Merry Christmas│Blogmas


Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful day whether you celebrate it or not. Did you enjoy my Blogmas? I certainly enjoyed making each and every single one of them and I know I have said it before, but December sure went by quickly. I cannot believe it's already over. After a day of work, my family and I will be celebrating Christmas Eve with raclette for dinner. If there is still time left we might head to Heerlen to see Serious Request come to a close, but Christmas Eve is also our day of opening all the Christmas presents. I am so excited to see if they are happy with what I got for them, and I am also pretty excited to see what fun and amazing things they've come up with for me. On the 25th I want to sleep in, as I am feeling pretty tired at the moment. During the day we have nothing planned, but I'm sure the occasional Christmas film will pop up and in the evening we are having my birthday dinner at a great Italian nearby. Already looking forward to it! The 26th is known as the second day of Christmas and just so happens to also be my birthday. Since my sister came with the great idea of letting everyone prepare a course for dinner, we opted to do this on the 26th as not everyone is available the day before. Again, nothing special to do during the day, but I have been feeling the need to read The Night Circus again, so that will fill my entire day just before midnight when I turn 24. What are your plans?

Tha last two doors of the Essence advent calendar. Yesterday I received a nice golden taupe nail polish - 04 "what a grey-t night!" - and the last door had a little pouch with a zipper to store all your nail bits in for on the go. How festive with all the golden flecks.


Getting Ready For Christmas│Blogmas

Oh my, we have just one more post after this and it's Christmas! Have you been enjoying my Blogmas so far? I hope you have. No Blogmas would be complete without showing you the Christmas decorations that we have at set up at home to make the house feel Christmassy.

Let's start with the most important thing in a househould around Christmas time: the tree. We've never actually been able to find a right spot for our Christmas tree - yes, it is a fake one - in the living room as there is not much room left to place a tree. This year, my mom opted for something different and hung the tree from the ceiling, giving it a lot more space for all the presents to be put underneath. With a total of six people around for Christmas there are a lot presents that are being given, so much that you cannot even see that the tree does not hit the ground (not sure what we'll do after we've opened everything on Christmas eve though). One downside of letting the tree hang from the ceiling is that we are not able to fully decorate it, but an afternoon of figuring out where to hang the lighting, and I think the result is very festive indeed.

Continuing the theme in the hallway, we have another big Christmas decoration hanging from the ceiling. Not actually a Christmas decoration, but more of a standard home decoration. Add tinsel, baubles, and anything festive and tadaaa you have created a second Christmas tree.

Moving on to the kitchen, where next to a festive red tablecloth, there is a wooden Christmas tree with lights and these big Christmas hats that we put on the chairs each year that I absolutely love.

And of course our big window with this year's DIY of Sock Snowmen. They look so cute!

As stated in my latest Blogmas post, I didn't feel like the post fitted an ending with my Essence advent calendar, so in today's post I will show what was in behind the doors from the 19th to the 22nd of December. On the 19th there was a pale pink - 03 "my wish list" - and the day after contained a gingerbread man nail-file. The 21st had a sparkly top coat in 05 "see you in my dreams!" and today there was a milky white nail polish in 02 "made with love." So sad Blogmas is almost over, one more post to go!



3FM Serious Request│Blogmas

One of the windows of SCHUNCK*
Since 2004, the end of December and ending of the year has gone hand in hand with Serious Request, a fundraising event of national scale, organized by the Dutch radio station NPO 3FM in collaboration with the Red Cross. Whilst individuals, groups, and organizations have been fundraising for the month of December or even longer, the event reaches its peak about five days before Christmas and ends on the 24th of December (the sixth day). At the start of this main event, three DJ's belonging to said radio station are locked up in a temporary radio studio, known as the Glass House (Glazen Huis) that is placed on a square in a different city each year. The DJ's interactively broadcast 24 hours a day for the entire period - suspending regular broadcasting of the radio station - and only drink juices during this period to keep them nourished. All of this to place a "Serious Request" for a silent disaster. After years of continuously watching it on TV, this national event has landed in the nearby city Heerlen on the 18th of December and I could not be more excited. I'm volunteering and have visited it, but it still feels kind of surreal. This year's cause? Aiding the future of millions of youth living in areas of war and conflict.

