You Can Do It Even If you Can’t B&Q It

Yeah, I know. the title really only makes sense if you are (1) British (2) have a memory for old TV adverts and (3) over a certain age. Seeing as I fit all three requirements, I went with it anyway. Keeping it short and instructional today, but it still counts as writing a post and keeping me ahead of my fortnightly posts goal! Yay me!

I’ve been taking advantage of the glorious May weather recently and doing whatever errands I can by foot instead of driving and yesterday, as I strolled to the hardware store to buy some lightbulbs, it occurred to me that I hadn’t shared with you guys where you could do the same.

Lightbulbs are sold in most of the major box stores (aka supermarkets) as well as in Daiso, but I find that the best priced and longest lasting ones come from the hardware store. Called ‘mom&pop’ stores (Another American-ism that I am fighting to adopt) there are a few of these dotted around Songdo, but I pretty much always go to the same one. It is easy to recognise it, by the plethora of ladders, brooms and other D-I-Y-ish type things decorating the outside. The particular one I go to is by the Prugio 600 apartments (flats! I mean flats!!) and run by a very nice middle aged couple who don’t speak English. The first time I went, I took the old lightbulb with me so that they could match it to the correct one in the store, and now I still take empty boxes just to be on the safe side. They’ve gotten used to that and always throw away my empty boxes for me, so that that’s handy.

As well as lightbulbs, you can meet all of your tool needs and probably even get some ply wood or plasterboard etc for mini projects at home. I’ve seen paints and varnishes, soldering irons (Raj refuses to let me become a soldering expert. It’s so unfair. I’m currently working out how to smuggle my dad’s old solder from England into Korea so I can practice my skills anyway, but that’s another story for another day) and all sorts of other goodies. Of course, before I discovered this place we copped out and supplemented our meagre tool supply from England with a couple of Ikea sets, and to be honest, that’s fine for us, but for those handier folks among you, this hardware store is the place to go.

Another useful thing is that you can get, what I technically call ‘the picture hangy things’ at this store. Yo’ll find most of the apartments (flats!) have picture tracks in the ceiling, so you need to find the hanging wires that screw into the tops of frames or hook onto the back of them in order to hang your prints. I was buying these on the ground floor (Korean first floor) of Lotte for 6,500won each and the good thing about these ones, is that they came with both the screw and hook attachment and the wire is super thin, so you can hardly notice it hanging up. However, if you are less fussed about that and know whether you need screws or hooks, you can get the same thing at the hardware store for 3,000won a pop. Every penny counts and all that.

So go, check out the bursting shelves and get your step count up while you are at it.

Note: I can’t do a map today because my laptop has imploded and I’m waiting to take it to the recommended computer fix it guru in Seoul. In the meantime I’m using Raj’s Mac and although it is supposed to be fancier and better at these things, a lot of it comes down to user ability and I am firmly a PC person. So here’s a picture of the outside of the store – it’s on the corner of Haedoji-ro and Convensia-Daero.. have a wander, you’ll find it!

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Pasta & Jewelry

Two of my favourite things. I could have totally been a Roman Empress eating all the pasta in my recliner draped in jewels brought to me by my minions… **dreams about what could have been…**

Anyways, I know last week I said I was aiming for fortnightly posts, but since then I have had two new finds that I had to share:

(1) Pasta

I miss good pasta. Don’t get me wrong, the regular dried variety in different shapes and sizes is readily available in all the local stores, but fresh pasta was very nearly a thing of the past. Ravioli and Tortellini are things that I was yet to come by here, and despite the fact that last year, I did manage to make fake ravioli using frozen mandu wrappers from Emart, are things I continue to miss eating. So much so, that I have been considered buying a pasta roller and making my own (I know, I know, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME????). Whilst doing my research, it was Facebook to the rescue, as I happened upon the amazing Homemade Pasta – Amelia Gastronomia. I can’t link to the page but seriously, log into FB and search for this group and let the pictures of the Amelia’s food speak for themselves. She even delivers to Songdo and the ravioli freezes beautifully. Dinner in less than 3 minutes? Yespleaseandthankyou any day of the week.

