1.31.2016

Foodies' Fun

1.31.2016
I know you are thinking the same thing as me, how the heck has January already come to an end? It is crazy how fast these things go. As a result this Foodies' Fun is going to be a short one. Simply because I did not  manage to take a lot of photos that were food-related. A nice change after those lenghty 2015 Favourites posts, wouldn't you say?


This month I have had the pleasure to grab lunch twice at Bagels & Beans. Once in Heerlen and the week after in Amersfoort. I love the food here, it is delicious. I am a huge fan of bagels, but was always looking at some of the other items on the menu such as the superfood yoghurt bowl you see above. Man, it was good.


The photo might not seem as appetizing as the previous one, but you can just never go wrong with rice and soup. Its one of those easy to make comfort meals for the colder months. The star of the show however, is the little muffin-shaped ensemble on top of the dish. A little concoction by my mom, a delicious savoury muffin, including feta and zucchini. The dollop of crème fraîche on top just finishes it off perfectly. I need that recipe!


Sushi! Just look at all that amazing sushi. I never had spicy sushi and the ones here on the right corner at the bottom had chili flakes all around the outside. It was great (and I want more).

Hmm, I suppose that was already it. I will say that I had some couscous  from the AH at the station on my traintrip to Hozier at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam - and boy, was it nice and fresh. I took a photo with the list of ingredients because I for sure want to make this at home. Interested in seeing if my Monthly Music has more in store? Check back tomorrow!

Xx

1.24.2016

2015 Favourites: Lifestyle

1.24.2016
Hello! Welcome to the second part of my favourites of 2015. If you want to see part one - all about makeup and a bit of skincare - then click here. In this part of my favourites I compile all the other favourites that are not beauty-related, from TV Series and films, to books, food, and gadgets. Get ready because here comes another lenghty one...


TV Series. Let's start with shows that got me hooked in 2015. Two brand new series and two older ones - though new to me - who sadly have not been continued yet. Marvel's Agent Carter was aired at the beginning of 2015 and is a great spin-off TV series of Captain America, surrounding the character Peggy Carter and her adventures. It's nice to see a female taking the lead in a man's world at the Strategic Scientific Reserve. From a bad-ass action-packed series to a very different kind of show, In The Flesh was aired on the BBC in 2013 and after two seasons was forced to end due to the BBC Three being cut from the BBC as a televised channel. The show centers on the life of the reanimated teenager Kieran Walker and his return to his local community after a zombie apocalypse known as "The Rising". Now, you may think, wow that is a very strange concept, but this quite different take on the idea of a zombie apocalypse illustrates and contests a lot of different topics concerning human beings and dealing with "otherness." Staying more or less on the supernatural side of things, I have also enjoyed watching Sense8, a Netflix original series that started its first season in 2015. Sense8 (a play on the word sensate) depicts the journey of eight individuals, living their singular lives in different parts of the world who after a tragic event become emotionally and mentally linked. Besides tackling a variety of serious topics, the show inherently shows that we are essentially all linked to one another. Lastly, there is Broadchurch, a show that was first aired in 2013 and so far has two seasons with a third season on its way. Broadchurch follows the discovery of the murder of an eleven-year old boy in a small town and the impact on the community and relations between the inhabitants. Looking back, I sure was interested in a lot of TV series with the same kind of idea. Oh well...


