How to Survive a Long Flight

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I haven’t been on tons of long flights to be truthful – I flew seven hours to New York last year and earlier this year embarked on a four hour flight to Turkey where we changed and caught a ten hour flight to Japan. Long flights can be a killer but are survivable! Here are my tips on how to survive a long-haul flight.

Bring Plenty to Entertain Yourself

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On long-haul flights the airlines are usually fair and sit you next to whoever you’re travelling with. On the way to Japan Becca and Jess had both selected that they wanted a window seat whereas I had put ‘anywhere’ so I was sat next to Jess in the middle seat and Becca was just in front of us. On the way back the three of us were together. This meant if I did get super bored I always had somebody to talk to.

My general rule is to always bring at least two books with me which I did for Japan. To be truthful I didn’t really read on that plane because we each had our own screen to watch any movies or TV shows we wanted but on the way to New York we didn’t have our own screens and the book I’d brought with me was a lifesaver. Netflix now offer a thing where you can download movies and shows to watch later which I usually do on my phone but unfortunately this can drain the battery and I will definitely need my phone to be working when we land. Luckily my Mom bought me an Amazon Fire Tablet for Christmas this year so I can use this on my next trip! The one thing I would never be able to travel without though is my iPod – I can usually listen to that for a few hours without getting bored so it’s a necessity when travelling.

Just make sure you have a good variety of things to do. Always prepare for the worst case scenario, as I did when there weren’t any screens on the way to New York. There’s nothing worse than being bored for the entirety of a long flight with nothing to do about it so be prepared!

Snacks and Water are Essential

Being up in the air for so long will make you dehydrated so be sure to buy plenty of water at the airport. I know buying snacks and drinks at the airport is expensive but unfortunately water is the one thing you will definitely need. If you’re offered a drink on the plane then always accept it and save your water when possible. On the way back from South Korea I was trying to sleep when the air hostess nudged me and made sure I was given a bottle of water – the one on Jess’ side didn’t do this so she didn’t have anything when she woke up a couple of hours really thirsty. For some reason we hadn’t been able to find anywhere to buy water in Incheon airport so in the end we went to the back of the plane and had to ask for some water.

Find out about in-flight dining and then bring your own snacks anyway. If you don’t like the meals you’re offered you can always give it to a friend or politely reject it, safe in the knowledge that you have enough food to keep you going anyway. You may also find you get peckish waiting for a meal to be served and even if you don’t eat all your snacks on the flight then you can always just eat them in the country you’re going to.

Try to have a variety of sweet and savoury which is something I fail at because I’m not really a fan of savoury snacks but having a sandwich is always a good plan. If you’re hungry when you hit your hotel a spare sandwich can be a lifesaver, even if it is a bit weird now from the plane.

Comfort

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If you have room in your bag then bring in a travel pillow. Generally on long-haul flights they’ll give you a pillow and a blanket but it can always be nice to have your own. Plus the pillow is just a normal little square one whereas a travel pillow can be much comfier.

On the way to Japan I didn’t want to bring much to keep me comfy because we were going to land at 10PM so the idea was to stay awake, go straight to bed in Japan and then we’d already be adjusted. We were all set and ready to make sure each other stay awake – we quickly abandoned this plan after a few hours when we were all exhausted, realised we wouldn’t be getting a ‘good amount of sleep’ on the plane anyway and we let each other try and doze off.

On the way back from South Korea it was a bit easier to sleep because I was so tired from all the sight-seeing we’d done in Asia that I nodded off a lot easier but I wasn’t exactly comfortable. The one thing is leg room so try and store as much as possible in the overhead bin so that you have as much leg room as possible. Do not do what I did – I tucked up my leg in between the seat, fell asleep, woke up two hours later, moved my leg and realised it was now in agony.

I was advised by my nurse to stand up every couple of hours but this is difficult on a night flight because you don’t want to disturb the person next to you. The girl me and Jess were sat by on the way to Japan was lovely to be fair and did insist before we took off that if we wanted to get past and she was asleep we only had to nudge her but we felt guilty. In the end we did obviously have to get up to use the bathroom but we only got up once for the entire 10 hour flight. This isn’t advised, obviously. If you can get an aisle seat that’s advised because then you don’t have to feel bad about getting up. My friends prefer window because they can lean on it though. Every seat has its perks! Except for middle, which I always end up in when travelling with my friends due to my fear of flying. Never mind.

If you can afford to upgrade to a better seat I would recommend it. My Mom has insisted we need to fly Premium Economy for our flights to San Francisco next year and I’m looking forward to that extra comfort! But when I go with my friends we’ll probably just put up with economy because we’re too broke for anything else.

Dress Appropriately

About a month before we flew to Japan I’d popped to Paris for a couple of nights and had found the plane was absolutely freezing so I advised the others to wear something warm. I wore a warm, knitted dress to Tokyo and found that both flights were actually quite warm. So when we came back from South Korea I wore something lighter, chucked my jacket into my checked in case… And nearly froze to death. It’s lucky we were given a blanket on the flight.

On the way to any new country I always make sure I have a spare outfit in my hand luggage – my Mom went to New York a few years ago and when she changed flights her suitcase didn’t make it onto the second flight so she arrived in New York with nothing but her hand luggage. She got her case back the next day but she’d had to run around looking for spare clothes just in case. Ever since then I’ve taken that as a warning and always insist my friends should do the same.

To be honest I’d have no issue changing into pyjamas on a long-haul flight but I know I’d be too lazy to change back into my normal clothes afterwards which is the only reason why I don’t. But try and plan your outfit accordingly so that you’re not uncomfortable on the flight.

Also, always check the temperature of where you’re going. I will never forgive myself for assuming Japan would be as cold as England is in October and nearly sweated my tits off wearing my thick, woolly dresses. We met a British woman in Kyoto who said she’d also made the same mistake and was now having to wear her pyjamas out and about ‘cos it was the only cool outfit she’d brought with her. Ah, the Brits, we’re all so full of ignorance.

Other than that there’s not much else you can do other than sit back, relax and hope you’ll reach your destination soon! Wish me luck for my long-haul flight to San Francisco next year but since we’re going Premium Economy I’m hoping I won’t need it.

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20 Favourite 2018 Movies

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I have an Unlimited card for Cineworld so I visit the cinema quite regularly so managed to see quite a few films this year – unfortunately not all of the ones that I’d wanted to see but I did see a fair few. I figured I’d write a list of my favourite 2018 releases! Here goes nothing.

20. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (David Yates, 2018)

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Although I’m a massive fan of the Harry Potter series I hadn’t initially loved the Fantastic Beasts movie. I’d wanted to because I love everything related to the Harry Potter world but I just didn’t care as much about it as I did Harry Potter. I still went to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie with my friends and ended up low-key enjoying it even though there were some parts that confused me a bit. I remember one guy was making a speech and I was like “Yeah cool” and then I was suddenly like “Wait, what?”

Also, I realised I couldn’t remember pretty much anything from the first movie. My friend Jess kept asking me if certain characters had been in the first film and I literally couldn’t tell her. Plus I’m not 100% certain how the plot twist at the end is going to work but like… We’ll see I guess? Also, parts of it annoyed me because they just weren’t touched upon. Jacob came back and was like “Hey, I have my memories!” and Newt was like “That’s cool!” And then… That was that.

I’ll go and see the new Fantastic Beasts movie when it’s made but I’m not like counting down the days or anything.