(2) Jewellery

Along with learning how to take care of a car myself, one of my many steps towards becoming a bona-fide adult is managing my own jewellery repairs. Time to stop handing over broken things to Amma and letting her return them to me in better than new condition. The problem is, how to go about finding someone you trust enough to leave your jewellery with, especially when communication is not the easiest, even with Google Translate? Well first, I turned to the online community on, yes, you guessed it – Facebook. And I was able to get a few recommendations but they were all Seoul-based, and I was definitely looking for something closer to home. Also, as I understand it (and I might be wrong on this front as it is all gleaned from other expats) when you leave jewellery at a jewellers, it isn’t necessarily covered by insurance in the same way it would be at a jeweller in the UK. Then I asked my trainer, in Incheon, who said he hadn’t used a jeweller locally himself, but he had heard of a place that was recommended and nearby and he offered to go with me to act as translator. I took him up on the offer but unfortunately, the jeweller was closed that day. Never mind, next time I went to the gym, I got there early and went to the shop myself. I showed them my broken necklace and the young chap declared it impossible to fix. So I walked back towards the gym and happened across another store, and thought I might as well try my luck. With a bit of charades and pointing at the calendar, I worked out that if I left the chain with them, they’d have it ready for me the following week. I took photos of my chain and the shop, got a receipt and paid my hefty fee of 3,000 won and took a chance. The VERY NEXT DAY I got a text saying it was ready to collect (thank you Google Translate – the jewellers spoke no English.) So off I popped and lo and behold, not impossible at all. I can only deduce that the first jeweller only wanted commissions of a certain monetary value, or just didn’t want to deal with a foreigner. Either way, I now have a new local jeweller, whose shop is stocked with the most beautiful pieces by the way, that I would wholeheartedly recommend!

Oh yes, location: Take the subway (or drive) to Incheon and get off at Arts Centre. Walk back towards the Lotte Department Store and once you have walked past it take a left (so you are walking alongside Lotte, with the department store to your left hand side) and take the first right. You’ll see a Starbucks and Krispy Kreme (YUM) on the corner and across the road, Queen Jewelery is just next to the Levis Store. If you drive, you can either park in the Lotte Car Park (and pay for it) or one of the small car parks nearby. As ever, my map isn’t perfect but if you wander in this general area you’ll find it. And if you don’t, have a donut instead.

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Fancy Footwork

I’ve mentioned previously how the problem with pedicures here is the lack of a good foot scrub – I know that’s more than half the reason I want a pedicure most of the time – I mean, painting toenails is not that hard. Yet there aren’t scaly gross feet everywhere you look. Ok yes, most people wear covered shoes and I think even amongst the foreigner community Raj and I are in the minority wearing flip-flops whenever we can get away with it but don’t forget that in all Korean houses and even some traditional Korean restaurants, taking off your shoes at the entrance is the norm.

So apart from taking a file to your feet yourself, how can you achieve the impossible-y smooth feet that the locals have – do an at-home Foot Peel of course. I promised (threatened?) you last week with a full photo diary of how the process worked and I will not disappoint. It is gross and there aren’t really any nice words I can use to describe what happens, so probably best you don’t eat anything whilst reading this particular post.

There are a huge variety of peels that you can buy – as I like to minimise the number of different shops that I have to go to on a given day, I ended up picking up one from Tony Moly:

Although there are pictures, I did need to Google Translate the instructions which basically boil down to:

  • Wash and dry feet and place in the baggies provided
  • Pour the Solution into the baggie
  • Seal baggie up using the tabs
  • Sit for an hour and let the solution work its magic
  • Remove baggies and rinse off the solution from feet.

5. Post Peel

These are my feet immediately post-peel. Just a bit wrinkly from sitting in solution for so long, but nothing drastic yet.

The interesting thing about these foot peels is that the effect is not instant. When I instagrammed (of course) myself using the peel, my cousin wrote to me to tell me that it would take about 2 weeks for the actual peeling to take place so you have to be patient. Had I known this before, rather than waiting for Raj to travel to use the peel, I probably would have used it while he was in town and just timed it for the peeling to happen while he was away – subjecting anyone to the grossness that ensues is just not nice. Also, not a good idea to use these if your home is carpeted.  Just saying.

Now in my case, the heavy-duty peeling started about 7 days after using the pack and finished about 2 weeks later, so that’s the timeline I’d work with. One thing that I think helped things along though is actually wearing socks and shoes, rather than flip-flops. Something to do with the friction of the socks against your skin helps to slowly peel the dead crusty skin away – and its also a useful way not to trail skin everywhere you go. I liked the end result a lot – will definitely be using this more regularly – but I think every couple of months will do the trick! As promised, here’s a little photo diary of my feet… lucky readers!

