Random Acts of Kindness

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We’ve all seen videos on Youtube and Facebook about people going out and doing random acts of kindness for others. They fill us up with that warm fuzzy feeling as unsuspecting people are shown gestures of kindness and good will. It’s really easy to watch these videos, but a lot of people don’t feel like they have what it takes to actually DO this.
Well, my sister and close friends have taken it upon ourselves to spread the love and bring joy to people’s day on a regular basis!

Inspired by videos of these kinds of events from big-hearted people like Ryan Higa and his crew, who regularly upload videos of themselves doing kind gestures as a way to inspire others to do the same. They give toys and flowers to people at Christmas and they went around their city giving food to the homeless for Thanksgiving. Popular Viner Thomas Sanders went around shopping mall for “Givemas” giving out gift cards to stores in that mall to happy customers and staff. These people are great examples of how selflessness can be both rewarding and really fun! These are the kinds of people who inspired us to start out own style of Random Acts of Kindness.

11041481_790157151068960_1238396688_nOne day a couple of summers ago, my sister and I traveled to a nearby town for a day at the beach together. It was nice – We drew pictures in the sand, paddled in the water and had a laugh before realising that we were surrounded, both on land and in the water, by literally hundreds of jelly fish and decided to flee the beach.
Wandering around and seeing a mixture of moods from passers-by. Some were loving the summer fun and enjoying the company of their families, while others were stressing out, sulking and generally being moody. We decided, as we were already having a great time, to do something nice to brighten other’s days a bit more. We put our heads together and decided that food and drinks were off the cards due to the insane numbers of seagulls that swoop at anything remotely edible and giving money just seemed weird, so we’d settle for something adults and children alike could just enjoy – Balloons!
After hurrying to the nearest card shop, we set off to deliver our handful of balloons to some lucky people.
Honestly, this first experience opened up so much for us. It was a great feeling to come into someone’s life, give them a gift and just let them go with a big smile on their faces. We met some absolutely lovely people and had some truly moving and enlightening conversations. And, just with balloons, we actually made a positive difference to the lives of others!

With that first experience a great success, we were hungry to do it again.

Valentine’s Day: Taking it a step bigger

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Valentine’s Day is known as a day of celebrating your love and putting on displays of affection for the world to see, but this day can be a huge downer for a lot of people with no partner and a glum attitude. In honesty, I meet more people who are miserable than happy on Valentine’s Day and that is because of the hype and weight put on having a partner. It reinforces the idea that having a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife should be your top priority and not having one is somehow a failure on your part. That can seriously bring you down and Valentine’s Day can be extra bad.
My best friend, little sister and I decided that we were going to take a stand against this yearly downer and go out and spread the love for everyone!
1939724_583856765032334_271925713_nOn Valentine’s Day 2014, we went out armed with ‘Free Hug’ banners and 20 balloons.
Due extremely high winds due to the huge storm that was pelting Britain at the time (hands up if you remember #UKstorm) we moved our post indoors and instead we targeted the students and faculty of our local university!
Shy students didn’t respond too openly to the offer of free hugs, but the balloons when down (or up) a treat! We managed to brighten many days, meet some very nice people and even confused a business lecturer when half his class turned up with balloons tied to their desks!
It was a fantastic day and the three of us had a great time seeing so many smiling faces! It brought us three closer together, introduced us to some nice people and brightened the days of many people!

Despite the success of that day, due to people getting jobs, my best friend moving back to Japan, lots of changes and such, the next time we had the availability to do another Random Act of Kindness was the following Valentine’s Day 2015.
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Due to my best friend still being in Japan, we still needed another to join us. Funnily enough, a few months after Valentine’s Day 2014, my sister made friends with a girl whom we later discovered, when we happened to talk about Valentine’s Day, we had given a balloon to on that day and then had met by chance later! This friend came along to help us out this year and the tradition continued for a second year! Armed with about 25 balloons and a handful of silk roses, the three of us wondered the town.
Due to it being a Saturday, the high street was packed full of families, couples and children of all ages. Honestly, the minute we stepped out with all the balloons ready to go we were mobbed by kids who wanted their own. Seriously, pre-teens are scary!!
The first child we were moved to give a balloon to was a small toddler whose parents asked us where they could buy their daughter a balloon like ours. I wish I could have captured the expression of true delight when we responded by handing over the big heart-shaped balloon that their little one had been so keen on and told them it was their’s for free.
We met a lot of lovely people along the road and we were really well received by everyone we encountered.

The overwhelming feeling I was left with was that it is so easy to make a significant difference to a person’s day (and thus a person’s life) simply by doing a nice gesture as simple as giving them a balloon.

How YOU can try it!

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So, now that you know that it’s actually very easy to do random acts of kindness, there’s nothing holding you back from trying it for yourself. This kind of thing is fantastic for helping the people around you, bringing friends together and practicing the very healthy activity of giving.
In honesty, it is a LOT easier to do it with a group of friends with whom you can feel comfortable around and whom you can chat to and enthuse with. Going around doing these activities does cause a physical reaction of nervousness and it takes a lot of energy, so having friends with you will help to keep your energy up.
There are so many ways that you can try this out for yourself, but sometimes you need some ideas to get you going:
Giving fun things: Balloons, toys for children, gift cards, second-hand video games, etc
Motivational: Positive/inspiring sticky notes, a letter to a stranger, a supportive and inspirational letter to give to a parent to give to their child, Random compliments, etc
Helpful: Giving food or drink to the homeless, a group trip volunteering, a fun charity event, visiting elderly neighbours, etc.

Remember to be creative in your ideas. My crew plan to expand on the original balloon idea for next time, so keep thinking and try to think of some original, helpful and fun ideas. Remember, fun and positivity are the mail point! People will remember their experience of being chosen for a random act of kindness, so make sure it’s a lovely memory for them to share with others.

Remember:

Some cultures are not so open to the contact of total strangers. Especially in more reserved cultures, some of the more friendly ideas might be seen as inappropriate or even illegal, so always be careful of what you decide to do.
In some places, it may be more or less okay to do ‘free hugs’ than in other places, etc.
Be very careful to make sure that you aren’t making yourself at the risk of any legal issues. When I handed over a balloon, I always noted that they should be used with care. Sometimes the giving of stuff, especially to children, can put you at some risk, so make sure you carefully consider that.

Do you have any ideas or questions about Random Acts of Kindness that you want to share? Share them in the comments below or over on Facebook or Twitter! Have a great day! Xx

 

This is purely an informational piece and anyone who uses suggestions from this piece or other pieces on this website should do so with care, consideration, their own common sense and always behave well within the law. Safety first!!

My Experiences: Getting a Tattoo

I love tattoos. It is becoming more and more common knowledge (I suppose since I got my first openly visible tattoo) that I love them and take great pride in the tats that I have. I’ve written before about the cultural views on tattoos and answered a few of your questions on them and their after-care. However, I get asked a lot, both online and in person, about what getting a tattoo done is like and the healing process of it, so I thought that I would document my personal experience when I got my next tattoo. Well! As luck would have it, I had been thinking about a tattoo idea for quite a while and, after a lovely design was made for me by my tattoo artist, I decided I was ready for the plunge!

Sleep on it. Eat on it. Work on it. Live with it.

So, obviously, you need to think about what you want for a good while. What do you want the tattoo to be? What meaning or message do you want to convey? What meanings or messages do you NOT want to convey? Have you done your research?
Getting a tattoo (unless you’re not afraid of the laser) is a lifetime commitment and so you need to be as sure as possible to have covered your bases. Have you checked that the image or words have no negative or criminal meanings? When I was 16 I wanted a tattoo that symbolized that you only live once, which would have meant that I would be stuck forever with a tat that basically meant YOLO… Good thing I didn’t go for that then!
Before you commit having an image put into your skin, understand the risks involved, such as a change of opinion, something going wrong, the eventuality of the design aging, cultural reaction and various (rare) health risks.