Films. I must admit, I am more of a episode kind of person rather than a one-time film kind of person as is clearly visible on my Trakt.tv account where I keep track of what I watched and still want to watch. That being said, there are a couple of films I have seen in the last year that I want to mention. Starting with the most recent one I have seen in the cinema - Crimson Peak. Preparing myself completely on this supposed "horror" film (and almost deciding not to go based on that genre-type) it really was not horror at all. Yes, the moments with the ghosts were sometimes gruesome and quite unnerving, but, as it turned out, *spoiler* were merely the victims. The level of details were amazing and the gothic romance was something I really liked seeing. From a gothic romance to a romantic comedy Love, Rosie (2014) is one of those easy-to-watch kind of film where you know are just going to end with a happy ending. A feel-good film about two friends who are clearly into eachother but as life would have it not at the right time and place. Another fun to watch film was The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), centered on the clash between two restaurants, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a new Indian restaurant that opened across the street. Focusing on a more serious film, I also saw The Book Thief (2013, released in 2014 in the Netherlands). This war drama film uses Death as the narrator of the story and centers on the life and experiences of a little girl called Liesel. I really want to read the book this film was based on as the film was very interesting to watch. From a war drama series to an animated film that I just had to mention because Big Hero 6 (2014., released in 2015 in the Netherlands). Now, you might possibly think why not include Inside Out as my animated film of 2015? Well, I haven't seen it yet. Shame on me, I know. It is on the list, trust me. But come on, Big Hero 6. Love that robot is all I am going to say. Okay, okay, ending this segment of 2015 favourites with a grown-up film, The Imitation Game (2014, 2015 in NL). Firstly, the plot of the film was very interesting to me. I have heard of decrypting German intelligence codes during the Second World War, but I did not know much about it, and as such the story intrigued me. Not going to lie, Benedict Cumberbatch as leading role also peaked my interest because I really like his acting. Besides showing the process of the project, I also really admired the fact that standards of society were laid bare concerning homosexuality and women.


Books. Although I commited to a Goodreads Reading Challenge that I completely failed - I raised the bar way too high for myself and should just stick to setting a max of five books to read a year - there are two books I want to mention that I really liked reading during 2015. Up first is The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. Think one big operating library serving as the world's biggest archive through time and space, stolen books, librarians as secret agents, and different realities. As I was looking this book up I saw that it is being made into a series, so I cannot wait to read more. Secondly, I enjoyed reading Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnust Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. This was a very amusing book to read. This comedy about the end of times and all its characters is a brilliant read. A big thanks to my friend Esther for gifting it to me.

Gadgets. Gadget-wise I only have one thing that surely will not come as a suprise. 2015 was the year I finally managed to get my hands on an actual camera, the Sony Nex-3N. This compact bridge-camera has been my best blogger friend and I have been taking it everywhere with me. It sparked a lot more ideas for my blog and I bet will continue to do so. In addition I now also have a tripod and a daylight LED so that I am able to take pictures when the lighting is not ideal. Still trying to figure out how to work the LED to my best advantage, but the camera is a big love. Nice and compact, smaller than my phone once the lens is off - yes, the lens is interchangeable which is a big plus. Who knows, the big purchase of 2016 might be a new lens.

Music. Hmm, let me have a look at my Monthly Music posts. In case you are new to the blog, these are my monthly posts where I compile a playlist of what I have been listening throughout the month that has gone by. Bastille released Bastille vs. (Other People's Heartache III) at the end of 2014 and naturally this EP was my pretty much my jam the first half of 2015. I am very excited to hear the new album that is being released this year and hopefully will be able to attend a concert once they decide to start touring again. Troye Sivan and his album TRXYE as well as WILD which was released in the later half of the year was also music I enjoyed listening to quite a lot. Then there was the new album by Imagine Dragons, Smoke + Mirrors, and in particular the song Dreams of the album that I just kept listening to over and over again. Thanks to my friend Aranka for notifying me about their new album. I also have to mention Years&Years whose concert I attended in November of 2015. Still trying to learn how to play Eyes Shut on my keyboard and I almost got it. What else do we have...a lot of artists that I am starting to listen more of after hearing a song of them on YouTube channels such as TheMichalaks, Fancy Melancholic, Mahogany Sessions, Distiller Music, 3ème Gauche, and Tenement TV.  Aside from the first being a vlogging channel, all others are music channels that offer just the kind of music I am really into these days. There are also the new albums by Panic! At The Disco and Florence + The Machine, but also artists such as RHODES - who will be opening the concert by Hozier who I am going to see tomorow - that I continue to love, CHVRCHES, Sia, and SAVEUS who I discovered at the end of 2015 and hope to hear more from this year. 