From left to right, days 1 – 4 Post Peel: still nothing dramatic happening.

Day 5 saw a bit of peeling in the folds of skin around the toes

Day 6 is when the magic really started happening

12. Day 6 Post Peel

From day 7, I basically trailed dead skin wherever I went so I stuck to wearing socks and shoes.

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You aren’t supposed to pick at the skin to help it come off but I found a bit of gentle rubbing in the shower was good. After all the dead skin went away, I had wonderfully soft feet – but that’s the one thing I forgot to take a picture of! Ooops!

We’ll take it down a notch from the grossness in the next post, I promise!

 

K Beauty: The Reprise

We’ve already talked about the immense industry that is Korean Beauty but now I want to tell you about the particular products (and where I buy them) that I have found indispensable.

You may or may not know that I am a creature of habit. I don’t like to change things unnecessarily and I did have it in my head that I would continue to bring my favourite face washes, creams and general skin care routine from home on our many visits back to London. Also, Boots has recently opened in Seoul (you can even shop online if you speak Korean) which one would think would help me (certainly it will for Soap & Glory and Boots Tea Tree Oil ranges which I will continue to purchase in tandem with the Korean stuff) but – and it’s a big one – skin care products from home don’t cut the mustard here.

On a lot of my female oriented Facebook groups, you read about women who’ve had major breakouts and issues with their hair upon moving here. Partly its the change in water, but also I think it stems from the fact that products you bring from home don’t target the specific issues that your skin will have here. It has definitely taken some trial and error to figure out what suits me and my sensitive, eczema-prone skin best, so I’m sure that you’ll go through a similar process but here’s a list of my faves as a starting point. DISCLAIMER: I don’t follow the actual 12-step Korean Beauty Regime that is famous-world over but do a bit of googling and you’ll find no end of videos and blogs dedicated to the routine!

Face Wash & Scrub 

One of my regular beauty stops is Innisfree. You’ll find concessions at every large supermarket that you go to and there are standalone-stores in Square One, opposite Daiso Sinsong-Ro and in NC Cube. Everywhere. One of the assistants in the store opposite Daiso Sinsong-Ro speaks some English, so you can (and should) sign up for the loyalty card – she just needs your mobile and ARC to help you do it, and although I haven’t figured out how to use the points yet, I know that every time you spend 10,000KRW, you get a discount of 3,000KRW. As at many skin care stores, whenever you buy something they give you some free samples of other products in the range or things that they think you might use based on what you’ve bought so it’s a good way to try out new things!

I’ve started buying the Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam and Scrub Foam from Innisfree. About 8,000KRW won, they do leave you feeling squeaky clean without over-drying (So important, especially in winter) and ready for the rest of the routine. I don’t often bother to Google Translate the directions for use on these things, and just use them as I would products from home and that seems to do the trick.

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Another scrub that I totally loved – and smelt good enough to eat – was the Tony Moly Black Sugar Face Mask Scrub. This one I did translate – apply to dry skin and leave on as a mask for 10 minutes and then rinse off in the shower. This scrub was really nice and exfoliating, but I found it left a bit of a yellowy residue on my face, even after rinsing. It was nothing some swipes of toner couldn’t cope with, but it probably isn’t ideal if you are in a rush in the morning. Also, a couple of the branches that I popped into recently have been out of stock – I don’t know if this is a permanent thing or not, but it might be. Apparently SkinFood do a Black Sugar Face Mask Scrub that is highly rated as well and is probably a good substitute.

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Toner 

Not a lot to say on this front – toner is toner. The simplest one that I’ve found is from Nature Republic (again, you’ll find branches everywhere and it’s a great spot for buying sheet masks in bulk – usually a buy 10 get 10 free deal to be found) that comes in a nice pump bottle. If you’re a Micellar Water fan, you can get a pretty huge bottle from Lotte for about 9,000KRW. I don’t have a picture of it as I’m still working my way through my London stock but it seems to get pretty good reviews.

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Serum

So I understand that face serum is considered a solution that is used to cure specific problem. There are some people who use it to reduce the fine lines, dark spots and wrinkles. Other than this, it is also used to prevent acne and bring the brightness to facial skin. I never used to use it and actually stumbled across this one when I was looking for a local dupe for Benefit’s Porefessional Primer and, although it doesn’t work as a primer (actual substitute found below), I don’t feel quite right unless is layered on under my moisturiser. This serum is from Etude House – more of a makeup store than skin care, but again, with some fun lip balms and nail polishes that make it worth a visit.

