dinsdag 17 december 2013

Christmas fair in Düsseldorf

Last weekend I went on a day-trip to Düsseldorf with my mother, to see the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas fair) and do a little shopping. Although I usually do not like Christmas fairs a lot, the city was beautifully decorated and the atmosphere quite nice, despite the masses. We wandered around, ate ‘Currywurst’ and enjoyed visiting a big organic supermarket, where prices seemed considerably lower than in the Netherlands. The city itself was not particularly beautiful, but the waterfront of the river Rhine has its charm and reminds me of Antwerp somewhat. We did not have enough time to visit one of the museums, like I had hoped we would, but the good vibe of the city made the trip entirely worthwhile.

In the organic supermarket ‘Basic-Bio’, I bought some food and beauty products. My shopping haul:

-          Baking products for making gluten-free quinoa bread       (never had this before)
-          Vivani chocolate bar ‘winter’ (with ‘speculaas’ spices)
-          Lacoa chocolate bar with 60% cocoa
-          Rapunzel chocolate bar honey-almond
-          Lebensbaum six flavours of chai (sample box)
-          Gluten-free millet cookies called ‘Braunhirse Zungen’, by Werz.
-          Logona coconut oil as an extra, leave-in conditioner, to apply to the ends of my hair
-          Lavera grape hair treatment (sample), without silicones
-          Santé eye shadow base

From a very cute store with American products, called ‘American Heritage’ I bought:

-          The Republic of Tea ‘red velvet chocolate’ tea (looking yummy!)

I’m especially thrilled about the organic eye shadow base! It is really difficult to find eye shadow base without parabens or other possibly harmful substances. When I want to apply eye shadow and make it last through the day however, my oily skin badly requires a powerful base, to prevent major creasing.  A review of Santé eye shadow base will follow soon!

Some impressions of Düsseldorf: 

zondag 15 december 2013

Three lovely dresses

My favourite clothing brand Vive Maria has the most amazing, dark romantic dresses. They are very comfortable to wear due to the soft fabric, yet never look plain. Unfortunately, they cost a LOT of money. I was tempted to buy a dress for the Christmas party from work that I'll be attending next week, but decided against it...there's still an 'old' dress in my closet that I can wear and I need to be clever about what I'm spending my money on. I intend to buy as little clothes as possible in 2014, both to save money and to slim down the contents of my closet. It's quite a mess right now and I live in a rather small appartment....so you get the picture. Building the ideal, small wardrobe is what I'd love to try in the future! Therefore, buying a new dress takes some consideration.... 

It has to:

1) Add something valuable to my already existing wardrobe. New stuff that resembles other pieces is quite honestly a waste of money! 

2) Be on sale. I like to buy good quality, often a bit more expensive dresses...but Dutchie that I am, I prefer not to pay the full price. Therefore I'll patiently (not! :)) wait for the January sales. There is the risk of not obtaining the item, but that's part of the game...I'd rather take my chances and see if I can get it for at least half the price.

3) Fit just right. Look just right. Feel amazing. If it doesn't live up to my expectations, I will return it. This is something I haven't done often enough in the past, but it's really a essential decision in building a good wardrobe. If you want to be wearing all your clothes and not waste your money or closet space to unused items, you have to be extremely critical. 

At this moment there are three Vive Maria dresses that I would love to own. I expect the red one to be the prettiest and the most flattering, but I'd be happy getting my hands on any one of these during the sales. For now, I'll enjoy the lovely photos:

vrijdag 13 december 2013

Only Lovers Left Alive

I recently came across this amazing trailer of an upcoming Jim Jarmusch movie. It's from one of my favourite directors, it has vampires (not the cheesy sparkling kind, thank God!) and good actors like John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston (*swoon*) and Mia Wasikowska. 
The trailer reminds me a bit of Interview with the Vampire and Let the Right One in, both excellent, dark and sultry vampire movies. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it? Here in the Netherlands, the movie will be in theaters by February 2014. Time to get excited...
The only trailer I could find has Russian subtitles...oh well. :)

donderdag 12 december 2013

I had a haircut...and survived :)

Today I decided it was about time I went to the hairdresser. I last had a chop about six months ago and I started to notice some split hairs and dry ends. A couple of years ago I dyed part of my hair black and although it has fainted by now, not everything has grown out yet. The darker hair is definately drier and more prone to breakage, but after a +/- 5 cm. cut, the hemline looks much healthier and thicker now. All of my layers are gone too, which feels great! With an even hemline, the individual hairs will be better protected. 