Pain factor

I get asked a lot about how painful and how scary it is to get a tattoo and there is no completely definitive answer as everyone is different and everything depends.
The level of pain you will feel from a tattoo depends on your personal pain tolerance as well as the location of the tattoo on your body. If you have a high tolerance to pain and your tattoo is on a more fleshy area, then you are more likely to feel less pain from it.
If, like me, you are incredibly skinny, then your tattoo is more likely to be a bit more painful and tattoos hurt their most when they are on areas with thin, moving skin that lie right over bones.
My first tattoo was on my right hip and it was an absolute breeze, except for when they were doing the parts right over the edge of my hip bones (and then it was still only a mildly annoying tickle).
My second tattoo was only a small design on my side and that was a little more painful because it was over a rib, which is known to be a very painful area. The only part of it that had me more than a little uncomfortable was the shading part, which is done with another kind of needle used for filling and shading.
My third tattoo, on the inside of my wrist, was pretty much fine! It only took about 10-15 minutes to do and was only really a slightly painful tingle. It was so fast to get, quick to heal and practically painless.

Tattoos, as some do not expect, go through a slightly gnarly healing stage with itches, ooze and scabs. But, trust me, it’s not as bad as it seems!
My first tattoo, a large yin and yang on my hip, was very sore the first day I got it, healed with a thick scab and took about 5 weeks to look healed. However, my second and third tattoos were healed in a matter of days.

After care

With my first tattoo, I only had the cling film on for about 3 hours and then went without it. I used Bepanthen, a product used to reduce nappy rash on babies. I found that it actually made pain and itching worse and so I stopped using it.
With my other two tattoos, I didn’t bother with any creams or cling films (actually for the second tattoo, the artist had run out of cling-film so just said not to worry about it) and everything was fine.
But it is recommended that you keep replacing the cling film every few hours for the next three days and use a cream to moisturise and protect the skin.
And make sure that you are regularly cleaning your tattoo with warm (not too hot) soapy water. blot it dry gently with a clean towel (though preferably not a fancy or nice one, as it can get mucky)

So, let’s take a step-by-step look at my experience of a new, and large, tattoo on my foot.

My New Tattoo

Idea

I wanted a tattoo that was delicate, yet strong, youthful and long-lasting. Because we are nearing Spring (my favourite season) and I love Japan, I instantly thought of the adored and celebrated Sakura flowers. I love the Sakura Cherry Blossoms and so decided that it would be the perfect look for the design.
So, as I mentioned in my article about cultural views of tattoos, any tattoos in Japan carry a negative view of tattoos, so there is not really anything I could do about that. So, I did my research and settled that the design was a safe one.
The artist who designed the tattoo for me changed the look of the flower a little bit, but I liked it and we decided on the placement of the tattoo together.
initially, I wanted the design to start behind my ankle, then go over the ankle and follow just along the outside of the foot, but I ended up liking the placement we went with instead (and it looks great with heels)!

Fear

To be honest, the sound of a tattoo gun is, in my opinion, the worst part of the whole thing. It’s like the sound of a dentist’s drill and scares the living daylights out of me before I get started.
With all of my other tattoos, I have just walked in and gotten them done on the day and this was the first tattoo that I actually booked like a week ahead of time and had to wait. Waiting made it so much worse and I was so much more scared.
Really, if you can try to calm your fear then the entire process will be a lot easier. The fear is the worst part and it has never been as bad as my fear has played it up to be.
So, do your best not to let your fear get you down or worked up. It’ll be over soon enough and nowhere near as bad as your imagination has you thinking.

Getting the tattoo

This tattoo was the most painful of all the others I’ve had. The reason for that was because this one was a lot bigger as well as being an area of the skin that moves a lot and runs over many bones and the tattoo was mostly done with the filling and shading head of the tattoo gun (which I said was the more irritating with my second tattoo).
It was rather painful, but the most difficult part was simply not moving as they were doing it. I honestly had to fight with everything in me not to kick my tattoo artist in the face as she did it.
But a good tattoo artist knows what they’re doing, will be in tune enough to know when to take a quick breather, and they’ll get it over with as soon as they can.
Try to be relaxed as you go through it. If you are getting tense and letting the pain get pent-up, it’ll irritate you and make it harder to stay still, so try to just stay relaxed, focus on a part of your body that doesn’t hurt and just zen out.

After-care

So, I learnt with my first tattoo that I cannot use the skin product Bepanthen as I’m allergic to the lanolin in it, but I learnt this time that I CAN use another product instead to sooth my raw tattoo.
Diprobase is a cream that you can get prescribed by a doctor, but is available off the shelf in many drug stores, such as Boots. It’s a very thick cream that cools, soothes and moisturises the irritated skin.
Also this time around I took care to use and regularly replace the cling film for the recommended 3 days.

Healing

As expected, for the rest of the day after I got the tattoo the top of my foot was VERY swollen and I was limping a little bit, but the pain of getting the tattoo itself wore off within ten minutes and I couldn’t feel any pain, except for some soreness when I walked, after about an hour.
And a lot of people assume that tattoos gush blood for hours and hours after you get them, but they don’t really bleed that much and they settle down pretty quickly.
Here is my tattoo after 6 hours:

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At 12 hours:

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1 day:

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With the cream:

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After about 4-5 days it begins the nasty scabby stage where it looks a bit flaky and nasty. All you can do at this time is keep cleaning and moisturising it and don’t pick at it. Scratching it will slow the healing process, can seriously damage your tattoo and hurts A LOT!!!!! It’s not worth it, so don’t scratch it.

During scabby stage:

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And, finally, now:

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After about 3 weeks it’s almost entirely healed up and is not even slightly uncomfortable. It was worth the whole thing!
I hope you enjoyed this piece! If you have any comments or questions, please share them in the comments below or over on Facebook or Twitter! X

Mushy Geek Reviews: Big Hero 6 – Love never felt so cuddly

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Despite being released in the U.S in November of last year, Disney’s Big Hero 6 has only just yesterday (January 30th) been released in UK cinemas. I was lucky enough to score tickets to take my sister (with whom I share a love of movies about friendship and sibling bonding) to see a preview showing at the beginning of the month.

We had been looking forward to seeing this movie, set in the U.S-Japan fusion city of SanFransokyo, for months and I couldn’t turn down any chance to see it early.
If it was great, then everything would be great and we’d be delighted a the chance to see it early. If it sucked, then we’d at least learn early and get on with our lives without almost an extra month of suspense.

The very least I can say is that it did NOT suck. Not in the slightest.

Actually, this film quickly shot (even only minutes into the first viewing) to the top of our favourites list and is still with us now. With a perfect and occationally indistinguishable balance of humour and feels, endlessly quotable lines and loveable and memorable characters, this film was exactly what we wanted and so much more.
This film is a beautiful message about love, friendship, self-discovery and forgiveness that we both agreed is exactly what a film aimed at kids should teach. It showed the love and loyalty of siblings, the pain of loss, the turmoil of the grieving process, how to care for those in need of support, the power of friendship and how being a ‘nerd’ is actually really cool.

Each character was interesting enough that they could hold up their own movie, while fitting perfectly into their roles as supporting characters. Gone, I believe, are the days of forgettable and flat supporting characters who drift in and out without making that much of an impact. My sister and I find ourselves quoting the other characters just as much as the lead roles, and that’s fantastic.