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Peeling Gel

Is anyone else as weirdly obsessed with Peeling Gels as I am? I am seriously fascinated by the amount of dead skin that gently falls away and it seems that no amount of exfoliating can match this simple process. Couple with the fact that, at least in Songdo, you don’t seem to be able to get proper extraction/cleansing facials, I find a peeling gel invaluable in giving your skin a bit of TLC after all the dust and pollution from the outside world. For years I’ve used Obey Your Body peeling gel – as instructed, apply to dry skin with fingertips in a circular motion, leave to sit for a while and wash off. There is debate as to whether one should use it at night, as you can end up with dead skin stuck to your face but I use it pre-shower when I am washing my hair – I figure the shower makes sure that any dead skin is washed off properly and that none of the product is stuck in my hairline. Anyway, this was one thing that when I introduced it into my regime actually gained me compliments on my skin so I was happy to stick to importing it until it mysteriously went out of stock everywhere, and seems only to be available on eBay for hundreds of dollars. Luckily the fact that Korean skin care is such a big deal means that there are a lot of reviews in English online and lo and behold, Tony Moly proved to be my saviour with this little gem:

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Primer 

So yes, Benefit Porefessional is available here, but it costs so much more than it used to at home that it hurts me to buy it. But, Primer, right? So again, I hit up the English reviews online and Innisfree seemed to stand out amongst the crowd. A little goes a long way with this guy making it great value for money and whilst it isn’t as instantly awesome as the original, it is certainly a good dupe that’s kind to the wallet and skin!

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Face Cream 

Each to their own on this front but I’ve tried a lot of different creams – some are too watery and thin, some are too drying etc and this moisturiser from Innisfree (told you the loyalty card was worth it) seems to be perfect for me. It’s a bit on the heavy side – great for winter or when the A/C is on full blast drying you out but I use the tiniest amount post-serum and stay skin-hydrated all day. The other thing I do more regularly here is, on a day that I’m not going out, use coconut oil instead of moisturiser for some deep hydration – whilst that would have been too much for my skin in London, it is actually a good skin-boost every few weeks here.

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Trouble-Shooting

Korean women have flawless, poreless beautiful skin that you could stare at for hours (no, just me? OK then…) but in the event a blemish should rear its ugly head, spot patches are a big thing here – and available in supermarkets, skin care stores, and even Daiso! Of course it is a bit weird when you first clock one on someone’s face, but by and large they aren’t noticeable and can be covered up with a little foundation or concealer if you really want to. Especially great on the under-the-skin-cystic-acne-type spots, if you put it on clean dry skin overnight, you’ll notice the patch has gone cloudy when you take it off and the spot is noticeably reduced in size. For any white heads, my fail safe still is and will always be Mario Badescue’s drying lotion – I buy it on Beautybay.com who ship to Korea reasonably fast.

 

Makeup

Make-up is a tricky one. You do get all the big name brands here, MAC, NARS, Bobbi Brown etc and things which aren’t quite so skin tone specific are readily available – lipsticks in a range of colours, highlighter, bronzer, blusher but when it comes to foundations, BB creams, concealers etc, the Korean standard of PALE PALE PALE skin prevails and I’ve been told that even the fairest of fair people can struggle to find a true match here. In store, assistants tend to push you towards colours that make you look fairer as well, so personally, I’ve been doing my make up shopping abroad. The same products are also slightly cheaper outside of Korea, yeah, sorry, I can’t help much on the make up front!

Well that’s that for what I use from here. I am still using up my charcoal face mask from home (also, origins is available here and their Clear Improvement Mask is still the best I’ve ever tried) or I try out the various sheet masks that come free with my other purchases, so I don’t have a steady recommendation on that front… yet!

Aside from the specialist skin care stores mentioned here, you can also check out Olive Young, Watsons and LOHB for both products that you might be more familiar with from home and local goodies!

Next week…. Foot Peels – not for the faint-hearted or squeamish as I fully intend to give you a day by day photo diary of what happens to gross feet to make them beautiful again!!

Daiso

Aren’t I just on a roll with these posts **pats self on back.** Well, I’ll let you into a little secret – I’ve actually been in London since my post about going to the cinema and have pre-written and scheduled several posts to publish on set dates. I love discovering new things about WordPress that make it easier for me to see this blogging thing through.