19. The Darkest Minds (Jennifer Nelson, 2018)

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When I first saw this movie advertised I wasn’t blown away or anything and truthfully I only went to see it out of boredom. There wasn’t much else on at the time and I didn’t want to go home yet so I went to the cinema and watched this. And I actually ended up rather enjoying it.

Okay, it wasn’t perfect, the movie was definitely seemed like it was setting up for a sequel with much from the trailer not actually happening. We’re made to believe the teens begin to rebel against the adults but that doesn’t really happen in the sense that we thought it would. I don’t know, it was enjoyable and if there was a sequel I’d probably go and see it but like… It wasn’t amazing or anything.

18. Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed, 2018)

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The original Ant-Man movie wasn’t one of my favourite Marvel films ever but I still had to go and watch the sequel. Infinity War had already been released and I wanted to see if it tied in with this movie. And it did in the post credits scene which was interesting.

It was actually pretty decent – funny, full of action, and it held my interest. Ant-Man isn’t my favourite Marvel super hero but I won’t be so reluctant to see any of his standalone movies in the future.

17. Ralph Breaks the Internet (Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, 2018)

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I’ve only seen the first Wreck-it-Ralph a couple of times but was hyped to see the sequel. I love the internet and was looking forward to seeing all of those aspects mixed with retro games. I was practically counting down the days until its release and was disappointed when I couldn’t go see it on the day it came out. But I went a week later and was… A bit disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the overall message and it was still a good movie but they’d pretty much showed the best and funniest bits in the trailer. Also (SPOILER ALERT) that massive Ralph made of all the little Ralphs really had me creeped out. I think I was disappointed because I’d been looking forward to it for so long that I was actually a bit deflated when I did eventually see it. The scenes with the Disney Princesses were always amazing though!

16. The Grinch (Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier, 2018)

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My friends and a lot of adults on the internet are reluctant to see these film because they loved the original so much. I was looking forward to it because hey, a Christmas film! I wish it hadn’t been released in November though, whose bright idea was that? Also people are trashing it because everyone’s decided they hate Benedict Cumberbatch for whatever reason…

The best thing to do is just view them as two different things. It’s the same basic story but it’s being told in a different way now – that doesn’t take away any light from the original. Maybe it helped that I’d only seen the original Grinch film once so I wasn’t as attached to it as some people are but I went into the remake with an open mind and actually really enjoyed it. It was funny, it was Christmassy, it warmed my heart… It was a good film. I’d probably watch it next Christmas if given the option because I really enjoyed it.

15. Christopher Robin (Marc Forster, 2018)

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I feel like this movie rekindled my love for Winnie the Pooh because oh my god, I love Winnie the Pooh and I loved this movie! It was a bit predictable but it didn’t take away any of the enjoyment. It’s a shame I only saw it once whilst it was on at cinemas because I really enjoyed it and would gladly go see it again. I love Winnie the Pooh so much!

14. Deadpool 2 (David Leitch, 2018)

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Deadpool’s a funny one for me because I feel like I do enjoy the films when I sit down to watch them but if you ask me in between movies if I’m a Deadpool fan my answer is usually no. But I did enjoy Deadpool 2, it was funny (as one would expect) and had a pretty good storyline. I didn’t watch the Christmas Deadpool movie (I didn’t actually see it advertised anywhere) but I wouldn’t mind seeing it ‘cos Deadpool’s pretty cool. I did enjoy this movie.

13. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (J. A. Bayona, 2018)

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I actually quite like the Jurassic World movies but maybe that’s because I hadn’t seen the original Jurassic Park films. This movie was really good and had me on the edge of my seat for pretty much the entirety of it and I just overall really enjoyed it, maybe even more than the first one. I hope they release another one because I wouldn’t going to see it!

12. The Meg (Jon Turteltaub, 2018)

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I haven’t seen tons of shark movies and only really went to see this one because my friend suggested it. I think I was so impressed because I wasn’t really expecting much to come out of a movie about a big shark. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and really enjoyed it. However my Mom watched it with my step-dad because he’s a big fan of shark films and she said it had every predictable element of a shark film in it. Maybe because I don’t watch many I was just overly impressed.

11. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)

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I was hyped to see this movie ever since Black Panther was introduced to the Marvel universe in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and it didn’t disappoint. I loved pretty much everything about this movie and my favourite character is definitely Shuri, there’s no doubt about it. I can’t wait to see more of Black Panther in the future!

10. The Secret of Marrowbone (Sergio G. Sanchez, 2018)

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big horror movie fan and this looked pretty decent so I decided to go and see it. The trailer looked good and I love anything with a big creepy house so I ended up really enjoying it. I would’ve put it a bit higher on the list but parts of it were a bit predictable – not all of it because the bits about the ‘ghost’ were an interesting plot twist but the part with the siblings was quite obvious. This didn’t stop it from being a really good film though, I’d definitely watch it again.

9. Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, 2018)

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Many people said they were disappointed by this film because the original had been better but I really enjoyed it! I loved how it was about the legalisation of super heroes and picked right off from where the first Incredibles ended. There were so many good elements and it was just really good – it was a bit obvious to see who the bad guy was going to be but I can forgive that. Overall it was a good film.

8. The First Purge (Gerard McMurray, 2018)

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I LOVE The Purge movies. I’d originally loved the first one but realised what was wrong with it when the trailer for the second one had been released – the original Purge movie was just a home invasion movie. We didn’t get to see much of the actual Purge, it was only in more recent movies we’ve actually got to see what it’s like.

I only saw this one at the cinema once and would’ve enjoyed it more if there hadn’t been some idiots on their phones and talking throughout the entirety of the film. Either way, I still enjoyed it. As you can guess from the title this film showed the events from the first ever Purge which was tested in one part of America and it immediately sets up how the poor are immediately put at a disadvantage to the rich. I just love the message that comes from the Purge films and really loved this film.

7. The Maze Runner: Death Cure (Wes Ball, 2018)

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This was one of the first films I saw in 2018 and loved it. I went to see it with three of my friends and when we got in the car we ended up just yelling at each other about the plot and the characters and pretty much everything. It got into a bit of a heated debate. I went to see it a couple more times because I just loved the Maze Runner movies so much. I’m so sad this was the last one and I’m SO SAD about a particular character death even though I was told after watching the first one that this character was going to die. I still loved it though and probably always will.

6. Unfriended Dark Web (Stephen Susco, 2018)

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I’m surprised this movie is so high up on the list because although I thought the trailer looked interesting I wasn’t actually expecting it to be good. I hadn’t disliked ‘Unfriended’ upon first seeing it but after watching it with Becca I realised none of the characters were particularly likeable and it was sort of a stupid movie. This one was better because it got rid of the supernatural element and actually made their characters relatively decent. I’d love to see this film again because I honestly really enjoyed it.

5. Mary Poppins Returns (Rob Marshall, 2018)

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Okay, I didn’t see the original Mary Poppins film. I’d low-key wanted to but everyone that I spoke to about it was like “Oh you don’t want to, it’s boring” – then the moment this film was released everyone I knew suddenly loved the original film and wasn’t sure about watching the remake. I was looking after my brother and wanted something to do so we went to our local Cineworld and saw this film… And I really enjoyed it!

My favourite part was probably the songs, my absolute favourite being ‘Nowhere to Go but Up’ but I also loved ‘Can You Imagine That’ and ‘A Cover is Not the Book’. It also helps that I love Emily Blunt I suppose. It was just a really good movie and as it’s still on at the cinema I want to go and see it again before it leaves. It’s also made me want to watch the original so maybe I will!

4. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Ol Parker, 2018)

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I confess, I’d never really enjoyed Mamma Mia all that much until the release of this film. Well… I’d been with my Mom to see the stage show and thought ‘actually this is okay’ so I stuck on the first film a few months later to see if I liked it. Bad choice because less than halfway through the film I ended up stuck in the bathroom with my head down the toilet as I threw up the entire contents of my stomach. So yeah, that was my association with the first film.

When the second one was released I went because I was invited. We had to sit on the front row because most of the seats were sold out and also my friend is legally blind so had to sit on the front row to be able to see it so it wasn’t ideal but I still ended up really enjoying the film. Now I’m a massive fan of both films – so are my friends Hirst and Becca and at one point every time we hung out there was either a Mamma Mia film on in the background or we were singing one of the songs. They’re such good films, I can’t believe I didn’t enjoy the original one sooner!

3. Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, 2018)

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I’d been so hyped to watch this film, me and my friend booked tickets for the midnight screening and even though I was exhausted from flying home late from Greece the night before I was still ready to watch this movie. And then it tore my heart out of my chest and I’ve been waiting for the sequel ever since. I’m so excited to see the next one, I’m definitely going to the midnight screening again this year I don’t even care.

2. A Quiet Place (John Krasinski, 2018)

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When I first saw the trailer for this movie I knew I had to go because it looked so interesting. I love anything horror related but this film wasn’t really what you’d call a horror, it was more thriller Sci-Fi if that’s a genre. The film is by no means perfect because I feel like surely the easier way to have dealt with these creatures would’ve been to override them with too much noise as opposed to trying to survive by making no noise at all. I’m glad it tackled issues that I wouldn’t have even thought about though, like Emily Blunt’s character being pregnant (and then giving birth remarkably quickly). Then the issues of having a new born baby who wouldn’t understand the importance of being quiet.

It was also interesting that they had a deaf daughter because surely she would’ve been at more risk because she wouldn’t be able to hear if she was being noisy or not. I liked that it explored things that I wouldn’t have even thought about and it was just really interesting. Definitely one of the best films of 2018.

1. Searching (Aneesh Chaganty, 2018)

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I think this made it to number one simply because it impressed me so much. I love films that are told through social media or the internet (like Unfriended) and this one did it so well, and I was honestly on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what had happened. For those not familiar with the film it’s about a man whose daughter goes missing and his efforts to try and find her. It did an amazing job of keeping me guessing, my suspicion kept leaping from person to person until the final reveal and I was blown away. It was such a good movie, I’d been hoping it would be and it really exceeded my expectations.

So there you have it, my favourite movies from 2018! Feel free to leave a comment with your favourites or any of these that you disagree with.

What I Managed to tick off my Bucket List in 2018

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I took inspiration from Becca in January and wrote my own bucket list (which you can read here) that I could keep track of and tick off everything I do. I decided to do yearly updates so I thought I’d present the things I managed to achieve from my bucket list in 2018!


1. Go abroad by myself

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I managed this twice in 2018 – I went on a solo trip to Poland in February and then went to Paris in August. Paris wasn’t as scary as I’d already been with my friends a couple of years ago but Poland was completely new to me but I managed it and had an amazing time. I was very scared of catching a plane by myself but I did it four times last year! My fear of flights is slowly decreasing and although not completely gone I’ve almost got it under control now.

My solo trips will continue into 2019 as I’ve got a trip to Romania planned in January – I hate January it’s such a dreary month so I’ve decided to go away in January each year to make it a bit brighter. Then I’m also off to Dublin in April because I’ve always wanted to actually do something with that bank holiday weekend so I’m finally going to. I have no doubt I’ll probably end up somewhere else as well!

4. Leave copies of my favourite books around London for strangers to find

I wrote a post about my trip to London in May which you can read here and during that trip I left a few books for strangers to find. At one point I was visiting London almost every month but in 2018 I didn’t visit as much as I normally do so I only really had the opportunity in May. It made me really nervous for some reason so I didn’t take any photos, I just left the books and then quickly left before anyone could spot me. All the books went so I hope people are enjoying them. I have a few more books to leave in London the next time I go and I’m looking forward to it, it’s a nice thing to do and knowing a stranger may find a book that means a lot to me is pretty cool. So I’m glad I ticked this off!

5. Go to Japan

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This has been on my bucket list for years and I’m so glad I finally managed to tick it off. It was everything I hoped it would be and I really want to go back to Tokyo at some point because I absolutely loved it. It’s really weird that my number one travel destination is ticked off now because I still haven’t fully decided on what I want to replace it with. I’m thinking perhaps Canada but I’m not sure. Either way, Japan was amazing and I’ve written lots of little posts about it so I won’t harp on about it but Japan was the best country I’ve ever visited and I’d love to return one day.

11. Get a job that I love

When I wrote this I was still an apprentice with not a lot of time on my contract left and I needed a new job quite soon. On my last day I was offered two jobs and accepted a job within the team I was already working with. And although I don’t leap out of bed every morning with my heart full of joy, I do like what I do. I love the team I work with, I love the work, I find it all really interesting and yeah… It’s not a job I want to do for the rest of my life but I’m happy with it for now.

15. Get a tattoo

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I’d been a bit nervous about getting my first tattoo because what if I decided I didn’t like it once it was done? Well I’d been on about the same tattoo for a few years and still hadn’t changed my mind so I went for it and got the peace sign on my wrist. Most days I like it but sometimes I look at it and think it’s a bit ugly so I’m not sure whether to get it covered up or not. I’ll stick with it for now.

Then a few months later I decided to get a couple more and got the sun and a star on one arm, and a moon and a star on the either. These ones are really cute and I’m more than happy with them.

I want another one next year, I’m looking to get one that represents my love of travelling so I’m gonna look into that soon. But I’m glad I finally ticked this off my bucket list!

24. Wake up before 6AM every day for two weeks

I wrote a post about this here but like… Why did I put this on the bucket list? I did it and it was okay but nothing amazing happened or anything. I feel like I didn’t use my mornings sensibly enough but the issue is that I live with my parents so in the mornings I have to be super quiet so I felt like I couldn’t achieve enough. I don’t think I’ll be in a rush to do this again any time soon.

45. Learn to play at least one song on an instrument

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I’m not sure if I can 100% tick this off but earlier this year I started piano lessons which I’m loving so far. I can sort of play a song on an instrument as long as it’s relatively simple. For example as its Christmas I recently played Jingle Bells. I’m ticking this off because I will be continuing with the piano lessons until I can play sufficiently well. I’m proud of myself for finally signing myself up for lessons since it’s something I’ve been on about for absolutely ages.

So that’s seven things out of fifty that I managed to tick off this year! That’s pretty good – and there are some that I’m already setting up to do next year that I can tick off. I will achieve everything on that list even if it kills me.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

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Happy New Year! I wrote a post similar in both 2017 and 2018 to get myself hyped for the year ahead and you know what? I am hyped. I’m looking forward to 2019 more than I’ve ever looked forward to any other year. It might be for the reasons I’m about to list below so we’ll see! Here’s what I’m looking forward to in 2019.

Trying to tick off my New Year’s Resolutions

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I recently wrote a post with my New Year’s Resolutions and I feel like they were relatively achievable and I’m looking forward to ticking them off. I also recently thought of one which I didn’t include the post which is ‘take better care of my skin’. To be fair, my skin could be a lot worse because it’s relatively clear but I feel like I could be doing more to take care of it. I remember steaming my face and applying a face mask and the works at a girly night with my friends and my face felt amazing the next day. I’d like to aim to do that at least once a month over 2019.