Food and Drinks. Wow, there surely is a lot to read. Are you still here? I will try to whiz through this last bit. In 2015 I was introduced to Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime tea which is decaf green tea with lemon and jasmine. Whenever I am close to hitting mey bed and have to many thoughts swirling around, I like to sit back and enjoy this cup of tea to calm me down. Not sure if it actually makes me fall asleep faster, but is sure has a calming effect. A silly bonus that probably no one finds special is that it comes in tea bags that have no string which I never had before. I suppose that's about it when it comes to beverages that were new and became a favourite. Food-wise I have gotten really into sweet potato. Whether mashed, cooked, or baked, I just love the taste and texture of it. Another thing that I had quite a lot of looking back on my Foodies' Fun posts throughout the year - a monthly recap where I share some dishes I have had in the passed month - were mussels. I mentioned it in a previous post, but when it came to seafood growing up mussels were are big no go for me. Something about the texture and especially the strange taste that just put me off. Even when I had to try some every now and then at the dinner table I always remember dousing it in whatever sauce was near me just to not feel it in my mouth. That surely has changed as mussels in 2015 were a favourite dish I could not get enough of. I am glad I developed my taste to finally be able to enjoy this as well. That year also went hand in hand with a lot of trips to Aachen (it was not as far to travel to as I thought and I wish I knew that sooner) and when it comes to food that rings just one thing for me, soft pretzels. From a plain pretzel just made at the Christmas market to the herb and creamy butter filled soft pretzels that you can get at the station. I love it. Going more towards the snacks and sweets and so on, popcorn was definitely the thing I tried the most. Chocolate and pecan, sweet and salty, chili and lime...do I  need to say more? 2015 was also the year of food truck festivals. Something a foodie like me is very excited about and I do hope to visit some again this year.

Concluding the annual favourites posts and wow that was a lot more text than anticipated. Well done if you made it to the end of this rambly post. I do start to believe that these kinds of posts are better suited in a video-format as you can just present things in between and talk about it at the same time, showing details and give more in-depth information if required. If I were to do that with every item I mentioned in both posts it would be an even longer read and it seems to me that the kind of blogs like mine are always quick to the point not to lose interest of the audience. What do you think? Do you like a rambly post every once in a while? 2016 means a new blogging year ahead, so share your thoughts and ideas of what you would like to see me talk about.

Xx

1.17.2016

2015 Favourites: Makeup & Skincare

1.17.2016
For someone who likes makeup, I am not the kind of person and blogger who is able to have new favourites each month. Simply, because I do not have that big of a collection, but mostly because I do not rotate the products that I have so much throughout the year. What works well for me, sticks with me for a long time as is visible in the annual favourites I posted at the beginning of last year and the year before that. The first time I did an annual favourites I had no idea what I was doing, and literally posted everything that was a favourite of mine, resulting in four posts across the entire month of January. This year, I have decided to leave all the favourites behind that I featured in the last two years. These products to this day are still my favourites, so if you are interested in seeing them, then just click on the links for a full overview. So besides all those items, let's have a look at what amazing products made it to my favourites of 2015.


Starting right at the base of the base complexion products, there is the Max & More Concealing Face Primer that I got from the knick knack shop Action. Normally, I would pick a primer that gives me a matte base to battle my combination to oily skin, but this inexpensive primer just added life when my skin felt a bit dull. I discovered and used this primer in the second half of 2015 and have used it until I couldn't get any more product out of the glass bottle. Not very travel-friendly, but the effect it has on my skin is nice. Before using this, I have gotten plenty of usage of the Catrice Prime and Fine Pore Refining and Anti-Shine Base which is my typical primer directed at mattyfying the skin. I did a bad job at rearranging my products in a logical order, but let's just move from left to right, shall we? Up next, the last step in my makeup routine, makeup setting sprays. Setting my makeup is a step I used now and then in 2014, but has become a staple in 2015. Throughout 2015 I have loved the P2 Perfect Face Prep + Fix Spray from the DM in Aachen, but trying to find something a bit closer to home, I also tried the Etos Make-Up Fixing Spray. The latter, is just as nice as the former, but the nozzle doesn't work as smoothly as you would expect which is too bad. Oh and what do we see? Yes, not one but two face products to even out the skin. On the left, the 3 in 1 Skin Tone Adapting Make Up by Catrice which is basically a CC Cream. I came across this one in a pile of makeup near the cash register of the drugstore, which meant it was being discontinued. I really hope, Catrice will release something with the same formula in the Spring/Summer because I really love using it. Same, as the Concealing Primer, it adds life on the days my skin feels dull. It is a CC cream, a tinted moisturizer and therefore not much of a coverage, but then again I never really liked that type of thing. Emphasis on liked, because on the other end of the spectrum we have the L'Oréal Infallible 24H-Matte Foundation in 24 Golden Beige. This medium coverage foundation leaves my face matte the longest, but doesn't look flat. I think I finally found a foundation that I really like. 

