Innisfree Cafe Seoul, South Korea

Innisfree Cafe Seoul, South Korea

If you've been following this blog for any time at all, I'm sure you'll know have come across a post or two sharing my love for the Innisfree brand.

Innisfree is known as the first, original South Korean all-natural brand, and is one of the few Korean brands that use organic ingredients certified by France's ECOCERT organisation. All of it's packaging is recyclable, and the ingredients in it's products are natural and not filled with a million and one chemicals.

What I love most about Innisfree is the fact that their products are reasonably priced, and they WORK! There are so many amazing Korean skincare and makeup brands, but a lot of them look a lot better than they work. Korean packaging is incredibly cute and will have you buying all sorts of products just because they will look pretty on your dresser. 

You can imagine my delight when I found out that Innisfree has it's own cafe! There are two locations, one on Jeju Island (the home of Innisfree) and on in Seoul.

During the last weekend we spent in Korea (in case you're new around here, my husband and I spent 3 years living in South Korea and have only just returned home to South Africa) I was able to pop into the cafe and experience the beauty of Innisfreein it's 'cafe' form.

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Racoon Cafe in Seoul, South Korea - Blind Alley Cafe

Racoon Cafe in Seoul, South Korea - Blind Alley Cafe

If you're from the US, chances are you're not a big fan of these furry creatures. You probably have visions of your rubbish being riffled through and your pets being harassed. But to us South Africans, this funny little creature is a complete novelty. 

We don't have racoons in South Africa, the only thing we can compare to the US 'racoon' in terms of how much havoc they wreck around your house is the vermit monkey. Most South Africans (at least those from Kwazulu-Natal) have at least 1 story of a monkey (or even a troop of monkeys)  breaking into their house, causing complete chaos with the dogs and cats and stealing any food they can get their hands on. 

I'm not a big fan of monkeys, so I can understand some of my American friends and their aversion to these so-called 'pests' but I was quite taken with these two racoons that we spent time with at Blind Alley Cafe near Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul. Obviously, these racoons are pets and so tame, I wouldn't advise anyone running up to a wild racoon and try and give it an affectionate scratch (ouch...you'll be in for a nasty surprise). 

These two racoons were very entertaining (especially the white one who was the braver of the pair).

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Things to do & places to stay in Seoul, South Korea

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We had friends out from South Africa recently and spent a wonderful weekend with them in Seoul. Farmboy and I have been to Seoul numerous times (click here to see other posts with things to do in this vibrant city) but there is always more to see and do in Korea's capital.

We found a wonderful apartment on AirBnb called SeoulSketch (click here to make a booking) and stayed there for 2 nights. The apartment was clean and spacious with 2 double beds, a kitchen, living room area and bathroom.

It was perfect for 4 people and was situated only a 5 minute walk from the Gyeongbokgung Palace Subway Station.

Places to Stay in Seoul Airbnb Apartment Rental

We spent our first evening wondering around Hongdae (Hongik University Subway Line) and doing some late night shopping. The stores only close around 10/11pm and restaurants are usually open till even later. 

Saturday morning we spent walking around Samcheon-dong which is the very artsy neighbourhood surrounding Gyeongbokgung Palace. The Buckcheon Hanok Village (a traditional Korean folk village) is also right next to the palace, so you can definitely spend a good number of hours strolling around, taking photographs and eating your fill of great food. 

We spent the morning wondering around Samcheon-dong, and then headed to Myeong-dong for some more shopping in the afternoon. There are also dog & cat cafes in Myeong-dong (click here to read more about these interesting cafes) which are a fun way to spend a few hours. 

After an afternoon nap we got showered and all dressed up for a night out at Club Ocatagon, one of the famous super clubs in Gangnam. Entrance for Octagon was W10 000 before 11pm (after which it jumps up to W30 000 per person) and includes a drink. Make sure to bring ID (you must be over the age of 19) and they ask EVERYONE! Never in my life did I think I would be asked for ID at the ripe old age of 27, but I was, along with every other person in line.

Saturday morning was spent at Suji's in Itaewon for brunch (click here for a full review). Suji's is our absolute favourite place for breakfast/lunch in Seoul. Most restaurants and cafes in Seoul only open at 10am making eating more of a brunch than a breakfast.

Then it was back to Yongsan station to catch the train to take us home. You can book train tickets In English online through the Korail website using your Korean/International credit card or Korean debit card.

Do you have any other recommendations of places to see and things to do in Seoul? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Seoul Iris Park

Seoul Iris park, things to do in Seoul, summer in south korea, life in south korea, parks in korea

At the end of June a friend and I went off in search of the Iris Park in Seoul. I had read that the Irises usually cover the park in an array of beautiful coloured blooms from May to June. But, we had arrived too late and were only able to spot one or two flowers hidden among the rest of the greenery of Changpawon Park.