I think I can achieve everything on the list and I’m going to do my best to do so!

Going to Romania

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When me and my friends got back from Asia we only had a few days to recover before jetting off to Paris for two nights. The day after we got back from Paris was the day I returned to work and instantly the depression kicked in. That was my holidays done for the year and I didn’t have anything to look forward to. So that night when I got home I booked myself a trip to Romania. I’d been on about going for a while because I like the whole ‘Dracula’ thing and I just think Romania would be interesting to go to.

It’ll be my first trip of the year (18 days and counting!) because I realised that I really don’t like January. Everyone’s on a diet, we’re all on a come down from Christmas and I’m normally broke from getting paid early. I was more sensible with my money this year so hopefully I shouldn’t get the January blues too bad and even if I do, I have my trip to Romania to look forward to! I’m only going for three nights but I’m still really looking forward to it!

Going on a trip with my friends

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Me and my three best friends love travelling more than anything and we’ve gone abroad together a few times now… But this is usually for a purpose. The first couple of times were travelling for K-Pop concerts and then after that it was to celebrate our 21st birthdays. This will be the first trip we’ve booked just because we want to go away and have some fun.

We’ve all got the time off work we just haven’t been able to find a time that we’re all free to book it yet. At the moment we’ve settled on Belgium so hopefully we’ll be jetting off in March! It’s been a while since we all sat down together to book a holiday, the last time was in 2017 when we went to Amsterdam because every other time at least one of us wasn’t in on booking it because it was a birthday present. So I’m looking forward to even just planning it at this point!

Working on my writing

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I put it on my bucket list that I was going to work on my novel. Even if I only write 1000 words a week, I’m going to at least start making some progress! And I’m starting to look forward to it. I found the start of a novel I’d written a while ago and it wasn’t actually bad, I’m looking forward to starting that story but I just need to work some stuff out. Either way, I’m going to make progress with my writing and I’m really looking forward to it! Even if it doesn’t get published I’d just like to have a finished draft that I’m proud of.

Going to Dublin

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You know that bank holiday weekend in April? For the past two years I’ve told myself I’m going to do something that weekend – I mean it’s ideal, it’s a full four days off work so I don’t need to book any annual leave! Last year I even booked a hotel in Llandudno but due to funds had to cancel at the last minute. I’m pretty sure the year before that I kept thinking about it but ended up having to work at my brothers. Well, not this year.

I’m not sure what encouraged me to do it, one minute I was looking at flights with no real intention of securing anything and the next thing I knew I’d booked myself onto a flight to Dublin. Quite cheap really, it cost about £56. Accommodation in Dublin is not cheap though and to stay in a hostel is going to cost me quite a lot of money but I don’t mind, I’m just looking forward to finally doing something that weekend!

Going to San Francisco

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In October my Mom mentioned to me that she’d love to visit San Francisco but when she’d mentioned it to my step-dad he hadn’t been keen. I’ll travel pretty much anywhere so I said I’d go with her. It took forever to get her to commit to a particular date and then even longer for her to actually book it but she did and now we’re off to San Francisco in May!

I owe her money for the flights still but I’ll pay that back before we go and then we’ll be spending a week in San Francisco. I’ve only ever been to America once and that was to New York so it’ll be interesting to see a different part of it, and I’m looking forward to it!

Doing Something Fun for my Birthday

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I spent my 22nd birthday in Tokyo and obviously that was amazing. The year before on my 21st I didn’t particularly do much – my friends came over, we went for a meal, went bowling and then in the evening I went out for a meal with my family. Which I enjoyed but I’d wanted to do something a bit more exciting, I just hadn’t planned it early enough. Which is why I’m already trying to plan my 23rd birthday.

It falls on a Monday this year which is a bit of a pain because I’m going to have to book the day off work – people who work their birthdays amaze me, I could/would never do that. So I’m wondering whether to book several days off and go away or just have the day and do something fun in my home town? I’m not really decided yet but once I do decide I’m gonna get it booked and have a great time.

Seeing Cursed Child again

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Last year me and Becca went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and had the best time ever so when the next batch of tickets was released we book to go again but in better seats this time. So we’re off to see it in March! Then to cheer my friend Hirst up I booked us tickets to go in August so I’ll get to see it twice this year which is exciting! I’m really looking forward to seeing it again, it’s without a doubt my favourite show and it’s going to be so much fun.

And that’s just what I have to look forward to at the moment, I have no doubt that tons of other fun stuff will happen in 2019 and I can’t wait!

30 Favourite K-Pop Songs of 2018

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I’ve only made this for fun, similar to when I made last year’s post. This is just my opinion, feel free to disagree or leave comments with any songs you think I missed this year! I’m only featuring groups once on the list and the songs could be comebacks, debuts, solo releases and it’s not just K-Pop some Japanese songs may be included. Here goes nothing!

30. KHAN – I’m Your Girl?

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I don’t know much about KHAN but I came across a tweet on Twitter hyping up this song so I decided to check it out. It’s a good song – not my favourite from 2018 but still a good song nonetheless. I wish KHAN every success for the future!

29. Moonbyul ft. Seulgi – Selfish

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Considering Moonbyul is my Mamamoo bias and Seulgi is my Red Velvet bias it’s safe to say that when I heard about this song I was super excited. The girls suited each other so well and it was an amazing collab. We need more collabs between companies, this song was amazing!

28. Oh My Girl – Secret Garden

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Last year Oh My Girl were at number 16 on my list with ‘Colouring Book’ but unfortunately this year they’ve dropped a few places because I wasn’t really a fan of their comebacks this year. I’m not sure what it is because I know I’m not a fan of like the chill vibe in songs but ‘Closer’ was relatively chill and I love that song so much. I’m not sure; I just wasn’t a big fan of Oh My Girl’s releases this year. But ‘Secret Garden’ still made it to the list because it is a sweet song!

27. Pristin V – Get It

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My friend Jess probably would’ve placed this song a lot higher up the list because she loved this song. I remember at one point she’d give me a lift places and this song would be on repeat the entire time. We went to a K-Pop Night in Birmingham and she requested that the DJ play this song (I don’t think he did which she was disappointed about). It is a good song but not really 100% my taste. Still a good song though!

26. Nature – Some (You’ll be Mine)

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Nature only debuted this year and I think this was another song I found through people raving on Twitter. At first I’m not sure this is the song for me because it’s quite sweet but then the chorus hits and it goes hard. The girls’ dancing is amazing and the song is really good! I hope they’re another group that continue to do well.

25. EXID – Lady

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Everyone’s been raving about EXID’s ‘I Love You’ but truthfully, I wasn’t a massive fan. Obviously I’m over the moon that Solji’s back so I wanted to love it but unfortunately I didn’t. To be truthful I’m not the biggest fan of EXID’s new stuff because it doesn’t feel as iconic as their old stuff but ‘Lady’ was still a good song and I’m still looking forward to future EXID releases.

24. NCT U – Baby Don’t Stop

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I feel like the only reason I listen to NCT songs is because Becca sings them on repeat so I end up checking them out because they’re stuck in my head. I first heard this song when on holiday in Greece. We were driving through Crete and Becca was in charge of the playlist and she played this song. I actually enjoyed it so the next day I asked if she could put it on again. I’m not the biggest NCT fan but they do have some bops, this one included!