"Let The Good Times Roll" by Johan Moorman made for Serious Request

Heerlen has taken a personal spin by implementing a record amount of side events in and around the city from street art, breakdance, and workshops, to virtual reality, a pop-up church, a ferris wheel, a foodtruck alley, and indoor pop-up camping and more, all in support of the event. Besides people and organizations taking their own initiatives to raise money to donate, listeners and visitors can request songs to be broadcast via donations, and there is also a big auction of items that are donated by musicians, celebrities, pieces of art, or happenings such as a concert that could take place in your living room. Round the clock coverage is distributed via the radio broadcast, the 3FM website, and the 101TV channel to stay up to date. The - in my opinion amazing - concept of  a serious request and the idea of the Glass House has been implemented in other countries as well, and specifically in the Netherlands more are popping up to raise more money. In the Netherlands as of 2014 over 76 millions euros has been raised for the different silent disasters. Let's see what we can raise this year!

Usually I would end my Blogmas posts with a "what's in my advent calendar," but I felt it was a bit redundant to include it in this post, so four doors will be revealed in the next post. If you are interested in donating, there is an International Bank Account Number that can be found at the bottom of the official website. 



Gift Giving│Christmas Guide│Blogmas

*Just a little note in case any members of my family are about to read this post: Als je de pret niet voor jezelf wilt bederven dan aub niet verder lezen. Nog een paar nachtjes wachten en dan zie je het in volle glorie*

With less than a week left before Christmas Eve, I finally got round to getting all the gifts I want to give wrapped, opting for these IKEA gift bags and brown paper with gold or silver ribbon to create bows. The little gift tags are from Primark which I spotted last week. On with the good stuff, what did I get to gift away?

For someone who is always on the road or using public transport, gifting a nice travel mug is always a good idea. It keeps the warm drinks warm longer and the cold ones longer cold, so it's a gift that can be used throughout the year. To completely personalize this gift and to keep it entertaining, I opted for some exploding wasabi candy. You see, this particular person really likes wasabi and it was either picking between some sweets or a toothpaste version...

Next, we've got a lot of cosy products even though the weather has not really been very wintery (it's December!). Nonetheless, these products are still fun to give. I went for a good luxurious feeling body lotion by The Body Shop in Wild Argan Oil. I used to have a sample of this particular body lotion and the person who will receive it loved using it, so I knew I just had to get it. When it does get cold, I want to make sure this person feels nice and comfortable so a hot water bottle to use at home and a hand warmer for on the go are perfect as Christmas gifts (besides it not being cold, who knows it might be handy in February with carnaval).

Now this one is for that one type of person who just loves to delight themselves with snacks. Usually, I'd say that would be me, but of course I cannot gift myself these things. To also give something that isn't going to be gone in say a day or two, the main present is a nice fragrance that smells warm and has strong woody notes.

This one if pretty straight forward, but for someone who is planning a trip soon and saving up until that date, what better gift than to give a good travel book of the known destination? I find the ones that include a map the most useful and this one does include a public transport map which is great. I added money as well and hid it in the book as someone who's saving up will appreciate a bit of extra cash to spend - in this case - on a nice shopping trip in NYC.

And so we have already reached the gifts of the last person. What do we have here...Reese's peanut butter cups for the person who loves these but doesn't get them that often as they are not widely available in the Netherlands. A bookstand for the booklover, a soap bar to use in the bath, and last but not least a couple of sleeveless tops to add to the wardrobe.

With a budget of about 15 euros in mind, I do think I have a nice mix of things to give. I always like to go for a couple of small gifts that are both functional and entertaining or just something I know they would really love to use or munch on, instead of one big gift to give someone. Sometimes you just get an idea of "yes, this I just have to get" and you'll have a wonderful big present, but I also love to personalise and make a big gift out of little gifts, if you catch my drift. I would have gotten more and then of course with a bigger budget, but alas, I have no more time, and am pretty happy with the selection I got.

 Behind today's Essence advent door there is a darker red nail polish - 13 "rudolph's favourite" - and yesterday's door had a cool-toned white with a hint of blue - 07 "winter wonderland."

