Book Review // July & August 2019

Book Review // July & August 2019

book review what I read wrap up july august summer 2019

Today’s video is one in which I talk you through all of the books I read in July & August. I read 10 books in total and this was mainly caused by my summer break which happened right in the middle. And right smack in the middle of that break, we had a heat wave. There is no better way to get through a heatwave then tons of icecream and books, lots and lots of books. Here’s what I read in the months of July and August 2019.

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Book Haul 2019

Book Haul 2019

BOOK HAUL 2019 a full year of book shopping

Okay calm down: no I didn’t buy all these books in one go. No these are not all the books I bought in 2019 so far. These are all the books I bought in the past year. I last did a book haul in February 2018 and I thought it would be cool to keep track of all the books I bought in a year and then do a haul. So that’s what this video is about.

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Book unhaul

Book unhaul

I’ve been decluttering my life quite drastically these past few weeks. I already sorted through my makeup collection, my wardrobe and now it was time to sort through my books. I knew there were plenty of books that I wanted to get rid of and so this summer vacation I sat down and went through my shelves. In total I am parting ways with over 100 books: both fiction and non-fiction. In today’s video I will talk you through what I am getting rid of and why.¬† book unhaul

Book Unhaul

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NARS inspired make up look

NARS inspired make up look

The reason for my reading make up books is to get inspiration for techniques that I might use myself. For some reason, pictures of celebrities never work for me because a) I don’t find it all that interesting and b) I don’t find make up looks used at red carpet events show me anything I don’t know yet. So make up books it is. I own two books by Rae Morris, but my most recent purchase is Francois Nars’ Make Up Your Mind. The other week I had a chance to really browse through it and found plenty of looks that I thought I would like to recreate and all those looks had a few features in common, some of which I have started to use in my every day make up looks.

So what makes this look NARS inspired? What I noticed in the make up looks I liked best is how very few eyeshadows are used (3 at most) and lots of tight lining. Blush is kept simple, with emphasis on adding some color, but not shape to the face. Lips are neutral or colorful depending on the colors on the eyes. But mainly it’s all about the eyes, as I will explain below.

Products used:

Face: Missha BB cream in no. 13 Bright Beige, Collection Long Lasting Perfection concealer in no1 fair mixed with Benefit High Beam, MAC Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Medium, Shisheido blush in RD 103.

Brows: MAC Omega eyeshadow, HEMA clear brow gel.

Eyes: Too Faced Shadow Insurance, MAC Paintpot in Painterly, MAC eyeshadows in woodwinked, dazzlelight, vanilla and naked lunch, Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Underground, Maybelline the Falsies Feather in black

Lips: Revlon Lipbutter in Candy Apple

Here’s what I did to create the look (and here Mr. NARS comes in):

  1. I applied MAC paint pot in Painterly to even out my eyelid color.
  2. I applied MAC Woodwinked all over my lid and in my crease. Yes, that’s only one color.
  3. Next, I used Vanilla by MAC on my brown bone, but that’s because I prefer using a matte highlight on my browbone. You could skip this step and simply use a shimmery highlight and go with only two colors.
  4. Dazzlelight went into my inner corner AND on my lower lashline with a pencil brush.
  5. I took a bit of MAC Naked Lunch on a pencil brush and applied this drawing a line from my brownbone to my inner corner. (again you could used a shimmery highlight for this)
  6. I tightlined my upper lash line with Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Underground and also applied it on part of my lower lashline.
  7. I applied mascara

So what makes this NARS?

First of all, you could do this look with only two shadows: one all over the lid and a shimmery highlight on the browbone, lower lashline, inner corner and to connect the browbone to the inner corner. Using the same color on the lid and the crease still creates depth, but is much more subtle than going in with a darker color. Using a light color on the lower lashline as well as connecting the browbone and inner corner with a highlighting color was new to me. I think the first is a great alternative to white or nude colored kohl pencil on the waterline, the second opens the eye even more and adds another dimension.

On top of that there is no heavy black liner: Just some tightlining of the upper lash line and some smudged liner on the bottom lash line. To intensify the look, you could even tightline all around and include the waterline (another technique abundant in NARS’ book).

I think, overall, that these are techniques which create fresh make up looks that draws light to your face and remains subtle. I’ve been playing around with these techniques every day since and love it. Of course you can do the same thing with darker colors for a more dramatic look, but I think this is ideal for an every day make up. Especially because you can get away with using this technique and only 2 eyeshadows: quick, easy and simple.

Have you ever used any of these techniques?

Book review: Matthew Plampin – The Devil’s Acre

Book review: Matthew Plampin – The Devil’s Acre

It’s getting colder by the day here in The Netherlands and lately all I have been wanting to do is to curl up with a cuppa and a good book. The book I just finished reading is Matthew Plampin’s The Devil’s Acre. Set in Victorian London and based on historical fact but with plenty of fictive events and characters in the mix, it is an interesting read if you want to get a feel for what Victorian London was like.