23. Cosmic Girls – Dreams Come True

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Cosmic Girls came in at 26th on last year’s list with ‘I Wish’ – with hindsight I probably would’ve ranked that song higher because I love it more as time has gone on. No doubt something similar will happen with ‘Dreams Come True’ because although I think it’s a good song, it’s not my favourite song ever. But it’s still a great song; I can’t wait to see what Cosmic Girls release in 2019!

22. Laysha – Pink Label

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I only discovered Laysha this year with their song ‘Chocolate Cream’ which I instantly loved. So when they dropped their ‘Pink Label’ comeback I was quick to watch it and loved it pretty much straightaway. It’s a cool song!

21. J-Hope – daydream

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J-Hope is my BTS bias so when I found out he was releasing a solo song I was over the moon and he definitely didn’t disappoint. I loved pretty much everything about it, the song, the music video… It was all amazing and you could tell how hard he’d worked on it. I’m so proud of my boy and I love this song so much!

20. Hyolyn – Dally

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Okay but to have a body and able to dance like Hyolyn… Would actually be a dream come true. This song is absolutely perfect for Hyolyn and she absolutely slayed it. I think it took me a couple of listens to get into but once I did I was gone, it’s such a good song.

19. Jennie – Solo

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I’m a bit sick of people moaning that this sounded like ‘Gashina’. I love this song and I think Jennie did amazing. As the first member of Black Pink to do a solo I think she did incredibly well. It’s a good song and I loved it from first listen. I hope more Black Pink members get solos in the future because this one was awesome.

18. 24K – Bonnie n Clyde

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So 24K made the announcement this year that Kisu was joining the military and that they’d added a new member called Kiyong. It was their first comeback without Kisu and I was a little disappointed as Kisu’s always been quite high on my bias list. But this song was still amazing and I love Kiyong, he’s so sweet. I went to see them in Paris and had the best time ever; hearing this song live was amazing. I can’t wait to see what 24K comeback with in 2019!

17. Oh My Girl Banhana – Banana Allergy Monkey

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Okay, there’s been some divide about this song… But I don’t care; I think it’s a cute and fun song! I don’t care if it’s a bit childish; sometimes music can just be fun! I preferred this song to Oh My Girl’s main releases this year and loved that they didn’t take themselves too seriously and just went for it. I wasn’t 100% sure at first but as time went on I loved it a lot. Definitely one of my favourite songs of 2018!

16. Hyo – Sober

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I wasn’t 100% certain on this song at first but after a few listens I suddenly couldn’t stop listening to it. I don’t normally like English versions of K-Pop songs but I ended up preferring the English version to this song for some reason. Hyoyeon just absolutely killed it. I also loved ‘Punk Right Now’ as well but ‘Sober’ was definitely higher up on my list of favourite 2018 songs. I can’t wait to see what she releases in 2019!

15. LOONA yyxy – love4eva

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Pretty much every K-Pop fan has heard of LOONA due to the loyal fan base who constantly spam pretty much everything with comments saying ‘anyway stan LOONA’. Ever since I’d heard about LOONA’s concept I’d wanted to become a fan but didn’t really enjoy their debut. However I loved the yyxy subunit song of ‘love4eva’ right from the first listen. I also love the music video and just pretty much everything about it. It’s such a good song!

14. Oh!GG – ‘Lil Touch

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Girls’ Generation were at 24 on my list last year with ‘Holiday’ – it’s safe to say I was way more impressed with this year’s comeback. Although I’m sad that there are only five members left it’s also good in a way because members who previously didn’t get many lines are now getting a chance to shine. I’m so glad Sunny got a chance to showcase her talent, although was annoyed at comments like ‘wow where has Sunny’s talent been all these years?’ Um right there in front of you, she’s just now getting a chance to actually show it. ‘’Lil Touch’ was an amazing song and if you haven’t heard it then you’re honestly missing out.

13. Mamamoo – Egotistic

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I didn’t really feel like giving Mamamoo much of a chance after listening to ‘Starry Night’ because I wasn’t really a fan and figured I was going off them. Then Jess gave me a lift home and this was her current song that she had on repeat. I gave it a listen on Spotify and actually ended up loving it. It really suits Mamamoo and I feel like they’ve found a sound that suits them. It doesn’t make me like ‘Starry Night’ though.

12. (G)I-DLE – $$$

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Although I liked LATATA I wasn’t over the moon impressed with it. I still liked (G)I-DLE so when this song came up in my recommended I decided to give it a listen and instantly fell in love with it. (G)I-DLE are so talented and I’m so glad I discovered this song because it’s amazing.

11. TWICE – Yes or Yes?

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TWICE can sometimes be a bit hit and miss with their songs but I feel like they’ve done nothing but impress me this year. Each new comeback has been my favourite – I put ‘Yes or Yes’ on the list as that was their latest release and I loved it at first listen. But ‘What is Love’ and ‘Dance the Night Away’ were amazing as well. I can’t wait to see what TWICE release next year but I really hope they take a well-deserved break soon!

10. Black Pink – Forever Young

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I loved DU-DUU DU-DUU at first listen but wasn’t so sure about ‘Forever Young’ initially because once the beat dropped it was almost like listening to a completely different song. But it grew on me and overtime became my favourite Black Pink song. I just love pretty much everything about it – even the beat drop I initially disliked.

9. SoRi – Touch

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I love CocoSori so much but I hadn’t been a big fan of Coco’s solo song. That didn’t put me off trying SoRi’s solo and I’m so glad it didn’t because I LOVED ‘Touch’ so much. I had it on repeat for ages when I first listened to it because I loved it. SoRi is amazing and I love her, she’s so talented. I also loved ‘I’m Ready’ from this year but ‘Touch’ is still definitely my favourite.

8. G-Friend – Memoria

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G-Friend have had some good comebacks this year but there was something about ‘Memoria’ that I automatically loved. This was another song that I had on repeat for ages and is probably my favourite G-Friend song at the moment. It’s just so sweet and so very G-Friend. I love it!

7. gugudan – Not That Type

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To be honest I’ve never really listened to gugudan – well I did listen to a couple of songs but wasn’t particularly impressed so didn’t bother again for a while. Then I decided to give ‘Not That Type’ a listen and oh my god, I was blown away. This song was amazing and I will definitely be checking out more gugudan in the New Year!

6. AOA – Bingle Bangle

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A few people were worried that without Choa that AOA would flop, but let’s be real… ‘Bingle Bangle’ was one of the best songs that AOA have ever released. Jimin’s rap part is definitely the best bit but it was a good song all around. I love AOA so much and this is definitely my current favourite song by them.

5. MOMOLAND – BAAM

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It’s crazy that on last year’s list MOMOLAND were at the bottom of the list with ‘Freeze!’ This year has been a good year for MOMOLAND’s careers since they blew up with their song ‘Bboom Bboom’. Unfortunately MOMOLAND have also low-key become the ‘in group’ to dislike but I love them and I loved ‘BAAM’.  While most people preferred ‘Bboom Bboom’ I much preferred ‘BAAM’. I hate that everyone’s moaning that ‘BAAM’ sounds quite similar – after the success of ‘Bboom Bboom’ of course they were going to play it safe, they need to establish a solid fan base before experimenting with different sounds. I’m proud of all MOMOLAND have achieved and I hope they continue their success in 2019.

4. BTS – Idol

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I’d been worried I was going off BTS last year but this year they’ve definitely reclaimed their place as my favourite boy group. It might help that I finally got to see them live at their own concert (after previously seeing them at K-Con Paris). I loved so many BTS songs this year but my favourite title track was almost definitely ‘Idol’. It’s just so much fun and was an amazing song to see live (from what I could see considering I was at the back of the venue).