What do you tend to opt for? A bunch of gifts or one big one?


H&M Beauty│Blogmas


H&M relaunched their entire beauty products range and pretty much across the entire (beauty)blogging and vlogging world people got excited to try the new products. Although not available in every single H&M store, I thought my best bet to find a H&M with this relaunch would be in Maastricht, and even though I was mistaken in which of the three H&M stores in this city it would be - thinking the H&M Beauty store surely has the new beauty range, but no it was the big store with all the clothing - I managed to visit it twice and took a few products home with me to put to the test.

The first trip was a very short trip and wanting to try some products but not being able to have enough time to think about it, I grabbed two of the "lip definer" lip pencils (€4,99 a piece) as they surely always come in handy. I picked up "Marsala" a coral-pink shade leaning to the neutral or nude side when it comes to vibrancy, and "Savoir Faire", a nice cool-toned standard red. The latter feels a bit more chalky and thus a bit harder to apply to the lips, but both shades are very nice to wear on their own.

On my second trip I got more time to take a look at what was in the range. The purchase of the "Immaculate Powder Foundation" in "Olive" (€9,99) was inspired by an at that time recent video by Estée Lalonde on her minimal makeup look which featured a powder foundation. You see, I have oily skin and I'm always looking for something to keep that shine away, and I am dabbling into the foundations and all that - okay, I'll admit mostly BB creams - and never thought about trying a powder foundation. Powder for my oily skin and a foundation to even out my skin? Perhaps I have never thought about it because powder foundations are not so much a trend with dewyness and strobing around and therefore not really available in the drugstore. Long story short, I saw this H&M powder foundation and thought let's give it a try. 

Yes, I cut a full-on fringe! I was in for something different, and quite like it. It does make me look a lot younger though, now that I see these photos, but back to the product. First and foremost, when I first tried it I thought it did not do or give anything. However, after using it for about two weeks I can say that is now in my daily routine. It gives very light coverage so do no expect much from it, but it evens out my skin tone and gives my face a bit more life. Do keep in mind that if you have a darker skin tone than mine, that this is the darkest shade in the range of when it comes to the powder foundation. However, they do have a regular foundation product and other products such as a concealer palette for darker skin tones that is worth checking out. No powder can keep my shine at bay, so even with this product it will come to the surface after a few hours, but that's okay. All in all, I actually like using this product. 

 Along with my powder foundation I, naturally, had to pick up lip products as well. I've said it before and I'll say it again, lip products really are my thing. So yes, I got more lip products. First up the "Lip-Colour-To-Go" in "Garden Party" (€5,99). The first thing I noticed as I was swatching these lip colours in store was that it sadly depends on the colour what kind of finish you get. Now, when I go for lip products I tend to go for lipsticks, creams, liquid lipsticks preferably with a matte finish because I want them to stay. Unfortunately, the shades that caught my eye were all gloss-like coloured lipbalms. As is the shade I picked up anyway. It's suprisingly longlasting on the lips for a tinted balm-like product, and I like the subtle colour pay-off. Same as the powder foundation, I ended up liking the product in the end. It gives my lips a nice bit of colour and hydrates my lips without being sticky. 

Lastly, the "Velvet Lip Cream" in "Screen Siren"(€7,99). Lip creams, yes! A good party red colour, yes! But oh so, difficult to apply evenly. The first time, it took me three times. The trick? Take a bit of the excess product of the applicator, work quick, and do one lip part at a time -  that is, upper-lip or bottom-lip. If you cannot get the edges right, just use lip pencil or maybe try applying it with a lip application brush. The longevity is okay, but I have seen and have better liquid lipsticks. It tends to fade away easily right at the edges where your bottom and top lip meet, and also with eating the inner edges tend to rub off. In conclusion, a lip cream that you won't have to check up during the day when you are out and about, but not as hardcore as other liquid lipsticks who last through meals. 

Swatched from left to right: Savoir Faire, Marsala, Garden Party, and Screen Siren

And here swatched from bright to dark: Garden Party, Marsala, Savoir Faire, and Screen Siren
All in all, a bit of a mixed haul/mini-review, but I am happy with the products I got. The lip cream takes a bit of work, and although not as longlasting, it still is a beautiful colour that I can manage to wear as you might have seen in my I Heart Makeup post. On the other end, I have a new base product that I have added to my daily routine which is a big plus. Are there any other products worth trying? I have heard great things about the single eyeshadows...

