August 16, 2016

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney leads a double life: assistant at an oxygen bar by day and member of London’s criminal syndicate by night. Paige is a dreamwalker, walking the aether for one of the city’s most vicious mime-lords. In 2059 London is controlled by Scion, a regime that is savage in its persecution of unnaturals, and Paige’s mere existence is an act of treason.
Captured by the government, she is sent to Oxford, a city that has been removed from all maps serving as a penal colony for voyants and ruled by the Rephaite. Drugged, tortured and brainwashed Paige is claimed by the enigmatic Warden. Soon Paige learns that everything she thought to be true was a lie and she finds herself at the heart of a revolution. Torn between fear, trust and loyalty, Paige fights for her life.

Rumor has it Samantha Shannon was offered a six-figure sum by Bloomsbury editors for her seven-book series. Deemed as the “next J.K. Rowling” by the publishing house, Shannon had huge shoes to fill and expectations to meet upon the release of The Bone Season in 2013. I think it’s best to approach this book without the comparison in mind as Harry and Paige don’t have much in common.
When I stumbled across this book it seemed like everybody had already read it and I had missed out on something. The reviews however were mixed: You either love or hate The Bone Season. And I love it! Think of this book as “New Adult dystopian fantasy”. Is that a thing?

The first chapters are marked by, what others call, info-dumping also known as world building. Shannon introduces the readers to a whole new London, creating a tense and dark atmosphere as you imagine yourself walking the streets of Covent Garden. The author also provides a lot of information on clairvoyance and its order, introduces a number of characters and generally explains the ins and outs of Scion. All of which takes a lot of time and slows down the actual story. Shannon provides you with a glossary at the back of the book but don’t make the mistake to keep looking up new terms. It’s a complex world and it takes getting used to but once you’re fully emerged into the story you’ll be thankful for the descriptions and flashbacks.
Paige reminds me of Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games) and Tris Prior (Divergent) in the sense that she’s a strong female lead who is unaware of her capabilities and doubts herself. As a nineteen-year-old she can be naïve and easily impressed but as she grows in physical strength she also grows into a rebellious leader that you’ll root for. Warden is a dark, mysterious character and full of secrets of his own. It takes a while to warm up to him but you’ll get there. However you’ll be left with questions concerning his motives and his very nature.

I really appreciate Shannon’s writing style as it seems to be a bit more grown up and not as much YA. There is a bit of slang involved and more than just the odd made up word. The pace always matches the action of the story and the tone of the language fits perfectly. I also like that Paige is noticeably older than most leads in dystopian novels, all the other characters are adults and the story has the potential for more serious themes in the upcoming books. This first book is a brilliant set up for the series!
If you can make it through the first couple of chapters this an original and captivating fantasy novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Which book have you picked up recently?

June 29, 2016

Make Up Menu N°1

In the good old days this type of post used to be a FOTD but since we're trying to be a bit more fancy now, it's a Make Up Menu. In other words I tell you what throw on my face when I actually have time to do more than just mascara. By throwing I mean carefully applying over a 30 minute span and hoping it looks semi good.
I'm saving the last drops of my Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation for special occasions. Why did they have to reformulate this though? I used Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla on my under eye area and on any imperfections and set my face with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Ethereal Light for a healthy glow
To contour and bronze I dug out my Smashbox Contour Kit which was hiding at the bottom of my make up drawer as I don't properly contour on a daily basis. Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Nude Mauve and Nars blush in Deep Throat are my perfect blush combo. 
For natural brows Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium is my go to. I put on Maybelline 24 hour Colour Tattoo in Creamy Beige as a base for the gloriously shimmery By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock. If I'm feeling courageous and have a bit of extra time I attempt eye liner with Manhattan Eyemazing Liner. Lancôme Grandiôse mascara for voluminous and long lashes (don't be put off by the curved swan like wand). For a nude lip I reach for Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Lip Pencil in N°4 and top it of with Tanya Burr lipgloss in Lunch Date.

What's your go to product for those days when you spend some extra time on make up?

June 10, 2016

Procrastination Queen

"Procrastinating is the trait of a perfectionist. Putting of tasks out of fear that it won't be good enough once completed."

This quote sums up the reason why my blog has been abandoned over the past couple of months. At first I was just extremely busy with renovations (basically living on a construction site), work and just real life. Then I wanted to get back to blogging as soon as possible. But what do you post first after such a long break?

I am forever grateful to anyone reading my posts and it puts a huge smile on my face when I get to read comments. I started blogging to have my own little outlet on the Internet. While I'm not aiming to be a professional, I'm still aiming for "perfectionism". I'd rather not post anything at all than something I'm not happy with. Over the past couple of weeks I've written up posts, deleted them or left them in my drafts. I've been scared to hit the friendly little orange button that says publish because I've been afraid that it won't be good enough.

Blog crisis or procrastination?

April 05, 2016

Clarins Skincare Haul

This haul is part repurchase and part impulse buy. Normally I spend hours researching a skincare product before buying, especially when it’s on the expensive side. Clarins isn’t a brand that has always been on my radar. However since I picked up one of their cleansers during a Sephora sale I’ve noticed that my dry and dehydrated skin loves it.