3. Red Velvet – Really Bad Boy

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Red Velvet are another group that released bop after bop this year but I especially loved ‘Really Bad Boy’. I know a few people will disagree but I actually preferred it to ‘Bad Boy’, I don’t even care. I loved it from first listen and the music video is amazing. I can’t wait to see what Red Velvet release in 2019 because I have no doubt that it’ll be amazing.

2. Dreamcatcher – What

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I love Dreamcatcher but ‘What’ absolutely blew me away. I’d seen it was released but take a few days to actually get around to listening it – when I did though I loved it instantly, it reminded me of when I’d first heard them with ‘Chase Me’. I couldn’t stop listening to it until eventually I’d listened to it one too many times. But it’s still an amazing song and one of the best of 2019. Here’s hoping Dreamcatcher come back to Europe one day so I can see them live all over again!

1. CLC – Black Dress

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I did like ‘Hobgoblin’ but nothing could’ve prepared me for how much I loved ‘Black Dress’. It was definitely my favourite comeback of 2019, I knew from the moment it was released that it would be. CLC are amazing and can slay pretty much every concept and they did amazing at this one. I love everything about it and if you haven’t listened to it then what the hell are you doing? I wish CLC all the success in the world for 2019.

Feel free to let me know if you think I missed any amazing comebacks, debuts or whatever in 2019!

My New Year’s Resolutions

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I’m not normally a big fan of making New Year’s Resolutions because mine are normally quite clichéd. Lose weight, be a tidier/more organised person, stuff like that. But for the last few years I’ve managed to achieve some New Year’s Resolutions by making them a bit simpler. The first one was when I vowed to meet a celebrity – and later that same month managed to meet the band We Are the in Crowd. Then last year I started a new one where I vow to ‘do something fun every month’ and I’ve since stuck to that. Doing something fun for me usually means going on a trip, going to watch a show, going to a concert, but can be pretty much anything as long as I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about next year’s resolutions and I think I’ve thought of some that I may manage to achieve that will either make me a bit happier, healthier or just generally make a life a bit easier. So here we go, here’s what I hope to achieve in 2019.

Do Something Fun Every Month

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As I make this vow at the start of every year I will definitely be making it again in 2019. So far I have Romania in January, Cursed Child and a potential trip to Belgium in March, and mine and my Mom’s trip to San Francisco in May. I’ll quickly slot something in for February and April and the first five months will be taken care of. I don’t doubt the other months will soon fill up with fun things as well.

When I first made this resolution I was worried it would cost a lot but it doesn’t. The occasional trip abroad or to London can be a bit expensive but if I have say one theatre trip in April then that’s cost me about £40 at the most and that’ll be my fun thing ticked off for the month in a single evening. I usually end up doing something fun every month by accident anyway, I don’t necessarily pre-plan ‘oh I need to fill in this month otherwise I won’t have done anything’. I nearly always have something to look forward to and I will continue with that in 2019!

Make More of an Effort to Eat Homemade

My friends make fun of me for being a bad cook but when I put my mind to it I’m not actually as bad as they think. Honestly my current issue is that I don’t like standing by the oven to cook my food because I hate being around my step-dad and his snide comments. So at least if I shove something in the oven I can run upstairs and avoid him until my food is cooked.

But I don’t want to keep living like this. Homemade food is usually a lot better for you and way tastier, and I usually find I enjoy cooking when I actually put the effort in. I make more of an effort when my parents go away on holiday – I used to love ordering a takeout while they were away whereas now I look forward to making myself some stir fry!

In the New Year I’m going to make more of an effort to push my step-dad’s comments aside for the sake of eating better. I had made a vow in 2018 to try meat free Mondays because I’m way too fussy to ever become a full on vegetarian but that fell away quite quickly. I might try again in 2019 and see what happens. But regardless, I want to make more homemade meals!

Spend Less Time on my Laptop

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I tell myself quite often that I need to spend less time on my laptop but quickly slip back into spending nearly all of my time on it. To be fair, I’m okay on the week day evenings because I’m normally quite busy but then the weekend comes around and I don’t have any plans so the laptop is on all day.

Next year I’m going to try and tick off ‘read two new books every month for a year’ off my bucket list so that should take up quite a bit of my time. I also really need to start practicing the piano – I have lessons once a week and the week goes by so quickly that by the time my next lesson comes along I realise I haven’t done any practicing at all so I really need to start. Alongside my piano lessons I was considering taking up something else, like a language or something but I’m not 100% decided yet.

Either way, I’m going to make an effort to reduce my screen time and do something more worthwhile than scrolling mindlessly through Social Media for hours on end. Obviously I’ll have evenings or times where I do just want to chill out on my laptop and I won’t feel guilty for that but it definitely needs to be cut down from what it is now.

Get Back into Writing

I know I mentioned taking some time away from my laptop but I may have to use it for this one… Ever since I was a child if you asked me what my dream job was I always said ‘writer’ without hesitation. Even now, I love my job but I want more than anything to publish a book. It doesn’t even have to be a best seller, even if only one person reads it – I just want a published book.

Unfortunately by the end of the day I just don’t have the motivation to write. Well, I do write but smaller, easier things. Like my blog posts or the short stories I write for my friends at Birthdays/Christmas or to cheer them up. But I haven’t worked on ‘The Novel’ for ages. I need to get back into it and I’m going to make it my New Year’s Resolution.

I feel like my issue is that I feel like I need to FOCUS on the novel so I write all evening every night for like a week, burn myself out and don’t return to it. If I wrote say… 1000 words a day? Hell, even 1000 words a week, at least I’d be WRITING. I need to set a new target and stick with that. Even if it turns out to be a complete disaster, at least I’ll know I’ve tried.

Start Exercising Again

At the start of this year I decided to try and get into better shape before my trip to Asia. I went running three nights a week but then somehow due to lack of motivation this just fell away. Now that I’m earning more money I am considering a gym membership because that might encourage me to go but I’m not sure. I’ve discovered that the one I want to go is also the one my Dad and brother attend, both of whom are very buff so that’s a little intimidating. But I feel everywhere else is super expensive.

Either way I know I should probably start exercising again because I do need to lose some weight. I don’t like setting myself weight targets because I’m just setting myself up for failure but it would be a good idea to at least try and get into better shape.

Book another Out-of-Continent Trip with my Friends

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This year I went with Jess and Becca to Asia and had the most amazing time ever. Now although I’m going with my Mom to America next year I also want to book a trip with my friends to a different continent. Our goal has been Australia 2020 so we’ll probably do what we did for Asia and sit down to book it a year in advance so we can slowly pay everything off and sort what we want to do.

Truthfully Australia’s never been top of my list but it has been on the top of Hirst’s for years and as she didn’t get to come to Asia with us we’re going to prioritise her number one travel destination. I have no doubts that it’ll be a ton of fun and I’ll love it when we get there so I am really looking forward to it. It’ll be our first long-haul flight as all four of us and I’m just really excited for it to be booked.

So there are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2019! Feel free to share yours and I hope you have a Happy New Year!

Travel Fails: Asia Edition

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At the start of the year I wrote a post about mine and my friends travel fails which you can read here. Recently we went on a trip to Asia where we travelled round three cities in Japan then visited Seoul in South Korea before heading home. Of course none of our trips are without fails so I decided to write a quick post of the things that went wrong in Asia!