Due to some careless spoilers stumbled across online, my sister and I already knew a key plot point near the start of the movie and we thought that might impact our viewing experience. Surprisingly enough, it didn’t actually spoil anything for us as the emotions were still as raw and shaking as they would have been otherwise. We actually kept forgetting about this point from being so wrapped up in the movie that, when we remembered, we honestly couldn’t believe it to be true and thought it was maybe a fake ‘trolling’ spoiler.

Even first thing in the morning, when the taste of toothpaste still overpowered our popcorn and coke, this movie took us in, captivated us from beginning to the very end (meaning the very VERY end, for the post-credit scene that only my sister and I believed would be there) and gave us so much more than we hoped for.
Hero and Baymax are the perfect duo, with Baymax caring for Hero and Hero teaching Baymax about the world (a nice hat-tip to The Terminator 2) and both helping each other to grow. This story tells us that it’s okay to love, have fun, not know what you want, follow your passion, feel pain, heal, lean on your friend and also make mistakes. It is, in mine and my sister’s opinions, a perfect ‘feel good’ film that reminds us that we’re all human and sometimes we need a big air-filled marshmallow robot to cuddle sometimes.

Now for the  conclusions:
Overall enjoyment: I loved this film so much. It was a fantastic experience from beginning to end, with tears and laughter and good messages throughout.

Family friendly: This film is fantastic for people of all ages, great for families (some sensitive themes, but all handled well), solo movie-goers and friends. Great all-round!

Acting: Seriously, so much emotion in the voices and the animated acting was superb. It’s amazing how the beautiful facial animations and voice acting go together to make performances that you totally forget aren’t actually real people.

Visuals: This is a truly beautiful film with a friendly and futuristic look to it, and the incredible fusion between America and Japan is stunning.

Re-watchability: Well my sister and I have said ever day since seeing this film that we want to watch it again and are even planning our next cinema trip to see it again.

Thanks, Disney! We are satisfied with our care. Xx

Loving your skin

Photo 21-01-2015 13 36 02 (1)Taking care of your skin is vital keeping it fresh, clean and youthful. Especially for those of us with sensitive skin, it is sometimes difficult to know what the right thing to do is when it comes to skin care and looking good. And sometimes, main brand skin care products can cause mild to severe skin irritation. But we want to look good and find the best way to maintain healthy and nice skin. Here is some advice for keeping that sweet smooth skin just how you like it:

Give It What It Needs

Photo 29-01-2015 01 06 04It’s important that you have inside what you need to reflect your health on the outside.
Making sure that you are eating a healthy and balanced diet will go a long way to helping your health. Getting the balance of nutrients you need from meat (or meat substitutes) and vegetables is so important in every area of your life.
A balanced diet can support good physical and mental health as well as keeping your skin supple and healthy.

A multivitamin a day can really help you to keep your body topped up with all the goodies it needs. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that we don’t get enough of naturally, so taking a supplement can help to keep your body functioning at its best.
Make sure that you take multivitamins with a meal. It isn’t bad for you to take them without necessarily, but it does mean that your body won’t absorb as much of the goodness as it would while digesting a meal.
Make sure that your vitamins contain iron. Iron is VITAL to your health. If you are like me and suffer from anemia from time to time, you need to make sure that you are getting enough iron.

QUICK TEST: Wash your hands and gently pull down your bottom eyelid to look on the inside of the eyelid. The colour of the inside should be a red-ish pink-ish colour. If it looks pale or your eye itself looks a little yellowish, then you may need to talk to consume more iron.
OR(!) if looking in your eye seems a bit nasty, you can try this other quick test
Gently squeeze the ends of one of your fingers, with the pressure being downwards against the surface of your nail. Then release and watch how long it takes for the pressure mark (usually a pale pink or white colour) to change back to the usual pink.
If it’s slow to change back (or if your nail beds are usually white most of the time) you may not be getting enough iron.

(Note: Make sure that you take and questions and concerns about your diet and supplement/vitamin intake to a medical professional.)

Pick Of the Bunch

Evening Primrose oil, extracted from the Evening Primrose flower, is high in Omega-6, which your body converts into hormones needed for numerous bodily functions, including menstruation in women (helping to make periods shorted, lighter and less painful). But, as well as being a life-saver for us ladies, Evening Primrose actually does wonders for our skin!
Regularly taking Evening Primrose Oil capsules can help to keep skin clear and prevent breakouts and rashes, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used to treat more sever skin conditions like Eczema.
Consider getting some Evening Primrose capsules as a way of helping to balance your hormones, which will do a lot of good for your whole body as well as your skin.

Stay away from the nasties

There are a lot of companies that want to produce products that SEEM really nourishing and kind to your skin which are actually full of harsh chemicals that you might not want to rub on your face or eyelids if you knew what they were.
Companies that want to cut corners will even use carcinogenic, hormone disrupting or even toxic chemicals in their products.
I know personally that it’s not much help when people say “Try to avoid products containing harsh chemicals” because I was not aware of what those chemicals ARE!
I’m in NO WAY an expert in the chemicals used in cosmetics (I could’ve been a chemist but I figured – hey – I’ll be an actor and blogger instead!) but with just a little searching and research, I’ve managed to freak myself out at the major nasties that have popped up at me, such as:

Parfum or Fragrances

Even some products that claim to be un-scented actually contain chemicals and fragrances to give off a lighter or ‘odorless scent’ (if that makes any sense). These chemicals can be harsh, drying and some can irritate eczema and asthma and some are even believed to be linked to cancers and contain neurotoxins!
If you suffer from acne, eczema, asthma or migraines, then you should be careful how many fragrance chemicals you expose yourself to, as these can be major irritants.
Of course, it is going to be difficult totally avoiding fragrances, but you should be aware of how many products you use regularly that contain them and try to minimize your exposure.

Parabens

Used as a preservative in product, parabens are supposedly really bad for you, even at low levels. Apparently many of them are considered sensitive substances as they are believed to interfere with hormones and have even been found in breast cancer tissue. They are also believed to react with UVB rays in a way that increases and speeds up skin damage and aging from sun exposure.
The way you can tell if an ingredient is a paraben is that the word usually ends in paraben. For example you have butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben and methylparaben.

Paraphenylenediamine 

(try saying that 3 times fast!)

This chemical, used in hair products, is toxic to the skin and can seriously affect your immune system. I just now looked at a box of hair dye from my old red-head days (before I chose to come back to my natural brown and white colour) and the leaflet states that it ‘contains phenylenediamines’ and repeatedly states that the product can cause ‘allergic reactions’. Is it technically and ALLERGIC reaction if it is something that is actually TOXIC to your skin??? Really???? Or is it just a toxic chemical that they shouldn’t really be encouraging you to rub on your head???
So, please, try to avoid products that contain this very nasty chemical. I, of course, am no expert in this area, but I can tell just from reading about it that it’s not nice stuff.

With all the long chemical names and numbers that you find on packaging it’s hard not to assume that every ingredient is practically acid or just become baffled, but one way of shopping for makeup (without having to memorise all these chemicals and whatnot) is to hold the product in one hand and your phone in the other. Just read the label and Google any of the chemicals you don’t recognise and look them up on trusted sources.
In all honesty, there is a lot of scaremongering over cosmetics products and everyone seems to think everything on an ingredients list will kill you, but try to just be calm and look for the facts. Don’t take any “YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO USE THIS AGAIN WHEN YOU KNOW [blah blah blah]” and just try to go as au naturel as you can.

And in these modern times we sadly aren’t going to be able to totally avoid these chemicals unless we go totally bare-faced, so it’s best that you are just cautiously aware of what you are putting on your face. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up makeup, condemn skin products and forgo shampoo, but you should be aware what you put on your skin and plan accordingly.

