Songdo Strolls

 

I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks wandering around Songdo in an effort to get my daily step count up (More about that later) and following other people’s recommendations have found a couple of incredibly useful places that I thought I would share with you all here: A tailor (for repairs) and a fabulous stationery shop:

Joint Map

Now Songdo is replete with tailors – mostly for men’s suits and shirts, but if you are female and have a shirt that they can copy, I hear this works pretty well – but what I have needed is someone to do minor repairs. Over the last year or so, with the invaluable support of YouTube, I have been teaching myself how to do some of these repairs myself but it’s never the neatest job  – as we know, patience is not my strong point. I also had a dress that needed re-hemming, but not urgently enough for me to post it home to mum. Well about a week ago, a couple of my friends told me of this random tiny little store in a part of town that I would never really wander to where there sits a genius with a sewing machine. One even said that when her friends come visit from out-of-town, they bring all the repair and sewing work they need done as they no longer trust anyone else with their clothes. Well, I’m sold! Before I took along the dress, I thought I would wait and try something else. Raj had a tear in the leg of his linen trousers (now relegated to lounge-wear only) which was the perfect start. Off I wander with the vague directions: Across the road from Relish, up the street from the GS25 Supermarket (ed. GS25 is a convenience store, but the supermarket has a larger selection of products, including a mini-Daiso – wait, what, I haven’t told you about Daiso yet? Ok, that’s getting a whole post to itself soon. Daiso might just be my favourite thing about South Korea) into a building, next to a book store and by the pink sign. And I found it! For only 4,000 won, the trousers have been brought back into the outdoor clothes rotation – she is amazing. Next time, I went I took my dress to be hemmed and a few days later, I have a new outfit for all of 8,000 won. Seriously guys, all your mending needs will be covered here. But directions OK.

The shop is based on Haedoji-Ro. If you walk up Haedoji-ro towards Haedoji Park (on the opposite side of the road from the Korean Coast Guard and Relish). You’ll pass the GS25 Supermarket (hello red onions!) and soon you’ll come up to an NH Bank. Take a right down the little street and when you see an ‘H’ above the door, in you go. Walk all the way to the end (there is actually a HUGE pink sign outside the tailor) and you’ll see a lovely lady with her sewing machine and lots of clothes. It really couldn’t be easier!

To make sure you are turning into the right little street, across the road you will see this building:

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It was a little weird to take pictures of the tailor’s shop but I’ll try for one of those next time!

Now, for all your stationery needs, you need to head to The Life. It took me a few attempts to find it, but I can confidently say it is on Sinsong-ro – just around the corner from Songdo Mart and up the street from Burger Z. If you’ve ever taken 6724 bus from Seoul back to Songdo, you’ve certainly passed it. It’s on the second floor (Korean second floor, so the first floor in other countries) so, as ever in Korea, look up as you wander.

This store has everything that you need for arts and crafts-ing. Paints, paper, card, aerosols, varnish, glue polystyrene balls, brushes and so on. There is also a huge selection of ribbon and gift wrap, board games (in Korean) batteries, cleaning products and school supplies. Also, if anyone is playing cricket, huge bottles of linseed oil to keep your bat in check. Now I can’t share everything I bought because I’m in the midst of planning a baby shower and don’t want the decoration ideas to get out but I tell you, definitely worth a half an hour wander to pick up all the things that you didn’t know you wanted (sorry Raj!).

Stationery Shop MapIMG_0574

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Here come the girls… 

SEPTEMBER 2017 UPDATE: Recently there has been a LOT of noise about certain brands of sanitary pads being under investigation regarding safety to use. The claim is that certain companies have been putting (injecting.. I don’t know) hormones into the pads which have in turn been causing women to have cystic acne breakouts, more intense cramps and periods lasting 1-2 days only (I know, this last one sounds dreamy but its probably not the right way to go about it.) A lot of the information I am finding online is in Korean (Obvs) and not validated but someone posted this link on Facebook the other day which might shed more light on the situation. I’ve heard tell that if you fork out for the organic cotton pads then those are safe (an example is pictured belo – apparently Olive Young is going to stock them this month but I’m yet to find any), but nobody can say that definitively. The upshot is that a lot of women in Korea are either turning to reusable organic cotton pads, such as Hannahpads, menstrual cups or getting pads sent from home (I’m stocking up next week when I head to London. Better safe than sorry). You can also buy pads online at iherb.com and amazon.com but obviously you have to factor delivery time into your order and I believe iherb.com is currently out of stock of EVERYTHING. Do your research and stay safe ladies xxx

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Here’s a post just for the girls out there – if the word “period” makes you blush more than tomatoes dried in the sun then stop reading now. If, however, you have a girlfriend, wife, daughter, female friend or relative that might visit you, stick around for the ride.

One unavoidable fact of life is that if you are a pre-menopausal woman, you’ll have a period or two while you are here. Now I know I harp on and on about how everything is so expensive here but sanitary products are the worst. Whilst some women have said tampons are more readily available in Seoul, I’ve only seen them in Olive Young (next to Awesome International) and they cost about 70 million dollars for 5 tampons (ed: slight exaggeration but you get the point.) And sanitary pads don’t feel a lot cheaper except when they are on 3 for 2 – and then you end up being the weirdo walking down the street with 6 packets of pads in your arms because you don’t want to take a bag (go green!) and they will not fit in your already full trolley. Yikes. Recently however, Lotte Mart has launched its own brand to rival Emart’s ‘No Brand’ brand – helpfully called ‘Only Price.’ The red & white packaging can be found across a variety of items in store, including, you guessed it, sanitary pads. For a mere 2,000 won per packet – Yes ladies, English prices have hit the South Korean Peninsula! – your monthly needs are covered. Having just road-tested the ones pictured below (TMI? That’s how dedicated I am to the task of making your life easier here people…) are comfortable and pretty much the same as the more expensive counterparts found in other stores. The 41.5cm long one is HUGE and they have one more, slightly less long size not pictured here. As an aside, you want to buy your regular-day liners from Daiso – the same brand is sold in every shop, but its only 1,000 per packet in Daiso.

IMG_0518Birth Control: Now if you are from the UK and used to getting it for free, then be prepared for a shock. Or stock up from home. The pill costs about 7,000 won per month here – you can (and should) take your packet from home to the pharmacy (I recommend the one I refer to here ) so that they can match the active ingredients and hey presto you’re set. Once again, I will direct your attention to Facebook: the women’s groups (such as Expat Women in Korea, mentioned in my post about social media ) are full of information about other types of birth control and female doctors in Seoul. Use the search function / check out the files on the group before you post a question, because chances are that somebody has already asked it and all the information you need it just sitting there waiting for you! I’m yet to find a women’s doctor in Songo/Incheon, mostly because I haven’t looked, but I’m sure the Asian Tigers hotline will be able to help and there is bound to be someone at the Inha University Hospital too.

I think a separate post on the various skin care and beauty stores here is called for but I’ve had a couple of questions on periods and birth controls from readers, so I thought this would be helpful.

Happy Monday folks and speak to you again soon 🙂