Tokyo

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The worst fail in Tokyo was probably Becca getting sick on my birthday. Anytime you go out for something to eat in Tokyo you’re given a glass of tap water. We’re usually quite sensible and avoid drinking tap water in foreign countries and stock up on plenty of bottled water but by the time we’d sat down to eat after long days of sight-seeing me and Becca were normally quite thirsty so we both drank the tap water. However, I go to the loo way more often and was flushing it out with plenty of bottled water. Becca also eats less than me so the tap water stayed in her system.

I was initially disappointed on my birthday because we’d been planning to visit Disneyland but the weather was rainy and there was a typhoon warning so we did the sensible thing and pushed it to a day where the weather would be better (which definitely was a good idea as the weather was lush when we went). It’s lucky we did as we headed out, got an amazing breakfast at a K-Pop themed café, looked around a district full of K-Pop merch and then headed to Takeshita Street to do some shopping when Becca realised she felt absolutely awful.

In the end she decided to go back to the hotel so we went with her to make sure she got back okay. We had a few minutes rest in the room and then headed back out leaving poor Becca behind. Me and Jess didn’t do tons ‘cos we felt bad but we did head to the Hedgehog café which was a lot of fun. Then as we headed to find somewhere for dinner I fell over in the middle of a busy street because the floor was slippery from the rain. So there’s another fail.

Luckily Becca felt well enough the next day to head back out and didn’t touch another drop of tap water for the rest of the trip but it still sucked that she couldn’t come to the hedgehog café as I know she’d been looking forward to it. Me and Jess brought her back a plushie hedgehog to try and cheer her up but it still wasn’t the same. We definitely need to go back to Tokyo one day.

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Another fail we had from the get go was assuming that Japan would be a similar temperature to the UK in October. It was boiling hot and apparently this is the norm, we told our Aokigahara Forest tour guide that it was cold in England in October and she seemed surprised. Always read up about the climate before you go I guess? Most of my outfits consist of warm knitted dresses so I had to suffer in them every day. I don’t think I had a single summer outfit with me and the struggle was real.

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Walking around Japan really wore us out so after our day trip to Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Forest we were all looking forward to an early night and a nice, long, uninterrupted sleep. Japan clearly had other ideas because I was woken up at midnight by the sound of my phone going absolutely berserk, making noises I didn’t even know it could make. In my half-asleep daze I didn’t really think twice about it, I was just so desperate to switch the noise off but was fully awake when I saw a message from the government advising us to ‘Keep calm and seek shelter nearby’.

Other than that there was no context to the message so I woke the others up and told them what it said. Neither were sure and Becca got up to help me look it up. I managed to freak myself out by going on a website that advised me ‘it could be that North Korea have sent a missile J’ but luckily Becca went on Twitter and saw it was actually an earthquake alert.

The girls make fun of me now but we don’t get big earthquakes in the UK so I was worried about what it would be like and whether we needed to do anything so I kept asking them questions but the girls were tired so I shut up and tried to push it out of my mind. In the end Tokyo didn’t even feel the earthquake and the message was sent out by mistake – it was only about a four on the scale and apparently they only send out messages for the bad ones and it was an error. Irritating though that the message had broken our one good long night’s sleep.

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We didn’t do much on our last day in Tokyo, we just headed straight to the train station to travel to Kyoto. The train ticket cost about £90 each so if we missed our train we were a bit screwed. But we had just over an hour until we had to go so we went downstairs into their food court section to find something to eat. Me and Jess eventually came across a beef place so Becca sat outside whilst we ate.

The downstairs area was so big that when we came out we immediately got lost and couldn’t find our way back to the train station. We knew it was up but everywhere with stairs seemed to be leading outside and we had no idea where to go. In the end I plucked up the courage to ask some men the directions to the station and they did look at me like I was a bit of a moron but they pointed me in the vague direction. You have no idea how stressed I was, we really didn’t have the time to be lost and as the pessimist I am I was convinced we were going to miss our train.

Luckily we found our platform in the nick of time and our train was still there so we jumped on and went walking through the carriages to find some spare seats next to each other. We managed to find three one in front of the other, put our massive suitcases away and finally relaxed. We’d all been a bit stressed and cranky looking for the correct platform so I think missing the train may have genuinely been the start of a fallout but luckily that didn’t happen.

Kyoto

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We arrived in Kyoto at about 2PM and requested a 3PM pick-up from the train station – we were staying in an apartment where they didn’t give out the address and someone had to pick us up to take us there, give us the key etc. Someone already had the 3PM pick-up so we figured no big deal, we’ll just get the 4PM one.

We headed over the road with the idea of getting some food in the café. However, when he came over to take our order Jess said “Three hot chocolates please” and the guy assumed that was the end of our order and none of us felt confident enough to call him back either. We had our hot chocolates then headed back over to be at the station for 4PM.

4PM came and passed with no sign of our car. We were all still hungry and there was a McDonalds across the road but none of us wanted to take the risk because the driver could literally turn up at any minute. We waited until about 4:40 and I messaged the guy to ask if he was still coming and eventually got a reply to say it would now be a 5PM pick-up. We carried on waiting and it got to a point where we were checking every car registration and none of us actually expected him to come, we were really shocked when he eventually came. None of us complained because we’re not like that but we were all starving.

He drove us to the apartment and he really stressed me out because he answered his phone while driving – I don’t know Japan’s view on that but in the UK that’s a massive no, I yell at my Mom for even glancing at her phone. We went inside and it did look really nice and he began talking us through the features of the apartment which was all going fine… Until he showed us how the air conditioning worked.

He hit the on button and the flaps to the air con opened and out fell the biggest bug I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Me and Becca both looked at each other but neither the guy nor Jess had noticed this bug. He carried on talking us through everything else but I was now on edge looking for this bug. By the time he’d gone and we were able to mention it, the bug had gone missing.

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We went out to Kyoto Tower and by the time we got back the bug was now back on the wall. This turned into a massive hoo-ha because we obviously couldn’t leave this massive bug just wondering around the apartment so Jess bravely got a glass and went to capture it. She got really mad at me and Becca ‘cos we were both a bit wimpy at this point but in my defence I did help. Luckily Jess caught the bug in a glass and we got rid of it outside – it tried to fly in her face but we ran back inside and locked it out.

Luckily Kyoto was relatively stress-free compared to the other places we visited, except for when we visit Kyoto Imperial Palace and it absolutely threw it down with rain and Jess said we should run to the next bit with shelter because the rain had ‘calmed down’ a bit. We looked like drowned rats by the time the rain let up.

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And finally, on Jess’ birthday we decided to visit the Bamboo Forest and Monkey Park both of which were fabulous but by the time we were done me and Jess were absolutely starving so we looked for somewhere to eat nearby. The only places near us in Kyoto were very traditional looking places but after scanning the menu of a noodle place we headed inside where we waited for a table to become available. When it eventually did I settled on some duck noodles as I like duck and I like noodles so I figured it couldn’t be too bad. Until it was brought over and I was like “Jess, why does it smell so strongly of fish?” and she replied “Oh… I think it’s been cooked in a fish broth.”

I tried to suck up the noodles as quickly as possible but all I could was fish as I did so and I’m really, really, not fond of fish. I left a good majority of it.

Osaka

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On our first night in Osaka we decided to visit an arcade that we’d read about online. At this point we didn’t have long left in Japan and we all had quite a bit of money… Which is probably why me and Jess went a bit mad.