For blusher, I have been loving the Alverde blusher in 03 Pretty Terra, a lovely deeper blusher shade to complement my complexion. As for contouring and highlighting - the latter being something that I really got into in 2015 as well - I used and still use the Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light. However, when we get into Autumn and Winter, the contour shade in this kit can be a bit too dark so I've been using the Maybelline Master Sculpt in 02 Medium to Dark. Before talking about the makeup brushes that I have added to my collection, let's finish the base makeup products. Now, I know I only recently got this, but the H&M compact (powder) foundation in the shade Olive was quickly added to my daily makeup bag. It sets my undereye concealer nicely and just works really well for me when I want to add a bit of colour and the slightest evening out of my skintone on a daily basis. As for that undereye concealer I have been talking about? That prize goes to the Maybelline Fit Me concealer in shade 25. I love this product. Nice and creamy, and in a shade that suits me. Besides the Fit Me concealer, I have been loving - to the same degree - the L'Oréal True Match Crayon concealer in 30 Beige to cover imperfections and redness on my face. 

Viewing the photo above, I notice I forgot to add one more makeup brush that has been an absolute perfect tool for blending my concealer - the concealer brush by Ebelin at DM. That out of the way, there are two other brushes that nowadays I cannot apply my makeup without. First, the HEMA 04 Blusher brush that I use to blend in my overall base product (when I use it) such as BB Cream, CC cream, foundation, but also the H&M powder foundation. HEMA and its brushes proved successful as I also added two of their double-ended eyeshadow brushes that you will see in the next shot, but more importantly I have been using the 159 contour blusher brush for contouring. 



Uh oh, this post is a lengthy one, but we have arrived at the eye and lip section. Mascara-wise, I opted for Maybelline Volum'Express Turbo Boost Waterproof mascara. A more classic bristle brush that holds the curl, is black, and lengthens my lashes. For eyeshadow, I have frequently used the KIKO Long Lasting Eyeshadow Sticks that I got from the store in Lille on my roadtrip with friends during the summer vacation. My most used shades? 04 Golden Chocolate and 39 Dark Taupe. To make my eyes seem more awake, I lined my waterline almost every day with the Catrice Longlasting Eye Pencil Waterproof in 100 Pearly Bird. To apply eyeshadow or to smudge out the eyeshadow sticks by KIKO, I have been using two double-ended eyeshadow brushes by HEMA - the 259 Eyes brush and the 256 Eyeshadow Brush and Smudge brush. I do not know why I have not gotten brushes from this brand sooner, they are simply amazing.

Arriving at my favourite topic when it comes to makeup: lips. My introduction to KIKO at the store in Lille was an immediate hit. Next to the eyeshadow sticks I have been loving the Velvet Mat - Satin Lipstick, and of the three I own, 611 Autumn Pink is my fave.  A more out of my comfort zone kind of shade is Be My Baby by Topshop. Finally getting my hands on more Topshop lipsticks, I also managed to get my hands on two lipsticks by No7 and both have become favourites of 2015. The Stay Perfect Lipstick in Grace and the Moisture Drench Lipstick in Chic whilst both with a complete different finish and colour, are products I continuously reached out for last year. Last, but certainly not least there are the Maybelline Color Drama lip pencils. The shades 110 Pink So Chic and 310 Berry Much have been joined by 210 Keep It Classy which shows how much I adore these lipsticks in pencil form.