Kind of strange to end a makeup-related post with more beauty products, but hey it is advent calendar time! After a couple of top coats, the Essence advent calendar contained a golden nail polish - 10 "do you hear the jingle bells?" - on the 15th of December and today a reddy pink - 15 "from me to you". We are getting closer and closer to Christmas!



Sock Snowmen│DIY│Blogmas


Hello and welcome to another day of Blogmas!

A few months back my mom saw this video by Handimania on Facebook about how to create snowmen using rice and socks. This very easy and festive DIY turned a normal Monday into a crafts-day and in the end we created ten little sock snowmen to put at our living room window. It is quite fun to see people wandering by and admiring the little snowmen with a smile on their face before walking on. All in all, a success.

Here a little overview of the main steps that need to be taken, but make sure to check the link to the video in the text above for the entire process. Keep in mind that you do need a lot of rice so make sure to have a bag around because there goes a lot more rice in the socks than you would think.

My personal favourite, a snow queen with the more traditional division of three "snow" balls. I will be sharing all Christmas decorations as I did last year, so you will be getting a look of all of the little snowmen assembled at the big window.

As for the Essence advent calender *drum roll* yesterday's door contained festive nail stickers and today's door had another top coat - 01 "snowflakes are kisses sent from  heaven" - a snow flake one with glitter little fibres and flakes. Will you be DIYing something for Christmas this year? Share in the comments below!



Weihnachtsmarkt Aachen│Christmas Market│Blogmas


Last weekend my parents, brother, and I went to the Christmas market in Aachen. It being the first time I have been to this particular Christmas market I wanted to share some of the photos I took as I did with the one in Maastricht to get you in the festive mood.

The Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt is a lot bigger than the one in Maastricht, but we did find a lot of repetition of what was on offer in all the little stalls. It was very busy, which was something we could have known seeing we went on a Saturday in December, but it was the only day we were all available. If you're going for food and having a drink then this is the place to be, as I for one was munching away on a freshly made pretzel. I loved the fact that the nutcracker really is a thing here, something that isn't really present in the shops in the Netherlands. We hoped to find a stall with Christmas jumpers, but alas we had no luck. Still, it was very nice to walk between the stalls and have a look at all the ornaments and baubles that were on display.

I cannot believe we're already half way there! Counting down with an advent calendar sure gives a nice little extra to your everyday life. On the 11th of December the Essence advent calendar had a sparkling matt top coat - 03 "add on magic!" - and today there was another top coat with jelly flakes (hexagon-shaped) - 04 "north pole princess" -.



Hot Chocolate│Blogmas


Who loves hot chocolate? I certainly do, even though I'm not a big fan of chocolate as stated before in the I Heart Make Up Chocolate palettes I've shown previously on my blog. There is something about hot chocolate that just screams Christmas don't you think? I spotted this at TK Maxx which recently opened in Aachen en Eindhoven.

A delicious set of four different instant hot chocolate bottles for about seven euros. Beware, the mix also includes sugar so you definitely do not need to sweeten this hot drink any more. Each bottle contains about two to maybe three servings (depending on what kind of cups you use and how much of the flavour you want to be present) and consists of peppermint hot chocolate, raspberry flavoured hot chocolate, double chocolate hot chocolate, and toasted marshmallows hot chocolate. My personal favourite? The toasted marshmallows one. I always add some marshmallows to the drink to melt as well as topping it off with whipped cream and even more marshmallows. Sometimes even some cinnamon, because why not. Like the coffee and hot chocolate towers of last year, this could be a great Christmas present that can be used right after the person received it. Just add some water just after it has boiled, give it a good stir and top off with whatever you want.

Advent calendar time! Yesterday the Essence advent consisted of a very dark blue (almost black) nail polish - 09 "the night of magic" - and today it was a light nude shade - 06 "sweet caramel sweets" - a nice contrast.