I got the Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil last autumn/winter when I finally decided to invest in an oil. In the past I had tried every mask and overnight treatment I could get my hands on but never saw the results I'd hoped for. I was always a bit skeptic when it came to putting actual oil on my face but I figured it couldn't get any worse. At this point my skin was so dehydrated that any foundation looked patchy on me within an hour. This oil worked wonders for my skin and my confidence. I use 6-8 drops on cleansed and toned skin. The oil doesn't feel heavy or greasy while I massage it in. It gradually absorbs and leaves my skin smooth and hydrated. Plus it smells divine!

While picking up another another bottle of the oil I was looking at their HydraQuench range. I walked out with the HydraQuench Cream and travel sizes of the matching serum and mask. I was looking for a light weight hydrating moisturiser that absorbs well without leaving a greasy residue. I'm hoping to use this in the morning under my foundation. My first impression is good but I'll update you in a couple of weeks to let you know if this works in the long haul.

Which skincare products did you add to your collection recently?


March 31, 2016

Banana Cake

I have mixed feelings when it comes to bananas. I love anything that tastes or smells like bananas but I never go for the actual fruit on its own. Give me a slice of bread to put the banana on and I'm good. Although I would probably add a thin layer of Nutella. Chocolate and banana are the ultimate combination for me which is why this recipe includes both. Quick and simple (and tasty) banana cake for spring!


300 g flour
220 g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 ripe bananas, mashed
125 g butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven at 180°C.
2. Melt the butter.
3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and sugar; set aside.
4. In a separate bigger bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the beaten eggs, 
melted butter and vanilla extract.
5. Stir the dry ingredients from the medium bowl in the batter.
6. Add the chocolate chips.
7. Grease and line a loaf tin before pouring the batter in.
8. Bake for 45 minutes depending on your oven.

Happy baking!


March 22, 2016

Mascara Graveyard

5 mascaras, high end and drugstore

I am a mascara hoarder. While cleaning out my make up collection (no, I haven't read Marie Kondo) over the weekend I found about half a dozen empty mascara tubes in my drawer. I have either kept them as a reference for a future purchase or for the pretty packaging. Is it just me or do you find it hard to throw away high end empties?

Benefit - They're Real is one of the most hyped up mascaras on the market so I had high hopes when I picked up this tube. Unfortunately this didn't work for me at all. The wand is very spikey and sparse, in combination with the wet formula my lashes would look clumpy. This is an issue that could be resolved if you had some extra time. The deal breaker however was the fact that I lost a noticeable amount of lashes removing the mascara.
Smashbox - Full Exposure is just a lovely mascara. I have nothing bad to say about this, love the formula -not too wet, not too dry- and the brush is the perfect size for me. Just keep in mind that this is definitely natural looking, nothing dramatic!
YSL - Singulier was another disappointing purchase for me and a waste of money. The brush was designed in a spiral to lift the lashes and add volume which didn't work at all. The formula was dry and my lashes would clump together after applying a second coat. Fortunately YSL no longer sell this mascara.
Maybelline - Lash Sensational is my current drugstore favorite. I was skeptic at first as I'm not a fan of the curved wands but I managed to not stab myself in the eye and actually appreciate the shape. My lashes are separated and elongated and the formula is buildable. I've never had issues with smudging or flaking.
Dior - Diorshow in brown was my first ever mascara and I kept this tube simply for nostalgic reasons. I felt super fancy with my high end mascara as a teenager. As I wore this in brown it was natural and appropriate for school. The brush is huge and bristly and adds volume without clumping. This mascara was re-released in 2015 with an updated anti-drying formula.

What's your favorite mascara? High end or drugstore!

March 18, 2016

Chit Chat - Motivation and Stress

Long time no see over here. At least that's what it feels like to me. I've sat down at my laptop numerous times in the past couple of weeks eager to start typing up a new blogpost. I have a list of ideas, I have photos on my camera, I have products to review. What's been missing though is time and the right mind set.
The beginning of this year has been a whirlwind and I feel like I haven't sat down and made time for myself in weeks. My health situation hasn't been ideal, I have caught every nasty cold that has been around without fully recovering. My immune system has never been the strongest but this winter it has definitely failed me more than once. Combining my weak body with a high amount of self inflicted stress I have been constantly tired and unmotivated. Unmotivated to blog, to work out, to eat better or to even do much besides sleep when getting home from work.
A considerable amount of stress has fallen off these past couple of days. Due my passing an exam and getting validation at work I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I've been watching what I eat and getting some fresh air. It doesn't feel like much but I'm taking baby steps here. Next up: Getting more sleep!
This is by no means a "10 Tips to get motivated" type of post because I have honestly no idea what my advice would be. I think it's all about knowing or finding out what causes your lack of motivation, taking a step back and clearing your mind.
I want to say that I'll start working out next Monday (because you can only start working outs or diets at the beginning of the week, right?;)) but let's not get ahead of yourselves here. I'm glad to feel motivated again, to be happier again and I'll just take it from there. Or maybe it's just spring?

What keeps you motivated when the stress gets to you?
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