Treat Yourself

I know spending a lot of money on your skin isn’t always an option, but sometimes a few pounds (or Euro, or Dollars, or 円 or 원) can go a LONG way!
Just recently I went out with the intention to treat myself to some new beauty goodies. I was all ready to splurge a little and get a little pricey, but in the end, after 3 or 4 stores, I was kitted up and had only spent about £25. It may be quite an extravagant spend for some, but saving a few pence and pounds here and there will soon add up to more than enough!
Here is a list of a few items that can make your skin care routine a lot easier:

Soft wash cloth

A good wash cloth will be like a gentle kiss to your skin, rather than like scraping burlap over your face, and will help to gently wash and buff your skin clean. These days, a good wash cloth isn’t that expensive, just look around for one that feels really gentle. The way to keep your skin like a baby, is to not use anything on it that you wouldn’t use on a baby. Treat your skin with love and respect and it’ll be good to you.
A soft exfoliating brush
I know using a brush on your face doesn’t sound all that gentle, but a super soft facial brush can act as a great exfoliator when paired with a cleansing oil. Just make sure that you buffing your face lightly in small circular motions. I often find a lot of grainy exfoliators irritate my skin and the residue if often hard to fully wash off, but a good brush will do the trick.

Cosmetic pads

Where standard cotton wool can leave residue on your skin and not be very effective, cosmetics pads (while a tiny bit more pricey) will do a much more thorough job of taking off makeup and washing your skin.
I’ve heard that some people actually dry out and reuse their cosmetics pads in future uses. Please don’t do this, it’s basically just wiping days old makeup (and added bacteria) into your eyes and face and can lead to infections. Throw it away when you’re done

Facial band

Don’t you hate when your hair gets all oily/dirty when it touches your face while you’re washing it or you can’t quite wash all your face easily? Getting a nice facial hair band will help a lot. They are usually a strip with velcro either end so that you can wrap it around your head easily.

Eye mask

Light disturbance when you sleep can really affect your skin. Our bodies aren’t designed for all the artificial light in our lives these days and it can play silly games with our sleep, which affects a lot about our health, skin and mental well-being. Investing in a good sleeping eye mask will help your sleep a lot (even if it might seem a little funny at first if you sleep next to someone at night)

Eye cooling mask

Often gel eye packs that you can keep in the fridge, a cooling mask will basically do the same thing as eye cucumbers (eew, nasty mental image) but without the wastage. These help to refresh, wake-up and reduce puffiness in your eyes and are very relaxing.

Nail kit

I work in a restaurant and I also do a lot of art. Restaurant work requires being clean and well presentable whilst also handling food and drinks etc. Art can quickly get very messy and have a laborious clean-up afterwards. to both these effects, I carry around a small nail kit with me that I got from H&M for £2.99 that includes a cuticle pusher, a nail block (one of those blocks with a file and four sides for polishing) and a mini nail brush. It’s a tiny little case and is super convenient. I get so self-conscious if my nails are dirty so this makes me feel a whole lot more secure.

Black-head remover tool

This is a vital part of my skin-care. Because I work in oily environments and do a lot of running around and physical exertion, I regularly have to get rid of blackheads, especially around my nose and just above my eyebrows.

facial steamer

A tiny bit more expensive (at about the £20 mark) but it is great for refreshing your skin. Before I do a facial or black head clearing I always make sure that I steam my face to open up the pores to make it quicker, easier and less irritating.

Oil me up!

I don’t like the normal foaming face washes (especially as most of them contain really nasty chemicals), but I love cleansing oils. They’re soft on your skin and don’t strip away the natural ‘good stuff’ while taking away the dirt and dead skill cells that you don’t want!
A lot of people think “I don’t want oily skin, so oil cleansers aren’t for me. I want tight squeaky clean skin” but that is actually the opposite of what you want. Oil cleansers don’t leave your face greasy and oily all day, and they wash off really nicely. That tight ‘squeaky clean’ feeling you get is actually a bad thing, as it means that the natural good oils in your skin have been stripped away leaving it dry (thus feeling tight).
Cleansing oils might still not be for you, but try to be kind and gentle on your skin by avoiding products that strip the natural moisture in your face. Dirt and dead skin = Bad. Natural and gentle oils = Good.

Overall, a good diet, avoiding nasties, good sleep and gentle maintenance are the best things you can do to keep your skin looking b-e-a-utiful, so take care and be gentle!

(I am in NO WAY a professional. This piece is purely advise that I have gained from my own personal experience and the advice and experience of others. Please use caution and your own common sense when following the advice in this piece. Always take care! Xx)
I hope that you have enjoyed this piece. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel welcome to share them in the comment section below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

Kim Woo Bin Is Sharing The Secrets Of His Talent Now?!

 ©SBS
©SBS

South Korean acting sensation Kim Woo Bin has revealed one of his secrets for how he chooses and develops his acting roles, and his system goes to show how doing your homework really pays off.

Known for his roles in School 2013, Heirs and his most recent film The Technicians, Kim Woo Bin doesn’t fail to deliver on his committment to his roles. While some actors can sometimes let their masks slip whilst they are on camera, Kim Woo Bin’s seamless embodiment of his characters has audiences dazzled by his authenticity and has managed to become hot property in the acting industry as a result.

In a recent interview with Chosun, he shared one of his practices of when he is preparing for a new role and how he can so well understand his character’s feelings and motivations.
In the interview, he shared his important method, “No matter how small or big a role, I always make a list of 100 questions about the character I have to play. The questionnaire starts with simple questions, such as the character’s name,” he said about his method “By creating a list and filling in the answers, I often get a real feel for the character.”

Kim Woo Bin can certainly play tough, but is this method a bit hard on the roles? “I wouldn’t say that I’m picky,” Kim said “I just don’t want to be complacent. I want to make progress steadily, little by little.” It would seem that his method works as he has taken on some cracking roles before, and it’s a good way to ensure that he won’t play a role that he doesn’t believe in or find challenging or interesting.
About his progress, he said “If I continue to work this way, maybe I will be at the top one day.”

 © Vogue Girl
© Vogue Girl

He very clearly shows that has a dedication to skill over just popularity- a strong morale discipline that will certainly come in handy in his climb to the top of his craft and ensuring a long and happy career.

About his stardom, the heartthrob did not see himself as a star and understands the fragile position of fame. He said “It could come overnight, but go quickly. It would only be natural if the popularity I’m enjoying disappears the way it came.”

As a man very aware of the situation is in and how he got there, he added “I try to be grateful and not take what I have now for granted. I want to replay what I received. I don’t want to disappoint those who supported me”.

So, what is next for Kim Wo Bin? Who knows, but we can all rest assured that his next roles will have to pass his rigouous 100 question screening.

Want to see Kim Woo Bin at work? Watch him in The Heirs over on Viki.com!
Viki has a wide and ever expanding range of dramas and movies from Korea, Japan, Thailand and more and I would highly recommend it! Their community of subbers and translators all work really fast to bring you the shows you want in your language.
(Source: Chosun)

I hope you have enjoyed this article. As ever, if you have any comments or questions (or just gush about how great Kim Woo Bin is), please share them in the comments or join us over on Facebook and Twitter. See you there! Xx

L’OREAL Paris Miss Manga Mascara

 

miss manga 1Not everyone likes mascara, and I’m not often seen singing its praises much. I’m very lucky in the fact that I have quite thick and long eyelashes, so mascara isn’t really a high priority in my makeup routine. BUT(!!!!) I am a sucker for a good deal and can be persuaded when the suggestion of manga is involved, so you can imagine I swooned when I saw L’Oreal’s Miss Manga mascara on sale.
Now, I’m no beauty guru and the only make-up transformations I’m known for is either a very round-faced Captain Jack Sparrow or ‘slightly-less-sleepy-than-she-may-seem Amy’, but I was impressed with this stuff.