I do love arcades but British ones are a bit depressing and feel like a waste of money because I can see I’m throwing away actual hard earned money. But I had tons of Japanese yen which didn’t feel real so I converted a lot of it coins and had a go on most of the machines. There was a Studio Ghibli one and I quite quickly won a little Totoro figure which I was over the moon about. There was a little Jiji figure (from Kiki’s Delivery Service) in the machine that Jess decided she wanted so we both spent tons of money trying to win it for her. In the meantime I won a ton of other Ghibli figures but eventually Jess got her Jiji figurine.

We went around going on different machines – we went up to the different floors but they were more competitive gambling and weren’t as fun as the bottom floor which was full of prize games like crane machines etc. I wasn’t taking it too seriously until Becca won a Winnie the Pooh bear out of a crane machine. It was quite big and none of us were sure how she was gonna bring it home.

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My competitive streak was on then and I went around the different crane machines until I eventually won a Boo plushie from Mario. That was also quite big and although my suitcase was massive it had been pretty much full to the brim before we’d left the UK so I wasn’t sure how to bring it home. Did that stop me? No.

There was a machine where you had to stop the spinner at the exact time and you’d win a big tube of pringles. We were all having a go on that and I made a joke about how as Becca’s a vegetarian she hadn’t been able to eat much in Japan so if I won the pringles for her it might be able to keep her going until we get home. Tons of money later, I finally managed to win the massive pringles tub.

I should’ve quit while I was ahead but no – Jess hadn’t won anything on a crane machine and felt a bit left out so she kept going. She nearly won a chipmunk but she ran out of coins and when she went to buy more a little girl had a go and won the chipmunk she’d spent so long lining up which she was annoyed about. I had a go on a unicorn machine and won a little unicorn plushie.

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We were eventually persuaded to leave the arcade but we soon found another, smaller one with more crane machines so Jess decided to try her luck again. She nearly won a big dog plushie but unfortunately it got stuck and she couldn’t get it. I can’t remember if she did win anything from a crane machine but at the end of the night I realised I’d probably spent about £60 in the arcades. Becca had spent significantly less and moaned that we should’ve spent it on something worthwhile but listen, me and Jess had a good time and I won a few things to show for it. I did manage to squash that Boo into my case, Becca had to carry the Winnie the Pooh plushie onto the plane which was a bit of a pain but at least she got it home.

Osaka was another relatively stress-free location but disaster did strike again at Nara Deer Park. Jess had heard of it and suggested we took a visit and we all agreed it would be fun. We could feed some polite bowing deer in a peaceful park, what’s not to love?

It didn’t take too long to get to Nara and the deer park is really easy to find. The deer looked really sweet so we all bought them some food. I noticed the food had drawn a couple of deer’s attention but didn’t think much of it and stepped into the park with the intention of politely feeding the deer. What a mistake. The moment I stepped inside I was swarmed by about ten deer and one of them bit me in the side immediately so I shrieked and felt really overwhelmed by the amount of pestering deer so I chucked the food on the floor and ran, much to Jess’ amusement.

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The other two managed to feed the deer their food but it had to be done quickly as the deer were not patient in the slightest. I left the park and it was then that I saw the sign advising to be careful as the deer could bite, butt and kick you. None of us got kicked luckily but the horned deer did some to have it in for Becca and kept butting her ass. One of them did try to go for her and she had to hold onto its horns to get it to stop.

Truthfully it was still a lot of fun and I would recommend that people visit, but it definitely wasn’t as peaceful as we’d all been imagining.

The only other fail was when we visited Universal Studios and as I was waiting for Becca and Jess to get off one of the rides I fell asleep. The trip was exhausting, can you blame me?

Seoul

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We got up super early to travel from Osaka to Seoul and originally we had planned to make the most of the day. But the trip had taken a toll on us so in the end after checking into the hotel, we walked to the local supermarket, stocked up on some food and just had a lazy day with an early night. We also made the most of the free laundry facilities and washed enough clothes to see us through until the end of the trip.

Unfortunately although there was a washing machine there wasn’t a dryer and we weren’t really sure what to do. We hung some clothes up in our room and then I mentioned the clothing rail I’d seen on the balcony and said we’d have to put the rest there.

Me and Jess headed out onto the balcony with the basket of wet washing when the light in the opposite building switched off. We both noticed and as a joke Jess said “Ooh the demons are coming to get us.” Which was funny, until we heard footsteps approaching from that building. All I said was “Actually, I’m a bit creeped out now” and suddenly the two of us were speeding back to our room – except, we were both so eager not to be at the back that we got stuck in the doorway. I fell onto my knees and Jess fell on top of me.

I was peeing myself with laughter, as was Jess, but both of us were still scared so we were trying to go forwards but with Jess still on top of me neither of us were going anywhere. We eventually got through and we raced down the corridor into our room, peeing with laughter while Becca asked what had happened. All I hope is that whoever was walking in the other building didn’t come onto the balcony and see me and Jess trapped in the doorway.

We found places for the rest of the clothes to dry in our room as we now didn’t trust the balcony and Jess said we needed to take the basket back downstairs but she wasn’t gonna go on her own. She opened the door and we heard footsteps again so I dived onto my bed only to discover it was just a tourist heading down the stairs. We’re such idiots.

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Seoul was difficult to navigate because firstly none of us had any data – Jess had paid for it in Japan but it was either more expensive or not available in South Korea so we had to rely on free Wi-Fi to get directions to places. The directions were difficult regardless because Google Maps doesn’t work in South Korea, instead of planning the route for you it just shows you the way in a straight line.

This was probably why we ended up on a bus we weren’t supposed to get on to get to the Museum of Illusions. We waited for our number bus and when it came on we all piled on – the driver asked Becca if she was going to the airport, Becca replied no and just went and sat down. So me and Jess tapped in and followed her.

The bus was a lot fancier than the other ones we’d been on and we quickly realised that although the bus was stopping to let people on, nobody was getting off. Everyone else had luggage and was clearly on their way to the airport so we got in a panic about whether we were supposed to be on the bus or whether we’d end up at the airport. We stayed on there for a while but our stop was approaching and we weren’t really sure what to do.

At this point the driver stopped the bus, physically came down to us and asked where we were going if it wasn’t the airport. Jess tried to communicate the name of the stop and kept telling him it was the next one coming up to which he eventually said “Fine, get off.”

He hadn’t seemed happy so we weren’t sure if he meant immediately or at our stop so we stood up and then the bus pulled off so at least he was taking us to our stop. We were worried that he’d looked annoyed so we walked down and stood by the doors, I’m not sure if that was allowed or not but we were keen to get off at this point. He eventually pulled up to our stop and we piled off as quickly as possible because he really hadn’t been a happy bunny. Listen, we’re idiot tourists, we didn’t know the bus was only for the airport! We were just following Google Maps!

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Speaking of public transport, we decided to pay a visit to Seoul Tower and caught a bus to take us there. Google Maps advised us of the stop to get off and when we got off we couldn’t see the tower anywhere so we headed in the vague direction of it.

It turns out Seoul Tower is at the top of the biggest hill I’ve ever seen in my entire life. We walked up some stairs and I kept thinking we must surely be near the top. The steps were never ending but when they did eventually end we were now on a hill and still had ages to go to reach Seoul Tower. It was the most painful climb of my entire life but we eventually made it, drenched in sweat.

I don’t know why Google Maps advised us to get off because there had been a bus stop at the top of the hill which we used to catch the bus back to the hotel. As we got closer to our hotel I noticed a sign… Advising us of the cable cars nearby… That would take us to Seoul Tower. We’d walked up that hill for absolutely nothing.

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So although there were a few fails it was still an amazing trip and I want to visit Japan again at some point because it was definitely my favourite place I’ve ever been.