I Heart Make Up│I Heart Chocolate & Naked Chocolate│Blogmas


For someone who hardly ever uses eyeshadow, I clearly have too much eyeshadow in my collection. From singles, to small palettes consisting of three to five shades, to eyeshadow sticks, pots, creams, and palettes. Yet, when I saw these in the Kruidvat folder I just had to get my hands on them. Now, I am not a chocoholic or chocolate lover for that matter, but these just had my name on them. Let me introduce you to Makeup Revolution's I Heart Make Up Chocolate Palettes in I Heart Chocolate and Naked Chocolate. If there is one thing Makeup Revolution is known for, it is their amazing dupeworthy eyeshadow palettes. The I Heart Chocolate palette for instance, is highly mentioned by bloggers as a great dupe for none other than the TooFaced Chocolate Bar.

From left to right (top row): You Need Love, Piece Me Together, One More Piece, Love Torn, Stolen Chocolate

From left to right (2nd and 3rd row): Thank Friday, More!, Pleasure Girl, Meet Chocolate, Unforgivable, Love Divine,
Smooth Criminal, Chocolate Love, You need More, What A Way to Go, Endorphins Ready!
The I Heart Chocolate palette is the first chocolate palette brought out in Makeup Revolution's collection, and consists of a nice range of neutral shades in a mix of shimmer and matte formulas. Most of the colours are very bronzy and on the warm side of the scale, but by adding a few extra shades such as a pink, a darker purpley brown, and a dark cranberry shade taking a spin on your average neutral shade palette.

Here I've created a look using the I Heart Chocolate palette. I started with Thank Friday in the crease as my neutral blending shade and darkened this up with More! which is a few shades darker than the previous on to give it more depth. After this I went ahead with the purpley shade Love Torn which at first I packed on too much as I hadn't thought the pay-off would be that intense as upon swatching it took quite a few tries to build up the colour. Perplexed by the intensity of Love Torn, I blended a mix of Unforgivable a blue-toned dark brown, Love Divine, a darker bronzy shade, and Piece Me Together, a dark brown with golden shimmer, to tone down the purple. In hindsight looking at the photo, I probably overdone it as you can hardly see the purple, but then again the camera always picks this up differently. 

From left to right (top row): Smoothly, Divine, Mocha Lover, Dipped, Choc-fest

From left to right (2nd and 3rd row): Adorable, Buttons, Frosted Choc, Delight, Sweet Shop, Sugar
Double Dip, Tob-le-rone, Wonka, Milky, Way

The Naked Chocolate palette is definitely more the average neutral eyeshadow palette. Overall warm in tone, it has a few minky or taupey shades that are on the cooler side. Again a mix of matte and shimmery shades, with the upper hand for the shimmery shades as was in the first palette. I also love the names of the shades in this palette that are chocolate-related such as Tob-le-rone, which give it a nice touch.

A rather similar look I've created here, my apologies for that, but these kind of looks are my go to whenever I use a palette. Starting with Milky and Sweet Shop in to create the shape, I went in with Sugar and Choc Fest to intensify the outer-v to smoke out the look. I then finished the look bu using a mix of Dipped and Divine in the first half of the eyelid to really open up the eye.

As I said before, I do not need any more eyeshadows, but these palettes from the I Heart Make Up range and their known dupe for the Lorac Pro palette were up on my list to get in the UK once I learned about this brand on Instagram. For 7,99 a piece they are a fun gift to give for Christmas, especially when they look like a melted chocolate bar, and let me tell there is even a whiff of chocolate when you open the palette. These are just two of the three chocolate palettes that are currently available at the Kruidvat, but if you're not from the Netherlands or just interested in the other palettes and whatnot, check out the website. With these two beauties in my collection, it is just down to one that I really want to get my hands on, and maybe I will even be able to purchase it in the Netherlands as Makeup Revolution is clearly dabbling into the Dutch market. Something we obviously cannot complain about!

Woohoo! You have reached the end of this Blogmas' post so let me show you what was in my Essence advent calendar...Yesterday door no.7 contained a semi-matte grey nail polish - 08 my dear reindeer - and today there was a ombre top coat - 02 candy cane lemonade - behind the door. Kind of curious about the last one, will keep you posted.