First of all, it didn’t burn my eyelids, which is always a good start with makeup. Having skin as sensitive as that of a baby guinea pig, my skin is usually irritated by the slightest thing and a mascara that doesn’t burn is often quite hard to come by (now you understand why I’m no Michelle Phan). This stuff didn’t bug me in the slightest!
It is really nice and smooth to apply, not leaving you with nasty ‘spider leg lashes’ or clumps that fall into your eyes.
As well as making my eyelashes look even fuller and longer (and hiding the couple weird white eyelashes I have) the product isn’t the usual lumpy stodgy mix you find in a lot of mascaras, but it’s really light and liquidy, so it doesn’t weigh a lot!
miss manga 2The brush is really neat-looking, with space between the bristles so it gets the right shape and doesn’t hold too much or too little product. I’m not sure why, but I find the design of the brush really good, and I’m really glad the bristles are shorter than usual so that you can get really close to the roots without jabbing your eye.

fantasticSo, what do I think of the product?

  • Nice and light, doesn’t make my eyelids feel heavy or dirty!
  • Applies really smoothly with no nasty clumps
  • Huzzah, I’m not allergic to it!
  • Cool brush!
  • Makes my lashes look longer and thicker without making them look unnatural or creepy
  • Works well on lower lashes
  • Really nice to wash off, not irritating and doesn’t leave nasty residue
  • Look Manga? Yup, I’d say it looks pretty darn kawaii!
  • Dries smooth so it doesn’t clump your eyelashes
  • No ‘spider leg lashes’!

Would I recommend it? Heck yeah (even to my sensitive skinned buddies out there)!

You can find the mascara on Amazon!

I hope you liked this piece! Let me know what you think of this product or if you want me to review any other products! Leave a comment below or come join us on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

Respect (And How to Give It)

10432552_1013181298695894_8304708746044163524_nSo I think we have all been told that we don’t respect enough. Whether it is your elders, your peers, your parents, your boss or the people who play important roles in your life that you may forget (like the barista that makes your coffee every day or the teller at the bank).

We’ve all done it, we’ve all heard it and I’m pretty sure we’ve all thought the same thing.
“What do you mean by ‘respect’?”
It’s a pretty good question, but it’s not really one that we are able to ask outright. We have to try little methods and test the water to find the best way to go without being inadvertantly disrespectful. It can be grueling to find that sweet spot.

One thing I noticed today what another dimention to respect that somehow managed to forget.
When I think of respect, I think of an apprentice who has watched the skill, discipline and restraint of his master as he has grown and taken that as a find example of how to be. The master is a master of himself as well as his art and practices all that he preaches. That feeling of awe and admiration the apprentice has towards his master is what I define as respect.
But, there was something I forgot:

There are two definitions to the term ‘respect’!

You have the sagely master-apprentice one:

“a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

And then you have:

“due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”

Starting to make a little more sense now? Eh? Yeah…

There is a big difference between the two definitions and it ca be the deal-breaker. When someone is asking for respect, that is the due regard for feelings and rights. You may owe them that due to something they have given you, perhaps by raising you, homing you, paying for your college, having been there for you for a long time.
There is a fairly easy way to define the two of the meanings:
One is a feeling towards a person
The other is an attitude and consideration

So, this begs the question, how do you BE respectful? What is it that people need when they ask for respect?
Rather than thinking “What do you mean by ‘respect’?” you can turn the question around to “What do you need that I am not supplying you with?”

Consider their role in your life –

if you upset these people, how are you disprespecting the things they have done for you. Do they feed you, pay for the home you live in, pay for your wifi or support you? Have they supported you through university or helped to pay off your car.
I mean, oweing someone respect doesn’t mean that they can’t do any wrong, but it does mean that you owe them the benifit of respectable behaviour and coonsideration for them having done those things for you.
So, if someone has done something good or kind for you, either occasionally or over a long space of time, it is especially important to consider their feelings. They have done good by you or supported you and so you owe them a return of consideration, occasionaly a ‘get out of jail free’ card to let a few problems slide and to do your best to show your appreciation for them.

When someone is demanding your respect, the thing they are really asking for is your consideration for them. They have done something, or numerous things, for you and they want you to trust their judgement, respect their values or just to let them do their thing without interference.
Let them have it and there won’t be a problem.
So here are a few situations where respect comes into play and how you should try to approach it.

Parents

This is probably the most common one because when we are growing up we see our parents as these powerful, almost divine, figures in our lives who have the power to raise you, but you also believe they have the power to END you too. It’s amazing how we can have such high expectaitons of them. Now, for some parents cannot be respected. Perhaps they were abusive or uncaring or they just don’t have any relationship with them, but for most of us, we have a relationship with our parents where they have raised us, fed us, clothed us and done their best.
When you grow up, there comes a time when you start to realise that your parents are just people. Everyone is a little bit messed up and they are no exception. We all have flaws, have problems, get irritated, get emotional or over aggressive sometimes. Normally it is okay, but it is profoundly difficult for kids to accept the same of their parents.
Sadly, this is very difficult to overcome as you spend most, if not all, of your childhood seeing your parents as these amazing, almost super-human, creatures who are supposed to be perfect, but can’t possibly be so. However, you CAN find a way around it.

Everyone makes mistakes – When you are dealing with your parents, remember that they are people and, just like everyone else, they can be touchy, rash, harsh, flawed, have poor judgement and make bad choices sometimes- and it’s okay!
Remember that it is their life that they are living and, just like you want for yourself, everyone should have the right to behave as they want in life. There are always consequences to how you behave, but you have every right to do it anyway.
Their house, their rules – If something in your house is unfair, then you have a right to feel offended by it but, as long as that unfairness isn’t infringing on your health or safety, then there isn’t a lot you can do about it. Sometimes, you have to understand that people have reasons for stuff and you also can’t have everything. Here are a few examples of times when you might hit tension:
Staying out late – Do your parents ever get mad because you stay out too late? If they do, before you get mad, try to consider WHY they are like that. There could be a whole number of reasons why:
they are worried about your safety. They may fully trust you to take care of yourself and make good choices, but sometimes in life that isn’t enough to keep yourself safe. Remember that bad stuff can happen and it’s the scariest thing in the world for them to think that it could happen to you. Cut them some slack, they love you!
There could also be the fear of problems. If they go to bed and you get home after them, they may be concerned that the door might get left unlocked or you locked out. They might want to go to sleep, but don’t want to go before they know you are back safely.
Arguments – This is a tough scenario because everyone is entitled to their feelings, but it can sometimes be taken as a disrespect when you voice them.

What I would recommend, after years and years of stupidly just blurting out my feelings, is to try and avoid the argument stage if you can. Try to be understanding and compassionate with your parent’s wishes and try to make it so that you can, instead of getting heated, changing things so that you can have a calm and reasonable conversation. Try to avoid slipping into a childish state and try to keep a level head.

Also, be open to having your mind changed! Maybe that party miles away from home with people you don’t know well isn’t the best idea. Maybe going out all the time isn’t good for you. Why are they argueing their point?? I’m pretty sure that they don’t set out with the intention to have a blazing row because those aren’t enjoyable for ANYBODY. I doubt they’d contradict you or say no purely so they can have the pleasure of an arguement.