All the makeup products aside, there really are only two additional products in the items of beauty-related favourites that I want to mention in this post and staple as 2015 favourites. Both happen to be skincare products. On the left, the Beauty Effect Eye & Lip Serum by Balea at DM. My initial thought into getting this product a couple of months ago was to simply dabble into the serums. Once applied, it sinks quickly into the skin and I can feel my skin tighten up a bit. I have mainly been using it for under the eyes, but I can also be used on the lips. During that same shopping spree I wanted to get a more luxurious feeling night cream to battle the colder months that I thought would come at that time. The colder weather didn't happen until now, but I couldn't know that, now could I? And surely, a thicker and more luxurious feeling night cream was found - the L'Oréal Hydra Active 3 Night Cream. This is a good quality cream, and although it takes a bit longer to sink in the skin, the results in the morning are great. Say hello to soft and nourished skin.


I cannot believe it, but you have managed to reach the end of this post! As you can see, there are no favourite hair products mentioned, but I am thinking of maybe sharing a hair care routine for my dyed hair if anyone is interested. Next week there'll be a part two of the 2015 favourites centered on all things non-beauty. From food and beverages, to music, films, TV Series, and gadgets.

Xx

1.10.2016

Christmas & Birthday Gifts

1.10.2016
Hello there again, I hope you have had a wonderful first week in the new year. About two weeks ago I posted my gift guide where I basically just showed you all the gifts that I got for everyone for Christmas as I did the year before. Posting something like this is always a bit tricky, knowing that some of the family members read my blog now and then, but on Christmas Eve everyone only gave honest looks of surprise. Naturally, I also received some amazing gifts in return and since my birthday is on the 26th of December, I am going to include the gifts I got for that as well. A little disclaimer, this post is by no means a post to brag about what I got. I know I am very lucky to be able to receive these things, but it might give you an idea on what to gift someone. Besides, my blog is my online scrapbook and I know someday I will look back upon this and see how fortunate I was to receive all of this. Okay, boring disclaimer bit over.



Beginning with the items I received on Christmas Eve - our traditional evening to open all the Christmas presents as opposed to Christmas morning. My parents got me this very useful bag - I was in need of a new one as the straps of my well-loved bag that I used then are slowly but surely getting torn - and I still remember the sneaky moment when my mom got it in she shop (NewYorker) when I was looking at clothing on the upper floor. Next to a bag that I am currently using every day, I did not just got one, but two CDs. I've seen Years and Years at Klokgebouw in Eindhoven with my sister back in November, but did not have the CD yet, and the same goes for Hozier who I will be seeing somewhere at the end of this month. As a little extra, I also received a nice big mug and a box of white tea sachets. I already have way to many mugs - I can count eight in my bedroom alone that I use to keep makeup and pens in - but I can never complain when a nice new mug is added to my expansive collection.

Now, my brother was a little bit lost and so I gave him some ideas on what I would be interested in. One item on this list was a good quality rain suit (HEMA). An item that you know you need (if you often use a bike as your manner of transport) but just cannot be bothered to get for yourself. It's safe to say, I was very happy when I unwrapped my Christmas present and saw that I finally got something to wear on the rainy days that I know I have to battle on a bicycle.

The last few items I received from my sister and her boyfriend. Next to a nice KIKO Milano eyeshadow in 124 Pearly Dark Dove Gray (why do the names not show up on the KIKO packaging, just the numbers) I also got a great green clay mask (De Tuinen) that I have used twice now and it is the most effective clay mask I have used so far. On top of this they also got me one of those fun activity books with little assignments to keep anecdotes and so forth in called "Write Here Write Now" by Nicole LaRue and Naomi Davis Lee.



Moving on to the items I got for my birthday. My parents did not know what to get me, so I could freely choose what I wanted. I have been looking into getting a daylight-type light for my camera for a couple of months now. Seeing as I do live in the Netherlands and especially during this season there is hardly enough daylight to shoot photos for my blog whenever I want, I started searching online. There was only one big downside. No matter how much I love my camera and still cannot believe I actually got one, I soon realized it did not come with one of those "hot shoe" inserts on top of my camera to attach a flash or in thise case a daylight onto. When my parents said I could decide what to get for my birthday it was the first thing that came to mind. Fortunately, there is a professional photography shop in the city nearby, and I was delighted to hear there was a solution to my problem. Let me introduce you to the LUMIE Art High Power LED light by Manfrotto which I was able to connect to my camera with the addition of a Camera Holding Bracket by Falcon Eyes. It looks a bit funky, but it holds everything in place and I am still able to attach a tripod underneath it which is great. It might be small, but greatly compatible with a system camera and a nice budget option. I still need to work my way around it, but I have taken some shots to test out in the last couple of weeks and it is a great addition to my camera.