[Source: Edward Scissorhands movie still]

I felt a bit nervous beforehand, but the hairdresser managed to keep her scissors under control and even made a few compliments. What a shock! Usually I'm every hairdresser's nightmare...and they're definately mine. They're just dying to chop off more and more, as if a short haircut is ones only option. I'm glad to know that apparently, peaceful cooperation is still a possibility however. :)

This morning:

Notice the black dye at the ends of my hair!

This afternoon:

Board game review: Letters from Whitechapel

Since a year or so, I have a small obsession with board games. I used to love them as a kid, but hardly ever played them anymore during my college years. I don't quite remember what it was that triggered my renewed interest, but it must have had something to do with being unemployed, having too much time on my hands and getting tired of spending most of my days inside, meeting relatively few people. My boyfriend and I used to watch many movies and tv series and although we still do this quite frequently, we feel it is often more satisfying to engage in activities rather than just sit and watch another screen together. Inviting friends over to play a game also creates the opportunity to bring people together that otherwise wouldn't necessarily feel like interacting. Pretty much all of my friends tend to not get along with each other very well, so spontaneous group meetings are never an option... For a game, however, they are willing to move aside their differences. One-on-one meetings are perfectly fine when it comes to friendship, but sometimes I really miss that special group energy. It also saves a lot of time to bring multiple friends together. 

After a couple of try-outs, we decided to organise a monthly board game night. The first game we've played is Letters from Whitechapel, which was brought along by my friend Joyce. It's a 90-150 minutes game with a maximum of six players. The setting is late 19th century London, where serial killer Jack the Ripper (one of the players) has to murder five prostitutes in the notorious Whitechapel area, before getting caught. The other players represent the policemen, hunting down Jack. 

The best thing about the game, in my opinion, is its cool design. The board looks amazing! If you're a fan of BBC's dark and clever series 'Ripper Street', you will especially love the game's setting! The streets of the Whitechapel area are laid out for everyone to see, with dotted lines indicating the routes that Jack the Ripper or the police can take. Carriages and alleyways speed up Jack's movements. The map is an accurate representation of the Whitechapel district and the names of Jack's victims and the exact locations where they were found dead are indicated on it. The letters mentioned in the game's title refer to the letters sent to the police at the time of the murders, supposedly written by Jack the Ripper himself. They can be read in the booklet provided with the game. It also contains a timeline of the mysterious events that took place in London between 1887 and 1891. 

The positive

Besides a terrific lay-out and an interesting theme, the game offers a huge deal of excitement. The hunt for the killer keeps everyone on edge and especially for the player that has taken on the role of Jack the Ripper, the game can be nerve-racking. The fun aspect is that the policemen can't see Jack moving around the board, but are able to gain clues and see what places he has already visited. Sometimes Jack was standing right next to a policeman, without anyone realizing they could have arrested him! Clever thinking, by excluding possible locations on the board where Jack is residing, will be crucial during the game. 
Another great aspect of the game is that it combines cooperation (the policemen) and competition (Jack killing and hiding from the police). 

The negative 

During the game that we played, we eventually caught Jack before he could commit another murder. The player made a tactical mistake and did not see the trap coming that was laid out by the policemen. We could imagine however that it would have been extremely difficult to locate Jack's exact position if he had not made that mistake. Jack is able to cover larger distances on the board and can easily put other players on the wrong track. The more often the game is played, the easier this will become. I guess I am not able to say much more about it at this point, but it seems to me that perhaps Jack has too many advantages, which could start to annoy after a while. But then again....in reality he got away with it as well! :)

Grade: 8