Co-workers

Everyone needs to feel repsected at times. We all have egos and most of us have ones that bruise like a banana in a game of dodgeball. More often than not, people feel they are not respected because their egos are not getting what they need.
Everyone likes to feel important at times, so it is vital that you listen to what the people around you have to say. Do you always shoot down their ideas the moment they’ve said them? How willing are you to trust their instinct or follow their lead?
Even if you are in a position of authority, it doesn’t mean that no-one below you has good ideas and it doesn’t make you any less of a good leader to listen to what others have to say.
Try to remember how far a little caring and support goes. Ask how your co-workers are doing, listen to them when they talk and have consideration for them as a person, not a working machine.
If you are in a workplace and feeling disrespected, try to tell that to someone in a considerate and non-aggressive way. Maybe ask if they have any suggestions for how to garner more respect or have your ideas and opinions listened to a little more.
If you work with someone who is getting aggressive or disruptive from feeling disrespected, try to have a talk with them about how they are viewed and give them gentle suggestions for how to change their situation. Maybe have a friendly work with other co-workers of higher-ups about making sure that employee is treated with a little more care and consideration. A happy team is a thriving team, so making people feel good can only benifit everyone.

Bosses

You’re boss is the godfather of all respect. They decide that they are going to give you work in return for the money that we all need in life. No money makes life very difficult, so we owe a lot to our bosses that have chosen to employ us.
Remember with your boss to always keep in mind how hard it is running or managing a business – especially a smaller or independant business.
They have so much to keep in mind and so many problems to face and solve that sometimes they are not as friendly, talkative or open as others may want them to be. Having compassion is the best way forward and understanding the pressure that your boss is under.
Either position a boss is in is difficult. If they are the owner of a small business, they have a lot of competition and have to fight the battle of staying afloat in a difficult climate as well as the affect of huge corporations and taxes. If you work for a small business, understand the pressure that your boss is under.
If you work for a huge corporation, then your boss most certainly has a lot of pressure (and responcibility of a LOT of money) hanging over their head. Imagine being put in charge of a branch of a corporation where one mistake could lose you millions. It happens and no boss wants it to happen to them. They’re under extreme pressure to make sure that they keep everyone on the ladder above, as well as below, them happy too.
So, compassion is a must have when dealing with a boss, but you also need to ensure that you are communicating with them in the right way.
What sort of boss do you have? Are they someone who you can be friendly with? Do they like humour and banter or do they require a bit more formality than a group trip to the pub?
For me, I am lucky because my boss at the restaurant I work for is great! She works hard, spends time with the staff, cares about every one of us and is a lot of fun to be around! I respect her in every way as a person and a leader.
When you are with your boss, remember that they have that position for a reason, whether they were employed in it or started their own business, they deserve to be there and so they are WELL WORTH listening to. If they ask you to do something, listen. If they have a problem, listen.
Remember that no boss wants to feel like their staff don’t like them. I work in management and that’s the thing I fear the most of all. Remember that your boss is a human being, so don’t be afraid to ask them if they are okay if they look sad or tell them you’re there for them if they seem like they’ve got a lot on their plate.
SO, compassion, listening, knowing what formality is okay and not okay and remember their humanity.
If you ever feel abused by a boss or seriously neglected, don’t feel you have to respect that kind of behaviour and take action. Abuse, whether physical, verbal or mental, is never okay.

Family

Ah family, a group of people who love each other, care and get on each other’s nerves on a regular basis!
Family is tricky because, while there is quite a standard hirachy, everyone has their own needs for respect. The youngest member of the family should the the bottom of the “Food chain”, but that won’t stop them yelling about the fact they never get listened to.
You grandparents want respect, your parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins and eventually your kids, nephews, neices, grandkids and so on ALL need their respect tanks filled and don’t like it any less than nice and full.
Like with most of these examples, a lot of respect comes down to compassion. The grandparents raised the parents that raised you, so they want respect for that and your understanding that they are, escentially, the reason you’re here!
Siblings, whether older or younger than you, want your respect because you grew up together (or at least grew up one after the other in the same family) and you are peers. You know each other’s best and worst traits, you’ve heard them cry and cheer about stuff and they want to know that you, one of the people who know most about them, respects them, trusts their opinions and decisions and believes in their capabilities.
Most siblings also want support but without you trying to decide stuff for them. Telling your sibling that the guy they like is an idiot won’t usually go down very well. They want you to support them and be there for them without feeing like they can’t make their own decisions or mistakes.
Let them fly as they please, but catch them if they fall.
Non-direct family, such as uncles, aunts, etc should be treated with respect because of what they mean to your immediate family. They are your parent’s siblings, were there with them growing up and are important to them, so you should treat them with respect.
I think the best attitude in general is to be respectful to the people around you who are important to you (and the people important to them). If you value their presence, input and positive impact on your life, then show them the respect they need in return to keep up what they are doing.
I hope you enjoyed this piece and found it helpful. If you have any comments or questions on respect, let share them in the comments below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter. Xx

Learning Language Like A Baby

IMG_1004.JPGLearning a language is easier than people think. Just look at yourself now, you are reading an article written in English by someone probably very very far away from where you are. You most likely learnt this language as a young baby – as your native tongue – or perhaps you learnt the language later in life.

Baby Amy
Me as a baby

Regardless of whether it’s your first, second or sixth language, it got in there. The hard part about learning a language is the getting around your own mind to allow it in. Most of us learnt a language growing up that serves to comminicate with our community in both a written and spoken form (however, some are not so lucky, due to physical or psychological issues) We learn it as we grow for one reason: survival. If we want to get fed, we have to communicate that we are hungry. If we are scared, we need to be able to explain the danger that is facing us.
As a baby, your parents were probably quite good at understanding the babblings and cooings you made as a kind of personalised pre-language to know when you were hungry, sleepy, scared or needed changing. Parents and guardians are very good at picking up on the needs of the people in their care. But you had to be able to communicate better. If you wanted one of the toys in front of you, it would help you acheive getting it if you said ‘Ball’ or ‘truck’, so the listener would know exactly what you wanted.
You aquired language as a necessity for your survival, pleasure and comfort.
Learning a second language requires a bit more work as we try so hard to learn it through our first language. It is very normal to say “What is this in English?” or “So ‘____’ is just like ‘___’ in English?”
When it is a language that is similar to your langage it is okay, but when it is two entirely different languages it gets confusing. One of the biggest problems I am finding in learning Korean and Japanese is that it is so hard to learn it through the context of English, because they are so vastly different. At times, I even find it a lot easier to learn Korean through Japanese, because they are at least slighty similar.
When you were a baby, the only way you could work out what something meant was through context. You would see and hear how it was used and learn from that.
A Korean baby can’t hear the word “비행기” and think “I think that’s Korean for ‘airplane’.” But they hear it said, maybe the parent points at a toy plane or a picture of a plane as they say it and the child will eventually put two and two together.
It can be a slow process, but it’s the best proven method to make you both natural and comfortable in that language – It made you fluent in your native language!
I know it is incredibly tough to learn another language without referencing your native language, but there are a couple of ways that you can try to work around your native tongue.

 

Go Sub-free

Copyright (C) SBS
Copyright (C) SBS

It’s so easy to watch television programs in the language you are studying and always have the subtitles on. It’s the safer and easier option which means you can take everything in as easily as if you were watching a show from your home.
But, you can find that you’ve watched an entire series and barely looked up from the words on the screen!
I love watching Japanese and Korean dramas without subtitles because I can really watch the performances and it’s a great way to test what I know and try to figure out the stuff I don’t know from other sources (i.e how it’s said, the context of the scene and the relationship between the speaker and listener).
It can be tough and you may miss some details, but it really does help (and gives you an excuse to watch it again later)!
Sometimes, as you improve, you will also find ways that the subtitle writers didn’t get it totally right or misunderstood and you can get an even clearer understanding of what the character is saying. I remember watching a Japanese drama where the subtitles consistantly made a mistake that confused me for ages until I watched it without, actually listened to the actual Japanese dialogue and suddenly it all made sense!