Remember a few years back, when I received quite a few owl-related gifts? Well, this year was no exception. My sister and her boyfriend got me these owl bookstands, and although I am not able to use them now, I know they will come in good use whenever I move out and  get my own place. My sister even painted the bookstands herself as her boyfriend used the blow dryer to quicken the process. I would have been happy with just receiving those two little owls from them, but they also added a nicely scented room spray and a couple of booklets with recipes using superfood (one tuned to seasonal products and one with recipes using steam). Items like these are always useful, as was the money my brother gave me - a simple but always handy gift to receive.

Xx

1.04.2016

Monthly Music

1.04.2016


The round-up of the month December in music. Here's what I listened to the most at the end of 2015:

Bastille ft. Erika - Sweet Pompeii
RHODES - Raise Your Love
Imagine Dragons - Hopeless Opus
Explosions in the Sky - Let Me Back In
US Royalty - Keep It Cool
Sam Pinkerton - Stay Here
Tom Rosenthal - I Want You In My Dreams
FOALS - Mountain At My Gates

I look forward to see what new music I am to discover in this new year!

Xx

1.03.2016

Foodies' Fun

1.03.2016
Hello again, and welcome to a new Foodies' Fun - a monthly post where I recap on some of the food I had in the month that passed for all the food lovers out there like me. December is the festive season and with Christmas, otherwise known as the 72-hour food coma, there sure were some amazing and delicious dishes in the month that I will share with you and at the same time save for me for when I need some food inspiration in the future.


My mom and I kicked the month off with a couple of days where we felt like baking. This particular photo resulted from an afternoon of baking and includes a lot of baked goods with apple such as the apple and biscuit cake, and the deep-fried apple dough balls.


Even though it still does not feel like Winter outside, it does not mean we cannot have seasonal dishes. A traditional dish with a twist, potatoes - not mashed but fried - smoked sausage, and peas.


An even better thing that having a friture - a takeaway that sells fries and the accompanied snacks - a couple doors away from your house? Having a friture that also offers a good selection of Chinese takeaway dishes.


On a relaxed evening in I just craved a hot chocolate and when I found out that there were still strawberries left in the fridge I could not resist.


Yes, that is another green cake otherwise known as pandan cake. I told you I had been baking a couple of times during the  month. The star of this dinner however are the pesto mozzarella cheese balls. I intended to make these for the Halloween party, but time did not permit me to make these in time. Funnily enough my sister shared this recipe with my mom and she made it. Very easy to make and oh so good.


And so we have arrived at Christmas Eve. A bit of a staple, but we always have one evening with Christmas where we raclette. To balance all the meat and fish that we cook ourselves at the dinner table there is also an arrangement of different veggies that can be added to the raclette as well as salads, bread, fries, and fruit. There is something for everyone!


As you can see, the fruit was a favourite during dinner as their is hardly aything left. Christmas Eve cannot be spent without having some Christmas cookies. Just look at those cute gingerbread men.


We open our presents on Christmas Eve and this means Christmas Day starts with a nice sleep in for everyone in the household. Once everyone is up and somewhat awake we had a delicious breakfast feast that gave me a pretty bad food coma afterwards. Back to the zzz...


Hours passed by and in the evening we had dinner at an Italian restaurant. For me, a part seafood and part veggies and feta cheese pizza which was amazing. When the clock struck midnight it was the 26th, my birthday, that was celebrated with a deluxe rijstevlaai and the twenty-four candles to blow out beforehand.


The 26th is known as Second Christmas Day here in the Netherlands and therefore double festivities on this day as it's also my birthday. My sister came up with the idea of having three courses that would be prepared by different family members. And so we have the salmon and shrimp cocktail by my brother...


To the main course prepared by my mother made of mashed potatoes and sweet bell peppers, roast beef, and chicken roulade as centre pieces...


And a what my sister and her boyfriend state as a traditional American pie with blueberries. All were exquisite.


As if that was not enough, my sister and her boyfriend decided to also prepare dinner on New Years Eve which existed of a nice fresh salad, zucchini soup, and two different bechamel-based lasagnas.

