPIK was more fun this year cos Weixin took it with me ?. HSK last year and TOPIK this year. Heh we are language test buddies.


Don’t think I did very well at the start because it took me a while to ease into the exam mode, so I kinda spaced out in the beginning. But as usual, I found it very helpful to read ahead for the questions when the dialogue repeats for the 2nd time. So I would read two sets ahead to make sure that I have a sense of what the next (next) dialogue is about, as well as what to look out for even before the audio.


It was definitely worth it to prepare for the “graph description” section. I found it a lot more manageable after reading several sample essays. Usually you will start off by stating which organisation conducted the survey (and what is it about), followed by 결과에 따르면 LOL.


Reading was pretty .. dare I say.. easy this time round. Must caveat that it doesn’t mean I would do well. ? At least I didn’t have any 멘붕 moments. Given past experience, I knew that I would definitely be able to finish the reading section within time limit, so I didn’t deliberately rush and speed-read my way through. I tried to make the effort to read through all options to reduce the possibility of careless mistakes.

Overall, thought it was a manageable paper. (:

3 In Korean learning journey (:


Rediscovering my love for Korean novels 🙂

What better way to start than to re-read my favourite novel! It’s been 5 years or more since I bought the 3-novel set, and actually I think I’ve only finished the first two books, and was halfway through the third novel.

Seems like just yesterday when I was writing about how much I love these books. It’s quite interesting to re-read again. I still stumble over pretty much the same words that I highlighted a few years ago, but I’m also a much faster reader than before.

Perhaps it’s because I read non-fiction more often, but I do find myself being unfamiliar with a lot of the descriptive verbs and onomatopoeia that’s common in novels. Time to build up the vocabulary bank again 🙂

Listening to Sodagreen while typing this (and taking a short break from the novel). Feeling happy and at ease 🙂

Taking TOPIK again this coming Sunday. It’s become a time marker of some sort, reminding me that two years have passed yet again. If I look at things positively, I think I’ve come a long way to push my limits and take on different challenges. A less positive way of looking at things… I’m getting further and further from where I envisioned myself to be. That is something for another post 😛

Right now, I just want to immerse myself in the book and enjoy reading.

Till the next post.

To the silent reader, yes that’s you, maybe it’s time for a comment? 🙂