Stick to it

sticky note 1One method I use is to put up sticky notes around my bedroom and office space that have words in Japanese and/or Korean that have pictures to describe what the word or phrase means! I don’t put a single word of English on it so that I learn to recognise and appreciate it in that language. It’s a bit like pictionary, if you think about it!

sticky note 2Try to leave sticky notes or flashcards around for yourself so you learn to recognise them with ease. If you’re feeling tricky as you boost the difficulty, perhaps write a description of what the word or phrase means IN the language you’re learning. If you have friends who speak that language fluently, get them to write some of the words and answers for you so that 1) you can’t cheat (because, if you wrote it, you might remember it) and 2) you’ll know for sure that it’s right!

Read it and weep (or don’t weep)

Try buying a book in the language of your choice. Try reading a bit of it from time to time and see how much of it you understand or just try to look at the grammar and sentence structure to get a better understanding of that. Reading an original book in the language will give you a good feeling for how it is consumed on a day-to-day basis and help you really immerse yourself. Don’t worry if the book makes absolutely NO sense to begin with, just keep studying and soon enough you’ll start to pick stuff up.
I bought myself a book of Korean poetry (which was a difficult first choice) and I’m finding with time that I can pick out more and more that I understand. I’ve got a long way to go, but it really helps to have that as a marker of where I’m up to!

Take it social

Again, the more you immerse yourself the more comfortable around the language you will become. I try to make myself unescapably surrounded by all of the languages I am trying to learn – and that includes online too!
On Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I try my best to keep my exposure to language high. I’ll follow Korean and Japanese people on Instagram and Twitter and try my best to read their messages. Interacting with people is great because it’s a perfect opportunity to test your written knowledge and try have a chat with people.
(Of course, always be careful of who you talk to online. There are creeps everywhere and in every language, so always use your common sense when talking to strangers)
I always keep my ‘Trending Topics’ bar on Twitter set to either Japanese or Korean and I’ll make sure that every time I check Twitter that I am reading every trending topic.
On Facebook, I follow the Korean Huffinton Post, Korean stores like G Market and Retrip (a Japanese online magazine) which is great for a casual glance over the news and makes a nice buffer between quizzes and stressed-out revision statuses!

Listen up

Listening to audiobooks, like reading, gives you a subtitle-free and pure exposure to a text but also has the added benefit of being able to hear clear pronunciation, often totally uninterrupted by noisy surroundings or music that you would find in at TV show or movie.
There is a huge wealth of audiobooks available online, so have a look around and have a listen!
I’m currently listening to the Korean radio play adaptation of Don Quichotte by SBS that is available to listen to on Youtube!

I hope this piece is helpful to you! If you have any questions, please share them in the comments or over on Facebook or Twitter! Xx

K-Drama and Actor Names in Korean

It’s great being a foreign consumer of Korean dramas. We get the benefit of having an outsider appreciation for them and can enjoy the community of people to whom these shows are a luxury, not just everyday viewing that can be taken for granted. As an outside consumer, you get the experience of getting to fully appreciate these programs as new and exciting, where often Koreans see shows like this all the time and they aren’t all that special. We get a whole new angle of appreciation, much like foreign viewers of our television shows find them much more exciting than us.

However, it can hinder our appreciation to not know the name of a show or an actor, especially when you are talking to a Korean friend who may not know the English title of the drama you’re discussing. It also comes in handy when writing to know the Hangul for an actor or show – or, if you can’t type it in Korean, you can copy+paste it from here ;).
If you are interested in learning to type Hangul, I’ve done a piece of adding keyboards on Windows and you can also buy hangul stickers to add you to your keyboard to help you type faster:

Drama Titles

Secret Garden – 시크릿 가든
Heirs (The Inheritors) – 상속자들
(The First Shop Of) Coffee Prince – 커피 프린스 1호점
Boys Over Flowers – 꽃보다 남자
My Love From Another Star – 별에서 온 그대
City Hunter – 시티헌터
Sweden Laundry – 스웨덴 세탁소
Healer – 힐러
Kill me, Heal me – 킬미, 힐미
Doctor Stranger – 닥터 이방인
Tomorrow Cantabile – 내일도 칸타빌레
The Great Doctor (or Faith) – 신의
She’s So Lovable (or My Lovable Girl) – 내겐 너무 사랑스러운 그녀
Fun fact: Google Translate thinks that ‘내겐 너무 사랑스러운 그녀’ means ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ which is a 2007 film starring Ryan Gosling, about a man who falls in love with a life size woman doll! You can get it on DVD on Amazon:

Anyway, moving back along!
Reply 1997 – 응답하라 1997
Good Doctor – 굿 닥터
Rooftop Prince – 옥탑방 왕세자
You’re Beautiful – 미남이시네요
School 2013 – 학교 2013

Iris – 아이리스
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop – 꽃미남 라면가게
To The Beautiful You – 아름다운 그대에게
Personal Taste – 개인의 취향
Emergency Couple – 응급남녀

You may notice that a few of these titles are actually the English words written in Hangul, such as “Good Doctor” and “Secret Garden”. That’s quite common to find in Korean dramas, though I’m not too sure why!

Now, knowing Korean actor’s names comes in very handy, especially when trying to look up accurate filmographies and interviews. Here is a list of just some of the names that you may need to know (If I happen to miss someone you want to know, just ask in the comments or on Facebook)

Lee Min ho – 이민호
Kim Soo Hyun – 김수현
Park Shin hye – 박신혜
Kim Woo Bin – 김우빈
Jun Ji Hyun – 전지현
T.O.P (Choi Seung Hyun) – 최승현
Park Min Young – 박민영
Hyun Bin – 현빈
Suzy – 수지
Lee Jong Suk – 이종석
Ha Ji Won – 하지원
Sandara Park – 박산다라
Song Joong Ki – 송중기
Park Yoo Chun – 박유천
Gong Yoo – 공유

You may notice as you learn more Korean that the Romanized spellings of some Korean names don’t fully match the original. This is, again, another example of how relying on romanizaion can hold back your progress and do more harm than good. It’s best to try to learn hangul as soon as you can as it will help your progress with the language all around. I actually found it really helpful to read Korean names as a way to practice my hangul and pronunciation.

I hope you enjoyed this piece! If you have any comments or questions please share them in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter! Xx

Being Kind On Your Own Terms

I’m lucky enough in my life to be surrounded by wise and kind people. Just the other night I was talking to my best friend over in Japan about some difficulties I am going through in my personal life and I was stunned by the wisdom in the words she was speaking. I am also thrown by the amazing support and generous praise I get from some of the dedicated readers of this website.

My life is rich with such monumental kindness and that is a blessing.
But it has one problem

I say a problem because being surrounded by loving, kind and helpful people often comes with the price of seeing them, and also being, taken advantage of. People often say that the kindest people are the first to get burned as they are “easy targets” for cruel or greedy people.
Very often this is only true because in life we are not taught how to be a generous person as a habit practiced in ways that don’t compromise ourselves and, while some people can actively try to take advantage of you, most people just don’t know when they have had enough or they lack the empathy to understand your needs and your responsibility to yourself. It is often just an absence of consideration that leads them down that slippery slope and most of the time these acts are pretty harmless, but they can just wear the giver thin and make the grounds of friendship unstable if over-done.