The book entails the endeavors of Colonel Samuel Colt: entrepreneur, gun maker and American. He has decided to set up a factory in England to sell his famous Colt revolving pistols in Europe. By setting up this factory he not only starts an adventure of his own, but also provides several others with new opportunities, be it good or bad. There is Mr. Lowry, the ambitious secretary. Ms. Caroline Knox, factory worker and Mr. Lowry’s love interest has the unfortunate link of her sister having married an Irish man and living in Devil’s Acre (a slum near Westminster Abbey in Victorian Age London). Last but not least, there are the Molly Maguires: a group of Irishmen from Devil’s Acre (including Caroline’s brother-in-law) who will do anything in their power to avenge the wrongdoings of the English on Ireland during the Famine.

All four perspectives are incorporated in the book, giving insights into four important layers of Victorian London society. We follow Samuel Colt as he tries to sell his wares to corrupt politicians in high society (and ends up being a bit of the same himself). Mr. Lowry lives in modest accommodations and is very much trying to carve out a life for himself. When he then falls in love with Ms. Knox, the life he had envisioned for himself alters in more way then one. The Mollies have to change their plans for assassinating the politician they hold responsible for the despair in Ireland, leading them to blackmail Ms. Knox into doing something she’d never thought she would.

The story plays out quite nicely, but it is a bit slow to start. We are first introduced to all four viewpoints and thus it takes a while to get to know the characters. The plot then keeps shifting from narrator to narrator, which doesn’t make the story always as accessible. Sometimes the storyline gets cut off, just when you thought things were getting interesting. However, getting these different viewpoints also helps develop the story in an intriguing way. Since you never fully get to know one person, the plot and the way the story ends are partly kept a surprise right until the very end.

What I like about this story is that it is based on actual historical facts. Samuel Colt DID have a factory in London and he did try to sell his wares to the English government. On top of that, part of the story is set against the backdrop of the Crimean War, which also really happened at that time. Devil’s Acre also really existed and was mainly occupied by Irishmen who had fled Ireland after the Great Famine. Despite these facts, all other events are fictional and it is very hard to tell what is real and what isn’t.

The author definitely did his research and tried to be as historically correct as possible. This does sometimes lead to very lengthy descriptions of people, situations and surroundings, but all that does add to the atmosphere: for the 400 odd pages this book contains, you really are in Victorian London. You can almost taste the food, smell the horse dung on the streets and see the gun factory standing alongside the River Thames.

The downside to the book is that the storyline is not as intricate as could be. I enjoyed it, but it was a bit simple and part of it predictable. Mr. Lowry’s infatuation with Ms. Knox became a bit tedious after a while, as did Samuel Colt’s aloofness at all things English. It seemed to me as if the book focused on the least interesting aspects of the story and left the exciting bits to play minor parts in the storyline. I also read Plampin’s first novel, The Street Philosopher and loved that. There you really got to know the characters, rather than the city and places they occupied. That missing link with the characters is what makes me rate Devil’s Acre as an enjoyable historical novel, but not something I think everyone should pick up.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Also: if you have any recommendations for me regarding books I should read: let me know in a comment below. I have just started Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, but suggestions for after that one are very welcome.

Tour of my Book Case

Tour of my Book Case

As you may know I like to read the occasional book or two. Instead of showing you what I’m currently reading I though it would be nice to show you the books I have. I have quite the collection. I think I’ve got over 600 books now. Most books I bought when I was a student. As a language student you tend to buy a lot of novels for coursework etc. I also worked a job at a local library for a few years and there I always got first dibs whenever they were getting rid of stuff. And on top of that I did some side jobs for my university for which I was paid in book shop gift vouchers.

Needless to say: I accumulated quite a few books over the years. More than I have read, but I am still intend on reading them all one day. I took some pictures to give you an overview, but I also made a video in which I highlight some of my favorite books. Below you will also find an Excel file which lists all the books I have including some detailed information.

Book case 1 containing English novels/ literature, history and miscellaneous books (such as my favorites from childhood, some chicklit and random books about knitting, make up, cats etc.)

Back of book case 2 containing Dutch & World literature and Mythology/ Folklore/ Sagas/ Fairytales.

Front of book case 2 contains more books on mythology, ancient civilisations, an complete encyclopedia for women, a spelling guide (Dutch), books for my current studies as well as dictionaries, thesaurus, and a Spanish language course. (I still want to learn Spanish one day)

Book cases 3 & 4 contains mostly books related to my English studies. There’s a shelf for literary anthologies; philology (Old & Middle English), language variation and language acquistion/ language in general; American Studies; highschool teaching methods; general reference books; linguistics; journalism; teaching; travel books; music books; philosophy; cook books and art.

Would you believe me if I told you that I started out with just one book case when I first moved to this place? The bookshelves are by IKEA and called IVAR. It’s a shelving system which I think is quite handy. The bookcases were given to me by my parents. No clue where they came from.

Want to see what’s actually on my shelves then you should watch this video:

And in this document: Boekenlijst you will find the list of all books and authors including information on date of publishing and the publisher.

Do you like keeping books? What are your favorite ones to buy?