And that concludes the end of December. It was a pretty lengthy one, but there are not that many opportunities to share the exuberant dishes as can be experienced in such a festive month. My applause to you if you have managed to reach the end of this post (without being hungry)!

Xx

1.01.2016

Ringing In The New Year

1.01.2016
Happy New Year! 

Did you have a nice lie in after a great party? Did you see some amazing fireworks? In whatever way you have celebrated the new year, I hope you have had a great time. My day started off with work until four o'clock followed by a lovely dinner served by my sister and her boyfriend, and a fun night in with friends. Tiredness on different levels is felt in our home, but then again a lazy day is nice to have every now and then. As I am pondering on what I fancy to have for dinner, I thought about making this little post to have a look at the new year's resolutions I made last year. Now, as you can read in that post, I am not a new year's resolution kind of person, but as it so happens I gave myself a couple of goals that would benefit my everyday life. Heads up, it is going to be a long rambly one...

The first one being drink more water and start exercising. I am going to be honest here and say that the latter did not really fare well throughout the year. I did resolve my back and neck pains a lot by doing some exercises, and whenever I feel it coming up now and again, I still have this trusty set of exercises. Stretching helps a lot. In 2015 I also tried yoga for a while, and both the exercise routines for my neck/back and the yoga worked well by using the Skimble Workout Trainer app where you can choose specific exercises dealing with one part of the body or entire workouts for beginners to advanced people. Whilst I still keep the app on my phone, I have not really been using it in the last couple of months which is a shame. I just cannot get myself to get into that horrible sweat-mode. Then again, I do make sure I move around a lot in a day. From taking more trips outside to different cities, walking a lot at work, walking with a fast pace to the grocery store. You know, all those little things that (at least in my mind) make the smallest difference. As for drinking more water? Well, that one is going great. I still loathe that it means I have to visit the bathroom more often and now that my body is getting used to it I sometimes feel parched if I have not had a tall glass of water in a couple of hours, but all in all I know it is good for me. And so, I'll continue to do so.

Secondly, I mentioned I like to have a routine in my everyday life. At the beginning of last year I was in, what you could describe as a transitional period of my life. Having finished uni and having spent the better part of 2014 worrying and working on my thesis, I suddenly had nothing to keep me occupied 24/7. The worst part? I did not know how to handle it and all the tiredness came rushing in. So yeah, routine in my life was desperately needed if I did not want to be a zombie whenever I woke up until those last awake hours just before bed when I was on my laptop. In retrospect, it was a resolution that was easily fixed, as any bit or form of routine would have been a success. I started working more hours in a week and this has been the great turnaround for me. It keeps me on my feet, knowing what days to work and what days I have off so I can make the most of those free days which I often spend outside, and I enjoy those days more and more when I alone or with my mom go to a (nearby) city and wander around. Thanks to work, I have now even gotten to a point that even on my days off I wake up around ten o'clock. A time that is not considered early for many people, but considering that when I was working on my thesis (until very very late - #nightowlproblems) and the time after that I had trouble getting up at noon, a very big improvement indeed.

Lastly, I set a goal for myself to make the most of my blog. This one, has been an easy one, as it has become one of my favourite things to do in my free time. The year of 2015 finally gave me opportunity to invest in a compact system camera - the Sony NEX-3N - and although it is not the greatest camera or a DSLR, it is a great step up from using the camera on my phone. Thanks to this, I grab every opportunity to capture whatever it is I am doing, and naturally most of it ends up on my blog. For my birthday I asked for a light to attach to my camera as the daylight hours in the Netherlands are scarce during this time of the year, so now I am not so much limited to taking (product) shots in bulk on a morning off. You may or may not have seen, but I jumped on the bandwagon and did Blogmas again in December, posting every other day, and I absolutely love it. It would be great if I could keep this going throughout the year, but I know that with work and all that it would eventually stress me out. Maybe another month or two besides December to try out? Still need to decide. During Blogmas my blog passed the 10,000 views, a huge milestone to me that I still cannot get my head around. I started my blog on the 1st of January in 2013 and I cannot believe this blog  is entering its fourth year. Insane, right?

Xx