Think about the way you operate with the people you care for. Do you repeatedly go way out of your own way (changing plans, going lengths to accommodate the other, giving as much time as you can, being on call 24/7, giving all your free time to them) for them? I know those seem like pretty normal things to do, but they can develop into more extreme gestures, such as giving of money, excessive gifts, etc.
Always be aware in your relationships of the dynamic you are working by. In the past, I have found myself practically swearing servitude to my friends because I was too eager to please them, trying to impress them or prove something. Do you know how much respect it earnt me? None.
There have also been times where I have given every bit of my free time to hang out with a friend, talk to them for hours and still spend every minute of the free time apart talking to them or feeling like I had to talk to them because they had some high expectations from me or I felt I had to do that in order to be a good person.

So how can to make sure that you are a kind person to those around you whilst ensuring that you are not geting taken advantage of? By being kind on your own terms!
Here are a few points to consider:

Your definition of friendship

What is our definition of friendship? Think about this as clearly as you can. For me, the definition is:

“A person or persons whom I care for, who care for me in equal measure and with whom I share a meaningful, mutually desired relationship.”

All of the phrasing, down to the word, has been carefully considered to make it as clear and accurate of my feeling as possible.
So what distincts requirements are there?
1) “A person or persons whom I care for, who cares for me[…]” Well, both parties have to care for each other – I can’t have a friend I don’t care for or who doesn’t care for me;
2) “[…] in equal measure […]” It has to be balanced. In equal measure means that one person can’t just like the other a little while the other absolutely adores them, that isn’t a fair friendship.
3) “[…] with whom I share a meaningful […] relationship[…] Sharing a meaningful relationship is important because I have had too many friendships that are based on flat meanings, formed on gossip, reliance or just proximity. The best friendships are a bonding of two hearts – as powerful as a romantic relationship and just as meaningful.
4) “[…] mutually desired relationship […]” one of the most important, a mutual agreement – not necessarily spoken – that you both consider each other friends, and for more reason than guilt, being set up as friends by another or any reason other than you work well together.
Remember also that friendship can also apply in your family.

Being clear on your needs and expectations of friendship is important to ensuring you are in relationships that work for you.

Watch yourself

Do you behave normally around these people? Or do you act differently? To a degree, everyone does act slightly differently depending on who they are around, but watch to see just how differently you act depending on your company.
Will you jump to help people at any opportunity even though it’s very out of your way or a lot of effort? Listen to them whining and gossiping for hours on end when you aren’t really enjoying it? Do you make them the victim or the “good guy” in every problem they are involved in, even if it doesn’t seem entirely that way? Will you buy them stuff and insist that they don’t pay you back and hope that they will like you even more for it?
Keep a close eye on your behaviour around people to make sure you aren’t making yourself out to be a sap who will bend over backwards all the time. Sure, going above and beyond for your friends when they need you is what good friends do, but you can’t expect to carry the world on your shoulders, solve all their problems and act completely blindly when it comes to your own needs.

Being a good friend to you

Being a good friend to others is great but – just like the old saying “you have to love yourself before others can truly love you” – you have to treat yourself as a close friend first. Be conscious and respectful of your own needs – need for space, for nutrition, for saving, for goals, for work, for family – and don’t let people make you feel bad for caring for yourself.
When I work hard, I am constantly told “Don’t work too much, because you’ll be no use to anyone if you burn yourself out” and that applies to so many areas of life. How can you expect to be a good friend to others when you are neglecting the one person in this world you have direct control and influence over?
You must take care of yourself before you try to take care of others, because if you are not fulfilling the needs in your life, then your efforts to help your friends will not even go as far as they might when you are well cared for, healthy and stable. Don’t burn out trying to keep feeding everyone else’s flames.

Don’t be afraid of loss

Being good to yourself and putting your needs first may not always go down great with others who would rather they were the centre of your universe. Fear not. Keep going on that path and let them decide how they’re going to take this development. It is wrong of anyone to expect you to live and give everything for them, so don’t encourage that kind of behaviour. If they are so offended and annoyed by you being good to yourself that they don’t want to be in your life anymore, then they weren’t doing any good in your life in the first place – let them make that choice, because prioritising your mental and emotional wellfare is not open for negotiation.

Got your back

When you are up and ready to have your friend’s back, do you have the same feeling that they are there for you too? Have they ever jumped in to help you when you’ve been in trouble?
Looking out for people is easy to some but like eating lead for others. Some have to actually consciously make a huge amount of effort to even try and be there for people. There is nothing wrong with that – everyone is different and at least they are trying. But you should know there is a problem when your friend doesn’t even think to consider having your back.
When times are tough, do you find youself caring and helping your friends as much as possible, but finding yourself feeling neglected and unsupported by those same friends when the bad times fall on you? Where are they? Do they suddenly have very important stuff to be doing, like the stuff you dropped in a heartbeat to be there for them?
I have been a friend to many people who have not been there for me to the same level, but who still expected me to be there for them when they needed me. It really does suck to feel like a tool and that is not a feeling or role you have to put up with.
If you spend your time, energy and money on being there for people, looking out for them and coming to their aid when times get tough, you should probably have a good think about your friendship if they aren’t prepared to do the same thing for you.

Your thing is your thing

There are some friends who want you to be around them at every free opportunity. They expect you to go out for food with them, hang out for hours, chat for ages on facebook and generally just give them a ton of attention, but the moment you take time for yourself, your family or work, they would suddenly accuse you of avoiding them, not valuing them or not being a great friend.
Now, I know a TON of people who this happens to and it’s possibly the easiest one to spot because, while the others can be subtler or less common, this issue is visible in many examples around us (like ‘Over-attached girlfriend’ memes online) and it is a show of blatant selfishness, something people are quite good at spotting, generally.
In situations like this, where people are making it hard for you to provide yourself with what you need, I always like to thing of the film The Holiday. Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, is speaking with her older and very wise friend Arthur, played by the late Eli Wallach, about the current issue she is having with a man. To this, Arthur says “In the movies, there are two kinds of female character. You have the leading lady and you have the best friend. You, Iris, you’re a leading lady, but you’re acting like the best friend!” to which Iris realises “Everyone should be the leading lady of their own life” a message that I wish more people realised. If you aren’t the lead in your own life, then who’s life are you living?
In reality, your biggest priority in life should be your happiness and your health – both mental and physical. That means that your work and your family are likely very important and you need to maintain their health and comfort. For most of us, no job equals no food (making that a definite must) and your family, providing you are involved with them, require support, love and a decent amount of your time. A demanding friend may say to you “You don’t HAVE to go to work, you are just choosing to abandon me” or “Why are your family always more important. You will chose them over me?!” but really they have no place judging your priorities like that. It’s your choice where you put your time and energy, of which we all have a limited amount, and there are some things that we MUST do, even if we are physically able not to.
If a friend is trying to pull you away from any of your personal pursuits, your work or your commitment to your family, consider how their attitude of those things reflect on their overall respect for you. Can they care about you or respect you that much if they’re trying to alter your priorities away from things you value?

Always remember that friendship, like a relationship, is a two person game. If someone doesn’t like the game anymore, they have every right to stop playing and move on. You have no obligation to stay friends with someone whom you do not like or have drifted apart from. The choice is always yours. As they say, it takes two to tango.

Make It Count

We always seem to forget that without our health and our lives in good shape, we cannot deliver 100% on the things we aim to do. If you are bending over backwards to help people but damaging your health for it, then that means your efforts aren’t going as far as they would otherwise.
It may seem a bit backwards, but taking care of yourself as a top priority means that you will be in a better shape to deliver on your giving. This means, taking a step back when you need to, having space and time to pursue your own life and emotional goals and a guilt-free dedication to your health.
Don’t be afraid to be there for yourself when you need to be.
I hope really hope this has been helpful to you. If you have any comments or questions, please share them in the comment section below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter! Xx