There are 130 species of Irises in the park, as well as a Medicinal Botanical Garden. The park also has a wetland in the middle of it with a wooden deck from which you can see lotuses and other aquatic plants. The par itself isn't very big, but there are lots of shady grass areas and benches to enjoy a picnic lunch on. It was well worth the visit, and I am making sure to get there next year to see all the flowers in full bloom.

The park is open from 07h00 - 20h00.

How to get there

How to get there : Dobongsan Station (Subway Line 1, 7) Exit 2.

Walk out of Exit 2 and cross the main road, walking away from the subway line. The park will be in front of you.

The best brunch in Seoul... SuJi's Deli in Itaweon

Sujis diner in Seoul, best brunch in Seoul, things to do in Seoul, Places to eat in Korea, western restuarants seoul, pancakes seoul, brunch korea

A quick Google search for the ultimate places to brunch in Seoul will show you a decent number of places to get your fill of a good old fashioned greasy fry up. But, as Seoul is a long way away from our little town, we wanted to make sure we weren't going to be disappointed as we often are with breakfasts here in Korea.

Suji's seemed to be ranked as one of the original brunch spots. So, armed with a bunch of very hungry South Africans we headed off to stuff our faces.

We were delighted with what awaited us...

Prices were what we had expected for a restaurant that caters for the Western market, pricey but totally justifiable. I mean, look at the size of the pancake platter.

Their menu is extensive and has something for everyone.

Everything was delicious (except the tea...who premixes frothed milk into English Breakfast?!) but the orange juice and burger made up for that.

It gets full very quickly, so make sure to get there early if you are a large group. Or just to be safe, call ahead (Tel 02.797.3698) and make a reservation.

Directions

서울특별시 용산구 이태원로 134, 2층 & 3층
2nd & 3rd Fl, 134 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Take Subway line 6 and get out at Itaewon, Exit 4.

It's all the way on the end of the main Itaewon drag, close to the McDonald's and right next door to SkinFood which is what you'll see when you reach the end of the road walking towards Noksapyung Station.

Tel 02.797.3698

Website: Sujis Diner

Opening Hours

Deli Cafe: 8am - 9pm 7 days a week

3rd Floor Restaurant: 11am - 10pm weekdays & 9am - 10pm weekends/holidays

Blute Flower Cafe, Seoul South Korea

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** EDIT** The cafe has moved locations and can now be found a short walk from Sangsu Subway Stationer. These photographs are from when they were based in Hannam**

This delightful flower cafe is tucked away on a small side street in the very fancy Hannam area of Seoul. Just as Cat and Dog Cafes are popular here, flower shop owners have come up with the idea of a flower cafe to bring in more business as the flower trade has seen a decline in sales over the past few years. Cafe owners hope that customers will be enticed to bring back the tradition of giving flowers as gifts, and so have a variety of bouquets on display that you can buy along with your coffee or cake.

This particular cafe also offers flower arranging classes.

The food was incredible, freshly baked panini bread with sun-dried tomatoes and salami for myself, and a medley of freshly roasted vegetables for my friend Dominique. The menu was small, but sufficient, and the cakes on display looked so inviting. However, we had a cupcake cafe lined up for dessert and so stuck to their lunch menu. The prices were average, ranging from w8 000 - w12 000 a meal, with their drinks menu more expensive than other cafes I have been to. But the atmosphere is well worth the extra price of a drink.

Address: 

New address in Hongdae:

12 Wausan-ro 14 gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul 

Yangjae Flower Market, Seoul (양재동꽃시장)

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Yangjae Flower Market in Seoul is one of the largest in Korea. It is divided into several different zones, from whole sale to retail, it also has auction house and a whole floor of silk flowers, ribbons and other flower arranging items. The whole sale section of the market is open from 1am and closes at 1pm while the rest of the green houses and artificial sections are open until about 3pm. I headed there with a friend a few weeks ago, and even though I did't think I was mad about flowers, we spent a good number of hours wondering around, purchasing greenery and snapping photographs. It is well worth the trip, and I'm sure you won't leave empty handed. And succulents like these ones (click here) were only W1000 a pop...win!

Directions

Take the Sin Bundang Line to Yangjae Citizen's Forest Station (Exit 4). 
Continue walking for 200 meters to reach the market on the right.

Opening Hours

Wholesale Area : 1h00-13h00
Retail Area : 7h00-20:00
Potted Flower Area : 7h00-19h00

The Wholesale Area is closed on Sundays.

Some stores in the Retail Area and Potted Flower Area are closed on Sundays.

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope your week hasn't been too tough on you, and if it has, well you've got 2 days to recover and gain back a little joy in your step. We're off to the coffee expo in Seoul this weekend, and I'm also hoping we manage to find out way to this amazing looking coffee shop below on the outskirts of the capital. Will post my findings if we manage to get there.