Anyway, I actually can’t believe that I have been in Korea for 22 months and I still haven’t told you about the little slice of heaven that is Daiso. I think that it might have been to do with the fact that I believed my infatuation with the store was overrated, but time has led me to understand that everyone adores this chain of shops as much as I do, and it isn’t in fact unreasonable for me to include it on my ‘things to do in Songdo’ list when we have guests.

Daiso is actually a Japanese Store and I understand that there are branches in a few different Australasian countries – so far I’ve spied (and shopped in) those in Korea and Australia and the best way I can describe it is a Pound/Dollar store, but better. It’s a one stop shop for pretty much everything – whenever I’m in doubt as to where I can get something, the first place I will check is Daiso. Sitting at my dining table and looking around the apartment, I can see cookware, cleaning products, whiteboards, a banana stand, canvas bags… and the list goes on, that I’ve found there. It actually is a great place when setting up your home in Songdo to find all those little bits and pieces that you didn’t think to include in your container but suddenly just cannot live without.

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When I decided I was going to do a spot of crafting and make a tea light holder, everything (except the glue – this was before I found the stationery store) came from Daiso.

 

I also love to get weird and wonderful little Korean gifts for friends and family from here. Well, I say I like to get, we’ve sort of gifted everyone to the max already but on that first trip to London last year, it was where I bought things like Korean sheet-masks, creams, spoons (yes, you read right – these are my favourite things from Daiso) and other random things.

One more great thing (haven’t I sold the store enough already?) about the store is the price. Most things are between 1,000 and 5,000KRW, although I have once or twice paid up to 10,000 KRW for something I really really really needed. (Probably didn’t need at all. But, you know, Daiso.) I usually pop in for one or two things and leave having bought a new reusable bag that I have filled and still only spent about 25,000KRW. It’s one of my shopping habits that doesn’t give Raj a minor heart attack every time he gets the text about what I’ve just spent, so win-win really.

A few weeks ago, I was perturbed to find that my regular Daiso was closed. Now, it isn’t uncommon for stores and restaurants here to shut up shop quite suddenly and be replaced by something equally wonderful or even more so. But the thing is, I can’t think of anything that I would prefer to do than stroll through Daiso but lo and behold, what returned was an EVEN BIGGER (and therefore better) Daiso. Happy Ish. We can stay in Songdo.

Right, so where can you find this wonder-place. My favourite store is on Sinsong-Ro but there are Daiso concessions to be found in Lotte, GS25 Supermarket and Homeplus Songdo (Technopark Station). Further standalone stores can be found at Incheon Bus Terminal Station, right by the ticket gates, and I’ve heard that the newly opened Daiso at Triple Street is one of the largest in Korea – I’m yet to go there, but I’ve told Raj that I’m expecting a Daiso / PF Chang Date Night once I’m back home… Last but not least, earlier this year, an EIGHT STOREY Daiso opened in Myeongdong in Seoul. A piece of advice – don’t go on a weekend, it is mental. The recommendation is to take the lift up to the 8th floor and then walk down the stairs checking out each floor on the way. When we went, the queue for the lift was out the door and even the 1st floor (Western ground floor) was so rammed with people perusing the wares was not possible. I did get a free fan with directions to get back there though… score?! (Ps. even the socks you can spy in the picture of the fan are impulse-Daiso-buys. I actually couldn’t exist without this place.)

Daiso Locations

So off you go and Daiso to your heart’s content. ♥

Aaannnddd Reee-lax

UPDATE: As of 30th September 2017, Mr Kin has closed his shop and now only does House-calls. You can use the same contact details as before…

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a bunch of stereotypes in your mind before you make the move over to Songdo and you’ll very quickly be disabused of most of those. I mean, some of them – Asia being the land of multi-story buildings with lots of bright lights for example – do prove to be true in Seoul, and even other areas of Incheon (Bupyeong comes to mind) but not so in the manicured streets of Songdo. Dream city is the closest that you get to that view of Asia in South Korea, but even still, its pretty tame – at least compared to my imagination.

I also expected cheap mani/pedis – **imitates buzzer** and in fact, the nail treatments here are more expensive and without all the nice soak in warm water / foot scrub elements that you have come to expect from home. And massages. I really thought we would be able to get good, firm massages regularly without paying an arm and a leg. Well, yes, places exist, but to be honest, when Raj and I went to look at them, they all felt a bit on the seedy side and we weren’t so comfortable trying them out. Plus, all my back issues mean that I need a reasonable level of English to be spoken so that I can make the various aches and pains clear. The other option, massages at the spa in the Sheraton, are supposed to be good, but definitely comes at a price.

Well not so any more. Through all my various Facebook group memberships, I glean a lot of (not entirely always useful) information but then popped up this gem:

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I had heard about a place near Cinder Bar / The Prau that was good for massages, so when I saw this post, I decided it was meant to be. Post-board-meeting-massages here we come. I called Mr. Kim and made the appointment for a Saturday morning at 1030. Now, whilst his English is excellent, there was a bit of confusion about the timing, as when I showed up for my appointment, he thought I had said 12. No matter, he rallied and was there with his partner in about 10 minutes but knowing this, I’d probably advise people to send a text or Kakao to confirm the appointment.

We had opted for 1 hour Swedish Massages and, he threw in some hot stones as well – Uh-May-Zing! I didn’t even realise how much time was going by and really felt thoroughly beaten into shape post massage. You can specify whether you want to be in a single room or don’t mind sharing and as promised on the poster, there was a 10% discount for having a morning appointment.

So what are you waiting for? Get on the blower and book a massage – you’ll thank me later I promise!

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We followed our massages with a weekend in Seoul – the Louis Vuitton Exhibition at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, burgers at ShakeShack, Dinner at Julios, a movie at the Charlotte Theatre in the Lotte Cinema (Myeongdong) and a visit to an 8 STOREY DAISO made for a great weekend… and another post for another day!

Costco & Ikea

I know it has been a while since I last posted anything, but moving apartments and getting all the bits and pieces that make a house a home have taken quite a while. There is only so much I can carry in one go and quite honestly, sometimes, I just need a day to stay in the flat and catch up on some ‘me-time.’

Anyhows, on with the point of this post. At Gwangmyeong Station you can find both Costco and Ikea (the world’s largest Ikea, no less). Now here is where I admit failure. I tried to take the subway to Costco but what should have been a 1.5 hour journey ended up as a 3 hour journey and I was still half an hour away from my intended location. It might have been something to do with the fact that it was a national holiday but none of the connections I wanted seemed to be arriving and after 45 minutes sat on a very cold platform, I gave up and got a taxi.

Costco

One thing to note if you are getting a taxi from Songdo is that often, the taxi drivers won’t use the meter but fix a price in advance. I’ve paid anything between 25,000 KRW and 35,000KRW. If you book a taxi using Kakao however, they will usually stick to the meter.

Membership at Costco costs 35,000KRW for two and unless you have Samsung Credit Card, everything has to be paid in cash. They do have cash machines at Costco but these charge a small fee, so you are better off having plenty of cash on you.

Whilst you won’t find everything that you are used to in Costco, there are a lot of home comforts and, total win, you can order online. Oh, and you should always plan to have lunch at Costco – the pizza is amazing.

Update: As of January 2017 Costco opened in Songdo. Located behind the Posco Towers, it is the closest supermarket for people who live in the ArtWin building and I find that there is a better selection of goods here in Songdo than in Gwangmyeong. Yay yippee and Yay  -the proximity of Costco and having a car to get my shopping home makes me most happy indeed.

costco-songdo

 

 

IKEA

Across the way from Costco (Gwangmyeong) is IKEA. Make sure you get there early and do your homework online in advance.

Being so new, IKEA is a huge novelty here and as such, on the weekends, it is a very popular date place. You’ll see couples all dressed up and taking selfies in all the show rooms and it is very cute, but also quite frustrating when you are trying to test out a sofa or find product codes for something you want to order. Be a bit bolshy and push your way towards what you want to check though otherwise you will be standing around forever.

Our first visit to IKEA took several hours – having a look at the various things we had seen online and figuring out the processes of ordering and getting things delivered. However after the first trip, (as you can’t place online orders here) I went to the store armed with all the product codes that I needed, made a beeline for the assistants to place the order and was out within an hour. There is also free Wifi in the store, so you can write down all the codes when you get in if you need to.

They have all the usual market place goods however, the kitchen goods area is very limited and even when I did find things on display, I couldn’t see an obvious way to gather and buy.

Re: delivery – you can get everything delivered and you can pay an extra 10,000KRW for staff to collect the items from the racks for you, which makes it much more back friendly. If you buy small things in the market place, you pay for them as normal at the tills and if you don’t want to lug things home, then you can add them to your delivery at the counters after the tills.

Between Costco and Ikea, furnishing your home in a hurry is entirely feasible… now for the fun shopping to begin!