CafeDreamyCameraCafeSeoul

Happy weekend everyone!

x

September through Instagram

 We are in the second week of October already, and it's starting to get very chilly here in South Korea. I miss last months lazy Autumn evenings, wearing pretty dresses with no need for a cardigan. Now its straight into jackets and scarves and hoodies and boots!

So long September.

x

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{Cat Cafe} in Seoul, South Korea

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A little while ago, Farmboy and I visited a dog cafe in Seoul (it's not what you're thinking...click here to see more) and this time we popped by a cat cafe to give these little ones some love and attention. The idea behind these animal cafes is that people, who are unable to keep pets in their homes (usually due to lack of space here in Korea) are able to spend time with animals in a 'controlled' environment.

The place is kept very clean, with you having to remove your shoes and wash your hands thoroughly before entering. Cats are generally very hygienic anyway, and their 'bathroom' area is a secluded, walled off area in the corner so no worries about that side of things. You simply pay an entrance fee which includes a drink of your choice, and then enter the kitty den and cuddle to your hearts content. These little guys were all pretty sleepy, but when the chicken liver treats were brought out we suddenly became very interesting to everyone. A delightful way to spend an afternoon in Seoul.

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There are lots of cat cafes in and around Seoul, this one in particular was in the Myeongdong district. It's pretty hard to explain how to find it, but if you wonder around the busy streets you're bound to come across a banner filled with images of cute cats.

They are usually on the third/fourth/fifth floor of buildings, so keep an eye out on the upper levels of buildings.

{Away in Seoul}

Farmboy and I are spending a few days in Seoul to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary {which is on Monday} and to see more of the sights and sounds of this fascinating city. The past 3 days have been public holidays here in Korea (Korea has a LOT of public holidays!). These holidays have been for Chuseok, Korean thanksgiving which is traditionally a time spent with family, making lots of traditional Korean dishes  and honoring ancestors. 

I won't be blogging for a little while, so if you'd like to follow along on Instagram (@roxypearce) you're sure to find lots of strange and interesting photos of our time here in Seoul.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

x

August through Instagram

A quick recap of August as seen through my iPhone & Instagram...we visited a dog cafe in Seoul, went to Malaysia, I did nail art with my kiddies at school, shopped up a storm at Forever 21washi taped my laptop charger and went on a fascinating teachers trip to Dokdo Island

How was your August?

x

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Snaps from Seoul

Just before our early morning flight to Malaysia (we spent a week on the Perhenetian Islands for our summer holidays here) we spent the night in the capital of South Korea, Seoul.

 Here are a few iPhone snaps of here and there (including a few of the Dog Cafe we visited...click here if you missed the post!).

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Smitten with Forever21

We don't have anything like Forever21 in South Africa. I mean Typo, Topshop, Forever New (and H&M soon!) have hit South Africa's sunny shores and while those stores are lovely, they just don't have anything on Forever21.

I mean, look at all this pretty?!

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There was definitely a lot of punk, rock and lumo in the branch I went into here in Seoul, South Korea. But what made my heart go pitter patter was all the pink and the pearl. 

Soft, sweet and feminine. 

Just lovely. 

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{Un}Luckily for me I live about a 5 hour journey from the closest Forever 21 so I had to load up on goodies and will have to wait a {long} time before I step foot in there again. And with the huge sale going on, I was able to go a little girl crazy and still have enough for a Baskin and Robbins ice-cream on the way home...oh sale time I do love you!

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What colour accessories are you into at the moment?

{Dog Cafe} in Seoul, South Korea

Dog cafe in seoul South Korea

Many of our friends who have heard our tales of South Korea will do a double take when reading the title of this post...so let me quickly clarify! Dog (and cat) cafe's are playgrounds for furry friends to meet new people while giving us a chance to play with creatures we might not normally come across or be able to keep at home.

Here in South Korea space is limited, people live in sky rise apartments, and so are only able to keep small pets (the most popular being rabbits, hamsters, lizards and beetles!). At these animal cafe's, you stroll in, order yourself a yummy beverage, and get petting. 

Here are some snaps of our first experience with a Dog Cafe, in Seoul.

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Don't let the sad eyes fool you! These pups are happy chappies in their home, they get attention all day everyday, and when they're not googoo eyeing you they are fast asleep. What a life!

This cafe is called Sunnyne, here is the address if you're in Seoul and want to pop by:

16, Yanghwa-ro 18an-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul 

서울특별시 마포구 양화로18안길 16 (동교동)

>>>here is the link for their website (it's only in Korean but gives you a good idea of the place).

Open from 10am to 10pm, and on the second floor. Just look out for the bright yellow signs.